Text:    Givi Koberidze
Maps: Andrew Andersen, George Partskhaladze

           Putzgers, F.W., Historische Schul-Atlas, Leipzig / 1929








Diauehi (Diauhi or Diaokhi; “the Land of the Sons of Diau”) was an ancient country in northeastern Anatolia, mentioned in the Urartian inscriptions[1]. It is usually (though not always) identified with Daiaeni of the Yonjalu inscription of the Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser I’s third year (1118 BC).


Although the exact geographic extent of Diauehi is still unclear, many scholars place it in the Pasinler Plain in today’s northeastern Turkey, while others locate it in the Turkish-Georgian marchlands as it follows the Kura River. Most probably, the core of may have extended from the headwaters of the Euphrates into the river valleys of Çoruh to Oltu. The Urartian sources speak of Diauehi’s three key cities – Zua, Utu and Sasilu; Zua is frequently identified with Zivin Kale and Ultu is probably modern Oltu, while Sasilu is sometimes linked to the early medieval Georgian toponym Sasire, near Tortomi (present-day Tortum, Turkey).





To see the possible area of the Diauehi lands click on the mini-map for a high resolution image




To see the ethnic makeup of ancient East Mediterranean area click on the mini-map for a high resolution image




Several modern scholars believe Diauehi may have emerged as a tribal union of possible proto-Georgians in the post-Hittite period, in about the 12th century BC. This federation was powerful enough to counter the Assyrian forays, although in 1112 BC its king Sien was defeated and taken prisoner by Tiglath-Pileser I.


In 845 BC, Shalmaneser III finally subdued Diauehi and downgraded its king Asia to a client ruler. In the early 8th century, Diauehi became the target of the newly emerged regional power of Urartu. Both Menuas (810-785 BC) and Argishtis I (785-763 BC) campaigned against the Diauehi king Utupurshi, annexing his southernmost possessions and forcing him to pay tribute. Extremely declined in these wars, Diauehi was finally destroyed by the blow from the Qulha (Colchis) tribes in the west. It seems to have happened in the 760s BC, when the last recorded account about Diauehi dates from. However, its name may have survived as Taochi (Taochoi) of the Greeks, Tao of the Georgians and Tayk of the Armenians.



Further Reading:


Ronald Grigor Suny, The Making of the Georgian Nation: 2nd edition (1994), Indiana University Press, ISBN 0-253-20915-3, page 45


W.E.D. Allen, A History of the Georgian People (1932), London, Routledge, pages 57, 80-90







[1] A. G. Sagona. Archaeology at the North-East Anatolian Frontier, Vol. 1. An Historical Geography and a Survey of the Bayburt Province, Peeters Press, Louvain: xxiv + pp. 600, (2004). ISBN 90-429 1390-8 p. 30.