Ascribed to the teachings of the Iranian prophet Zoroaster, it exalts a deity of wisdom, Ahura Mazda, as its Supreme Being. Zoroastrianism was suppressed from the 7th century onwards following the Muslim conquest of Persia of 633-654, recent estimates place the current number of Zoroastrians at around 2.6 million, with most living in India and in Iran. Besides the Zoroastrian diaspora, the older Mithraic faith Yazdânism is still practised amongst Kurds, the religious philosophy of Zoroaster divided the early Iranian gods of Proto-Indo-Iranian tradition. The most important texts of the religion are those of the Avesta, in Zoroastrianism, the creator Ahura Mazda, through the Spenta Mainyu is an all-good father of Asha, in opposition to Druj and no evil originates from him. He and his works are evident to humanity through the six primary Amesha Spentas, Spenta Mainyu adjoined unto truth oppose the Spirits opposite, Angra Mainyu and its forces born of Akəm Manah. In Zoroastrianism, the purpose in life is to be among those who renew the world. to make the progress towards perfection.
Its basic maxims include, Hukhta, which mean, Good Thoughts, Good Words, there is only one path and that is the path of Truth. Do the right thing because it is the thing to do. The full name by which Zoroaster addressed the deity is, The Lord Creator and he proclaimed that there is only one God, the singularly creative and sustaining force of the Universe. He stated that human beings are given a right of choice, Zoroasters teachings focused on responsibility, and did not introduce a devil per se. The contesting force to Ahura Mazda was called Angra Mainyu, or angry spirit, post-Zoroastrian scripture introduced the concept of Ahriman, the Devil, which was effectively a personification of Angra Mainyu. The name Zoroaster is a Greek rendering of the name Zarathustra and he is known as Zartosht and Zardosht in Persian and Zaratosht in Gujarati. The Zoroastrian name of the religion is Mazdayasna, which combines Mazda- with the Avestan language word yasna, meaning worship, in English, an adherent of the faith is commonly called a Zoroastrian or a Zarathustrian.
An older expression still used today is Behdin, meaning The best Religion | Beh < Middle Persian Weh + Din < Middle Persian dēn < Avestan Daēnā. In Zoroastrian liturgy the term is used as a title for an individual who has formally inducted into the religion in a Navjote ceremony. The term Mazdaism /ˈmæzdə. ɪzəm/ is a typical 19th century construct, taking Mazda- from the name Ahura Mazda, the March 2001 draft edition of the Oxford English Dictionary records an alternate form, perhaps derived from the French Mazdéisme, which first appeared in 1871. In older English sources, the terms Gheber and Gueber were used to refer to Zoroastrians, Zoroastrian philosophy is identified as having been known to Italian Renaissance Europe through an image of Zoroaster in Raphaels School of Athens by Giorgio Vasari in 1550. The Oxford English Dictionary records use of the term Zoroastrianism in 1874 in Archibald Sayces Principles of Comparative Philology, Zoroastrians believe that there is one universal, supreme god, Ahura Mazda, or the Wise Lord
Ancient history is the aggregate of past events from the beginning of recorded human history and extending as far as the Early Middle Ages or the Postclassical Era. The span of recorded history is roughly 5,000 years, beginning with Sumerian Cuneiform script, the term classical antiquity is often used to refer to history in the Old World from the beginning of recorded Greek history in 776 BC. This roughly coincides with the date of the founding of Rome in 753 BC, the beginning of the history of ancient Rome. In India, ancient history includes the period of the Middle Kingdoms, and, in China. Historians have two major avenues which they take to better understand the ancient world and the study of source texts, primary sources are those sources closest to the origin of the information or idea under study. Primary sources have been distinguished from secondary sources, which cite, comment on. Archaeology is the excavation and study of artefacts in an effort to interpret, archaeologists excavate the ruins of ancient cities looking for clues as to how the people of the time period lived.
