Greek and Roman Historians of Antiquity
Herodotus (Hρόδοτος c. 484-425 BC)
To prove their absurd claim that the present day Azarbaijan (the real) and “Azerbaijan” (the fake) were one country trillions of quadrillions of millions of eons ago, besides pretending to be the descendants of Aghvans (they prefer the term “Albanians”) who had nothing whatsoever to do with the Turks, the “Azeris” also claim that the Medes, a people of Iranian origin and unrelated to Aghvans, were also Turks and that the Persians who defeated them, in fact broke up their unity. That the Medes are Aryan (Iranian) is obvious from all the names pertaining to Median Iran as the name Atrpatakan itself. Let’s hear it from ancient historians.
Herodotus says: “The Medes had exactly the same equipment as the Persians; and indeed the dress common to both is not so much Persian as Median. They had for commander Tigranes, of the race of the Achaemenids. These Medes were called anciently by all people Arians; but when Media, the Colchian, came to them from Athens, they changed their name. Such is the account which they themselves give.” (Translated by George Rawlinson) ●
Patrocles (3rd century BC)
Patrocles, an officer who around 283-282 BC was commissioned by Seleucus I (312-281 BC) and Antiochus I (281-261 BC) to undertake a reconnaissance expedition around the Caspian to realize the unfinished plans of Alexander, prepared an exhaustive report which is known to have been one of the most valuable sources about Aghvank (Aluania, Aran, Albania of the Caucasus). This work has not been recovered; however, quoting Eratosthenes, Strabo and Pliny have given accounts of Patrocles’ expedition and Strabo has used Patrocles’ report to inform about the Caspian Sea. It is believed that Patrocles knew about the Aghvans and the geographic situation of their land. ●
Eratosthenes (Eρατοσθένης 276-194 BC)
Strabo considers Eratosthenes and Theophanes more trustworthy and has discarded other authors such as Poseidonius. Strabo and Pliny have used Eratosthenes work in their accounts of the Caspian and the peoples living in the region. ●
Polibi (Πολύβιος Around 205 BC)
From the little that remains from Polibi’s Historiae, we learn about the Kadus (Talish) who lived around the western shores of the Caspian in the area between Aluania (Aghvank) and Aturpatekan (Azarbaijan the real) which confirms that the two were distinct since the earliest times Lesser Media had been called Atrpatakan. ●
Strabo (Στράβων 65/63 BC-23 AD)
Strabo has visited Armenia in the first century BC and has recorded his observations about the region including the Aghvank and the Aghvans. He has considered the work of Theophanes’ and third century BC authors such as Eratosthenes and Patrocles (who under Seleucus I and Antiochus I had organized expeditions around the Caspian), more trustworthy and has used them as reference.
In the eleventh chapter of his Geography, Strabo states: “Albania (Aghvank H.) is a land stretching from the south of the Caucasus Mountains to the River Kur and from the Caspian to the Olazanes River.” He also situates the “Atropatenean Media” to the south of Aghvank, thus confirming that the two were separate entities.
Describing the River Kur, he remarks: “The River Kur has its source in Armenia and flows into the plain between the Caucasus Mountains and joins the River Aragos (Aragvi) and other rivers that flow down these mountains and crosses Albania (Aghvank). This abundant river separates Albania (Aghvank) and Armenia… and pours into the Caspian.”
“The plains of Araxena and Sakasena that border Albania (Aghvank) through the River Kur, belong to Armenia… The River Kur is situated between Albania (Aghvank) and Armenia” Strabo confirms. ●
Pliny (23–79 AD)
Pliny has used Eratosthenes’ works for his accounts of the Caspian region and the lands surrounding it. In his Natural Geography, Pliny observes: “The Albanians (Aghvans H.) inhabited the vicinity of the River Kur and the Olazanes River (Alazan) separated them from the Iberians (Georgians H.)” He presents Kabalak (Կապաղակ) as the most important city of Aghvank. ●
Plutarch (Πλούταρχος Around 46-120 AD)
Plutarch’s Lives contains material dealing with Aghvank such as military aid to Tigran the Great of Armenia by Aghvan tribes. Describing Pompey’s invasion of Aghvank, their permission to allow the Romans to cross Aghvank and the subsequent, sudden Aghvan rebellion against the Romans, he mentions place names and as it appears from his writings, the rivers Arax and Kur did not meet and Arax flowed into the Caspian without mixing with River Kur. This confirms that Armenia’s easternmost border stretched to the Caspian.
