Medes

The Medes[N 1] (/miːdz/, Old Persian Māda-, Ancient Greek: Μῆδοι, Hebrew: מָדַי Madai) were an ancient Iranian people[N 2] who spoke the Median language and who inhabited an area known as Media between western and northern Iran. Under the Neo-Assyrian Empire, late 9th to early 7th centuries BC, the region of Media was bounded by the Zagros Mountains to its west, to its south by the Garrin Mountain in Lorestan Province, to its northwest by the Qaflankuh Mountains in Zanjan Province, and to its east by the Dasht-e Kavir desert. Its neighbors were the kingdoms of Gizilbunda and Mannea in the northwest, and Ellipi and Elam in the south.[5]

In the 7th century BC, Media's tribes came together to form the Median Kingdom, which remained a Neo-Assyrian vassal. Between 616 and 609 BC, King Cyaxares (624–585 BC), allied with King Nabopolassar of the Neo-Babylonian Empire against the Neo-Assyrian Empire, after which the Median Empire stretched across the Iranian Plateau as far as Anatolia. Its precise geographical extent remains unknown.[5]

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.

Median Empire
Median Kingdom

Mādai
678 BC–549 BC
A map of the Median Empire at its greatest extent (6th century BC), according to Herodotus
A map of the Median Empire at its greatest extent (6th century BC), according to Herodotus
CapitalEcbatana
Common languagesMedian
Religion
Old Iranian religion (related to Mithraism, early Zoroastrianism)
GovernmentMonarchy
King 
• 678–665 BC
Deioces or Kashtariti
• 665–633 BC
Phraortes
• 625–585 BC
Cyaxares
• 589–549 BC
Astyages
Historical eraIron Age
• Established
678 BC
• Conquered by Cyrus the Great
549 BC
Area
585 BC[1][2]2,800,000 km2 (1,100,000 sq mi)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Neo-Assyrian Empire
Urartu
Achaemenid Empire
Persepolis Apadana noerdliche Treppe Detail
The Apadana Palace, northern stairway, 5th century BC Achaemenid bas-relief shows a Mede soldier behind a Persian soldier, in Persepolis, Iran

Tribes

According to the Histories of Herodotus, there were six Median tribes:[6]

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 area between Rhagae, Aspadana and Ecbatana.[7] In present-day Iran,[8] that is the area between Tehran, Isfahan and Hamadan, respectively. Of the Median tribes, the Magi resided in Rhaga,[9] modern Tehran.[10] They were of a sacred caste which ministered to the spiritual needs of the Medes.[11] The Paretaceni tribe resided in and around Aspadana, modern Isfahan,[7][12][13] the Arizanti lived in and around Kashan (Isfahan Province),[7] and the Busae tribe lived in and around the future Median capital of Ecbatana, near modern Hamadan.[7] The Struchates and the Budii lived in villages in the Median triangle.[14]

Etymology

The original source for their name and homeland is a directly transmitted Old Iranian geographical name which is attested as the Old Persian "Māda-" (singular masculine).[15] The meaning of this word is not precisely known.[16] However, the linguist W. Skalmowski proposes a relation with the proto-Indo European word "med(h)-", meaning "central, suited in the middle", by referring to the Old Indic "madhya-" and Old Iranian "maidiia-" which both carry the same meaning.[15] The Latin medium, Greek méso and German mittel are similarly derived from it.

Greek scholars during antiquity would base ethnological conclusions on Greek legends and the similarity of names. According to the Histories of Herodotus (440 BC):[17]

The Medes were formerly called by everyone Arians, but when the Colchian woman Medea came from Athens to the Arians, they changed their name, like the Persians [did after Perses, son of Perseus and Andromeda].[18] This is the Medes' own account of themselves.