The study of the ancient cities of Harappa, Mohenjo-daro, the city of Pompeii, an ancient Roman city preserved by the eruption of a volcano in AD79. Its state of preservation is so great that it is a window into Roman culture and provided insight into the cultures of the Etruscans. The Terracotta Army, the mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor in ancient China, the discovery of Knossos by Minos Kalokairinos and Sir Arthur Evans. The discovery of Troy by Heinrich Schliemann, most of what is known of the ancient world comes from the accounts of antiquitys own historians. Although it is important to take account the bias of each ancient author. Some of the more notable ancient writers include Herodotus, Arrian, Polybius, Sima Qian, Livy, Suetonius, the reliability of the information obtained from these surviving records must be considered. Few people were capable of writing histories, as literacy was not widespread in almost any culture until long after the end of ancient history, the earliest known systematic historical thought emerged in ancient Greece, beginning with Herodotus of Halicarnassus.
He was the first to distinguish between cause and immediate origins of an event, the Roman Empire was one of the ancient worlds most literate cultures, but many works by its most widely read historians are lost. Indeed, only a minority of the work of any major Roman historian has survived, prehistory is the period before written history. The early human migrations in the Lower Paleolithic saw Homo erectus spread across Eurasia 1.8 million years ago, the controlled use of fire occurred 800,000 years ago in the Middle Paleolithic. 250,000 years ago, Homo sapiens emerged in Africa, 60–70,000 years ago, Homo sapiens migrated out of Africa along a coastal route to South and Southeast Asia and reached Australia
Principality of Antioch
The Principality of Antioch was one of the crusader states created during the First Crusade which included parts of modern-day Turkey and Syria. The principality was much smaller than the County of Edessa or the Kingdom of Jerusalem and it had roughly 20,000 inhabitants in the 12th century, most of whom were Armenians and Greek Orthodox Christians, with a few Muslims outside the city itself. Few of the inhabitants apart from the Crusaders were Roman Catholic even though the city was turned into a Latin Patriarchate in 1100. While Baldwin of Boulogne and Tancred headed east from Asia Minor to set up the County of Edessa, Bohemond of Taranto commanded the siege which commenced in October 1097. With over four hundred towers, the defenses were formidable. Bohemond convinced a guard in one of the towers, an Armenian and former Christian named Firouz, only four days later, a Muslim army from Mosul, led by Kerbogha, arrived to besiege the Crusaders themselves. Alexius I Comnenus, the Byzantine emperor, was on his way to assist the Crusaders, the Crusaders withstood the siege, with help from a mystic named Peter Bartholomew.
Peter claimed he had visited by St. Andrew, who told him that the Holy Lance. The cathedral of St. Peter was excavated, and the Lance was discovered by Peter himself, although Peter most likely planted it there himself, it helped raise the spirits of the Crusaders. There was a dispute over who should control the city. Bohemond and the Italian Normans eventually won, and Bohemond named himself prince, meanwhile, an unknown epidemic spread throughout the Crusader camp, Adhemar of Le Puy was one of the victims. Following Bohemonds capture in battle with the Danishmends in 1100, his nephew Tancred became regent, Tancred expanded the borders of the Principality, seizing the cities of Tarsus and Latakia from the Byzantine Empire. However those newly captured cities along with other territory were lost after the Battle of Harran when Baldwin II of Edessa was captured, Bohemond was released in 1103 and went to Italy to raise more troops in 1104, during which time Tancred remained regent of Antioch. Bohemond used the troops he raised to attack the Byzantines in 1107, Bohemond was defeated at Dyrrhachium in 1108 and was forced by Alexius I to sign the Treaty of Devol, making Antioch a vassal state of the Byzantine Empire upon Bohemonds death.
