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Urartu, ancient country of southwest Asia centred in the mountainous region southeast of the Black Sea and southwest of the Caspian Sea. Today the region is divided among Armenia, eastern Turkey, and northwestern Iran. Mentioned in Assyrian sources from the early 13th century bce , Urartu enjoyed considerable political power in the Middle East in the 9th and 8th centuries bce . The Urartians were succeeded in the area in the 6th century bce by the Armenians.
“Urartu” is an Assyrian name. The Urartians themselves called their country Biainili and their capital, located at modern Van, Tushpa (Turushpa). Most remains of Urartian settlements are found between the four lakes Çildir and Van in Turkey, Urmia in Iran, and Sevan in Armenia, with a sparser extension westward to the Euphrates River.
The Urartians had a number of traits in common with the Hurrians, an earlier Middle Eastern people. Both nations spoke closely related languages and must have sprung from a common ancestor nation (perhaps 3000 bce or earlier). Although the Urartians owed much of their cultural heritage to the Hurrians, they were to a much greater degree indebted to the Assyrians, from whom they borrowed script and literary forms, military and diplomatic practices, and artistic motifs and styles.
The Assyrian influence was manifested in two phases: first, from about 1275 bce to 840, when the Assyrians campaigned in Urartian territory and met only scattered resistance; and second, from 840 to 612, during the heyday of the Urartian kingdom. In the first phase, Assyrian influence was felt directly, and the local inhabitants were helplessly exposed to ruthless depredation at the hands of the Assyrians. During that time, the Urartians seem to have eagerly absorbed or imitated the amenities of Assyria’s higher civilization. In the second phase, Urartu produced its own distinctive counterparts to all Assyrian achievements.
The first century of the new kingdom seems to have emphasized military operations in imitation of Assyria, and Urartu waged relentless warfare on its neighbours to the east, west, and north.
For the reign of Sarduri I (c. 840–830 bce ), there remain only the inscriptions at Van. But for the reigns of his son Ishpuini (c. 830–810) and especially of Ishpuini’s son Meinua (c. 810–781), Urartian conquests can be measured indirectly from widespread inscriptions ranging from the lower Murat River basin (around Elâziğ) in the west to the Aras (Araks, Araxes) River (i.e., from Erzurum to Mount Ararat) in the north and to the south shore of Lake Urmia in the southeast. Ardini, or Muṣaṣir, once conquered by Tiglath-pileser I of Assyria about 1100, now became part of the Urartian sphere of influence. The temple of Haldi at Ardini was richly endowed by the Urartian kings but was open to Assyrian worshipers.
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A number of Urartian inscriptions dealing with religious subjects date to the end of Ishpuini’s reign. It seems that the state religion received its established form at that time, and the hierarchy of the many gods in the Urartian pantheon is expressed by a list of sacrifices due them.
The first evidence of engineering projects, designed to increase the productivity of the home country by irrigation, dates to the reign of Meinua. That is the “Canal of Meinua,” which led—and still leads—fresh water over a distance of about 28 miles (45 km) from an abundant spring to the southern edge of Van.
From the reigns of Meinua’s son Argishti I (c. 780–756) and grandson Sarduri II (c. 755–735) there is, in addition to inscriptions, a direct historical source in the form of annals carved into the rock of Van and into stelae that were displaced in later times to other locations in the vicinity. Under those kings, Urartu thrust out westward to the great bend of the Euphrates River and intermittently beyond, toward Melitene (modern Malatya) and the ancient Syrian district of Commagene, thus cutting off one of the main supply roads by which Assyria obtained essential iron from the western Taurus Mountains. Argishti I subdued the Melitene Hilaruada (c. 777), as did Sarduri II in the 750s. King Kushtashpi of Commagene was subjugated by Sarduri II about 745. Part of the domain of King Tuate of Tabal in the Taurus Mountains had also fallen to Argishti I about 777. For a short time Urartu thus had a bridgehead west of the Euphrates from Malatya to Halfeti (ancient Halpa) in Commagene, and its empire reached to within 20 miles (32 km) of Aleppo in northern Syria.
