The Medes were an ancient Indo-European people who spoke an Iranian language related to old Persian, but they left no written records of their own. They flourished from the eighth to the sixth centuries BCE. Under their king Cyaxares, the Medes joined forces with the Babylonians and destroyed the Assyrian Empire in 612 BCE. The Medes then established a large but short-lived empire of their own over areas that are now in western Iran and northern Iraq. Cyrus the Great defeated Astyages, the last Median king, in approximately 550 BCE and established the Persian Empire.
   Many Kurds claim that their nation descended from the Medes. The early-20th-century authority on the Kurds Vladimir Minorsky agreed with this assessment on the basis of historical and linguistic evidence he had gathered. However, D.N. MacKenzie, a later authority on Kurdish languages, challenged this genealogy by showing that the Medes spoke a northwestern Iranian language, while the Kurds speak a southwestern one. Nevertheless, the Medes probably do constitute an important element from which the contemporary Kurds derive.

Historical Dictionary of the Kurds. .

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  • Medes —    The inhabitants of Media, in the western part of Iran, who played a key role in Mes opotamian history in the first millennium B.C. The Medes, who spoke an Indo European language, began as a group of loosely organized but culturally related… …   Ancient Mesopotamia dictioary

  • MEDES —    The Medes were a people of Indo European origin who migrated into Iran toward the end of the second millennium B.C. By the eighth century, they had consolidated themselves into a kingdom, known as Media, with the capital Ecbatana (modern… …   Historical Dictionary of Mesopotamia

  • Medes — A people who rose to power in the Near East, and captured Nineveh in 612 BCE, but were conquered by Cyrus and became part of the Persian Empire in 549 BCE. During the Exile they were expected by Jeremiah (51:11) to be God s instrument for… …   Dictionary of the Bible

  • Medes — see Nebuchadrezzar II, Necho II, Psammetichus I. Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Egypt by Rosalie and Antony E. David …   Ancient Egypt

  • Medes — n. member of a people who lived in ancient Media; native or resident of Media …   English contemporary dictionary

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