Arrapha or Arrapkha (Akkadian: Arrapḫa, Syriac: ܐܪܦܗܐ, Arabic: أررابخا ,عرفة‎) was an ancient city in what today is northeastern Iraq, on the site of the modern city of Kirkuk.[1]

In 1948, Arrapha became the name of the residential area in Kirkuk which was built by the North Oil Company as a settlement for its workers.

Arrapha and other cities of Mesopotamia in the second millennium BC


Ancient Arrapkha was a part of Sargon of Akkad's Akkadian Empire (2335–2154 BC),[2] and city was exposed to the raids of the Lullubi during Naram-Sin's reign.[3]

Later the city was occupied around 2150 BC by language Isolate speaking Zagros Mountains dwellers who were known as the Gutian people by the Semitic and Sumerian of Mesopotamians. Arrapkha was the capital of the short lived Guti kingdom (Gutium), before it was destroyed and the Gutians driven from Mesopotamia by the Neo-Sumerian Empire c. 2090 BC.[4][5] Arrapkha became a part of the Old Assyrian Empire (c.2025–1750 BC), before Hammurabi briefly subjected Assyria to the short lived Babylonian Empire, after which it again became a part of Assyria c.1725 BC).

Subsequent to this it fell to the Neo-Sumerian Empire, the Old Assyrian Empire and Babylonian Empire, and was an important trading center in the 18th century BCE under Assyrian and Babylonian rule.[1] However, during the 15th and early 14th century BC it was again a largely Hurrian city, the capital of the small Hurrian kingdom of Arrapkha, situated along the southeastern edge of the area under Mittani domination, until it was fully incorporated into Assyria during the Middle Assyrian Empire (1365–1050 BC) after the Assyrians overthrew the Hurri-Mitanni empire.[1][6][7]

The city reached great prominence in the 11th and 10th centuries BC as a part of Assyria. In 615 BC, seeing the Assyrians occupied with the Babylonians and violent rebellions among themselves, the Median king Cyaxares successfully invaded Arrapha, which was one of the last strongholds of the Neo-Assyrian Empire.[8][9] The region later became part of the Persian ruled province of Athura (Achaemenid Assyria).

Arrapha then fell to the Macedonian Empire and its succeeding Seleucid Empire, where it became a part of Seleucid Syria. Syria originally being a Greek corruption of Assyria Arrapha is mentioned as such until Hellenistic times, at which point the settlement was refounded under the Syriac name Karka.[1]

Between the mid 2nd century BC and mid 3rd century AD, during the Parthian Empire and early Sassanid Empire the site was the capital of a small Neo-Assyrian kingdom called "ܒܝܬܓܪܡܝ", that is Beth Garmai, in Assyrian-Aramaic, apart from a brief interregnum in the early 2nd century AD when it became a part of the Roman Province of Assyria.[10] The Sassanids conquered the patchwork of independent Assyrian states in the mid to late 3rd century AD, and Arrapha was incorporated into Sassanid ruled Assuristan (Assyria), until the Arab Islamic conquest of the mid 7th century AD, when Assuristan was dissolved and Arrapha-Karka eventually became Kirkuk.

Arrapha has not been excavated yet, due to its location beneath modern Kirkuk.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Trevor Bryce. The Routledge Handbook of The People and Places of Ancient Western Asia. Routledge. pp. 67–68. ISBN 978-1-134-15908-6. Retrieved 27 October 2012.
  2. ^ Edwards, Charlesworth & Boardman 1970, p. 433
  3. ^ Edwards, Charlesworth & Boardman 1970, p. 443
  4. ^ William Gordon East, Oskar Hermann Khristian Spate (1961). The Changing Map of Asia: A Political Geography, 436 pages, p: 105
  5. ^ Georges Roux- Ancient Iraq
  6. ^ Kimmons, Sergeant Sean. "Soldiers Help Preserve Archeological Sites".
  7. ^ M. Chahin. Before the Greeks, p. 77.
  8. ^ Martin Sicker. The Pre-Islamic Middle East, Page 68.
  9. ^ I. E. S. Edwards, John Boardman, John B. Bury, S. A. Cook. The Cambridge Ancient History. p. 178–179.
  10. ^ Mohsen, Zakeri (1995). Sasanid Soldiers in Early Muslim Society: The Origins of 'Ayyārān and Futuwwa. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 135. ISBN 978-3-447-03652-8.

