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Ancient Origins of the Kurds

About history of Kurdistan and middle east and the world.

Ancient Origins of the Kurds

PostAuthor: Zert » Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:32 pm

Okay, so this is a copy of a thread I made on ABF. Please, if you wish to contribute to the thread yourself, do so in a rational way, with good, academic sources.

So, here, please discuss and post matters regarding (ancient) history of peoples related to the Kurds.

Let's start, shall we?

Scythians

The Scythians, an nomadic Iranic steppe peoples, whose area of influence stretched from Central Asia to Eastern Europe. They've also left traces in Kurdistan.

Scythian Onomasticon
Valentyn Stetsyuk
Research on Prehistoric Ethnogenetic Processes in Eastern Europe

http://s155239215.onlinehome.us/turkic/40_Language/StetsyukHtm/StetsyukB2ch5En.htm

An article on the Scythian language's traces in modern language; in it they found a surprisingly high amount of Kurdish parallels.

1. (awawos) - Kurd. ebaboz “thief” is suitable for anthroponimic good.
2. (awlo:nakos) - Kurd. eble ”fool” and nekes “miserable”. A good junction for anthroponimics.
3. (awroagos) - Kurd. ebro “eyebrow”, agos “furrow” (can be “wrinkle”); Chuv. upran ”to look after” and aka “tillage”.
4. (adzos) - Kurd. aciz ”weak” or aza “free”; Chuv. uçă open”.
(argimpatoi) - Kurd. erqem “number” and feda ”sacrifice”; Chuv. arkan “to break” and păta stick”.
5. (ardagdakos) - Osset. ardar “leader”, Kurd. elder “leader” and dek “slyness”; Turkic languages give many other possibilities of translation, e.g. Chuv. artak “delight” and tăkăs “sour”, urtar “to anger”; com. Turkic ortaq (Chuv vărtăх) „a friend” and dyqyz (Chuv tăkăs „close, tight”), or artyq „great” и dağ „mountain”.
6. (ardarakos) – Osset. ardar “leader”, Kurd. elder “leader”, ardû “wood” and req “dry”. Arm ardaraxos „truthful”.
7. (asaros) - Osset. a and sær “headless”, Kurd. hesar “fence”.
8. (aspamithareos) - com. Ir. asp(a) “horse”, and Kurd. metha “prais” and rewe “herd”.
9. (auasios) – com. Ir. ovoz “voice”, Kurd. ĥewas “sense”, “sensitive”.
10. (auloudzelmis) - Kurd. hewil “help”or ewlî “holy” and zelam “man”.
11. (aulou-poris) - Kurd. ewlî “holy”, por “hair”.
12. (wadzos) - com. Ir. bazu “arm”, “wing”; Chuv. puç “head” vyçǎ “hunger”.
13. (walos) - Kurd. bala “top”; Chuv. vulă “trunk, stem”; OE wala, walu „stick”.
14. (wendzei) - Osset. bindzæ “bee”, Kurd. banz “jump”.
15. (wessa) - Kurd. beş „part, share“, or bes „sufficent“, or bəş “tribute”, or bêşe “small wood, forest”; Chuv. pěçě „thigh“ věç “finish”, OE wiss “sure, trustly”.
16. (witou) - Kurd. beta „to vanish“; Chuv. pětev ”body”, “amulet”.
17. (wiste:s) - Kurd. bistî “stalk” or bista “trusty” or bista “lover”.
18. (wolas) - Kurd., Pers. etc bolo “top”; Chuv. pulu “gingerbread”.
19. (boudzas) - Kurd. boz “grey”, bûz “ice”; Chuv. puç “head”.
(germanos) - com. Ir. garm/germ “warm”;
20. (geros) - Kurd. gewr “grey”;
21. (gola) - Kurd. gol “dog”, gole “senior herdsman”, Osset. gal “ox, bull”;
22. (dada) - com. Ir. dada “father”;
23. (dandaksarthon) - com. Ir. dandon “tooth and Kurd. şert ”agreement”; Chuv. šărt “oath”. The root  is fixed in epigraphics in North region of the Black Sea. Kurd. şert ”agreement” and Chuv. šărt “oath” coincides to it good phoneticly. It is interesting that an oath for tooth, words “I give the tooth” and a suitable gesture are present in criminal and even in children world nowadays. However the Kurdish word can be borrowed from Arabic. Compare .
24. (daou) – Kurd. daw “tail”; Chuv. tav 1. “gratitude”, 2. “dispute”;
25. (diagoras) - Kurd. dia “blessing” and gor “grave, tomb”;
26. (didumoksarthos) - Kurd. didan “tooth” (com. Ir. dandon) and şert ”condition”; Chuv. tytăm “control, management” and šărt “oath”. Although such word is also in Arabic (šart „condition”) Compare .
27. (didza) - Kurd. diz “thief”;
28. (didza-dzelmis) - Kurd. diz “thief” and zelam “man’;
29. (didzarou) - Kurd. diz “thief” and rûvi “fox”;
30. (dindou) - ir. din (Kurd. dîn) “faith”; better Chuv. těn “faith” and tav “gratitude”;
31. (domeo) - Kurd. dûmayî “remains”;
32. (doridzou) - Kurd. dor “circle”; Chuv. tură “god” and çăva “cemetery, Chuv. tări “lark” and çu “summer”.
33. (doulas) - Kurd. dol “ravine”;.
34. (eisgoudiou) - Kurd. e’yş “joy, spree, fun” and qude “proud”; Chuv. ěç “work” and kut “ass”; OE īs “ice”, gōd “good”.
