The kingdom of Mitanni lay in what will one day be called western Syria, in the mountainous regions of the upper Euphrates and Tigris. The kingdom lay to the west of Assyria and north of Babylonia. The Hurrians (Biblical Horites) and Indo-Aryans both contributed to the culture. The Indo-Aryans were associated with breeding and training horses. Many of the names of Mitanni's rulers are Indo-Aryan. The Indo-Aryans seem to have intermarried with the Hurrians. The Hurrians first appear in the eastern part of the Fertile Crescent in the third millennium BC and then in greater numbers in the second millennium BC. The Hurrians may originally have come from the Trans-Caucasian region. Their language is not related to any other languages, except perhaps Urartian. The Hurrians entered eastern Syria during the first dynasty of Babylon (c. 1595 BC) and took over the lands of the Amorites. Some Amorites continued to live in Mitanni. The capital of Mitanni was Washukanni, near the Habur river. Mitanni was eventually divided between the Hittites and the rising power of Assyria between 1300 and 1200 BC. (2)
Mitannian Female Names
Mitannian Male Names
Artatama - Ruler of Mitanni - The name is Indo-Aryan. (2)
Artashumara - Member of Mittanian royalty (4)
Atal-s'en - A Hurrian name (4)
Biridaswa = "Possessing great horses" - Possibly an Indo-Aryan name. (2)
Kikkuli - Writer of a horse training manual found in the Hittite capital (2)
Kirta - Father of Suttarna, a king of Mitanni (4)
Mattiwaza - Ruler of Mitanni (2)
Parattarna - Ruler of Mitanni c. 1500 B.C. (2)
Parsatatar - Father of a king of Mittani (4)
S'atar-mat - Hurrian name. The father of Atal-s’en (4)
Sattawaza = "He who has won seven prizes [at the horse races] - Possibly an Indo-Aryan name. (2)
Saushtatar - Founder of the kingdom of Mitanni (4, 5)
Shuttarna - Ruler of Mitanni - The name is Indo-Aryan. (2)
Tehiptilla - A wealthy (Hurrian?) resident of Nuzi (Akkadian Gasur) during the Mitanni period. (3)
Tis'ata - Hurrian king (4)
Tushrata, Tushratta - The last ruler of a completely independent Mitanni. Tushratta wrote long letters in Babylonian and Hurrian which were found at Tell el-Amarna. A West Babylonian dialect was the language of politics at the time. The name is Indo-Aryan. (1, 2, 5)
The Devas (2)
(1) Daughters of Isis: Women of Ancient Egypt, Joyce Tyldesley, New York: Penguin Books, 1995, p. 186, 187, 202.
(2) The Penguin Encyclopedia of Ancient Civilizations, ed. Arthur Cotterell, New York: Penguin Books, 1980, 1988.
(3) Cities of the Biblical World: An Introduction to the Archaeology, Geography, and History of Biblical Sites, LaMoine F. DeVries, Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 1997.
(4) Proto-Indoaryans, Mitanni, Hurrians
(5) The Ancient Orient: An Introduction to the Study of the Ancient Near East, Wolfram von Soden, Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1994.
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Updated November 30, 2009