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The glorious Gutians
Historic Kurdistan as ancient Gutium

Samar Abbas
March 24, 2005


Historic Kurdistan as ancient Gutium. Describing the Descent of modern Kurds from legendary Gutians of Yore. Relation of the Jats with the Gutians & Goths. Disclosing the Gutians to be a branch of the Getae, Goths or Jats of Punjab, and hence of Scythian or East Iranic race. Their relationship with the Tocharians or Thakurs. Red-haired Features of Gutians. Connections of the Gutians with the Goths. Relations of Gutians with the Tokharians. Sumerian Renaissance under the Heroic Gutians. Peak of Sumeria & Gutian Golden Age under Gudea. Linguistic evidence for Gutian descent of Kurds. Refutation of views of self-hating Kurds and Anti-Kurdish scholars.

World-Wide Migrations of the Gutians

According to linguistics and internal evidence of the Avesta, the Irano-Aryan language family originated high in the splendid Hind Kush or "Indian Kushana" mountains of Afghanistan. Historical data indicates that one of these Proto-Iranic-speaking tribes was denominated 'Gut' or 'Got'. This ancient Iranic root denominated "warrior", as the erudite Waddell notes, "the affixed title of Gut or "Goth" or 'Warrior'" (Waddell 1929, p.114) One branch of this legendary Gut or warrior tribe migrated to India, where they eventually became the renowned Jats.

Another branch migrated to Europe, where they became variously known as Goths, Gaetonnes, and Getae, inaugurating the well-known Gothic phase of architecture and giving their name to several places such as Jutland and Gotland. Yet another branch migrated to Sumeria, establishing one of the greatest empires in Sumerian history. Denominated Gutian, this branch drove back the barbaric Semitic Akkadian invaders and inaugurated the famous Neo-Sumerian renaissance. A researcher summarizes the history of the Gutians thus: "The Guti/Qutils of central and southern Kurdistan, after gradually unifying the smaller mountain principalities, became strong enough in 2250 BC to actually annex Sumeria and the rest of lowland Mesopotamia. A Guti/Qutil dynasty ruled Sumeria for 130 years until 2120 BC." (Izady 1993)

Fig.1: Guto-Sumerian Ziggurat: Splendours of Sumeria as depicted in artistic rendition by Dawn Razor. Note the striking resemblance to mountains. The Gutians erected ziggurats in memory of their homeland in the Hind Kush mountains of Iran. Massive Gutian ziggurats contrasted with smaller structures of the Ugro-Altaic Sumerians (see below).

Ethnic History of Sumer

The dolichocephalic (long-headed) Iranic Gutians entered Sumeria as the last in a succession of conquering races. The sequence of ethnic groups in generally accepted to have been as follows:

  1. Negro-Dravidians, also called Ubaidians or Proto-Euphrateans, were the earliest inhabitants. Remnants of this people survived for long in Elam.
  2. Sumerians, members of the round-headed Turanoid race, succeeded the Ubaidians. Their origin was generally sought in the Altaic regions: "Even King, in his History of Sumer and Akkad, looked, as we have seen, toward Turkestan for the beginnings of Sumerian culture." (Luckenbill 1923, p.7) Regarding the close, yet not conclusive, relation between Sumerian and Ugric, Coon notes:
    "The supposed kinship between Sumerian and Finno-Ugrian cannot easily be evaluated, owing largely to the gap of over three millennia between the known forms of each. Both groups are agglutinative, but the grammatical structure of Sumerian also has verbal prefixes, often with personal tone, unknown in modern Finnic or Ugric." (Coon 1939, Ch.VI, sect.1: Race, Languages, and European Peoples)
  3. Barbaric Akkadian Semites, related to the Sabaeans, overthrew the Sumerians.
  4. The Gutians in turn overthrew the Semitic Akkadian tyranny, inaugurating the Neo-Sumerian renaissance which continued long into the subsequent Ur III dynasty.

Fig.2: Map of Gutium, courtesy Gary Fletcher

Kurdistan as Gutium

One of the clearest indicators that the powerful Gutians of Gutium were members of the Irano-Afghan race is provided by the geographical location of ancient Gutium, which lies within the modern orbit of the distribution of Irano-Aryan languages. In fact, ancient Gutium appears to have been merely another name for modern Kurdistan, a region inhabited by the Iranic-speaking Kurds today. In this regard, the great savant Archibald H. Sayce holds that the name of Kurdistan represents a mere derivation of 'Gutium':
"Who "Tidal king of Goyyim" may have been we cannot tell. Sir Henry Rawlinson has proposed to see in Goyyim a transformation of Gutium, the name by which Kurdistan was called in early Babylonia." (Sayce 1895, Ch.3)
The astute Jensen goes one step further, and identifies the Gutians as ancestors of the modern Kurds:
"The thirty million Kurds of the Middle East have lived in Kurdistan before record of modern history was kept. The very first mention of the Kurds in history was about 3,000 BC, under the name Gutium, as they fought the Summerians (Spieser). Later around 800 BC, the Indo-European Median tribes settled in the Zagros mountain region and coalesced with the Gutiums, and thus the modern Kurds speak from as Aryan language (Morris). The Kurds are mentioned by Xenaphon, a Greek mercenary, as he retreated from Persia with ten thousand men in 401 BC, he says of the Kurds, "These people, lived in the mountains and were very war-like and not subject to the Persian king. Indeed once a royal army of 120,000 thousand had once invaded their country, and not a man of them came back..(Morris)." (Jensen 1996)
Ancient Gutium was located within the modern Kurdistan, as Easton notes:
" Shoa Opulent, the mountain district lying to the north-east of Babylonia, anciently the land of the Guti, or Kuti, the modern Kurdistan. The plain lying between these mountains and the Tigris was called su-Edina, i.e., "the border of the plain." This name was sometimes shortened into Suti and Su, and has been regarded as = Shoa (Eze 23:23). Some think it denotes a place in Babylon. (See PEKOD.)" (Easton 1897, entry "Shoa")

