The Kassites (/ˈkæsaɪts/) were people of the ancient Near East, who controlled Babylonia after the fall of the Old Babylonian Empire c. 1531 BC and until c. 1155 BC (short chronology). The endonym of the Kassites was probably Galzu,[1] although they have also been referred to by the names Kaššu, Kassi, Kasi or Kashi

They gained control of Babylonia after the Hittite sack of the city in 1595 BC (i.e. 1531 BC per the short chronology), and established a dynasty based first in Babylon and later in Dur-Kurigalzu.[2][3] The Kassites were members of a small military aristocracy but were efficient rulers and not locally unpopular,[4] and their 500-year reign laid an essential groundwork for the development of subsequent Babylonian culture.[3] The chariot and the horse, which the Kassites worshipped, first came into use in Babylonia at this time.[4]

The Kassite language has not been classified.[3] What is known is that their language was not related to either the Indo-European language group, nor to Semitic or other Afro-Asiatic languages, and is most likely to have been a language isolate although some linguists have proposed a link to the Hurro-Urartian languages of Asia Minor.[5] However, the arrival of the Kassites has been connected to the contemporary migrations of Indo-European peoples.[6][7][8][9] Several Kassite leaders and deities bore Indo-European names,[6][7][8][10][11] and it is possible that they were dominated by an Indo-European elite similar to the Mitanni, who ruled over the Hurro-Urartian-speaking Hurrians of Asia Minor.[6][7][8]

Kassite dynasty of the Babylonian Empire

circa 1600 BC — circa 1155 BC
The Babylonian Empire under the Kassites, c. 13th century BC.
The Babylonian Empire under the Kassites, c. 13th century BC.
Common languagesKassite language
• ca. 1500 BC
Agum II (first)
• 1157—1155 BC
Enlil-nadin-ahi (last)
Historical eraBronze Age
• Established
circa 1531 BC
circa 1531 BC
circa 1158 BC
• Disestablished
circa 1155 BC
Preceded by
Succeeded by
First Babylonian Dynasty
Middle Assyrian Empire
Elamite Empire
Today part of Iran
Map of Iraq showing important sites that were occupied by the Kassite dynasty (clickable map)


The original homeland of the Kassites is not well-known, but appears to have been located in the Zagros Mountains, in what is now the Lorestan Province of Iran. However, the Kassites were—like the Elamites, Gutians and Manneans who preceded them—linguistically unrelated to the Iranian-speaking peoples who came to dominate the region a millennium later.[12][13] They first appeared in the annals of history in the 18th century BC when they attacked Babylonia in the 9th year of the reign of Samsu-iluna (reigned c. 1749–1712 BC), the son of Hammurabi. Samsu-iluna repelled them, as did Abi-Eshuh, but they subsequently gained control of Babylonia c. 1570 BC some 25 years after the fall of Babylon to the Hittites in c. 1595 BC, and went on to conquer the southern part of Mesopotamia, roughly corresponding to ancient Sumer and known as the Dynasty of the Sealand by c. 1460 BC. The Hittites had carried off the idol of the god Marduk, but the Kassite rulers regained possession, returned Marduk to Babylon, and made him the equal of the Kassite Shuqamuna. The circumstances of their rise to power are unknown, due to a lack of documentation from this so-called "Dark Age" period of widespread dislocation. No inscription or document in the Kassite language has been preserved, an absence that cannot be purely accidental, suggesting a severe regression of literacy in official circles. Babylon under Kassite rulers, who renamed the city Karanduniash, re-emerged as a political and military power in Mesopotamia. A newly built capital city Dur-Kurigalzu was named in honour of Kurigalzu I (ca. early 14th century BC).

Their success was built upon the relative political stability that the Kassite monarchs achieved. They ruled Babylonia practically without interruption for almost four hundred years—the longest rule by any dynasty in Babylonian history.

