MANNEA (Neo-Assyrian Mannāyu, Old Testament Minni, Vulgata Menni, cf. Postgate, 1987-90, p. 340a), name refering to a region southeast of Lake Urmia centered around modern Saqqez. For all we know, Mannea expanded and gained control over adjacent regions during the first half of the seventh century BCE, the time of its maximum expansion of Mannea towards Zamua. One may distinguish between Mannea proper and Greater Mannea. The adjacent regions of Ziqirtu and Andia north-northeast of Mannea proper formed part of Greater Mannea, but were basically autonomous (see Vera Chamaza, 1994, pp. 115 f., but cf. Fuchs, 1994, pp. 447 ff.). The neighbors of Greater Mannea in the north and northwest were the Urartians and the Scythians (in the first half of the seventh century BCE; see Ivantchik, 1993, passim). In the south Allabria formed a buffer state between the Assyrian province of Parsua and Mannea. It belonged only temporarily to Mannea. In the southwest Mannea bordered on Karalla and the Assyrian province of Zamua. It is doubtful whether Taurla and Dalaya also belonged to Mannea (cf. Diakonoff, 1985, pp. 72 f.). From time to time, both Assyria and Urartu gained control of various regions of Greater Mannea and meddled in Mannean politics.

The early Assyrian incursions into Mannea took place in 843 and 827 BCE. In ca. 817 BCE (at the latest), Paddira, the capital of Allabria, is described as the easternmost point of the Assyrian empire (Grayson, 1996, p. 184: Shamshi-Adad V, A.0.103.1, i. 7). Subsequently, the Urartian rulers Ishpuini (c. 830-810 BCE), Menua (ca. 810-785 BCE) and Argishti I (ca. 785-765 BCE) conducted campaigns in Mannea and adjacent regions as far as Parsua. They did so during a period of Assyrian weakness, which was terminated when Tiglath-pileser III established the Assyrian province of Parsua in 744 BCE. The Mannean ruler Iranzu became an ally of Assyria. Sargon conducted campaigns against Urartu and its supporters in Greater Mannea. Mannea remained outside the borders of the Assyrian empire during the reigns of Sennacherib and Esarhaddon. Ashurbanipal regained control of Zamuan districts which were captured by the Manneans.

Mannea proper included: 1. Izirtu (Zirta), the permanent capital of Mannea, is of unknown location (see Levine, 1976-80, p. 226b). Its identification with Zʿtr, a seat of the god Haldi at the end of the eighth century BCE, according to the Aramaic inscription from Bukān (on Mannean territory; cf. Lemaire, 1998, pp. 16 f., no. 5’), is not beyond doubt (see Eph’al, 1999, pp. 119 f.). Salvini (1982, pp. 386 f.) points out that the original region of the cult of Haldi (Neo-Assyrian Haldia, spouse of Bagbartu; see Schmitt, 1980, p. 191) was Muṣaṣir, not far from the Bukān region, and its environs including the northeastern section of Assyria proper. The Bukān inscription may not be an isolated find: regarding the existence of Aramaic writing in Mannea, it is noteworthy that Esarhaddon planned to send a messenger together with an Aramean scribe to Mannea (cf. Starr, 1990, p. 58, r., line 10).

2. Zibiya (Izibiya; Fuchs 1994, p. 429) is identified with modern Zīvya (see Godard, 1950, p. 5). What is known about the material culture of Mannea is basically based on the finds from Zivya and Ḥasanlu (see Kashkai, 1977, pp. 44 ff. with lit.; the latter site is in Mannea or very close to it). Another town of central Mannea is 3. Armēta (Fuchs, 1994, p. 424; Borger, 1996, p. 34). 4. Sanha and 5. Ulushia (Lushia; Lanfranchi and Parpola, 1990, no. 217, 5 f.; Millard, 1994, pp. 34 f.) might have been located in southwestern Mannea near the border with Zamua.