In this regard, Elphinston notes,

"Sumerian inscriptions of 2000 BC, as well as early Assyrian inscriptions of a thousand years later, indicate the existence of a people named Kardaka, Kurtie or Guti in the neighbourhood of Lake Van. These are claimed by some authorities to be the ancestors of the modern Kurds, but it is not until Grecian times that certain identification is possible. Herodotus mentions the inhabitants of what is now Bohtan, and Xenophon refers to the Garduchi, possibly an earlier form of the modern name. Strabo speaks of the country of Courdueni where Bait Kardu is located by Aramaic sources. The modern form 'Kurdu' first appears in Arabic writings of the ninth century AD with the plural form 'Akrad'." (Elphinstone 1946, p.92)

In a similar vein, Edmonds notes, "However that may be, nationalists feel that they can claim to represent the Median as distinct from the Persian element in the great Iranian immigration about the beginning of the first millenium BC. Some go further to claim descent from the earlier autochthonous stocks like the Guti and the Lullubi, on whom the Medes imposed their language and religion." (Edmonds 1971, p.88)

The Gutians were also evidently kin of the Kassites, as Saba Dara notes, "The Babylonian army was eventually defeated by a combined force of Gutium and their kinsmen, the Kashshu (Kas-Pi) or Kassites." (Dara 2000) The Kassites have long been identified as Iranoid.

Moreover, in an entire book, scholar Hennerbichler links the Kurds with the Gutians (Hennerbichler 2004, p.183-184)

Kurd name derived from Guti

Not only was Gutium located within the modern Kurdistan. The very name 'Kurd' itself has been viewed by scholars as being merely a corruption of the ancient Iranic word 'Guti'. Thus, Prof. Howorth concurs with the derivation of Kurdistan from Gutium, and identifies the ancient Babylonian term for Kurds, 'Khuradi' or 'Quradu,' with 'Guti':
"The land of Guti answers in substance, and perhaps also in name, to the modern Kurdistan. According to Sayce the name Kurd is derived from the Babylonian quradu, 'a warrior,' a word which was borrowed by the people of Van. In the forms of 'khuradi' and 'quradu' it is given as the equivalent of 'gut' in an inscription published by Rawlinson. 'Gut' or 'Guti,' we are told, means a 'bull' in the primitive language of Chaldea, and the name Gutium, used by this early people, was borrowed from a Semitic language (probably Babylonian) which possessed the case-ending in 'um.' " (Howorth 1901, ftn. p.32)
Honigman likewise derives the name 'Kurd' from the word 'Guti':
"The Kurds are a native, non-Arab people who have lived in the Middle East for thousands of years. Their name derives from the ancient Guti (Guti-Gurti-Kurdi), conquerors of Babylon. They were the non-Semitic Hurrians of Mesopotamia and the Medes of Persian history. Their home covers mountainous regions now part of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and other countries as well. But the heartland of ancient Gutium, the domain of later autonomous Kurdish mirs, had been in what is now-- thanks to the British-- Arab Iraq." (Honigman 2003)
Telek agrees:
"Wenigstens zwei Herkunftslinien" lassen sich erkennen, "die mit allen ihren Zweigen im heutigen Kerngebiet der Kurden zusammenlaufen. Schon seit dem ausgehenden 3. Jahrtausend v. Christi gaben naemlich die Sumerer, Babylonier und etwas spaeter auch die Assyrer bereinstimmende Nachrichten von Voelkern im zentralen und noerdlichen Zagrosgebirge, die als "Guti", "Qurti", "Kurtie" oder aehnlich bezeichnet werden und deren Gebiet man "Gutium" oder "Kardaka" nannte. Eine zweite Linie aus dem Gebiet des noerdlichen Zagros und des Taurus fuehrt von diesem "Kardaka" der Sumerer, den armenischen "Beth-Kurdu", den "Khaldern" des ersten Jahrtausend v. Chr. und den durch Xenophons Bericht "Anabasis" beruehmt gewordenen "Karduchen" und ihrem Land zum heutigen armenischen "Kordukh", womit dort die Kurden bezeichnet werden." (Deschner: Die Kurden- Das Betrogene Volk", Ullstein Frankfurt/Main; Berlin 1991,S.64)" (Telek 2003, p.7)
A brief translation of this passage would be:
"At least two lines of descent are observable, which meet with all their branches in the present core region of the Kurds. Already since the 3rd millenium BC the Sumerians, Babylonians and, somewhat later, the Assyrians as well, provided mutually concordant reports of peoples in the central and northern Zagros mountains who were known as 'Guti,' 'Qurti,' 'Kurtie' or something similar and whose region was known as 'Gutium' or 'Kardaka'. A second line led from the region of the northern Zagros and the Taurus from these 'Kardaka' of the Sumerians, the Armenian 'Beth-Kurdu', the Khaldians of the first millenium BC and the through Xenophon's report 'Anabasis' famous 'Karduches' and their land to the modern Armenian 'Kordukh,' as the Kurds as known there." (transl. of Telek 2003, p.7)
Mazouri concurs with the identification of Kurds and Gutians:
"Now historically, Kirkuk has been a Kurdish city. It is a part of Zagros highlands which is the original dwelling of the ancient Kurds who were the native inhabitants of the area long before the migration of the other races and tribes. In an article published in Kurdistan Times in its issue of winter 1990, Mr. Mustafa Qaradaghi states that Gutium or Guti, the ancient Kurds who spoke a branch of Hurrian language, which was also spoken by their kin of Lulu, Kassite, and Mittani. Their capital city was in and around the town of Kirkuk, named Arrapha." (Mazouri 2002)

Furthermore, the denomination Gutian included the Iranic Medes as well: "To their very end in the 6th century BC, on the other hand, the Babylonians loosely (and apparently pejoratively) called {al-}most every body who lived in the Zagros-Taurus system a "Guti", including the Medes!" (Izady 1993)

It is thus clear: an overwhelming majority of scholars from different fields of history, anthropology, ethnography and linguistics identify the modern Kurds as descendants of the ancient Gutians of Sumer.


