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(both: kăs`īts), ancient people, probably of Indo-European origin. They were first mentioned in historical texts as occupying the W Iranian plateau. In the 18th cent. B.C. they swept down on BabyloniaBabylonia
, ancient empire of Mesopotamia. The name is sometimes given to the whole civilization of S Mesopotamia, including the states established by the city rulers of Lagash, Akkad (or Agade), Uruk, and Ur in the 3d millennium B.C.
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, conquered the region, and ruled there until the 12th cent. B.C., when they returned to the Iranian plateau. They remained more or less independent until the beginning of the Christian era, when they disappeared from history.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(also Kossaioi; Akkadian, Kashshi), ancient mountain tribes that lived in the Zagros Mountains (western Iran), in what is now Luristan, during the second and first millennia B.C. The problem of their ethnic affiliation remains unresolved. The Kassites first invaded Babylonia in the middle of the 18th century B.C. and by the 16th century B.C. had conquered the entire country (the Kassite Dynasty ruled from 1518 to 1204 B.C.). The Kassite Period in the history of Babylonia has not been studied extensively. Letters and official documents dating primarily from the end of this period have been preserved. The most well-known architectural remain is the temple of King Kara-Indash in Erech (Uruk), dating from the 15th century B.C. The Kassites of western Iran were mentioned for the last time in 324 B.C. (during the time of Alexander the Great).


D’iakonov, I. M. Istoriia Midii. Moscow-Leningrad, 1956.
Balkan, K. Kassitenstudien, vol. 1. New Haven, 1954.
Brinkman, J. A. A Political History of Post-Kassite Babylonia. Rome, 1968. (Analecta orientalia, vol. 43.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.