Mythology

In the Greek myth of Jason and the Argonauts, Medea is the daughter of King Aeëtes of Colchis and a paternal granddaughter of the sun-god Helios.[19] Following her failed marriage to Jason while in Corinth, for one of several reasons depending on the version,[20] she marries King Aegeus of Athens and bears a son Medus. After failing to make Aegeus kill his older son Theseus, she and her son fled to Aria, where the Medes take their name from her, according to several Greek and later Roman accounts, including in Pausanias' Description of Greece (1st-century AD).[21] According to other versions, such as in Strabo's Geographica (1st-century AD) and Justin's Epitoma Historiarum Philippicarum (2nd or 3rd century AD), she returned home to conquer neighboring lands with her husband Jason, one of which was named after her; while another version related by Diodorus Siculus in Bibliotheca Historica (1st-century BC) states that after being exiled she married an Asian king and bore Medus, who was greatly admired for his courage, after whom they took their name.[22]

Archaeology

Ecbatane - excavated house
Excavation from ancient Ecbatane, Hamadan, Iran

The discoveries of Median sites in Iran happened only after the 1960s.[23] 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 and Malāyer (in Hamadan Province) and Kangāvar (in Kermanshah Province).[23] Three major sites from central western Iran in the Iron Age III period (i.e. 850–500 BC) are:[24]

The site is located 14 km west of Malāyer in Hamadan province.[23] The excavations started in 1967 with D. Stronach as the director.[25] 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.[26] According to Stronach, the central temple, with its stark design, "provides a notable, if mute, expression of religious belief and practice".[26] 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.[26]
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.[23] This is similar to those mentioned often in Assyrian sources.[24]
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.[27]

These sources have both similarities (in cultural characteristics) and differences (due to functional differences and diversity among the Median tribes).[24] 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.[24]

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.[28] 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.[29]

Geography

An early description of Media from the end of the 9th century BC to the beginning of the 7th century BC comes from the Assyrians. 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, Media was bounded by the Zagros Mountains and from the east by the Dasht-e Kavir desert. This region of Media was ruled by the Assyrians and for them the region fell "along the Great Khorasan Road from just east of Harhar to Alwand, and probably beyond."[30] The location of Harhar is suggested to be "the central or eastern" Mahidasht District in Kermanshah Province.[31]

It's borders were limited on the north by the non-Iranian states of Gizilbunda and Mannea, and to its south by Ellipi and Elam.[30][5] Gizilbunda was located in the Qaflankuh Mountains, and Ellipi was located in the south of modern Lorestan Province.[5] 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 differing opinions 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.[32]

In Achaemenid sources, specifically from the Behistun Inscription (2.76, 77–78), the capital of Media is Ecbatana, called "Hamgmatāna-" in Old Persian (Elamite:Agmadana-; Babylonian: Agamtanu-) corresponding to modern-day Hamadan.[33]

The other cities existing in Media were Laodicea (modern Nahavand)[34] and the mound that was the largest city of the Medes, Rhages (present-day Rey). 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.

History

Prehistory

Pre-Achaemenid Era
Timeline of Pre-Achaemenid era.

At the end of the 2nd millennium BC, the Iranian tribes emerged in the region of northwest Iran. These tribes expanded their control over larger areas. Subsequently, the boundaries of Media changed over a period of several hundred years.[35] 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.[36] 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.[36] 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.[37]

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.

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 .[36] 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.[36] 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.[38]

Rhyton media
Rhyton in the shape of a ram's head, gold – western Iran – Median, late 7th–early 6th century BC
Neo-Babylonian Empire
The neighboring Neo-Babylonian Empire at its greatest extent after the destruction of the Neo-Assyrian Empire
Median Empire Protoma
Protoma in the form of a bull's head, 8th century BC, gold and filigree, National Museum, Warsaw

Rise and fall

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, which stretched from Cyprus in the west, to parts of western Iran in the east, and Egypt and the north of 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.[39]

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.

Neo-Assyrian dominance over the Medians came to an end during the reign of Median King Cyaxares, who, in alliance with King Nabopolassar of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, attacked and destroyed the strife-riven empire between 616 and 609 BC.[40] The newfound alliance helped the Medes to capture Nineveh in 612 BC, which resulted in the eventual collapse of the Neo-Assyrian Empire by 609 BC. The Medes were subsequently able to establish their Median Kingdom (with Ecbatana as their royal capital) 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 609 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.

