Grumbates or Krumbates was a king of the Chionitae, probably of the Kidarites tribe, an ancient nomadic tribe of Transoxiana.

Battles/warsSiege of Amida in 359 CE


The exact spelling and origin of his name is not fully known. Possible origins include Kurumpat (from Old Turkic *Qurum-pat, "ruling prince";[1]

[2] Old Turkic pat, "chieftain", either directly borrowed from Iranian pat, "ruler"[3] or evolved from Old Turkic baş, "head, leader"[4]). Qurum (from Old Turkic qurum, "rule, leadership, administration")[3][5][6] in the form of Krum is attested to in the royal Bulgar princes lines as well as in the Greek traditions as a designation of Bulgar Khans.[2][6] It has been suggested that Krumbates could also be composed of Iranian -bat, from Iranian pat, "ruler"; cf. Persian pād, "master".[3][6]

Attacks on the Sasanian Empire

The Kidarite king Grumbates mentioned by Ammianus Marcellinus was a cause of much concern to the Persians. Between 353 AD and 358 CE, the Xionites under Grumbates attacked in the eastern frontiers of Shapur II's empire along with other nomad tribes. After a prolonged struggle they were forced to conclude a peace, and their king Grumbates accompanied Shapur II in the war against the Romans.

Alliance with Shapur II against the Romans

The walls of Amida, built by Constantius II before the Siege of Amida of 359, to which Grumbates participated. Ammianus himself was present in the city until a day before its fall.

Grumbates thus participated in the Siege of Amida in 359 CE as an ally of Shapur II.[7][8] His participation to the Sasanian campaign in the Eastern Caspian lands are described by Ammianus Marcellinus, who was inside the fortress of Amida at the time:[9]

"We saw below us the whole circuit of the lands filled with innumerable troops with the king (Shapur II) leading the way, glittering in splendid attire. Close by him on the left went Grumbates, king of the Chionitae, a man of moderate strength, it is true, and with shrivelled limbs, but of a certain greatness of mind and distinguished by the glory of many victories."

— Ammianus Marcellinus, 18.6.22.[10]

The son of Grumbates, while inspecting the defences of Amida, was shot and killed with an arrow shot by the city garrison.[11] Ammianus described how the Grumbates, outraged at his son's death, demanded revenge from the Romans: he compares the death to that of Patroclus at Troy. The Sassanids began the attack with siege towers and attempted to take the city hastily, but were largely unsuccessful. Unable to gain a quick victory, Shapur II had to commit to capturing Amida in order to appease his ally Grumbates.

And so, at the first dawn of day, Grumbates, king of the Chionitae, wishing to render courageous service to his lord, boldly advanced to the walls with a band of active attendants; but a skilful observer caught sight of him as soon as he chanced to come within range of his weapon, and discharging a ballista, pierced both cuirass and breast of Grumbates' son, a youth just come to manhood, who was riding at his father's side and was conspicuous among his companions for his height and his handsome person.


  1. ^ Kim, Hyun Jin (18 April 2013). The Huns, Rome and the Birth of Europe. Cambridge University Press. p. 37. ISBN 978-1-107-00906-6.
  2. ^ a b Roemer, Hans Robert; Scharlipp, Wolfgang-Ekkehard (2000). Philologiae Turcicae fundamenta. T. 3, Philologiae et historiae Turcicae fundamenta / ed. Louis Bazin ; György Hazai. History of the Turkic peoples in the pre-Islamic period. Franciscum Steiner. p. 273. ISBN 978-3-87997-283-8.
  3. ^ a b c Byzantinoslavica. Academia. 1973.
  4. ^ “baş” in Nişanyan Dictionary
  5. ^ Materialia Turcica. Studienverlag Brockmeyer. 1984. p. 25.
  6. ^ a b c Kommission für die Altertumskunde Mittel- und Nordeuropas (1985). Untersuchungen zu Handel und Verkehr der vor- und frühgeschichtlichen Zeit in Mittel- und Nordeuropa: Der Handel der Karolinger- und Wikingerzeit. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. p. 74. ISBN 978-3-525-82441-2.
  7. ^ Ammianus Marcellinus (1982). Res Gestae. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press. pp. 18.8.2.
  8. ^ Sassanian Iran- economy, society, arts and crafts, N.N.Chegini and A.V. Nikitin, History of Civilizations of Central Asia: The crossroads of civilizations, (UNESCO, 1996), 38.
  9. ^ History of Civilizations of Central Asia, Ahmad Hasan Dani, B. A. Litvinsky, Unesco p.38 sq
  10. ^ Ammianus Marcellinus, Rerum Gestarum 18.6.22.
  11. ^ Ammianus Marcellinus. Res Gestae. pp. 19.1.7.


