Median Kingdom
678 BC–549 BC
A map of the Median Kingdom/Empire; based on Herodotus
A map of the Median Kingdom/Empire; based on Herodotus
Common languagesMedian
Religion Old Iranian religion (related to Mithraism, early Zoroastrianism)
• 678–665 BC
Deioces or Kashtariti
• 665–633 BC
• 625–585 BC
• 589–549 BC
Historical eraIron Age
• Established
678 BC
• Conquered by Cyrus the Great
549 BC
585 BC[1][2]2,800,000 km2 (1,100,000 sq mi)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Neo-Assyrian Empire
Achaemenid Empire
The Apadana Palace in Persepolis, Iran, northern stairway (detail) – fifth-century BC Achaemenid bas-relief shows a Mede soldier behind a Persian soldier

The Medes[N 1] (z/, Old Persian Māda-, Ancient Greek: Μῆδοι, Hebrew: מָדַי‬) were an ancient Iranian people[N 2] who lived in an area known as Media (northwestern Iran) and who spoke the Median language. At around 1100 to 1000 BC, they inhabited the mountainous area of northwestern Iran and the northeastern and eastern region of Mesopotamia and located in the Hamadan (Ecbatana) region.[5] Their emergence in Iran is thought to have occurred between 800 BC and 700 BC, and in the 7th century the whole of western Iran and some other territories were under Median rule. Its precise geographical extent remains unknown.[6]

A few archaeological sites (discovered in the "Median triangle" in western Iran) and textual sources (from contemporary Assyrians and also ancient Greeks in later centuries) provide a brief documentation of the history and culture of the Median state. Apart from a few personal names, the language of the Medes is unknown. The Medes had an ancient Iranian religion (a form of pre-Zoroastrian Mazdaism or Mithra worshipping) with a priesthood named as "Magi". Later during the reigns of the last Median kings, the reforms of Zoroaster spread into western Iran.

Cities and tribes of Media

Besides Ecbatana (modern Hamadan), the other cities existing in Media were Laodicea (modern Nahavand)[7] and the mound that was the largest city of the Medes, Rhages (present-day Rey). The fourth city of Media was Apamea, near Ecbatana, whose precise location is now unknown. In later periods, Medes and especially Mede soldiers are identified and portrayed prominently in ancient archaeological sites such as Persepolis, where they are shown to have a major role and presence in the military of the Achaemenid Empire.

According to the Histories of Herodotus, there were six Median tribes:[8]

Thus Deioces collected the Medes into a nation, and ruled over them alone. Now these are the tribes of which they consist: the Busae, the Paretaceni, the Struchates, the Arizanti, the Budii, and the Magi.

The six Median tribes resided in Media proper, the triangular shaped area between Ecbatana, Rhagae and Aspadana.[9] In modern Iran,[10] that is the area between Tehran, Isfahan and Hamadan. Of the Median tribes, the Magi resided in Rhaga,[11] modern Tehran.[12] It was a type of sacred caste, which ministered to the spiritual needs of the Medes.[13] The Paretaceni tribe resided in and around Aspadana, modern Isfahan,[9][14][15] the Arizanti lived in and around Kashan[9] and the Busae tribe lived in and around the future Median capital of Ecbatana.[9] The Struchates and the Budii lived in villages in the Median triangle.[16]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Mede
አማርኛ: ሜዶን
العربية: ميديون
aragonés: Medians
azərbaycanca: Madaylar
башҡортса: Мидиялылар
български: Мидийци
brezhoneg: Meded
català: Medes
Cebuano: Mga Medo
dansk: Mederne
Ελληνικά: Μήδοι
Esperanto: Medoj
euskara: Media
فارسی: ماد
français: Mèdes
Frysk: Meden
Gaeilge: Méidigh
한국어: 메디아
hrvatski: Medijci
Bahasa Indonesia: Bangsa Mede
íslenska: Medar
italiano: Medi
עברית: מדי
ქართული: მიდია
Kiswahili: Umedi
kurdî: Mêd
Кыргызча: Мидиялыктар
Latina: Media
latviešu: Mīdieši
lietuvių: Medija
magyar: Médek
Bahasa Melayu: Medes
Nederlands: Meden
norsk: Medere
norsk nynorsk: Medarar
polski: Medowie
português: Medos
română: Mezi
русский: Мидийцы
Scots: Medes
Simple English: Medes
slovenčina: Médi
slovenščina: Medijci
کوردی: ماد
српски / srpski: Међани
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Medijci
svenska: Medien
Tagalog: Mga Medo
тоҷикӣ: Давлати Мод
українська: Мідійці (народ)
اردو: ماد
Tiếng Việt: Người Media
Winaray: Medes
吴语: 米底王国
中文: 米底王国