CAMBADENE, Latin form of Old Persian Kamba(n)da (spelled ka-ba-da; Elamite ka-um-pan-tas; Babylonian URUka-am-pa-da-ʾ; Aramaic ḥnbn), the name of a region (dahyāuš) in ancient Media and present Persian Kurdistan. An older theory that the name derives from Elamite Hamban, a tribe living in a tributary basin on the left bank of the Upper Dīāla, has now been abandoned (see bīt hamban). The Bīsotūn (Behistun) inscription of Darius I implies that in the Achaemenid period Kambada controlled the Zagros road linking Mesopotamia with the Iranian lands (DB 2.27; Kent, Old Persian, pp. 121, 123). Isidore of Charax (5) reported that under the Seleucids and the Parthians Cambadene was a satrapy whose main town was Baptana, located in the foothills of a mountain on which was carved a representation of Semiramis. In the opinions of C. Müller (pp. LXXX ff.) and J. Marquart (p. 165; cf. Ērānšahr, p. 18) this Baptana is simply a corruption of Bagistana, and the evidence of Isidore thus suggests that Cambadene was centered around the town of Bīsotūn. Its territory may have extended to the area around Konkobar (Kangāvar), the next station east of Bagistana according to Isidore (5-6). Mount Kambandus mentioned by Pliny (Natural History 6.134, cf. 5.98, with Marquart’s corrections) may be identified with the Kūh-e Zarna near Ravānsar.

In 522 b.c., while Darius was in Babylon, the Median Fravartiš rose in rebellion in Media, threatening the vital line of communication through the Zagros. Darius immediately sent a token force of Medes and Persians under Vidarna (Hydarnes), one of Darius’s six helpers, to prevent the southward expansion of the rebels. Vidarna defeated a contingent of Fravartiš’s supporters near a town called Maruš and remained in the district of Kambada until Darius himself could advance against Fravartiš (DB 2.18-29).



J. C. Greenfield and B. Porten, The Bisitun Inscription of Darius the Great. Aramaic Version, Corpus Inscr. Iran. I/V: Texts I, London, 1982, pp. 22, 24, 25.

W. Hinz, in Texte aus der Umwelt des Alten Testaments I/4: Texte 1, Gütersloh, 1984, p. 431 (Elamite version of the Bīsotūn inscription).

Isidore of Charax, ed. C. Müller in Geographi Graeci Minores, Paris, 1855, pp. 244ff.; Eng. tr.

W. G. Shoff, Parthian Stations, Philadelphia, 1914; 2nd ed., 1976.

P. J. Junge, Darios I. König der Perser, Leipzig, 1944, pp. 54, 170, n. 24.

J. Marquart, Untersuchungen zur Geschichte von Ērān II, Leipzig, 1905.

E. N. von Voigtlander, The Bisitun Inscription of Darius the Great. Babylonian Version, Corpus Inscr. Iran, I/II: Texts I, London, 1978, pp. 24, 57.

F. H. Weissbach, “Bagistana,” in Pauly-Wissowa, II/2, cols. 2769-71, and “Kambadēnē,” ibid., X/2, cols. 1807-08.

(A. Shapur Shahbazi)

Originally Published: December 15, 1990

Last Updated: December 15, 1990

This article is available in print.
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