Episode 9, the Disappearing Kingdom: Medes and the Median Empire

You can download the new episode form this link

As usual, the feed is here.

Names of the characters mentioned

Dioces: the “founder” of the Median Empire according to Herodotus (possibly inspired by the Mannean Diakku, mentioned in Assyrian annales)

Phraortes: his son, possibly the chief Kashtariti mentioned in the chronicle of Essarhaddon

Cyaxares: the greatest of the Median kings, according to Herodotus, and the “conqueror” of Assyria. Possibly Umakishtar who is mentioned in the Gadd Chronicle and said by the Babylonian chronicles to be the person who sacked Assur/Ashur.

Astyages: the last of the Median Emperors, possibly Ishtumigu of the Babylonian chronicles.

median_empire_map chaldeamap

Modern, Artist's imagination of the "Hanging Gardens of Babylon"

Modern, Artist’s imagination of the “Hanging Gardens of Babylon”

Elamite names “galore”

One of the dear readers of this weblog, and listeners to the podcast, suggested that I make a list of the names I so much enjoy pronouncing. I think it is a good idea, except someone has already done it: (for the chaps mentioned this week, scroll down to the Neo-Elamite period).

You should notice that pronunciation occasionally vary. Some of the Elamite pronunciations are being perfected. Temti-Human-Inshushinak now seems to be more like Tepti-Humban-Inshushinak (which is the way I say it). Some are better known (if you can say that about anything Elamite) by their Akkadian names. Shutruk-Nahunte is sometimes written Shutruk-nakhunte or Shutruk-Nahhunte. These are attempts at rendering Elamite in English. The sound /h/ in his name is a laryngeal sound which does not exist in English, similar to Arabic ح. 

Apart from these Elamites, I mentioned a few Assyrians and some Babylonians. Sargon II, Esarhaddon, Sennacherib, and Ashurbanipal are the Assyrian ones. Merodach-Baladan the Chaldean was really the only “Babylonian” I mentioned. 

I will post a similar list from the next episode on. 

Episode 8: the Neo-Elamite Kingdom

Well, here it is FINALLY! I got things to work, and meanwhile everything has changed (the feed is still the same)

This episode goes back to the Elamites and their adventures with the Neo-Assyrians, and their murky last century.

Here are a couple of more readings, one on the chronology of the Neo-Elamite period based on newer finds, and the second on Neo-Elamite “acculturation.”

A book on the Arjan Tomb, an important late Elamite discovery (you can read a condensed version with detailed interpretations here)

A map of Mesopotamia in the first century BCE

A map of Mesopotamia in the first century BCE

Seal of Humban-Kitin, son of Shutruk-Nahhunte II

Seal of Humban-Kitin, son of Shutruk-Nahhunte II

Eshkaft-e Salman in Izeh/Malamir

Eshkaft-e Salman in Izeh/Malamir

Hani, the "eastern" Elamite ruler, along with his wife and child, Eshkaft-e Salman, Izeh

Hani, the “eastern” Elamite ruler, along with his wife and child, Eshkaft-e Salman, Izeh

Neo-Elamite beaker, probably from Susa

Neo-Elamite beaker, probably from Susa

Assyrian victory relief of Ashirbanipal, showing Elamites being deported

Assyrian victory relief of Ashirbanipal, showing Elamites being deported

the bowl from the Arjan Tomb

the bowl from the Arjan Tomb


Episode 6: Peoples and Languages of Iran in the Early Iron Age

Well, here is Episode 6 for you, and the feed too…

I am stopping our chronological progression to talk a bit about the people we have been concerned with. I am going through a list of the civilisations, cultures, and languages of western Iran. We know of most of these through Assyrian and Sumerian, and occasionally Babylonian sources. I will talk a bit more about the Elamite culture, the Kassites and the Gutians, the Lullubi, and finally the Manneans. This will set up the scene for the whole “Indo-Iranian” migration story which seems to be overshadowing so much of early Iranian history.

I talk about the Loristan Bronzes in this episode. Here is an example of a couple of anthropomorphic horses from the BM. They are very common, so much so that you can even buy some of them on the Ebay! (I STRONGLY discourage you from doing this. Do NOT encourage looters and dealers!).

Naram-Sin and the Lullubi

Stele of Naram-Sin showing his victory over the Lullubi

Episode 5: the Middle Elamite Kingdoms

The new episode is out. As usual, you can get it directly from here or subscribe to it from FeedBurner

I owe everyone an apology. I have moved for the year from Europe to North America, and the move proved more overwhelming that I imagined. I had to arrange too many things, teach, and do much writing. I have everything under control now, and will be sticking to a real schedule henceforth.

As for the episode, it is full of weird names, so here is something to orient you (and here is a useful list of all Elamite rulers, real and fictional!):


Kidinu: founder of the first dynasty (Middle Elamite I: Kidinuids)

Tepti-Ahar: the Kidinuid king who founded the site of Haft Tepe (Kabnak) near Susa, where his tomb also is.

Igi-halki: the founder of the second dynasty (Middle Elamite II: the Igihalkids)

Untash-Napirisha: the most important king of the Igihalkids, a maternal grandson of Kurigalzu I of Babylonia (of the Kassite dynasty).

Kidin-Hutran III: the Igilhakid who removed Assyrian puppets from the Babylonian throne.

Tukulti-Nimurta: the Assyrian king who removed the legitimate line of Kassite kings; they were later restored

Shutruk-Nahhunte: the founder and greatest ruler of the Middle Elamite III dynasty, the Shutrukids. He conquered Babylonia and put and end to the rule of the Kassites.

Kutir-Nahhunte: son and successor of Shutruk-Nahhunte

Shilhak-Inshushinak: brother and successor of Kutir-Nahhunte and the last great king of the Shutrukids


Susa: Shusha; the low-land capital of Elam

Anshan/Anzan: the highland capital of Elam

Haft Tepe/Kabnak: site east of Susa; tomb of Tepti-Ahar

Al-Untash-Napirisaha: the archaeological site of Chogha Zanbil, with its impressive Ziggurat; the religious and political centre of the Igilhakids, near Deh-e Now, their home town.

Nebuchadnezzar I: the fourth king of the Babylonian dynasty of the Sealand and the bane of the Shutrukids

Hutelutush-Inshushinak: the last of the Shutrukids; he escaped Nebuchadnezzar and took refuge in Anshan/Anzan; also reliefs at Kul-e Farah in Izeh.

Middle Elamite relief from Kul-e Farah (Izeh)

Middle Elamite relief from Kul-e Farah (Izeh)

The Ziggurat of Chogha Zanbil

The Ziggurat of Chogha Zanbil

The aerial view of Chogha Zanbil/Al-Untash-Napirisha

The aerial view of Chogha Zanbil/Al-Untash-Napirisha