New solutions for the centennial debate
Artak S. Sargsyan
The article discusses the itinerary taken by the Assyrian army of Sargon II, king of Assyria (721-705 BC), during his campaign towards Mannea and Urartu in 714 BC. The study is based on a comparative analysis of cuneiform sources, as well as a comparison of cuneiform toponyms with modern and historical names of various regions and settlements. As the study of those sources show, the Assyrian army crossed the Great Zab river about 70 km north-east of Kalhu (Nimrud), and after 3 days overcoming about 120 km along the river Rovanduz, passes Kullar (Kaolan-Bin I Sar (Bunais)) and Govra Shinki, also crossed the river Little Zab. Having reached Gerdeh Sur and Sufian (Sumbi/Sunbi), to the borders of Manna and Urartu, the army moved eastward, crossed the mountains Nikippa (Bahram Boga) and Upa (Bai Dag), the Buia river flowing from Bai Dag, and reached Simirria (Chemelyan), entering Urartu. In the south of Lake Urmia, the army crossed the path of Biruatti (Pirtandur)-Sinabir (Shirineva)-Aḫshuru (Shahurkand)- Rappu (Tatao river) and Arattu (Jagatu river, Vararatn)-Suia (Shoria) and entered the Mannean region of Surikash, located south-east of Miandoab. From the fortress of Siniḫini (Shinabad), Sargon’s army passed through the country of Allabria (in the basin of the Tatao river), to the east of which was the country of Karallu (Kuliar). From the Latashe fortress (Darveshan?), in Allabria country, the army of Sargon II reached Parsuash (Parsha), then moved north to the Sirdakka-Zirdiakku fortress (Sardako), in the Missi (Musi) region, and marched, passing about 160-170 km between Bukan and Sakkiz, then along the Jaghatu river basin, reached the Panzish fortress (Parshikand), located 30 km north-east of Miandoab. Capturing Parda (Arpad), the capital of Zikirtu, Sargon reached the basin of the river Shor, tributary of the river Karangu, turned to the west and moved to Aukane (Argun), raiding the settlements of Ishtaippu (Ishlakand), Saktatush (Chaktir), Nenzu (Nazar Karez?), Gurrusupu (Dorsu?), Kabani (Chebani), Barunakku (Ablakh?), Ubabaru (Baba Kur Kur), Siteru (Zulgadar?), Tashtami (Tastabar), Tesammiu (Suma).
Entering the Uishdish, near the south-western slope of the mount of Sohend (Uaush) the army of Sargon II defeated the allied army of Rusa I, and then moved north, entered the Urartian regions of Subi, Zaranda (Sahand) and Bari (region of the Sangibutu (hist. Gabityan) in the basin of the Barush river), passing the route Ushkaia (Osku), near mount Millau (Milan)-Zaranda (Sahand)-Aniashtania (Anаrjan or Asinjan)-Bari (Bare)-Tarui (Toykaun)-Tarmakisu (Tabriz): the last two fortresses were in the Dalaia region-in the Talheh Rud basin. In Sangibutu, the route continued through the settlements of Sardurihurda (Sardarud)-Ulhu (Akhulu)- Shashzissa (Siz)-Hundurna (Kundur)-Vadnaunza (Vanza)-Arazu (Ersi)- Shadishṣinia (Zanjhira)-Eliadinia (Valdian)-Kinishtania (Keniani) lying at the eastern and northern foothills of Meshou Dag (Arṣabia), and reached the mount Irtia (hist. Tagryan). Further, in the Armariali region (hist․Great Agհbak and Arna), the invasion took place along the route Bubuzi (Bobarzan)-Ḫundur (Hodar)- Riar (Ravian)-Aiale (Aleri)- Ṣinishpala (Kani Spi)-Sharni (Soradir)-Arna (հist. Arna)-the temple of the God Ḫaldi (on the site of the monastery St. Barthelemy)- Arbu (hist. Arebanos). Then the army moved through the territory of Aiadu (Aiduni, Hayots Dzor), along the route Anzalia (Arindi?)-Uizuku (Bashad Dag)- Kuaiain (Kanguar)-Kallania (Koran/Gyorandasht), entered Gevash (hist. Rshtunik), captured the coastal the settlements of Aiadu from Arṣidu (mount Artos) to
Maḫunnia (Mokhraberd), including the fortresses of Kallania (Gyorandasht) and Argishtiuna (Mokhraberd), the settlements of Bitaia (Batkants), Aluarza (Akhavants), Kiuna (Kavash), Alli (Ili), Arzugu (Angalur?), Shikkanu (Ishkert), Daiazuna (Dakhamants), Baniu (Bogonis?), Birḫiluza (Virkunis), Dezizu (Degdzis, Teztis), Abaindi (Arberd), Ḫasrana (Snar), Parra (Poghants or Paghghat), Aniastania (Herishat), Balduarza (Bakhavants), Saruardi (Saren), Shummatar (Matmants or Shmshema), Ṣiqarra (Tsrtakar), Old Uaiais (Uishini, hist․Vostan). Sargon’s army returned from Mokhraberd and crossed the rivers Alluria, Kallania (Gyorandasht), Innaya and penetrated into the Uaiais region, moved along the route Barzuriani (Bazirawan Dag)-Ualtukuya (Warkuni Dag)-Kutta (Khuta)-Kippa (Kup Dag)-Asapa (Espin), came up the fortress of Uaiais (Waisik), located about 26 km north-east of Julamerk (Hakkari). From here, Sargon moved to Ḫubuškia (Julamerk), sent most of the army to Assyria, and the army consisting of 1,000 soldiers at the estuary of Dezi Derre crossed Great Zab, moved along the route Sheiak (Shakitan)-Ardikshi (Orisha)-Ulaiau (Aleyan)-Alluria (Haruna), and through Shemdinli entered Zerzan (Za(r)zaru), seizing the city of Muṣaṣir (Masiro, Masira). The army returned to Assyria through a gorge that stretched along the line of Chia Dari-Balutia (Andarutta), reached Berokh and Hupa (Hipparna) and descended to Kalhu. In total, the army of Sargon II passed a distance of around 1600 km in 3,5 months. As a result of this campaign the land of Muṣaṣir was captured and attached to Assyria. Another region, the land of Uishdish, was passed to the hands of the Manneans, allies of Assyria. With the restoration of the itinerary of this campaign it becomes possible to draw the limits of the Mannea kingdom and its surrounding lands, including Muṣaṣir and Ḫubuškia, as well as almost the entire southern borders of Urartu.