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Aratta ( Akkadian for sublime mountainous country ) is the name of a country in Sumerian mythology . It is debatable whether a city-state or kingdom by that name actually existed in the Middle East and where it could have been located.

Sumerian sources

The main source is the early Sumerian poetry Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta , in which the probably legendary King Enmerkar of Uruk sends a messenger to Aratta who demands the submission of the Arattean ruler Ensuh-keshdanna, since the goddess Inanna is no longer in favor of Aratta, but Uruk prove. Aratta is described as an extremely rich land behind seven mountain ranges. In addition, Aratta is mentioned in the epic Lugalbanda and Enmerkar as the target of the campaign, with Lugalbanda still serving as an officer under Enmerkar at that time .

In later cuneiform texts , the origin of the Sumerians from Aratta is mentioned several times. A connection with Inanna's favor could be seen here. Aratta appears to have been regarded as the source of Sumerian civilization and religion for several centuries.


The route description in Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta led to numerous attempts to localize Aratta starting from Uruk and to prove its historicity. Aratta is chronologically in the 3rd millennium BC. BC settled. Three theses form the focus of the discussion:

Urartu thesis

In some cases, Aratta is seen as a forerunner of the Urartu state and is relocated to the northern highlands of today's Armenia , Azerbaijan , Iran and Turkey as seen from Mesopotamia . Accordingly, Aratta would have been a very early area state.

Vansee thesis

A variant of the Urartu thesis, based on some etymological assumptions, sees Aratta as the location of the biblical story of paradise and locates it east of Lake Van in the border area of ​​today's Turkey and Iran. Investigations of the today very barren area show for the 3rd millennium BC A lush fauna, which is assumed to be the basis for a spatially limited, early civilization.

Jiroft thesis

In 1976, the Iranian archaeologist Youssef Madjidzadeh put the thesis on Aratta supposedly located in southeastern Iran in the province of Kerman . Its main arguments are the proximity to Anschan described in the myth , the rich grave goods in Shadad and the elaborate handicraft material culture that the province of Kerman developed in the 3 millennium BC. BC, and bases this thesis on the excavation he started in 2001 in Konar Sandal near the Iranian city of Jiroft . So far, a ziggurat- like monumental building and a large number of elaborately decorated pottery with strikingly differentiated symbolism have been found here. The Jiroft culture goes back to around 2500 BC. Dated. Many of the pictorial representations found show similarities to Sumerian legends and could have fertilized them.

Other theories around Aratta

The Iranian linguist Jahanshah Derakhshani sees Aratta as the original home of the Indo-Europeans , as an alternative to the previously assumed region of origin in southern Russia or Anatolia . The background is Derakhshani's thesis that the people of Aratta spoke an Aryan , i.e. Indo-European language . [Quote required]


Web links


  1. Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta