Wednesday, June 25, 2008

19th and 20th Century Historians (part III)

Igor Mikhailovich Diakonov (1914-1999)
Works: Istoriia Midii…, Moscow – Leningrad 1956

Diakonov defines the borders of Media limited to the Arax River and the Alborz mountain range in the north, the Kavir Desert (middle part of Iran) in the east and in the west and the south to the Zagross mountain range. Media consisted of two parts according to Diakonov: the Atropatenean Media from the Arax to Mount Alvand and the Greater Media between the two mentioned mountain ranges. Elsewhere it has been mentioned that Diakonov states that parts of Lesser Media known in the ancient times as Sangibutu used to be in Armenian kingdom of Van territory.

Diakonov confirms that after Cyrus conquered Media he did not abolish the Median kingdom, rather called himself the king of Media. He considers the Persian Achaemenid Empire the result of the mixing of Median and Persian tribes contrary to the absurd accusations of the Turks that the Persians invaded “Turkic” Media and massacred and subjugated them. He also demolishes the baseless claims of the Turks to the language of the Medes by declaring that the northwestern Median-Parthian and southwestern Old Persian shared the same root and were of Iranian origin.

Pulverizing yet another fictitious “Azeri” claim, the most preposterous of all, in appropriating the Iranian prophet Zoroaster, Diakonov excludes the possibility of Aghvank as the birthplace of Avesta because the languages of the region were not of Iranian origin. This leads us to another fundamental difference between the peoples of Atrpatakan and Aghvank, namely that of religion. Diakonov argues that Avesta could not have been written in any language other than of Iranian origin, because the names, expressions and philosophical concepts of Zoroastrianism were well known among Iranian ethnicities such as the Saka, Kharazmis, Sogdians, Bactrians and Persians whereas they were foreign to Elamite, Hurrians and Caucasian peoples.

He also believes that the Turanians were Aryan, they spoke languages belonging to the Iranian family, they were the same as the Saka (Scythians) and their land was Eastern Iran, that is, Central Asia.

As far as the desperate “Azeri” “academic” hallucinations to somehow find a Turkic origin in everything they want to lay their hands on Diakonov asserts: “We cannot assume that because certain words resemble others in different languages therefore they should also have the same meaning. This idea does not merit any credit”. ●

Nina Viktorovna Pigulevskaia (Pigulevskaya)
Works: Siriiskie istochniki VI v. o narodakh Kavkaza, V.D.I. N° 1, 1939
Siriiskie istochnik po istorii SSSR, Moscow – Leningrad 1941
Goroda Irana v rannem srednevekovie, Moscow – Leningrad 1956

The Soviet scholar Nina Pigulevskaia has researched the Assyrian sources for information concerning Aghvank. The sixth century AD author Zacharias Rhetor (Pseudo-Zacharius) mentions Armenia, Gurzan (Georgia) and Arran (Aghvank) and their peoples among the Christian countries of the Caucasus in his Ecclesiastic History - with translation of passages from Ptolemy.

A slightly different theory regarding the origin of the name of Atrpatakan is presented by Pigulevskaia which interestingly enough implies that the “pat” in Atrpatakan originally meant wall. This has been treated in the sections relevant to the origin and meaning of the term Azarbaijan. In the Assyrian chronicles of Karka Beit Sluk (Karkha Beit Slukh), present day Kirkuk, she finds information about Atrpatakan. The chronicles of the Median king Arbaces record that in the fifteenth year of the reign of [the Assyrian king] Sardon, the rebellion of Arbaces reached Hegmataneh. Arbaces built a huge wall (fortress) called Adurbad in Media. According to Pigulevskaia the name Adurbadegan/Adurbayegan (Atrpatakan) originated from Adurbad which was the title of Arbaces after who the region was named.

This does not change anything as far as the Iranian root of the meaning of the term, still, it enforces the theory that Atrpat/Atropat originally meant surrounded/protected by fire rather that protector of fire. The only divergence here is in the concept of the time of naming the region which according to Pigulevskaia goes back three or four centuries from the time of Alexander to the time of Sardon – Asarhaddon, according to Mösinger – in the seventh century BC.

According to Pigulevskaia the Median tribes who lived all over the Iranian plateau since ancient times were of Iranian origin and their language was a branch of Indo-European. After the advent of Alexander and the spreading of Hellenism, Pigulevskaia agrees that the Greek language did have some influence in the Parthian (Arsacid/ Ashkani) era but numerous manuscripts have survived in Pahlavi and Aramaic, among which the Avroman documents. She recognizes that by the time of the Sassanids, the Greek element had gradually disappeared.

Pigulevskaia confirms that the Sassanid king Shapur I did not annex the subject countries to Iran and called them Aniran. This is interesting in that the deep feelings of regret among Iranians for the “loss” of the so-called South Caucasus region to the Russians according to Golestan/Turkmenchai treaties is baseless, even more so when these countries are no more under Russian rule. ●


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