The logo of the Melammu Project

The Melammu Project

The Heritage of Mesopotamia and the Ancient Near East

  The Melammu Project
   General description
   Search string
   Browse by topic
   Search keyword
   Submit entry
   Open search
   Thematic search
   Digital Library
   Submit item
   Ancient texts
   Submit link
  Contact us

  The Newsletter
  To Project Information >


King of kings in Media and Urartu (1)

Printable view
Topics (move over topic to see place in topic list)

01 Religious and ideological doctrines and imagery

Persian language
Neo-Assyrian Empire
Iranian culture

The title ‘king of kings’ was occasionally used in Mesopotamia under the Babylonian or Assyrian kings. An active use of the title also appears among other titles of protocol in Urartu where the ruler is sometimes called ‘king of kings’ in Assyrian (šar šarrāni) or in Urartian inscriptions. The details of the political organization of the Medes are unknown, but it is possible that this title was used in Media as well and accordingly much of the protocol and symbolism of rule was borrowed by the Medes from Urartu or directly from Mesopotamia. The title ‘king of kings’ occurs also in Old Persian. It is probable that the Achaemenids took the title from the Medes, for the Old Persian form xšāyathiya xšāyathiyānam is Median in form.


Frye 1964, 36-37Frye, R. N. “The Charisma of Kingship in Ancient Iran.” Iranica Antiqua 6 (1964) 36-54.
Frye 1972, 85Frye, R. N. “The Institutions.” In: Gerold Walser (ed.). Beiträge zur Achämenidengeschichte. Historia Einzelschriften 18. Wiesbaden: Steiner 1972, 1972.

Andrea Piras

URL for this entry:

No pictures