Atropates

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Painting of Atropates meeting with Alexander the Great. National Museum of History of Azerbaijan Photo from Azerbaijan National Museum which shows the meeting of Atropates (king of Atropatene) and Alexandre The Great2.png
Painting of Atropates meeting with Alexander the Great. National Museum of History of Azerbaijan

Atropates (Greek Aτρoπάτης, from Old Persian Aturpat "protected by fire"; [1] c. 370 BC after 321 BC) was a Persian [2] nobleman who served Darius III, then Alexander the Great, and eventually founded an independent kingdom and dynasty that was named after him. Diodorus (18.4) refers to him as 'Atrapes', while Quintus Curtius (8.3.17) erroneously names him 'Arsaces'.

Greek language language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages. Old Persian appears primarily in the inscriptions, clay tablets and seals of the Achaemenid era. Examples of Old Persian have been found in what is now Iran, Romania (Gherla), Armenia, Bahrain, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt, with the most important attestation by far being the contents of the Behistun Inscription. Recent research (2007) into the vast Persepolis Fortification Archive at the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago have unearthed Old Persian tablets, which suggest Old Persian was a written language in use for practical recording and not only for royal display.

Atar

Atar (/ˈətər/ is the Zoroastrian concept of holy fire, sometimes described in abstract terms as "burning and unburning fire" or "visible and invisible fire". It is considered to be the visible presence of Ahura Mazda and his aša. The rituals for purifying a fire are performed 1,128 times a year.

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Biography

Towards the end of the Achaemenid Empire, Atropates was governor ( satrap ) of the Achaemenid province of Media. In the decisive Battle of Gaugamela (October 331 BCE) between Darius and Alexander, Atropates commanded the Achaemenid troops of Media, Caucasian Albania and Sacasene.

Achaemenid Empire first Persian Empire founded by Cyrus the Great

The Achaemenid Empire, also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian empire based in Western Asia founded by Cyrus the Great. Ranging at its greatest extent from the Balkans and Eastern Europe proper in the west to the Indus Valley in the east, it was larger than any previous empire in history, spanning 5.5 million square kilometers. Incorporating various peoples of different origins and faiths, it is notable for its successful model of a centralised, bureaucratic administration, for building infrastructure such as road systems and a postal system, the use of an official language across its territories, and the development of civil services and a large professional army. The empire's successes inspired similar systems in later empires.

Satrap Ruler of a province in ancient Persia

Satraps were the governors of the provinces of the ancient Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as in the Sasanian Empire and the Hellenistic empires. The satrap served as viceroy to the king, though with considerable autonomy; and the word also came to suggest tyranny, or ostentatious splendour.

Media (region) region of Iran

Media is a region of north-western Iran, best known for having been the political and cultural base of the Medes. During the Achaemenid period, it comprised present-day Azarbaijan, Iranian Kurdistan and western Tabaristan. As a satrapy under Achaemenid rule, it would eventually encompass a wider region, stretching to southern Dagestan in the north. However, after the wars of Alexander the Great, the northern parts were separated due to the Partition of Babylon and became known as Atropatene, while the remaining region became known as Lesser Media.

Atropates was allocated the Hellenistic satrapy of Media, in the Partition of Babylon (323 BC) following Alexander's death. Diadochi satraps babylon.png
Atropates was allocated the Hellenistic satrapy of Media, in the Partition of Babylon (323 BC) following Alexander's death.

Following his defeat in that battle, Darius fled to the Median capital of Ecbatana, where Atropates gave him hospitality. Darius attempted to raise a new army but was forced to flee Ecbatana in June 330 BCE. After Darius' death a month later at the hands of Bessus, Atropates surrendered to Alexander. [1] Alexander initially chose Oxydates as satrap of Media, but in 328-327 BCE after a period of two years Alexander lost trust in Oxydates' loyalty, and Atropates was reinstated to his old position. [3] In 325-324, Atropates delivered Baryaxes (a sought-after rebel of the region) to Alexander while the latter was at Pasargadae. Alexander's esteem for the governor rose so high that soon afterwards Atropates' daughter was married to Alexander's confidant and cavalry commander Perdiccas at the famous mass wedding at Susa in February 324 BCE. [1]

Darius III Last king of the Achaemenid Empire

Darius III, originally named Artashata and called Codomannus by the Greeks, was the last king of the Achaemenid Empire of Persia, from 336 BC to 330 BC. Artashata adopted Darius as a dynastic name.

Ecbatana ancient city that was the capital of Medes

Ecbatana was an ancient city in Media in western Iran. It is believed that Ecbatana is in Hagmatana Hill, an archaeological mound in Hamedan.

Bessus satrap of Bactria

Bessus, also known as Artaxerxes V, was a prominent Persian Satrap of Bactria in Persia, and later self-proclaimed King of Kings of Persia. According to classical sources, he killed his predecessor and relative, Darius III, after the Persian army had been defeated by Alexander the Great.

Later that year, Alexander visited Atropates in Ecbatana with his good friend and second-in-command Hephaestion, who fell ill and died in October 324 BCE. At this time, "[i]t was related by some authors, that Atropates on one occasion presented Alexander with a hundred women, said to be Amazons; but Arrian ([Anabasis] vii. 13) disbelieved the story." [4]

Hephaestion Macedonian noble and general

Hephaestion, son of Amyntor, was an ancient Macedonian nobleman and a general in the army of Alexander the Great. He was "by far the dearest of all the king's friends; he had been brought up with Alexander and shared all his secrets." This relationship lasted throughout their lives, and was compared, by others as well as themselves, to that of Achilles and Patroclus.