Argishti and Sarduri also embarked on what was in the end to prove the most fruitful of all Urartian ventures: the conquest and subsequent agricultural exploitation of the regions across the Aras River. Under Argishti I, Diauehi (“the Land of the Sons of Diau”; Assyrian: Daiaeni) was finally defeated, and the upper and middle Aras River valley became a major centre of building, irrigation, and agricultural activity. Sarduri added Lakes Çildir and Sevan. Further advance to the northwest was checked by a new adversary, the kingdom of Qulha (Greek: Colchis). The tens of thousands of prisoners taken on the yearly military campaigns (in one year as many as 39,000) provided the manpower for intensive cultivation of the royal estates and processing of their crops.
Several times the Urartian kings of that period claimed, probably with justification, to have defeated Assyrian armies: Argishti reported victories over the Assyrians in his sixth and seventh regnal years, when he operated in the Zab and Lake Urmia areas; and Sarduri II defeated the Assyrian king Ashur-nirari V in the upper basin of the Tigris River about 753.
The period 744–715 saw the renewal of Assyrian expansion. In spite of the support of a number of south Anatolian and north Syrian vassals, Sarduri II lost ground steadily, and in 743 Tiglath-pileser III of Assyria (744–727) defeated him and his allies in Commagene near Halfeti. When Tiglath-pileser in 735 advanced all the way to the gates of Tushpa, a palace revolt may have placed Sarduri’s son Rusas I (c. 735–713) at the head of the state.
Tiglath-pileser’s son, King Sargon II of Assyria (721–705), completed the elimination of Urartu as a rival for hegemony in the Middle East. Urartu’s hopes of help from the northern Syrian principalities were dashed by their swift subjection, ending with the incorporation of Carchemish into the Assyrian empire in 717. In the metal-rich Taurus Mountains, the kingdom of Tabal remained a potential ally of Rusas I, as well as of the Phrygian king Midas of the legendary golden touch. After the latter’s defeat, Tabal was annihilated and annexed to Assyria.
In the same year, Sargon began to close in on Urartu from the east. For two years, operations were mostly limited to western Iran. There Assyria championed the interests of the kingdom of Manna, while Urartu aided and abetted Iranian tribes encroaching upon Manna from the east and north. But behind the Urartian lines Assyrian intelligence officers were collecting information with a view to a much more-ambitious military undertaking against Urartu.
What finally tipped the scales in favour of Assyria was the opening up of a second front: the Cimmerians, a nomadic people from the Caucasus, invaded Urartu shortly before 714. Perhaps Rusas I (c. 735–713) himself provoked the onslaught by unwisely destroying several buffer states to the north. In any case, Rusas soon found the Cimmerians at his borders. Undaunted, he proceeded to the attack but suffered a major disaster: the Assyrian crown prince Sennacherib, sent north by King Sargon II (721–705) to gather intelligence about Urartian affairs, reported to his father that Rusas’s whole army had been defeated in Cimmerian territory and that Rusas himself had fled back to Urartu, having lost contact with his commanders. That encouraged Sargon to undertake the ambitious campaign of 714 that put an end to the aspirations of the Urartian kings outside of their mountain homeland. After unsuccessfully heading a coalition of his allies against Assyria, Rusas hastened back to Tuspha, which Sargon wisely did not try to besiege. Sargon avoided a clash with the Cimmerians and instead plundered the main sanctuary of the Urartians at Ardini and carried off the statue of Haldi. Hearing of that third calamity, Rusas committed suicide.
The military setbacks of Rusas I ended Urartu’s political power. But his son Argishti II (c. 712–685) and successors continued the royal tradition of developing the country’s natural resources, and Urartian culture not only survived but continued to flourish for a while, despite its political impotence. The Urartians were finally overcome by a Median invasion late in the 7th century bce .
This article was most recently revised and updated by Amy Tikkanen, Corrections Manager.
Urartu, also known as the Kingdom of Urartu or the Kingdom of Van, was a civilization which developed in the Bronze and Iron Age of ancient Armenia, eastern Turkey, and northwestern Iran from the 9th century BCE. Controlling territories through military might and the construction of fortresses, the kingdom boasted a lively production in the arts, especially metalwork. Surviving only two centuries, the kingdom mysteriously disappeared in the 6th century BCE and was only rediscovered as a distinct and recognisable ancient culture by excavations carried out in the 19th century CE.