Bohemond had promised to any land that was seized from the Muslims when the Crusaders passed through Constantinople in 1097. Bohemond fought at Aleppo with Baldwin and Joscelin of the County of Edessa, Bohemond left Tancred as regent once more and returned to Italy, where he died in 1111. Alexius wanted Tancred to return the Principality in its entirety to Byzantium, but Tancred was supported by the County of Tripoli, Tancred, in fact, had been the only Crusade leader who did not swear to return conquered land to Alexius. Tancred died in 1112 and was succeeded by Bohemond II, under the regency of Tancreds nephew Roger of Salerno, on June 27,1119, Roger was killed at the Ager Sanguinis, and Antioch became a vassal state of Jerusalem with King Baldwin II as regent until 1126
Kingdom of Armenia (antiquity)
The Kingdom of Armenia, the Kingdom of Greater Armenia, or simply Greater Armenia, was a monarchy in the Ancient Near East which existed from 321 BC to 428 AD. Its history is divided into successive reigns by three dynasties, Orontid and Arsacid. It is widely believed to be the region with which all Armenians descend from and it was one of the largest empires in the history of the Middle East. Under the Seleucid Empire, the Armenian throne was divided in two – Armenia Maior and Sophene – both of which passed to members of the Artaxiad dynasty in 189 BC. The remaining Artaxiad kings ruled as clients of Rome until they were overthrown in 12 AD due to their allegiance to Romes main rival in the region. During the Roman–Parthian Wars, the Arsacid dynasty of Armenia was founded when Tiridates I, throughout most of its history during this period, Armenia was heavily contested between Rome and Parthia, and the Armenian nobility was divided among pro-Roman, pro-Parthian or neutrals. From 114 to 118, Armenia briefly became a province of the Roman Empire under Emperor Trajan, the Kingdom of Armenia often served as a client state or vassal at the frontier of the two large empires and their successors, the Byzantine and Sassanid empires.
In 301, Tiridates III proclaimed Christianity as the religion of Armenia. During the Byzantine–Sasanian wars, Armenia was ultimately partitioned into Byzantine Armenia in 387, the Kingdoms symbol and most famous icon was Mount Ararat, arguably the tallest mountain in the kingdom. The geographic Armenian Highlands, known as the highlands of Ararat, was inhabited by Proto-Armenian tribes which did not yet constitute a unitary state or nation. The highlands were first united by tribes in the vicinity of Lake Van into the Kingdom of Van, the kingdom competed with Assyria over supremacy in the highlands of Ararat and the Fertile Crescent. Both kingdoms fell to Iranian invaders from the neighbouring East in the 6th century BC and its territory was reorganized into a satrapy called Armenia. The Orontid dynasty ruled as satraps of the Achaemenid Empire for three centuries until the defeat against Alexander the Greats Macedonian Empire at the Battle of Gaugamela in 331 BC. After Alexanders death in 323 BC, a Macedonian general named Neoptolemus obtained Armenia until he died in 321 BC and the Orontids returned, not as satraps, Orontes III defeated the Thessalian commander Menon, who wanted to capture Spers gold mines.
The Seleucid Empires influence over Armenia had weakened after it was defeated by the Romans in the Battle of Magnesia in 190 BC, a Hellenistic Armenian state was thus founded in the same year by Artaxias I alongside the Armenian kingdom of Sophene led by Zariadres. Artaxias seized Yervandashat, united the Armenian Highlands at the expense of neighboring tribes, according to Strabo and Plutarch, Hannibal Barca received hospitality at the Armenian court of Artaxias I. The authors add a story of how Hannibal planned and supervised the building of Artaxata. The new city was laid on a position at the juncture of trade routes that connected the Ancient Greek world with Bactria, India
Muslim conquest of Persia
The Muslim conquest of Persia, known as the Arab conquest of Iran, led to the end of the Sasanian Empire in 651 and the eventual decline of the Zoroastrian religion in Iran. The rise of Muslims coincided with a significant political, economic, once a major world power, the Sasanian Empire had exhausted its human and material resources after decades of warfare against the Byzantine Empire. The internal political situation quickly deteriorated after the execution of King Khosrau II on February 28,628, ten new claimants were enthroned within the next four years, highlighting the political instability of the Sassanians prior to the Muslim invasion. Arab Muslims first attacked the Sassanid territory in 633, when general Khalid ibn Walid invaded Mesopotamia, following the transfer of Khalid to the Byzantine front in the Levant, the Muslims eventually lost their holdings to Sassanian counterattacks. The second invasion began in 636 under Saad ibn Abi Waqqas, the Zagros mountains became a natural barrier and border between the Rashidun Caliphate and the Sassanid Empire.
Due to continuous raids by Persians into the area, Caliph Umar ordered an invasion of the Sasanian empire in 642. By 651, most of the centers in Iranian lands, with the notable exception of the Caspian provinces. Many localities fought against the invaders, none were successful, in fact, although Arabs had established hegemony over most of the country, many cities rose in rebellion by killing the Arab governor or attacking their garrisons. Eventually, military reinforcements quashed the insurgency and imposed Islamic control, the Persians began to reassert themselves by maintaining Persian language and culture. Regardless, Islam was adopted by many for a multitude of reasons including by threat and extortion, for political and economic reasons, Islam would become the dominant religion late in the medieval ages. The most significant work was probably that of Arthur Christensen, and his L’Iran sous les Sassanides, published in Copenhagen, however recent scholarship, both Iranian and Western, has begun to question the traditional narrative.