Cyaxares was succeeded by his son King Astyages. In 553 BC, his maternal grandson Cyrus the Great, the King of Anshan/Persia, a Median vassal, revolted against Astyages. In 550 BC, Cyrus finally won a decisive victory resulting in Astyages' capture by his own dissatisfied nobles, who promptly turned him over to the triumphant Cyrus.[41] After Cyrus's victory against Astyages, the Medes were subjected to their close kin, the Persians.[42] 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.

Median dynasty

The list of Median rulers and their period of reign is 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:

However, not all of these dates and personalities given by Herodotus match the other near eastern sources.[43]

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.[44] Judging from the contemporary sources of the region and disregarding[45] the account of Herodotus puts the formation of a unified Median state during the reign of Cyaxares or later.[46]

Culture and society

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".[24] 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".[47]

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".[48]

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".[49] 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[17] that many peoples including Medes were "universally called Iranian".[50]

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.[51] The Median words in Old Persian texts, whose Median origin can be established by "phonetic criteria",[51] appear "more frequently among royal titles and among terms of the chancellery, military, and judicial affairs".[51] Words of Median origin include:

Hamadan (Iran) Relief Achamenid Period
The Ganj Nameh ("treasure epistle") in Ecbatana. The inscriptions are by Darius I and his son Xerxes I.
  • *čiθra-: "origin".[52] The word appears in *čiθrabṛzana- (med.) "exalting his linage", *čiθramiθra- (med.) "having mithraic origin", *čiθraspāta- (med.) "having a brilliant army", etc.[53]
  • Farnah: Divine glory (Avestan: khvarənah)
  • Paridaiza: Paradise
  • Spaka- : The word is Median and means "dog".[54] Herodotus identifies "Spaka-" (Gk. "σπάχα" – female dog) as Median rather than Persian.[55] The word is still used in modern Iranian languages including Talyshi, also suggested as a source to the Russian word for dog sobaka.[56][57][58]
  • vazṛka-: "great" (as Western Persian bozorg)[51]
  • vispa-: "all"[59] (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.[60]
  • xšayaθiya- (king)
  • xšaθra- (realm; kingship): This Median word (attested in *xšaθra-pā- and continued by Middle Persian šahr "land, country; city") is an example of words whose Greek form (known as romanized "satrap" from Gk. σατράπης satrápēs) mirrors, as opposed to the tradition,[N 3] a Median rather than an Old Persian form (also attested, as xšaça- and xšaçapāvā) of an Old Iranian word.[61]
  • zūra-: "evil" and zūrakara-: "evil-doer".[51]

Religion

Persepolis The Persian Soldiers
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

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".[62] 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".[62] Boyce wrote that the Zoroastrian traditions in the Median city of Ray probably goes back to the 8th century BC.[63] 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.[62]

It has also been suggested that Mithra is a Median name and Medes may have practised Mithraism and had Mithra as their supreme deity.[64]

Kurds and Medes

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.[65]

"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.[66][67] Gernot Windfuhr, professor of Iranian Studies, identified the Kurdish languages as Parthian, albeit with a Median substratum.[68] David Neil MacKenzie, an authority on the Kurdish language, said Kurdish was closer to Persian and questioned the “traditional” view holding that Kurdish, because of its differences from Persian, should be regarded a Northwestern Iranian language.[69] 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."[70]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ According to the OED entry "Mede", the word is from Classical Latin Mēdus (usually as plural, Mēdī) from ancient Greek (Attic and Ionic) Μῆδος Mê̄dos [mɛ̂ːdos] (Cypriot Μᾶδοι Mâdœ [mâdoi̯], plural) from Old Persian Māda.[3]
  2. ^ A) "Archaeological evidence for the religion of the Iranian-speaking Medes of the ..." (Diakonoff 1985, p. 140). B) "...and the Medes (Iranians of what is now north-west Iran)..." EIEC (1997:30). C) "... succeeded in uniting into a kingdom the many Median tribes" (from Encyclopædia Britannica [4]). 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)
  3. ^ "..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."[61]

