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Adiabene (from the Ancient Greek Ἀδιαβηνή, Adiabene, itself derived from Classical Syriac: ܚܕܝܐܒ‎, Ḥaḏy’aḇ or Ḥḏay’aḇ, Middle Persian: Nodshēragān,[3][4] Armenian: Նոր Շիրական, Nor Shirakan) was an ancient kingdom in northern Mesopotamia, corresponding to the northwestern part of ancient Assyria.[5] The size of the kingdom varied over time; initially encompassing an area between the Zab Rivers, it eventually gained control of Nineveh, and starting at least with the rule of Monobazos I (late 1st-century BC), Gordyene became an Adiabenian dependency.[6] It reached its zenith under Izates II, who was granted the district of Nisibis by the Parthian king Artabanus II (r. 12–40) as a reward for helping the Parthian to regain his throne.[7][8] Adiabene's eastern borders stopped at the Zagros Mountains, adjacent to the region of Media.[9] Arbela served as the capital of Adiabene.[10]

The formation of the kingdom is obscure. The first instance of a recorded Adiabenian ruler is in 69 BC, when an unnamed king of Adiabene participated in the battle of Tigranocerta as an ally of the Armenian king Tigranes the Great (r. 95–55 BC).[11] However, coinage implies the establishment of a kingdom in Adiabene around 164 BC, following the disintegration of Greek Seleucid rule in the Near East.[12][13] Adiabene was conquered by the Parthian king Mithridates I (r. 171–132 BC) in ca. 145–141 BC, and by at least from the reign of Mithridates II served as an integral part of the Parthian realm.[14]

Adiabenian rulers converted to Judaism from paganism in the 1st century AD.[15] Queen Helena of Adiabene (known in Jewish sources as Heleni HaMalka) moved to Jerusalem, where she built palaces for herself and her sons, Izates bar Monobaz and Monobaz II at the northern part of the city of David, south of the Temple Mount, and aided the Jews in their war with Rome.[16] According to the Talmud, both Helena and Monobaz donated large funds for the Temple of Jerusalem. After 115 CE, there are no historic traces of Jewish royalty in Adiabene.

The Parthians were overthrown by the Sasanian Empire in 224, who by the time of Shapur I (r. 240–270) had established their rule in Adiabene.[7] Ardashir II is the last figure to be recorded as king of Adiabene, which implies that the kingdom was after his tenure in c. 379 transformed into a province (shahr), governed by a non-royal delegate (marzban or shahrab) of the Sasanian king.[17]

Location

Adiabene occupied a district in Median Empire between the Upper Zab (Lycus) and the Lower Zab (Caprus), though Ammianus speaks of Nineveh, Ecbatana, and Gaugamela as also belonging to it.[18] By the late 1st century CE, its borders extended as far as Nisibis.[a] In the Talmudic writings the name occurs as חדייב ,חדייף and הדייב. Its chief city was Arbela (Arba-ilu), where Mar Uqba had a school, or the neighboring Hazzah, by which name the later Arabs also called Arbela.[21]

In Kiddushin 72a the Biblical Habor is identified with Adiabene,[22] but in Yerushalmi Megillah i. 71b with Riphath.[23] In the Targum to Jeremiah li. 27, Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz are paraphrased by Kordu, Harmini, and Hadayab, i.e., Corduene, Armenia, and Adiabene; while in Ezekiel xxvii. 23 Harran, Caneh, and Eden are interpreted by the Aramaic translator as "Harwan, Nisibis, and Adiabene."

Population

Adiabene had a mixed population, while the Syriac language was dominant spoken by Assyrians. According to Pliny, four tribes inhabited the region of Adiabene: Orontes, Alani, Azones and Silices.[24] The account of Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews shows that there was a substantial Jewish population in the kingdom. The difficult mixing of cultures can be seen in the story of the martyrdom of Mahanuš, a prominent Iranian Zoroastrian who converted to Christianity.[25] In later times Adiabene became an archbishopric, with the seat of the metropolitan at Arbela.[26]

Based on names of the Adiabenian rulers, Ernst Herzfeld suggested a Saka/Scythian origin for the royal house of the kingdom;[27][28] however, later progress in Iranian linguistic studies showed that these names were common west middle Iranian names.[29] It has been suggested that the royal house of Adiabene, after fleeing Trajan's invasion, established the later Amatuni dynasty which ruled the area between the lakes Urmia and Van.[30][31]

Adiabene was a district in Mesopotamia between upper and lower Zab and was a part of the Neo Assyrian Empire and inhabited by Assyrians even after the fall of Nineveh. It was an integral part of Achaemenid Assyria (Athura) and Sassanid Assyria (Assuristan).[32][33] The region was later made a part of the Roman province of Assyria after the invasion by Trajan in 116.[34]

A

The formation of the kingdom is obscure. The first instance of a recorded Adiabenian ruler is in 69 BC, when an unnamed king of Adiabene participated in the battle of Tigranocerta as an ally of the Armenian king Tigranes the Great (r. 95–55 BC).[11] However, coinage implies the establishment of a kingdom in Adiabene around 164 BC, following the disintegration of Greek Seleucid rule in the Near East.[12][13] Adiabene was conquered by the Parthian king Mithridates I (r. 171–132 BC) in ca. 145–141 BC, and by at least from the reign of Mithridates II served as an integral part of the Parthian realm.[14]

Adiabenian rulers converted to Judaism from paganism in the 1st century AD.[15] Queen Helena of Adiabene (known in Jewish sources as Heleni HaMalka) moved to Jerusalem, where she built palaces for herself and her sons, Izates bar Monobaz and Monobaz II at the northern part of the city of David, south of the Temple Mount, and aided the Jews in their war with Rome.[16] According to the Talmud, both Helena and Monobaz donated large funds for the Temple of Jerusalem. After 115 CE, there are no historic traces of Jewish royalty in Adiabene.

