Persian Empire > Medes

Medes

Background

Median Empire Mādai c. 678 BC–549 BC A map of the Median Empire; based on Herodotus Capital Ecbatana (modern Hamadan) Languages Median language Religion Old Iranian religion (related to Mithraism, early Zoroastrianism) Government Monarchy King • 678–665 BC Deioces or Kashtariti • 665–633 BC Phraortes • 625–585 BC Cyaxares • 589–549 BC Astyages Historical era Iron Age • Established c. 678 BC • Conquered by Cyrus the Great 549 BC Area • 585 BC 2,800,000 km² (1,081,086 sq mi) Preceded by Succeeded by Neo-Assyrian Empire Urartu Achaemenid Empire Today part of List[show] Part of a series on the History of Iran Persepolis 24.11.2009 11-12-14.jpg Mythological history[show] Ancient period[show] Imperial period[show] Medieval period[show] Early modern period[show] Modern period[show] Related articles[show] Iran portal v t e The Apadana Palace in Persepolis, Iran, northern stairway (detail) – fifth-century BC Achaemenid bas-relief shows a Mede soldier in traditional Mede costume (behind Persian soldier) The Medes[N 1] (/miːdz/, Old Persian Māda-, Ancient Greek: Μῆδοι, Hebrew: מָדַי) were an ancient Iranian people[N 2] who lived in an area known as Media (northwestern Iran) and who spoke the Median language. They mainly inhabited the mountainous area of northwestern Iran and the northeastern and eastern region of Mesopotamia and located in the Kermanshah-Hamadan (Ecbatana) region Their arrival in the region is associated with the first wave of migrating Iranian peoples into Iran from the Late Bronze Age collapse from around 1000 BC to around 900 BC. This period of migration coincided with a power vacuum in the Near East with the Middle Assyrian Empire (1365–1020 BC), which had dominated northwestern Iran and eastern Anatolia and the Caucasus, going into a comparative decline. This allowed new peoples to pass through and settle. In addition Elam, the dominant power in Iran, was suffering a period of severe weakness, as was Babylonia to the west. From the 10th to the late 7th centuries BC, the western parts of Media fell under the domination of the vast Neo-Assyrian Empire based in northern Mesopotamia, but which stretched from Cyprus to Iran, and from the Caucasus to Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula. Assyrian kings such as Tiglath-Pileser III, Sargon II, Sennacherib, Esarhaddon, Ashurbanipal and Ashur-etil-ilani imposed Vassal Treaties upon the Median rulers, and also protected them from predatory raids by marauding Scythians and Cimmerians. During the reign of Sinsharishkun (622–612 BC) the Assyrian empire, which had been in a state of constant civil war since 626 BC, began to unravel. Subject peoples, such as the Medes, Babylonians, Chaldeans, Egyptians, Scythians, Cimmerians, Lydians and Arameans quietly ceased to pay tribute to Assyria. An alliance between the Medes and rebelling Neo-Babylonian Empire, Scythians, Chaldeans, and Cimmerians, helped the Medes to capture Nineveh in 612 BC, which resulted in the eventual collapse of the Neo-Assyrian Empire by 605 BC. The Medes were subsequently able to establish their Median kingdom (with Ecbatana as their royal centre) beyond their original homeland and had eventually a territory stretching roughly from northeastern Iran to the Kızılırmak River in Anatolia. After the fall of Assyria between 616 BC and 605 BC, a unified Median state was formed, which together with Babylonia, Lydia, and ancient Egypt became one of the four major powers of the ancient Near East. The Median kingdom was eventually conquered in 550 BC by Cyrus the Great, who established the Achaemenid Empire. However, nowadays there is considerable doubt whether a united Median empire ever existed. There is no archaeological evidence and the story of Herodotus is not supported by sources from the Neo-Assyrian Empire nor the Neo-Babylonian Empire. A few archaeological sites (discovered in the "Median triangle" in western Iran) and textual sources (from contemporary Assyrians and also ancient Greeks in later centuries) provide a brief documentation of the history and culture of the Median state. Apart from a few personal names, the language of the Medes is unknown. The Medes had an Ancient Iranian Religion (a form of pre-Zoroastrian Mazdaism or Mithra worshipping) with a priesthood named as "Magi". Later during the reigns of the last Median kings, the reforms of Zoroaster spread into western Iran. Contents [hide] 1 Cities and Tribes of Media 2 Etymology 3 Historical geography of Media 3.1 Ancient textual sources 3.2 Archaeological evidence 4 Rise to power 4.1 Pre-dynastic history 4.2 Median dynasty 5 Culture and society 5.1 Language 5.2 Religion 6 Fall 7 Kurds and Medes 8 See also 9 Notes 10 References 11 Sources 12 Further reading 13 External links Cities and Tribes of Media[edit] Besides Ecbatana (modern Hamadan), the other cities existing in Media were Laodicea (modern Nahavand) and the mound that was the largest city of the Medes, Rhages (present-day Rey, Iran). The fourth city of Media was Apamea, near Ecbatana, whose precise location is now unknown. In later periods, Medes and especially Mede soldiers are identified and portrayed prominently in ancient archaeological sites such as Persepolis, where they are shown to have a major role and presence in the military of the Achaemenid Empire. According to the Histories of Herodotus, there were six Median tribes: Thus Deioces collected the Medes into a nation, and ruled over them alone. Now these are the tribes of which they consist: the Busae, the Paretaceni, the Struchates, the