7. Arsianish (between 8. Azaqaiana and Harsi?), 9. Eristeiana, 10. Birrua (see Zadok, 2002, p. 89.8.8, 4), and 11. Gusinē are to be sought in southwest Mannea near the border of the adjacent Assyrian province. They are mentioned after 6. Atrana or Terana (cf. Parpola, 1970, pp. 55 f.), which might have been located in the southern section of Greater Mannea, like the following locales (6-16 are recorded in Piepkorn, 1933, Prism B, iii, pp. 45 ff.; cf. Borger, 1996, pp. 34 f.) from Ashurbanipal’s time: 12. Pusutu, which belonged to Mannea in the middle of the seventh century BCE, is followed by 13. Ashdiash. The latter is followed by 14. Urkiamun, 15. Uppish (or Arpish), 16. Sihua, and 17. Naziniri. The royal city 18. Shimeri(-)Hadiri was explicitly situated in Mannea (see Diakonoff and Kashkai, 1979, pp. 25, 81). 19. Uihika alternatively belonged to Pusutu.

The following settlements are to be sought in northwestern Mannea near the Urartean border (see Fuchs, 1994, s.vv.): 1. Sukkia. 2. Bāla. 3. Abitikna. 4. Pappa, juxtaposed with 5. Laluknu, both bordering on Kakmê. 6. Mallau was a mountain between Mannea and Urartu with the fortress of 7. Ushqaia (Thureau-Dangin, 1912, pp. 167, 172; Urart. Ashkaiai, Diakonoff and Kashkai, 1979, pp. 13 f.), near the entrance to 8. Zaranda; 9. Darbane (Diakonoff and Kashkai, 1979, p. 25). 10. Sūbi was named Mannāyu (“Mannea”) by the Urartians (Thureau-Dangin, 1912, pp. 169, 172).

The following regions (1-4, 6) and settlements (5, 7-9) were presumably situated south of Lake Urmia. It is not explicitly stated that these locales, which are recorded in Urartian inscriptions (numbers in parentheses refer to Diakonoff and Kashkai, 1979; 3-7 and 8, 9, below, are mentioned in the same source), belonged to the western section of Mannea. Alternatively, they might have been situated on territory which once belonged to the polity of Kilzanu (or Gilzanu): 1. Alaṭe, a mountainous region (5), 2. Artarmu-[...] (12), 3. Uria (95), 4. Ṭer[ṭ]u(?)be (87), 5. Ubarugildu (92; attribution doubtful), 6. K[u]ll[u]-[...]-rupira (116), 7. Erkiune (32), 8. Menapshu(ne, 56) and 9. Duqamā (27).

Missi, which was the easternmost region of Mannea (see Fuchs, 1994, p. 451), cannot be the same place as Urartian Mēshtā. The latter is hesitatingly identified with either modern Tash-Tepe (Diakonoff and Kashkai, 1979, p. 57; Diakonoff, 1985, p. 69; cf. Herzfeld, 1938, pp. 164 f.: near Tash-Tepe) or Ḥasanlu (Salvini, 1982, pp. 390 f.; 1983, pp. 225 f., claiming that Meshta/Ḥasanlu was part of Urart. Parshua, i.e., Parsua, not Mannea). Both Tash-Tepe and Ḥasanlu are situated in western Mannea, if not beyond the western border of Mannea. Qalʿē Paswē may originate from a homonym of Parsua.

Sargon marched from Parsua (Parsuash) to the fortress of 1. Shirdakka = Zirdakka of Missi in 714 BCE. He received there the tribute of the city rulers of Gizilbunda. The latter is described as situated in remote mountains at a distant place, barring the way like a barricade in the region of Mannea and Media (Thureau-Dangin, 1912, pp. 52, 65). Gizilbunda, an eastern neighbor of Mannea, was entrusted by Sargon to the Assyrian governor of Parsua. From Zirdakka (= Zurzukka/Durdu[k]ka Fuchs, 1994, p. 74). Sargon marched between Mannea, Bīt-Kapsi (presumably adjacent to southeastern Mannea), and Media (in the narrower sense of this geographical term) to 2. Panzish (see Fuchs, 1994, p. 454), another fortress of Missi near Andia and Ziqirtu, where he took grain, oil and wine. 4. Shuandahul was probably in Missi (Levine, 1972, p. 34, ii.13; see Fuchs, 1994, p. 460).