The Parthians were overthrown by the Sasanian Empire in 224, who by the time of Shapur I (r. 240–270) had established their rule in Adiabene.[7] Ardashir II is the last figure to be recorded as king of Adiabene, which implies that the kingdom was after his tenure in c. 379 transformed into a province (shahr), governed by a non-royal delegate (marzban or shahrab) of the Sasanian king.[17]

Adiabene occupied a district in Median Empire between the Upper Zab (Lycus) and the Lower Zab (Caprus), though Ammianus speaks of Nineveh, Ecbatana, and Gaugamela as also belonging to it.[18] By the late 1st century CE, its borders extended as far as Nisibis.[a] In the Talmudic writings the name occurs as חדייב ,חדייף and הדייב. Its chief city was Arbela (Arba-ilu), where Mar Uqba had a school, or the neighboring Hazzah, by which name the later Arabs also called Arbela.[21]

In Kiddushin 72a the Biblical Habor is identified with Adiabene,[22] but in Yerushalmi Megillah i. 71b with Riphath.[23] In the Targum to Jeremiah li. 27, Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz are paraphrased by Kordu, Harmini, and Hadayab, i.e., Corduene, Armenia, and Adiabene; while in Ezekiel xxvii. 23 Harran, Caneh, and Eden are interpreted by the Aramaic translator as "Harwan, Nisibis, and Adiabene."

Population

Adiabene had a mixed population, while the Syriac language was dominant spoken by Assyrians. According to Pliny, four tribes inhabited the region of Adiabene: Orontes, Alani, Azones and Silices.[24] The account of Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews shows that there was a substantial Jewish population in the kingdom. The difficult mixing of cultures can be seen in the story of the martyrdom of Mahanuš, a prominent Iranian Zoroastrian who converted to Christianity.[25] In later times Adiabene became an archbishopric, with the seat of the metropolitan at Arbela.Kiddushin 72a the Biblical Habor is identified with Adiabene,[22] but in Yerushalmi Megillah i. 71b with Riphath.[23] In the Targum to Jeremiah li. 27, Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz are paraphrased by Kordu, Harmini, and Hadayab, i.e., Corduene, Armenia, and Adiabene; while in Ezekiel xxvii. 23 Harran, Caneh, and Eden are interpreted by the Aramaic translator as "Harwan, Nisibis, and Adiabene."

Adiabene had a mixed population, while the Syriac language was dominant spoken by Assyrians. According to Pliny, four tribes inhabited the region of Adiabene: Orontes, Alani, Azones and Silices.[24] The account of Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews shows that there was a substantial Jewish population in the kingdom. The difficult mixing of cultures can be seen in the story of the martyrdom of Mahanuš, a prominent Iranian Zoroastrian who converted to Christianity.[25] In later times Adiabene became an archbishopric, with the seat of the metropolitan at Arbela.[26]

Based on names of the Adiabenian rulers, Ernst Herzfeld suggested a Saka/Scythian origin for the royal h

Based on names of the Adiabenian rulers, Ernst Herzfeld suggested a Saka/Scythian origin for the royal house of the kingdom;[27][28] however, later progress in Iranian linguistic studies showed that these names were common west middle Iranian names.[29] It has been suggested that the royal house of Adiabene, after fleeing Trajan's invasion, established the later Amatuni dynasty which ruled the area between the lakes Urmia and Van.[30][31]

Adiabene was a district in Mesopotamia between upper and lower Zab and was a part of the Neo Assyrian Empire and inhabited by Assyrians even after the fall of Nineveh. It was an integral part of Achaemenid Assyria (Athura) and Sassanid Assyria (Assuristan).[32][33] The region was later made a part of the Roman province of Assyria after the invasion by Trajan in 116.[34]

According to Patricia Crone and Michael Cook, when the heartland of Assyria was back into focus in early Christianity (during the Parthian era and about six centuries after the fall of the Assyrian Empire), "it was with an Assyrian, not a Persian let alone Greek, self-identification: the temple of Ashur was restored, the city was rebuilt, and an Assyrian successor state that returned in the shape of the client kingdom of Adiabene." The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus states that the inhabitants of Adiabene were Assyrians.[35][35]

(For subsequent history, see Erbil; Assyrian people, Roman Empire, Iraq).

In ancient times Adiabene was an integral part of Assyria.

Achaemenid Persian Empire

The little kingdom may have had a series of native rulers nominally vassal to the Macedonian, Seleucid and later Armenian (under Tigranes the Great) empires.

Parthian Empire

It lat

It later became one of the client kingdoms of the Parthian empire. During the 1st century BCE[dubious ] and the 1st century CE, it gained a certain prominence under a series of kings descended from Monobaz I and his son Izates I. Monobaz I is known to have been allied with king Abennerig of Characene, in whose court his son Izates II bar Monobaz lived for a time and whose daughter Symacho Izates married, as well as the rulers of other small kingdoms on the periphery of the Parthian sphere of influence.

Roman intermezzo (117-118)