35. (ergino) - Kurd. erk “job, matter” and îna “faith”; Chuv. er “to tie”and küme “truck”;
36. (dzadzous) - Kurd. zaza(n) – Kurdish tribe;
37. (dzaldzou) - Kurd. zal “old” and zo “cord; Chuv. çulça “leaf”;.
38. (dzeilas) - Kurd. zeyle (zehle) “pester”.
39. (zinna) - Kurd. zîn “saddle” and nav “girdle”; Chuv. çěn ‘to win”;
40. (dzoure) - com. Ir. zor/zur “force”; Chuv. çyră “light-brown”.
41. (dzopura) - Kurd. zopir “great”; Chuv. çupărla “to embrace”;
42. (dzopurion) - see previous;
43. (dzo:rsanos) - Ir zor/zur “strength, force”; Chuv. çur 1. “spring-time”, 2. “half” . 3. “to tear”, sǎn “face”, sǎnǎ “spear”, sun “to want”.
44. Išpakai (Scythian king or war-lord in Assyrian sources) – this name is a serious argument for Iranian origin of Scythians however it could not stem out of Ir aspa „a horse”, but out of Ir spaka „a dog”. One can find in Turkic languages some variants of explanation of the word but it really could have Iranian origin. Maybe Cimmerians named their enemy by such scornful name “a dog”.
45. (kardious) – different explanations are possible - Kurd. kerdî “furrow”; Chuv. kǎrt ”few”, xurt “worm”; Gr  “heart”.
46. (karsa) - Kurd. kerş “wood chips, splinters”; Chuv. xyrçă “spine”;
47. (kamasarue:s)- Kurd. kam , Osset. and other ir. kom „desipe, wish“; com. Ir. sar “head”; better Chuv. kăm “ashes“ and ără “grey”.
48. (ma) - Kurd. max “source”; Chuv. may ”side” or măy “neck”;
49. (madzis, madzas) - Kurd. maze “axis” or mazî “splinter”; better Lit mažas, Let mazs “small”;
50. (maito:nion) - com ir. maidan “place, stand’.
51. (me:sakou) - Kurd. maşaq “beloved”;
52. (mostion) - com. Ir. mast “drunk” or “bitter”;
53. (olgasus) - Kurd. olk 1. “province” 2. army”; Chuv alka “ear-ring”.
54. (owarga-dakos) - Kurd. warge “place, stand” and deq “plane, smooth”;
55. (ovaradzakon) – “a beaten tramp” (Afg avāra, Tal awərə, Kurd. êperо etc “tramp, vagabond”, com. Ir čak- “to beat”)
56. (pane:ios) - Kurd. pene ”secret”;
57. (panias) - see previous;
58. (pateiros) - Ir pata/pada “foot”, Kurd êrîş „footstep”.
(pistou) - Kurd. pist ”error, miss”;
59. (pourthake:s), (pourtauos) - Os fyrt “son”, Kurd. purt “hair”and Tal. taka “billy-goat”; Chuv. purtă “axe” and aka “ancient plough”;
60. (purre)- - Kurd. pûr “pheasant”;
61. (re:skouporis) - com. Ir. rişk “louse”, “nit” and Kurd. por “hair”;
62. (roume:talkas) - Kurd. rûmet “cheek” and elk “glutton”;
63. (sabada) - Pers. sabad, Afg. savada, Yag., Yazg. sabat, Kurd. sepet “basket; Chuv. săpat “face”;
64. (sabo:dakos) - perhaps as previous;
65. (seavagou) - Kurd. seav “otter”, se “a dog”, waq “sense, feeling”.
66. (seuthou) - Kurd. sewt “loud”or sewda “mind, reson”;
(basileus skilouros) - Kurd. şilor “plum”;
67. (sturakos) - Kurd. stûr, Osset. styr, sutur and other Iranian “great, strong, thick”;
68. (sturanos) - see previous;
69. (taroulou) - com. Ir. tar/tor “dark” and Kurd. law “child”;
70. (a tribe on the north of Scythia, mentioned by Herodotus,)Thyrsagetae, according to Valerius Flaccus – Abayev explained the name as “quick deer” (Pers, Kurd tūr “ardent”, Os sag “deer”). One can pay attention that morpheme getai/ketai is present in some people names ( , , ). Beside this, Thracian tribes  are known too. We can conjecture that this word means “people”. The most near on meaning is Chuv kĕtü “herd, flock, crowd”. The Thissagetae means “furious people” (OE đyssa “ruffian”). If the form of Valerius Flaccus is more correct, what is possible as it correspond the name  (see), then Thyrsagetae – “the people of giants or sorcerers” (OE đyrs „giant, demon, sorcerer”).
71. (pourtheiou) (pourtauos) - Kurd. purt “hair”; Chuv. purtă “axe”, OE furđor “forward”.
72. (sadaiou) - Os sädä “hundred”; Cuv sut “to sell” and ujav “holiday”; Kurd sade, Afg sada “easy”; OE sāda “string”, iow “yew”.


Another article from the same author can be found here : alterling2.narod.ru/English/DruhaAnglACimm.doc"]alterling2.narod.ru/English/DruhaAnglACimm.doc

Genetic evidence

Scythians are often linked to the paternal haplogroup of R1a1, one which a high amount of Kurds also posses; depending on the group tested, R1a1 can range from 12 to 25% among Kurds.
http://www.zazaki.org/files/Kurds.pdf

Of course, this does not necessarily mean that this is inherited from Scythians, other Iranic groups also likely carried R1a1.