Another important theme of Pourshariatis study is a re-evaluation of the traditional timeline, since the 1st century BC, the border between the Roman and Parthian empires had been the Euphrates River. Most battles, and thus most fortifications, were concentrated in the regions of the north. The only dangers expected from the south were occasional raids by nomadic Arab tribesmen, both empires therefore allied themselves with small, semi-independent Arab principalities, which served as buffer states and protected Byzantium and Persia from Bedouin attacks. The Byzantine clients were the Ghassanids, the Persian clients were the Lakhmids, the Ghassanids and Lakhmids feuded constantly, which kept them occupied, but that did not greatly affect the Byzantines or the Persians. In the 6th and 7th centuries, various factors destroyed the balance of power that had held for so many centuries, the Byzantine clients, the Arab Ghassanids, converted to the Monophysite form of Christianity, which was regarded as heretical by the established Byzantine Orthodox Church.
The Byzantines attempted to suppress the heresy, alienating the Ghassanids, the Lakhmids revolted against the Persian king Khusrau II. Numan III, the first Christian Lakhmid king, was deposed and killed by Khusrau II in 602, after Khusraus assassination, the Persian Empire fractured and the Lakhmids were effectively semi-independent
Tigranes the Great
Tigranes II, more commonly known as Tigranes the Great was King of Armenia under whom the country became, for a short time, the strongest state east of the Roman Republic. He was a member of the Artaxiad Royal House, Tigranes had been a hostage until the age of 45 at the court of King Mithridates II of Parthia after the Armenian defeat in 105 BC. Other sources give the date as much earlier, at around 112–111 BC, after the death of King Tigranes I in 95 BC, Tigranes bought his freedom, according to Strabo, by handing over seventy valleys in Atropatene to the Parthians. When he came to power, the foundation upon which Tigranes was to build his Empire was already in place, a legacy of the founder of the Artaxiad Dynasty, Artaxias I and this did not suit Tigranes, who wanted to create a centralist empire. He thus proceeded by consolidating his power within Armenia before embarking on his campaign and he deposed Artanes, the last king of Armenian Sophene and a descendant of Zariadres. During the First Mithridatic War, Tigranes supported Mithridates VI of Pontus and he rapidly built up his power and established an alliance with Mithridates VI, marrying his daughter Cleopatra.
Tigranes agreed to extend his influence in the East, while Mithridates set to conquer Roman land in Asia Minor, by creating a stronger Hellenistic state, Mithridates was to contend with the well-established Roman foothold in Europe. The slaughter of 80,000 people in the province of Asia Minor was known as the Asiatic Vespers, the two kings attempts to control Cappadocia and the massacres resulted in guaranteed Roman intervention. The senate decided that Lucius Cornelius Sulla, who was one of the consuls. Magadates was appointed as his governor in Antioch, the southern border of his domain reached as far as Ptolemais. Many of the inhabitants of conquered cities were sent to his new metropolis of Tigranocerta, at its height, his empire extended from the Pontic Alps to Mesopotamia, and from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean. A series of victories led him to assume the Achaemenid title of King of Kings and he was called Tigranes the Great by many Western historians and writers, such as Plutarch.
