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Encyclopedia > Guti (Mesopotamia)

The Gutians (also: Quti, Kuti, Gurti, Qurti, Kurti) were a people of ancient Mesopotamia who lived primarily in the central Zagros Range, most probably an Aryan people. They were a strong political force throughout the 3rd and 2nd millennia. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The Zagros Mountains are Irans second largest range in terms of area covered. ...

The Gutian kings came to power in Mesopotamia circa the 22nd century BC (short chronology) by destabilising Akkad at the end of the reign of Shar-kali-sharri. The last Gutian king was Tirigan, who was preceded by 21 kings, reigning roughly a total of one century (estimates vary between 80 and 120 years, with 91 years often quoted as probable). The dynasty was succeeded by the 3rd dynasty of Ur. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... (23rd century BC - 22nd century BC - 21st century BC - other centuries) (4th millennium BC - 3rd millennium BC - 2nd millennium BC) Events 2217 - 2193 BC -- Nomadic invasions of Akkad. ... The Chronology of the Ancient Orient deals with the notoriously difficult task of assigning years of the Common Era to various events, rulers and dynasties of the 3rd and 2nd millennia BC. The chronology of this region is based on five sets of primary materials. ... Akkad (or Agade) was a city and its region of northern Mesopotamia, situated on the left bank of the Euphrates, between Sippar and Kish (located in present-day Iraq, ca. ... Shar-Kali-Sharri was a king of the Akkadian Empire. ... The third dynasty of Ur reinstalled Sumerian rule after several centuries of Akkadian and Gutian kings (Sumerian Renaissance). ...



In the time of the Akkadian Empire, one prominent nomad tribe were the Guti, who lived in the Zagros Mountains. A generation after Naram-Sin's death, the Guti saw their chance. The weak successors of the king were fighting among themselves for the throne, and various provinces were in revolt and eager for nomad help. The Guti swept down, defeated the demoralized Akkadian army, took Agade and destroyed it about 2215 BC. The Empire became theirs. The Akkadian Empire usually refers to the Semitic speaking state that grew up around the city of Akkad north of Sumer, and reached its greatest extent under Sargon of Akkad. ... ... Akkad (or Agade) was a city and its region of northern Iraq) between Assyria to the northwest and Sumer to the south. ...

Agade was so thoroughly destroyed that, alone of all the Mesopotamian capitals, its site is still not known. The Guti proved to be poor rulers. Under their crude rule, prosperity declined. They were too unused to the complexities of civilization to organize matters properly, particularly in connection with the canal network. This was allowed to sink into disrepair, with famine and death resulting. Thus a short "dark age" swept over Mesopotamia.

Akkad bore the brunt of this, for it was Akkad that had been the center of the Empire and bore the prestige of its tradition, so that it was in Akkad that the Guti established their own center in place of the destroyed Agade. Some of the Sumerian cities in the south took advantage of the safety of distance and purchased a certain amount of self-government by paying tribute to the new rulers. Akkad (or Agade) was a city and its region of northern Mesopotamia, situated on the left bank of the Euphrates, between Sippar and Kish (located in present-day Iraq, ca. ... Sumer (or Shumer, Egyptian Sangar, Bib. ...

Uruk got along under its 4th Dynasty and Ur under its 2nd Dynasty. The most remarkable ruler of the Gutian period was the governor of Lagash, Gudea. Under him about 2150 BC, Lagash had a golden age. Uruk (Sumerian Unug, Biblical Erech, Greek Orchoë and Arabic Warka), was an ancient city of Sumer and later Babylonia, situated east of the present bed of the Euphrates, on the line of the ancient Nil canal, in a region of marshes, about 140 miles SSE from Baghdad. ... , For other uses, see UR. Ur seen across the Royal tombs, with the Great Ziggurat in the background, January 17, 2004 Ur was an ancient city in southern Mesopotamia, located near the original mouth of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers on the Persian Gulf and close to Eridu. ... Lagash or Sirpurla was one of the oldest cities of Sumer and later Babylonia. ... Statue of Gudea, British Museum London Gudea was a ruler (ensi) of the city of Lagash in Southern Mesopotamia who ruled ca. ...