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  55. ^ (Hawkins 2010, "Greek and the Languages of Asia Minor to the Classical Period", p. 226)
  56. ^ (Gamkrelidze - Ivanov , 1995, "Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans: A Reconstruction and Historical..", p. 505)
  57. ^ (Fortson, IV 2009, "Indo-European Language and Culture: An Introduction", p. 419)
  58. ^ (YarShater 2007, "Encyclopaedia Iranica", p. 96)
  59. ^ (Tavernier 2007, p. 627)
  60. ^ (Tavernier 2007, pp. 352–3)
  61. ^ a b (Schmitt 2008, p. 99)
  62. ^ a b c (Dandamayev & Medvedskaya 2006, Median Religion)
  63. ^ (Boyce & Grenet 1991, p. 81)
  64. ^ (Soudavar 2003, p. 84)
  65. ^ Hakan Özoğlu, Kurdish notables and the Ottoman state: Evolving Identities, Competing Loyalties, and Shifting Boundaries, SUNY Press, 2004, p. 25.
  66. ^ "Turkey Foreign Policy and Government Guide". google.com.
  67. ^ "Turkey". google.com.
  68. ^ Windfuhr, Gernot (1975), "Isoglosses: A Sketch on Persians and Parthians, Kurds and Medes", Monumentum H.S. Nyberg II (Acta Iranica-5), Leiden: 457–471
  69. ^ Paul, Ludwig. "KURDISH LANGUAGE i. HISTORY OF THE KURDISH LANGUAGE". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 2016-10-31.
  70. ^ G. Asatrian, Prolegomena to the Study of the Kurds, Iran and the Caucasus, Vol. 13, pp. 1–58, 2009. (p. 21 [1])

Sources

  • 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 978-90-429-1833-7
  • 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 978-0-521-20091-2
  • 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, ISBN 9781139054317
  • 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

  • "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 978-0-521-20091-2
  • 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, ISBN 9781139054317

External links

Battle of Nineveh (612 BC)

The Battle of Nineveh is conventionally dated between 613 and 611 BC, with 612 BC being the most supported date. Rebelling against the Assyrians, an allied army composed of Medes and the Babylonians, together with Scythians and Cimmerians, besieged Nineveh and sacked 750 hectares of what was, at that time, the greatest city in the world. The fall of Nineveh led to the destruction of the Neo-Assyrian Empire over the next three years as the dominant state in the Ancient Near East. Archeological records show that the capital of the once mighty Assyrian Empire was extensively de-urbanized and depopulated in the decades and centuries following the battle.

Babylon became the imperial center of Mesopotamia for the first time in over a thousand years, leading to the Neo-Babylonian Empire, claiming imperial continuity as a new dynasty.

Ecbatana

Ecbatana (; Old Persian: 𐏃𐎥𐎶𐎫𐎠𐎴 Hagmatāna or Haŋmatāna, literally "the place of gathering", Aramaic: אַחְמְתָא‎, Ancient Greek: Ἀγβάτανα in Aeschylus and Herodotus,Ἐκβάτανα, Akkadian: 𒆳𒀀𒃵𒋫𒉡 kura-gam-ta-nu in the Nabonidus Chronicle) was an ancient city in Media in western Iran. It is believed that Ecbatana is in Hagmatana Hill (Tappe-ye Hagmatāna), an archaeological mound in Hamedan.According to Herodotus, Ecbatana was chosen as the Medes' capital in the late 8th century BC by Deioces. Under the Achaemenid Persian kings, Ecbatana, situated at the foot of Mount Alvand, became a summer residence. Later, it became the capital of the Parthian kings, at which time it became their main mint, producing drachm, tetradrachm, and assorted bronze denominations. The wealth and importance of the city in the Persian empire is attributed to its location on a crucial crossroads that made it a staging post on the main East-West highway.In 330 BC, Ecbatana was the site of the murder of the Macedonian general Parmenion by order of Alexander the Great.