Abundant evidence supporting the connection between Kurds and Gutians is further provided by toponyms in Kurdistan. In fact, the place-name Mt. Judi and the Kurdish clan of Judikanlu are fossil remnants of the awesome name left behind by the 'Guti', as a researcher notes, "For about two centuries (circa 2,200 to 2,000 BC) the Gutis gained the upper military hand over the Mesopotamian (primarily, Sumerian) states. In an impressive show of force, they succeeded to annex Sumeria to their domain. Apparently they also founded a separate Guti dynasty that ruled from Sumeria for over a century, until they were evicted. In fact, the Biblical- and modern Mt. Judi (between Zakho and Sirnak in north-central Kurdistan) and the Kurdish clan of Judikanlu preserve variant forms of the old name, 'Guti.' " (Izady 1995)

Fig.3: Rendition of the Eanna of Uruk. Pre-Gutian Sumerian architecture favoured gentle curves with slight elevations
Image courtesy Gary Fletcher:

Jats & Gutians

Having established the Gutian-Kurd connection, it remains to prove the Jat-Gutian linkage. Just as Kurdish scholars and historians proudly document their descent from the ancient Gutians, so Jat scholars take pride in their prestigious connection with the heroic Gutians. Thus, eminent Jat historian Dahiya notes the relations between the Jats and the Gutians:

" 11. We may mention that there is evidence to show that the Mauryas were from the ancient Maṇda empire. Much earlier, we find them named as Muru or Mor by the Egyptians and the scriptures. There, these Mores were called Amuru and Amor or Amorites. CAH mentions that the initial vowel, 'a', is added to make pronunciation easier for the Semites, (vol.III, p.194). Thus, the initial vowel 'a' has to be ignored in order to find the correct name of these people and this clearly remains as Mur/Mor. This is the same as the Moor of Europe and the Mor clan of the Jats in India. When they attacked the king of the 11th dynasty of Egypt, they are expressly mentioned as the people from "the land of Djati." We have shown that this land of Djati is the same as the land of the Guti and clearly means the land of the Jats. Thus the { p.132 } Mor/Mur are expressly mentioned as the Jats in the 21st century BC. Naturally, when these people and their brothers from other areas in Central Asia came to India and established the Maurian empire, they did not feel at home and have been called a hot house in India as mentioned above." (Dehiya 1979, p.131-2)

The famed Jat scholar then continues,

"The Chinese were right in stating that the Hiung-nu were a part of the Yue-Che (reads as Guti ) people, and these Guti people had two divisions, the Ta-Yue-Che and the Siao-Yue-Che, exactly corresponding to the Massagetae and Thyssagetae of Herodotus (a classical Greek writer of fifth century BC), meaning the "Great-Jats" and the "Little-Jats" respectively. Almost every tribe of ancient Middle East (West Asia) and Central Asia, is represented among the present day Jats in India." (Dahiya 1980, p.23ff, cited in Dhillon 1994, p.10)
Hewitt also notes the connection between Jats and Goths:
"The Jats ... trace their descent to the land of Ghazni and Kandahar, watered by the mother-river of the Kushika race, the sacred Haetuman.t or Helmand. Their name connects them with the Getae of Thrace, and thence with the Gattons, said by Pytheas to live on the southern shores of the Baltic, the Gaettones placed by Ptolemy and Tacitus on the Vistula in the country of the Lithuanians, and the Goths of Gothland = Sweden. This Scandinavian descent is confirmed by their system of land-tenure, for the chief tenure of the Muttra district is that called Bhagadura, in which the members of the village brotherhood each hold as their family property a separate and defined area among the village lands, according to the customs of the Bratovos of the Balkan peninsula and the Hof-bauers of North-West {p.482} Germany .. The Getae of the Balkans are said by Herod to be the bravest and most just of the Thracians." (Hewitt 1894, p.481-482)

Fig.4: Female Head from Uruk, at Iraq Museum, Baghdad.
Note the joined eye-brows at the top of the head. Joined eye-brows commonly occur in the Iranoid race, from the Jats to the Kurds.

Jat-Kurd Relations: Judikan Kurds descendants of Gutians

Prof. Izady holds that the Judikan clan of Kurds are to be specifically identified as the descendants of the Gutians:

"12. In the 20th century, many hypotheses have been advanced to connect the name Kurd to that of the ancient Hurrian Guti (Hallo, 1971) { 1971 "Gutium", William W. Hallo, RLA iii: 708b-720a.} or the "Kardukhoi" of the Greek historian Xenophon (Cawkwell, 1979), none of which can any longer be maintained in light of discovery of the aformentioned Assyrian stele. The name Guti, at any rate, survives today clearly in the name of the Kurdish clan of Judikan, inhabiting the heartland of the ancient Gutis in southeatern Kurdistan. The "Kardukhoi" who come to subsequently be known as the Gordyene to the classical authors, are none other than the predecessors of modern Girdi clan of Kurds who still reside exactly where the ancient Kardukhoi/Godyene were found. The name "Kurti/Kurd" seem likely to be of Aryan origin *one of the first, in fact, in Kurdistan* instead of the far more common Hurrian clan names encountered at all periods until today and including the Khardukhoi and Guti." (Izady 1993)
The name Judikan is clearly merely a variant of "Jat", further cementing the thesis of a close relationship between the Jats and Kurds.