After a few kings, Gutian rulers quickly became more cultivated. They probably even strove to become more Akkadian than the Akkadians, since they had a nomadic ancestry to live down. Thus their rule ended by absorption, as it did for so many nomadic conquerors. Frequently though, such absorption isn't enough, the Guti lasted only about a century. At about 2120 BC, they were expelled from Mesopotamia by the rulers of Uruk and Ur. From this point on the Guti's disappear from history.


Most linguists believe that the Guti spoke an Indo-European language. The fact that the Guti belonged to the Indo-Iranians, is confirmed by their language, which is attested mainly by personal names and king list. According to them the Guti spoke an Indo-European language, which was close to the Tokharian languages.

List of the Gutian kings

The Gutian kings were, in order:

  1. Inkishuc
  2. Zarl-agab
  3. Shulme
  4. Silulumesh
  5. Inimabakesh
  6. Igecaush
  7. Yarl-agab
  8. Ibate
  9. Yarl-angab
  10. Kurum
  11. Apil-kin
  12. La-erabum
  13. Irarum
  14. Ibranum
  15. Hablum
  16. Puzur-Suen
  17. Yarlaganda
  18. Tirigan

Kurdish hypothesis

The Kurdish people have been identified as descendants of the ancient Gutians by some scholars. The very name 'Kurd' itself has been speculated by scholars as being derived from the name 'Guti'. Thus, Howorth (1901) concurs with the derivation of Kurdistan from Gutium, and identifies the ancient Babylonian term for Kurds, Khuradi or Quradu, with Guti. The Kurds are a people indigenous to the contiguous geocultural region which includes adjacent parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey that is often referred to as Kurdistan. ...

  • Eric Jensen (1996) states: "The thirty million Kurds of the Middle East have lived in Kurdistan before record of modern history was kept. The very first mention of the Kurds in history was about 3,000 BC, under the name Gutium, as they fought the Sumerians (Spieser). Later around 800 BC, the Indo-European Median tribes settled in the Zagros mountain region and coalesced with the Gutiums, and thus the modern Kurds speak a language related to Aryan languages (Morris)."
  • "The land of Guti answers in substance, and perhaps also in name, to the modern Kurdistan. According to Sayce the name Kurd is derived from the Babylonian quradu, 'a warrior,' a word which was borrowed by the people of Van. In the forms of 'khuradi' and 'quradu' it is given as the equivalent of 'gut' in an inscription published by Rawlinson. 'Gut' or 'Guti,' we are told, means a 'bull' in the primitive language of Chaldea, and the name Gutium, used by this early people, was borrowed from a Semitic language (probably Babylonian) which possessed the case-ending in 'um.'" (Howorth 1901, ftn. p.32)
  • "The Kurds are a native, non-Arab people who have lived in the Middle East for thousands of years. Their name derives from the ancient Guti (Guti-Gurti-Kurdi), conquerors of Babylon. They were the non-Semitic Hurrians of Mesopotamia and the Medes of Persian history. Their home covers mountainous regions now part of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and other countries as well. But the heartland of ancient Gutium, the domain of later autonomous Kurdish mirs, had been in what is now-- thanks to the British-- Arab Iraq." (Honigman 2003)

A map showing countries commonly considered to be part of the Middle East The Middle East is a region comprising the lands around the southern and eastern parts of the Mediterranean Sea, a territory that extends from the eastern Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf. ... Kurdistan (literally meaning the land of Kurds)[1] (old: Koordistan, Curdistan, Kurdia, also in Kurdish: Kurdewarî) is the name of a geographic and cultural region in the Middle East, inhabited traditionally predominantly by the Kurds. ... The Kurds are a people indigenous to the contiguous geocultural region which includes adjacent parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey that is often referred to as Kurdistan. ...

Notes and references

  • Jensen 1996: "History Of Turkish Occupation Of Northern Kurdistan," Eric Jensen, Poli. Sci. (Third World Politics).
  • Howorth 1901: "The Early History of Babylonia", Henry H. Howorth, The English Historical Review, Vol. 16, No. 61 (Jan. 1901), p.1-34
  • Honigman 2003: "Just Imagine..." By Gerald A. Honigman, Israel Hasbara Committee leaflet, 27 April 2003

See also



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