The history of Kalam, taken to begin with the prehistoric Báharra and Gúza periods, spans from the 5th millennium BCE to the present day. Kalam was home to some of Gaea’s oldest major civilisations, entering history from the Early Bronze Age. Telmaren has been identified as the probable site of Dalhamun, a land mentioned by several ancient civilisations as a trade partner, source of raw material, copper, and entrepot of the Meduberian, West Ehrlichean and Kurosean Sea trade routes. The rise of the first cities in Kalam dates to the Chalcolithic (Gúza period), from ca. 5300 BCE; its regional independence ended with the Teispean conquest in 417 BCE. Kalam was variously under Atridic, Teispean, Borjigid, and Edernic rule, until gaining independence from Imperial Treatise in 1961 as Ušú-kalam.
The Fertile Arc was inhabited with several distinct, flourishing cultures between the end of the last ice age (c. 10,000 BCE) and the beginning of history. One of the oldest known Neolithic sites in Kalam is Labiru, settled around 7000 BCE and broadly contemporary with Yériho (in the Coudeterre) and Kibirdu (in Brygia). It, as well as other early Neolithic sites, such as Alaliga and Halaf, were in northern Kalam; later settlements in southern Kalam and Telmaren required complicated irrigation methods. The first of these was U-Zalla, settled during the Báharra period by farmers who brought with them the Alaliga culture from the north. This was followed by the Gúza period and the emergence of the Kalamites.
The Báharra period (ca. 5600 to 3900 BCE) represents the earliest settlement on the alluvial plain of southern Kalam. The Báharra culture had a long duration, beginning before 5600 BCE and lasting until the beginning of the Gúza period, c. 3900 BCE. The adoption of the wheel and the beginning of the Chalcolithic period fall into the Báharra period. The Báharra period is divided into three principal phases:
- Báharra I, (5600–4800 BCE), sometimes called Ensù, a phase limited to the south of Kalam, on the shores of Anbar. This phase, showing clear connection to the Alaliga culture to the north, saw the establishment of the first permanent settlements in Telmaren. These people pioneered the growing of grains in the extreme conditions of aridity, thanks to the high water tables of Telmaren.
- Báharra II (4900–4400 BCE), sometimes called Agar after the type site of the same name, saw the development of extensive canal networks from major settlements. Irrigation agriculture, which seems to have developed first at Idadu (4700–4600 BCE) and rapidly spread elsewhere, from the first required collective effort and centralised coordination of labour.
- Báharra III/IV (4400–3900 BCE), sometimes called Báharra A and Báharra B, saw a period of intense and rapid urbanisation with the Báharra culture spreading into northern Kalam. Báharra artifacts also spread along the Kurosean littoral, showing the growth of a trading system that stretched from the Meduberian coast through the Dalhamun civilisation based in Telmaren to Aryavrat.
The archaeological record shows that the Báharra period came to an abrupt end in Telmaren at 4100 BCE. At this time, increased aridity led to an end in semi-desert nomadism, and there is no evidence of human presence in the area for approximately 1000 years – the so-called "Dark Millennium".
The Gúza period (ca. 4200 to 3100 BCE) existed from the protohistoric Chalcolithic to Early Bronze Age period in the history of Kalam, following the Báharra period. Named after the Zal-kalamic city of Gúza, this period saw the emergence of urban life in Kalam. These early city-states had strong signs of government organisation, evident even in items such as cheap, mass-produced bevelled rim bowls which were made to be discarded. These bowls may have been handed out at community outings, such as large-scale constructions. The cities grew to cover up to 250 acres (1 km²) and housed up to 10,000–20,000 people by the end of the period. The late Gúza period (34th to 32nd centuries BCE) saw the gradual emergence of the cuneiform script and corresponds to the Early Bronze Age.
The Zal-kalamites were firmly established in Kalam by the middle of the 4th millennium BCE, in the archaeological Gúza period, although scholars dispute when they arrived. It is hard to tell where the Zal-kalamites might have come from because their Kalamic language is a language isolate, unrelated to any other known language. Their mythology includes many references to the area of Kalam but little clue regarding their place of origin, perhaps indicating that they had been there for a long time. The Kalamite language is identifiable from its initially logographic script which arose last half of the 4th millennium BCE.
By the 3rd millennium BCE, these urban centres had developed into increasingly complex societies. Irrigation and other means of exploiting food sources were being used to amass large surpluses. Huge building projects were being undertaken by rulers, and political organisation was becoming ever more sophisticated. Throughout the millennium, the various city-states Tesh, Gúza, Abkarra and Sársha vied for power and gained hegemony at various times. Kúsh and Girza were important religious centres, as was U-Zallu at this point. This was also the time of Ashengamesh, a semi-historical king of Sársha, and the subject of the famous eponymous Epic. By 2800 BCE, the initially logographic Kalamic script had developed into a decipherable cuneiform syllabic script. The chronology of this era is particularly uncertain, as it was early in the history of writing. Also, the multitude of city-states made for a confusing situation, as each had its own history. The Kalamic king list is one record of the political history of the period. It starts with mythological figures with improbably long reigns, but later rulers have been authenticated with archaeological evidence. The first of these is Eshbarenanna of Tesh, ca. 2700 BCE, said by the king list to have subjected neighbouring Kúrnim. However, one complication of the Kalamic king list is that although dynasties are listed in sequential order, some of them actually ruled at the same time over different areas. Sha’annatum of Gúza conquered all of Kalam, Armelim, and Diálah, followed by Sarngirshengar of Shen creating the first, if short-lived empire. Some time later Meshen-Nameshda of Bàdàra also conquered Kalam, but soon after his death, the cities rebelled and the empire again fell apart. The last native Kalamite to rule over most of Kalam before Bárazi of Armelim established Caanitic supremacy was Meshenlushar.