Prominence of the Irano-Afghan Race in Mesopotamia since Sumerian Times

The Iranic or Irano-Afghan race has dominated the plains of Mesopotamia since Sumerian times, as the learned American anthropologist Prof. C. S. Coon notes,
"The Irano-Afghan race, prominent since Sumerian times in Mesopotamia, is the chief population element in the entire highland territory from the western border of Iran to northern India. " (Coon 1939, "The Mediterranean World: (4) - The Irano-Afghan Race", p.415)
Indeed, Iranic populations appear to have entered the ruling caste of Sumer even prior to the Gutian invasion. Thus, Izady notes, "A startling fact came to light when the Sumeralogist S.N. Kramer's translated a Sumerian tablet revealing that Enmerkar himself a brother of the king of Aratta, and therefore, presumably a native of the Kurdish mountains (Kramer, "Ancient Sumer and Iran: Gleanings from Sumerian Literature," Bulletin of the Asia Institute, 1, 1987)." (Izady 1995) Needless to say, Aratta is the Avestan Aratta, the Arachosia of the Greek invaders, a nation located in eastern Iran. The Aroras of Punjab are widely thought to be a branch of the primordial Arattas or Arachosians.

Red-haired Gutians

Iranics have a high incidence of rufism (red hair), with dark maroon red color being relatively common. The modern Iranic custom of applying henna to redden the hair is in concious emulation of a red-haired ideal, and hearkens back to Scythic customs. This is in contrast to the Nordics, who emulate a blonde ideal. Rufism would thus appear to be one of the traits of the Irano-Afghan race. If the Gutians were Iranic, they should have exhibited rufism, along with minor incidences of blondism. Strikingly, Babylonian linguists have uncovered evidence that the Gutians did indeed have fair har:
"We ought to add that Oppert has an entirely different theory about these Guti. He distincly claims, and quite recently, to have found tablets relating to the sale of slaves of the blond race of the Guti 73 He apparently places the Guti on the Oxus and connects them with the Germanic Goths !" [ 73. See Comptes Rendus, 1895, p.383. ] (Howorth 1901, p.32)
The Subarians and Gutians were also referred to as "namrum", a term generally identified by Sumerologists with "fair-complexioned." Refuting the view that namrum did not denote skin colour, Gelb notes, "For this interpretation of namrum I can find no evidence in Akkadian literature ... It would seem that Speiser's and Ungnad's reaction against the normal interpretation of namrum as 'light (-colored)' was caused by their assumption that Hurrians or Subarians belonged to the Armenoid race, which according to them could hardly be called light-colored." (Gelb 1944, p.43, n.138) Gelb further notes "the fact that Subarian slaves were called 'light', in the sense of 'light-colored'." (Gelb 1944, p.88)

Both Gelb and Kraus (P.Kraus, MVAeG, 36.1 (1932) 59f.) transcribe a passage [rešamtam] na-wi-ir-tam ša in-ki [maḥ]-ra-at (VAS XVI 65.12f.). "a light (-coloured) slave girl who is pleasing to your eye." (Gelb 1944, ibid.)

Further, the learned Woolley confirms that the Gutians were fair-haired: "In the Zagros hills and across the plains to the Tigris, there lived a ... fair-haired ... people akin to the Guti (the Goths) who ... remained in what was afterwards Assyria, the neighbour land to Akkad" (Woolley 1929, p.5, cited in Hoeh 1967, Vol. 2, Ch.1)

In this regard, Lapouge notes (cited by Closson):

"Toward the end of the neolithic there appear in Belgium, England, Italy, Poland and southern Russia brachycephalics of various types who, Lapouge holds, were driven from the central region by the advance of Homo Europaeus that we have just described. The more primitive form of Homo Europaeus - the Finno-Ugrians - were at the same time crowded toward Russia, where their crania are found principally in the small dolmens and kurgans. These people penetrated into Asia by a route south fo the Black Sea; the philologists regard the most ancient language of Babylonia, the Akkadian or Sumerian, as belonging to the Finno-Ugrian group and some ancient Chaldean crania bear out this hypothesis. The Guti of western Persia are described in texts as early as 2000 BC as blond or at least as light (namrutim). The Amorites were probably of this race; the Egyptian monuments show them as blond, tall, dolichocephalic and with prominent aquiline noses; they interred their dead in dolmens of which there are over 700 in the country of Moab." (Closson 1899, p.74)

Fig.5: Ceremonial figure from Tell Asmos. Note the lapis lazuli stones set as blue eyes. Blue eyes are often found in members of the Nordic-Iranian race. Sumerians imported lapis lazuli from northern Afghanistan.

Goths & Gutians

So self-evident are the connections between the Goths and Gutians that the very person who discovered the existence of the Gutian Dynasty, Prof. Scheil, noted this remarkable fact:
"This national or tribal name of Guti, the name of "The Guti Troops (who) carried off the royalty" of the Mesopotamian empire by their conquest of Erech the imperial capital about 2495 BC, was recognized as obviously suggesting 'Goths' by Prof. Scheil, when he announced in 1911 his discovery of the Guti Dynasty in Mesopotamia, and at the same time remarked that "nothing yet proves that they were the ancestors of the Goths. (Academie des Inscript. et Belles Lettres, Comptes Rendus, Paris, , 1911, p.327)" (Waddell 1929, p.358)

The learned Prof. Oppert has also identified the Gutians with the Goths:

"While Prof. Hilprecht has classed them with the Semites, Oppert has suggested, not without some show of reason, that the name "Guti' has an Aryan sound, like Gothi, the Goths, and therefore that the tribe itself may have been of this blood. * [ * ftn. Revue Archaeologique, 1893, p.363] (Brinton 1895, p.94)

Prof. Waddell agrees, and furthermore, identifies the Gutians as members of the dolichocephalic Nordic race:

"The 'Sumerian' ruling people were of the same racial physical type, with the same culture, traditions, religion, writing and language as the Early Aryans, who were of the Aryan, Gothic or Nordic race, and they were identical with the leading stock of the latter. And (p.468) the Early Sumerian kings sometimes called themselves in their monuments in Mesopotamia and in their Indus Colony Gut or Got; whilst one of the leading Sumerian dynasties in Mesopotamia called themselves Guti, Goti or "Goths"." (Waddell 1929, p.467-468)

When one considers that the Iranians are often classed together with Nordics into the "Nordic-Iranian" racial grouping, it becomes clear that the Gutians were of Nordic-Iranian affinities.