See also

External links

Coordinates: 35°27′00″N 44°23′00″E / 35.4500°N 44.3833°E


Alalu is god in Hurrian mythology. He is considered to have housed the divine family, because he was a progenitor of the gods, and possibly the father of Earth.

Baba Gurgur

Baba Gurgur (Kurdish: بابە گوڕ گوڕ babe gur gur Arabic:بابا كركر ) is an oil field and gas flame near the city of Kirkuk which was the first to be discovered in Northern Iraq in 1927. The field is 40 meters in diameter and has been burning for 2,500 years.

It was considered the largest oil field in the world until the discovery of the Ghawar field in Saudi Arabia in 1948. Baba Gurgur is 16 kilometres north-west of Arrapha and is famous for its Eternal Fire (Arabic: النار الازلية‎) at the middle of its oil fields.


Balawat (Classical Syriac: ܒܝܬ ܠܒܬ‎, beṯ labat) is an archaeological site of the ancient Assyrian city of Imgur-Enlil, and modern village in Nineveh Province (Iraq). It lies 25 kilometres (16 mi) southeast from the city of Mosul and 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) to the south of the modern Assyrian town of Bakhdida.

Battle of Arrapha

Battle of Arrapha took place in 616 BC between the Assyrian forces and the Babylonians.

Babylonian king Nabopolassar succeeded by driving the Assyrians back to the Little Zab, in doing so capturing many Assyrian prisoners, horses, and chariots.

The next year, Cyaxares, king of the Medes, defeated the Assyrians and conquered Arrapha.

Eponym dating system

The Eponym dating system was a calendar system for Assyria, for a period of over one thousand years. Every year was associated with the name, an eponym, of the Limmu, the individual holding office.

The dating system is thought to have originated in the ancient city of Assur, and remained the official dating system in Assyria until the end of the Assyrian Empire in the seventh century BC. The names of the Limmu who became eponyms were originally chosen by lot sortition, until the first millennium it became a fixed rotation of officers headed by the king who constituted the limmu. The earliest known attestations of a year eponyms are at Karum-Kanesh, and became used in other Assyrian colonies in Anatolia. Its spread was due to Shamshi-Adad I's unification of northern Mesopotamia.

Fall of Assur

The Fall of Assur occurred when the first city and old capital of the Neo-Assyrian Empire fell to Median forces. The sack of the city that followed utterly destroyed the city; it would never recover from the destruction.

Fall of Harran

The Fall of Harran refers to the Median and Babylonian siege and capture of the Assyrian city of Harran in 610 BC.

Hurrian religion

The Hurrian religion was the polytheistic religion of the Hurrians, a Bronze Age people of the Near East. These people settled over a wide area, so there were differences between them, especially between the eastern Hurrians around Nuzi and Arrapha and the western Hurrians in Syria and Anatolia. From the 14th century BC, the Hurrian religion had a powerful influence on the Hittite religion and the Hurrian pantheon is depicted in the 13th century rock reliefs at the important Hittite sanctuary at Yazılıkaya.


The Hurrians (; cuneiform: 𒄷𒌨𒊑; transliteration: Ḫu-ur-ri; also called Hari, Khurrites, Hourri, Churri, Hurri or Hurriter) were a people of the Bronze Age Near East. They spoke a Hurro-Urartian language called Hurrian and lived in Anatolia and Northern Mesopotamia. The largest and most influential Hurrian nation was the kingdom of Mitanni, the Mitanni perhaps being Indo-Iranian speakers who formed a ruling class over the Hurrians. The population of the Indo-European-speaking Hittite Empire in Anatolia included a large population of Hurrians, and there is significant Hurrian influence in Hittite mythology. By the Early Iron Age, the Hurrians had been assimilated with other peoples. Their remnants were subdued by a related people that formed the state of Urartu. According to a hypothesis by I.M. Diakonoff and S. Starostin, the Hurrian and Urartian languages shared a common ancestor and were related to the Northeast Caucasian languages. The present-day Armenians are an amalgam of the Indo-European groups with the Hurrians and Urartians.