Arizanti, the Budii, and the Magi. The six Median tribes resided in Media proper, the triangular shaped area between Ecbatana, Rhagae and Aspadana. In modern Iran, that is the area between Tehran, Isfahan and Hamadan. Of the Median tribes, the Magi resided in Rhaga, modern Tehran. It was a type of sacred caste, which ministered to the spiritual needs of the Medes. The Paretaceni tribe resided in and around Aspadana, modern Isfahan, the Arizanti lived in and around Kashan and the Busae tribe lived in and around the future Median capital of Ecbatana. The Struchates and the Budii lived in villages in the Median triangle. Etymology[edit] The original source for different words used to call the Median people, their language and homeland is a directly transmitted Old Iranian geographical name which is attested as the Old Persian "Māda-" (sing. masc.). The meaning of this word is not precisely established. The linguist W. Skalmowski proposes a relation with the proto-Indo European word "med(h)-" meaning "central, suited in the middle" by referring to Old Indic "madhya-" and Old Iranian "maidiia-" both carrying the same meaning and having descendants including Latin medium, Greek méso, and German mittel. The Median people are mentioned by that name in many ancient texts. According to the Histories of Herodotus;[19] The Medes were called anciently by all people Aryans; but when Medea, the Colchian, came to them from Athens, they changed their name. Such is the account which they themselves give. Historical geography of Media[edit] The original population area of the Median people was Northwest Iran and named after them as "Media". At the end of the 2nd millennium BC the Median tribes emerged in the region (one of several Iranian tribes to do so) which they later called Media. These tribes expanded their control over larger areas. Subsequently, over a period of several hundred years, the boundaries of Media changed. Ancient textual sources[edit] An early description of the territory of Media by the Assyrians dates from the end of the 9th century BC until the beginning of the 7th century BC. The southern border of Media, in that period, is named as the Elamite region of Simaški in present-day Lorestan Province. To the west and northwest it was bounded by the Zagros Mountains and from the east by Dasht-e Kavir. This region of Media was ruled by the Assyrians and for them the region "extended along the Great Khorasan Road from just east of Harhar to Alwand, and probably beyond. It was limited on the north by the non Iranian state of the Mannaeans, on the south by Ellipi." The location of Harhar is suggested to be "the central or eastern" Mahidasht District in Kermanshah Province.[22] On the east and southeast of Media, as described by the Assyrians, another land with the name of "Patušarra" appears. This land was located near a mountain range which the Assyrians call "Bikni" and describe as "Lapis Lazuli Mountain". There are various opinion on the location of this mountain. Mount Damavand of Tehran and Alvand of Hamadan are two proposed sites. This location is the most remote eastern area that the Assyrians knew of or reached during their expansion until the beginning of the 7th century BC.[23] In the sources from Achaemenid Iran and specifically from the Behistun Inscription (2.76, 77–78) the capital of Media is named as "Hamgmatāna-" in Old Persian (and as Elamite Agmadana-, Babylonian Agamtanu-, etc.). The classical authors transmitted this as Ecbatana. This site is modern Hamadan province.[24] Archaeological evidence[edit] Excavation from ancient Ecbatane, Hamadan, Iran Median archaeological sources are rare. The discoveries of Median sites happened only after the 1960s.[25] For 1960 the search for Median archeological sources has mostly focused in an area known as the “Median triangle,” defined roughly as the region bounded by Hamadān, Malāyer (in Hamdan province) and Kangāvar (in Kermanshah province).[25] Three major sites from central western Iran in the Iron Age III period (i.e. 850–500 BC) are[26] Tepe Nush-i Jan (a primarily religious site of Median period), The site is located 14 km west of Malāyer in Hamadan province.[25] The excavations started in 1967 with D. Stronach as the director.[27] The remains of four main buildings in the site are "the central temple, the western temple, the fort, and the columned hall" which according to Stronach were likely to have been built in the order named and predate the latter occupation of the first half of the 6th century BC.[28] According to Stronach, the central temple, with its stark design, "provides a notable, if mute, expression of religious belief and practice".[28] A number of ceramics from the Median levels at Tepe Nush-i Jan have been found which are associated with a period (the second half of the 7th century BC) of power consolidation in the Hamadān areas. These findings show four different wares known as “common ware” (buff, cream, or light red in colour and with gold or silver mica temper) including jars in various size the largest of which is a form of ribbed pithoi. Smaller and more elaborate vessels were in “grey ware”, (these display smoothed and burnished surface). The “cooking ware” and “crumbly ware” are also recognized each in single handmade products.[28] Godin Tepe (its period II: a fortified palace of a Median king or tribal chief), The site is located 13 km east of Kangāvar city on the left bank of the river Gamas Āb". The excavations, started in 1965, were led by T. C. Young, Jr. which according to David Stronach, evidently shows an important Bronze Age construction that was reoccupied sometime before the beginning of the Iron III period. The excavations of Young indicate the remains of part of a single residence of a local ruler which later became quite substantial.