The history of Urartu remains fragmentary due to a lack of extended written sources and an overreliance on potentially biased sources from contemporary enemy states such as Assyria. Nevertheless, surviving inscriptions, architecture, and artefacts, together with ongoing archaeological investigations have helped re-create a sufficiently detailed history to indicate the undoubted importance of one of the region’s most influential ancient cultures.
«Urartu» comes from urashtu, the Assyrian word for the kingdom, and signifies “high place”, possibly referring to either the mountainous region or the culture’s common practice of building fortifications on rock promontories. To the Babylonians they were uruatri, and to the Hebrews the kingdom was known as Ararat. The Urartians called themselves Biaina and their state Biainili (or Land of the Nairi).
Urartu sprang from a confederation of kingdoms which had developed from the 14th or 13th century BCE onwards. A recognisable and independent state known as Urartu developed from the 9th century BCE which combined these smaller kingdoms, probably in response to an external threat from Assyria. The culture prospered thanks to settlement on the extensive fertile plateau which was well-supplied by rivers. Crops included wheat, barley, millet, rye, sesame, and flax. Viticulture was also important, wine-making in the region perhaps being the earliest anywhere. Remains of fruit found at Urartu sites include plums, apples, cherries, quinces, and pomegranates.
Animal husbandry prospered thanks to excellent mountain pastures, and sheep, goats, cattle, and horses were all bred. Mineral deposits in the area included gold, silver, copper, lead, iron, and tin. The location on the trade routes between the ancient Mediterranean and Asian and Anatolian cultures was another source of prosperity. Although protected by mountains in the north and south, defence was perpetually necessary against attackers from the east and west eager to capitalise on the region’s wealth.
Government & Territory
The government of Urartu functioned around a centralised monarchy with a close circle of advisers and a much larger group of civil administrators who supervised temples and such construction projects as fortresses, roads, and canals. The fortress capital, Tushpa, was built on a limestone promontory on the eastern shores of Lake Van in the highlands. Tushpa would later be called Van and perhaps had a population as high as 50,000 at its peak. The capital also had a royal necropolis composed of chambers cut into the mountain on which the city was built. Other surviving remains include an open-air shrine with smooth walls and many inscriptions made into the rock. Regional governors represented the king in the provinces, administered justice, and collected taxes in kind, which were channelled back to the capital.
The kingdom’s first known monarch was Arame who reigned c. 860-840 BCE. Assyrian sources mention that the kingdom first rose to prominence from c. 830 BCE under the king Sarduri I (r. c. 835-825 BCE) whose descendants would rule for the next two centuries. In 776 BCE, Argishti I (r. c. 785-760 BCE) would found a new city, Argishtihinili, on the Plain of Ararat, later to become the second city of the kingdom and renamed Armavir. Then, c. 685 BCE, king Rusa II (r. c. 685-645 BCE) founded the important northern city of Teishebaini (modern Yerevan), also on the Ararat plain. Other important Urartu centres were Bastam, Karmir Blur, Adilcevaz, and Ayanis.
The state controlled large areas of agricultural production thanks to annual campaigns by its army and a network of fortresses. The policy of rulers towards weaker neighbouring tribes was sometimes one of confederation and the extraction of tribute in the form of goods and slaves rather than conquest. However, there are notable cases of the seizure of slaves such as Argishti I’s campaigns against the Hatti and Dsopk in the 780s BCE when he was said to have captured 320,000 slaves. By the 7th century BCE, Urartu thus controlled territory which stretched from the Caspian Sea to the Upper Euphrates (east to west) and the Caucasus mountains in the north to the Taurus Range in the south.
All Urartu kings seem to have led their armies in battle. Weapons, as indicated by those dedicated at temples, included iron and bronze swords, spears, and javelins, as well as bows. Heavy shields were used which had large central bosses decorated with images of mythical creatures, bulls, and lions. There is also evidence of helmets and metal scale armour, at least worn by the elite. The chief adversary was the Neo-Assyrian Empire, although there is also evidence of trade relations between the two states. Given the use of chariots by the Assyrians, it would seem reasonable to suppose that their adversary also employed them, especially given the Urartians fame for horse breeding. Urartu did enjoy some victories in the mid-8th century BCE, but the Assyrian ruler Tiglath-Pileser III (r. 745-727 BCE) was more aggressive than his predecessors and he laid siege to Tushpa. Another significant conflict between the two states was during the campaign of Sargon II (722-705 BCE) in 714 BCE. Other enemies of Urartu included the Cimmerians, Scythians, and finally the Medes.