Tokharians & Gutians

Eminent scholars have also connected the Tocharians of Sinkiang with the Gutians:
"Not long ago, the British scholar W. N. Henning suggested that the Tocharians be identified with the Gutians, who are mentioned in Babylonian cuneiform inscriptions (in Akkadian, a Semitic language) dating from the end of the third millennium B.C., when King Sargon was building the first great Mesopotamian Empire. If Henning's views are correct, the Tocharians would be the first Indo-Europeans to appear in the recorded history of the ancient Near East. Lexical affinities of Tocharian with Italo-Celtic give evidence that the speakers of the two language families had associated in the Indo-European homeland before the Tocharians began their migration eastward." (Gamkrelidze & Ivanov 1990)
The descendants of the ancient Tokharians are often identified with the modern Thakurs, a caste of Rajputs who boast of their Scythic ancestry and descent from the heroic Tokharii. Baghdad Caliphate chroniclers refer to a state of Tukharistan in the present-day Afghanistan, indicating the survival of the Tokharians in the Kushana mountains. The Tokharians are universally accepted as having spoken an Indo-European language.Tirigan - the last Gutian King with an Indo-European name

As a testimony to their pride in their Iranic descent, the mighty Gutian kings employed Iranic names. For instance, the name of the last Gutian king was Tirigan. Now, 'Tirigan' is clearly an Iranian and Indo-European word, as Waddell notes:

" In the Runes, significantly, this archaic arrow-head form survived (see Plate II, col.18), and the letter is therein called Tyr, which evidently preserves its Sumerian name of Til - l and r being always freely interchangeable dialectically as we have seen. Moreover, Tyr is the Gothic god of the Arrow or god of War, whose name survives in our Tues-day or Tys-day, just as Thurs-day derives from Thor. And Tir is the common Indo-Persian word for 'arrow'." (Waddell 1927, p.47)
Thus, the Gutian kings proudly preserved the memory of their Iranic descent by adopting Iranic names down to the very last monarch.

Guto-Sumerian Renaissance: Neo-Sumerian Revival

The Gutians overthrew the Akkadian dynasty, liberating the Sumerians from the Semitic yoke. The attempt by the fanatical Akkadian rulers to suppress the Sumerian language were rolled back, and a Sumerian renaissance occurred under benevolent Gutian rule. Describing the Sumerian revival under the Gutians, Badawy notes, "The Akkadian dynasty (2350-2150 BC) marked a decisive phase in the Semitization of Mesopotamia, a process which went on in spite of the renascence of Sumerian under the Gutians (2000 BC)." (Badawy 1963, p.200) The Semitists have for long been trying to prove that the Gutian Age was a "Dark Age", in order that they can glorify the Akkadian Age. However, these claims fly in the face of all evidence that the reverse was in fact the case.

Further elucidating the Gutic-Sumerian Renaissance, Sumerologist Kramer notes, "Ur-Bau [founder of the Lagash dynasty of ensis under the Gutians] had three sons-in-law: Gudea, Urgar and Namhani (also written Nammahin), each of whom became ensi of Lagash. Gudea's {p.67} rather immobile face and expressionless features have become familiar to the modern student from the numerous statues of him that have been recovered. Some of these carry long inscriptions recording his religious activities in connection with the building and rebuilding of Lagash's more important temples. From them we learn that, in spite of Gutian domination {?!}, Gudea had trade contacts with practically the entire 'civilized' world of those days ... Gudea's 2 clay-cylinders unearthed at Lagash more than 75 years ago are inscribed with the longest known Sumerian literary work, close to 1400 lines of a narrative composition, ritualistic and hymnal, commemorating his rebuilding of Lagash's main temple, the Eninna. Gudea even reports one important military victory - that over the state Anshan, Elam's neighbour to the South. He also speaks of fashioning a number of cultic and symbolic weapons such as the sharur and maces with 50 heads. This may indicate considerable military activity on his part, although perhaps only as a vassal of the Gutians. Gudea, like his father-in-law, Ur-bau, also controlled the city of Ur, where three of his inscriptions have been unearthed." (Kramer 1963, p.66-67)

Fig.6: Sumerian Ziggurat Artistic reconstruction by Dawn Razor. Contrast the mountain-like structure with the smaller Sumerian shrines.

South African historian Arthur Kemp dismisses the claims of the dogmatic Semitists that the Gutians were illiterate barbarians. On the contrary, he points out that Sumerian civilization reached its height under the Gutians:


The Kingdom of Sumer and Akkad then fell before the first, and by all accounts ferocious, Indo-European invasion - that of the Celts. Known as Gutians in the Middle East, they fell upon the kingdom of Sumer and Akkad less than 100 years after it was established, around the year 2200 BC.

The Gutians sacked and destroyed the mixed Semitic/Mediterranean Sumer and Akkadian civilization and established their own rule and civilization in the region. Soon they had provinces extending right to the Mediterranean Sea itself.

The Gutian invasion sparked a surge in the Sumerian civilization - it was after the Indo-European invasion that Sumerian civilization was to reach some of its greatest heights. These included:

  • the very first written law code in the world, which is still existent and dates from 2095 BC;
  • the construction of the great Sumerian pyramids, called Ziggurats (the most famous of which is the Ziggurat at the Sumerian city of Ur, built in 2100 BC) which served as temples and community centers, many of which are still standing today; and
  • a complex system of canals, weirs and water routes by which the agricultural settlements alongside the rivers were kept irrigated.

