HIDALI (Akkadian Ḫidala, Ḫidali, Ḫidalu, Ḫajdalu; Neo-Elamite Hidali, Idali; Achaemenid Elamite Hidali), city and region in Elam; a residence of Elamite kings in the early 7th century B.C.E., a regional administrative center connected with Susa in the early 6th century B.C.E., and a regional administrative center connected with Persepolis in the early 5th century B.C.E. According to Assyrian annals, Hidali was in a mountainous region, and, according to Achaemenid Elamite administrative texts, it was a little more than halfway along the road from Persepolis to Susa. Proposed locations include Behbahān, Kuhgiluya, and the region between Rām-Hormuz and Behbahān (Vallat, 1993, p. 96, s.v. (H)idali, with earlier bibliography; complete references, ibid.; Zadok, p. 146, s.v., Ḫadjdalu, and Parpola, pp. 160 f., s.v. HÎDALU).

Texts from the reigns of the Assyrian kings Sennacherib (704-681 B.C.E.) and Assurbanipal (668-627 B.C.E.) name Hidali, Madaktu, and Susa as the chief towns of Elam. Madaktu appears as a forward position exposed to invading Assyrian forces, Hidali as a refuge beyond Assyrian reach.

Sennacherib’s annals say that when Assyrian forces attacked Elam in 693 B.C.E., the Elamite king Kudur-Nahhunte fled from Madaktu, “his royal city,” and set out for the city of Hidali, “in the distant mountains” (Luckenbill, pp. 40 f., col. v, ll. 4 f.; p. 88, l. 41; p. 90, l. 22). A caption prepared for a relief to illustrate Assurbanipal’s war against the Elamite king Teumman in 653 B.C.E. (or, less probably, 663; see Reade and Walker, pp. 120 ff.; Frame, p. 122, n. 112) identifies a “herald of the land of Hidali,” shown bringing the head of a “king of the land of Hidali” as a token of surrender (Weidner, pp. 178-79, no. 3; the relief itself is not extant). Variants to one edition of Assurbanipal’s annals describe how the head of this Ištarnandi was hung from the neck of one of the Aramean tribal leaders defeated by Assurbanipal, while the head of Teumman was hung around the neck of another (Piepkorn, p. 73). The narrative context implies that Ištarnandi was an ally or subordinate of Teumman. The political sequel suggests that he belonged to Teumann’s family. After the victory, Assurbanipal installed two sons of Teumman’s predecessor, Urtak, as client kings: one, Ummanigaš, “on the throne of Teumann,” (as the annals say) at Madaktu and Susa (as the caption of a relief specifies), and another, Tammaritu, “his third brother,” as king in the city of Hidali (annals: Piepkorn, pp. 70 f., col. vi, ll.. 6 ff.; Streck, p. 26, col. iii, ll. 44 f.; relief and caption: Streck, pp. 314 ff.; see Miroschedji, 1986, p. 211, with bibliog.; Reade, 1983, pp. 64 f.)

The Assyrian claim to suzerainty over Elam is reflected in an excerpt from a letter or royal order that calls for the promotion of Babylonian members of the Assyrian court to be “in charge of” Susa, and perhaps of Madaktu and Hidali (Dietrich, no. 490, reverse line 16 [originally Harper, no. 1007 + British Museum 82-3-23, 40], dated after 646 by Cameron, p. 209). A Babylonian legal text written at Hidali in the accession year of Tammaritu indicates a Babylonian enclave there, perhaps as a result of the Assyrian victory (Leichty, pp. 153-55). However, Assyrian claims no longer entail control by 649 B.C.E., when Assurbanipal threatened to destroy the cities of the Elamite king Indabibi and carry off the people of Susa, Madaktu, and Hidali (Streck, pp. 142-43, col. viii, ll. 55 ff.; Bauer, II, p. 17, col. ix, ll. 56 ff.). Political and military reports on Elam sent to Assurbanipal indicate that Hidali was within the purview of Assyrian observers but beyond the reach of Assyrian raids. Reports include news that Ummanigaš (perhaps the Elamite king) entered Hidali (1309), news that messengers sent by another Elamite leader to Hidali and other towns provoked hostility (Harper, no. 1311 +), and mention of the Elamite King Tammaritu II in uncertain connection with Hidali (Harper, no. 961). Three letters mention Hidali together with Parsumaš without explicit evidence of political and geographical relationships between them (Miroschedji, 1985, p. 275; Waters, p. 32).

According to Assurbanipal’s annals, the Elamite king Ummanaldaš III fell back before the Assyrian attacks of 647 and 646 B.C.E from Madaktu to unnamed mountains and returned after the Assyrian forces withdrew. A letter implies that other Elamites of the time were uncertain of finding refuge even in Hidali for fear of the Assyrian armies (Harper, no. 281; see de Vaan, 1995, pp. 243 ff.). The annals report the Assyrian devastation of Elamite territories as far as “the border of the city of Hidali” but do not claim that Assyrian forces reached Hidali itself (Streck, pp. 50 f., col. v, l. 116; Aynard, p. 50., col. iv, l. 58).

These Mesopotamian texts indicate that in the 7th century B.C.E. Hidali and its “kings” were controlled by the rulers of Madaktu and Susa, whether they were Assyrian clients or enemies of Assyria. This status continued in post-Assyrian times when smaller, perhaps competing kingdoms occupied Elamite territory (see Vallat, 1996, p. 391). Thus, a neo-Elamite administrative archive of the early 6th century B.C.E., excavated at Susa, includes three texts drawn up at Hidali (Scheil, no. 65, l. 8, no. 69, l. 9, no. 261, l. 10) that record receipts for materials issued on the authorization of an official based at Susa. Men from Hidali are mentioned twice (Scheil, no. 37, reverse line 4, no. 163, ll. 7 ff.), but no “kings” of Hidali appears.

Hidali appears often in Achaemenid Elamite administrative texts from Persepolis. Dated references fall between 504 and 495 B.C.E. Most are in texts of category Q, that is records of food and drink disbursed to official travelers between Persepolis and Susa. Hidali was the twelfth of twenty-one known stations on the way from Persepolis to Susa. Disbursals include rations of beer, as is common in texts from the regions nearest Susa, rather than wine, as is usual in texts from the regions around Persepolis, but the texts drawn up at Hidali are dated with Iranian month names, not the Elamite month names that are sometimes found in texts from the stations closest to Susa (Koch, 1986, pp. 142-43; idem, 1990, pp. 208-13). Substantial administrative facilities at Hidali are implied in a text recording rations dispensed to a “treasurer” (Elamite kanzabara, rending Old Ir. ganzabara-) and refering to a “treasure” or “treasury” (Elamite kanzam, rendering Old Ir. ganza-) at Hidali (PF-NN, 1564; see Koch, 1986, p. 142; Hinz and Koch, p. 270, s.v. da-ki, p. 415, s.v. qa-in-za-um; Koch, 1993, p. 70), and in another text that mentions a deposit of more than 70,000 liters of grains at Hidali (Hallock, no. 200; cf. Brosius, p. 131, n. 28).



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(Matthew W. Stolper)

Originally Published: December 15, 2003

Last Updated: March 22, 2012

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