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The Cyrtians or Kyrtians (gr. Κύρτιοι Kýrtioi, lat. Cyrtii) were an ancient Median tribe in historic Persia near Mount Zagros[1] and are the ancestors of Kurds.[2][3]

According to Rüdiger Schmitt,[4] a tribe dwelling mainly in the mountains of Atropatenian Media (Northern Zagros Mountains) together with the Cadusii, Amardi (or “Mardi”), Tapyri, and others (Strabo 11.13.3). Strabo characterized the Cyrtians living in Persia as migrants and predatory brigands.

In the Hellenistic period, they seem to have been in demand as slingers, for they fought as such for the Median satrap Molon in his revolt against King Antiochus III in 220 BC.[4]

The Cyrtians were not connected to the Carduchi, Cordyaei, Gordyaei, and the like, who lived farther west.[4]

In popular culture[edit]

In the computer game Rome: Total Realism there are several Cyrtian unit types: Cyrtian slingers, Cyrtian swordsmen etc.[citation needed]


  1. ^ G. Asatrian, Prolegomena to the Study of the Kurds, Iran and the Caucasus, Vol.13, pp. 1–58, 2009: "Evidently, the most reasonable explanation of this ethnonym must be sought for in its possible connections with the Cyrtii (Cyrtaei) of the Classical authors."
  2. ^ "Encyclopædia Iranica | Articles". 2011-04-29. Archived from the original on 2011-04-29. Retrieved 2017-05-19.
  3. ^ (Berlin), Brentjes, Burchard. "Kyrtioi".
  4. ^ a b c Schmitt, Rüdiger. "CYRTIANS". Center for Iranian Studies, Encyclopædia Iranica. New York: Columbia University. Archived from the original on April 29, 2011. Retrieved 2009-05-09.