Psuedo-evidence

Hats
Something I've posted earlier on the forum:
the pointy hats Kurds are often depicted as wearing in antique images bear a striking resemblance to the hats of the Scythians.

Image
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Image
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Though it must be noted that Assyrians also have very similar hats in their folk costume.

The Alans

Furthermore, there's a prominent Kurdish tribe named "Alan", the same as a tribe of Scythian-related peoples. Though, as far as I know, the Scythian Alans didn't pass through Kurdistan. (never mind, I believe this is wrong)

Alright, that was the first post, expect more in the coming days.
Feel free to contribute, it doesn't all have to be ancient history either.
Last edited by Zert on Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Ancient Origins of the Kurds

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Re: Ancient Origins of the Kurds

PostAuthor: Zert » Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:34 pm

Scythian traces in Kurdistan

As I've said before, the Scythians have left their mark upon the Kurdish lands too; stelae and treasure believed to be Scythian (or related) in origin have been discovered.

Hakkari Stelae

In 1998, a number of stelae were found in Hakkari. This form of art is traditionally not found in great numbers in the Middle East, though, Scythians and other Eurasian steppe peoples were known to produce these. Whether these stelae were truly Scythian or from a related peoples is very much debatable however, since these most likely predate the Scythians.

Hakkari Stelae
ImageImageImage

To compare:
Kurgan Stelae
Image
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Oddly enough, the PKK allegedly found stelae too, in the deep Southeast of Anatolia, most likely also the Hakkari or Sirnak region. These pictures were uploaded by them some years ago, but the current location of the artifacts are unknown, or whether even they're genuine or not.

Image
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These were found near hewn out tunnels, small shrines and the likes, deep in mountain territory, so it seems that the people who made these stelae made a permanent zone of inhabition of these regions. Though, when one observes the stelae, they seem of a more refined nature than the Scythian ones, especially the last one.

Ziwiye Hoard

In 1947, in the Kordestan region of Iran, a hoard (treasure) was found containing ornaments and objects of gold, silver and ivory. These seem to contain influences from multiple cultures, of which Scythian is one.

Image
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More to come.
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Re: Ancient Origins of the Kurds

PostAuthor: Zert » Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:36 pm

Origin of the term "Kurd"

Another great point of dispute is the name of the Kurds. Some will say it's a name that has been existence for millenia, others point out that the first attestation of it was during the Arab conquests to denote Iranic nomads. Let's diverge into this matter further.

The First Kurd

The first proper mention of the term "Kurd" was during the Sassanid period (AD 224–AD 651). During this period we'll see two prominent groups of "Kurds" described in historical texts.

Let's take a look:

The Kârnâmag î Ardashîr î Babagân
('Book of the Deeds of Ardashir, son of Babag')


CHAPTER 5.

Afterwards he (viz., Ardashir), having collected many soldiers and heroes of Zavul, proceeded to battle against Mâdîg, the King of the Kurds. There was much fighting and bloodshed (in which) the army of Ardashir (finally) sustained a defeat. Ardashir became anxious on account of his own army. (On his way back) he came at night through a desert which contained neither water nor food, so he himself with all his troops and horses came to hunger and thirst. (Marching onward) he saw, from a distance, a fire belonging to (some) shepherds, and there Ardashir went and beheld an old man living with (his) cattle on a mountain-steppe. Ardashir passed the night there, and the next day he asked them (viz., the shepherds) about the road. They said: "Three frasangs hence there is a very fertile village which has many inhabitants and plenty of food." Ardashir went to that village, and dispatched a person to send to his capital his entire cavalry.

The army of Madig boasted thus: "Now there should be no fear of Ardashir, as on account of his defeat he has returned to Pars.

(Meanwhile) Ardashir, having prepared an army of four thousand men, rushed upon them (viz., the Kurds), and surprised them with a night attack. He killed one thousand of the Kurds, (while) others were wounded and taken prisoners; and out of the Kurds (that were imprisoned) he sent to Pars their king with his sons, brothers, children, his abundant wealth and property.


Link: http://www.avesta.org/pahlavi/karname.htm

A Letter to Ardashir I, from his enemy, Ardavan V

You've bitten off more than you can chew
and you have brought death to yourself.
0 son of a Kurd, raised in the tents of
the Kurds, who gave you permission to put
a crown on your head?


Link: http://www.kavehfarrokh.com/wp-content/ ... c-iran.pdf

From the same source:

Rashid Yasami believes that the Kurds' original home was Fars. He cites as evidence the Persian historian Beihaqi (c. 1000 A.D.). Each reason and area has something associated with it: the wise men of Greece, the painters of China...and the Kurds (akrad) of Fars. According to Yasami, not only were the Kurds of Fars a major support of Sassanian power, but Ardashir I, the founder of the empire, was himself a Kurd. He says that Sasan, Ardashir's
grandfather, married Ram Behesht of the Bazanjan Kurds, who, according to istakhri, were one of the five Kurdish tribes of Fars. Their son Pgpak took advantage of his Kurdish connections and sent his son Ardashir as governor to Darabgerd (Darab), which was the center of the Chupanan, or Shabankareh, the large federation of tribes to which the Banzanjan belonged and who had been Sasan's original protectors. These same Kurds of Fars now became Ardashir's supporters in his revolt against Ardavan V, the Arsacid ruler.


