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Bartatua (Akkadian: mBar-ta-tu-a[1] or Par-ta-tu-a,[2] Old Persian: *Pṛθ-tavā or *Pṛθ-tuvā,[3] Ancient Greek: Προτοθύης Protothýēs[2]) was a Scythian king.[4]

Kashtariti, a Median chieftain, planned an incursion into Assyrian territory. His allies included the Cimmerians and the Mannaeans. Scythian king Ishpaka allied himself with the Medians in ca. 678 BCE.[5] In the meantime, Ishpakai died in battle against Assyrian king Esarhaddon in ca. 675 BCE,[6] and was succeeded by Bartatua. Kashtariti's alliance crumbled shortly thereafter, and the Assyrians thwarted Kashtariti's forces. In an effort to forge peace with the Assyrians, he married a daughter of Assyrian king Esarhaddon in 674[7] or 676 BCE.[8] As a consequence, Bartatua would have had to serve as a vassal to Assyria.[9] Ultimately, although no concrete evidence for the marriage exists, it is implied by the alliance formed between Assyria and Scythia.[10]

The Scythians, aiding the Assyrians, subjugated Media between 653 and 652 BCE. As a reward for their help, the Assyrians left control of Media to the Scythians.[11] The Scythians maintained rule over Media until 625 BCE with the rise of Cyaxares as king of Media.[12]

Bartatua died in ca. 645 BCE, succeeded by his son, Madys.[13]


  1. ^ Schmitt: "[...] the otherwise unattested name without any doubt is of Iranian origin (see below) and must be equated with Assyr. Bartatua (written mBar-ta-tu-a) [...]"
  2. ^ a b Tsetskhladze 1999, pp. 508–509: "Though Madyes himself is not mentioned in Akkadian texts, his father, the Scythian king Par-ta-tu-a, whose identification with Προτοθύης of Herodotus is certain, is.
  3. ^ Schmitt: "Most plausibly one has to start from OIran. *pṛθu-tavah- (nom. *-tavā) “with far-reaching strength” or *pṛθu-tuvant- (nom. *-tuvā) “widely powerful” (cf. Av. pərəθu- “wide, broad” and -tauuah- “strength, power” or part. tuuaṇt- “able, capable,” respectively)."
  4. ^ Grousset, Rene (1970). The Empire of the Steppes. Rutgers University Press. pp. 8–9. ISBN 0-8135-1304-9. 
  5. ^ Hinds 2010, p. 15: "Assyrian records referred to the Scythians as the Ishkuza or Ashkuzai, mentioning them for the first time in the late seventh-century BCE. Led by a chief named Ishpakai, around 678 they allied with the Medes (from Media, a kingdom in what is now northern Iran) and waged war against the Assyrians"
  6. ^ Delaunay 1987: "About 675 the Scythian chief Išpakaia (cf. Greek Aspakos) was defeated and killed and his followers confined to the land south of Lake Van.
  7. ^ Hinds 2010: "around 674 BCE Scythian king Bartatua marries Assyrian princess"
  8. ^ Boardman 1991, p. 565: "The presumed marriage of Bartatua into the Assyrian royal family, probably in 676, and his consequent legal submission to Esarhaddon were undoubtedly important events in the history of north-west Iran."
  9. ^ Boardman 1991, p. 565: "From the legal point of view the queries imply that Bartatua, in marrying Esarhaddon's daughter, had to take an oath of allegiance and thus legally become an Assyrian vassal, and to hold the countries ruled by himself as a fief."
  10. ^ Boardman 1991, p. 565: "History does not explicitly tell us whether Bartatua actually married the Assyrian royal princess, but this seems to ensue from the firm Assyro-Scythian alliance and the loyal support of Assyria by the Scythians nearly to the end of that kingdom."
  11. ^ Boardman 1991, p. 565: "The agreement seems to have worked; for in 653–652 the Assyrians defeated Media and left the country to be ruled by the Scythians who had aided them."
  12. ^ Boardman 1991, p. 566: "Media submitted in 652 and freed itself soon after 625 when Cyaxares II ascended the Median throne."
  13. ^ Boardman 1991, p. 565: "Bartatua died probably in 645, and he was succeeded by a son Madyes, supposedly by the Assyrian royal princess."


Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of the Scythians
ca. 675 BCE – ca. 645 BCE
Succeeded by