After a few generations the Gutians themselves became submerged into the wider population of Sumer, whose great cities and wealth had acted as a magnet for all the surrounding Semitic tribes. Slowly but surely increasing numbers of Semites, as traders, laborers or slaves, were drawn to Sumer, creating over time a mixture of Old European, Semitic and Indo-European peoples. This shows up very clearly in their grave sites and art forms in the wide range of racial features on display." (Kemp 1999, Ch.8)

The primary reason for the construction of huge ziggurats is self-evident: by conquering vast areas into the Sumerian Empire, the Gutians enlarged the economy, increasing the Gross National Product, thereby enabling the construction of much larger edifices and monuments for the glorification of the nation.

Gudea - Patron of Neo-Sumerian Renaissance

Gudea (ca 2142-2122 BC), ensi of Lagash, inaugurated the Sumerian renaissance and ruled Ur on behalf of the Gutian kings. His name itself indicates he was a Gutian. Such a view is not far-fetched, for personal names often indicate the provenance of its bearer. Thus, the personal name Francais is common amongst French-men, while Scott is popular amongst Scotsmen, and von Dachau in Germany indicate ancestry from Dachau. Thus, Gudea can be identified as a Gutian based on his name. Moreover, if he was not a Gutian, it defies comprehension as to why a Sumerian viceroy should choose a name which would lead to him being later on confused with the Gutian invaders. The most logical conclusion is that Gudea himself was likely a Gutian.

Describing Gudea's achievements, a standard history work notes, "During this period when the North was being ruled by the Gutians, Lagash flourished, particularly during the reign of Gudea, who is well-known today through the many statues of him." (Coles 1969, Vol.1, p. 20)

Prof. Cyrus Gordon notes further achievements of ancient Sumer: "The greatness of Sumer can be measured in other spheres, too. Its sexagesimal system has reached us via the exact sciences. Our astronomers still divide the circle into 360 degrees with each degree divisible into 60 minutes and each minute into 60 seconds. The division of the hour into 60 minutes of 60 seconds each is also a legacy of Sumer. Whenever we look at a clock, we are rerninded of our debt to Sumer." (Gordon 1962, p.49)

Fig.7: Ziggurat of Ur. Arthur Kemp describes this image thus: "The main ziggurat at Ur, Mesopotamia, built circa 2,100 BC, shortly after the first major Indo-European invasion. The building was created in the shape of a step pyramid."

Gudea was also father of the ziggurat, with the plan for the ziggurat being revealed to him in a dream:

"His [Gudea's] most remarkable building was a great tower-temple of seven stages erected for his city-god Nimirrud (ie. as we have seen the deified second Sumerian king 'Michael' or 'Cain' and the Nimi of the Indian lists), the plan of which - the origin of the later fashionable 'Ziggurat' temple-towers 1 - was, he says, revealed to him in a dream. [ 1. Earlier small temple-towers of the pre-Sargonic period are found at Nippur and elsewhere. ] " (Waddell 1929, p.379)

Semitic-Sumerian Conflict

Indeed, the Gutians appear to have been initially hailed by the Sumerians as deliverers from the Semitic Akkadian oppressors. The reason given for the Gutian attack on the Akkadians by the Sumerians is the destruction of the main Sumerian religious shrines by the fanatical Akkadian ruler Naram-Sin. The work 'The Curse of Agade,' composed by a Sumerian, indicates the revulsion which the Sumerians felt at this senseless act of Akkadian destructiveness:
"In searching for the causes behind the humiliating and disastrous Gutian invasion, the author comes upon what he thinks is undoubtedly the true answer and informs us of an outrage committed by Naram-Sin, unknown as yet from any other source. According to our author [ of 'The Curse of Agade' ], Naram-Sin had sacked Nippur and committed all sorts of desecrating and defiling acts against Enlil's sanctuary, and Enlil had therefore turned to the Gutians and brought them down from their mountain abode to de - {p.63} stroy Agade and avenge his beloved temple. Moreover eight of the more important deities of the Sumerian pantheon, in order to soothe the spirit of their ruler Enlil, laid a curse upon Agade that it should remain forever desolate and uninhabited. And this, added the author at the end of his work, was indeed the case: Agade had remained desolate and uninhabited." (Kramer 1963, p.62-63)

The destruction of Akkad or Agade by the Gutians was thus viewed through Sumerian eyes as rightful vengeance against those who destroyed the Gods' shrines and temples, and those taking this revenge as rightful liberators of the oppressed Sumerians. Indeed, the conflict between Sumerians and Semites "may explain in part the desecration and destruction of the Ekur at Nippur by Naram-Sin, as described with such bitterness and chagrin by the author of 'The Curse of Agade.' " (Kramer, p.288)

Describing the conflict between Semites and Sumerians, Luckenbill notes, "However, the point that Meyer set out to prove remains unshaken, to wit, that for a thousand years of history, roughly from 3000 to 2000 BC, the Sumerians occupied the southern part of Babylonia (Sumer) and engaged in an almost continuous and losing struggle with their Semitic neighbors immediately to the north. The earlier rivals of the Sumerians were the Akkadians, but they finally went down before another group of Semites, namely the West Semitic Amorites." (Luckenbill 1923, p.3) However, the foreign descent of the Gutians was never forgotten, and the founders of the Ur III dynasty emphasised this fact when expelling the Gutian rulers. Yet, the Neo-Sumerian renaissance was inaugurated by these very Gutian kings.

