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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).


Although he is called an “Kurd” in the book, the word was used as a social term during this period, designating Iranian nomads, rather than a concrete ethnic group.[1][2] According to James Boris, the word first became an ethnic identity in the 12th and 13th century.[3]


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:


  1. ^ J. Limbert. (1968). The Origins and Appearance of the Kurds in Pre-Islamic Iran. Iranian Studies, 1.2: pp. 41-51.
  2. ^ G. Asatrian. (2009). Prolegemona to the Study of Kurds. Iran and the Caucasus, 13.1: pp. 1-58.
  3. ^ James, Boris. (2006). Uses and Values of the Term Kurd in Arabic Medieval Literary Sources. Seminar at the American University of Beirut, pp. 6-7.
  4. ^ Kârnâmag î Ardashîr î Babagân. Trans. D. D. P. Sanjana. 1896