Kingdom of Garmakan

The region around Kirkuk which is nowadays known in Kurdish as ''Garmiyan'' was in pre-Islamic era ruled by a local kingdom named ''Garmakan'' and was centered at the city of Kirkuk. This ancient kingdom could be traced back to the first and second millenia BC; according to the American scholar and iranologist Richard Nelson Frye possibly to the early Gutians who also built the city of Kikrkuk and put it as the capital of their powerful kingdom which encompassed much of modern Kurdistan. Although this is only part of the history of Kirkuk but it clearly proves the Kurdistaniness reality of Kirkuk in pre-Islamic era, as it has been in post Islamic period. 

Sadaqiyan dynasty

One of the earliest independant dynasties after Islamic conquest was Sadaqiyans who ruled central and northeastern Kurdistan and were centered at Urmia. 
The dynasty was founded by Sidqa ibn Ali who launched uprisings against Abbasid Caliph Abu Jafar Al-Mansur (712-775 AD). 

With the help of his brothers, Sadaqa was able to liberate large parts of Atropatene as well as Mosul. Following liberating Urmia, he extended his dominion to include regions of Khoy, Salmas, Shno (Oshnavieh), Lajan, Sindus, Mukriyan etc.

During reign of Abbasid Harun al Rashid, Sadaqiyans were able to extend further their dominon, and even the governor of region of Tabriz  accepted their suzerainty. 
The successful expeditions by Sadaqiyans horrified Abbasids, who subsequently sent to Atropatene a large army under Khazima, who could only occupy Maragha and soon was defeated by Sadaqiyan forces. this indicates military superiority of Sidqiyans. 

After Sadaqa, his son Ali took power, who even extended further his dominion. Thereafter Ali's son Sadaqa II, known as Zariq (also: Zardiq, Zarir, Zorayq, Zurayq or Zuraiq) who ruled 209-212 A.H. Like his grandfather (Sadaqa), Zuraiq was a capable warlord. He contacted with Abbasids and claimed he is ready to battle Babak Khurramdin in return for his rule over Azarbaijan and Armenia being recognized by Abbasids. The Abbasid Caliph Mamun accepted the deal and persuaded him to counter Babak Khorramdin who along with his Kurdish generals such as Ismah and Nasr was hiding in the mountains of Azarbaijan. However there is no record of confrontation of Zuraiq with Babak, which indicates  a possible collusion between the two.

In 211 A.H. Zariq sent an army to Mosul in order to recapture it. He was innitially defeated however, again attacked with a force of 40.000 troops, captured Mosul and killed Sayid ibn Yonus Azdi. This angered Mamun; he sent an army under Muhamad ibn Humaid, who defeated Zuraiq; he was executed in 212 after Hijra (827-8 AD).

Ziryab, the great Kurdish polymath

Ziryab, (also spelled as Ziriab or Ziriyab) (789-857) was a polymath: a poet, musician, singer,cosmetologist, fashion designer, celebrity, trendsetter, strategist, astronomer, botanist and geographer at the Umayyad court of Córdobain Islamic Spain. He first achieved notoriety at the Abbasid court in Baghdad, as a performer and student of the great musician and composer, Ishaq al-Mawsili. Ziryab was a gifted pupil of Ishaq al-Mawsili. He had to leave Baghdad when his skills as a musician surpassed those of his teacher. He moved to Córdoba in southern Spain and was accepted as court musician in the court of Abd al-Rahman II of the Umayyad Dynasty. 

Ziryab left Baghdad some time after the death of the Caliph al-Amîn in 813 and traveled first to Sham (Syria), then to Ifriqiyya (Tunisia), where he lived at the Aghlabid court of Ziyadat Allah (ruled 816-837). Ziryab fell out with Ziyadat Allah but was invited to Al-Andalus by the Umayyad prince, al-Hakam I. He found on arrival in 822 that the prince had died, but the prince's son, Abd ar-Rahman II, renewed his father's invitation. Ziryab settled in Córdoba, where he soon became even more celebrated as the court's aficionado of food, fashion, singing and music. He introduced standards of excellence in all these fields as well as setting new norms for elegant and noble manners. He was an intimate companion of the prince and established a school of music that trained singers and musicians which influenced musical performance for at least two generations after him. In the 9th Century he introduced the New Year celebration based on the Iranian holiday Newroz to the courts ofAndalusia in Spain and thence to Europe.