[25] This is similar to those mentioned often in Assyrian sources.[26] Baba Jan, East Azerbaijan (probably the seat of a lesser tribal ruler of Media). The site is located in northeastern Luristan with a distance of roughly 10 km from Nūrābād in Lurestan province. The excavations were conducted by C. Goff in 1966–69. The second level of this site probably dates to the 7th century BC.[29] These sources have both similarities (in cultural characteristics) and differences (due to functional differences and diversity among the Median tribes).[26] The architecture of these archaeological findings, that can probably be dated to the Median period, show a link between the tradition of columned audience halls often seen in Achaemenid (for example in Persepolis) and Safavid Iran (for example in "Chehel Sotoun" from the 17th century AD) and the Median architecture.[26] The materials found at Tepe Nush-i Jan, Godin Tepe, and other sites located in Media together with the Assyrian reliefs show the existence of urban settlements in Media in the first half of the 1st millennium BC which had functioned as centres for the production of handicrafts and also of an agricultural and cattle-breeding economy of a secondary type.[30] For other historical documentation, the archaeological evidence, though rare, together with cuneiform records by Assyrian make it possible, regardless of Herodotus accounts, to establish some of the early history of Medians.[31] Rise to power[edit] Pre-dynastic history[edit] Timeline of Pre-Achaemenid era. Rhyton in the shape of a ram's head, gold – western Iran – Median, late 7th–early 6th century BC Iranian tribes were present in western and northwestern Iran from at least the 12th or 11th centuries BC. But the significance of Iranian elements in these regions were established from the beginning of the second half of the 8th century BC.[32] By this time the Iranian tribes were the majority in what later become the territory of the Median kingdom and also the west of Media proper.[32] A study of textual sources from the region shows that in the Neo-Assyrian period, the regions of Media, and further to the west and the northwest, had a population with Iranian speaking people as the majority.[33] In western and northwestern Iran and in areas further west prior to Median rule, there is evidence of the earlier political activity of the powerful societies of Elam, Mannaea, Assyria and Urartu .[32] There are various and up-dated opinions on the positions and activities of Iranian tribes in these societies and prior to the "major Iranian state formations" in the late 7th century BC.[32] One opinion (of Herzfeld, et al.) is that the ruling class were "Iranian migrants" but the society was "autonomous" while another opinion (of Grantovsky, et al.) holds that both the ruling class and basic elements of the population were Iranian.[34] During the period of the Neo-Assyrian Empire (911–605 BC) the Medes, Persians and other Iranian peoples of northern and western Iran were subject to the Neo-Assyrian Empire. This changed during the reign of Cyaxares, who in alliance with Nabopolassar of Babylon and Chaldea and the Scythians and Cimmerians, attacked and destroyed the strife riven empire between 616 and 605 BC.[35] Median dynasty[edit] Protoma in the form of a bull's head, 8th century BC, gold and filigree, National Museum, Warsaw The list of Median rulers and their period of reign compiled according to two sources. Firstly, Herodotus who calls them "kings" and associates them with the same family. Secondly, the Babylonian Chronicle which in "Gadd's Chronicle on the Fall of Nineveh" gives its own list. A combined list stretching over 150 years is thus: Deioces (700–647 BC) Phraortes (647–625 BC) Scythian rule (624–597 BC) Cyaxares (624–585 BC) Astyages (585–549 BC)[36] However, not all of these dates and personalities given by Herodotus match the other near eastern sources.[36] In Herodotus (book 1, chapters 95–130), Deioces is introduced as the founder of a centralised Median state. He had been known to the Median people as "a just and incorruptible man" and when asked by the Median people to solve their possible disputes he agreed and put forward the condition that they make him "king" and build a great city at Ecbatana as the capital of the Median state.[37] Judging from the contemporary sources of the region and disregarding[38] the account of Herodotus puts the formation of a unified Median state during the reign of Cyaxares or later.[39] Culture and society[edit] Greek references to "Median" people make no clear distinction between the "Persians" and the "Medians"; in fact for a Greek to become "too closely associated with Iranian culture" was "to become medianized, not persianized".[26] The Median kingdom was a short-lived Iranian state and the textual and archaeological sources of that period are rare and little could be known from the Median culture which nevertheless made a "profound, and lasting, contribution to the greater world of Iranian culture".[40] Language[edit] Main article: Median language Median people spoke the Median language, which was an Old Iranian language. Strabo's Geographica (finished in the early first century) mentions the affinity of Median with other Iranian languages: "The name of Ariana is further extended to a part of Persia and of Media, as also to the Bactrians and Sogdians on the north; for these speak approximately the same language, but with slight variations".