The Kingdom of Gutium
(2180-2089 BC)
The Gutians (also: Quti, Kuti, Gurti, Qurti, Kurti) were a people of ancient Mesopotamia who lived primarily in the central Zagros Range, most probably an Aryan people. They were a strong political force throughout the 3rd and 2nd millennia.

The Gutian kings came to power in Mesopotamia circa the 22nd century BC (short chronology) by destabilising Akkad at the end of the reign of Shar-kali-sharri. The last Gutian king was Tirigan, who was preceded by 21 kings, reigning roughly a total of one century (estimates vary between 80 and 120 years, with 91 years often quoted as probable). The dynasty was succeeded by the 3rd dynasty of Ur.

In the time of the Akkadian Empire, one prominent nomad tribe were the Guti, who lived in the Zagros Mountains. A generation after Naram-Sin's death, the Guti saw their chance. The weak successors of the king were fighting among themselves for the throne, and various provinces were in revolt and eager for nomad help. The Guti swept down, defeated the demoralized Akkadian army, took Agade and destroyed it about 2215 BC. The Empire became theirs.

Agade was so thoroughly destroyed that, alone of all the Mesopotamian capitals, its site is still not known. The Guti proved to be poor rulers. Under their crude rule, prosperity declined. They were too unused to the complexities of civilization to organize matters properly, particularly in connection with the canal network. This was allowed to sink into disrepair, with famine and death resulting. Thus a short "dark age" swept over Mesopotamia.

Akkad bore the brunt of this, for it was Akkad that had been the center of the Empire and bore the prestige of its tradition, so that it was in Akkad that the Guti established their own center in place of the destroyed Agade. Some of the Sumerian cities in the south took advantage of the safety of distance and purchased a certain amount of self-government by paying tribute to the new rulers.

Uruk got along under its 4th Dynasty and Ur under its 2nd Dynasty. The most remarkable ruler of the Gutian period was the governor of Lagash, Gudea. Under him about 2150 BC, Lagash had a golden age.

After a few kings, Gutian rulers quickly became more cultivated. They probably even strove to become more Akkadian than the Akkadians, since they had a nomadic ancestry to live down. Thus their rule ended by absorption, as it did for so many nomadic conquerors. Frequently though, such absorption isn't enough, the Guti lasted only about a century. At about 2120 BC, they were expelled from Mesopotamia by the rulers of Uruk and Ur. From this point on the Guti's disappear from history.

Most linguists believe that the Guti spoke an Indo-European language. The fact that the Guti belonged to the Indo-Iranians, is confirmed by their language, which is attested mainly by personal names and king list. According to them the Guti spoke an Indo-European language, which was close to the Tokharian languages.

Kurdish hypothesis
The Kurdish people have been identified as descendants of the ancient Gutians by some scholars. The very name 'Kurd' itself has been speculated by scholars as being derived from the name 'Guti'. Thus, Howorth (1901) concurs with the derivation of Kurdistan from Gutium, and identifies the ancient Babylonian term for Kurds, Khuradi or Quradu, with Guti.

Eric Jensen (1996) states: "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 Sumerians (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 a language related to Aryan languages (Morris)."
"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)
"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)

Notes and references
Jensen 1996: "History Of Turkish Occupation Of Northern Kurdistan," Eric Jensen, Poli. Sci. (Third World Politics).
Howorth 1901: "The Early History of Babylonia", Henry H. Howorth, The English Historical Review, Vol. 16, No. 61 (Jan. 1901), p.1-34
Honigman 2003: "Just Imagine..." By Gerald A. Honigman, Israel Hasbara Committee leaflet, 27 April 2003
Kings of Gutium

(3) 2180-2177BC

(6) 2177-2171BC

(6) 2171-2165BC

(6) 2165-2159BC

(5) 2159-2153BC

(5) 2153-2148BC

(6) 2148-2142BC

(15) 2142-2127BC

(3) 2127-2124BC

(3) 2124-2121BC

(1) 2121-2120BC

(3) 2120-2117BC

(2) 2117-2115BC

(2) 2115-2113BC

(1) 2113-2112BC

(2) 2112-2110BC

(7) 2110-2103BC

(7) 2103-2096BC

 (7) 2096-2089BC

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