Alchon Huns

The Alchon Huns, also known as the Alchono, Alxon, Alkhon, Alkhan, Alakhana and Walxon, were a nomadic people who established states in Central Asia and South Asia during the 4th and 6th centuries CE. They were first mentioned as being located in Paropamisus, and later expanded south-east, into the Punjab and central India, as far as Eran and Kausambi. The Alchon invasion of the Indian subcontinent contributed to the fall of the Gupta Empire.

The invasion of India by the Huna peoples follows invasions of the subcontinent in the preceding centuries by the Yavana (Indo-Greeks), the Saka (Indo-Scythians), the Palava (Indo-Parthians), and the Kushana (Yuezhi). The Alchon Empire was the third of four major Huna states established in Central and South Asia. The Alchon were preceded by the Kidarites and the Hephthalites, and succeeded by the Nezak Huns. The names of the Alchon kings are known from their extensive coinage, Buddhist accounts, and a number of commemorative inscriptions throughout the Indian subcontinent.

Iranian Huns

This is translated from the German Wikipedia as of August 2017. Significant changes in italics.

The term Iranian Huns is sometimes used for a group of different tribes that lived in Afghanistan and neighboring areas between the fourth and seventh centuries and expanded into northwest India. They are roughly equivalent to the Indian Hunas. They also threatened the northeast borders of Sasanian Persia and forced the Shahs to lead many ill-documented campaigns against them.

The term was introduced by Robert Göbl in the 1960s and is based on his study of coins. The term has been generally accepted in research (sic in the original article). The term "Iranian Huns" coined by Göbl has been sometimes accepted in research (especially but not only in the German-speaking academic world), as some of the namings and inscriptions, of the Kidarites and Hephthalites in particular, used the Iranian language, and the bulk of the population they ruled was Iranian. Their origin is controversially discussed. Recent research has added the Xionites as a fifth group. In recent research, it is debated whether the new arrivals came as one wave or several waves of different peoples. Göbl has four waves of Iranian Huns, partly simultaneous and partly sequential.

Added to translation: The term "Iranian Huns" does not seem to appear in the usual English sources except for the Iranica. "Hun" is used in the broad sense and these people may have been partly non-Iranian. Until the spread of Islam and the re-appearance of the Chinese under the Tang about 700 AD, the sources for central Asian history are poor. Note that this and the linked articles sometimes contradict and the sources themselves sometimes contradict. Related to the Iranian Huns are the Uar, Hunas and uncertain terms from various languages like "White Hun", "Red Hun" and others.

Kidara I

Kidara I (fl. 350-385 CE) was the first ruler of the Kidarite Kingdom, which replaced the Indo-Sasanians in northwestern India, in the areas of Kushanshahr, Gandhara, Kashmir and Punjab.Kidara himself was a nomadic ruler who invaded the areas of Tukharistan and Gandhara hitherto ruled by the Indo-Sasanians. It is thought the Kidarites had initially invaded Sogdiana and Bactria from the north circa 300 CE. His people may have been pushed out from the northern areas of Bactria by migrating Hephthalites.Kidara's ethnicity is unclear, but he may himself have been a Chionite, and he belongs to the general category of the Huns or Huna. Already during the 4th century Sasanian Emperor Shapur II had fought against Chionite invaders led by king Grumbates, and ultimately passed an alliance with them, using their military in the campaign against the Romans in the siege of the fortress of Amida (now Diyarbakır, Turkey). Chinese sources explain however that the Kidarites are the Lesser Yuezhi, which would make them relatives of the Yuezhi, themselves ancestors of the Kushans.Kidara having established himself in Tukharistan and Gandara, took the title of Kushanshah which until that time had been used by the rulers of the Indo-Sasanian kingdom. He thus founded the eponymous new dynasty of the Kidarites in northwestern India. The Kidarites also claimed to have been successors of the Kushans, possibly due to their ethnic proximity.