The King of Kings never appeared in public without having four kings attending him, referring to his success in the east, said that he made the Republic of Rome tremble before the prowess of his arms. Tigranes coin consist of tetradrachms and copper coins having on the obverse his portrait wearing a decorated Armenian tiara with ear-flaps, the reverse has a completely original design. There are the seated Tyche of Antioch and the river god Orontes at her feet, Mithridates had found refuge in Armenian land after confronting Rome, considering the fact that Tigranes was his ally and relative. The King of Kings eventually came into contact with Rome. The Roman commander, demanded the expulsion of Mithridates from Armenia – to comply with such a demand would be, in effect, to accept the status of vassal to Rome and this Tigranes refused. Charles Rollin, in his Ancient History, Lucullus reaction was an attack that was so precipitate that he took Tigranes by surprise, according to Roman historians Mithrobazanes, one of Tigranes generals, told Tigranes of the Roman approach
The Ağ Qoyunlu Turkomans first acquired land in 1402, when Timur granted them all of Diyar Bakr in present-day Turkey. For a long time, the Ağ Qoyunlu were unable to expand their territory, this changed with the rule of Uzun Hassan, who defeated the Black Sheep Turkoman leader Jahān Shāh in 1467. After the defeat of a Timurid leader, Abu Said, Uzun Hassan was able to take Baghdad along with territories around the Persian Gulf and he expanded into Iran as far east as Khorasan. However, around this time, the Ottoman Empire sought to expand eastwards, as early as 1464, Uzun Hassan had requested military aid from one of the Ottoman Empires strongest enemies, Venice. Despite Venetian promises, this aid never arrived and, as a result, Uzun Hassan was defeated by the Ottomans at the Battle of Otlukbeli in 1473, though this did not destroy the Ağ Qoyunlu. When Uzun Hassan died early in 1478, he was succeeded by his son Khalil Mirza, who reigned from 1478 to 1490, sustained the dynasty for a while longer.
However, during the first four years of his there were seven pretenders to the throne who had to be put down. Following Yaqubs death, civil war erupted, the Ağ Qoyunlus destroyed themselves from within. The early Safavids, who were followers of the Safaviyya religious order, the Safavids and the Ağ Qoyunlu met in battle in the city of Nakhchivan in 1501 and the Safavid leader Ismail I forced the Ağ Qoyunlu to withdraw. In his retreat from the Safavids, the Ağ Qoyunlu leader Alwand destroyed an autonomous state of the Ağ Qoyunlu in Mardin, the last Ağ Qoyunlu leader, brother of Alwand, was defeated by the same Safavid leader. Though Murād briefly established himself in Baghdad in 1501, he withdrew back to Diyar Bakr. The leaders of Ağ Qoyunlu were from the Begundur or Bayandur clan of the Oghuz Turks and were considered descendants of the founding father of the Oghuz, Oghuz Khan. The Bayandurs behaved like statesmen rather than warlords and gained the support of the merchant, with the conquest of Iran, not only did the Ağ Qoyunlu center of power shift eastward, but Iranian influences were soon brought to bear on their method of government and their culture.
Uzun Hassan held the title Padishah-i Irān Padishah of Iran, amidst the struggle for power between Uzun Hassans grandsons Baysungur and Rustam, their cousin Ahmed Bey appeared on the stage. Beyazid agreed to this idea, and by May 1497 Ahmad Bey faced Rustam near Araxes, list of rulers of Aq Qoyunlu Turkmen invasions of Georgia Diarbakriya, the most important primary source about the dynasty. The Aqquyunlu, Confederation, Empire University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, ISBN 0-87480-565-1
Manichaeism was a major religious movement that was founded by the Iranian prophet Mani in the Sasanian Empire. Manichaeism taught a dualistic cosmology describing the struggle between a good, spiritual world of light, and an evil, material world of darkness. Through an ongoing process which takes place in history, light is gradually removed from the world of matter and returned to the world of light. Its beliefs were based on local Mesopotamian gnostic and religious movements, Manichaeism was quickly successful and spread far through the Aramaic-Syriac speaking regions. It thrived between the third and seventh centuries, and at its height was one of the most widespread religions in the world, Manichaean churches and scriptures existed as far east as China and as far west as the Roman Empire. It was briefly the main rival to Christianity in the competition to replace classical paganism, while most of Manichaeisms original writings have been lost, numerous translations and fragmentary texts have survived.
An adherent of Manichaeism is called, especially in older sources, Mani, an Arsacid Persian by birth, was born 216 AD in Mesopotamia, which was ruled by Persia, within the Sassanid Empire province of Asuristan. According to the Cologne Mani-Codex, Manis parents were members of the Jewish Christian Gnostic sect known as the Elcesaites, Mani composed seven writings, six of which were written in Syriac Aramaic. The seventh, the Shabuhragan, was written by Mani in Middle Persian and presented by him to the contemporary King of Sassanid Persia, Shapur I, in the Persian capital of Ctesiphon. Although there is no proof Shapur I was a Manichaean, he tolerated the spread of Manichaeism, while Manichaeism was spreading, existing religions such as Zoroastrianism were still popular and Christianity was gaining social and political influence. Although having fewer adherents, Manichaeism won the support of many high-ranking political figures, with the assistance of the Persian Empire, Mani began missionary expeditions.
