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Gutium ( Akkadian Kuti-im, Gutebu-um , Babylonian Gutu-um, Guti-u ) is the name of the country Guti (land name in the singular , Neo-Assyrian Guti , Neo-Babylonian Quteu ), a region in the Iranian highlands or in the valleys of the Zāgros Mountain range . In later times there are variations of this designation in the Tur Abdin and in the sources of the Chabur , so that the associated ethnic group is elusive.

According to some scholars, the name of the country is Kut , with the appended / -ī / the Akkadian Nisbe and / -um / the Akkadian nominative. The name was then adopted into Sumerian in the form 'Kut-ī-um'. However, there are very few sources about the history of the Guteans.

Origin theories

No reliable statement can be made about the origin of the Guti, as there are no archaeological finds from the time of immigration that can be directly assigned. A connection between Gutäern, Lulubi (also Lullubu or Lullubäer) and Subartu (also Shubur or Subar) is suspected, who belonged to the same wave of immigration.

Usually their origin is assumed to be in northern Iran ( Godin Tepe ), from where they spread along the Tigris, which means that the Caucasus and Asia could be the origin of the Guteans. Godin Tepe is identified with Awan and is called Ashwan in Akkadian. It is north of Susa .

The spread of the Kura-Araxes culture (around 2400–2000 BC) as the Yanik culture from Yanik Tepe to Godin Tepe in northern Iran and northern Syria speaks for the Caucasus and is accompanied by significantly better forging technology. Since the late Kura-Araxes culture already interacts with the Kurgan culture , it is possible that the Guti were already carriers of an Indo-Iranian language (possibly the Kurdish Gorani ). Based on the few names, however, it cannot be determined which language family the Guti really belonged to. Although the language of the Guti itself is only documented by names, a plaque from Emar , dated in the middle Babylonian Empire , shows that translators were needed for the languages ​​of the Guti, Subartu, Amorites and Hurrites .

For an Asian immigration via Khorasan says the appearance of the Assyrians , the first king (living in tents Kings) in 2236 v. Is dated. That speaks u. a. the appearance of a further developed bow , which enjoys the special esteem of the kings of Akkad .

But also in the east of Iran and the Marhashi (possibly Dschiroft ) suspected there , connections to Elam have been proven, so that immigration from here would also be conceivable.

Their original settlement area in the Iranian highlands cannot be determined with certainty either. a. northern Luristan on the Diyala River . The city of Kutha (Cuthah or Cutha, Sumerian Gudua, modern Tell Ibrahim) is also associated with the Guti.

Gutium, land of the Guti

The location of Gutium changed in the course of history and denotes the regions that were not under the control of the respective Mesopotamian rulers. In this respect, some scientists do not assume a fixed location for Gutium, but rather understand it as a synonym for wandering mountain folk. Others generally see Gutium as western media or associate it with Kurdistan. The Diyala region is also regarded as the original settlement area of ​​the Guti. Godin Tepe maintains strong contacts with Elam. Under Cyrus Gobryas I. is listed as governor of Gurgium ( Arbila in Sagartien).

Guti (or the Babylonian / Assyrian form Quti) is used more and more as a swear word for residents of the Iranian highlands in the first millennium. a. also the invading Kimmerer of the 8th century BC. Chr. Insulted as Guti. Reliefs from around 1100 BC BC show regular military operations against the Guti, which the Assyrians probably associated with Gurgum or the former land of the Mitanni. Frayne (1990) identified the Lulubi city as Lulubuna in the Kurdish region of Halabja. This location is also not certain.

Political rise in ancient Mesopotamia

Location of Anjan aka Awan
Anubanini, King of the Lullubi. The relief is located in the Iranian province of Kermanshah .