The transformation of southern Mesopotamia into a territorial state, rather than a network of allied or combative city states, made Babylonia an international power, although it was often overshadowed by its northern neighbour, Assyria and by Elam to the east. Kassite kings established trade and diplomacy with Assyria. Puzur-Ashur III of Assyria and Burna-Buriash I signed a treaty agreeing the border between the two states in the mid-16th century BC, Egypt, Elam, and the Hittites, and the Kassite royal house intermarried with their royal families. There were foreign merchants in Babylon and other cities, and Babylonian merchants were active from Egypt (a major source of Nubian gold) to Assyria and Anatolia. Kassite weights and seals, the packet-identifying and measuring tools of commerce, have been found in as far afield as Thebes in Greece, in southern Armenia, and even in the Uluburun shipwreck off the southern coast of today's Turkey.

A further treaty between Kurigalzu I and Ashur-bel-nisheshu of Assyria was agreed in the mid-15th century BC. However, Babylonia found itself under attack and domination from Assyria for much of the next few centuries after the accession of Ashur-uballit I in 1365 BC who made Assyria (along with the Hittites and Egyptians) the major power in the Near East. Babylon was sacked by the Assyrian king Ashur-uballit I (1365–1330 BC)) in the 1360s after the Kassite king in Babylon who was married to the daughter of Ashur-uballit was murdered. Ashur-uballit promptly marched into Babylonia and avenged his son-in-law, deposing the king and installing Kurigalzu II of the royal Kassite line as king there. His successor Enlil-nirari (1330–1319 BC) also attacked Babylonia and his great grandson Adad-nirari I (1307–1275 BC) annexed Babylonian territory when he became king. Tukulti-Ninurta I (1244–1208 BC) not content with merely dominating Babylonia went further, conquering Babylonia, deposing Kashtiliash IV and ruling there for eight years in person from 1235 BC to 1227 bc

The Kassite kings maintained control of their realm through a network of provinces administered by governors. Almost equal with the royal cities of Babylon and Dur-Kurigalzu, the revived city of Nippur was the most important provincial center. Nippur, the formerly great city, which had been virtually abandoned c. 1730 BC, was rebuilt in the Kassite period, with temples meticulously re-built on their old foundations. In fact, under the Kassite government, the governor of Nippur, who took the Sumerian-derived title of Guennakku, ruled as a sort of secondary and lesser king. The prestige of Nippur was enough for a series of 13th-century BC Kassite kings to reassume the title 'governor of Nippur' for themselves.

Other important centers during the Kassite period were Larsa, Sippar and Susa. After the Kassite dynasty was overthrown in 1155 BC, the system of provincial administration continued and the country remained united under the succeeding rule, the Second Dynasty of Isin.

Documentation of the Kassite period depends heavily on the scattered and disarticulated tablets from Nippur, where thousands of tablets and fragments have been excavated. They include administrative and legal texts, letters, seal inscriptions, kudurrus (land grants and administrative regulations), private votive inscriptions, and even a literary text (usually identified as a fragment of a historical epic).

"Kassite rulers in Babylon were also scrupulous to follow existing forms of expression, and the public and private patterns of behavior "and even went beyond that—as zealous neophytes do, or outsiders, who take up a superior civilization—by favoring an extremely conservative attitude, at least in palace circles." (Oppenheim 1964, p. 62).

The Elamites conquered Babylonia in the 12th century BC, thus ending the Kassite state. The last Kassite king, Enlil-nadin-ahi, was taken to Susa and imprisoned there, where he also died.

The Kassites did briefly regain control over Babylonia with Dynasty V (1025–1004 BC); however, they were deposed once more, this time by an Aramean dynasty.

Kassites survived as a distinct ethnic group in the mountains of Lorestan (Luristan) long after the Kassite state collapsed. Babylonian records describe how the Assyrian king Sennacherib on his eastern campaign of 702 BC subdued the Kassites in a battle near Hulwan, Iran.

Herodotus and other ancient Greek writers sometimes referred to the region around Susa as "Cissia", a variant of the Kassite name. However, it is not clear if Kassites were actually living in that region so late.

During the later Achaemenid period, the Kassites, referred to as "Kossaei", lived in the mountains to the east of Media and were one of several "predatory" mountain tribes that regularly extracted "gifts" from the Achaemenid Persians, according to a citation of Nearchus by Strabo (13.3.6).