[41] No original deciphered text has been proven to have been written in the Median language. It is suggested that similar to the later Iranian practice of keeping archives of written documents in Achaemenid Iran, there was also a maintenance of archives by the Median government in their capital Ecbatana. There are examples of "Median literature" found in later records. One is according to Herodotus that the Median king Deioces, appearing as a judge, made judgement on causes submitted in writing. There is also a report by Dinon on the existence of "Median court poets".[42] Median literature is part of the "Old Iranian literature" (including also Saka, Old Persian, Avestan) as this Iranian affiliation of them is explicit also in ancient texts, such as Herodotus's account[19] that many peoples including Medes were "universally called Iranian".[43] Words of Median origin appear in various other Iranian dialects, including Old Persian. A feature of Old Persian inscriptions is the large number of words and names from other languages and the Median language takes in this regard a special place for historical reasons.[44] The Median words in Old Persian texts, whose Median origin can be established by "phonetic criteria",[44] appear "more frequently among royal titles and among terms of the chancellery, military, and judicial affairs".[44] Words of Median origin include: *čiθra-: "origin".[45] The word appears in *čiθrabṛzana- (med.) "exalting his linage", *čiθramiθra- (med.) "having mithraic origin", *čiθraspāta- (med.) "having a brilliant army", etc.[46] Farnah: Divine glory; (Avestan: khvarənah) Paridaiza: Paradise Spaka- : The word is Median and means "dog".[47] Herodotus identifies "Spaka-" (Gk. "σπάχα" – female dog) as Median rather than Persian.[48] The word is still used in modern Iranian languages including Talyshi, also suggested as a source to the Russian word for dog sobaka.[49][50][51] vazṛka-: "great" (as Western Persian bozorg)[44] vispa-: "all".[52] (as in Avestan). The component appears in such words as vispafryā (Med. fem.) "dear to all", vispatarva- (med.) "vanquishing all", vispavada- (Median-Old Persian) "leader of all", etc.[53] Xshayathiya (royal, royalty): This Median word (∗xšaθra-pā-) is an example of words whose Greek form (known as romanized "satrap" from Gk. "satrápēs – σατράπης") mirrors, as opposed to the tradition[N 3], a Median rather than an Old Persian form of an Old Iranian word.[54] zūra-: "evil" and zūrakara-: "evil-doer".[44] Religion[edit] There are very limited sources concerning the religion of Median people. Primary sources pointing to religious affiliations of Medes found so far include the archaeological discoveries in Tepe Nush-e Jan, personal names of Median individuals, and the Histories of Herodotus. The archaeological source gives the earliest of the temple structures in Iran and the "stepped fire altar" discovered there is linked to the common Iranian legacy of the "cult of fire". Herodotus mentions Median Magi as a Median tribe providing priests for both the Medes and the Persians. They had a "priestly caste" which passed their functions from father to son. They played a significant role in the court of the Median king Astyages who had in his court certain Medians as "advisers, dream interpreters, and soothsayers". Classical historians "unanimously" regarded the Magi as priests of the Zoroastrian faith. From the personal names of Medes as recorded by Assyrians (in 8th and 9th centuries BC) there are examples of the use of the Indo-Iranian word arta- (lit. "truth") which is familiar from both Avestan and Old Persian and also examples of theophoric names containing Maždakku and also the name "Ahura Mazdā".[55] Scholars disagree whether these are indications of Zoroastrian religion amongst the Medes. Diakonoff believes that "Astyages and perhaps even Cyaxares had already embraced a religion derived from the teachings of Zoroaster" which was not identical with doctrine of Zarathustra and Mary Boyce believes that "the existence of the Magi in Media with their own traditions and forms of worship was an obstacle to Zoroastrian proselytizing there".[55] Boyce wrote that the Zoroastrian traditions in the Median city of Ray probably goes back to the 8th century BC.[56] It is suggested that from the 8th century BC, a form of "Mazdaism with common Iranian traditions" existed in Media and the strict reforms of Zarathustra began to spread in western Iran during the reign of the last Median kings in the 6th century BC.[55] It has also been suggested that Mithra is a Median name and Medes may have practised Mithraism and had Mithra as their supreme deity.[57] Fall[edit] The Ganj Nameh ("treasure epistle") in Ecbatana. The inscriptions are by Darius I and his son in Xerxes I Apadana Hall, 5th century BC Achaemenid-era carving of Persian and Median soldiers in traditional costume (Medians are wearing rounded hats and boots), in Persepolis, Iran Further information: Achaemenid Assyria In 553 BC, Cyrus the Great, King of Persia, rebelled against his grandfather, the Mede King, Astyages son of Cyaxares; he finally won a decisive victory in 550 BC resulting in Astyages' capture by his own dissatisfied nobles, who promptly turned him over to the triumphant Cyrus.[58] After Cyrus's victory against Astyages, the Medes were subjected to their close kin, the Persians.