Kumurdu (extant in the gentilic Kumurdāyu) of Mannea is identical with the region of Humurtu, which is recorded in the Neo-Sumerian (Ur III) period (end of the third millennium and the beginning of the second millennium BCE; see Diakonoff, 1956, p. 282 with n. 3; 1985, p. 73), probably towards the southern section of Mannea. Mt. Harsi (= Harshi? cf. Edzard, 1957-71) was situated at the “head” of the Kumurdean district. Harshu was on Tiglath-pileser III’s way to Bīt-Abdadani (see Zadok, 2002, p. 50). Raiadadishadē (Borger, 1996, p. 34) was the Kumurdeans’ fortress commander in Ashurbanipal’s time (mid-seventh century BCE).

Surikash was a region in southwestern Mannea bordering on Karalla and Allabria in 714 BCE (see Levine, 1977, p. 137). It included 1. Sinihini (Thureau-Dangin, 1912, p. 35; the identification with Senna/Sanandaj by Herzfeld, 1938, p. 164 is due to assonance). The rivers 2. Rappā and 3. Arattā were on the way from the district of Sumbi (in the Assyrian province of Zamua) to Surikash. If Arattā is not just a homonym of the much earlier legendary land of Aratta (see the comment of Vallat, 1993, 1993, p. 18 on Gordon, 1960, p. 132 with n. 63 and Yusifov, 1986, p. 87), then it may be a survival thereof. The land of Aratta, which had connections with early Uruk, has been sought in southeastern Iran (notably in the province of Kermān, see Majidzadeh, 1976, pp. 105 ff.). Hydronyms are one of the most persistent and long-living types of toponyms. In addition, Aratta may be compared with the anthroponym Aratta from Nuzi (Gelb et al., 1943, pp. 24b, 204 f.), whose onomasticon has at best parallels from west-northwest Iran. According to Algaze (1993, pp. 54 f., 63 ff. and fig. 30; p. 70 f.), there are early sites in the intermontane valleys of the northern Zagros where Uruk materials have been found. He considers the possibility that the communication between the Qazvin plain and Mesopotamia was via the Solduz valley and the Lesser Zāb, i.e., touching the later Mannean territory.

The following Mannean rulers (1, 2, 4, 5, 8-10), dignitaries and commoners are recorded: 1. Udaki (829 BCE, Grayson, 1996, p. 70: Shalm. III A.0.102.14, pp. 164 f.); 2. Iranzu (737-718 or 717 BCE; see, e.g., Tadmor, 1994, p. 98 ad St. I, B, 15’); 3. Urart. Aka’a, deputy of Mannea, time of Rusa II (ca. 730-714 BCE, Melikishvili, 1971, pp. 231 f., no. 286.3); 4. Azā, 719-716 BCE (see Fuchs and Schmitt, PNA 1, p. 238b) son of Iranzu and brother of 5. Ullusunu (see Fuchs, 1994, p. 416); 6. Bagdatti, governor of Uishdish, 717 or 716 BCE (see Fuchs [and Schmitt], PNA 1, p. 251); 7. Daiukku, governor (under Ullusunu; time of Sargon II) of an unknown region of Mannea (Missi according to Grantovskiĭ; cf. Diakonoff, 1985, p. 80, n. 1; see Fuchs and Schmitt, PNA 1, p. 370b); 8. Ahsheri (see Fuchs and Schmitt, PNA 1, p. 68), time of Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal; 9. Uallî son of Ahsheri in Ashurbanipal’s time 10. Erisinni son of Uallî (Borger, 1996, p. 36) is the last recorded ruler of Mannea. Mannea became then an ally of Assyria against the emerging Median state, but due to the weakness and fall of Assyria in the last decades of the 7th century BCE, Mannea became part of the Median empire.