But Kassites again fought on the Persian side in the Battle of Gaugamela in 331 BC, in which the Persian Empire fell to Alexander the Great, according to Diodorus Siculus (17.59) (who called them "Kossaei") and Curtius Rufus (4.12) (who called them "inhabitants of the Cossaean mountains"). According to Strabo's citation of Nearchus, Alexander later separately attacked the Kassites "in the winter", after which they stopped their tribute-seeking raids.

Strabo also wrote that the "Kossaei" contributed 13,000 archers to the army of Elymais in a war against Susa and Babylon. This statement is hard to understand, as Babylon had lost importance under Seleucid rule by the time Elymais emerged around 160 BC. If "Babylon" is understood to mean the Seleucids, then this battle would have occurred sometime between the emergence of Elymais and Strabo's death around 25 AD. If "Elymais" is understood to mean Elam, then the battle probably occurred in the 6th century BC. Note that Susa was the capital of Elam and later of Elymais, so Strabo's statement implies that the Kassites intervened to support a particular group within Elam or Elymais against their own capital, which at that moment was apparently allied with or subject to Babylon or the Seleucids.

The latest evidence of Kassite culture is a reference by the 2nd-century geographer Ptolemy, who described "Kossaei" as living in the Susa region, adjacent to the "Elymeans". This could represent one of many cases where Ptolemy relied on out-of-date sources.

It is believed that the name of the Kassites is preserved in the name of the Kashgan River, in Lorestan.

Kassite dynasty of Babylon

(short chronology)
Ruler Reigned Comments
Agum II or Agum-Kakrime Returns Marduk statue to Babylon
Burnaburiash I c. 1500 BC (short) Treaty with Puzur-Ashur III of Assyria
Kashtiliash III
Ulamburiash c. 1480 BC (short) Conquers the first Sealand Dynasty
Agum III c. 1470 BC (short) Possible campaigns against "The Sealand" and "in Dilmun"
Karaindash c. 1410 BC (short) Treaty with Ashur-bel-nisheshu of Assyria
Kadashman-harbe I c. 1400 BC (short) Campaign against the Sutû
Kurigalzu I c. x-1375 BC (short) Founder of Dur-Kurigalzu and contemporary of Thutmose IV
Kadashman-Enlil I c. 1374—1360 BC (short) Contemporary of Amenophis III of the Egyptian Amarna letters
Burnaburiash II c. 1359—1333 BC (short) Contemporary of Akhenaten and Ashur-uballit I
Kara-hardash c. 1333 BC (short) Grandson of Ashur-uballit I of Assyria
Nazi-Bugash or Shuzigash c. 1333 BC (short) Usurper “son of a nobody”
Kurigalzu II c. 1332—1308 BC (short) Son of Burnaburiash II, Lost ? Battle of Sugagi with Enlil-nirari of Assyria
Nazi-Maruttash c. 1307—1282 BC (short) Lost territory to Adad-nirari I of Assyria
Kadashman-Turgu c. 1281—1264 BC (short) Contemporary of Hattusili III of the Hittites
Kadashman-Enlil II c. 1263—1255 BC (short) Contemporary of Hattusili III of the Hittites
Kudur-Enlil c. 1254—1246 BC (short) Time of Nippur renaissance
Shagarakti-Shuriash c. 1245—1233 BC (short) “Non-son of Kudur-Enlil” according to Tukulti-Ninurta I of Assyria
Kashtiliashu IV c. 1232—1225 BC (short) Deposed by Tukulti-Ninurta I of Assyria
Enlil-nadin-shumi c. 1224 BC (short) Assyrian vassal king
Kadashman-Harbe II c. 1223 BC (short) Assyrian vassal king
Adad-shuma-iddina c. 1222—1217 BC (short) Assyrian vassal king
Adad-shuma-usur c. 1216—1187 BC (short) Sender of rude letter to Aššur-nirari and Ilī-ḫaddâ, the kings of Assyria
Meli-Shipak II c. 1186—1172 BC (short) Correspondence with Ninurta-apal-Ekur confirming foundation of Near East chronology
Marduk-apla-iddina I c. 1171—1159 BC (short)
Zababa-shuma-iddin c. 1158 BC (short) Defeated by Shutruk-Nahhunte of Elam
Enlil-nadin-ahi c. 1157—1155 BC (short) Defeated by Kutir-Nahhunte II of Elam