[59] In the new empire they retained a prominent position; in honour and war, they stood next to the Persians; their court ceremony was adopted by the new sovereigns, who in the summer months resided in Ecbatana; and many noble Medes were employed as officials, satraps and generals. Kurds and Medes[edit] Exclamation mark with arrows pointing at each other This section appears to contradict itself. Please see the talk page for more information. (October 2013) Main article: Origin of the Kurds Russian historian and linguist Vladimir Minorsky suggested that the Medes, who widely inhabited the land where currently the Kurds form a majority, might have been forefathers of the modern Kurds. He also states that the Medes who invaded the region in the eighth century BC, linguistically resembled the Kurds. This view was accepted by many Kurdish nationalists in the twentieth century. However, Martin van Bruinessen, a Dutch scholar, argues against the attempt to take the Medes as ancestors of the Kurds.[60] "Though some Kurdish intellectuals claim that their people are descended from the Medes, there is no evidence to permit such a connection across the considerable gap in time between the political dominance of the Medes and the first attestation of the Kurds" - van Bruinessen Contemporary linguistic evidence has challenged the previously suggested view that the Kurds are descendants of the Medes.[61][62] Gernot Windfuhr (professor of Iranian Studies) identified the Kurdish languages as Parthian, albeit with a Median substratum.[63] David Neil MacKenzie, an authority on the Kurdish language, thought that the Medes spoke a Western Iranian languages, while the Kurdish people speak Northern Kurdish, which is also a Western Iranian language.[64][page needed][not in citation given][contradictory] Garnik Asatrian stated that "The Central Iranian dialects, and primarily those of the Kashan area in the first place, as well as the Azari dialects (otherwise called Southern Tati) are probably the only Iranian dialects, which can pretend to be the direct offshoots of Median ... In general, the relationship between Kurdish and Median are not closer than the affinities between the latter and other North Western dialects — Baluchi, Talishi, South Caspian, Zaza, Gurani, etc."[65] See also[edit] Ancient Near East portal Greater Iran Iranian Plateau Linear Elamite – a script possibly used to write Median language List of monarchs of Persia List of rulers of the pre-Achaemenid kingdoms of Iran Madai Qanat – water management system Notes[edit] According to the OED entry "Mede", the word is from Classical Latin Mēdus (usually as plural, Mēdī) from ancient Greek (Attic and Ionic) Μῆδος (Cypriot ma-to-i Μᾶδοι, plural) from Old Persian Māda. A) "..and the Medes (Iranians of what is now north-west Iran).." EIEC (1997:30). B) "Archaeological evidence for the religion of the Iranian-speaking Medes of the .." (Diakonoff 1985, p. 140). C) ".. succeeded in uniting into a kingdom the many Median tribes" (from Encyclopædia Britannica ). D) "Proto-Iranian split into Western (Median, and others) and Eastern (Scythian, Ossetic, Saka, Pamir and others)..." (Kuz'mina, Elena E. (2007), The origin of the Indo-Iranians, J. P. Mallory (ed.), BRILL, p. 303, ISBN 978-90-04-16054-5) "..a great many Old Persian lexemes...are preserved in a borrowed form in non-Persian languages – the so-called “collateral” tradition of Old Persian (within or outside the Achaemenid Empire).... not every purported Old Iranian form attested in this manner is an actual lexeme of Old Persian."[54] References[edit] Turchin, Peter; Adams, Jonathan M.; Hall, Thomas D (December 2006). "East-West Orientation of Historical Empires". Journal of world-systems research. 12 (2): 223. ISSN 1076-156X. Retrieved 16 September 2016. Taagepera, Rein (1979). "Size and Duration of Empires: Growth-Decline Curves, 600 B.C. to 600 A.D.". Social Science History. 3 (3/4): 121. doi:10.2307/1170959. Retrieved 16 September 2016. OED Online "entry Mede, n.".: Encyclopædia Britannica Online Media (ancient region, Iran) "Medes and Media". Georges Roux, Ancient Iraq, 1992[full citation needed] Ayatollahi, Habibollah (2003). The Book of Iran: The History of Iranian Art. Alhoda UK. ISBN 978-964-94491-4-2., page 93 Herodotus 1.101 ^ Jump up to: a b c d Gershevitch, I. (1985). The Cambridge History of Iran. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-20091-2., page 75 Talbot, Alice-Mary Maffry; Sullivan, Denis F. (2005). The History of Leo the Deacon: Byzantine Military Expansion in the Tenth Century. Dumbarton Oaks. ISBN 978-0-88402-324-1., page 204 Boyce, Mary (1982). A History of Zoroastrianism: Volume II: Under the Achaemenians. BRILL. ISBN 90-04-06506-7. Zumerchik, John; Danver, Steven Laurence (2010). Seas and Waterways of the World: An Encyclopedia of History, Uses, and Issues. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-85109-711-1. Sabourin, Leopold (1973). Priesthood. Brill Archive. GGKEY:ZRNUJJQ6GG2. Travels in Luristan and Arabistan. J. Madden and Company. 1845. Christensen, Peter (1993). The Decline of Iranshahr: Irrigation and Environments in the History of the Middle East, 500 B.C. to A.D. 1500. Museum Tusculanum Press. ISBN 978-87-7289-259-7. Thomson, James Oliver (1948). History of Ancient Geography. Biblo & Tannen Publishers. ISBN 978-0-8196-0143-8. ^ Jump up to: a b c (Tavernier 2007, p. 27) (Diakonoff 1985, p. 57) ^ Jump up to: a b (Herodotus 7.62.1) (Diakonoff 1985, pp. 36–41) (Levine 1974, p. 119) (Levine 1974, p. 117) (Levine 1974, pp. 118–119) (Levine 1974, p. 118) ^ Jump up to: a b c d (Stronach1982, p. 288) ^ Jump up to: a b c d e (Young 1997, p. 449) (Stronach 1968, p. 179) ^ Jump up to: a b c (Stronach 1982, p. 290) (Henrickson 1988, p. ?) (Dandamayev & Medvedskaya 2006, p. ?) (Young 1997, p. 448) ^ Jump up to: a b c d (Dandamaev et al. 2004, pp. 2–3) (Zadok 2002, p. 140) (Dandamaev et al. 2004, p. 3) A. Leo Oppenheim, Ancient Mesopotamia, 1964[full citation needed] ^ Jump up to: a b (Diakonoff 1985, p. 112) (Young 1988, p. 16) (Young 1988, p. 19) (Young 1988, p. 21) (Young 1997, p. 450) Geography, Strab. 