Eclipse of Thales

The Eclipse of Thales was a solar eclipse that was, according to The Histories of Herodotus, accurately predicted by the Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus. If Herodotus's account is accurate, this eclipse is the earliest recorded as being known in advance of its occurrence. Many historians believe that the predicted eclipse was the solar eclipse of 28 May 585 BC. How exactly Thales predicted the eclipse remains uncertain; some scholars assert the eclipse was never predicted at all. Others have argued for different dates, but only the eclipse of 28 May 585 BC matches the conditions of visibility necessary to explain the historical event.According to Herodotus, the appearance of the eclipse was interpreted as an omen, and interrupted a battle in a long-standing war between the Medes and the Lydians. The fighting immediately stopped, and they agreed to a truce. Because astronomers can calculate the dates of historical eclipses, Isaac Asimov described this battle as the earliest historical event whose date is known with precision to the day and described the prediction as "the birth of science".

Harpagus

Harpagus, also known as Harpagos or Hypargus (Ancient Greek Ἅρπαγος; Akkadian: Arbaku), was a Median general from the 6th century BC, credited by Herodotus as having put Cyrus the Great on the throne through his defection during the battle of Pasargadae.

Madai

Madai (Hebrew: מָדַי, pronounced [maˈda.i]; Greek: Μηδος, [mɛːˈdos]) is a son of Japheth and one of the 16 grandsons of Noah in the Book of Genesis of the Hebrew Bible. Biblical scholars have generally identified Madai with the Iranian Medes of much later records. The Medes, reckoned to be his offspring by Josephus and most subsequent writers, were also known as Madai, including in both Assyrian and Hebrew sources. Some scholars in more modern times have also proposed connections with various earlier nations, such as Mitanni, Matiene, and Mannai. In addition, the Kurds still maintain traditions of descent from Madai.According to the Book of Jubilees (10:50-51), Madai had married a daughter of Shem, and preferred to live among Shem's descendants, rather than dwell in Japheth's allotted inheritance beyond the Black Sea; so he begged his brothers-in-law, Elam, Asshur and Arphaxad, until he finally received from them the land that was named after him, Media.

Another line in Jubilees (8:5) states that a daughter of Madai named Milcah (Aramaic: Melkâ) married Cainan, who is an ancestor of Abraham also mentioned in the Septuagint version of Genesis and in the Gospel of Luke (3:36).

Medos (Μηδος), and his mother Medea, were also reckoned to be the ancestors of the Medes in classical Greek mythical history. Christian scholars have proposed linking Hebrew Madai and Greek Medos since at least the time of Isidore of Seville [Etym 9.2.28], ca. 600 AD.

Madai is also the name of the deified ancestor of the Kachin people of Myanmar, according to the indigenous Kachin religion.

Also linked with Madai is the Iranian city of Hamadan.

Magi

Magi (; singular magus ; from Latin magus) denotes followers of Zoroastrianism or Zoroaster. The earliest known use of the word Magi is in the trilingual inscription written by Darius the Great, known as the Behistun Inscription. Old Persian texts, pre-dating the Hellenistic period, refer to a Magus as a Zurvanic, and presumably Zoroastrian, priest.

Pervasive throughout the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Asia until late antiquity and beyond, mágos was influenced by (and eventually displaced) Greek goēs (γόης), the older word for a practitioner of magic, to include astronomy/astrology, alchemy and other forms of esoteric knowledge. This association was in turn the product of the Hellenistic fascination for (Pseudo‑)Zoroaster, who was perceived by the Greeks to be the Chaldean founder of the Magi and inventor of both astrology and magic, a meaning that still survives in the modern-day words "magic" and "magician".