Social life

In spite of the fact that some of them took Babylonian names, the Kassites retained their traditional clan and tribal structure, in contrast to the smaller family unit of the Babylonians. They were proud of their affiliation with their tribal houses, rather than their own fathers, preserved their customs of fratriarchal property ownership and inheritance.[14]


The Kassite language has not been classified.[3] However, several Kassite leaders bore Indo-European names, and they might have had an Indo-European elite similar to the Mitanni.[11][9] Over the centuries, however, the Kassites were absorbed into the Babylonian population. Eight among the last kings of the Kassite dynasty have Akkadian names, Kudur-Enlil's name is part Elamite and part Sumerian and Kassite princesses married into the royal family of Assyria.

Herodotus was almost certainly referring to Kassites when he described "Ethiopians [from] above Egypt" in the Persian army that invaded Greece in 492 BC.[15] Herodotus was presumably repeating an account that had used the name "Kush" (Cush), or something similar, to describe the Kassites; "Kush" was also, purely by coincidence, a name for Ethiopia. A similar confusion of Kassites with Ethiopians is evident in various ancient Greek accounts of the Trojan war hero Memnon, who was sometimes described as a "Kissian" and founder of Susa, and other times as Ethiopian. According to Herodotus, the "Asiatic Ethiopians" lived not in Kissia, but to the north, bordering on the "Paricanians" who in turn bordered on the Medes. The Kassites were not geographically linked to Kushites and Ethiopians, nor is there any documentation describing them as similar in appearance, and the Kassite language is regarded as a language isolate, utterly unrelated to any language of Ethiopia or Kush/Nubia,[16] although more recently a possible relationship to the Hurro-Urartian family of Asia Minor has been proposed.[17] However, the evidence for its genetic affiliation is meager due to the scarcity of extant texts.

According to the Encyclopædia Iranica:

There is not a single connected text in the Kassite language. The number of Kassite appellatives is restricted (slightly more than 60 vocables, mostly referring to colors, parts of the chariot, irrigation terms, plants, and titles). About 200 additional lexical elements can be gained by the analysis of the more numerous anthroponyms, toponyms, theonyms, and horse names used by the Kassites (see Balkan, 1954, passim; Jaritz, 1957 is to be used with caution). As is clear from this material, the Kassites spoke a language without a genetic relationship to any other known tongue.


The most notable Kassite artifacts are their Kudurru steles. Used for marking boundaries and making proclamations, they were also carved with a high degree of artistic skill; they took a long time to make.

