Khaldi

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For the Urartian god of this name, see Khaldi (god)

The Khaldi (and the related Khalib/Chalybes) are considered to have been one of the oldest Ibero-Caucasian (possibly West Kartvelian) tribes (4th-2nd millennium BC), the oldest indigenous population of the south-eastern shore of the Black Sea (now part of Turkey). The modern name of the South Caucasian ethnic group inhabiting this area is Laz (or "Chani" in Georgian). They may also have been related in language and proximity to the Hattians, an ancient people of Asia Minor, whose Hattic language is now believed by some to have been related to the Northwest Caucasian language group. Another ancient ethnic group possibly associated with the Khaldi is the Kardu. (The Khaldi discussed here bear no relation to Babylon's Chaldea.)

The Khaldi, with their neighboring tribes Khalib/Chalybes, Mossynoikoi, and Tubal/Tabal/Tibarenoi, were one of the inventors of iron making.

The main sources for the history of the Khaldi are: well-known works by Homer, Strabo, and Xenophon, the old Georgian chronicles of "Kartlis Tskhovreba" ("History of Georgia"), an old Armenian geographical work from the 8th century AD, etc.

Homer knew about the existence of Aea-Colchis and of Colchian (i.e. West Kartvelian) tribes. In the Iliad (II, 856), the Halyzoni, a Pelasgo-Colchian tribe, are mentioned for the first time: "Odius and Epistrophus were captains over the Halizoni from distant Alybe, where there are mines of silver".

Strabo identifies the Halyzoni with the tribe of the Chalybes.

As late as in Roman times, the Chaldaei (i.e. Khaldi) are mentioned as a tribe immediately neighboring the Chalybes in Pontic Cappadocia, or the Pontus Cappadocicus section of the Roman province of Pontus.

Literature

  • Giorgi Melikishvili. "For the History of ancient Georgia" (a monograph), Tbilisi, 1959, 507 pp (in Russian)
  • Giorgi Kvirkvelia. "Foreign scientists about metallurgy of the ancient Georgian tribes" (a monograph), Tbilisi, 1976, 90 pp (in Georgian, Russian summary)
  • Akaki Urushadze. "The Country of the Enchantress Medea", Tbilisi, 1984, 25 pp (in Russian and English)
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