ḪARḪAR, a land and a city at the western border of Media. It was taken several times by the Assyrian kings Shalmanaser III (r. 860-825 B.C.E.) and Adad-nerari III (r. 812-782 B.C.E.). At the beginning of the reign of Sargon II (r. 721-705 B.C.E.), the people of Ḫarḫar ceased to pay tribute to Assyria, expelled their governor, Ki-baba, and made a treaty with Dalta, the ruler of Ellipi, a land to the south of Ḫarḫar in the area of Piš-e Kuh (Medvedskaya, 1999, p. 63). In 716 B.C.E. Ḫarḫar was finally reconquered by the Assyrians and turned into an Assyrian province, the city of Ḫarḫar was renamed Kār-Šarrukēn, and Ḫarḫar was turned into a base for the conquest of Media. Several neighboring lands were added to this province. Under Sennacherib (r. 705-681 B.C.E.), the province was expanded at the expense of the conquered northern territories of Ellipi, including Bit-Barru (for sources see Parpola, p. 151). Under Esarhaddon (r. 681-668 B.C.E.), the province of Ḫarḫar was mentioned in connection with the threat to its cities of Kilman and Ṣiṣṣirtu at the time of the Median rebellion against Assyria (Starr, pp. 51, 77, 78). According to Louis Levine, Ḫarḫar was located in the central western Zagros not far from the Great Khorasan Road. Ernst Herzfeld (p. 50) identified it as “the old name of the Nihāwand region,” while Cuyler Young (pp. 14-15) suggested a mound in the Sanandaj area as the location of the town (Levine, 1974, pp. 116-17; idem, 1972, ll. 41-46, pp. 25, 30-33). The stele of Sargon II, discovered near the village Najafābād in the neighboring Asadābād valley, and some other evidence allow us to draw the border between Ḫarḫar and Media at the Asadābād pass (Medvedskaya, 1995, pp. 150 f.). In the west, Ḫarḫar apparently bordered on the northern territory of Ellipi (Vīt Barru), near Bisotun (Medvedskaya, 1999, p. 56). It is not certain that Ḫarḫar is the same as Kar(a)har of the Ur III and the Old Babylonian periods (Goetze, pp. 118-19; but cf. D’yakonov, p. 117, n. 2).



Igor Mikhailovich D’yakonov (Diakonoff), Istoriya Midii (History of Media), Moscow and Leningrad; tr. Karim Kešāvarz as Tāriḵ-e Mād, Tehran, 1345 Š./1966.

Albrecht Goetze, “Ḫulibar of Duddul,” JNES 12, 1953.

Ernst Herzfeld, The Persian Empire: Studies in Geography and Ethnography of the Ancient Near East, ed. Gerold Walser, Wiesbaden, 1968, index, s.v.

Louis D. Levine, Two Neo-Assyrian Stelae from Iran, The Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, 1972.

Idem, “Geographical Studies in the Neo-Assyrian Zagros,” Iran 12, 1974, pp. 116-17.

Inna Medvedskaya, “Byvali li Assiriĭtsi v Ekbatane?” (Were the Assyrians in Ecbatana?), VDI 2, 1995.

Idem, “Medida and Its Neighbours I: Localization of Ellipi,” Iranica Antiqua 34, 1999, pp. 53-70.

Simo Parpola, Neo-Assyrian Toponyms, Alter Orient und Atles Testament 6, Neukirchen-Vluyn, 1970.

Ivan Starr, ed., Queries to the Sungod: Divinition and Politics in Sargonid Assyria, State Archive of Assyria 4, Helsinki, 1990.

T. Cuyler Young, “The Iranian Migration into the Zagros,” Iran 5, 1967, pp. 11-34.

(Inna Medvedskaya)

Originally Published: December 15, 2003

Last Updated: March 6, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. XII, Fasc. 1, pp. 4-5