The date of his death is estimated at AD 276–277, Mani believed that the teachings of Buddha and Jesus were incomplete, and that his revelations were for the entire world, calling his teachings the Religion of Light. Manichaean writings indicate that Mani received revelations when he was 12 and again when he was 24, with the discovery of the Mani-Codex, it became clear that he was raised in a Jewish-Christian baptism sect, the Elcesaites, and was influenced by their writings as well. It taught him truths which he developed into a religion and his divine Twin or true Self brought Mani to self-realization. He claimed to be the Paraclete of the Truth, as promised in the New Testament, Manichaeisms views on Jesus are described by historians, Jesus in Manichaeism possessed three separate identities, Jesus the Luminous, Jesus the Messiah and Jesus patibilis. Jesus the Messiah was a historical being who was the prophet of the Jews, the Manichaeans believed he was wholly divine. He never experienced human birth as notions of physical conception and birth filled the Manichaeans with horror, since he was the light of the world, where was this light, they asked, when he was in the womb of the Virgin.
Jesus the Messiah was truly born at his baptism as it was on occasion that the Father openly acknowledged his sonship
Judaism encompasses the religion, philosophy and way of life of the Jewish people. Judaism is an ancient monotheistic Abrahamic religion, with the Torah as its text, and supplemental oral tradition represented by texts such as the Midrash. Judaism is considered by religious Jews to be the expression of the relationship that God established with the Children of Israel. With between 14.5 and 17.4 million adherents worldwide, Judaism is the tenth-largest religion in the world, Judaism includes a wide corpus of texts, theological positions, and forms of organization. Modern branches of Judaism such as Humanistic Judaism may be nontheistic, the largest Jewish religious movements are Orthodox Judaism, Conservative Judaism and Reform Judaism. Major sources of difference between groups are their approaches to Jewish law, the authority of the Rabbinic tradition. Orthodox Judaism maintains that the Torah and Jewish law are divine in origin and unalterable, Conservative and Reform Judaism are more liberal, with Conservative Judaism generally promoting a more traditional interpretation of Judaisms requirements than Reform Judaism.
A typical Reform position is that Jewish law should be viewed as a set of guidelines rather than as a set of restrictions and obligations whose observance is required of all Jews. Historically, special courts enforced Jewish law, these still exist. Authority on theological and legal matters is not vested in any one person or organization, the history of Judaism spans more than 3,000 years. Judaism has its roots as a religion in the Middle East during the Bronze Age. Judaism is considered one of the oldest monotheistic religions, the Hebrews and Israelites were already referred to as Jews in books of the Tanakh such as the Book of Esther, with the term Jews replacing the title Children of Israel. Judaisms texts and values strongly influenced Abrahamic religions, including Christianity, many aspects of Judaism have directly or indirectly influenced secular Western ethics and civil law. Jews are a group and include those born Jewish and converts to Judaism. In 2015, the world Jewish population was estimated at about 14.3 million, Judaism thus begins with ethical monotheism, the belief that God is one and is concerned with the actions of humankind.
According to the Tanakh, God promised Abraham to make of his offspring a great nation, many generations later, he commanded the nation of Israel to love and worship only one God, that is, the Jewish nation is to reciprocate Gods concern for the world. He commanded the Jewish people to one another, that is. These commandments are but two of a corpus of commandments and laws that constitute this covenant, which is the substance of Judaism
Erbil, spelt Arbil or Irbil, and known as Hewler, is the capital city of Erbil Governorate and of Iraqi Kurdistan. It is located approximately 350 kilometres north of Baghdad and its governorate has a permanent population of approximately 1.61 million as of 2011. Human settlement at Erbil can be dated back to possibly 5000 BC, at the heart of the city is the ancient Citadel of Arbil. The earliest historical reference to the dates to the Ur III dynasty of Sumer, when king Shulgi mentioned the city of Urbilum. Following the Arab conquest of Persia, Assyria as a geo-political entity slowly dissolved, Erbils archaeological museum houses a large collection of pre-Islamic artefacts and is a centre for archaeological projects in the area. The city was designated as Arab Tourism Capital 2014 by the Arab Council of Tourism, in July 2014, Erbil Citadel was inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The city has a diverse population of Kurds, the still extant Assyrians, Armenians, Yezidis, Shabakis.
