APA’s Moscow correspondent had a talk with Hasanov about the essence of the book and the Russian scientific community’s attitude towards it.
The author noted that the content of the book is not limited to the period of Alexander the Great.
“The work covers the period prior to and during Alexander the Great’s reign. There is a common conception that Azerbaijan as a state was established in 321 BC, in the wake of the collapse of Alexander’s Empire. That’s what Strabo wrote. This view is not met with skepticism by the majority of historians, but my study points to a need for further specification. In fact, what Strabo says is true. However, there is one issue here; in 321 BC, Azerbaijan was restored as a state, rather than established. This was the second stage of the creation of Azerbaijan’s statehood. Thus the first part of my book deals with the question of when the first Azerbaijani state was created. Some who regard themselves as dilettantes claim there had never been a state called Azerbaijan until 1918. These ideas are so absurd that they are not even worth criticism,” he said.
According to Hasanov, Azerbaijan is the Arabic transliteration of Atropatene.
“The first part of my book deals with the Atropatene which was established in the 7th century BC. In the 9th to 7th century BC, significant changes had taken place in Asia Minor, the South Caucasus, Iran, Syria and the Anatolian Peninsula. During that period, there were migrations to these territories from Crimea, as well as migrations of Scythians from northern Kazakhstan and Saks from southern Kazakhstan. Back then, the Assyrian empire was dominating the region, and in 673 BC Babylonians, Scythians and the Medes revolted. Although they failed to get rid of Babylonian rule, these efforts resulted in the emergence of two states in that region. According to Assyrian sources, one of these new states was called Ashruz, which was established by Scythians in present-day Azerbaijani territory, north of the River Araz. The other state was Media. When these states were created in 673 BC, there was no Persia or Armenia.
In the following period, Assyria began to weaken, while Media and Ashruz grew in power. Then the ruler of Ashruz grabs power in Media, taking advantage of the Median king’s absence. The Assyrian king then appointed a ruler for Media and granted him the title of Assyria. Historical sources call this title Arbat or Orbai. According to Herodotus, the Scythians ruled the region for 28 years. In 615 BC, the Babylonian ruler offered that Arbat assistance to rid of Assyrian rule, to which the Arbat agreed. The Scythian-Babylonian alliance fought Assyria for 3 years and won the war in 612 BC. As a result, the Arbat became the number-one leader in the region. Now look what’s happening. So, there are two sources saying a state named Atropatene was created as a result of the collapse of the Assyrian Empire. The first source is the Syrian chronicle called “Carhi de Bet Seloh”. It is written in this source that Arbat created a state called Azerbaijan. The second source is Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus. He wrote that Atropatene was created as a result of the collapse of the Assyrian Empire. What’s most interesting is that these words were not translated during the translation of Ammianus Marcellinus’ words in the Soviet era. Ammianus Marcellinus’ words were translated by a historian named Pigulevskaya, but her article was not published. During the Soviet era, historians were prohibited from referencing the abovementioned sources. I don’t know who may have prohibited this.
The fact is that all historians referenced Strabon. It is written in the “Carhi de Bet Seloh” the state created in this period was called Adorbaigan. Thus, referring to these two important sources, we can say that Azerbaijan was established after the collapse of the Assyrian Empire, 250 years prior to the collapse of the Alexander’s Empire. In addition, four more European researchers talk about this. Ammianus Marcellinus did not explain how the name Adorbaigan appeared, but the Syrian source explained the country’s name. It is said that the country was named after Arbat. Ad-arbat-ena (place, location), ad-orbei-gan. In linguistics, this is called metathesis,” he added.
Hasanov also commented on Armenian claims that Azerbaijan had never existed as an independent state. But my book proves when Azerbaijan existed as “Adorbaigan” in 612 B.C. there was no trace of Armenians. Only 90 years after Azerbaijan was established, the name Armenia emerged in Persian sources as a province in the Persian Empire. This book proves that Azerbaijan is the most ancient state in the Caucasus. A state called Azerbaijan existed for only 27 years. Afterwards, we were a part of the Median and Persian empires.
They say Azerbaijan is the name of a geographic place, and no people existed under this name. I’d like to recall that all names of countries arise as a geographic concept. A word “Persia” also arose as a geographic concept. Polybius wrote in II century BC that the people of Atropatene were called “Atropati”. Plutarch wrote in I century AD that the people of Atropatena were called “Atropatenians”. Strabo, as well as Rufi Fest Avien, who lived in IV century AD wrote that that the people of Atropatene were called “Atropatens”. Note that the people of Atropatene were called Azerbaijanis for 600 years. All this was reflected in historical documents and sources. I don’t say anything on my own. This book doesn’t contain any of my own word, all facts are based on historical sources,” Hasanov said.
He also clarified the issue that the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences didn’t send representatives to the presentation of the book.
“The embassy have called and invited representatives of the Institute. They stated that Hasan Hasanov’s position contradicts the world science. Isn’t the world science a notary office?! Opinion of any scientist is a part of the world science. Indeed, the issue is not about the history of Atropatene. The book proves that Atropatene was created by Turkic speaking Scythians. It is all about this. There is a deputy director of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences with surname Alakbarov. He doesn’t admit that Atropatene was created by Turkic speaking Scythians. I think that the Institute of Oriental Studies doesn’t want to admit that Azerbaijan emerged earlier than Armenia and Persia,” Hasanov added.