Now, the general consensus is that during these times "Kurd" was solely used as a social term for nomads and shepherds of Iranic origin. Though, I have a few remarks to make:
-Madig and his troops, centered around Kermanshah, don't seem to have been nomads nor shepherds; they appeared to have been sedentary and to be warriors.
-In Ardavan V's wordings one can clearly see the social background of the term, but interestingly, the tribe of which Ardashir I descended (Shabankareh) seems to have survived until today, in the form of a Kurdish tribe near Kermanshah. Indeed, a tribe by the name of Shabankara is based there.

Earlier forms

However, similar terms have been attested throughout the millenia in Mesopotomia. Indeed, "Kur", "Guti", "Carduchi", "Cyrtii" all denoted peoples inhabiting the Zagros mountains. Some of these were thought to simply denote all barbarian tribes in mountain territory North of Mesopotamia, regardless of ethnicity.

Thoughts of F. Hennerbichler:

Similar, “Kurd” seems to derive from the assumed Sumerian originated word stem “kur”, first recorded millennia back B.C.E., meaning [kur = mountain/land] > “inhabitants of the mountains” or casually mountaineers (“Bergler”). The umbrella compound expression “kur”-com- prises also a variety of terms, some sound similar like “kur-ti”, in a wider sense “kar-da” too, others completely different like G/K/Quti, Lullubi, Arrapha, Urbilum, Zamua, Mehri or Ba-banhi, and in addition et aliae translated into Greek and Roman like Kárdakes, Carduchi, or Cyrtii (Cyrtioi). Which illustrates as well, that not all Kurds (speakers of the “Kurdish Complex”) share this family name (compound term label), but obviously most of them call themselves “Kurd” and identify with a com-mon homeland “Kurdistan” (land of Kurds).

Link: http://www.scirp.org/journal/PaperDownload.aspx?FileName=AA20120200004_31143730.pdf&paperID=19564

Is it possible that this ancient term was simply copied by the Persians and Arabs to denote a people with similar customs and zone of inhabitation? You be the judge, but it seems likely to me.
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Re: Ancient Origins of the Kurds

PostAuthor: alan131210 » Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:39 pm

great thread my dear

The Alans

Furthermore, there's a prominent Kurdish tribe named "Alan", the same as a tribe of Scythian-related peoples.


i had assyrians ask me "why do you name yourself an english name" :lol:
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Re: Ancient Origins of the Kurds

PostAuthor: Zert » Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:44 pm

The Carduchians

So last time some the etymology of the term "Kurd" was covered. Now, let's diverge further into the history of one of the (possible) Kurdish etymological ancestors; the Carduchians.

Situated in the deep southeast of Anatolia, these mountain dwellers were attested by several historians, though the best account of them is that of the Greek historian Xenephon.

In the Anabasis, Xenephon details his efforts in conquering Persia, though, he fails and has to retreat to friendly Armenia, though not before crossing through Corduene, which would prove to be quite a handful.

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Indeed, as they traversed Corduene, they would lose more men than they did whilst fighting the Persians. Though light on arms, the Carduchians knew perfectly how to utilise their surroundings to harras their enemies, with hit-and-run and guerilla-like tactics.

However, it seems that the Carduchians would be not merely uncivilised barbarians, Xenephon talks of their provisions:

Thereupon the Carduchians abandoned their dwelling places, and with their wives and children fled to the mountains; so there was plenty of provisions to be got for the mere trouble of taking, and the homesteads too were well supplied with a copious store of bronze vessels and utensils which the Hellenes kept their hands off,...


Also, it seems that the Carduchians had made a unique kind of bow:

They were, moreover, excellent archers, using bows nearly three cubits long and arrows more than two cubits. When discharging the arrow, they draw the string by getting a purchase with the left foot planted forward on the lower end of the bow. The arrows pierced through shield and cuirass, and the Hellenes, when they got hold of them, used them as javelins, fitting them to their thongs.


Moreover, in later Roman sources, the Carduchians were depicted as good builders by the historian Strabo:

Near the Tigris, lie the places belonging to the Gordyaeans: and their cities are named Sareisa and Satalca and Pinca, a very powerful fortress with three citadels, each enclosed by a separate fortification of its own, so that they constitute as it were, a triple city. But still it not only was held in subjection by the King of the Armenians, but the Romans took it by force, although the Gordyaens had an exceptional repute as master- builders and as experts in the construction of siege engines: and it was for this reason that Tiagranes used them in such work…. The country is rich in pasturage and so rich in plants that it also produces the evergreens and spice plants called amomum: and it is a feeding- ground for lions: and it also produces naphtha and the stone called gangitis, which is avoided by reptiles. (16.1.24)


It seems that the Carduchians were, at least linguistically, Iranic. Xenephon mentions him having to use an interpreter (which was normally used to converse with Persians) to communicate with Carduchian captives. Ultimately, Xenephon and his troops would escape Corduene, by crossing the eastern bank of the Tigris.

Able warriors as they were, they would remain under the reign of other empires for most of their existence. During the early Roman era, their lands were much valued and stretched untill present-day Diyarbakir.

Interesting to note is that they might have revered Teshub (detucted by the presence of "Tesup" in their names), showing that perhaps they were Hurrians that were only recently Iranicized by language.

The scribe of this letter, a certain Bag-te-sup,
whose name is evidently a compound of Bag and Te-sup, the
god not only of Mitanni and ancient Kirhu and Gorduene
(cf. Sadi-Tesup, Kali-Tesup, Kili-Tesup), but also of the
GUimirrai (cf. the name Te - us-pa), and this scribe may there-
fore very well have been from the land of Gimirra.