Very few commoners’ names are mentioned in the sources: 11. Inzabri—city lord? Izirtu is mentioned in the same letter, in Sargon II’s time (Lanfranchi and Parpola, 1990, no. 204, 11); 12. Abat-sharri-uṣur, an emissary, is recorded as well (Lanfranchi and Parpola, 1990, no. 171, r. 4; see Parker, PNA 1, p. 2b); 13. Ripa the Mannean (634 BCE cf. Zadok apud Radner, 1999, p. 204 ad 64.7). 14. Gikî was an interpreter (undated, see Lapinkivi [and Schmitt], PNA 1, p. 423a).

The Manneans were still recognized as a distinct ethnic group as late as the Achaemenid period: 15. Zimaga is recorded in Sippar on 15.II. 527/6 BCE (Zadok, 2002b, pp. 883 f.). He belonged to the entourage of Gubaru, the satrap of Babylonia. Zimaga is probably identical with Zi-i-mu-a-ga from the time of Cyrus the Great (BM 79715.3, unpublished, from the Sippar collection of the British Museum; private communication of Prof. S. Zawadzki, quoted by permission of the Trustees of the British Museum). Zimuaga is hardly an Iranian name. Zimaga is homonymous, if not physically identical, with the father of 16. Handauk(?)ku from Sippar, 17.II.485/4 BCE (Stolper, 1994, p. 623b).

Manaikānu, the name of an organization of bow lands (Akkadian hatru) at Nippur, may mean “Manneans” (provided the reading is not Banaikānu; see Zadok, 1979, pp. 171 f.). Its foreman on 16.VII.424/3 BCE was an official (ustaribar) named 17. Bēl-bullissu son of Damamiazta, who administered land (a royal grant, Hilprecht and Clay, 1898, p. 102) in four settlements. The paternal name has an uncertain Old Iranian etymology (Eilers, 1940, p. 85, n. 3; Hinz, 1975, p. 81, is dubious). It cannot be excluded that the paternal name is a non-Iranian anthroponym. The foreman of this organization in 422/1 BCE was 18. Erībā son of Nanâ-iddina (Clay, 1912, no. 52.6.10). His brother 19. Kuṣurā acted in the same capacity on 13.VI.421/0 BCE (Clay, 1904, no. 67.8.l.e. with a seal; see Stolper, 1985, pp. 73, 85, 127). The bow land of 20. Bēl-ittannu son of Shulum-Bābili in Bēt-Murānu belonged to this organization. Both the foremen and the holder of the bow land have Babylonian names. This may indicate that the descendants of the Manneans in the Nippur region assimilated with the local Babylonian population.

Ziqirtu (or Zigirtu, Zikirtu; see Fuchs, 1994, p. 471; cf. Lanfranchi and Parpola, 1990, no. 164, 6 and 15) is thought to be identical with later (A)sagarta- (see Herzfeld, 1938, p. 171; Grantovskiĭ, 1970, p. 272). The sequence of 2-16 follows the itinerary of Sargon’s 8th campaign:

1. Parda (Fuchs, 1994, p. 453) was the capital of Ziqirtu. 2. The river Ishtaraurā flowed between Panzish of Missi and the Ziqirtean district of 3. Aukanē (the identification with modern Ūg/jān by Herzfeld, 1938, p. 174 is due to assonance; in addition, the modern place is located too much to the north). 4. Mt. Uashdirikka, 5. Ishtaippa, 6. Saktatush, 7. Nanzu, 8. Kābani, 9. Gurrusupa (the identification with modern-day Garrūs by Herzfeld 1938, p. 174 is due to assonance), 10. Raksi (87), 11. Gimdakrikka, 12. Barunakka, 13. Ubabara, 14. Sitera, 15. Tashtami, and 16. Tesammia. These locales are described as 12 (actually 13) walled cities with 84 unnamed villages in their vicinity (Thureau-Dangin, 1912, p. 88; both numbers are stereotypic/“typological”). 17. Pashate, where the Ziqirtean ruler suggested to supply horses, was presumably in Ziqirtu or near it (Lanfranchi and Parpola, 1990, no. 169, 11). The Ziqirtean ruler in 714 BCE was 1. Mitatti (Thureau-Dangin, 1912, p. 141). 2. Adakupa, the envoy of the Ziqirtean ruler, is recorded in an undated letter (Schwemer, PNA 1, p. 42a).

