Euphrates · Tigris Sumer Eridu · Kish · Uruk · Ur
Lagash · Nippur · Girsu
Elam Susa · Anshan Akkadian Empire Akkad · Mari Amorites Isin · Larsa Babylonia Babylon · Chaldea Assyria Assur · Nimrud
Dur-Sharrukin · Nineveh
Mesopotamia (Dynasty list) Sumer (king list) Kings of Elam
Kings of Assyria
Kings of Babylon
Enûma Elish · Gilgamesh Assyrian religion Sumerian · Elamite Akkadian · Aramaic Hurrian · Hittite Antiquity Prehistory Proto-Elamite period 3200–2800 Elamite dynasty 2800–550 Kassites 16th–12th cent. Mannaeans 10th–7th cent. Median Empire 728–550 Achaemenid Empire 550–330 Seleucid Empire 330–150 Parthian Empire 248 BCE–226 CE Sassanid Empire 226–651 Middle Ages Islamic conquest 637–651 Umayyad Caliphate 661–750 Abbasid Caliphate 750–1258 Tahirid dynasty 821–873 Alavid dynasty 864–928 Sajid dynasty 889/890–929 Saffarid dynasty 861–1003 Samanid dynasty 875–999 Ziyarid dynasty 928–1043 Buyid dynasty 934–1062 Sallarid 942–979 Ma'munids 995-1017 Ghaznavid Empire 963–1187 Ghori dynasty 1149–1212 Seljuq dynasty 1037–1194 Khwarezmid dynasty 1077–1231 Ilkhanate 1256–1353 Muzaffarid dynasty 1314–1393 Chupanid dynasty 1337–1357 Sarbadars 1337–1376 Jalayerid dynasty 1339–1432 Timurid dynasty 1370–1506 Qara Qoyunlu 1407–1468 Aq Qoyunlu 1378–1508 Modern history Safavid dynasty 1501–1722/36 Hotaki dynasty 1722–1729 Afsharid dynasty 1736–1750 Zand dynasty 1750–1794 Qajar dynasty 1781–1925 Pahlavi dynasty 1925–1979 Interim Government 1979–1980 Islamic Republic since 1980
The Kassites were an ancient Near Eastern people who gained control of Babylonia after the fall of the Old Babylonian Empire after ca. 1531 BC to ca. 1155 BC (short chronology). Their language is classified as an isolate, and was not Indo-European or Semitic.
The original homeland of the Kassites is not well known, but appears to have been located in the Zagros Mountains in Lorestan in what is now modern Iran, although, like the Elamites, Gutians and Manneans, they were unrelated to the later Indo-European/Iranic Medes and Persians who came to dominate the region a thousand years later. 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 ca. 1749–1712 BC), the son of Hammurabi. Samsu-iluna repelled them, as did Abi-Eshuh, but they subsequently gained control of Babylonia circa 1570 BC some 25 years after the fall of Babylon to the Hittites in ca. 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 ca. 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 combatative 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 a 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. 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 BC – 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 BC to 1319) also attacked Babylonia and his great grandson Adad-nirari I (1307 to 1275 BC) annexed Bablonian territory when he became king. Tukulti-Ninurta I (1244 BC -1208 BC) not content with merely dominating Babylonia went further, conquering Babylonia, deposing Kashtiliash IV and ruling there for 8 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 ca. 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). 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.
The Book of Judges in the Hebrew Bible contains a reference to what appears to be a Kassite ruler, who is named as Cushan-Rishathaim and described as ruler of "Aram Naharaim". "Cushan" is interpreted by Biblical scholars to mean "Kassite" and "Aram Naharaim" to mean northwest Mesopotamia. According to Judges, Cushan-Rishathaim conquered Israel shortly after the death of Joshua and held it for eight years.
The Kassites did briefly regain control over Babylonia with Dynasty V (1025 BC-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.
Herodotus was almost certainly referring to Kassites when he described "Asiatic Ethiopians" in the Persian army that invaded Greece in 492 BC. Herodotus was presumably repeating an account that had originally used the name "Cush", or something similar, to describe the Kassites; "Cush" was also 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 "Cissian" and founder of Susa, and other times as Ethiopian. According to Herodotus, the "Asiatic Ethiopians" lived not in Cissia, but to the north, bordering on "Paricanians" who in turn bordered on the Medes.
