The Median people are mentioned by that name in many ancient texts. According to the Histories of Herodotus;
- "The Medes were called anciently by all people Aryans; but when Medea, the Colchian, came to them from Athens, they changed their name. Such is the account which they themselves give."
Historical geography of Media: The original population area of the Median people was western Iran and named after them as "Media". At the end of the 2nd millennium BCE the Median tribes emerged in the region (one of several Iranian tribes to do so) which they later called Media. These tribes expanded their control over larger areas subsequently, and, over a period of several hundred years, the boundaries of Media moved.
Kurds and Medes
The Russian historian and linguist Vladimir Minorsky suggested that the Medes, who widely inhabited the land where currently the Kurds form the majority, might have been forefathers of the modern Kurds. He also claims that the Medes who invaded the region in the eighth century B.C.E., linguistically resembled the Kurds. This view was accepted by many Kurdish nationalists in the twentieth century. However, Martin van Bruinessen, a prominent Dutch scholar, argues against the attempt to take the Medes as ancestors of the Kurds.
It is important to note that in Roman sources the Parthians are described as a unification of Medes and Scythians. Their costumes,culture and language are described as a mixture of both with increase of power being more like that of the Medes.
Section 4 : Philological Mistake
This mistake is so important in connection with contents of this book that I must write in detail about i& In a succeeding chapter will be described the important Jat Empire of Manda. When in the course of a few generations the wheel of fortune turned, a Persian prince with Jat blood flowing in his veins succeeded to that Jat Empire. The laws, the administration and the army, however, remained Jat. Even the Commander-in-Chief of the army, Harpagus, was the same Jat- who had previously conquered so many countries under the Manda Empire. Only the Emperor, the head of the Empire, was Persian. The name of the Empire was, however, changed into Manda and Persian Empire.
In course of time the word Manda happened by a mere philological mistake, to be changed into Mede. There is no possible means of knowing when and how this serious mistake occurred and who was responsible for this mistake. Media was the northwestern neighbor of Manda. It was eventually annexed to the Empire of Manda. This might be the reason of the mistake. The Medes never had any Empire. They were Greek traders and moneylenders living in small principalities. Such people would never dream to have any Empire or history. What history can a trader or a moneylender have except that of being raided by the greedy neighbors for his riches? They were at first raided by the Assyrians and eventually Shalmaneser, the king of Assyria, took tribute from them. Afterwards their Jat neighbors raided them and their country was annexed to Manda Empire as mentioned above. Confounding the brave Manda with the effete Medes was most unfortunate event in history. The mistake became so prevalent that even a proverb was invented in English language to the effect that a certain thing is as unchangeable as the laws of media and Persians.
This mistake was detected when the monuments of Nabonidus and Cyrus were unearthed. It was then discovered that upto that time the whole history remained based upon a most unfortunate philological mistake. It was under the influence of that mistake that Cyaxares, one of the bravest Jat Emperors who was responsible for the tragic end of Nineveh, was described as a median prince.
I must quote here Professor Sayce, a brilliant English professor of 19th century who was the author of the well-known book "Ancient Empires of the East". He says as follows: —
- "When in generation which succeeded Darius Hystaspes, Cyrus became the founder of the Persian Empire, the Medes and the Manda were confounded one with the other. Astyages, the suzerain of Cyrus, was transformed into a Mede and the city of Ecbatana into the capital of a Median Empire. The illusion has lasted down to our own age. There was no reason for doubting the traditional story; neither in the pages of the writers of Greece and Rome, nor in those of the Old Testament, nor even in the great inscription of Darius in Behistun did there seem to be anything to cast suspicion upon it. It was not until the discovery of the monuments of Nabonidus and Cyrus that the truth at last came to light and it was found that the history we had so long believed was founded upon a philological mistake."
In this connection I must also give here a quotation from page 573 volume II of the Historians' History of the World: —
- " So startling and revolutionizing is the knowledge obtained from the deciphering of Assyria And a Persian monument, so wholly different is the historical aspect thus revealed that the term median Empire is probably destined to disappear from the historians' phraseology. Indeed, Professor Sayce in his latest writings has discarded it."
This discarding of a wrong word has not, however, dispelled the illusion from the writings of the 20th century historians. Even Mr. H. G. Wells, in his well known book "The Outline of History", uses the wrong term Mede in so many places. I, therefore, agree with the opinion of the authors of Historians' History of the World on page 582, Volume II, that the phrase having been universally used throughout centuries cannot so easily be discarded. I, therefore, propose the only desperately effective measure. Wherever the word Mede occurs in literature, ancient or modern, it must be taken to mean Manda Jat.
This arrangement does not do any harm to anybody; because, the real Medes had neither any history, nor any other kind of literature excepting what was imputed to them by the Great mistake. It will no doubt amount to undeserved perpetuation of their name, but it cannot be helped under the circumstances, because the only other alternative is the perpetual confusion in so important a part of ancient history. I, therefore, propose in the succeeding pages to consider the word Medes as meaning Manda Jats.
- Herodotus 7.62.1
- Diakonoff, I. M. (1985), "Media", The Cambridge History of Iran 2 (Edited by Ilya Gershevitch ed.), Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, pp. 36–148, ISBN 0-521-20091-1
- Hakan Özoğlu, Kurdish notables and the Ottoman state: Evolving Identities, Competing Loyalties, and Shifting Boundaries, SUNY Press, 2004, p. 25.
- A Roman description of the Parthians or later Persians from Justin's History of the World BOOK XLI
- Antiquity of the Jat race, Delhi (1954)