Zubari Kurds as Descendants of Subareans

The descendants of the historic Subareans are stated by Prof. Izady to be found amongst the Zubari Kurds, who still inhabit the same geographical region as the ancient Subareans:
"The kingdom of Mushku is now believed to have brought about the final downfall of the Hittites in Anatolia. Their name survives in the city of Mush/Mus in north-central Kurdistan of Turkey. The Subaru who operated from the areas north of modern Arbil in central Kurdistan have left their name in the populous and historic Kurdish tribal confederacy of Zubari, who still inhabit the areas north of Arbil." (Izady 1993)

The Enc. Iranica, quoting from Simo Parpola, Neo-Assyrian Toponyms, Alter Orient und Altes Testament 6, Kevelaer, 1970, notes: "Any hostile group could be called Gutian. The Assyrian royal annals use the word Gutians when they refer to Iranian populations otherwise known as the Mannaeans or the Medes (Parpola, p. 138)." (Encyclopedia Iranica; Gutians) Thus, the term "Gutian" referred to Iranic populations in general, and apparently included the Medes as well.

Gutians and the Khatti

The learned Prof. Waddell has uncovered links between the Gutians and the Khatti :

"We now see how throughout the Kha series of words in Sumerian, as in the later Akkad and Aryan languages, the initial K tends to drop out, leaving the H as the initial of the word. Thus the old tribal name of the Goths spelt by the Sumerians and "Hitt-ites" as Khat-ti or Khad-ti, the "Catti' of the pre-Roman Briton coins 3 (and also spelt Kud-ti and Guti ), became by the dropping out of its initial K, "Hatti", the source of the modern name "Hitt-ite." And by the further dropping out of the H - a change also occasionally occurring in Sumerian, Egyptian and modern Aryan dialects, eg. in cockneyisms - it became Atti and Att on the ancient Briton coins.4 [ 3. see WPOB {Waddell, Phoenician Origin of Britons}, 6f.; 200f. 4. Ib. 6f.; 200 f. ]" (Waddell 1927, p.33)

The Irano-Afghan racial background of the Guti is not masked by their language, which could well have been Semitic or related to the Transcaucasian languages:

"Winkler believes that the Guti had a tongue of their own, but wrote in Semitic. Geschichte Babyloniens, p.82. Hilprecht gives reasons for holding that Semitic was the native language of both Guti and Lulubi. Old Babylonian Inscriptions, pp.12-14 (Philadelphia, 1894)." (Brinton 1895, ftn. p.94)

Prof. Derakshani on Gutium

Prof. Derakshani, in a paper published in a prestigious Iranian journal, summarises the history of the Gutians thus:
"4.7.6. Gutium (Qutium), situated in Western Iran, is mentioned already in the presargonic period in a document (ca. 2500 B.C.). The fact that the Guti belonged to the proto-Iranians, is confirmed by their language, which is attested mainly by personal names. According to them the Guti spoke an Indo-European language, which was close to the Tokharian.[158] The relation between the Tokharian and the Aryan is corroborated by linguistic remnants in Tokharian and the grammatical parallels between both languages, while it is also related with Hittite, Greek, Latin and Armenian as well as Baltic and Slavic (see Aryans footnote 854-856). In later periods we come across the Tokharian speaking people, that is the Tokharians, probably calling themselves Tugri, near the border of China, and among the Yhe-chih, which, according to the normal phonetic change in Chinese (after gu ~ yh, ti ~ chi), represent the Guti.[159] So the Guti and the Tukri (see below 4.7.7) of the 3rd millennium B.C., or at least a part of them, should have migrated already early from Western Iran towards the east and settled at the borders of China. A connection between the tribe name Kuch (KaÇ) and kafi 'mountainous people' has been already considered.[160] It is indeed possible to imagine that the Kuchi and Guti derive from the Aryan word-stem for mountain: from the Indo- European roots *keu-, *skeu- 'prolonged' and *keu- 'bend' has developed the IE *keu-k- and *keup- 'vault upwards,' 'hill,' from which then the OI kuchati- curves, kuca- womans breast, Av. kaofa-, OP kaufa-, MP kwf, Pahl. kÇf, NP kÇh mountain, kÇin, hunchbacked, Russ. kucha 'pile,' OHG hof 'yard, good' (originally from the location on the high ground, hill)[161], furthermore the OI notha- 'swelling, rise' are developed, while the MIA NÇpha- swelling could be a contamination of Notha- and Aryan *kaupha-, cf. OIA *kopha- 'hill, mountain' (= Av. kaofa ).[162] So Guti and Quti as well as Kuchi etc. could have belonged to the same root and originally meant mountainous people, which points to their homeland in the mountainous area of the Zagros (cf. the tribe Kuch of the traditional history of Iran[163]). Thus, NP qu... 'ram' means originally animal of the mountain, like Gr. [...] 'billy goat' and Lat. aries 'ram,' which might have meant originally 'animal of the rise (ari-)' (see above 4.2).

{ [158] HENNING 1978, 'The First Indo-Europeans in History,' ULMEN (ed.) 1978, Society and History, Essays in Honour of Karl August Wittfogel: 215-230; for the Indo-European origin of the Gutians cf. also CHRISTIAN 1928, Das erste Auftreten der Indogermanen in Vorderasien, MAGW { Mitteilungen der anthropologischen Gesellschaft Wien } 58: 210-229; SPEISER 1930, Mesopotamian Origins: 101.
[159] HENNING 1978: 221-225; cf. there (p. 222) Yhe-chih in the Middle Chinese (600 B.C.) form ng-wyt-tai* < Old Chinese ng-w|t-p-*(g); see also NARAIN 1987: 8 and passim. { Narain 1987: On the "First" Indo-Europeans: The Tokharian-Yuezhi and their Chinese homeland, Papers on Inner Asia 2, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.}
[160] Borhoen: 1722b + n. 3; DEHKHODA 1967, Loghatnameh 40: 307a; HAUSSIG (Hrsg.) 1986, Woerterbuch der Mythologie IV: 492.
[161] POKORNY 1959: 587-591. { 1959 Indogermanisches Etymologisches Woerterbuch, 2 Bde., 2. Aufl. 1989, Rieden b. Fuessen. }
[162] KEWA III: 379; IAL, 3521. 12634. }"
(Derakhshani 2001, 4.7.6)