In Chapter 2 of the Gospel of Matthew, "μάγοι" from the east do homage to the newborn Jesus, and the transliterated plural "magi" entered English from Latin in this context around 1200 (this particular use is also commonly rendered in English as "kings" and more often in recent times as "wise men"). The singular "magus" appears considerably later, when it was borrowed from Old French in the late 14th century with the meaning magician.

Manlleu

Manlleu is municipality in the comarca of Osona, in the province of Barcelona, Catalonia, northern Spain.

Manlleu is located in a large plain, La Plana de Vic, at around 460 metres above sea level on average. The highest point is Puig Agut church at around 594 m above the sea level. It is surrounded mountains with altitudes over 1000 m.

The Ter River, which starts in the Pyrenees, snakes through Manlleu, and ends in the Mediterranean Sea, near Pals and the Illes Medes.

Medea

In Greek mythology, Medea (; Greek: Μήδεια, Mēdeia) is the daughter of King Aeëtes of Colchis, a niece of Circe and the granddaughter of Helios, the sun god begat by the Titan Hyperion. Medea figures in the myth of Jason and the Argonauts, appearing in Hesiod's Theogony around 700 BC, but best known from a 3rd century BC literary version by Apollonius of Rhodes called the Argonautica. Medea is known in most stories as a sorceress and is often depicted as a priestess of the goddess Hecate.

Medes Islands

The Illes Medes (Spanish: Islas Medas) is a small and craggy group of seven islets in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea. Administratively, the Medes Archipelago belongs to the Baix Empordà comarca, Catalonia, Spain.

The islands are located close to the shore, east of the coastal town of L'Estartit.

Medgyesegyháza

Medgyesegyháza (Slovak: Medeš) is a town in Békés County, in the Southern Great Plain region of south-east Hungary.

Media (region)

Media (Old Persian: Māda, Middle Persian: Mād) is a region of north-western Iran, best known for having been the political and cultural base of the Medes. During the Achaemenid period, it comprised present-day Azarbaijan, Iranian Kurdistan and western Tabaristan. As a satrapy under Achaemenid rule, it would eventually encompass a wider region, stretching to southern Dagestan in the north. However, after the wars of Alexander the Great, the northern parts were separated due to the Partition of Babylon and became known as Atropatene, while the remaining region became known as Lesser Media.

Median language

The Median language (also Medean or Medic) was the language of the Medes. It is an Old Iranian language and classified as belonging to the Northwestern Iranian subfamily, which includes many other languages such as Azari, Gilaki, Mazandarani, Zaza–Gorani, Kurdish (Kurmanji, Sorani, Palewani), and Baluchi.

Nabopolassar

Nabopolassar (; cuneiform: 𒀭𒀝𒌉𒍑𒌶 dAG.IBILA.URU3 Akkadian: Nabû-apla-uṣur; c. 658 BC – 605 BC) was a Chaldean king of Babylonia and a central figure in the fall of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. The death of Assyrian king Ashurbanipal around 627 BC resulted in political instability. In 626 BC, a native dynasty arose under Nabopolassar. He made Babylon his capital and ruled over Babylonia for a period of about twenty years (626–605 BC). He is credited with founding the Neo-Babylonian Empire. By 616 BC, Nabopolassar had united the entire area under his rule.Nabopolassar formed an alliance with Cyaxares of the Medes to confront the Assyrians and their Egyptian allies. By 615 BC he had seized Nippur. He then led his forces to assist the Medes besieging the city of Ashur, but the Babylonian army did not reach the battlefield until after the city had fallen.