Kirkuk (Arabic: كركوك‎ Karkūk; Kurdish: کەرکووک‎ Kerkûk; Syriac: ܟܪܟܘ݂ܟ‎

Turkish: Kerkük) is a city in Iraq, serving as the capital of the Kirkuk Governorate, located 238 kilometres (148 miles) north of Baghdad.

Kirkuk lies in a wide zone with an enormously diverse population and has been multilingual for centuries. There were dramatic demographic changes during Kirkuk's urbanization in the twentieth century, which saw the development of distinct ethnic groups. Kurds, Iraqi Turkmen, Arabs, Chaldeans, and Assyrians lay conflicting claims to this zone, and all have their historical accounts and memories to buttress their claims. The city sits on the ruins of the original Kirkuk Citadel, site of the ancient mid-3rd millennium BC, Assyrian city of Arrapha, and which sits near the Khasa River. The city is mentioned during the Sumero-Akkadian period of Assyria in cuneiform script from about 2400 BC. The region became a part of the Akkadian empire (2335–2154 BC) which united all of the Akkadian and Sumerian speaking Mesopotamians under one rule. After its collapse, the language isolate-speaking Gutians, a pre-Iranic race from Ancient Iran, overran the region for a few decades, making Arrapha their capital, before being ejected from Mesopotamia by the Sumerians during the Neo-Sumerian Empire (2112–2004 BC). The city later came to be dominated by the Hurrians from eastern Anatolia before being incorporated into the Old Assyrian Empire (2025–1750 BC), after which Arrapha and the whole of northern Mesopotamia, together with parts of north east Syria and south east Turkey, became a part of Assyria proper. During the late 15th century BC Assyria and Arrapha was under the domination of the short-lived Mittani-Hurrian empire, but after the Assyrians overthrew and destroyed the Hurri-Mitanni in the early 14th century BC the city was once more under Assyrian rule. Arrapha remained an important Assyrian city until the fall of the Assyrian empire between 615–599 BC. After this it remained a part of the geo-political province of Assyria (Achaemenid Assyria, Athura, Seleucid Syria, Assyria (Roman province) and Assuristan) under various foreign empires, and between the 2nd century BC and 3rd century AD became the capital of the Neo-Assyrian state of Beth Garmai before this was conquered into the Sassanid empire and became a part of Assuristan. The Arab Islamic conquest of the 7th century AD saw the dissolution of Assyria as a geo-political entity.

Kurds and Turkmens have claimed the city as a cultural capital. It was named the "capital of Iraqi culture" by the Iraqi ministry of culture in 2010. The city currently consists mainly of people who self-identify as Kurds, Arabs, Iraqi Turkmens, Chaldeans, and Assyrians , with changes in population after the US-led invasion in 2003, and later the war against the Islamic State from 2014 to 2017.

Kirkuk Citadel

The Kirkuk Citadel (Kurdish: Qelay Kerkûk, Arabic: قَلْعَة كَرْكُوْك‎, translit. Qalʿat Karkūk, Turkish: Kerkük Kalesi) is located in the centre of the city of Kirkuk in Iraq, and is considered to be the oldest part of the city. The citadel stands on an artificial mound 130 feet high located on a plateau across the Khasa River.

Medo-Babylonian war against Assyrian Empire

The Medo-Babylonian war against Assyrian Empire was the last war fought by the Assyrian Empire. The war ultimately led to the destruction of the Assyrian Empire.

Neo-Babylonian Empire

The Neo-Babylonian Empire (also Second Babylonian Empire) was a period of Mesopotamian history which began in 626 BC and ended in 539 BC. During the preceding three centuries, Babylonia had been ruled by their fellow Akkadian speakers and northern neighbours, Assyria. A year after the death of the last strong Assyrian ruler, Ashurbanipal, in 627 BC, the Assyrian empire spiralled into a series of brutal civil wars. Babylonia rebelled under Nabopolassar. In alliance with the Medes, Persians, Scythians and Cimmerians, they sacked the city of Nineveh in 612 BC, and the seat of empire was transferred to Babylonia for the first time since the death of Hammurabi in the mid-18th century BC. This period witnessed a general improvement in economic life and agricultural production, and a great flourishing of architectural projects, the arts and science.