Ziryab is said to have improved the 'ud by adding a fifth pair of strings, and using an eagle's beak or quill instead of a wooden pick. He is said to have created a unique and influential style of musical performance, and written songs that were performed in Spain for generations. He was a great influence on Spanish music, and is considered the founder of the Andalusian music traditions of North Africa and the Middle East. Zyriab is thought to have codified the disparate elements of Arab poetic traditions of qasidah, mwashah and zajal. Abd al-Rahman II was a great patron of the arts and Zyriab was given a great deal of freedom. He established one of the first schools of music. He was a great virtuoso on the 'ud and an amazing singer. Ziryab also introduced musical instruments—notably the Persian lute that became the Spanish guitar—as well as passionate songs, tunes and dances of Persia and Mesopotamia that later, mixed with Gypsy influence, evolved into the famed Spanish flamenco. Ziryab established a music conservatory at the court of Abdel-Rahman at Cordoba. (The German scholarly book "Moorish Architecture" by Barrucand states that Ziryab also introduced good taste, fine court manners and even new hair cuts into Spain).

Ziryab is said to have had a lasting influence on fashion, bringing styles from the Middle East to Al-Andaluz, including sophisticated styles of clothing based on seasonal and daily timings. In winter, for example, costumes were made essentially from warm cotton or wool items usually in dark colours and summer garments were made of cool and light costumes involving materials such as cotton, silk and flax in light and bright colours. Brilliant colours for these clothes were produced in tanneries and dye works which the Muslim world perfected its production, for example, in 12th century Fes, Morocco, there were more than 86 tanneries and 116 dye works.[19]In daily timing Ziryab suggested different clothing for mornings, afternoons and evenings. Henry Terrace, a French historian, commented on the fashion work of Ziryab; "He introduced winter and summer dresses, setting exactly the dates when each fashion was to be worn. He also added dresses of half season for intervals between seasons. Through him, the luxurious dress of the Orient was introduced in Spain. Under his influence a fashion industry was set up, producing coloured striped fabric and coats of transparent fabric, which is still found in Morocco today.", though Terrace goes on to caution "Without a doubt, a lone man could not achieve this transformation. It is rather a development which shook the Muslim world in general, although historic legend attributes all these changes to Ziryab and his promoter, Abd-Al-Rahman II" Ziryab is known to have invented an early toothpaste, which he popularized throughout Islamic Spain. The exact ingredients of this toothpaste are not currently known, but it was reported to have been both "functional and pleasant to taste." He also introduced under-arm deodorants and "new short hairstyles leaving the neck, ears and eyebrows free," as well as shaving for men.For women, he opened a beauty parlour or “cosmetology school” near Alcázar, where he introduced a "shorter, shaped cut, with a fringe on the forehead and the ears uncovered." He also taught "the shaping of eyebrows and the use of depilatories for removing body hair", and he introduced new perfumes and cosmetics.

He also "revolutionized the local cuisine," by introducing new fruit and vegetables such as asparagus, and by introducing the three-course meal, insisting that meals should be served in three separate courses consisting of soup, the main course, and dessert. He also introduced the use ofcrystal as a container for drinks, which was more effective than metal goblets. He was an arbiter of fashion and taste. Ziryab's influence is felt to this day, especially in music and food. Prior to his arrival in al-Andalus in 822, there had been no style in food presentation since the Roman Empire. Food was served plainly on platters on bare tables, much as remains the "traditional" style in the middle east to this day. Ziryab changed that. He brought with him many dishes from Baghdad, introduced fine tablecloths and glassware instead of metal goblets, and developed a new order of service for the table. This "more elegant, better-bred and modern style" became established in al-Andalus, thence spread across the Pyrenees to Europe, and became the standard service we still use today. Hence the banquet will be served according to the precepts of Ziryab, and so will differ from the "traditional" style of serving one associates with Islamic food.