The Mannean district of Uishdish (Thureau-Dangin, 1912, p. 91), Urart. Ugishti (Diakonoff and Kashkai, 1979, pp. 92 f.) bordered (probably in the south) on Aukanē. It might have been situated north of modern Marāḡe (see Diakonoff, 1985, p. 80) and included 1. Uaush and 2. Zimur (cf. Fuchs, 1994, pp. 470 f.).

Andia (Parpola, 1970, p. 19 with refs.) is thought to be a northern region of Mannea presumably west of Ziqirtu (cf. Fuchs, 1994, p. 421). Andia included the district of Tuaiadi (Fuchs, 1994, p. 465). It is noteworthy that the crown prince of Andia was accompanied by a Mannean emissary (see below). 1. Telusina was the ruler of Andia and a Mannean governor (716-715 BCE, see Fuchs, 1994, p. 415). 2. Iala-[xx], the crown prince of Andia (Lanfranchi and Parpola, 1990, no. 171, 1), was accompanied by a Mannean emissary. For a commoner named Andiāyu, i.e., “Andian,” in the Ninevite documentation (682/1 BCE) see Zadok, 1994, p. 49b.

The region of Har(ra)nu is mentioned in 828 BCE before the district of Shashganu (Grayson, 1996, p. 71: Shalm. III A.0.102.14, 181f.). They are preceded by Gaburisu (cf. Grayson, 1996, p. 83: A.0.102.16, 329f.). Apparently Har(ra)nu was situated on the way from Mannea proper to Allabria. The capital of Har(ra)nu was Masashuru (Grayson, 1996, p. 83: A.0.102.14, 169). Its ruler was Shulusunu in 828 BCE (Grayson, 1996, p. 83: A.0.102.16, 311).

Allabria (or Allapria, Parpola, 1970, p. 12 with refs.) was a state between Mannea and Parsua (see Fuchs, 1994, p. 418 f.). It is first mentioned in 842 BCE (Grayson, 1996, p. 40: Shalm. III A.0.102.6, iii, 62 f.).

1. Paddira (or Paṭṭira, alternatively read as Shurdira) was the capital of Allabria as early as 842 BCE Paddira (Winckler, 1889, no. 170.12; Weidner, 1941-44, pp. 41, 22) is mentioned together with Karalla in Sargon II’s time, notably in 716 BCE (cf. Fuchs, 1994, p. 453). The town belonged to Mannea in Ashurbanipal’s time. This accords well with the maximum expansion of Mannea towards Zamua during the first half of the seventh century BCE (see above). 2. Laruete, a district of Allabria, included the fortress of 3. Latashē opposite Sinhini of Surikash in 714 BCE (Thureau-Dangin, 1912, p. 37).

The rulers were 1. Ianziburiash, ca. 842 BCE (see Brinkman, 1976-80); 2. Artasari, 829 BCE (see Radner [and Schmitt], PNA 1, p. 134); 3. Bēl-apla-iddina, 716 BCE (Fuchs, PNA 1, p. 286b); and 4. Itî, 711 BCE (Fuchs, 1998, p. 24, ii.d, Ass.12; Ass. 16).

Patta (or Shurta) is first mentioned in 716 BCE (Levine, 1972, p. 38, ii, 33). The identification with Padda (or Shurda) seems plausible in view of the geographical context: it was on the way from Karalla to Nikkur (presumably in Parsua), according to the itinerary of Sargon II. Its ruler was Adā in 713 BCE (Fuchs, PNA 1, pp. 20 f.).