See also


  1. ^ Trevor Bryce, 2009, The Routledge Handbook of the Peoples and Places of Ancient Western Asia: The Near East from the Early Bronze Age to the Fall of the Persian Empire, Abingdon, Routledge, p. 375.
  2. ^ "The Old Hittite Kingdom". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d "The Kassites in Babylonia". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Kassite (people)". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
  5. ^ Schneider, Thomas (2003). "Kassitisch und Hurro-Urartäisch. Ein Diskussionsbeitrag zu möglichen lexikalischen Isoglossen". Altorientalische Forschungen (in German) (30): 372–381.
  6. ^ a b c Myres, Sir John Lynton (1930). Who Were the Greeks?. University of California Press. p. 102. Among the names of Kassite kings are some which appear to contain Indo-European elements, as though they belonged to families which had once used Indo-European speech, but had lost it as their official language, through assimilation to the people of Kassite speech whose movements they were now directing. Some Kassite deities too seem to have Indo-European names.
  7. ^ a b c MacHenry, Robert (1992). The new encyclopaedia Britannica: in 32 vol. Macropaedia, India - Ireland, Volume 21. Encyclopedia Britannica. p. 36. ISBN 0852295537. That there was a migration of Indo-European speakers, possibly in waves, which can be dated to the 2nd millennium bc, is clear from archaeological and epigraphic evidence in western Asia. Mesopotamia witnessed the arrival, in about 1760 bc, of the Kassites, who introduced the horse and the chariot and bore such obviously Indo- European names as Surias, Indas, and Maruttas (Surya, Indra, and Marutah in Sanskrit).
  8. ^ a b c Phillips, E. D. (1963). "The Peoples of the Highland: Vanished Cultures of Luristan, Mannai and Urartu". Vanished Civilizations of the Ancient World. McGraw-Hill: 241. Retrieved 25 July 2018. During the 2nd millennium the long process began by which Indo-European peoples from the northern steppes beyond the Caucasus established themselves about Western Asia, Iran and northern India. Their earliest pressure perhaps drove some the native peoples of the mountains to migrate or infiltrate and sometimes come as invaders into Mesopotamia and northern Syria, even in the 3rd millennium. The Indo-Europeans then drove their way through these peoples, drawing many of them in their train as subjects or allies, and appeared themselves early in the 2nd millennium as invaders and conquerors in the Near East. For the first half of the millenium the highlanders under Indo-European leadership dominated the older peoples of the plains, most of whom were Semites. The most powerful of these Indo-Europeans were the Hittites who ruled Anatolia, and later extended their dominion over northern Syria, but their connection with our three cultures is not direct, unles more Hittite influence was felt in Urartu than has so far appeared. Two other peoples are directly relevant, namely the Kassites from the Zagros mountains in the region of Luristan, and the Hurrians, who spread from regions further north, particularly from Armenia. Both were themselves native peoples of the highland, and spoke languages which were not Indo-European, but belonged to a group sometimes loosely called Caucasian, once widespread but later surviving only in the Caucasus. They were led by Indo- European aristocracies small in numbers but great in energy and achievement. They were the first to use the horse in war to draw the light chariot with spoked wheels. Indo-European names of gods at least appear among the Kassites, and of gods and rulers much more obviously among the Hurrians, in whom this element was clearly stronger. In both cases the names reveal the Indic branch of the Indo-European family, of which the main body moved through Iran to conquer northern India.
  9. ^ a b "Iranian art and architecture". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
  10. ^ Piggot, Stuart (1970). Ancient Europe. Transaction Publishers. p. 81. ISBN 0202364186. The Kassite dynasty of Mesopotamia (with Indo-European names) was established early in the second millennium B.C.
  11. ^ a b "India: Early Vedic period". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 8 July 2015.
  12. ^ "Lorestan - Facts from the Encyclopedia - Yahoo! Education". Education.yahoo.com. Archived from the original on 2013-02-12. Retrieved 2013-02-12.
  13. ^ "History of Iran". Iranologie.com. 1997-01-01. Archived from the original on 2013-02-12. Retrieved 2013-02-12.
  14. ^ J. Boardman et al. (eds) Cambridge Ancient History Vol III Pt 1 (2nd Ed) 1982
  15. ^ Herodotus, Book 7, Chapter 70
  16. ^ see Balkan, 1954,
  17. ^ Schneider, Thomas (2003). "Kassitisch und Hurro-Urartäisch. Ein Diskussionsbeitrag zu möglichen lexikalischen Isoglossen". Altorientalische Forschungen (in German) (30): 372–381.


  • Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911.
  • A. Leo Oppenheim, Ancient Mesopotamia: Portrait of a Dead Civilization, 1964.
  • K. Balkan, Die Sprache der Kassiten, (The Language of the Kassites), American Oriental Series, vol. 37, New Haven, Conn., 1954.
  • D. T. Potts, Elamites and Kassites in the Persian Gulf, Journal of Near Eastern Studies, vol. 65, no. 2, pp. 111–119, (April 2006)

