The wild tribes who occupied the high mountainous tract, which lies between the great Upland or Plateau of Persia, and the low-lying plains of Mesopotamia, went in antiquity under the different names of Καρδοῦχυι, Γορδυαῖοι
(Strab. xvi. p.747
from a Persian word, signifying manliness (Strab. xv. p.734
(Strab. xi. p.523
), Carduchi, and Cordueni (Plin. Nat. 6.15
). They are now the Kúrds
inhabiting the district of Kúrdistan,
who are proved by their peculiar idiom to be a branch of the Arian race. (Prichard, Nat. Hist. of Man,
These barbarous and warlike tribes owed no allegiance to the Great King, though he possessed some control over the cities in the plains. They were separated from Armenia by the Centrites (Buhtan-Chai
), an eastern affluent of the Tigris, which constitutes in the present day a natural barrier between Kúrdistan
and Armenia. (Grote, Hist. of Greece,
vol. ix. p. 1.57.) Xenophon in his retreat performed a seven days' march through the mountains of the Carduchians under circumstances of the utmost danger, suffering, and hardship. (Anab.
4.1--3; Diod. 14.27
.) They dwelt in open villages, situated in the valleys, and enjoyed an abundant supply of corn and wine. Every attempt to subdue them had proved fruitless, and they had even annihilated mighty armies of invaders.
The neighboring satraps could only secure a free intercourse with them by means of previous treaties. Their bowmen, whose arrow resembles that of the Kúrd
of the present day (comp. Chesney, Exped. Euphrat.
vol. i. p. 125), exhibited consummate skill; and the sufferings of the Greeks were far more intolerable than anything they had experienced from Tissaphernes and the Persians. For a description of the country occupied by these nomad tribes, and their further history, see CORDUENE.