Mandaeans, The descendants of one of Mesopotamia's ancient civilization
The descendants of one of Mesopotamia's oldest religious minorities
Who are Mandeans?Mandaeans (Arabic: ةَئِمْندَائِيُّون ٱل َّصابٱل, romanized: aṣ-Ṣābiʾah alMandāʾiyūn) are an ethnoreligious group native to the alluvial plain of southern Mesopotamia and are followers of Mandaeism, a monotheistic Gnostic religion.
They were probably the first to practice baptism and are the last surviving Gnostics from antiquity.
The Mandaeans were originally native speakers of Mandaic, a Semitic language that evolved from Eastern Middle Aramaic, before many switched to colloquial Iraqi Arabic and Modern Persian.
Mandaic is mainly preserved as a liturgical language.
In the aftermath of the Iraq War of 2003, the Mandaean community of Iraq, which used to number 60,000–70,000 persons, collapsed; most of the community relocated to nearby Iran, Syria and Jordan, or formed diaspora communities beyond the Middle East.
The other community of Iranian Mandaeans has also been dwindling as a result of religious persecution over that decade.