Noah’s grandson, Madai, son of Japheth [Gen 10:3] is commonly regarded as progenitor of the Median race. And while the median royal line of rule may extend back two thousand years before the time of Alexander (Berossus of Babylon fragments), for historic purposes the story of Media begins with Dejoces (Δηïóκης), the founder of the empire (Herodotus: “Hist.” i. 16 et seq.).
Media is the ancient name of a country located south and west of the Caspian Sea, associated with events in Jewish history (mentioned more than a dozen times in the Hebrew scriptures), embracing territory roughly corresponding to present Azerbaijan, southern borders of the Caspian, province of ‘Irak-‘Ajami (Persian Iraq, cf. Arab Iraq), and the districts of modern Persia which adjoin the mountains of Kurdistan and Luristan …
… The descendants of Madai (Madaeans) were known to the Assyrians as Amada, to the Greeks as Medai, and in Old Persian inscriptions referred to as the Mada. The earliest surviving reference to the Medes in secular documents appears in the inscriptions of Shalmaneser III king of Assyria from ca. 858-824 BC, in which he tells us that he invaded the land of the Medes to plunder them of their fine horses. Both Strabo and Herodotus confirm that the Medes were of Indo-European (Japhetic) origin and we know also that their language was of this group. After 631 BC, the Medes joined with the people of Askuza (Ashchenazim) and those of Gomer (Cimmerians) in an attempt to throw off the Assyrian yoke. —Bill Cooper
The Medes likely equate with the Kurds of today!
A Word on Darius the Mede
According to historians, Darius was likely a title, meaning “Holder of the Sceptre” such that the phrase, Darius the Mede, meant: “The Sceptre-holder [King] of the Medes“. According to Josephus, he was the son of Astyages who brought to an end (along with his relative, Cyrus, King of Persia) the Babylonian Empire. He is considered by many to be one and the same person named Gubaru, the man thought to have been the governor of Babylon during the rule of Cyrus of Persia.
[Ed: As luck would have it, there are two separate people named Gubaru (or at least one Gubaru and one Ugbaru) around this period. The former, more frequently referred to also as Ugbaru, is Cyrus’ general who conquered Babylon and served as its first Persian ruler (or perhaps co-ruled with Cyrus) and the latter Gubaru was a governor of Babylon who comes on the scene after Cambyses (the Persian king who followed directly on from Cyrus), by which time it is thought that the former Gubaru (i.e. the man most likely to be Darius the Mede) had already died.]
There remains conjecture about this identity, however (as the caption below suggests). Treating him as the King of the Medes based in Babylon, while Cyrus (of Persia) was his otherwise busy overseer, may be the best working hypothesis that marries with the biblical Book of Daniel. In such case, the first and only year of Darius’ reign coincides with the first year of the three-year reign of Cyrus.
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References and further reading:
- Mitochondrial DNA Haplogroup U7, Kurdish DNA
- Who were the Medes and Persians?, Egypt Search
- Jewish Encyclopedia
- Bill Cooper at lambert dolphin