KASSITES, an Elamite tribe who played an important part in the history of Babylonia. They still inhabited the north-western mountains of Elam, immediately south of Holwan, when Sennacherib attacked them in 702 B.C. They are the Kossaeans of Ptolemy, who divides Susiana between them and the Elymaeans; according to Strabo (xi. 13, 3, 6) they were the neighbours of the Medes. Th. Nöldeke (Gött. G. G., 1874, pp. 173 seq.) has shown that they are the Kissians of the older Greek authors who are identified with the Susians by Aeschylus (Choeph. 424, Pers. 17, 120) and Herodotus (v. 49, 52). We already hear of them as attacking Babylonia in the 9th year of Samsu-iluna the son of Khammurabi, and about 1780 B.C. they overran Babylonia and founded a dynasty there which lasted for 576 years and nine months. In the course of centuries, however, they were absorbed into the Babylonian population; the kings adopted Semitic names and married into the royal family of Assyria. Like the other languages of the non-Semitic tribes of Elam that of the Kassites was agglutinative; a vocabulary of it has been handed down in a cuneiform tablet, as well as a list of Kassite names with their Semitic equivalents. It has no connexion with Indo-European, as has erroneously been supposed. Some of the Kassite deities were introduced into the Babylonian pantheon, and the Kassite tribe of Khabirā seems to have settled in the Babylonian plain.
See Fr. Delitzsch, Die Sprache der Kossäer (1884). (A. H. S.)