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 Treaty with Puzur-Ashur III of Assyria Kashtiliash III Ulamburiash Conquers the first Sealand dynasty Agum III Karaindash Treaty with Ashur-bel-nisheshu of Assyria Kadashman-harbe I Campaign against the Sutû Kurigalzu I Founder of Dur-Kurigalzu and contemporary of Thutmose IV Kadashman-Enlil I ca. 1374—1360 BC (short) Contemporary of Amenophis III of the Egyptian Amarna letters Burnaburiash II ca. 1359—1333 BC (short) Contemporary of Akhenaten and Ashur-uballit I Kara-hardash ca. 1333 BC (short) Grandson of Ashur-uballit I of Assyria Nazi-Bugash or Shuzigash ca. 1333 BC (short) Usurper “son of a nobody” Kurigalzu II ca. 1332—1308 BC (short) Son of Burnaburiash II, Lost ? Battle of Sugagi with Enlil-nirari of Assyria Nazi-Maruttash ca. 1307—1282 BC (short) Lost territory to Adad-nirari I of Assyria Kadashman-Turgu ca. 1281—1264 BC (short) Contemporary of Hattusili III of the Hittites Kadashman-Enlil II ca. 1263—1255 BC (short) Contemporary of Hattusili III of the Hittites Kudur-Enlil ca. 1254—1246 BC (short) Time of Nippur renaissance Shagarakti-Shuriash ca. 1245—1233 BC (short) “Non-son of Kudur-Enlil” according to Tukulti-Ninurta I of Assyria Kashtiliashu IV ca. 1232—1225 BC (short) Deposed by Tukulti-Ninurta I of Assyria Enlil-nadin-shumi ca. 1224 BC (short) Assyrian vassal king Kadashman-Harbe II ca. 1223 BC (short) Assyrian vassal king Adad-shuma-iddina ca. 1222—1217 BC (short) Assyrian vassal king Adad-shuma-usur ca. 1216—1187 BC (short) Sender of rude letter to Aššur-nirari and Ilī-ḫaddâ, the kings of Assyria Meli-Shipak II ca. 1186—1172 BC (short) Correspondence with Ninurta-apal-Ekur confirming foundation of Near East chronology Marduk-apla-iddina I ca. 1171—1159 BC (short) Zababa-shuma-iddin ca. 1158 BC (short) Defeated by Shutruk-Nahhunte of Elam Enlil-nadin-ahi ca. 1157—1155 BC (short) Defeated by Kutir-Nahhunte II of Elam
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, and preserved their customs of fratriarchal property ownership and inheritance.
According to 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
- ^ Lorestan - Facts from the Encyclopedia - Yahoo! Education
- ^ History of Iran: Iranologie.com
- ^ J. Boardman et al. (eds) Cambridge Ancient History Vol III Pt 1 (2nd Ed) 1982
- ^ Kassites in Encyclopedia Iranica by Ran Zadok
- 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, in German), American Oriental Series, vol. 37, New Haven, Conn., 1954.
- Daniel A. Nevez, 'Provincial administration at Kassite Nippur' abstract of a dissertation gives details of Kassite Nippur and Babylonia.
- Christopher Edens, "Structure, Power and Legitimation in Kassite Babylonia"
- Richard Hooker, "The Kassites: 1530-1170 The Kassite Interregnum"
- David W. Koeller, "Kassite rule in Mesopotamia"
- Kassites in Encyclopedia Iranica by Ran Zadok
- Livius.org: Kassites/Cossaeans
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Kassites — peuple asiatique apparu au déb. du IIe millénaire, les maîtres de Babylone de 1530 env. à 1160 av. J. C., quand les élamites les anéantirent … Encyclopédie Universelle
Kassites — Babylone, au cours des Kassites, XIIIe siècle av. J.‑C … Wikipédia en Français
Kassites — An ancient Mesopotamian people of unknown origins who entered the region from the east, across the Zagros Mountains, in the early second millennium b.c. Their native language was unrelated to any other known tongue and is still not well… … Ancient Mesopotamia dictioary
KASSITES — A people of unknown origin who entered Mesopotamia from the east, across the Zagros mountains. They spoke a language that is not related to any other known language. It is only poorly known from a few phrases and personal names in cuneiform… … Historical Dictionary of Mesopotamia
Kassite — Kassites Babylone, au cours des Kassites, XIIIe siècle av. J. C … Wikipédia en Français
Касситы — (Kassites), люди гор Центрального Загроса, которые захватили Вавилон после хеттского рейда 1595 г. до н.э. 400 лет, в течение которых они удерживали город, стали периодом относительной стабилизации, подробности мало изучены. Конец господству… … Археологический словарь
Babylone (royaume) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Babylone (homonymie). Le mušhuššu, dragon serpent, symbole du dieu Marduk de Babylone. Détail de la … Wikipédia en Français
Babylone (Royaume) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Babylone (homonymie). Le mušhuššu, dragon serpent, symbole du dieu Mar … Wikipédia en Français
Babylonie — Babylone (royaume) Pour les articles homonymes, voir Babylone (homonymie). Le mušhuššu, dragon serpent, symbole du dieu Mar … Wikipédia en Français
Babylonien (habitant de Babylone) — Babylone (royaume) Pour les articles homonymes, voir Babylone (homonymie). Le mušhuššu, dragon serpent, symbole du dieu Mar … Wikipédia en Français