Offerings of food, weapons, and precious goods, libations of wine, and animal sacrifices were all made to the gods in dedicated outdoor ritual spaces and at false doorways carved into rock faces which were known as “Gates to the Gods”. The pantheon of the Urartu religion contains a mix of unique and Hurrian gods such as the god of storms and thunder Teisheba, from the Hurrian Teshub. The mid-9th century BCE king Ishpuini promoted Haldi (Khaldi) to the head of the gods, a deity of foreign origin, although his role and function are obscure besides that he was associated with warfare. Haldi is often portrayed as a man standing on a bull or lion, symbolic of his power.
Haldi, in particular, had temples built in his honour, which have distinctive square towers with reinforced corners. So important was this god that the Urartians were sometimes called the Haldians or “children of Haldi”. The ruling king was known as the “servant of Haldi” and all wars were carried out in his name.
Another important deity was Shivani, the Sun god who, given his representation with a winged solar disk, was likely inspired by the Egyptian god of the same association, Ra. The consort of Haldi, Arubani, was the most important female goddess; Sielardi was the moon goddess, and Sardi a star goddess. Urartu art includes the Tree of Life symbol common to Mesopotamian cultures and is usually shown with a figure stood either side making offerings.
The Urartians were innovative and ambitious architects. Significant construction projects include the 80-kilometre long stone-lined canal which brought fresh water from the Artos mountains to the capital. The structure was built by king Menua (r. c. 810-785 BCE) and allowed the proliferation of vineyards and orchards resulting in Tushpa gaining a reputation as a garden city.
Although few structures survive today, an example of an Urartu temple can be seen in a relief in the palace of the Assyrian king Sargon. The relief shows the temple of Haldi at Ardini before it was sacked by the Assyrians in 714 BCE. The building has a hexastyle portico (six-columned facade) and triangular pediment, shields hang from the exterior walls and a great urn stands either side of the entrance.
Although little remains of Urartu fortifications, one of the most significant and best-preserved fortresses is at Erebuni near today’s capital of Armenia, Yerevan. Built during the reign of king Argishti I, impressive sections of the fortification walls still stand today. Typical features of Urartu fortifications are massive walls supported by stone foundations made of large square blocks and buttressed with towers. In Assyrian reliefs of Urartu fortifications, these towers are crenellated and have windows. Their survival since antiquity is a testimony to the building skills of the Urartians, especially considering the region is subject to frequent and powerful earthquakes.
Palace buildings are composed of multiple chambers and larger halls, the former usually with the roof supported by a centrally placed wooden column and the latter by multiple rows of columns. Other features are open courtyards and storerooms where large pottery jars were sunk into the floor to hold foodstuffs, wine, and beer. The larger examples of these sunken jars have a capacity of around 750 litres (200 gallons) each. Structures located away from residential buildings, probably because of the fire risk, include potteries and smelting kilns.
Materials used include large “cyclopean” blocks placed together without mortar, worked stone blocks, and mud bricks. Roofing was made using wooden beams or barrel vaults of adobe bricks. Flooring was of stone in the more prestigious buildings with surviving examples having either large basalt slabs or even large-stone polychrome mosaics with geometric designs. Interior walls could carry frescoes, and sometimes they also had cavities cut into them into which were placed decorative bronze plaques or cut stone slabs in red, white, or black. Doors were made from thick planks of wood and locked using a hinged bronze latch.
The wealth and prosperity of Urartu is attested by ample surviving evidence of its material culture, notably pottery, objects utilised as religious dedications, and examples of bronze-working. No large-scale stone sculptures survive except in fragments. Excavations have revealed both public and private buildings in Urartian cities with interior wall paintings. Painted on plaster, surviving fragments show scenes with animals, mythical creatures, processions of gods, and scenes from everyday life such as agriculture and hunting. Backgrounds are usually white, outlines are drawn in black, and blue and red are the most commonly used colours.