It is equally religiously diverse, with believers of Sunni Islam, Sufi Islam, Shia Islam, Yezidism, Yarsan and Mandeanism extant in, the Akkadians and Assyrians by a folk etymology rendered the name as arbaū ilū to mean four gods. The city became a centre for the worship of the Assyro-Babylonian goddess Ishtar, in classical times the city became known as Arbela, from the Syriac language and Assyrian Neo-Aramaic form of the name. In Old Persian the city was called Arbairā, the modern Kurdish name of the city, Hewlêr, appears to be a corruption of the name Arbel by a series of metatheses of consonants. Erbil is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in history, the region in which Erbil lies was largely under Sumerian domination from c. Today the indigenous Assyrian people endure as a minority in northern Iraq, north east Syria, south east Turkey and north west Iran, the first mention of Erbil in literary sources comes from the archives of the east Semitic speaking kingdom of Ebla. They record two journeys to Erbil by a messenger from Ebla around 2300 BC, Erridupizir, king of the language isolate speaking kingdom of Gutium, captured the city in 2150 BC.
The Neo-Sumerian ruler of Ur, Amar-Sin, sacked Urbilum in his second year, the Persian emperor Cyrus the Great occupied Assyria in 547 BC, and established it as an Achaemenid satrapy called in Old Persian Aθurā, with Arbela as the capital. The Battle of Gaugamela, in which Alexander the Great defeated Darius III of Persia in 331 BC, after the battle, Darius managed to flee to the city, somewhat inaccurately, the confrontation is sometimes known as the Battle of Arbela. Subsequently, Arbela was part of Alexanders Empire, after the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE, Arbela became part of the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire. Erbil became part of the region disputed between Rome and Persia under the Sasanids, the ancient Assyrian kingdom of Adiabene had its centre at Erbil, and the town and kingdom are known in Jewish Middle Eastern history for the conversion of the royal family to Judaism. During the Parthian era to early Sassanid era, Erbil became the capital of the Assyrian state of Adiabene, the metropolitanate of Ḥadyab in Arbela became a centre of eastern Syriac Christianity until late in the Middle Ages
The Parthian Empire, known as the Arsacid Empire, was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Iran and Iraq. Mithridates I of Parthia greatly expanded the empire by seizing Media and Mesopotamia from the Seleucids, at its height, the Parthian Empire stretched from the northern reaches of the Euphrates, in what is now central-eastern Turkey, to eastern Iran. The empire, located on the Silk Road trade route between the Roman Empire in the Mediterranean Basin and the Han Empire of China, became a center of trade and commerce. The Parthians largely adopted the art, religious beliefs, and royal insignia of their culturally heterogeneous empire, which encompassed Persian and regional cultures. For about the first half of its existence, the Arsacid court adopted elements of Greek culture, the court did appoint a small number of satraps, largely outside Iran, but these satrapies were smaller and less powerful than the Achaemenid potentates. With the expansion of Arsacid power, the seat of government shifted from Nisa to Ctesiphon along the Tigris.
The earliest enemies of the Parthians were the Seleucids in the west, however, as Parthia expanded westward, they came into conflict with the Kingdom of Armenia, and eventually the late Roman Republic. Rome and Parthia competed with other to establish the kings of Armenia as their subordinate clients. The Parthians soundly defeated Marcus Licinius Crassus at the Battle of Carrhae in 53 BC, Mark Antony led a counterattack against Parthia, although his successes were generally achieved in his absence, under the leadership of his lieutenant Ventidius. Also, various Roman emperors or their appointed generals invaded Mesopotamia in the course of the several Roman-Parthian Wars which ensued during the few centuries. The Romans captured the cities of Seleucia and Ctesiphon on multiple occasions during these conflicts, native Parthian sources, written in Parthian and other languages, are scarce when compared to Sassanid and even earlier Achaemenid sources. These include mainly Greek and Roman histories, but Chinese histories, Parthian artwork is viewed by historians as a valid source for understanding aspects of society and culture that are otherwise absent in textual sources.
