ĀKAUFAČIYĀ (a-k-u-f-č-i-y-a), name of a tribe resident in the southeastern part of the Achaemenid empire, attested only once (in nom. plur.) in the list of countries and peoples in sec. 3 of Xerxes’ so-called “daiva inscription” XPh 27 (Kent, Old Persian, p. 151), where these *Ākaufaka-inhabitants (cf. as a morphological parallel Mačiyā “men of Maka”) are placed between the Skudrā “Thracians” and the Putāyā “Libyans” in a very irregular enumeration. The name is rendered as Elamite h.Ha-ku-pi-zi-ya and Babylonian KURA-ku-pi-i-iš in the parallel versions. It is continued by the Middle Persian Kōfēč (which, like the Babylonian form, points to an epenthesis faič- according to W. Eilers, Acta Iranica 1, 1974, p. 282), New Persian Kūfeč, in Arabicized form Qofṣ. These names designate the people living in the mountains of Bašākerd in southern Kermān neighboring the Baluch. It is only on the base of these modern data that the Ākaufačiyā are localized in southeastern Iran; but this deduction may find support from the name of the Oreitai (in Arrian, etc.) or “Eastern Ethiopians,” as they are called in Herodotus (especially 7.10.1, in military association with the Indians), since Oreitai seems to be a mere translation of the Iranian name, which has to be analyzed as ā- “at, in” + (West Iranian!) kaufa “mountain” + suffixes *-k-ḭa- > -čiya-. This form Ākaufačiya- does not, however, as is often thought, designate “highlander, mountain dweller,” but means (in spite of the deficient evidence for the derivational base) “the inhabitants of *Ākaufaka, i.e., of "(the land) high in the mountains".”


H. H. Schaeder, “Zwei altiranische Ortsnamen. 1. Akouphis und Ākaufačiya,” ZDMG 96, 1942, pp. 127-31.

P. J. Junge, “Ākaufačiya. Ein Beitrag zur Länderkunde des alten Iran,” ZDMG 98, 1944, pp. 369-76.

(R. Schmitt)

Originally Published: December 15, 1984

Last Updated: July 29, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 7, p. 706

Cite this entry:

R. Schmitt, “ĀKAUFAČIYĀ,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/7, p. 706; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/akaufaciya (accessed on 25 April 2014).