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Mitanni (/mɪˈtæni/; Hittite cuneiform KUR URUMi-ta-an-ni; Mittani Mi-it-ta-ni), also called Hanigalbat (Hanigalbat, Khanigalbat) in Assyrian or Naharin in Egyptian texts, was a Hurrian-speaking state in northern Syria and Southeast Anatolia from c. 1500 to 1300 BCE. Mitanni came to be a regional power after the Hittite destruction of Amorite, Babylon and a series of ineffectual Assyrian kings created a power vacuum in Mesopotamia.


  • Our dating of the Indo-Aryan element in the Mitanni texts is based purely and simply on written documents offering datable contexts. While we cannot with certainty push these dates prior to the fifteenth century BC. It should not be forgotten that the Indic elements seem to be little more than the residue of a dead language in Hurrian, and that the symbiosis that produced the Mitanni may have taken place centuries earlier.
    • J.P. Mallory, quoted in TALAGERI, Shrikant G. 2001. Michael Witzel – An Examination of his Review of my Book.
  • "There is not a single cultural element of Central Asian, Eastern European or Caucasian origin in the archaeological culture of the Mittanian area [….] But there is one element novel to Iraq in Mittanian culture and art, which is later on observed in Iranian culture until the Islamisation of Iran: the peacock, one of the two elements of the 'Senmurv', the lion-peacock of the Sassanian art. The first clear pictures showing peacocks in religious context in Mesopotamia are the Nuzi cylinder seals of Mittanian time. There are two types of peacocks: the griffin with a peacock head and the peacock dancer, masked and standing beside the holy tree of life. The veneration of the peacock could not have been brought by the Mittanians from Central Asia or South-Eastern Europe; they must have taken it from the East, as peacocks are the type-bird of India and peacock dancers are still to be seen all over India. The earliest examples are known from the Harappan culture, from Mohenjo-daro and Harappa: two birds sitting on either side of the first tree of life are painted on ceramics. [….] The religious role of the peacock in India and the Indian-influenced Buddhist art in China and Japan need not be questioned" .... "The peacock was therefore subordinated to Indra and connected with the thunderbolt, so that in some Buddhist images Indra is sitting on a peacock throne. It is even possible to trace the peacock as the 'animal of the battle' in Elam till the late 3rd millennium B.C - if it is possible to identify two figured poles from Susa with 'peacock' symbols" ... "Yet the development of the Andronovo culture did not start before 1650-1600 B.C. So that we are forced to accept that the Indo-Aryans in what is now Iran, especially Eastern Iran before 1600 B.C., were under the Indian influence for such a long period that they could have taken over the peacock veneration. In that case, they could not be part of the Andronovo culture, but should have come to Iran centuries before"
    • Burchard Brentjes 1981, (BRENTJES 1981:145-47). BRENTJES 1981: The Mittanians and the Peacock. Brentjes, Burchard, in "Ethnic Problem of the History of Central Asia in the Early Period", ed. M.S.Asimov, B.A.Litvinsky, L.I.Miroshnikov, D.S.Rayevsky, Nauka, Moscow, 1981. Quoted in [1]
  • If the forefathers of the Vedic Aryans were still in Cappadocia in the 14th century BC on their march towards India, there would be no time left for them to forget all their previous history before giving the final form to the Rigvedic hymns not later than 1000 BC.
    • B. Ghosh, in : The History and Culture of the Indian People, Vol. I: The Vedic Age edited by R.C. Majumdar, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Publications, Mumbai, 6th edition 1996. , quoted in S. Talageri, The Aryan Invasion Theory and Indian Nationalism (1993)
  • These [Mitanni] numerals and divine and personal names are the oldest actual specimens of any Aryan speech which we possess. The forms deserve special attention. They are already quite distinctly Satem forms ; in fact, they are very nearly pure Indic. Certainly they are much more nearly akin to Sanskrit than to any of the Iranian dialects that later constituted the western wing of the Indo-Iranian family. Thus among the deities Nasatya is the Sanskrit form as opposed to the Zend Naonhaitya and all the four gods are prominent in the oldest Veda, while in the Iranian Avesta they have been degraded to secondary rank (Mithra), converted into demons (Indra) or renamed (Varuna =Ahura Mazda). The numerals are distinctively Indic not Iranian ; aika is identical with the Sanskrit eka while ' one ’ in Zend is aeva. So the s is preserved in Satta where it becomes h in Iranian (hapta) and the exact form is found, not indeed in Sanskrit, but in the Prakrits which were supposed to be post-Vedic. Even the personal names look Indic rather than Iranian. Thus Biridaswa has been plausibly compared with the Sanskrit Brhadasva (owning a great horse). If this be right the second element, asva, horse, is in contrast to the Iranian form aspa seen in Old Persian and Zend. ... Finally we know that there existed among the Mitanni at this time a class of warriors styled maryanni which has suggested comparison with the Sanskrit marya young men, heroes.
    • Childe, The Aryans. quoted in S. Talageri, The Aryan Invasion Theory and Indian Nationalism (1993)

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