Ardashir and the Kurds

One of the most interesting and important episodes of the Book of deeds of Ardashir son of Babak is his adventures with the Kurds (ca 220s AD).

Ardashir's mother, like Nizami Ganjavi's mother was of Kurdish descent. Ardawan, the last emperor of Parthians in a letter calls Ardashir ''a Kurd and raised by Kurds''.

With regards to Kurds, book of deeds of Ardashir elaborates Ardashir's attack on kingdom of Corduene, that is the northern Mesopotamia from lake Urmia to Euphrates; In this battle Madig king of Kurds, severely defeats Ardashir. Later Ardashir after having prepared a large army, rushes upon the Kurds and surprizes them with a night attack and finally defeates the Kurds after facing a severe resistance. Ardashir sends all the booty he collected from this battle to Pars.

On the road the army of Haftan-bokht, ''the king of the Kirm'' (i.e. Kirmanshah), struck against them, seized the entire wealth, property, and portable lodges from those cavalry soldiers of Ardashir, and carried them into Guzaran (modern Kuzaran, located to the west of city of Kermanshah and to the east of Sarpol Zahab), one of the boroughs of Gular (modern Kalar, to the north of Kuzaran), where Kirmanshah had its abode.

''Kirm'' is the old and middle Iranic for ''serpent''. The people of Kurdistan were known as people of serpent (by ethnic Hayqs of Armenia as ''Mar'', serpent, snake); Indeed, in Assyrian records the gate to the road to the Kimmerian was named ''Musasir'', which literally means ''Exit of Serpent''.

Ardashir then entertained this idea: "I shall go to Armenia (northeastern Anatolia, north of lake Van) and Ataropatgan (or Atropatene; east of lake Urmia), because Yazdan-kard (Domitianus) of Shaharzur (now Suleimania) has with many soldiers and heroes, passed beyond the frontiers of Shaharzur which at that time was part of the the kingdom of Garmian and its capital was at Kirkuk, concluded a treaty with the ruler of the land of shah of Kirm (or land of Kirmanshah), and become his ally." But as soon as Ardashir heard of the assault and victory of the sons of Haftan-bokht towards his (Ardashir's) army, he decided to firstly, put in order the affairs at Pars and become fearless of the enemies, and after that begin to meddle with other enemies."
It is mentioned also that the kingdom of Kirm was able to recruit significant numbers of troops from ''the land of Sind'', that is the area of Duhok and Zaxo.

Then Ardashir dispatched an innumerable army with chieftains to the battle of Kirmanshah. The army of Kirmanshah deposited their entire wealth, riches, property, and portable lodges in the citadel and fortress of Guzaran, and privately took refuge in mountain cavities. And the cavalry of Ardashir had no knowledge thereof, so they, on reaching the foot of the fortress of Gular, blockaded the citadel. When night fell, the army of Kirmanshah attacked them, committed bloodshed, killed many of Ardashir's troops, and seized from them horses, saddles, saddle-tackles, property, and portable lodges. With lamentation and dishonor, the troops returned to Ardashir in a disgraceful condition and unarmed...

Ardashir became much distressed, and consequently, invited to his capital all his troops from different cities and territories, and engaged himself with a large army to battle against Kirmanshah.

When he arrived at the fortress of Guzaran, the whole army of Kirmanshah had encamped itself inside the fortress, so he too encamped his army round the outer walls of the fortress.

The Shah of Kirm, Haftan-bokht, had seven sons, and each of them was appointed by him governor of a city with one thousand men under him. At this juncture, one of the sons, who was in Arvastan (Arabia; west of Euphrates), came by the passage of a sea, with a, large army composed of soldiers from Arabia and Mazenderan, and stood against Ardashir in battle.