The Kidarites (Chinese: 寄多羅 Jiduolo) were a dynasty that ruled Bactria and adjoining parts of Central Asia and South Asia in the 4th and 5th centuries CE. The Kidarites belonged to a complex of peoples known collectively in India as the Huna and/or in Europe as the Xionites (from the Iranian names Xwn/Xyon). (The Huna/Xionite tribes are often linked, albeit controversially, to the Huns who invaded Eastern Europe during a similar period).

Named after Kidara, their founding ruler and purported membership of a clan named Ki, the Kidarites appear to have been a part of a Huna horde known in Latin sources as the Kermichiones (from the Iranian Karmir Xyon) or "Red Huna". The Kidarites established the first of four major Xionite/Huna states in Central Asia, followed by the Hephthalites, the Alchon, and the Nezak.

In 360–370 CE, a Kidarite kingdom was established in Central Asian regions previously ruled by the Sasanian Empire, replacing the Kushano-Sasanians in Bactria. Thereafter the Sasanian Empire roughly stopped at Merv.

Perso-Roman wars of 337–361

The Perso-Roman wars of 337–361 were a series of military conflicts fought between the Roman Empire and the Sasanid Empire between 337 and 361. They were a result of long-standing aggression between the rival powers over influence in the border kingdoms of Armenia and Iberia, as well as the desire of Shapur II, after his Arab campaign, to revoke the unfavorable terms of the Treaty of Nisibis, which had concluded the previous war between the empires. Though the Romans under Constantius II were defeated in several sanguinary encounters, Shapur was unable to secure a decisive victory.

Roman siege engines

Roman siege engines were, for the most part, adapted from Hellenistic siege technology. Relatively small efforts were made to develop the technology; however, the Romans brought an unrelentingly aggressive style to siege warfare that brought them repeated success. Up to the first century BC, the Romans utilized siege weapons only as required and relied for the most part on ladders, towers and rams to assault a fortified town. Ballistae were also employed, but held no permanent place within a legion's roster, until later in the republic, and were used sparingly.

Julius Caesar took great interest in the integration of advanced siege engines, organizing their use for optimal battlefield efficiency.

Roman–Persian Wars

The Roman–Persian Wars were a series of conflicts between states of the Greco-Roman world and two successive Iranian empires: the Parthian and the Sasanian. Battles between the Parthian Empire and the Roman Republic began in 66 BC; wars began under the late Republic, and continued through the Roman (later Byzantine) and Sasanian empires. Various vassal kingdoms and allied nomadic nations in the form of buffer states and proxies also played a role. The wars were ended by the Arab Muslim Conquests, which led to the fall of the Sasanian Empire and huge territorial losses for the Byzantine Empire, shortly after the end of the last war between them.

Although warfare between the Romans and Persians continued over seven centuries, the frontier, aside from shifts in the north, remained largely stable. A game of tug of war ensued: towns, fortifications, and provinces were continually sacked, captured, destroyed, and traded. Neither side had the logistical strength or manpower to maintain such lengthy campaigns far from their borders, and thus neither could advance too far without risking stretching its frontiers too thin. Both sides did make conquests beyond the border, but in time the balance was almost always restored. Although initially different in military tactics, the armies of both sides gradually adopted from each other and by the second half of the 6th century they were similar and evenly matched.The expense of resources during the Roman–Persian Wars ultimately proved catastrophic for both empires. The prolonged and escalating warfare of the 6th and 7th centuries left them exhausted and vulnerable in the face of the sudden emergence and expansion of the Caliphate, whose forces invaded both empires only a few years after the end of the last Roman–Persian war. Benefiting from their weakened condition, the Arab Muslim armies swiftly conquered the entire Sasanian Empire, and deprived the Eastern Roman Empire of its territories in the Levant, the Caucasus, Egypt, and the rest of North Africa. Over the following centuries, more of the Eastern Roman Empire came under Muslim rule.