External links


The Caspians (Greek: Κάσπιοι Kaspioi, Aramaic: kspy, Georgian: კასპიელები kaspielebiʿ, Old Armenian: կասպք kaspkʿ, Persian: کاسپیان‎ Kāspiān) were a people of antiquity who dwelled along the southern and southwestern shores of the Caspian Sea, in the region known as Caspiane. Caspian is the English version of the Greek ethnonym Kaspioi, mentioned twice by Herodotus among the Achaemenid satrapies of Darius and applied by Strabo. The name is not attested in Old Iranian.The Caspians have generally been regarded as a pre-Indo-European people. They have been identified by Ernst Herzfeld with the Kassites, who spoke a language not identified with any other known language group and whose origins have long been the subject of debate. However onomastic evidence bearing on this point has been discovered in Aramaic papyri from Egypt published by P. Grelot, in which several of the Caspian names that are mentioned—and identified under the gentilic כספי kaspai—are in part, etymologically Iranian. The Caspians of the Egyptian papyri must therefore be considered either an Iranian people or strongly under Iranian cultural influence.

Chronicle P

Chronicle P, known as Chronicle 22 in Grayson’s Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles and Mesopotamian Chronicle 45: “Chronicle of the Kassite Kings” in Glassner’s Mesopotamian Chronicles is named for T. G. Pinches, the first editor of the text. It is a chronicle of the second half of the second millennium BC or the Kassite period, written by a first millennium BC Babylonian scribe.

Cissia (area)

In the Persian Empire Cissia(Κισσία) was a very fertile district of Susiana, on the Choaspes. According to Herodotus, the inhabitants, Cissii, were a 'wild', free people, resembling the Persians in their manners.Herodotus and other ancient Greek writers sometimes referred to the region around Susa as "Cissia", a variant of the Kassite name. However, it is not clear if Kassites were actually living in that region so late.

Cuneiform law

Cuneiform law refers to any of the legal codes written in cuneiform script, that were developed and used throughout the ancient Middle East among the Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Elamites, Hurrians, Kassites, and Hittites. The Code of Hammurabi is the most well-known of the cuneiform laws, but there were a number of precursor laws.

Early Kassite rulers

The early Kassite rulers are the sequence of eight, or possibly nine, names which appear on the Babylonian and Assyrian King Lists purporting to represent the first or ancestral monarchs of the dynasty that was to become the Kassite or 3rd Dynasty of Babylon which governed for 576 years, 9 months, 36 kings, according to the King List A. In all probability the dynasty ruled Babylon for around 350 years.


Karaindaš was one of the more prominent rulers of the Kassite dynasty and reigned towards the end of the 15th century, BC. An inscription on a tablet detailing building work calls him “Mighty King, King of Babylonia, King of Sumer and Akkad, King of the Kassites, King of Karduniaš,” inscribed ka-ru-du-ni-ia-aš, probably the Kassite language designation for their kingdom and the earliest extant attestation of this name.

Kassite art

The Kassites ruled southern Mesopotamia from ca. 1531BCE until 1155BCE. The empire was ruled from the city of Dur-Kurigalzu, and then probably Babylon after the Kassites took over Babylonia. Most of the art remaining from this period consists of Kudurru and pottery shards, although a few other artifacts of glass and seal impressions have been found. The motifs that appear on these works are often reminiscent of Babylonian and Assyria art.

Kassite deities

The Kassites, the ancient Near Eastern people who seized power in Babylonia following the fall of the first Babylonian Dynasty and subsequently went on to rule it for some three hundred and fifty years during the late bronze age, possessed a pantheon of gods but few are known beyond the laconic mention in the theophoric element of a name. The only Kassite deities who had separate and distinct temples anywhere in Babylonia were apparently the patron deities of the royal family, Šuqamuna and Šumaliya.The evidence from the Kassite-Akkadian vocabulary (pictured) discovered by Hormuzd Rassam and the Kassite-Akkadian name list is that the Kassites identified their gods with those of Mesopotamia, if these sources are sufficiently contemporary. Mountain gods were a popular motif in Kassite art, on cylinder seals and, for example, the brickwork façade of the temple of Karaindaš, the "Eanna of Inanna." The generic term for “god” in the Kassite language was mašḫu or bašḫu. Of the three hundred or so known Kassite words, around thirty of them are thought to be the names of deities, some strikingly similar to Indo-European god-names and this has been conjectured to be through contact transmission rather than linguistic affiliation. The language itself has been compared to several, such as Hittite and Elamite but genetically found wanting, possibly with the exception of the Hurrian language. Nine of the god-names appear as components of the Kassite kings' names and there are three in the post-Kassite monarchs, Simbar-Šipak, Kaššu-nādin-aḫi and Širikti-šuqamuna, providing some evidence of continued veneration for them or for the prestige their association provided.

