Sunday, June 01, 2008

Everything’s in a Name

Everything’s in a Name

Doubtless, the criminal bestowing of the name of the northwest province of Iran on a region that goes far beyond the geographic bounds of Aghvank (Aran), usurping a substantial area from historic Armenia - the provinces of Utik and Pytakaran, later the illegitimate annexation of Artsakh and Nakhijevan - where different ethnicities lived and where the intruding Turkic element carried on according to a primitive tribal system, was a fraudulently motivated act.

Interestingly, while the “Azeris” undeservedly call themselves the descendants of Aghvans (or any civilization where called for), their persistent use of the terms “Albania” and “Albanian” for Aghvan (Aran) serves an ulterior propose as the application of the constructed blanket term “Azeri” on all ethnicities living in the region.

The term Albania to designate Aghvank was used exclusively and mistakenly by Greek and Roman historians of antiquity. Even so, they have sometimes also referred to it as Ariania. None of the nations immediately involved with Aghvans ever called it Albania. The Georgians called it Rani. The Iranians called the Aghvans Arani and their country Aran as did the Assyrians. The Arabs called the country Ar Ran.

The Armenians, their closest cousins, called it Alvank or Aluank, later with the change in the pronunciation of the soft “L” sound in Armenian into “gh”, a sound difficult to describe in English similar to the “gh” in Baghdad ( the voiced variation of the “ch” in loch ness or the German machen or nach), it was pronounced Aghvank. Here the “k” is the old plural sign in Armenian, thus, Aghvank means Aghvans or the land of Aghvans.

While the origin of the term Aghvank is unknown, according to Khorenatsi, the founder of the race was called Aghvan (Աղւան) from the Armenian word “aghoo” (աղու) meaning genial, because he was a good humored chum. His people were called after him, just like the Armenians call themselves Hye after Hyke, the patriarch of the Armenians.

However, the origin of the term Azarbaijan (Atrpatakan) is very well known and documented, with no dispute whatsoever between scholars until the fabrication of the bogus state of fictitious “Azerbaijan” north of the Arax. Since then, the term has been used and abused in the most impossibly erroneous, anachronistic ways unimaginable. Every cultural, political, scientific, historic, mythological, religious or racial icon, personality, event, place name, monument or what not in real Azarbaijan or the region north of the Arax falsified into “Azerbaijan” is attributed to “Azeris”, a nonexistent nation, regardless of time and space.

The Origin of the Term Azarbaijan

The origin of the word Azarbaijan is traced back to the language family whose relation to a term or a language is sophistically abused by the Turks to “prove” its being Turkish or otherwise: If a term can be proved not to belong to the Indo-European group of languages then it must be Turkish.

After Alexander's victory over Darius III and the fall of the Achaemenid Empire, Iran came under the Seleucid rule soon after Alexander's death. However, a satrap named Aturpat (Atrpat, Atropat, Atropates) established an independent state in the northwest region of Iran (known as the Lesser Media) which from then on was called Atrpatakan/Aturpatekan after him. Even after some 23 centuries, the region is still called Atrpatakan in Armenian as opposed to the term Adrbeijan which is used in Armenian to designate the bogus state north of the region.

The perhaps unique use of two different names in Armenian is an inevitable necessity because on one hand calling the fake nonentity Atrpatakan would enrage the counterfeiters who would accuse the Armenians of hostility; on the other hand the Armenians had no reason to change the original name of Atrpatakan into “Azerbaijan”.

It should be noted that the Persian language underwent substantial changes after the Arab invasion. Unlike almost all the other conquered nations, the Iranians managed to keep their language at the cost of thousands of original words being replaced by their Arabic equivalents and countless others adapting their pronunciation to some kind of Perso-Arabic, cf. “paradisa” = paradise became “ferdows”, “Pars” became “Fars”, etc.

Rejecting the customs and laws of the Arabs, the Armenians held on to their culture at the cost of centuries long suffering and oppression under the Arab occupation. As a result of this resistance a considerable number of words can still be found in Armenian that share their roots with Pahlavi and other old Persian languages.