The Parni most likely spoke an eastern Iranian language, in contrast to the northwestern Iranian language spoken at the time in Parthia, the latter was a northeastern province, first under the Achaemenid, and the Seleucid empires. Why the Arsacid court retroactively chose 247 BC as the first year of the Arsacid era is uncertain, Bivar concludes that this was the year the Seleucids lost control of Parthia to Andragoras, the appointed satrap who rebelled against them. Hence, Arsaces I backdated his regnal years to the moment when Seleucid control over Parthia ceased, Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis asserts that this was simply the year Arsaces was made chief of the Parni tribe. It is unclear who immediately succeeded Arsaces I, Bivar and Katouzian affirm that it was his brother Tiridates I of Parthia, who in turn was succeeded by his son Arsaces II of Parthia in 211 BC. Yet Curtis and Brosius state that Arsaces II was the successor of Arsaces I, with Curtis claiming the succession took place in 211 BC.
Bivar insists that 138 BC, the last regnal year of Mithridates I, is the first precisely established regnal date of Parthian history, due to these and other discrepancies, Bivar outlines two distinct royal chronologies accepted by historians
Ancient Mesopotamian religion
The religious development of Mesopotamia and Mesopotamian culture in general was not particularly influenced by the movements of the various peoples into and throughout the area. Rather, Mesopotamian religion was a consistent and coherent tradition which adapted to the needs of its adherents over millenia of development. The earliest undercurrents of Mesopotamian religious thought date to the 4th millennium BCE, in the 3rd millennium BCE objects of worship were personified and became an expansive cast of divinities with particular functions. Mesopotamian religion finally declined with the spread of Iranian religions during the Achaemenid Empire, as with most dead religions, many aspects of the common practices and intricacies of the doctrine have been lost and forgotten over time. Mesopotamian religion is thought to have been an influence on subsequent religions throughout the world, including Canaanite, Mesopotamian religion has the oldest body of recorded literature of any religious tradition.
Other artifacts can be useful when reconstructing Mesopotamian religion, as is common with most ancient civilizations, the objects made of the most durable and precious materials, and thus more likely to survive, were associated with religious beliefs and practices. It has inspired various contemporary Neo-pagan groups, in the fourth millennium BCE, the first evidence for what is recognisably Mesopotamian religion can be seen with the invention in Mesopotamia of writing circa 3500 BCE. The people of Mesopotamia originally consisted of two groups, Akkadian speakers and the people of Sumer, who spoke a language isolate and these peoples were members of various city-states and small kingdoms. The Sumerians left the first records, although it is not known if they migrated into the area in prehistory or whether they were its original inhabitants and they resided in southern Mesopotamia, which was known as Sumer, and had considerable influence on the Akkadian speakers and their culture. Akkadian names first appear in the lists of these states circa 2800 BCE.
They created the first city-states such as Uruk, Ur, Isin, Umma, Adab, Sippar and Larsa, each of them ruled by an ensí. The Akkadian Empire endured for two centuries before collapsing due to decline, internal strife and attacks from the north east by the Gutian people. Following a brief Sumerian revival with the Third Dynasty of Ur, Assyria asserted itself in the north circa 2100 BCE in the Old Assyrian Empire and southern Mesopotamia fragmented into a number of kingdoms, the largest being Isin and Eshnunna. In 1894 BCE the initially minor city-state of Babylon was founded in the south by invading West Semitic-speaking Amorites and it was rarely ruled by native dynasties throughout its history. Some time after this period, the Sumerians disappeared, becoming absorbed into the Akkadian-speaking population. Assyrian kings are attested from the late 25th century BCE and dominated northern Mesopotamia and parts of Anatolia, the Amorite dynasty was deposed in 1595 BCE after attacks from mountain-dwelling people known as the Kassites from the Zagros Mountains, who went on to rule Babylon for over 500 years.
Assyria defeated the Hittites and Mitanni, and its growing power forced the New Kingdom of Egypt to withdraw from the Near East, the Middle Assyrian Empire at its height stretched from the Caucasus to modern Bahrain and from Cyprus to western Iran. During the Neo-Assyrian Empire, Mesopotamian Aramaic became the lingua franca of the empire, the last written records in Akkadian were astrological texts dating from 78 CE discovered in Assyria