The Neo-Babylonian period ended with the reign of Nabonidus in 539 BC. To the east, the Persians had been growing in strength, and eventually Cyrus the Great conquered the empire.


Ninurta-tukultī-Aššur, inscribed mdNinurta2-tukul-ti-Aš-šur, was briefly king of Assyria during 1133 BC, the 84th to appear on the Assyrian Kinglist, marked as holding the throne for his ṭuppišu, "his tablet," a period thought to correspond just to the inauguration year. He succeeded his father, the long-reigning Aššur-dān I, but the throne was very quickly usurped by his brother, Mutakkil-Nusku, and he was driven from Assur and sought refuge in the city of Sišil, on the Babylonian border, the scene of the final dénouement.


Nuzi (or Nuzu; Akkadian Gasur; modern Yorghan Tepe, Iraq) was an ancient Mesopotamian city southwest of the city of Arrapha (Karka modern Kirkuk in modern Al Ta'amim Governorate of Iraq), located near the Tigris river. The site consists of one medium-sized multiperiod tell and two small single period mounds.


Parshatatar, Paršatar, Barattarna, or Parattarna was the name of a Hurrian king of Mitanni in the fifteenth century BC. Very few records of him are known as sources from Mitanni are rare. Most information we have about the kingdom, especially its early history and kings come from records outside of the state. Dates for the kings can be deduced by comparing the chronology of Mitanni and other states, especially ancient Egypt, at a later date and working back the figures. Information is found in the biography of Idrimi of Alalakh (or Alalah, which became the capital of Aleppo). Parshatatar conquered the area and made Idrimi his vassal, Idrimi becoming king of Aleppo. Mitanni in his time probably extended as far as Arrapha in the east, Terqa in the south, and Kizzuwatna in the West. Parshatatar may have been the Mitannian king the Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmosis I met at the Euphrates River in a campaign early in his reign (around 1493). Information about his death is mentioned in a record from Nuzi dated to the death of king Parshatatar, possibly around 1420.

Seleucia on Hedyphon

Seleucia on Hedyphon was the name of the ancient Assyrian city of Arrapha during the Hellenistic period (331–129 BCE). It was in eastern Assyria on the bank of the river Hedyphon (Greek: Ἡδυφών).

Known to the Assyrians and to Claudius Ptolemy as Arrapha and Korkoura, the city flourished during the 11th and 10th centuries BCE. Familiar from tales of the saint's lives in East as Beth-Seleucia, it was a city related to many martyrs of the orthodox Christian church. The bishop of the city was John, who was mentioned in the chronicles of king Shapur.

In the Hellenistic period the city was renamed Seleucia, for Seleucus I Nicator or one of his successors. The locals called it Karkha D- Bet Slokh (citadel of the Seleucid dynasty). Today it is located in the city of Kirkuk in northeast Iraq.


Šamaš-mudammiq, inscribed mdŠamaš-mumudammiq (mdUTU-mu-SIG5), meaning “Šamaš shows favor,” was the 4th king of Babylon in a sequence designated as the Dynasty of E and ruled during the latter part of the 10th century BC. He was contemporary with the Assyrian king Adad-Nārāri II with whom he sparred.

Shuttarna II

Shuttarna II (or Šuttarna) was a king of the Hurrian kingdom of Mitanni in the early 14th century BC.Shuttarna was a descendant and probably a son of the great Mitannian king Artatama I. He was an ally of the Egyptian Pharaoh Amenhotep III and the diplomatic dealings of the kings are briefly recorded in the Amarna letters. Shuttarna's daughter Kilu-Hepa (sometimes spelled Gilukhepa) was given to Amenhotep III in marriage to seal the alliance between the two royal houses in the Pharaoh's 10th regnal year, taking with her a great dowry.

During the reign of Shuttarna, the kingdom of Mitanni reached its height of power and prosperity. From Alalakh in the west, Mitanni shared its border with Egypt in northern Syria, approximately by the river Orontes. The heart of the kingdom was in the Khabur River basin where the capital Washshukanni was situated. Assyria as well as Arrapha in the east were vassal kingdoms of Mitanni. The Hittites attempted to invade the northern border lands of Mitanni, but were defeated by Shuttarna.

He was succeeded by his son, Tushratta, or possibly Artashumara, under dubious circumstances.

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