Lastly, it's also important to note that Mount Judi took its name from the Carduchians, for, in ancient sources it was named Mount Qardu. This mountain, and not Mount Ararat, was the alleged place where Noah's Ark stranded.

George Sale:
This mountain [al-Judi] is one of those that divide Armenia on the south, from Mesopotamia, and that part of Assyria which is inhabited by the Curds, from whom the mountains took the name Cardu, or Gardu, by the Greeks turned into Gordyae, and other names. ... Mount Al-Judi (which seems to be a corruption, though it be constantly so written by the Arabs, for Jordi, or Giordi) is also called Thamanin ..., probably from a town at the foot of it.


Kurds or not?
The question remains, were they the ancestors of the Kurds? In old sources Kurds are often equated with the Carduchians, sometimes the two were even used interchangeably. However, some authors doubt the alleged connection between the two (among whom is Asatrian).

Let's put some facts in a row:
The Carduchians were Iranic, lived in Southeast Anatolia, were warlike mountain dwellers, and their name resembles the term "Kurd". You be the judge, but to me it seems almost certain that they constitute one of the ancestors of the Kurds.

Remains (?)
No remains of the Carduchians seem to exist, though, the findings of the PKK I mentioned earlier are possibly theirs. Here more pictures of their discovery:

Image
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ImageImage

However, when reading a touristic guide of the Sirnak region (which Corduene encompassed), I stumbled upon two historical sites that allegedly were Gutian(!) in origin: the Cizire Fortress and the Kasrik Bridge. Now, being a Turkish guide, their desclusion of anything Kurdish is unsurprising (no offence, that's just the way it is, they didn't even mention where from Mount Judi took its name in the guide), and since the Gutians lived quite a bit further south (and in 2400 B.C.), could these be actual Carduchian remains?

Sources:
Anabasis
Strabo
The Seven Great Monarchies Of The Ancient Eastern World, Vol 7: Sassanian Empire
George Sale
Notes on Assyrian and Babylonian Geography
Touristic guide: http://www.guneydogumirasi.org/eng/southeastanatoliaguide/sirnak.pdf

Next time, I'll delve further into the opinions of historians whether they were truly Kurdish ancestors or not.
Kurdish DNA blog:
http://kurdishdna.blogspot.com/

Kurdish Musings (a great Kurdish history blog):
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Re: Ancient Origins of the Kurds

PostAuthor: Zert » Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:51 pm

Kurdish Jews

Even though I said another subject would be covered today, I really wanted to do a piece on the Kurdish Jews, also known as the Jews of Kurdistan.

See, the Kurds are a religiously very diverse people; although the majority are Sunni Muslims, there's also Shias, Alevis, Yarsanis, Yezidis, and small groups of Christians, Atheists and Jews. Altogether, non-Sunni muslims make up an estimated 25% of the Kurdish population.

The difference with these Kurdish Jews however, is that their main language is Aramaic (the same as Assyrians). Indeed, although many of them can communicate in Kurdish, this is not their mother tongue. Therefore, it is thought that they originally were not ethnic Kurds, but gradually took on a Kurdish identity.

Judaism in Kurdistan

To properly get acquianted with the Kurdish Jews, one has to make a portrait of their history in what is today called Kurdistan (i.e. the geographical region in which Kurds predominate), but first, let's start of with a myth about the birth of the Kurdish nation:

Thus, in one of the legends concerning the origins of the Kurds, King Solomon who ruled over the supernatural world called his angelic servants and ordered them to fly to Europe and to bring him five-hundred beautiful women. When his servants were back, they learned that their master had already passed away. Then they retained those women for themselves, and they gave the birth to the Kurdish nation.


But, that's fiction, wherefrom do the Kurdish Jews stem?
Well, in the 9th century BC, the Assyrian Empire conquered the Kingdom of Israel. The Jews were deported into the various cities of the Assyrian Empire to absorb them into the main populace, and into Media.

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However, it seems that certain Jewish groups from either this deportation, or from the Babylonian captivity retained their identity, for centuries later, a Jewish presence could still be seen in Mesopotamia, in the form of Adiabene.

Adiabene is an important chapter in the history of the Jews in Northern Mesopotamia, this Kingdom from the 1st century AD, which stretched from present-day Erbil to Urmia, was formally ruled by the Parthians, but had a great deal of autonomy. A Kingdom with ethnic diversity, Jews and Iranic tribes could be seen, next to the majority of Assyrian Christians.
However, the population of said Kingdom converted to Judaism in greater numbers as time passed (or at least its rulers did). After being conquered by the Sassanids the Kingdom faded into obscurity, though likely the later Kurdish Jews are the descendants of the Jews of Adiabene.

Hereafter mention of Jews in North Mesopotamia would cease, until the Middle Ages when multiple accounts of the Jews in Kurdistan were witnessed by travelers, such as David of Tudela. Interestingly, a Jewish leader of the name of David Alro'i seems to have stood up against the Persians in the 12th century; David's account:

Ten years ago today there rose up a man and his name was David Alro'i, of the city of Amadia. And he studies before the exilarch, Hasda'i, and before the head of the yeshiva, the gaon Yakov, in the city of Baghdad. He was quick in the teachings of Israel, in the law and in the Talmud, in all the wisdom of Ishmael, and in the secular books, and the books of magicians and mediums. It came to his mind to raise his hand against the king of Persia and to gather the Jews who live in the mountains of Haftoun and go out and make war against all the other nations and go and take Jerusalem. And he gave signs to the Jews by false wonders and said that "The Holy One blesses is he has sent me to conquer Jerusalem and bring you out from beneath the yoke of the other nations", and some few Jews believed him and called him, "Our messiah."


