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Ancient Kurdistan (Kardouchoi)

ProofRead and Updated March 27th 2020

Southeastern Turkey together with fair sized portions of the Zagros mountain slopes in Iraq and Iran is inhabited by people known as the Kurds. They speak an Indo-Aryan language. It is generally agreed that they were undoubtedly the people called the Kardouchoi who even then (406 BC) caused Xenophon and his Ten Thousand great trouble ...

The Karduchians or Kurds belong by speech to the Iranian stock forming in fact their farthest outpost to the west. They are little given to agriculture but chiefly to the breeding of cattle. Their name was pronounced Kardu by the ancient Syrians and Assyrians and Kordu by the Armenians.It first appears in its narrower sense in western literature in the pages of the eye witness Xenophon. Later writers knew of a small kingdom here at the time of the Roman occupation ruled by native princes who after Tigranes II (about 80 BC) recognised the overlordship of the Armenian king. Later it became a province of the Sassanid Kingdom and as such was in 297 AD handed over among the regiones transtigritanae to the Roman empire but in 364 was again ceded to Persia (1) ...

In the ancient world the Kurdish people formed three kingdoms; the Gutium Kingdom, the Kingdom of Lullu and the Urartu Kingdom and also two empires; the Kassite Empire and the Hurrian-Mitanni Empire. As a matter of fact during the empire period of the second millennium BC the Kassite Empire and the Hurrian-Mitanni Empire had control over the ancient world. Under the new axis of power the power of the ancient Kurds declined and became nominally under the domination of the Achaemenian, Parthian and Sassanid empires. The warlike tradition of the ancient Kurds contributed valuable military assistance to the three monarchies in their struggle with the Greeks and Romans. This east-west power struggle commenced when the Achaemenians came to power in 553 BC and continued until the rise of Islam in AD 630. The Islamic army destroyed both the Sassanids and the Roman Empire. Consequently the Kurds became part of the Islamic world from AD 632 to 1258. The Kurds were nominally under Islamic rule but remained practically speaking independent.

History and Tradition

The ancient Kurds were mountain people who were the native inhabitants of the Zagros highlands at the time when the Sumerians established themselves in the southern plain of Mesopotamia around 3000 BC.

In ancient times the Zagros was inhabited by mountaineer groups of people or tribes who were more or less homogeneous in speech and ethnically related. Among these Zagros groups the Elamites and Kurds were the most prominent. The Elamites were living in the southern part of the Zagros in the territory of the ancient kingdom of Elam with its capital city in Susa. The territory of the ancient Kurds commenced just north of Elam and covered most parts of the Zagros highlands ...

(1) A Manual of Ancient Geography by Heinrich Kiepert (Page 51) 1881

The History of the Ancient Near East Electronic Compendium