Kar-daKI-ka 21st ce. B.C.E. Karda Land of Valiant Mountain People Central Zagros East Terminological Analysis

Download Download as PDF (Size:5665KB)  HTML    PP. 168-198  
DOI: 10.4236/aa.2014.43021    2,666 Downloads   3,318 Views  


The toponym “kar-daKI-ka” (“ma-da kar-daKI-ka”) means land of “Karda”, which derives most likely out of Akkadian “qarda” (“qurda”) for heroic, brave, valiant, and warlike (mountain) people. It was geographically located in ancient heartlands of the Guti(ans) in central Zagros east areas in Northwest Iran of today, and was documented in several late Sumerian UrIII sources at the end of the 3rd millennium B.C.E. from Girsu in south Mesopotamia. Origin and ethnic affiliations of the inhabitants of the land of “Karda” are not known. The term “kar-daKI-ka” was one of the oldest cuneiform expressions used by Mesopotamians to denote various indigenous Zagros hilly/mountain nomads of multi-ethnical origin in the North and the (North-)East, whom they regarded as warlike and also as uncivilized because they were at the time mainly not urban organized in contrast to lowland Mesopotamians. Available cuneiform sources indicated that Mesopotamians saw “kar-daKI-ka” in consecutive connection with Guti(ans): first, because of its location in the center of (former) dominating Guti power coalitions in areas of central Zagros (east); second, because of the image of its population as warlike, similar to Guti(ans) where (who) was (were) portrayed by Mesopotamians; third, because of further suggesting that its society(ies) could have been militarily orsganized, possibly migrating and temporarily prevailing inter-regionally (across the Zagros); and last but not least, because of its obvious geo-strategic importance even for far away late UrIII leaders of south Mesopotamia, regardless whether or not they effectively controlled the area which seems for the time in question unlikely. Mesopotamians used to describe the inter-connected ancestral habitat of various multi-ethnic Zagros mountain coalitions in a vague terminology, and in waxing and waning concepts who were influenced by changing policies. They did not see regions (lands) like “kar-daKI-ka” as isolated single ones in a far north-east but embedded in an inter-regionally connected habitat of mountain nomad coalitions stretching from the North to the North-East of Mesopotamia. They also used a good number of different terms in particular assumed Sumerian “kur”-stem expressions (who later prevailed) to characterize them accordingly. In linguistic terms, the presumed Semitic (Akkadian) word-stem “kard-” (KI-ka” is formally not identical with the presumably Sumerian rooted “kurd-” one (for Kurds, land of Kurds). However, the content of both terms denoting (warlike) Zagros-Taurus mountain populations of multi-ethnical origins seems to be strikingly similar. Therefore, the explanation attempt of “kar-daKI-ka” as land of heroic, valiant, and warlike indigenous central Zagros (east) inhabitants could indicate a local/ regional militarily organized autochthonous pre-IE (proto-non-Iranian) population, and could even possibly point to ancient forefathers of Kurds in NW Iran of today, interpreted as Zagros-Taurus mountaineers.

Cite this paper

Hennerbichler, F. (2014). Kar-daKI-ka 21st ce. B.C.E. Karda Land of Valiant Mountain People Central Zagros East Terminological Analysis. Advances in Anthropology, 4, 168-198. doi: 10.4236/aa.2014.43021.