Metalworking has a long history in the region, dating back to the 10th millennium BCE. Artisans in the Urartu kingdom produced such goods as jewellery, horse bits, helmets, buckles, and candelabra in bronze and copper. Large bronze cauldrons with animal or human heads around the rim were produced in numbers. Metal goods were cast, embossed, inlaid with gold or etched with designs. Urartu art is best seen in bronze sculptures made in the round which show an influence from Assyria, particularly in the choice of subjects – lions, bulls, mythological creatures such as griffins and centaurs, and military themes, especially horse riders. Religious art includes bronze figurines of prominent gods such as Haldi, Teisheba, and Shivani. Some deities are unidentified such as a female goddess rendered in bone and hybrid figures of a fish-man, bird-man, and scorpion-man. Those bronze items belonging to the royal household are so identified by inscriptions which have also helped to identify Urartu works found outside Asia such as in Etruscan tombs in central Italy. Other materials used in Urartu art include ivory, semi-precious stones, and stag horns.
Early Urartu writing used simple pictograms, but cuneiform was adopted and adapted from neighbouring contemporary Mesopotamian cultures. Surviving cuneiform inscriptions from the kingdom, of which there are some 400 examples, show that the Urartian language was related to Hurrian, with the two languages probably sharing a common ancestor language dating to the 3rd or 2nd millennium BCE.
In the 7th century BCE, the Urartu kingdom came to a mysterious but violent end when sometime between c. 640 and c. 590 BCE their cities were destroyed. The state was probably weakened by decades of battles with the Assyrians, and it may have been too overstretched to control its own empire. The perpetrators are not known but the Scythians are one candidate, the Cimmerians another, and even possibly forces from within the territories administered by the Urartu kings.
Finds of three-pronged arrowheads, typical of Scythian archers, found at the destroyed site of Teishebaini are suggestive. The destruction of the city by fire sometime between 594 and 590 BCE seems to have been unexpected, with granaries recently filled and weapons and precious belongings seemingly abandoned in a hurry. It is likely that the various cities of Urartu succumbed at different times to different peoples over a period of two or three decades.
The territories the Urartu kingdom had once occupied were ultimately taken over by the Medes from c. 585 BCE onwards and then incorporated into the Achaemenian Empire of Cyrus the Great in the mid-6th century BCE. The Urartian language, however, would survive into the Hellenistic period. Many Urartian towns would become the location of important settlements throughout antiquity, and many of their Urartu names survive today. Unrecorded and unknown to ancient Greek historians, Urartu would have to wait until archaeological excavations in the 19th century CE to take its place as an important regional Bronze Age culture.
This article was made possible with generous support from the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research and the Knights of Vartan Fund for Armenian Studies.
(o͞orär`to͞o) , ancient kingdom of Armenia Armenia
, Armenian Hayastan, officially Republic of Armenia, republic (2020 est. pop. 2,917,000), 11,500 sq mi (29,785 sq km), in the S Caucasus. Armenia is bounded by Turkey on the west, Azerbaijan on the east (the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan is on its
. Click the link for more information. and N Mesopotamia Mesopotamia
[Gr.,=between rivers], ancient region of Asia, the territory about the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, included in modern Iraq. The region extends from the Persian Gulf north to the mountains of Armenia and from the Zagros and Kurdish mountains on the east to the Syrian
. Click the link for more information. , centered about Lake Van Van, Lake
, 1,453 sq mi (3,763 sq km), largest lake in Turkey, in E Turkey 65 mi (105 km) SW of Mt. Ararat. Some 75 mi (120 km) long, the lake is alkaline and has no outlet; the city of Van is near the lake’s east shore.
. Click the link for more information. in present-day E Turkey. It was the biblical Ararat. Urartu flourished from the 13th cent. to the 7th cent. B.C., but was most powerful in the 8th cent. B.C., when it ruled over most of N Syria. The Urartians constantly fought with Assyria Assyria
, ancient empire of W Asia. It developed around the city of Ashur, or Assur, on the upper Tigris River and south of the later capital, Nineveh. Assyria’s Rise
The nucleus of a Semitic state was forming by the beginning of the 3d millennium B.C.
. Click the link for more information. ; Shalmaneser I, Shalmaneser III, and Sargon all attacked Urartu but never completely subdued it. In the 7th cent. B.C. repeated invasions by the Cimmerians, Scythians, and Medes finally brought about the downfall of the Urartian kingdom. Excavations, particularly at such sites as Toprakkale and Karmir Blur, have shown that Urartu had an advanced agricultural and commercial civilization, which was largely influenced by Assyria. Its language, written in cuneiform cuneiform
[Lat.,=wedge-shaped], system of writing developed before the last centuries of the 4th millennium B.C. in the lower Tigris and Euphrates valley, probably by the Sumerians (see Sumer).