The presence of the Guti in the highlands of Iran is documented several times by Sargon von Akkad , Maništušu , Rimuš and Naram-Sin , who waged wars against the Iranian highlands. Sargon subjugated u. a. Abal-gamaš from Warakshe and Luh-ishan from Awan (ev. Ahvan ), followed by Hišep-Ratep to the throne. Sargon's successor, Rimuš, fought against a rebellion by Abal-gamaš of Warahše in Parahsum (Parsa modern Persis), who had entered into a coalition with Hishep-ratep of Awan and Susa , including a king Emah-sin (or Emahsini, possibly Gutaean Elulumeš) alias Elulu in Lorestan, conquered Akkad), about which unfortunately nothing is known.

Later Naram-Sin formed a coalition with King Hita of Awan (name partially destroyed) through a dynastic marriage, which temporarily settled the rivalries between Elam and Akkad. In the following, Naram-Sin is referred to as the "spouse of the Ishtar Annunitum". The city of Tupliaš and probably also Kutha (Tell Ibrahim) became a trading post under Naram-Sin and thus a settlement area of ​​the Guteans in Mesopotamia and Elam. As a result of the contract, which is engraved on the Naram-sin stele, Elam became an equal partner and the Elamish engravings were introduced in Susa under Puzur-Inshushinak, the son of the Naram-Sin daughter Bin-Kali-Sharri and Hita von Awan which disappeared again after his departure.

Furthermore, Naram-Sin conquered the city of Mari on the way to the upper sea (to northern Syria), where he found the Subartu (or Shubur, identified with Urkeš on the Chabur and Nagar alias Tell Brak ) as well as Ebla and Armanum (identified with Aleppo on the Armanus Mountains ) and tied King Rish-Adad to the stone city gate. Under Naram-Sin there is evidence of a great rebellion of numerous cities, which rebelled under the leadership of the Lulubi under King Saturni (or Satuni) or Anu-Bani-ni (the connection is unclear) of Lulume, as evidenced by the Naram-Sin stele is, including Gutium under a king Gula'an (ev. the founder of Kutha), Warahše (in Parahsum, ev. Persis) and Šimurru (probably at or behind Zamua on the upper Zab). All of these are predominantly early Elamite cities that later also had a Gutean elite class. Thereupon he installed Lipit-ili, his son in Marad (Warahše) as governor. His successor Šar-kali-šarri also boasts of defeating a Guti king Sharlag (Sarlagab approx. 2195) and of having imposed the yoke on Gutium. The dynasty is ended by a successful rebellion of the Guti (probably with the participation of the Elamites), who subsequently ruled the Akkad Empire. The relationship presented here has been poorly reconstructed from fragments and can only be verified to a limited extent. The exact contexts and ethnicities of this time are currently barely comprehensible and require further deciphering from cuneiform tablets, which will hopefully shed more light on the history of the Guteans.


The first kings of the Guteans are Erridu-puzur and Imta , who lived around 2210 BC. Ruled until 2004. Šulme finally defeated the last ruler of the Akkad dynasty, Šar-kali-šarri , with which the Guteans around 2191 BC. Took over the rule over Akkad , the 75 years until 2116 BC. Should last. The Guteans took over all titles from Akkad and adapted in many respects to Mesopotamian society. As the eponymous founder of the Gutaean dynasty, they refer to a Harhar.


In Sumer and Akkad, the guti are denigrated as punishment for enlil with the instinct of wolves and the appearance of monkeys. Their rule is portrayed as catastrophic. Apparently the kings of the Guteans were not familiar with the urban economy, which led to supply errors and angered the population against their rule. Through a joint military action by the kings of Sumer and Akkade, the Guti were finally driven back into the mountains under Utu-Hengal of Uruk and his general (and successor) Ur-Nammu of Ur. The defeated last Gutaean king Tirigan, who ruled for only 40 days, fled to northeastern Iran. As a result, Mesopotamia loses contact and memory of Meluhha because the trade routes were blocked. According to one theory, Tirigan immigrated with his entourage to northern India and became the creator of the early Vedic religion, which later became the religion of the Indo-Aryans there. The majority of the Guteans, however, are likely to have moved into lowland society. B. in Aššur , have been incorporated.

