Mannai

Mannai

 

(also Mana), an ancient Eastern state of the first half of the first millennium B.C.; the first stable state formation on the territory of Azerbaijan. The nucleus of the state and its capital, Izirtu (Zirta), were located in the basin of the Dzhagatu River. In the beginning of the first millennium B.C. there existed near Lake Urmia a number of small state-type amalgamations with their centers in fortress cities. (One such fortress city, dating to the tenth and ninth centuries B.C., has been excavated on Khasanlu hill.) In the ninth century, when Assyria and, later, Urartu were expanding, Mannai was becoming stronger. (It is first mentioned in 843 B.C.) In the eighth century Mannai had already become a large state, uniting a number of neighboring regions. Its population belonged to various ethnic groups: both to the old local, related Hurrians, Lullubi, Guti, and Kassites and to Iranian groups which spread out in that area from the beginning of the first millennium B.C. Deep social contradictions were evident in Mannai’s society; the tribal and service aristocracy and the rulers of the provinces and tribes played an important role.

The power of the kings of Mannai was strengthened after the victory in 715-714 B.C. of Assyria, their ally, over Urartu. In the early seventh century, Mannai successfully struggled with Assyria but was defeated in 660-659. After this, a popular uprising occurred in Mannai during which King Akhsheri was killed. Subsequently, Mannai was an ally of Assyria until their forces were defeated in 616 in the war with the Neo-Babylonian empire and Media. In the seventh century the Scythians, who had settled in Southwest Asia, played a significant role in the history of Mannai. Between 615-610 and 590, Mannai was subjugated by Media and made part of its empire. The materials in the Saqqez treasure (burials of the late seventh century B.C. on the hill of Ziwiye, 42 km east of the city of Saqqez), in particular, testify to the high level of handicraft production and art attained by Mannai.

REFERENCES

Melikishvili, G. A. “Nekotorye voprosy istorii Maneiskogo tsarstva.” Vestnik drevnei istorii, 1949, no. 1.
D’iakonov, I. M. Istoriia Midiiot drevneishikh vremen do kontsa IV veka do n.e. Moscow-Leningrad, 1956.
Aliev, I. Istoriia Midii. Baku, 1960.
Kashkai, S. M. “Novye dannye ob obshchestve i kul’ture Manny.” Izvestiia AN Azerb. SSR: Ser. istorii, filosofii i prava, 1968, no. 3.
Grantovskii, E. A. Ranniaia istoriia iranskikh piemen Perednei Azii. Moscow, 1970.

E. A. GRANTOVSKII

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