Marc Anthony’s one hundred thousand strong army faced fierce resistance from Phraates (Farhad) IV, (c. 37-3 BC) in Atrpatakan and according to Plutarch after suffering heavy casualties (20,000 infantry and 40,000 cavalry) the Romans crossed the Arax River into Armenia.
This confirms that first: the Arax River was (and still is) the border between Atrpatakan (Azarbaijan the real) and Armenia and second: there was no “Azerbaijan” north of the Arax River and third: the two regions north and south of the Arax River were distinct, unrelated and never two parts of a single “Azerbaijan”. ●
Dionysus (2nd century AD)
The second century AD historian and geographer Dionysus has written about the Aghvans (Aluanians). He notes peoples from northwest to southeast of the Caspian Sea as follows: Saka (Scythians), Uns (according to some these were same as Huns others identify them with Udins), Caspians, Kadus (Talish), Aghvans (Aluanians), Mardes, Hirkanians, Tapirs but no races related to the Turks. ●
Cornelius Tacitus (c. 56–c. 117 AD)
Tacitus has written about the Aghvans, the Parthians and invasions of nomadic tribes into Aghvank. He relates the Roman invasion into Armenia in 58 AD when they turned Artashat into rubble and reduced it to cinders. It’s interesting to note that the Mardes (one of several peoples of Aghvank) ambushed the Romans several times but were defeated by the Romans who used the help of the Iberians (Georgians). In 60 AD, the Armenian king Trdat I (Tiridates), tried with no success to attack the Romans from Atrpatakan, therefore he went to Rome for peace talks to avoid the dangers coming from the northern tribes in the Caucasus, who also threatened the Roman interests. ●
Ptolemy (Πτολεμαῖος c 83–161 AD)
In his description of Armenia, Ptolemy writes in his Geography: “The greater Armenia borders Colchida, Iberia (Georgia) and Albania (Aghvank) along the River Kur”. Elsewhere he adds: “Albania (Aghvank) shares its border in the south with Armenia and Iberia… The cities and villages of Albania (Aghvank) are situated between Iberia and a river that flows from the Caucasus Mountains and joins the River Kur. This river stretches all along Iberia and Albania (Aghvank) and separates them from Armenia”. ●
Arrian (c. 86/92-c. 175 AD)
In his work Anabasis Alexandri, Arrian describes the battle of Gaugamela in 330 BC, where Aluanian (Aghvan) soldiers participated among the army of Darius III. He also notes that in the multinational Achaemenid army that included the Medes, Bactrians, Parthians, Aluanians (Aghvans), etc., Athropat (Atrpat, Atropat) was the commander of the Medes where the Saka, Kadus and Aghvans were also fighting under his command. He mentions Aluania (Aghvank) and Media Atropatena (Atrpatakan) as separate entities. ●
Dio Cassius (Around 165-235 AD)
In his Roman History, among the events of the years 68 to 47 BC, Dio Cassius narrates Pompey’s invasion of Albania (Aghvank) in detail. He says: “He (Pompey) spent the winter in Anaitida by the River Kurna (Kur) and divided his army in three parts… He couldn’t get through the winter without trouble because Oroyz the king of Albania (Aghvank) who lived to the north of the River Kurna (Kur) fought with him.” He also reports the existence of an Anahid temple near the River Kur which shows that religious beliefs of Armenians were also present in the area. ●