Wednesday Icon is the Ancient Lamassu?

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The Lamassu icon spans a history of more than 6,000 years as a dominating mythologic figure in Middle Eastern archaeology and culture. Imposing statues of the bull with eagle wings and a man's head guard the entrances to ancient Assyrian and Babylonian cities in the ancient lands of Mesopotamia.

The figure is a protector, a guard against evil. He embodies the strength of the bull, the agility of the eagle's flight and the wisdom of man. The lamassu symbol adorns military patches in Iraq.

The Assyrian Lamassu is portrayed with five legs, one for each of the five Assyrian regions, which spread over the territory now claimed by Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria. The Assyrians predated the Arabs, the Jews and the Christians.

Assyrians built the foundation of modern civilization. They developed cuneiform, the first system of writing, the first library and the world's first University. They invented a crystal lense for a microscope or telescope. They developed imperial administration, dividing land into territories administerd by local governors who reported to the central authority. They built paved roads and the first canals and aquaducts. They invented locks and keys to secure their doors.

Among the great mathematical contributions of the Assyrians was the division of the circle into 360 degrees. They were among the first to invent longitude and latitude in geographical navigation. They also developed a sophisticated medical science which greatly influenced medical science as far away as Greece.

Assyria was the first nation to accept Christianity and become missionaries.

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