15.2.8 (Gershevitch 1968, p. 2) (Gershevitch 1968, p. 1) ^ Jump up to: a b c d e (Schmitt 2008, p. 98) (Tavernier 2007, p. 619) (Tavernier 2007, pp. 157–8) (Tavernier 2007, p. 312) (Hawkins 2010, "Greek and the Languages of Asia Minor to the Classical Period", p. 226) (Gamkrelidze - Ivanov , 1995, "Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans: A Reconstruction and Historical..", p. 505) (Fortson, IV 2009, "Indo-European Language and Culture: An Introduction", p. 419) (YarShater 2007, "Encyclopaedia Iranica", p. 96) (Tavernier 2007, p. 627) (Tavernier 2007, pp. 352–3) ^ Jump up to: a b (Schmitt 2008, p. 99) ^ Jump up to: a b c (Dandamayev & Medvedskaya 2006, Median Religion) (Boyce & Grenet 1991, p. 81) (Soudavar 2003, p. 84) Briant, Pierre (2006). From Cyrus to Alexander: A History of the Persian Empire. Eisenbrauns. p. 31. Herodotus, The Histories, p. 93.[full citation needed] Hakan Özoğlu, Kurdish notables and the Ottoman state: Evolving Identities, Competing Loyalties, and Shifting Boundaries, SUNY Press, 2004, p. 25. "Turkey Foreign Policy and Government Guide". google.com. "Turkey". google.com. Windfuhr, Gernot (1975), "Isoglosses: A Sketch on Persians and Parthians, Kurds and Medes", Monumentum H.S. Nyberg II (Acta Iranica-5), Leiden: 457–471 M. Gunter, Michael. Historical dictionary of the Kurds. G. Asatrian, Prolegomena to the Study of the Kurds, Iran and the Caucasus, Vol. 13, pp. 1–58, 2009. (p. 21 ) Sources[edit] Boyce, Mary; Grenet, Frantz (1991), Zoroastrianism under Macedonian and Roman rule, BRILL, ISBN 978-90-04-09271-6 Bryce, Trevor (2009), The Routledge Handbook of the Peoples and Places of Ancient Western Asia. From the Early Bronze Age to the Fall of the Persian Empire, Taylor & Francis Dandamayev, M.; Medvedskaya, I. (2006), "Media", Encyclopaedia Iranica Online Edition Henrickson, R. C. (1988), "Baba Jan Teppe", Encyclopaedia Iranica, 2, Routledge & Kegan Paul, ISBN 978-0-933273-67-2 Tavernier, Jan (2007), Iranica in the Achaemenid Period (ca. 550-330 B.C.): Linguistic Study of Old Iranian Proper Names and Loanwords, Attested in Non-Iranian Texts, Peeters Publishers, ISBN 90-429-1833-0 Dandamaev, M. A.; Lukonin, V. G.; Kohl, Philip L.; Dadson, D. J. (2004), The Culture and Social Institutions of Ancient Iran, Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, p. 480, ISBN 978-0-521-61191-6 Diakonoff, I. M. (1985), "Media", The Cambridge History of Iran, 2 (Edited by Ilya Gershevitch ed.), Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, pp. 36–148, ISBN 0-521-20091-1 Gershevitch, I. (1968), "Old Iranian Literature", Iranian Studies, Hanbuch Der Orientalistik – Abeteilung – Der Nahe Und Der Mittlere Osten, 1, 1–30: Brill, ISBN 978-90-04-00857-1 Levine, Louis D. (1973-01-01), "Geographical Studies in the Neo-Assyrian Zagros: I", Iran, 11: 1–27, doi:10.2307/4300482, ISSN 0578-6967, JSTOR 4300482 Levine, Louis D. (1974-01-01), "Geographical Studies in the Neo-Assyrian Zagros-II", Iran, 12: 99–124, doi:10.2307/4300506, ISSN 0578-6967, JSTOR 4300506 Van De Mieroop, Marc (2015), A History of the Ancient Near East, ca. 3000-323 BC, Wiley Blackwell Soudavar, Abolala (2003), The aura of kings: legitimacy and divine sanction in Iranian kingship, Mazda Publishers, ISBN 978-1-56859-109-4 Young, T. Cuyler, Jr. (1988), "The early history of the Medes and the Persians and the Achaemenid empire to the death of Cambyses", in Boardman, John; Hammond, N. G. L.; Lewis, D. M.; Ostwald, M., The Cambridge Ancient History, 4, Cambridge University Press, pp. 1–52, doi:10.1017/CHOL9780521228046.002 Young, T. Cuyler (1997), "Medes", in Meyers, Eric M., The Oxford encyclopedia of archaeology in the Near East, 3, Oxford University Press, pp. 448–450, ISBN 978-0-19-511217-7 Zadok, Ran (2002), "The Ethno-Linguistic Character of Northwestern Iran and Kurdistan in the Neo-Assyrian Period", Iran, 40: 89–151, doi:10.2307/4300620, ISSN 0578-6967, JSTOR 4300620 Schmitt, Rüdiger (2008), "Old Persian", in Woodard, Roger D., The Ancient Languages of Asia and the Americas, Cambridge University Press, pp. 76–100, ISBN 978-0-521-68494-1 Stronach, David (1968), "Tepe Nush-i Jan: A Mound in Media", The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, New Series, 27 (3): 177–186, doi:10.2307/3258384, ISSN 0026-1521, JSTOR 3258384 Stronach, David (1982), "Archeology ii. Median and Achaemenid", in Yarshater, E., Encyclopædia Iranica, 2, Routledge & Kegan Paul, pp. 288–96, ISBN 978-0-933273-67-2 Windfuhr, Gernot L. (1991), "Central dialects", in Yarshater, E., Encyclopædia Iranica, pp. 242–51, ISBN 978-0-939214-79-2 Further reading[edit] "Mede." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2008. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 16 January 2008. Dandamayev, M.; Medvedskaya, I. (2006), "Media", Encyclopaedia Iranica Online Edition Gershevitch, Ilya (1985), The Cambridge History of Iran, 2, Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-20091-1 Dandamaev, M. A.; Lukonin, V. G.; Kohl, Philip L.; Dadson, D. J. (2004), The Culture and Social Institutions of Ancient Iran, Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, p. 480, ISBN 978-0-521-61191-6 Young, T. Cuyler, Jr. (1988), "The early history of the Medes and the Persians and the Achaemenid empire to the death of Cambyses", in Boardman, John; Hammond, N. G. L.; Lewis, D. M.; Ostwald, M, Persia, Greece and the Western Mediterranean c. 525 to 479 BC (Cambridge Histories Online ed.), Cambridge University Press, pp. 1–52, doi:10.1017/CHOL9780521228046.002 External links[edit] Wikimedia Commons has media related to Medes. Median Empire at Iran Chamber Society website. Media poses a problem to the scholar who tries to describe this ancient empire: the evidence is unreliable. It consists of the archaeological record, several references in Assyrian and Babylonian cuneiform texts, the Persian Behistun inscription, the Histories by the Greek researcher Herodotus of Halicarnassus, the Persian history by Ctesias of Cnidus, and a couple of chapters in the Bible. The trouble is that the archaeological record is unclear, that the oriental texts offer not much information, that the Greek authors are unreliable, and that several Biblical books appear to have been influenced by Herodotus. But let's start with a description of the landscape itself. The Country Although the boundaries of Media were never completely fixed, it is more or less identical to the northwest of modern Iran. Its capital Ecbatana is modern Hamadan; its western part is dominated by the Zagros mountains and border on Assyria; to the south are Elam and Persis; in the arid east, the Caspian Gate is the boundary with Parthia; and Media is separated from the Caspian Sea and Armenia by the Elburz mountains. The Nesaean Plain, surrounding Ecbatana (modern Hamadan) The Nesaean Plain, surrounding Ecbatana (modern Hamadan) The country was (and is) dominated by the east-west route that was, in the Middle Ages, known as the Silk road; it connected Media to Babylonia, Assyria, Armenia, and the Mediterranean in the west, and to Parthia, Aria, Bactria, Sogdia, and China in the east. Another important road connected Ecbatana with the capitals of Persis, like Persepolis and Pasargadae. Media controlled the east-west trade, but was also rich in agricultural products. The valleys and plains in the Zagros are fertile, and Media was well-known for clover (which is still called medicago), sheep, goats, and the horses of the Nisaean plain. The country could support a large population and boasted many villages and a few cities (Ecbatana, Rhagae, Gabae). The Greek author Polybius of Megalopolis correctly calls it the most powerful of all Asian countries, and it was generally recognized as one of the most important parts of the Seleucid and Parthian Empires. Early History Media is archaeologically poorly understood. Often, researchers have simply called those objects Median that were discovered under the stratum they had identified as Achaemenid. It would have been helpful if we could establish that certain types of archaeological remains (like house forms, ornaments, pottery, and burial rites) in the entire area of Media constantly recurred together, but until now this definition of a material culture has not been possible. Still, it is reasonably clear that in the first quarter of the first millennium, nomadic cattle-herders speaking an Indo-Iranian language infiltrated the Zagros and settled among the native population. (The language of the newcomers can be reconstructed from loan words, personal names and toponyms.) The tribal warriors are mentioned for the first time in the Assyrian Annals as enemies of Šalmaneser III (858-824). KURMa-da-a ("the land of the Medes") included the Zagros, "bordered on the salt desert" and "continued as far as the edge of Mount Bikni" (i.e., Mount Damavand, east of Tehran); its inhabitants were divided into several smaller clans, and although the Assyrian kings were able to subdue several of them, they never conquered all of Media. In fact, it is likely that the Assyrians were themselves responsible for the unification of the Median tribes. The repeated Assyrian attacks forced the various inhabitants of the Zagros and the country beyond to cooperate and develop more effective leadership. The Assyrians also appreciated products from the east, like Bactrian lapis lazuli, and the east-west route through Media became increasingly important. Tribal chiefs along the road could make substantial profits if only they were willing to give up their nomadic way of life and settle in more permanent residences. Trade may explain the rise of Ecbatana (Hâgmatâna, 'gathering place') as the central town of Media, and may have been the trigger that started the process of unification. Other towns that may have grown as a response to the demands of the Assyrian market are Hasanlu and Ziwiye in the northwest. Tepe Nush-e Jan appears to have been a fortified sanctuary. Another early settlement is Godin Tepe. Empire? If we are to believe Herodotus, Media was unified by a man named Deioces, the first of four kings who were to rule a true empire that included large parts of Iran and eastern Anatolia. Their names sound convincingly Median: a Daiaukku and a Uksatar (Deioces and Cyaxares) are mentioned in texts from the eighth century. Using the number of regnal years mentioned by the Greek researcher and counting backward from the year in which the last Median leader (who is mentioned in the Babylonian Nabonidus Chronicle) lost his throne, we obtain this list: Deioces 53 years 700/699 to 647/646 Phraortes 22 years 647/646 to 625/624 Cyaxares 40 years 