Sasanian Empire

The Sasanian Empire (), also known as the Sassanian, Sasanid, Sassanid or Neo-Persian Empire (known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr, or Iran, in Middle Persian), was the last kingdom of the Persian Empire before the rise of Islam. Named after the House of Sasan, it ruled from 224 to 651 AD. The Sasanian Empire succeeded the Parthian Empire and was recognised as one of the leading world powers alongside its neighbouring arch-rival the Roman-Byzantine Empire for a period of more than 400 years.The Sasanian Empire was founded by Ardashir I, after the fall of the Parthian Empire and the defeat of the last Arsacid king, Artabanus V. At its greatest extent, the Sasanian Empire encompassed all of today's Iran, Iraq, Eastern Arabia (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatif, Qatar, UAE), the Levant (Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan), the Caucasus (Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Dagestan), Egypt, large parts of Turkey, much of Central Asia (Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan), Yemen and Pakistan. According to a legend, the vexilloid of the Sasanian Empire was the Derafsh Kaviani.The Sasanian Empire during Late Antiquity is considered to have been one of Iran's most important, and influential historical periods and constituted the last great Iranian empire before the Muslim conquest and the adoption of Islam. In many ways, the Sasanian period witnessed the peak of ancient Iranian civilisation. The Sasanians' cultural influence extended far beyond the empire's territorial borders, reaching as far as Western Europe, Africa, China and India. It played a prominent role in the formation of both European and Asian medieval art. Much of what later became known as Islamic culture in art, architecture, music and other subject matter was transferred from the Sasanians throughout the Muslim world.

Shapur II

Shapur II (Middle Persian: 𐭱𐭧𐭯𐭥𐭧𐭥𐭩‎ Šāpuhr), also known as Shapur II the Great, was the tenth Shahanshah of the Sasanian Empire. The longest-reigning monarch in Iranian history, he reigned for his entire 70-year life from 309 to 379. He was the son of Hormizd II (r. 302–309).

His reign saw the military resurgence of the country, and the expansion of its territory, which marked the start of the first Sasanian golden era. He is thus along with Shapur I, Kavadh I and Khosrow I, regarded as one of the most illustrious Sasanian kings. His three direct successors, on the other hand, were less successful.

Shapur II pursued a harsh religious policy. Under his reign, the collection of the Avesta, the sacred texts of Zoroastrianism, was completed, heresy and apostasy were punished, and Christians were persecuted. The latter was a reaction against the Christianization of the Roman Empire by Constantine the Great. Shapur II, like Shapur I, was amicable towards Jews, who lived in relative freedom and gained many advantages in his period (see also Rava). At the time of Shapur's death, the Sasanian Empire was stronger than ever, with its enemies to the east pacified and Armenia under Sasanian control.

Siege of Amida

The Siege of Amida took place when the Sassanians under Shapur II besieged the Roman city of Amida (modern Diyarbakır, Turkey) in 359 CE.

In this battle Ammianus Marcellinus, a historian of Greek origin from Antioch, was a Roman army officer; he described the siege in his work (Res Gestae).


Xionites, Chionites, or Chionitae (Middle Persian: Xiyōn or Hiyōn; Avestan: Xiiaona; Sogdian xwn; Pahlavi Xyon) are Romanisations of the ethnonym of a nomadic people who were prominent in Transoxania, Bactria and Iran during the 4th and 7th centuries CE.The Xionites appear to be synonymous with the Huna peoples of classical/medieval India, and possibly also the Huns of European late antiquity. It is unclear whether the Xionites were connected to a people named in Ancient China as the Xunyu (Hünyü 獯鬻; Wade–Giles Hsünyü), Xianyun 猃狁 (Wade–Giles Hsien-yün) and Xiongnu (匈奴 Wade–Giles Hsiung-nu). (While some sources use names such as Hunas, Huns and Xiongnu interchangeably, this remains controversial.)

They were first described by the Roman historian, Ammianus Marcellinus, who was in Bactria during 356-57 CE; he described the Chionitæ as living with the Kushans. Ammianus indicates that the Xionites had previously lived in Transoxiana and, after entering Bactria, became vassals of the Kushans, were influenced culturally by them and had adopted the Bactrian language. They had attacked the Sassanid Empire, but later (led by a chief named Grumbates), served as mercenaries in the Sassanian army.

Within the Xionites, there seem to have been two main subgroups, which were known in the Iranian languages by names such as Karmir Xyon and Spet Xyon. The prefixes karmir ("red") and speta ("white") likely refer to Central Asian traditions in which particular colours symbolised the cardinal points. The Karmir Xyon were known in European sources as the Kermichiones or "Red Huns", and some scholars have identified them with the Kidarites and/or Alchon. The Spet Xyon or "White Huns" appear to have been the known in India by the cognate name Sveta-huna, and are often identified, controversially, with the Hephtalites.

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