Linguistic Influence on Sumerian

The century-long rule of the Gutians over Sumeria left Indo-European linguistic imprints on the Sumerian language, although the Gutians adopted the Sumerian language of their subjects. Thus, Prof. Cyrus Gordon has noted the "fossil" of Indo-European influence on the Sumerian and Akkadian languages:

As we noted above, Sargon's merchants in Asia Minor summoned him to reassert his power there. This implication that his Akkadian Dynasty had connections in Asia Minor from the start is confirmed linguistically. The Akkadian language, though Semitic, has some Indo-European words imbedded in it, from the very beginnings of recorded Akkadian literature. Whereas other Semitic languages express "in" by the prefix ba-, and "to, for" by the prefix la-, Akkadian is the only Semitic language to express them by in(a) and ana respectively. Akkadian in(a) cannot be dissociated from Greek en or Latin and

{p. 53} English in with the same meaning ("in"). Akkadian ana shares some meanings with Greek atta. Akkadian magal "greatly" is related to Greek megal-os "great-ly." Sometimes the Sumerian anticipates the Akkadian tie-in with Indo-European; thus Sumerian a-gar and Akkadian ugaru, meaning "field," cannot be separated from Indo-European angr-os (Greek), ager (Latin) and Acker (German) "field."

The basic Indo-European vocabulary in Akkadian is due to a process called linguistic alliance. This means only that when two different linguistic groups of people live together, their languages will interpenetrate each other. The above words, embedded in Akkadian and so attested from the first appearance of Akkadian texts, confirm the tradition of the "King of Battle Epic" that Sargon's Akkadian Dynasty had Anatolian connections from the beginning. Since the Akkadian records start around the middle of the third millennium B.C., the formation of the Akkadian language in linguistic alliance with Indo-Europeans in Anatolia must have taken place still earlier." (Gordon 1962, p.52-53)

One way this can be consistently explained is by regarding these as fossils of Gutian rule, the impact of Iranic speakers on Sumerian, unless these are due to influence from Aratta or Anatolia. As a further example, the Gutians used the title of "Shar", a term clearly related to the Old Iranic "Shah". If this term occurs in the Avesta, then this would be clear proof of the Iranic origin of "Shar".

Note on Opponents of the Gutian descent of Gutian Kurds

The concept of the Gutians being barbaric invaders has led to unnecessary consternation on the part of certain modern self-hating Kurds, who hence attempt to disown any connection with the ancient and glorious Gutians. This has been the sad result of relentless Zionist and Semitist propaganda. Thus, one such self-hating Kurd, describing the Gutians as a "non-entity", rants: "No one knows precisely who these Gutis were nor what of their achievements. If the Gutis are such an enigma and culturally such non-entity, why would Kurds want them as their ancestors; why do they point to these Gutis as the defining source to document for their long history?" (Izady 1995) What the author lacks in terms of historical knowledge, he simply makes up for by vehemance and invective.

Adopting the Zionist-Semitist propaganda that the Akkadians were "civilizers", while the Gutians "destroyed Sumeria", the author continues: "In fact, we would never have heard of Gutis either, were it not for their 125-year-long occupation of Sumeria, which in fact forever destroyed Sumeria and the Sumerian society. The rising star of the Semites in Mesopotamia shone brightest under king Sargon I of Agade (Akkadia). Sargon got rid of Sumeria and the "real" Gutis with it some 3,800 years ago." (Izady 1995) Apparently these anti-Kurd authors have not heard of Gudea, and are totally ignorant of the Neo-Sumerian renaissance depicted above.

Continuing his invective, the narrow-minded author notes, "Kurds have been given the one-fits-all Gutis by their intellectuals as a poor excuse for history. In the company of the Gutis, Kurds have become the object of ridicule among those with some knowledge of the real history. In all honesty, how serious would we take a group's claim to antiquity if all they could produce to prove past greatness were a connection to the Philistines? Gutis, great ancestors?!" (Izady 1995) Exclamation marks and polemic serve to inflate the works of these anti-Kurdish "intellectuals".

Needless to say, the views of these self-hating Kurds are against all the facts of scientific inquiry and reason. Strangely, they accept without question the ancient descent of other peoples, such as Greeks and Jews. Indeed, it is the dogma of the Eurocentric school of history that only the Jews and Greeks are direct descendants of ancient peoples, all other peoples have no history. It is not only the Kurds whose history they attempt to deny.

Opposition to the concept of any relationship between the Gutians, Jats and Kurds will continue to come from the followign quarters: the self-hating Kurdish school of history, the dogmatic Zionist-Semitist, the Europeanist Greco-centric and the internationalist Communist schools of historians. The concept of the Kurds being descended from the Gutians has more historical evidence in favour of it than the putative descent of the "Chosen People" from the Israelites, or the modern Greeks from the ancient Hellenes. Much of this has been presented in the present article.


Author would like to thank Profs. Shireen Moosvi, Irfan Habib, Arthur Kemp, Clyde A. Winters, Karl Earlson and U. Abbas for assistance.


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  36. Waddell 1927: "The Aryan Origin of the Alphabet," by L.A. Waddell, Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Linnean and Folk-Lore Societies, Ex-Proefessor of Tibetan, London University; Luzac & Co., London 1927; reprinted Christian Book Club of America, PO Box 900566, Palmdale CA 93590-0566, USA, 1998.
  37. Waddell 1929: "The Makers of Civilization in Race and History", by L.A. Waddell, Luzac & Co. 1929, reprint S.Chand & Company, P.O.Box No. 5733, Ram Nagar, 7361, New Delhi-110055, 1986, Rs.400,, //
  38. Woolley 1929: "The Sumerians," by Charles Leonard Woolley. W. W. Norton, New York, 1929, 1965 reprint; Barnes & Noble 1995 reprint, isbn 1-56619-666-3 hc.

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