. Click the link for more information. (also borrowed from the Assyrians), has no relation to any known language, except perhaps to the Horite. Urartian techniques of metalworking and stone masonry (especially in the construction of fortresses) was highly advanced.
See B. Piatrovski, Ancient Civilization of Urartu (1969).
(Urartean, Biainili), the biblical kingdom of Ararat, a state in Southwest Asia during the ninth to sixth centuries B.C. At the height of its power, Urartu controlled the entire Armenian Highland—an area that is now divided among the USSR, Turkey, and Iran. The people of Urartu are referred to as Urarteans.
The Urarteans’ lands formed part of the Mitanni state until its fall in the 13th century B.C. The Urarteans subsequently suffered a number of invasions by Assyria. Between the 13th and the 11th centuries, the Assyrian kings warred with a series of major alliances of Urartean tribes, such as the Uruatri and the Nairi. The late second and early first millennia B.C. saw the formation of clans in Urartu. This process led, in the mid-ninth century, to the appearance of the Urartean state, whose capital was at Tushpa (the present-day city of Van in Turkey). Much construction was carried out in Tushpa under King Sardur I.
Urartu reached the height of its power in the late ninth century and the first half of the eighth century. Its territory increased substantially as a result of wars conducted during the reigns of Menuas, Argistis I, and Sardur II. Urartu contributed to the decline of Assyria by conquering parts of northern Mesopotamia and northern Syria and thus cutting off the Assyrians’ access to sources of metals in Asia Minor. The Urarteans subjugated areas south of Lake Van and near Lake Urmia. The kings of Urartu also conquered extensive territory in the north and in southern Transcaucasia, including the regions of Kars and Erzurum, areas around Lakes Chaldyr and Sevan, and the Ararat Valley. Fortresses were, built in the conquered lands; the most important were the city of Menuahinili on the northern slope of Mount Ararat, Erebuni (on the hill of Arin-berd on the outskirts of Yerevan), and Argistikhinili on the left bank of the Araks River.
The Urarteans’ military successes were followed by influxes of prisoners and of livestock and other booty into the central regions of Urartu. The chronicle of Argistis I speaks of the capture or killing of 280,512 people; the number mentioned in the chronicle of Sardur II is 197,521. The captives were used on construction and irrigation projects and for other work. Some captives were settled with their families on the land as state slaves. Others were given to soldiers who used them on their farms. Sometimes the captives were inducted into the Urartean army. Although slave labor was widely used in the economy, most of the producers in Urartu were free or semifree members of communes. The exploitation of the slaves and commune members was so severe that many fled from Urartu to neighboring countries.
The government controlled the establishment of temples, the development of new lands, and the building of reservoirs, canals, and—on the royal farms—such structures as granaries and wine cellars. The temples possessed extensive farm lands, owned livestock, and held other forms of wealth. The aristocracy also owned a substantial percentage of the land. A large role was played by the heads of the districts, who furnished the principal contingents of the Urartean army. During the period of Urartu’s decline (late eighth century) the district heads often fomented rebellions against the central authority. In the mid-eighth century the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III (ruled 745–727) dealt a series of crushing blows to the armies of Sardur II and annexed Urartu’s possessions in northern Mesopotamia and northern Syria. A struggle subsequently developed over the Urmia region. In 714, Sargon II concluded a devastating campaign against Urartu, which was then under the rule of Rusa I. Owing to its defeat by Assyria and other states and to the revolts of the district heads, Urartu lost a substantial amount of its territory.
During the seventh century, Urartu retained its position in southern Transcaucasia. Rusa II built new fortresses, such as Teishebaini (on the hill of Karmir-Blur outside Yerevan). The Urartean kings began using detachments of Scythian and Cimmerian mercenaries in their struggle with the rebellious aristocracy. With the help of the mercenaries, the Urarteans were able to crush the Phrygian kingdom in 676. The growing strength of the Median kingdom led to a rapprochement between Urartu and Assyria. Nevertheless, in the early sixth century, first Assyria and then Urartu were crushed by the Medes and incorporated into the Median state.
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