Karalla (Fales and Postgate, 1995, 125.8; Röllig, 1975-80) was near Zamua and Shurda. Levine (1972, p. 31) locates it in the plateau around Lake Zeribor (cf. Fuchs, 1994, p. 442; Frame, 1999, pp. 48 ff.). Its rulers were 1. Ashshur-lei, 716 BCE; 2. Amitashi; and his sons, 3. Atkāya-x and 4. Atkāya-DUG (all from 713 BCE, Fuchs, PNA 1, p. 233b; Fuchs and Schmitt, PNA 1, p. 102a).

1. Gumusanu (Harper, 1892-1914, p. 616, Neo-Assyrian, undated) is mentioned together with Mannea. 2. Tikrish (Lanfranchi and Parpola, 1990, no. 217, r. 1 ) might have been located near the Mannean border, not far from Ulushia and Sanha. Tikrish is associated with Haralli/Aral(l)i (Karalla? cf. Deller and Postgate, 1985, p. 71a ad 119). Stol (1976, pp. 41 f. with lit.) is of the opinion that Ti/ukrish was located in Lurestan, whereas Vallat (1993, p. 80) advocates a location of both Tikrish and Harallu in southeastern Iran. Nothing is known about 3. the people of Rid[a(?)], who are mentioned together with the Manneans and Sirisheans in Esarhaddon’s time (Starr, 1990, 28.11).

If one can rely on the restricted onomastic sample (27 anthroponyms), only in Mannea and its environs, which were on the Urartian border, were the Hurro-Urartians the second-largest group (1-4 individuals = 14.8-3.7 percent, compared with one individual with a Kassite name = 3.7 percent). Although only four out of 27 anthroponyms (14.81 percent) are Old Iranian (see Zadok, 2002a, p. 25), they form the largest group. The ethnic characterization of Mannea naturally refers only to its ruling class, as very few commoners’ names are mentioned in the sources. The evidence for the ethnolinguistic character of the Manneans (843-ca. 600 BCE) was conveniently summarized by Boehmer (1964). His conclusions were generally accepted (cf. Kashkai, 1977, esp. chap. 2). Boehmer is of the opinion that the Manneans were a Hurrian group with a slight Kassite admixture (cf. Kashkai, 1977, pp. 39 f. with lit.). It is unlikely that there was any ethnolinguistic unity in Mannea. Like other peoples of the Iranian plateau, the Manneans were subjected to an ever increasing Iranian (i.e., Indo-European) penetration. Boehmer’s analysis of several anthroponyms and toponyms needs modification and augmentation. Melikishvili (1949, p. 60) tried to confine the Iranian presence in Mannea to its periphery, pointing out that both Daiukku (cf. Schmitt, 1973) and Bagdatti were active in the periphery of Mannea, but this is imprecise, in view of the fact that the names of two early Mannean rulers, viz. Udaki and Azā, are explicable in Old Iranian terms.

The linguistic affiliation of the 82 toponyms referring to locales in Mannea is the following: pre-first millennium (2 = 2.43 percent); homonymous with pre-first millennium (2 = 2.43 percent); Kassite (7.31 percent: certain 3, just possible 2, and doubtful 1); Old Iranian (8.53 percent: certain 1, just possible 4, and doubtful 2). One toponym may be either Old Iranian or Hurro-Urartian. Hurro-Urartian (9.75 percent: certain 2 and doubtful 6); Hurro-Urartian or atypical (1 = 1.21 percent); Akkadian? (1 = 1.21 percent); unaffiliated, but not entirely isolated (10 = 12.19 percent): unaffiliated and isolated (44 = 53.65 percent).


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January 16, 2006

(Ran Zadok)

Originally Published: August 15, 2006

Last Updated: August 15, 2006

Cite this entry:

Ran Zadok, “MANNEA,” Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2012, available at (accessed on 30 December 2012).