Atrpatakan/Aturpayegan is rendered in Arabic pronunciation as Adhrbeijan. The “t” in Aturpayegan is the unaspirated variant of “t” nonexistent in Arabic. It was replaced with “dhal”, a sound similar to the voiced “th” in “this”. The sounds “p” and “g” do not exist in Arabic and are replaced with phonemes “f” or “b” and “k” or “j” or “gh (ghein)” respectively.

The word Azarbaijan is the re-Persianized form of the Arabized Adhrbeijan “z” replacing the phoneme represented by the Arabic “dhal” which is nonexistent in Persian. The vowels are also adapted to the language.

As stated earlier the Arabized word “Adrbeijan” is used in Armenian for the artificially created state, “d” being considered closer to the “dhal” than “z” in Armenian which also does not have any form of the “th” sound.

The Meaning of the Term Azarbaijan (Ատրպատական)

Atrpat (Ատրպատ) or Aturpat in Middle Persian is believed to have meant “keeper of fire” or “protector of fire”, or according to Minorsky “protected by fire” which is closer to the meaning of the Armenian Atrpat. The “protector” definition has been deduced from the later Persian (older new-Persian) pronunciation Aturpayegan, the final “t” of Aturpat having changed to “y”. “Atur” means fire and “pay” (pronounce pie) is from the Persian infinitive “pyidan” meaning to keep, protect, watch over.

In the Armenian Atrpatakan (Ատրպատական) (“t”, “p” and “k” are all unaspirated, similar to the corresponding sounds in Russian. To experience this in English while holding your hand in front of your mouth, say: “peak” then “speak”, “tick” then “stick”, “kid” then “skid”. In the second case, unlike the first words of the series, there is no puff of air from “p”, “t”, and “k”. The former are known as aspirated and the latter unaspirated consonants.), “atr” (ատր) has a clear definition and means fire. This word is used in present day Armenian in a manner similar to a prefix meaning fire in words like “atrtjanak” (ատրճանակ) = firearm, “atroushan” (ատրուշան) = the place/holder for the eternal fire in a fire temple.

The “pat” (պատ = wall, surrounding, etc.) in the name Atrpat may have had the present day meaning of wall or surrounding which corresponds with Minorsky’s definition, Atrpat rather having originally meant surrounded by fire (cf. “patel” (պատել) = to surround) similar to “tsankapat” (ցանկապատ) = fence, “zrahapat” (զրահապատ) = armored (division, car, etc.). “To keep” in Armenian is “pahel” (պահել) which is from the same root as the Persian “pyidan”. In addition to Atrpatakan (Ատրպատական), as Kassravi confirms it “Atrpyakan” (Ատրպայական) appears in Armenian sources as well and it might have entered these as a result of the later meaning change in Persian. The Armenian word “Pyik” (պայիկ) from Pahlavi “Paig”, present day Persian “payk” meaning messenger, also means a guard (of a fortress, etc.) the more usual Armenian word for a guard being “pahak” (պահակ). This way the definition of guardian or protector of fire may have also been carried into Armenian.

Pigulevskaia’s theory concerning the earlier origin of the term Adurbadegan deduced from Assyrian sources, discussed in a section presenting this scholar rather emphasizes this “wall” meaning.

I have not come across “Atrpah” or “Atrpahakan” in Armenian. Since Atrpatakan has remained the same throughout millennia being the usual Armenian appellation of Azarbaijan (the real) today and the historians of antiquity have also reported of Atropat and not Atropye, it is interesting to see whether historians/linguists can consider an original meaning of “surrounded/protected by fire” rather than “keeper/protector of fire” more appropriate for Atrpat (Atropat). In any case this does not change anything regarding the Indo-European origin of the term.

The “akan” (ական) part is also clear: “parskakan”, “hyekakan”, “fransakan”, “angliakan”, “hndkakan”, “arabakan”, “islamakan”, etc. It is a suffix that means attributed to or specific to. Atrpatakan = attributed to, land of Atrpat (Atropat).

The renowned Russian academician Bartold says of the origin of the name Azarbaijan (the real): “The Greeks called it Atropatena and the Armenians called it Atrpatakan. This is where the name of Azarbaijan originated”.

One of few more or less honest “Azeri” historians Igrar Aliev also confirms that Atrpatakan means attributed to, named after Atropat, after studying terms such as the Parthian Friapatikan from Friapatia and the Armenian Anahitakan from Anahit.



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