Influence on the development of religion

The dynastic marriage and the power struggle between Akkad and Guti as well as their expulsion represent the mythological background of several legends, which were borrowed from one to the other and which underwent considerable changes. The Gutean Igigi become judges of the dead and later Šebettu , that is, demons of reigning kings who threaten them with diseases, epidemics, storms and drought (e.g. Erra, god of the plague), while the Sumerian Anunna act as a kind of advisory council of gods (guardian angel ) for the living kings in Mesopotamia, who are to guide them on the right path. Over time, the view of the Guteans during the Babylonian Ascension becomes more and more negative. Ishtar (the Sumerian Inanna, mistress of the mountains) is listed as an Igigu and in Babylonian mythology a kind of femme fatale . Her sister Ereškigal becomes the queen of Irkalla of the underworld and thus the mistress of the Šebettu. Mention should also be made of Anahita , who plays a role comparable to Enki in the Iranian Avesta.

The original deification of early rulers of the rival dynasties at that time represent the historical background of the Babylonian creation myth Enūma eliš . Its world order was widely spread through Babylon and Assyria up to the Phoenicians. The depiction of how Rish-Adad is tied to the stone city gate is among other things the origin of the Greek Prometheus or, later, of Loki , who are tied to a rock by the respective sky god as punishment. Certainly, comparable gods can also be found in other cultural myths.

designation Ethnikon Ruler source
Guti Šurgadeans Sargon I. Levine 1972, 38, II, 34
Guti Mannai Sargon I. 8. Campaign
Quti Manneans Assurhaddon Zadok 2002, 90
Quti Bīt-Sangibuti Tiglath-Pilesar II Zadok 2002, 90
Quti Sunbu
Quti Allabria
Quti Namri
Quti Hubuškia
Quti Aššur-reš-iši I.
Guti - Adad-Nirari III.

The End

The Guteans are later ousted by the Kassites , then by Iranian tribes , and finally they disappeared without a trace. The historical appreciation of the Guteans is mostly negative. After Bottéro , the Guteans have

"A lot of destruction caused, and as far as we can see, nothing positive left behind, nothing built and nothing of our own brought to Mesopotamia."

See also


  • Jean Bottéro . In: Fischer Weltgeschichte Volume 2. Fischer Taschenbuchverlag, Frankfurt 2000.
  • Elena Cassin . In: Fischer Weltgeschichte Volume 3. Fischer Taschenbuchverlag, Frankfurt 2000.
  • Barthel Hrouda : The Ancient Orient. Munich 1991.
  • FR Kraus: Sumerians and Akkadians, a problem in ancient oriental history. North-Holland Publishing Company, Amsterdam / London 1970.
  • Hans J. Nissen : History of ancient Near East. Oldenbourg, Munich 1999, ISBN 3-486-56373-4 .
  • Hans Henning from the East: The Persians. Emil Vollmer, 1966.
  • Wolfram von Soden : Introduction to Ancient Near Eastern Studies. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 1992, ISBN 3-534-07627-3 .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ FR Kraus: Sumerians and Akkadians, a problem of ancient oriental history. Pp. 92-93.
  2. a b Holle world and cultural history . Volume I, The First High Cultures / Prehistoric Times to 1200 BC Chr. Holle Verlag, Baden-Baden 1970, p.378.
  3. ^ Wolfgang Heimpel: Letters to the King of Mari: A New Translation, with Historical Introduction, Notes, and Commentary. Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake 2003, ISBN 1-57506-080-9 .
  4. ^ Ran Zadok: The Ethno-Linguistic Character of Northwestern Iran and Kurdistan in the Neo-Assyrian Period. In: Iran. 40, 2002, p. 90.
  5. Marhashi, southeast of Elam, location:
  6. ^ William W. Hello: Gutium. In: Reallexikon der Assyriologie . Volume 3, Berlin / New York 1957–1971, p. 711.

Coordinates: 37 ° 0 ′ 0 ″  N , 45 ° 19 ′ 0 ″  E