Kassite language

Kassite (also Cassite) was a language spoken by the Kassites in the Zagros Mountains of Iran and southern Mesopotamia from approximately the 18th to the 4th century BC. From the 16th to 12th centuries BC, kings of Kassite origin ruled in Babylon until they were overthrown by the Elamites.


Kudurru was a type of stone document used as boundary stones and as records of land grants to vassals by the Kassites in ancient Babylonia between the 16th and 12th centuries BCE. The word is Akkadian for "frontier" or "boundary" (cf. Hebrew: גדר‬ gader, fence, boundary; Arabic: جدر‎ jadr, جدار jidar 'wall'; pl. جدور judūr). The kudurrus are the only surviving artworks for the period of Kassite rule in Babylonia with examples kept in the Louvre, the British Museum, and the National Museum of Iraq.

The kudurrus recorded the land granted by the king to his vassals as a record of his decision. The original kudurru would be stored in a temple while the person granted the land would be given a clay copy to use as a boundary stone to confirm legal ownership.

The kudurrus would contain symbolic images of the deities who were protecting the contract, the contract, and the divine curse that would be placed on a person who broke the contract. Some kudurrus also contained an image of the king who granted the land. As they contained a great deal of images as well as a contract, kudurrus were engraved on large slabs of stone.


Kuhdasht (Persian: كوهدشت‎, also Romanized as Kūhdasht and Kūh-ī-Dasht) is a city in and capital of Kuhdasht County, Lorestan Province, Iran. At the 2016 census, its population was 102,285, in 27,994 families.Kuhdasht is a large plain which is surrounded by mountains. In Persian, Kuhdasht is composed of "Kuh," which means mountain, and "Dasht," which means plain. Kuhdasht was the residence of Kassites, one of the ancient peoples of Zagros Mountains. There are some antique pieces of bronze in Louvre museum from Kassite civilization.

Kurigalzu I

Kurigalzu I (died c. 1375 BC), usually inscribed ku-ri-gal-zu but also sometimes with the m or d determinative, the 17th king of the Kassite or 3rd dynasty that ruled over Babylon, was responsible for one of the most extensive and widespread building programs for which evidence has survived in Babylonia. The autobiography of Kurigalzu is one of the inscriptions which record that he was the son of Kadašman-Ḫarbe. Galzu, whose possible native pronunciation was gal-du or gal-šu, was the name by which the Kassites called themselves and Kurigalzu may mean Shepherd of the Kassites (line 23. Ku-ur-gal-zu = Ri-'-i-bi-ši-i, in a Babylonian name-list).He was separated from his namesake, Kurigalzu II, by around forty-five years and as it was not the custom to assign regnal numbers and they both had lengthy reigns, this makes it exceptionally difficult to distinguish for whom an inscription is intended. The later king is, however, better known for his military campaign against the Assyrians than any building work he may have undertaken. It is now thought, however, that it was he who was the Kurigalzu who conquered Susa and was perhaps instrumental in the ascendancy of the Igehalkid dynasty over Elam, ca. 1400 BC.

Land grant to Marduk-zākir-šumi kudurru

The Land grant to Marduk-zākir-šumi kudurru is an ancient Mesopotamian narû, or entitlement stele, recording the gift (irīmšu) of 18 bur 2 eše (about 120 hectares or 300 acres) of corn-land by Kassite king of Babylon Marduk-apla-iddina I (ca. 1171–1159 BC) to his bēl pīḫati (inscribed lúEN NAM and meaning "person responsible"), or a provincial official. The monument is significant in part because it shows the continuation of royal patronage in Babylonia during a period when most of the near East was beset by collapse and confusion, and in part due to the lengthy genealogy of the beneficiary, which links him to his illustrious ancestors.

Mursili I

Mursili I (sometimes transcribed as Murshili) was a king of the Hittites c. 1556–1526 BC (short chronology), and was likely a grandson of his predecessor, Hattusili I. His sister was Ḫarapšili and his wife was queen Kali.Mursili came to the throne as a minor. Having reached adulthood, he renewed Hattusili I's warfare in northern Syria. He conquered the kingdom of Yamhad and its capital, Aleppo, which had eluded Hattusili. He then led an unprecedented march of 2,000 km south into the heart of Mesopotamia, where in 1531 BC he sacked the city of Babylon. Mursili's motivation for attacking Babylon remain unclear, though William Broad has proposed that the reason were obtaining grain because the clouds from the Thera eruption decreased the Hittites' harvests.The raid on Babylon could not have been intended to exercise sovereignty over the region; it was simply too far from Anatolia and the Hittites' center of power. It is thought, however, that the raid on Babylon brought an end to the Amorite dynasty of Hammurabi and allowed the Kassites to take power, and so might have arisen from an alliance with the Kassites or an attempt to curry favor with them. It might also be that Mursili undertook the long-distance attack for personal motives, namely as a way to outdo the military exploits of his predecessor, Hattusili I.When Mursili returned to his kingdom, he was assassinated in a conspiracy led by his brother-in-law, Hantili I (who took the throne), and Hantili's son-in-law, Zidanta I. His death inaugurated a period of social unrest and decay of central rule, followed by the loss of the conquests made in Syria.


In the Akkadian, Shakkanakku, Akkadian: 𒇽𒃻𒃶𒅘𒆪, was a title designating a military governor.Mari was ruled by a dynasty of hereditary Shakkanakkus which was originally set by the Akkadian empire and gained independence following Akkad's collapse. The title also existed in Qatna in the 14th century BC, and Dilmun under the Kassites.


Šutruk-Nakhunte was king of Elam from about 1185 to 1155 BC (middle chronology), and the second king of the Shutrukid Dynasty.

Elam amassed an empire that included most of Mesopotamia and western Iran.

Under his command, Elam defeated the Kassites and established the short-lived Elamite Empire, conquered within about 40 years by Nebuchadnezzar I of Babylon, in 1120 BC.

Šutruk-Nakhunte was married to the daughter of a Kassite king named Meli-Šipak.

Stele of Meli-Šipak

The Stele of Meli-Šipak is an ancient Mesopotamian fragment of the bottom part of a large rectangular stone edifice engraved with reliefs and the remains of Akkadian and Elamite inscriptions. It was taken as spoil of war by Elamite king Šutruk-Naḫḫunte I during his invasion of Babylonia which deposed Kassite king Zababa-šuma-iddina. It was one of the objects found at Susa between 1900 and 1904 by the French excavation team under Jacques de Morgan that seems to have formed part of an ancient Museum of trophies, or ex-voto offerings to the deity Inšušinak, in a courtyard adjacent to the main temple.

Tablet of Akaptaḫa

The tablet of Akaptaḫa, or Agaptaḫa, is an ancient Mesopotamian private commemorative inscription on stone of the donation of a 10 GUR field (about 200 acres) by Kassite king Kaštiliašu IV (ca. 1232 BC – 1225 BC) to a fugitive leatherworker from Assyrian-occupied Ḫanigalbat in grateful recognition of his services provisioning the Babylonian army with bridles (pagumu, a loanword from Hurrian or perhaps Kassite) .


The office of šandabakku, inscribed 𒇽𒄘𒂗𒈾 (LÚGÚ.EN.NA) or sometimes as 𒂷𒁾𒁀𒀀 𒂗𒆤𒆠 (GÁ.DUB.BA.A EN.LÍLKI), the latter designation perhaps meaning "archivist of (the god) Enlil," was the name of the position of governor of the Mesopotamian city of Nippur from the Kassite period (mid second millennium BC) onward. Enlil, as the tutelary deity of Nippur, had been elevated in prominence and was shown special veneration by the Kassite monarchs, it being the most common theophoric element in their names. This caused the position of the šandabakku to become very prestigious and the holders of the office seem to have wielded influence second only to the king.

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