عنوان مقاله [English]
In the first half of the 1st millennium B.C. and before the formation of the Median Kingdom, i.e. 10th-7th centuries B.C, many petty states were formed in the western parts of Iran which were considered as the eastern neighbors of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. The campaigns of Assyrian armies into the Zagros Mountains have been reported in Cuneiform inscriptions with significant details which provide us with remarkable knowledge on the Zagros petty kingdoms. In fact, the Assyrian written documents are the most significant sources for localization of the Zagros toponyms. Despite passing of more than a century from the beginning of the studies relating to the historical geography of Neo-Assyrian Empire, however, localization of some Zagros petty states has been the subject of dissensions between scholars. The present study deals with the localization of the Zagros place-names and petty states such as Namri, Bit-Hamban, Karalla, Parsua and Allabria which are considered to be in modern provinces of Kermanshah and Kurdistan in western Iran. The main question is where these place-names are exactly located? In order to reach a valid answer, we have analyzed geographical data of the Neo-Assyrian inscriptions particularly those which reporting the Assyrian army campaigns into western Iran. We also try to identify the well-known late Iron Age sites of western Iran with the mentioned place-names. The result of the study indicates that Namri could be localized in western parts of modern Kermanshah while Hamban and Parsua are situated respectively in central and northern part of the province. Karalla is situated in Hawraman (Oraman) and Allabria can be localized north of it.
Keywords: Zagros, Assyria, Toponyms, Kermanshah, Kurdistan.
Introduction & Method
Zagros mountains witnessed the emergence of a series of small kingdoms and petty states, each one covered a certain geographical territory during the first half of the first millennium B.C. and before the formation of Median kingdom. The most important source of information about these kingdoms and petty states are written documents and cuneiform inscriptions belonging to Neo-Assyrian Empire. Assyrian Kings such as Ashurnasirpal (884-859 B.C), Shalmaneser III (859-824 B.C) Shamshi-Adad V (824-811 B.C), Adad-nirari III (811-783 B.C), Tiglath-Pileser III (744-727 B.C), Sargon II (722-705 B.C), Sennacherib (705-681), Esarhaddon (681-669 B.C) and Ashurbanipal (669-627 B.C) invaded western Iran with the aim of meeting the economic and political needs of their vast empire, making the native peoples of the region their subject and taking tribute from them. They reported their military and political activities in their cuneiform inscriptions on clay or rock, most of them are available today to archaeologists and historians. These inscriptions are rich in valuable information about socio-political structures and historical geography of the western Iran during the first half of the 1st millennium B.C. Thanks to these written documents we can gain knowledge about location of lots of small states and kingdoms such as Mannea, Ellipi, Zamua, Hubushkia, Harhar, Kishesim, Media, Gizilbunda, Gilzanu, Andia, Karalla, Allabria, Parsua, Namri, Hamban, Araziash, Sangibuti, Abdadani, Bit-Kapsi and so on. Apart from these Assyrian documents, archaeological excavations and surveys conducted during the recent century have also helped to clarify the history and socio-economic status of societies of Iran during the Late Iron Age. However, from the beginning of the Iranian and Assyrian studies, the problem of historical geography of Zagros and extent of territory of the mentioned states in Neo-Assyrian period, has been the subject of dissensions between scholars. Studies on the localization of Zagros toponyms mentioned in Assyrian documents dates back to the ends of 19th century, beginning with the works of German orientalists such as E. Shraeder, M. Streck, A. Billerbeck and E. Forrer. This paper deals with the localization of five of these petty states including Namri, Hamban, Parsua, Karalla and Allabria. We shall try to locate the borders of these small kingdoms based on the Assyrian royal texts and newly discovered archaeological evidence from western Iran. The paper also aims to identify the well-known late Iron Age sites of western Iran with the mentioned place-names.
In this part of the paper we try to localize five Zagros place-names including Namri, Hamban, Parsua, Karalla and Allabria according to evidence derived from report of Assyrian campaigns to western Iran. Namri has a long history and apart from Neo-Assyrian documents, has been attested in the inscriptions from Akkadian and Kassite periods. According to the reports of the Assyrian kings it has common boundaries with Arrapha, Gannanati land, halman and parsua. In summary we can say that the neo-Assyrian evidence point to an area from Diyala river toward western part of the modern province of Kermanshah in Western Iran. The material available for locating Hamban (Bit-Hamban) indicates that it must has been near Namri and borders it in the east. Given this point and as it was accessible from Ellipi as well, Hamban can be localized in east of Kermanshah around Behistun plain. It has probably been attested in Aramaic version of Behistun inscription of Darius as the “hmbn”. Thanks to the reading of Tangi var inscription found in Avroman (Hawraman) in which the great success of Sargon II in the land of Karalla has been reported, we can localize Karalla in Avroman in Iranian Kurdistan. Allabria was also the neighbor of Karalla and as it had common boundaries with Parsua and Mannea according to Assyrian itineraries, we can say that it was situated in an area between modern cities of Sanandaj and Mariwan. There are also lots of evidence which shows that Parsua was an important petty state along the great Khorasan road and located in the north of Mahidasht Plain. In this paper we also examined the wrong information about Parsua, Parsuash and Parsumash and its relations with Persians and their migration into Iran. It seems that except “Parsumash”, which had firstly been mentioned in the inscriptions of Senacherib in 691 B.C, which referred to Persia, the other names refer to the land of Parsua located in Central Zagros without any relation to Persians. So, the Zagros parsua and the land of the Persians in modern Fars has nothing in common except a similar name.
The present paper dealt with the localization of five petty states and lands of the first half of 1st millennium B.C locating in central Zagros. Our most significant sources for localization of these place names were neo-Assyrian written documents and archaeological data of this period from western Iran. In order to reach a valid answer, we have analyzed geographical data of the Neo-Assyrian inscriptions particularly those which reporting the Assyrian army campaigns into western Iran. We also try to identify the well-known late Iron Age sites of western Iran with the mentioned place-names. The result of the study indicates that Namri could be localized in western parts of modern Kermanshah while Hamban and Parsua are situated respectively in central and northern part of the province. Parsua probably situated in north of Mahidasht plain and can be identified with the ancient mound of Kheibar in Ravansar. Hamban can be localized in Behistun plain and has been probably mentioned in Aramaic version of Behistun inscription of Darius as the “hmbn”. Karalla is located in Hawraman (Avroman) near to Tangi var inscription and Allabria can be localized north of it near modern cities of mariwan and Sanandaj.