Dalhamun is mentioned by Kalamic civilizations as a trade partner, source of raw material, copper, and entrepot of the Meduberian, West Ehrlichean and Kurosean Sea trade routes. Although the exact location of Dalhamun is unclear, it might be associated with the island of Telmaren, the eastern provinces of Dumatalbadr, and nearby Tahrisian coast in the Gulf of Elam. Dalhamun first appears in Kalamic cuneiform clay tablets dated to the end of the fourth millennium BC, found in the temple of the goddess Gianna, in the city of Gúza. There is both literary and archaeological evidence of trade between ancient Kalam and the Meluhhan civilisation in present day Aryavrat. The importance of this trade is shown by the fact that the weights and measures used at Dalhamun were identical to those used by Meluhha, and were not those used in northern Kalam. Literary references to Meluhhan trade date from Armelim, the Third Dynasty of Sársha , and Eshea-Anzakar Periods (c. 2200–1600 BC), but the trade probably started in the Early Dynastic Period (c. 2600 BC). Some Meluhhan vessels may have sailed directly to Kalamic ports, but by the Eshea-Anzakar Period, Dalhamun monopolised the trade.
Ca. 2190 BCE, Bárazi became ruler of Armelim, in northern Kalam. He proceeded to conquer an area stretching from the Tahris Narrows to Verkana, including all of Kalam, Kúrnim, Ururí, and Nábar, and the entire area was united under centralized rule. The dynasty continued until around ca. 2010, and reached its zenith under Sharamishtu, who began the trend for rulers to claim divinity for themselves. The Armelim Empire lost power after the reign of Sharamishtu, and eventually was invaded by the Gánerim from the Giszu-Kur Mountains. For a century the Gánerim controlled Kalam, especially the north, but they left few inscriptions, so they are not well understood. The Gánerim had less of a hold on southern Kalam, where the Fourth Dynasty of Tesh came into prominence. Its most famous ruler was Turgunun, who left many statues of himself in temples across southern Kalam and Telmaren.
Third dynasty of Sársha EditEventually the Gánerim were overthrown by Ubaramenuma of Gúza, and the various city-states again vied for power. Power over the area finally went to the city-state of Sársha, when Sha-Tarazi founded the Third Dynasty of Sársha and conquered Kalam. His son Sharmengasher may have devised the Code of Tarazi, one of the earliest known law codes (three centuries before the more famous Code of Enmebaraki).
By ca. 1850 BCE, the power of Sársha waned, and the Aravites, Caanitic nomads from the desert west of Kalam, came to occupy much of the area, although it was Kalam’s long-standing rivals to the east, the Kúrnimites, who finally overthrew Sársha . This marked the end of city-states ruling empires in Kalam, and the end of Kalamite dominance, but the succeeding rulers adopted much of Kalamic civilisation as their own.
The next two centuries or so were dominated by the Aravite cities of Eshea and Anzakar in the south of Kalam, as the two cities vied for dominance. This period also marked a growth in power in the north of Kalam. Up until this point, the north had little or no writing and few big cities, but in this period, the cities of Issush and Gamaddir became important and participated in wars and diplomacy with the south.
Old Darisheian EmpireEdit
In the end, a city and dynasty that seemed minor during the wars of Eshea and Anzakar came to power when Enmebaraki (reigned 1657–1644 BCE), the Aravite ruler of Darishay, conquered Kalam. He is famous for his law code and conquests, but he is also famous due to the large amount of records that exist from the period of his reign. After the death of Enmebaraki, the Darisheian dynasty lasted for another century, but many of the lands conquered by Enmebaraki became independent and Kalam was again a patchwork of competing principalities. The dynasty ended in 1523 BCE, when Darisheia fell to the Labarites.
Although the Labarites overthrew Darishay, another people, the Agumites, took it as their capital. They have the distinction of being the longest lasting dynasty in Darishay, reigning for over four centuries. They left few records, so this period is unfortunately obscure. They are of unknown origin; what little we have of their language suggests it is a language isolate. Although the Kalamic region maintained its independence through this period, it was not a power in the Near East, and mostly sat out the large wars fought over the Coudeterre between Massur, the Labarite Empire, and Naharin, as well as independent peoples in the region. Issushan participated in these wars toward the end of the period, but the Agumites in Darishay did not. They did, however, fight against their longstanding rival to the east, Kúrnim. In the end, the Kúrnimites conquered Darishay, bringing this period to an end.
The Naharans were a people who settled in northern Kalam and South-East Kamyaran circa 1400 BCE, and by circa 1350 BCE established a medium-sized empire called Naharin, and temporarily made tributary vassals out of kings in the west, making them a major threat for the Massurians. The Naharan language is related to the later Qashtani, but there is no conclusive evidence these two languages are related to any others.
By 1150 BCE the Naharans had been reduced to their homeland and the status of vassal to the "Labru", or Labarites, a western Indo-Uberean people who dominated most of the Gulf of Elam at this time from their capital of Labaru.
Bronze Age CollapseEdit
Records from the 11th and 10th centuries BCE are sparse, but Issushan and Darishay remained important. The 9th century is even worse, with very few inscriptions. Kalam was not alone in this obscurity: the Labarite Empire fell at the beginning of this period and the Massurians left few records. This was a time of invasion by many new people throughout the Near East.
more to come...