Indeed, the city of Amadiyah was a significant center for the Jewish population, 2 graves of important Jewish scholars can be found in the city; namely those of the brothers Hazan David and Hazan Yosef, who built houses and a synagogue in the 10th century after having to put a spell on the pasha of Amadiyah to become accepted into the city.

Another significant case of Kurdo-Jewish interaction was the advent of Saladin, who seemed quite positive towards Jews. One of his personal doctors was a Jew, and after conquering Jerusalem, he allowed Jews (and all other believers) back in the city. In the Ayyubid Empire, the Jews played an important role of traders and physicians.

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An Ayyubid Coin, with the Star of David

In the 17th century, a Jewish woman by the name of Asenath Barzani raised to prominence as rabinical teacher, some would even call her the very first female Rabbi, although it's unclear whether that title is trule applicable to her. Still, many stories about her are known among the Kurds.

In later periods, it would become clear that the Kurdish Jews received a mixed treatment, many tribes in South Kurdistan had Jews living amongst them, whom were protected as a 'tribal tradition', though, they were subjected to heavy taxes and sometimes even 'owned'. Though, it would seem that the Jews were never forced to convert to Islam, or to call themselves Kurds. Indeed, it seems that they took on the Kurdish identity willingly. The Kurdish Jews were also known as the greatest of story tellers, as loyal, and as hard-working. A quote of a Jew of Kurdistan in Mordechai Zaken's Jewish Subjects and Their Tribal Chieftains in Kurdistan: A Study in Survival:

We were 'their Jews.' The shaikh [Tawfiq], would respect my father. He used to tell my father 'come and sit, Moshe.' In the koçke, his seat was opposite the shaikh. The shaikh loved to listen to his stories of days past. My father was previously the Jew of Shaikh Ubaidullah [of Baijil], his father. His father had told him, 'Protect him'. My father was very old and he remembered the events of the earlier times, so he used to tell him. Once a week he would sit with him, drinking tea or coffee, and would tell him stories, not fake, but real, historical events


Though, before anyone accuses me of cherry-picking, there are quite some passages in the same book too about bad treatments of the Jews.

Jews would not remain in Kurdistan however, many of them returned to Israel in the 40's and 50's after being driven out by the Iraqi regime. Though the Kurds as a whole had a good reputation among the Israelis, the Kurdish Jews originally were not widely respected, for when they immigrated to Israel, they would maintain their old traditions of cultivating the land instead of putting their emphasis on education. Later generations however would achieve a higher level of education. Quite some Jewish Kurds would become widely loved and respected in Israel however, such as Moshe Barzani, a Lehi freedom fighter in the first half of the 20th century, the actor Yosef Shiloach, and Ariel Sabar, writer of the award-winning book "My Father's Paradise: A Son's Search for His Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq". Today, approximately 150,000 Kurdish Jews live in Israel, with very small groups still present in South and East Kurdistan.

Some famous Kurdish Jews:
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Moshe Barzani

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Yosef Shiloach

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Ariel Sabar

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Yitzchak Mordechai


Some Kurdish-Jewish manuscripts:
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Marriage manuscript, East Kurdistan, 20th century

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Manuscript containing Purim poems, 19th century
Kurdish DNA blog:
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Kurdish Musings (a great Kurdish history blog):
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Re: Ancient Origins of the Kurds

PostAuthor: jjmuneer » Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:54 pm

Yeh we Kurd Faylis also wear those pointy hats, though I'm not sure if they are the same ones.
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Re: Ancient Origins of the Kurds

PostAuthor: thesunchild » Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:57 pm

I saw your thread bro. I want to add some other stuff about our ancestors, but since I'm banned from that site I can't do it.

If I was active on that site I would add some info about the Mannaeans & Matiene.

According to me most Kurds can search their ancestry in the folks.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mannaeans

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matieni
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Re: Ancient Origins of the Kurds

PostAuthor: Zert » Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:04 pm

alan131210 wrote:i had assyrians ask me "why do you name yourself an english name" :lol:


Thanks.
Indeed, therefore, it would be really interesting to see a 'pure' Alan Kurd get a genetic test. If elevated amounts of the North European component and haplogroup R1a1 are found perhaps we could conclude that they are truly descendants of the Alanian Scythians.
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Re: Ancient Origins of the Kurds

PostAuthor: jjmuneer » Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:07 pm

Zert wrote:
alan131210 wrote:i had assyrians ask me "why do you name yourself an english name" :lol:


Thanks.
Indeed, therefore, it would be really interesting to see a 'pure' Alan Kurd get a genetic test. If elevated amounts of the North European component and haplogroup R1a1 are found perhaps we could conclude that they are truly descendants of the Alanian Scythians.

