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Madig was an Iranian king who ruled in present-day northern Iraq. He is mentioned in a historical text called the Book of the Deeds of Ardashir son of Babak [1] (Chapter 5).


According to the Book of the Deeds of Ardashir son of Babak, Ardashir I, after having defeated the Parthian Artabanus V, began subduing the vassal-states of the fallen Parthian Empire. With reinforcements from Zavul, he invaded the domains of Madig, but was repelled by the latter. However, Ardashir later returned with an army of 4,000 men, and defeated Madig in a night attack. The Book says the following thing:

He [Ardashir] killed one thousand of the Kurds, (while) others were wounded and taken prisoners; and out of the Kurds (that were imprisoned) he sent to Pars their king with his sons, brothers, children, his abundant wealth and property.[1]

It must be noted though that the usage of the term Kurd during this time period most likely was a social term, designating Iranian nomads, rather than a concrete ethnic group.[2][3]


  1. ^ Kârnâmag î Ardashîr î Babagân. Trans. D. D. P. Sanjana. 1896
  2. ^ J. Limbert. (1968). The Origins and Appearance of the Kurds in Pre-Islamic Iran. Iranian Studies, 1.2: pp. 41-51.
  3. ^ G. Asatrian. (2009). Prolegemona to the Study of Kurds. Iran and the Caucasus, 13.1: pp. 1-58.