625/624 to 585/584 Astyages 35 years 585/584 to 550/549 Unfortunately, there are several problems. In the first place, Ctesias offers another list of kings. Secondly, there is something wrong with the chronology: the Daiaukku and Uksatar mentioned above lived in c.715. Even worse, Daiaukku lived near Lake Urmia, not in Ecbatana. Besides, the story of Deioces looks suspiciously like a myth or saga about the origins of civilization. Finally, Herodotus' figures are suspect: (53+22) + (40+35) = 75+75 = 150 years. There is no need to doubt the existence of the two last rulers, who are also mentioned in Babylonian texts, but we may ask what kind of leaders they have been. One clue is a little list that Herodotus inserted in his Histories, in which he states that Deioces "united the Medes and was ruler of the tribes which here follow, namely, the Busae, Paretacenians, Struchates, Arizantians, Budians, and Magians" (1.102). But was Deioces the only leader to unite several tribes? It is not a strange or novel idea to interpret the various personal names we have as an indication of a fluid, still developing central leadership. Herodotus' list can be seen as an attempt to create order in a confused oral tradition about earlier leaders; his description of Median history probably projects back aspects of the later, Achaemenid empire upon a loose tribal federation. He took the stories told by his Persian informers about the early history of Iran a bit too literally. Which does not mean that the leaders of tribal federations were not capable of exercising great political influence. Although an Arbaces may have united several Median tribes too, Cyaxares and Astyages are generally recognized as the two last rulers of the federation of tribes. According to the Fall of Nineveh Chronicle, Cyaxares (called Umakištar) destroyed the Assyrian religious center Aššur in the summer of 614: The Medes went along the Tigris and encamped against Aššur. They did battle against the city and destroyed it. They inflicted a terrible defeat upon a great people, plundered and sacked them. The king of Babylonia and his army, who had gone to help the Medes, did not reach the battle in time. From this moment on, Cyaxares and the Babylonian king Nabopolassar joined forces, and two years later, the Assyrian capital Nineveh was captured by the allies: The king of Babylonia and Cyaxares [...] encamped against Nineveh. From the month Simanu [May/June] until the month Âbu [July/August] -for three months- they subjected the city to a heavy siege. On the [lacuna] day of the month Abu they inflicted a major defeat upon a great people. At that time Sin-šar-iškun, king of Assyria, died. They carried off the vast booty of the city and the temple and turned the city into a ruin heap. [...] On the twentieth day of the month Ulûlu [10 August 612] Cyaxares and his army went home. This proves that Cyaxares was more than just a tribal chief: he was a real king, capable of building an army that was strong enough to capture a city. Probably, the Persians, Armenians, Parthians, and Arians all paid tribute to the Medes. In other words, he controlled a large part of the Silk Road and had expanded his realm to Persis and Armenia, which appears to have been brought in submission after 609 and probably before 605. Cyaxares' latest recorded act is the battle of the Halys, which he fought against the Lydian king Alyattes and can be dated to 30 May 585 BCE. This and the capture of Aššur in 614 fit within Herodotus' framework, which gives 40 and 35 years to the two last kings, but it is remarkable that Cyaxares was still firmly in charge in 585/584, and had been succeeded by Astyages in 584/583. About the reign of Astyages, Herodotus tells an oriental fairy tale, which explains why he lost the throne. However, although the story may be more charming than reliable, the fact that Astyages lost his kingdom is confirmed by the Chronicle of Nabonidus, where we read that in the sixth year of the Babylonian king Nabonidus (550/549) king Astyages called up his troops and marched against Cyrus, king of Anšan [i.e., Persia], in order to meet him in battle. The army of Astyages revolted against him and delivered him in fetters to Cyrus. Cyrus marched against the country Ecbatana; the royal residence he seized; silver, gold, other valuables of the country Ecbatana he took as booty and brought to Anšan. It is possible that the rise of Persia and the demise of Media had deeper, economic causes. It seems that in the mid-sixth century, qanats were dug in Persis, which gave this part of Iran a competetive advantage compared to Media. However, dating the villages near qanats is not easy, and it may be that this development in fact postdates Cyrus' victory. Anyhow, Cyrus took over the loosely organized Median empire, including several subject countries: Armenia, Cappadocia, Parthia, and perhaps Aria. They were probably ruled by vassal kings called satraps. In 547, Cyrus added Lydia to his possessions, a state that had among its vassals the Greek and Carian towns in the west and southwest of what is now Turkey. Eight years later, he captured Babylon, and Cyrus understood that cities were not only there to be looted by nomads - as Cyaxares had done with Nineveh - but could be integrated in an empire. The Persian king also founded a city of his own, Pasargadae, and it is not exaggerated to say that the evolution from tribal society to early state that had started in Media, reached its conclusion in Persis.

Cultures

+ List of Cultures

Sources

Primary Sources

Secondary Sources