Maybe, but maybe they could be like the Ossets and mixed with the native population.
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Re: Ancient Origins of the Kurds

PostAuthor: alan131210 » Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:10 pm

If we are to believe Herodotus, Media was unified by a man named Deioces, the first of four kings who were to rule a true empire that included large parts of Iran and eastern Anatolia. Their names sound convincingly Median: a Daiaukku and a Uksatar (Deioces and Cyaxares) are mentioned in texts from the eighth century. Using the number of regnal years mentioned by the Greek researcher and counting backward from the year in which the last Median leader (who is mentioned in the Babylonian Nabonidus Chronicle) lost his throne, we obtain this list:

Deioces
53 years

700/699 to 647/646
Phraortes
22 years

647/646 to 625/624
Cyaxares
40 years

625/624 to 585/584
Astyages
35 years

585/584 to 550/549

Unfortunately, there are several problems. In the first place, Ctesias offers another list of kings. Secondly, there is something wrong with the chronology: the Daiaukku and Uksatar mentioned above lived in c.715. Even worse, Daiaukku lived near Lake Urmia, not in Ecbatana. Besides, the story of Deioces looks suspiciously like a myth or saga about the origins of civilization. Finally, Herodotus' figures are suspect: (53+22) + (40+35) = 75+75 = 150 years. There is no need to doubt the existence of the two last rulers, who are also mentioned in Babylonian texts, but we may ask what kind of leaders they have been.

One clue is a little list that Herodotus inserted in his Histories, in which he states that Deioces "united the Medes and was ruler of the tribes which here follow, namely, the Busae, Paretacenians, Struchates, Arizantians, Budians, and Magians" (1.102). But was Deioces the only leader to unite several tribes? It is not a strange or novel idea to interpret the various personal names we have as an indication of a fluid, still developing central leadership.

Herodotus' list can be seen as an attempt to create order in a confused oral tradition about earlier leaders; his description of Median history probably projects back aspects of the later, Achaemenid empire upon a loose tribal federation. He took the stories told by his Persian informers about the early history of Iran a bit too literally. Which does not mean that the leaders of tribal federations were not capable of exercising great political influence.

Although an Arbaces may have united several Median tribes too, Cyaxares and Astyages are generally recognized as the two last rulers of the federation of tribes. According to the Fall of Nineveh Chronicle, Cyaxares (called Umakištar) destroyed the Assyrian religious center Aššur in the summer of 614:

The Medes went along the Tigris and encamped against Aššur. They did battle against the city and destroyed it. They inflicted a terrible defeat upon a great people, plundered and sacked them. The king of Babylonia and his army, who had gone to help the Medes, did not reach the battle in time.

From this moment on, Cyaxares and the Babylonian king Nabopolassar joined forces, and two years later, the Assyrian capital Nineveh was captured by the allies:

The king of Babylonia and Cyaxares [...] encamped against Nineveh. From the month Simanu [May/June] until the month Âbu [July/August] -for three months- they subjected the city to a heavy siege. On the [lacuna] day of the month Abu they inflicted a major defeat upon a great people. At that time Sin-šar-iškun, king of Assyria, died. They carried off the vast booty of the city and the temple and turned the city into a ruin heap. [...] On the twentieth day of the month Ulûlu [10 August 612] Cyaxares and his army went home.

This proves that Cyaxares was more than just a tribal chief: he was a real king, capable of building an army that was strong enough to capture a city. Probably, the Persians, Armenians, Parthians, and Arians all paid tribute to the Medes. In other words, he controlled a large part of the Silk Road and had expanded his realm to Persis and Armenia, which appears to have been brought in submission after 609 and probably before 605.

Cyaxares' latest recorded act is the battle of the Halys, which he fought against the Lydian king Alyattes and can be dated to 30 May 585 BCE. This and the capture of Aššur in 614 fit within Herodotus' framework, which gives 40 and 35 years to the two last kings, but it is remarkable that Cyaxares was still firmly in charge in 585/584, and had been succeeded by Astyages in 584/583.

About the reign of Astyages, Herodotus tells an oriental fairy tale, which explains why he lost the throne. However, although the story may be more charming than reliable, the fact that Astyages lost his kingdom is confirmed by the Chronicle of Nabonidus, where we read that in the sixth year of the Babylonian king Nabonidus (550/549)

king Astyages called up his troops and marched against Cyrus, king of Anšan [i.e., Persia], in order to meet him in battle. The army of Astyages revolted against him and delivered him in fetters to Cyrus. Cyrus marched against the country Ecbatana; the royal residence he seized; silver, gold, other valuables of the country Ecbatana he took as booty and brought to Anšan.

It is possible that the rise of Persia and the demise of Media had deeper, economic causes. It seems that in the mid-sixth century, qanats were dug in Persis, which gave this part of Iran a competetive advantage compared to Media. However, dating the villages near qanats is not easy, and it may be that this development in fact postdates Cyrus' victory.

Anyhow, Cyrus took over the loosely organized Median empire, including several subject countries: Armenia, Cappadocia, Parthia, and perhaps Aria. They were probably ruled by vassal kings called satraps. In 547, Cyrus added Lydia to his possessions, a state that had among its vassals the Greek and Carian towns in the west and southwest of what is now Turkey.

Eight years later, he captured Babylon, and Cyrus understood that cities were not only there to be looted by nomads -as Cyaxares had done with Nineveh- but could be integrated in an empire. The Persian king also founded a city of his own, Pasargadae, and it is not exaggerated to say that the evolution from tribal society to early state that had started in Media, reached its conclusion in Persis.

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Re: Ancient Origins of the Kurds

PostAuthor: jjmuneer » Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:17 pm

The Parthian language, also known as Arsacid Pahlavi and Pahlavanik, is a now-extinct ancient Northwestern Iranian language spoken in Parthia, a region of northeastern ancient Persia during the rule of the Parthian empire.

Parthian was the language of state of the Parthian Empire (248 BC – 224 AD).