[1] Abdi, K., & Beckman, G. (2007). An Early Second-Millennium Cuneiform Archive from Chogha Gavaneh, Western Iran. Journal of Cuneiform Studies, 59, 39-91.
[2] Adali, S. F. (2009). Ummān-Manda and Its Significance in the First Millennium B.C. Thesis, Sydney: University of Sydney, 5-8.
[3] Akkadian Dictionary, Association Assyrophile de France.
[4] Akkadisches Handworterbuch (1959-1972). Bearb. von Wolfram von Soden. Bd. I und II. Wiesbaden.
[5] Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago (1995). Vol. 13, Q, E. Reiner et al. (Eds.), Chicago.
[6] Barton, G. (1929). The Royal Inscriptions of Sumer and Akkad. New Haven.
[7] Briant, P. (2002). From Cyrus to Alexander. A History of the Persian Empire. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns.
[8] Curtis, J. (1990). Ancient Persia. Cambridge, MA.
[9] Dandamayev, M. (1990). Carduchi.
[10] Driver, G. R. (1923). The Name Kurd and Its Philological Connexions. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 3, 393-404.
[11] Durand, J. M. (1994). L’empereur d’Elam et ses Vassaux. H. Gasche, M. Tanret, C. Janssen, & A. Degraeve (Eds.), Cinquante-deux reflexions sur le Proche-Orient ancien offertes en hommage à Leon De Meyer, Mesopotamian History and Environment Occasional Publications 2, Leuven.
[12] Fleming, D. E. (2004). Democracy’s Ancient Ancestors: Mari and Early Collective Government. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
[13] Frayne, D. R. (1993). Sargonic and Gutian Periods (2334-2113 BC). The Royal Inscriptions of Mesopotamia. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
[14] Galter, H. D. (2006). Sargon der Zweite. Uber die Wiederinszenierung von Geschichte. R. Rollinger, & B. Truschnegg, (Eds.), Altertum und Mittelmeerraum: Die antike Welt diesseits und jenseits der Levante: Festschrift fur Peter W. Haider zum 60. Geburtstag. Oriens et Occidens 12. Stuttgart: Steiner.
[15] Guichard, M. (2002). Les relations diplomatiques entre Ibal-pi-El II et Zimri-Lim: deux etapes vers la discorde. Revue d’assyriologie et d’archeologie orientale, 96, 109-142.
[16] Hartmann, M. (1897). Bohtan. Eine topographisch-historische Studie. Mitteilungen der Vorderasiatischen Gesellschaft. Berlin, 90-94.
[17] Heimpel, W. (2003). Letters to the King of Mari. A New Translation with Historical Introduction, Notes, and Commentary. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns.
[18] Hennerbichler, F. (2010). Die Herkunft der Kurden. Interdisziplinare Studie. H. C. Ehalt (Ed.), Historisch-anthropologische Studien. Schriftenreihe des Instituts für Historische Anthropologie in Wien. Bd. 23. Peter Lang Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften, Frankfurt am Main.
[19] Hennerbichler, F. (2011). The Origin of the Kurds. Lecture. Borsdorf.
[20] Hennerbichler, F. (2012). The Origin of Kurds. Advances in Anthropology, 2, 64-79.
[21] Hittite Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago (1980-1989). Vol. L-N, P (1994-1997).
[22] Horowitz, W. (1998). The Sargon Geography. In Mesopotamian Cosmic Geography (Mesopotamian Civilizations, 8). Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns.
[23] Kiepert, H. (1878). Lehrbuch der alten Geographie. Berlin.
[24] Lafont, B. (2009). The Army of the Kings of Ur: The Textual Evidence. Cuneiform Digital Library Journal, 5.
[25] Langdon, S. (1928). The Sumerian Revival: The Empire of Ur. In J. B. Bury et al. (Eds.), The Cambridge Ancient History (pp. 435-463). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
[26] MacKenzie, D. N. (1961). The Origins of Kurdish. TPS, 68-86.
[27] Michalowski, P. (1986). Mental Maps and Ideology: Observations on Subartu. In H. Weiss (Ed.), The Origins of Cities in Dry-Farming Syria and Mesopotamia in the Third Millennium B. C. (pp. 129-156). Four Quarters: Guilford.
[28] Michalowski, P. (1999). Sumer Dreams of Subir: Politics and the Geographical Imagination. In K. van Lerberghe, & G. Voet (Eds.), At the Crossroads of Civilizations in the Syro-Mesopotamian Realm (pp. 305-315). Leuven: Peeters.
[29] Michalowski, P. (2008). Observations on “Elamites” and “Elam” in UrIII Times. In P. Michalowski (Ed.), On the Third Dynasty of Ur: Studies in Honor of Marcel Sigrist Boston (p. 113). Boston, MA: American Schools of Oriental Research.
[30] Minorsky, V. (1927). Kurdistan, Kurds. In: The Encyclopædia of Islam, EI1: A Dictionary of the Geography, Ethnography and Biography of the Muhammadan Peoples.
[31] Noldeke, T. (1869). Untersuchungen zur Kritik des Alten Testaments. Kiel.
[32] Noldeke, T. (1898). Kardu und Kurden. Beitrage zur alten Geschichte und Geographie. Festschrift fur Heinrich Kiepert. Berlin, 71-82.
[33] Omstead, T. A. (1931). Review of Speiser, Mesopotamian Origins, 1930. Amercican Anthropologist, 33, 644-645.
[34] Rawlinson, G. (1858). The History of Herodotus. Vol. 1, London: John Murray.
[35] Schmitt, R. (2012). Kárdakes.
[36] Schroeder, O. (1922). Keilschrifttexte aus Assur historischen Inhalts II, Wissenschaftliche Veroffentlichungen der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft WVDOG 37 (= KAH II). Leipzig: Hinrichs, 27-32.
[37] Sheppard, R. (2008). Alexander the Great at War. His Army, His Battles, His Enemies. Oxford & New York.
[38] Speiser, E. A. (1930). Mesopotamian Origins: The Basic Population of the Near East. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.
[39] Steinkeller, P. (1988). On Lú.SU(.A), in: JAOS 108 (1988) 197-202 & 1990: Lú.SU(.A)= Simaski, in: NABU 1990/7.
[40] Steinkeller, P. (2007). New Light on Simaski and Its Rulers. Zeitschr. f. Assyriologie Bd. 97, 215-232.
[41] Steve, M. J., Vallat, F., & Gasche, H. (2002). Suse. Supplement au dictionaire de la bible, Fascicule 73, 432-440.
[42] Thureau-Dangin, F. (1905). Les inscriptions de Sumer et d’Akkade. Paris: Ernest Leroux, 212-213.
[43] Thureau-Dangin, F. (1907). Die sumerischen und akkadischen Konigsschriften. Vorderasiatische. Bibliothek. I. Band Abteilung 1. Leipzig (J.C. Hinrichs’sche Buchhandlung), 148-151, 275.
[44] Tomaschek, W. (1886). Kurdistan. Allgemeine Encyklopaedie der Wissenschaften und Kunste etc. II (H-N). Leipzig: Brockhaus.
[45] Van De Mieroop, M. (1999). Cuneiform Texts and the Writing of History. London & New York: Routledge.
[46] Van De Mieroop, M. (2012). Gutians.
[47] Xenophon, A. (1850). Berlin: K. W. Kruger’s Verlagsbuchhandlung.
[48] Zadok, R. (1984). The Elamite Onomasticon. Annali/Istituto Universitario Orientale. No. 40, Naples Napoli: Istituto universitario orientale.
[49] Zadok, R. (2002). The Ethno-Linguistic Character of Northwestern Iran and Kurdistan in the Neo-Assyrian Period. Iran 40.

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsors, Associates, and Links >>

Copyright © 2016 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.