Kings of the Umman Manda (Media): Their Hidden Origins and History – Part I

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Apadana Hall, fifth-century BC carving of Persian archers and Median soldiers in traditional costume (Medians are wearing rounded hats and boots)

Kings of the Umman Manda (Media): Their Hidden Origins and History – Part I

The term Medes, as a single ethnic group that encompasses all Media, is generic. It seems that the region of Media encompassed many smaller and independent principalities ruled by chieftains instead of kings, and was a makeup of various peoples of different ethnic backgrounds.

As for the Median region, the extent of its boundaries towards the east is unknown. The Median territory did border the Zagros Mountains to the west and the Caucasus to the north, while its southern neighbor was Ellipi.

The Assyrians and Babylonians called them Madayu, the Persians called them Mada, and the Greeks called them Medes. In addition, the Assyrians and Babylonians also equate the Medes with the Umman-manda in the Fall of Nineveh Chronicle. The meaning of Umman-manda could be “Manda-host” or “host of the Manda.” It has also been suggested that Umman-manda could mean “Who Knows,” “Barbarous people,” or “Nomads;” one could say a mixed multitude of uncivilized people from the north.

The term Umman-manda has been subject to change with the regional people that mentioned them. Take for instance the name Tidal or Tudkhul. Tidal/Tudkhul is said to be the king of the Hittites but is also called king of the Umman-manda or “Nations of the North.” Consider also, a much older event in which Naram-Sin, king of the Akkadian empire, defeated the Umman-manda and he states, “the powers of the Umman-manda are struck down.

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