MEDES AND MEDIA
MEDES AND MEDIA (Heb. מָדַי; in Akkadian inscriptions: Madai), a people of Indo-Iranian origin, closely related to the Persians, who inhabited the mountainous area of Iran and the northeastern and eastern region of Mesopotamia. The Medes, located in the Kermanshah-Hamadan (Ecbatana) region, are more prominent in Assyrian texts than the Persians. The Assyrian kings distinguish two groups of Medes inside the empire, and the distant Medes (madaya rūqūti). In the biblical passage enumerating Noah's sons, Madai, the progenitor of the Medes, like those of other Indo-Iranian peoples, is included among the sons of *Japheth (Gen. 10:2). In datable sources Medes are first mentioned in the historical inscriptions of the Assyrian kings of the end of the ninth century B.C.E., Shalamaneser III and his son Shamshi-Adad V. The Assyrian kings in military campaigns against Media, which then stretched southeast of Lake Urmia, inflicted heavy losses on its population. Although the Medes did not as yet have a central kingdom, they succeeded in repelling the Assyrian kings in sporadic encounters and by evasive tactics. In the eighth century B.C.E., *Tiglath-Pileser III, in his campaigns, which extended from *Ararat (Urartu) to the mountains south of the Caspian Sea, subdued the Medes. Annexing Media to Assyria, he deported 65,000 of its population, whom he replaced with inhabitants of other countries. However, in the days of *Sargon II, at the end of the eighth century B.C.E., Media, under the leadership of a Median called Dayaukku, revolted against Assyria. In Sargon's military operations conducted in 716–15 B.C.E. against the centers of revolt, Dayaukku was captured and exiled to Hamath in Syria, whereupon 22 Median rulers, submitting to the sovereignty of Assyria, presented a gift to the king. Dayaukku is undoubtedly identical with Deioces, who is mentioned by Herodotus (1:96–101) as having united the tribes of Media and as having been its first king, reigning for 53 years. However, according to contemporary Assyrian sources, he was merely the forceful local chieftain of a region lying between Assyria
Ecbabtana has not yet been excavated but three other sizable Median sites of the seventh century were deserted by the sixth. No Median writing has been found, though some words that are either Median or part of Medo-Persian koinē have been identified in Old Persian inscriptions, nor has any distinctively Median style in art been identified.
J. von Prašek, Geschichte der Meder und Perser (1906); Luckenbill, Records, index, S.V. Madai, Matai, Medes, Media; J. Levy, Forschungen zur alten Geschichte Vorderasiens (1925); C.J. Gad, The Fall of Nineveh (1926); idem, in: Anatolian Studies, 8 (1958), 72–78; Landsberger and Bauer, in: ZA, 3 (1927), 81–88; F.W. Koenig, in: Der Alte Orient, 33 (1934), 3–4; G.G. Cameron, History of Early Iran (1936); C.C. Torrey, in; JAOS, 66 (1946), 1–15; H.L. Ginsberg, Studies in Daniel (1948), 5–23; R.G. Kent, Old Persian… (1950); R. Ghirshman, Iran (1954), 72–126; D.J. Wiseman, Chronicles of Chaldean Kings (1956); idem, in: Iraq, 20 (1958), 11ff.; I.M. Dyakonov (Diakonoff), Istoria Midii (1956), incl. bibl.; R. Labat, in: JA, 249 (1961), 1–12. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: I. Diakonoff, in: Scripta Hierosolymitana, 33 (… Studies …Tadmor; 1991), 13–20; A. Kuhrt, The Ancient Near East c. 3000–330 B.C. (1995), 652–56; H. Sancisi-Weerdenburg, in: OCD, 944–45; P. Briant, From Cyrus to Alexander (2002), 24–7.
[Samuel Abramsky /
S. David Sperling (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.