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Around 24th century BCE-late 2nd millennium BCEAround 24th century BCE-late 2nd millennium BCEAround 24th century BCE-late 2nd millennium BCE

Ancient World /
Also spelled: Khurrites

Hurrian language
Hurrian religion

Ongoing excavations at Urkesh.
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Ongoing excavations at Urkesh.

Seal of King Shaushatar of Mitanni
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Seal of King Shaushatar of Mitanni.

Tell Brak of Mitanni
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Aerial photo of Tell Brak of Mitanni.

Ancient people living in southeastern Asia Minor, northern neighbours of Mesopotamia. They emerged as a powerful people during the 2nd millennium, having great influence on Mesopotamian history.
The earliest sources tell that they were a people of the Zagros mountains, but must have during the 3rd millennium BCE moved westward, eventually making the Khabur river valley their heartland.
The most important Hurrian kingdom was Mitanni (ca. 1500-1360 BCE), parallel to Kizzuwatna.
From the middle of the 14th century, and the fall of Hurrian kingdoms, they became included into the Hittite Empire. They formed a great part of the population here, and had major influence on Hittite society, culture, and in particular, religion.
Eventually, the Hurrians were absorbed with other peoples, a great part among them became part of the Urartian population.
The Hurrian society was heavily feudalized. An important part of Hurrian economy was copper working, and also traded silver and tin from Hurrian lands in the northern highlands. The horse was an important animal.
The Hurrians had their own language, called Hurrian. Of their religion, little is known about its larger structures, but the main gods are well attested, often through Hittite finds.
The Hurrians are counted for producing the oldest known examples of written music, dating back to ca. 1800 BCE.
In the late 3rd millennium BCE, the only known Hurrian city is Urkesh. Over the following centuries other cities emerged lik Arrapha, Harran, Kahat, Nuzi, Taidu and Washukanni.

Late 3rd millennium BCE: Earliest mentioning of the Hurrians, from Mesopotamian records. Their homelands is stated to be east of the Tigris river, into the Zagros mountains.
Around 2250 BCE: The earliest known Hurrian kingdom at Urkesh.
Around 1500: Formation of Mitanni, that would become one of the greatest powers of northern Mesopotamia and Syria.
Around 1360: Civil war weakens Mitanni, leaving it too weak to defend against the Hittites, that takes their region.
13th century: The Khabur region becomes part of the Assyria Empire.
Last centuries of 2nd millennium: Hurrian identity and culture is gradually lost into that of other peoples.

By Tore Kjeilen