BĒṮ GARMĒ, a region and province in northeast­ern Iraq named after a people, possibly a Persian tribe, called Garamaioi by Ptolemy, Garmaqāyē by early Syriac writers, Garamīkān (glmykn), adjective Gara­mīkčān (glmykcʾn) in Middle Iranian, Garmakan in Armenian, and Jarāmeqa in Arabic. Streck identified them with the Gurumu of cuneiform sources. This region, also called Garamīk in Middle Iranian and Bājarmā in Arabic, lay southeast of the Lesser Zāb, southwest of the mountains of Šahrazūr, northeast of the Tigris and the Jabal Ḥamrīn (Ṭūr Ūrūk in Syriac sources), although sometimes including Rāḏān southwest of the Jabal Ḥamrīn, and northwest of the Dīāla, and Serwān rivers. This province and its subkings are considered to be the continuation of the Assyrian kingdom after its conquest by the Medes in the History of Karkā ḏe Bēṯ Selōḵ, which was its capital city. The inscription of Narseh I (r. 993-302) at Paikuli (par. 32) recounts how the nobles of Āsōristān, Garamīkān, and Syārzūr gathered at Hāyān ī Nīkatrā (i.e., Syriac Nīqātōr-Āwānā, modern Benkodra; see Henning, pp. 519-22) to meet with Narseh and persuade him to accept the kingship. A Sasanian administrative seal of the accountant (hamarkar) of Garmakan and Nōt-­Ardašīr suggests that these two provinces were combined, probably under the later Sasanians. After ʿOtba b. Farqad crossed Bājarmā from Takrīt to Šahrazūr during the Muslim conquest, this district survived as an administrative unit (kūra) in Islamic administration. Bēṯ Garmē is also attested as a Christian (Nestorian by the sixth century) metropolitanate under the see of Karkā with suffragan bishops of Šahrqart, Lašōm, Arīwan, Radanī, and Ḥarbagelal in 410 (these are later subject to change), 486, 544, 554, 585, under Mār Ammeh I (644-47), Ṣlīwa Zeḵā (714-28), and in 780. With the ruin of the city of Karkā between 832 and 833, the metropolitanate moved to Šahrazūr and continues to be attested until the early fourteenth century, the last reference being in 1318. There were also about three Jacobite bishoprics in Bēṯ Garmē in 629.


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M. L. Chaumont, “Recherches sur quelque villes helléni­ques de l’Iran occidental,” Iranica Antiqua 17, 1982, p. 150.

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J. M. Fiey, Assyrie chrétienne, Beirut, 1965-68, III, pp. 13-15, 33-47.

W. B. Henning, “A Farewell to the Khagan of Aq-Aqatärān,” BSOAS 14, 1952, pp. 501-22 (SelectedPapers II, Acta Iranica 15, pp. 387-408).

G. Hoffmann, Auszüge aus syrischen Akten persischer Märtyrer, Leipzig, 1880, pp. 43-44, 253-77.

H. Humbach and P. O. Skjærvø, The Sassanian Inscription of Paikuli, 3 vols., Wiesbaden, 1978-83, III/1, pp. 30, 42, 94; III/2, pp. 31, 68.

Markwart, Provincial Capitals,p. 105. Idem, Ērānšahr, pp. 8, 16, 21.

M. Morony, “Continu­ity and Change in the Administrative Geography of Late Sasanian and Early Islamic al-ʿIrāq,” Iran 20, 1982, pp. 10, 14-15.

A. Scher, “Histoire nestorienne,” PatrologiaOrientalis 7, 1950, p. 171; 13, 1919, pp. 462, 631-32.

(Michael Morony)

Originally Published: December 15, 1989

Last Updated: December 15, 1989

This article is available in print.
Vol. IV, Fasc. 2, p. 187

Cite this entry:

Michael Morony, “BĒṮ GARMĒ,” Encyclopædia Iranica, IV/2, p. 187, available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/bet-garme (accessed on 30 December 2012).