Neo-Assyrian Empire

The Neo-Assyrian Empire was an Iron Age Mesopotamian empire, in existence between 911 and 609 BC, and became the largest empire of the world up till that time. The Assyrians perfected early techniques of imperial rule, many of which became standard in later empires, and was, according to many historians, the first real empire in history. The Assyrians were the first to be armed with iron weapons, and their troops employed advanced, effective military tactics.Following the conquests of Adad-nirari II in the late 10th century BC, Assyria emerged as the most powerful state in the known world at the time, coming to dominate the Ancient Near East, East Mediterranean, Asia Minor, Caucasus, and parts of the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa, eclipsing and conquering rivals such as Babylonia, Elam, Persia, Urartu, Lydia, the Medes, Phrygians, Cimmerians, Israel, Judah, Phoenicia, Chaldea, Canaan, the Kushite Empire, the Arabs, and Egypt.The Neo-Assyrian Empire succeeded the Old Assyrian Empire (c. 2025–1378 BC), and the Middle Assyrian Empire (1365–934 BC) of the Late Bronze Age. During this period, Aramaic was also made an official language of the empire, alongside Akkadian.Upon the death of Ashurbanipal in 627 BC, the empire began to disintegrate due to a brutal and unremitting series of civil wars in Assyria proper. In 616 BC, Cyaxares king of the Medes and Persians made alliances with Nabopolassar ruler of the Babylonians and Chaldeans, and also the Scythians and Cimmerians against Assyria. At the Fall of Harran (609 BC) the Babylonians and Medes defeated an Assyrian-Egyptian alliance, after which Assyria largely ceased to exist as an independent state. A failed attempt to reconquer Harran ended the Assyrian Empire. Although the empire fell, Assyrian history continued; there are still Assyrians living in Iran, Iraq, and elsewhere, in the present day.

Parsian style

The "Parsian style" (New Persian:شیوه معماری پارسی) is a style of architecture ("sabk") when categorizing the history of Persian/Iranian architectural development. Although the Median and Achaemenid architecture fall under this classification, the pre-Achaemenid architecture is also studied as a sub-class of this category.This style of architecture flourished from eighth century BCE from the time of the Median Empire, through the Achaemenid empire, to the arrival of Alexander III of Macedonia in the third century BCE

Parthia

Parthia (Old Persian: 𐎱𐎼𐎰𐎺 Parθava; Parthian: 𐭐𐭓𐭕𐭅 Parθaw; Middle Persian: 𐭯𐭫𐭮𐭥𐭡𐭥‎ Pahlaw) is a historical region located in north-eastern Iran. It was conquered and subjugated by the empire of the Medes during the 7th century BC, was incorporated into the subsequent Achaemenid Empire under Cyrus the Great in the 6th century BC, and formed part of the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire following the 4th-century-BC conquests of Alexander the Great. The region later served as the political and cultural base of the Eastern-Iranian Parni people and Arsacid dynasty, rulers of the Parthian Empire (247 BC – 224 AD). The Sasanian Empire, the last state of pre-Islamic Persia, also held the region and maintained the Seven Parthian clans as part of their feudal aristocracy.

Persian Revolt

The Persian Revolt was a campaign led by Cyrus the Great in which the province of ancient Persis, which had been under Median rule, declared its independence and fought a successful revolution, separating from the Median Empire. Cyrus and the Persians did not stop there, however, and in turn went on and conquered the Medes.

Rusa III

Rusa III was king of Urartu. He was called "Son of Erimena," meaning that he was probably a brother of Rusa II. Little is known about his reign; his name was inscribed on a massive granary at Armavir and on a series of bronze shields from the temple of Khaldi found at Rusahinili, now held in the British Museum. According to the Armenian historian Moses of Chorene, Rusa's father Erimena can probably be identified with Paruyr Skayordi, who helped the Median king Cyaxares to conquer Assyria, for which Cyaxares recognized him as the king of Armenia, although the Medes ultimately reneged on this; significantly later, during the reign of King Astyages, the Medes conquered and annexed Armenia.

Rusa was the father of Sarduri IV.

Torroella de Montgrí

Torroella de Montgrí is a coastal municipality on the Costa Brava, and small town in Catalonia, Spain. The town lies on the north bank of the Ter river, a few kilometres before it flows into the Mediterranean. The beach resort of L'Estartit also is part of the municipality, as are the Medes Islands and a large part of the Montgrí Massif.

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