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The Parthian (pronounced /ˈpɑrθiən/) Empire (247 BC – 224 AD), also known as the Arsacid (/ˈɑrsəsɪd/) Empire (Modern Persian: اشکانیان Ashkāniān), was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Persia.[3] Its latter name comes from Arsaces I of Parthia[4] who, as leader of the Parni tribe, founded it in the mid-3rd century BC when he conquered the Parthia region[5] in Iran's northeast, then a satrapy (province) in rebellion against the Seleucid Empire. Mithridates I of Parthia (r. c. 171–138 BC) greatly expanded the empire by seizing Media and Mesopotamia from the Seleucids. At its height, the Parthian Empire stretched from the northern reaches of the Euphrates, in what is now south-eastern Turkey, to eastern Iran. The empire, located on the Silk Road trade route between the Roman Empire in the Mediterranean Basin and Han Empire of China, became a center of trade and commerce.

The Parthians largely adopted the art, architecture, religious beliefs, and royal insignia of their culturally heterogeneous empire, which encompassed Persian, Hellenistic, and regional cultures. For about the first half of its existence, the Arsacid court adopted elements of Greek culture, though it eventually saw a gradual revival of Iranian traditions. The Arsacid rulers were titled the "King of Kings", as a claim to be the heirs to the Achaemenid Empire; indeed, they accepted many local kings as vassals where the Achaemenids would have had centrally appointed, albeit largely autonomous, satraps. The court did appoint a small number of satraps, largely outside Iran, but these satrapies were smaller and less powerful than the Achaemenid potentates. With the expansion of Arsacid power, the seat of central government shifted from Nisa, Turkmenistan to Ctesiphon along the Tigris (south of modern Baghdad, Iraq), although several other sites also served as capitals.

The earliest enemies of the Parthians were the Seleucids in the west and the Scythians in the east. However, as Parthia expanded westward, they came into conflict with the Kingdom of Armenia, and eventually the late Roman Republic. Rome and Parthia competed with each other to establish the kings of Armenia as their subordinate clients. The Parthians soundly defeated Marcus Licinius Crassus at the Battle of Carrhae in 53 BC, and in 40–39 BC, Parthian forces captured the whole of the Levant, excepting Tyre, from the Romans. However, Mark Antony led a counterattack against Parthia and several Roman emperors invaded Mesopotamia during the Roman-Parthian Wars. The Romans captured the cities of Seleucia and Ctesiphon on multiple occasions during these conflicts, but were never able to hold onto them. Frequent civil war between Parthian contenders to the throne proved more dangerous than foreign invasion, and Parthian power evaporated when Ardashir I, ruler of Estakhr in Fars, revolted against the Arsacids and killed their last ruler, Artabanus IV, in 224 AD. Ardashir established the Sassanid Empire, which ruled Iran and much of the Near East until the Muslim conquests of the 7th century AD, although the Arsacid dynasty lived on through the Arsacid Dynasty of Armenia.

Native Parthian sources, written in Parthian, Greek and other languages, are scarce when compared to Sassanid and even earlier Achaemenid sources. Aside from scattered cuneiform tablets, fragmentary ostraca, rock inscriptions, drachma coins, and the chance survival of some parchment documents, much of Parthian history is only known through external sources. These include mainly Greek and Roman histories, but also Chinese histories prompted by the market for Chinese goods in Parthia. Parthian artwork is viewed by historians as a valid source for understanding aspects of society and culture that are otherwise absent in textual sources.

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Re: Ancient Origins of the Kurds

PostAuthor: talsor » Mon Jun 25, 2012 9:34 pm

thesunchild wrote:I saw your thread bro. I want to add some other stuff about our ancestors, but since I'm banned from that site I can't do it.

If I was active on that site I would add some info about the Mannaeans & Matiene.

According to me most Kurds can search their ancestry in the folks.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mannaeans

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matieni


Your ban was not for life , It was for one week :-D . Welcome back
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Re: Median language

PostAuthor: SamBurhan » Mon Jun 25, 2012 10:25 pm

i remmember reading this article of a book about the medes.

also here is a article of the book it's information about the medes it also says kurds are the most related to them they translated median language and it is alot related to kurdish.

also look at this i copied this part of the book it was about the medians and i thought let's copy this part language of the medians.
look here.

Image
Image
Image



None of these languages are related except kurdish.
and median was a north-western iranian language just like the kurds.
it's clear the medes is probably one part of our history. .
the medes were iranic indo-europian people.
and many anti-kurds try to deny that (mostly turks which say we have no history. .)
again when you look up turkish history you will hear the word mongol many times (Paintings of ancient turks also looked mongol let's see an example).
Image

but it's clear none of the other countries are related except kurds and i think we are a mix of many ancient tribes since these lands have been invaded many times(some kurdish baby's have often light brown/blond hair one of my aunts gave birth to a kurdish child blue eyes with white skin he looked like a foreigner however that child was 100% kurdish and died at age 2 because of a heart attack) when we look at our dna i think many are trying to steal great achievements of history from us(again most are turks and the iranian regime which claims everything is theirs even newroz it's clear it's kurdish but they call it persian they will even say dogs are persian =)) . .)
Last edited by SamBurhan on Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:13 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Ancient Origins of the Kurds

PostAuthor: SamBurhan » Mon Jun 25, 2012 11:17 pm

Here is also an interesting article about the gutians which are also considered kurdish ancestors.

http://www.iranian.com/History/2005/March/Gutians/
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