The army of Kirmanshah, which had been inside the fortress, completely marched out, and vehemently struggled and fought with Ardashir's troops, many being killed on both sides. When the army of Kirmanshah came out of the fortress, it took such a by-road that it became impossible for any of Ardashir's troops to go out of the camp or to bring in any food for himself or fodder for his horses, and, consequently the satiety of all men and animals was changed into want of food and helplessness.

When Mitrok, son of Anoshepat, an inhabitant of Zarham in Pars, heard that Ardashir was without provision near the capital of land of Kirmanshahan , and obtained no victory over its army; he accoutered his troops and heroes, marched towards the residence of Ardashir, and carried away all the wealth and riches of Ardashir's treasure.

Ardashir, hearing of such violation on the part of Mitrok and other men of Pars, reflected upon it for a while thus: "I ought to postpone the battle with Kirmanshah, and then go to fight out a battle with Mitrok." He, therefore, summoned all his forces back to his quarters, deliberated with their commanders, first sought the means of delivering himself and his army.

That very moment a long arrow, dispatched from the fortress, came down and pierced, as far as its feathers, through the roasted lamb that was on the table.

On the arrow it was written as follows: "This arrow is darted by the troops of the lord of the glorious Dragon; we ought not to kill a great man like you, so we have struck that roasted lamb," Ardashir, having observed the state of things, disencamped his army and withdrew from the place.

The army of Kirmanshah hastened after Ardashir, and hemmed in his men again in such a manner that Ardashir's army could not proceed further. So Ardashir himself passed away singly by the sea-coast

Ardashir marched again towards Ardashir-Gadman, undertook the battle with Mitrôk, son of Anoshepat, killed Mitrok, and took possession of his territory, land, wealth and property.

Then Ardashir disguised himself as a merchant from Kkorasan and enetred the castle of Kirmanshah and poisoned him by a trick.

Ardashir commanded that the fortress should be razed to the ground and demolished, while on its site he ordered the city which they call Guzaran to be erected. In that quarter he caused an Atash-i Warharan to be enthroned. He loaded on the backs of one thousand camels the wealth, property, gold, and silver contained in the fortress, and dispatched them to Gobar. Then Ardashir installed a friendly and trusted vassal kingdom over the area of Kirmanshahan, which lasted from 226 to 380 AD. and is known as Kayusid or Kavusakan. A number of tombs cut into living rock in the mountains of the Kermanshah region is believed to date back from the House of Kayus. The most famous carvings in Kermanshah are at Taq Bustan believed to be the historic site of the dynasty.
The book of deeds of Ardashir further mentions his battle in Mokristan (Mokriyan, abode of Mokri Kurds, to the northeast of Garmiyan) and Barjan (abode of Barzan Kurds, between Garmiyan and Sind).

Although the topography of the story mentioned in the book of deeds of Ardashir precisely fits that of geography of Kurdistan, some biased western scholars tried in past to falsify this remarkable part of Kurdish history by linking it to the dry and uninhabitable deserts of eastern Iran, however it was protested by intelligent Kurdish intellectuals such as Mihrdad Izady who in his great and precious article ''QALEH-I YAZDIGIRD Cultural Treasure of the Kurdish Past'' (1993) clarifies the history of a mountain castle in Kirmanshahan to the ancient castle of king of Kirm in Guzaran.

(Image: Ardashir is believed to be standing here in this relief at Taq-e Bostan. On the left is an Iranic Izad (god), on the right is Kayus of Kirmanshah, and below him is Haftanbokht.)

It's ''Kurdistan''!

One is often disappointed when reading shameful hypocrisy of some the western media and TV channels when it comes to an issue related to Kurdistan; especcially to northern part of Kurdistan. Western media which claims to be free and unbiased, in reality is unfortunately heavily in collusion with the Turkish fascist state's propaganda machine in order to oppress not only the rightful voice of Kurdistani people but even the very reality of existence of Kurdistan. In short, one of the most disgusting points in literature of the western media is their insist on using the offensive term of ''southeastern Turkey'' for (northern) Kurdistan; i.e. eastern, southeastern and southern Anatolia.
As a Kurdistani I invite all the open-minded and free individuals to oppose this disgraceful censorship of the name of Kurdistan.