Arrian Roman historian, public servant, military commander and philosopher of the 2nd-century

Arrian of Nicomedia was a Greek historian, public servant, military commander and philosopher of the Roman period.

Alexander himself died eight months later on June 10, 323 BCE, and Atropates' new son-in-law Perdiccas was named regent of Alexander's half-brother Philip III. Following the "Partition of Babylon" in 323 BCE, Media was divided into two parts: the greater portion in the south-east was to be governed by Peithon, a general of Perdiccas, while a smaller portion in the north west (principally around the Araxes River basin) was given to Atropates. At some point thereafter, Atropates refused to convey allegiance to the diadochi and made his part of Media an independent kingdom, while his son-in-law Perdiccas was eventually murdered by Peithon in the summer of 320 BCE.

Perdiccas Ancient Macedonian military commander

Perdiccas became a general in Alexander the Great's army and participated in Alexander's campaign against Achaemenid Persia. Following Alexander's death, he rose to become supreme commander of the imperial army and regent for Alexander's half brother and intellectually disabled successor, Philip Arridaeus.

Philip III of Macedon King of Macedonia

Philip III Arrhidaeus reigned as king of Macedonia from after 11 June 323 BC until his death. He was a son of King Philip II of Macedon by Philinna of Larissa, and thus an elder half-brother of Alexander the Great. Named Arrhidaeus at birth, he assumed the name Philip when he ascended to the throne.

Partition of Babylon

The Partition of Babylon was the first of the conferences and ensuing agreements that divided the territories of Alexander the Great. It was held at Babylon in June 323 BC. Alexander’s death at the age of 32 had left an empire that stretched from Greece all the way to India. The issue of succession resulted from the claims of the various supporters of Philip Arrhidaeus, and the as-of-then unborn child of Alexander and Roxana, among others. The settlement saw Arrhidaeus and Alexander’s child designated as joint kings with Perdiccas serving as regent. The territories of the empire became satrapies divided between the senior officers of the Macedonian army and some local governors and rulers. The partition was solidified at the further agreements at Triparadisus and Persepolis over the following years and began the series of conflicts that comprise the Wars of the Diadochi.

Legacy

The dynasty Atropates founded would rule the kingdom for several centuries, at first either independently or as vassals of the Seleucids, then as vassals of the Arsacids, into whose house they are said [5] to have married. They became, however, the new House of Parthia through the marriage of the Arsacid heiress to the Atropatenid heir.

Seleucid Empire former country

The Seleucid Empire was a Hellenistic state ruled by the Seleucid dynasty which existed from 312 BC to 63 BC; Seleucus I Nicator founded it following the division of the Macedonian Empire vastly expanded by Alexander the Great. Seleucus received Babylonia and from there expanded his dominions to include much of Alexander's near-eastern territories. At the height of its power, the Empire included central Anatolia, Persia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, and what is now Kuwait, Afghanistan, and parts of Pakistan and Turkmenistan.

Parthian Empire Iranian empire ruled by Arsacids

The Parthian Empire, also known as the Arsacid Empire, was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Iran. Its latter name comes from Arsaces I of Parthia who, as leader of the Parni tribe, founded it in the mid-3rd century BC when he conquered the region of Parthia in Iran's northeast, then a satrapy (province) under Andragoras, in rebellion against the Seleucid Empire. Mithridates I of Parthia (r. c. 171–138 BC) greatly expanded the empire by seizing Media and Mesopotamia from the Seleucids. At its height, the Parthian Empire stretched from the northern reaches of the Euphrates, in what is now central-eastern Turkey, to eastern Iran. The empire, located on the Silk Road trade route between the Roman Empire in the Mediterranean Basin and the Han dynasty of China, became a center of trade and commerce.

The region that encompassed Atropates' kingdom come to be known to the Greeks as "Media Atropatene" after Atropates, and eventually simply "Atropatene". The Arsacids called it 'Aturpatakan' in Parthian, as did also the Sassanids who eventually succeeded them. Eventually Middle Iranian 'Aturpatakan' became 'Azerbaijan', whence, according to one etymological theory, [5] [6] the modern nation of Azerbaijan and the Iranian province of Azerbaijan (which province is largely contiguous with the borders of ancient Atropatene) got their names; [7] another theory traces the etymology from the ancient Persian words "Āzar" (Persian : آذر), meaning Fire, and "Pāyegān" (Persian : پایگان) meaning Guardian/Protector (Āzar Pāyegān = "Guardians of Fire") (Persian : آذر پایگان), with Āzar Pāyegān later becoming corrupted to 'Azerbaijan' under the dominance of Arabic and the circumstances thereby imposed by that language's lack of facility in producing or pronouncing /ɡ/, /p/ or /ʒ/.

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References

  1. 1 2 3 Chaumont 1987, pp. 17–18.
  2. Fredricksmeyer 2002 , p. 92; Schippmann 1987 , pp. 221–224; Roisman 2002 , p. 187
  3. Roisman 2002, p. 189.
  4. Smith, William, ed. (1867), "Atropates", Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, Boston
  5. 1 2 Schippmann 1987, pp. 221–224.
  6. Houtsma, M. Th. (1993). First Encyclopaedia of Islam 1913–1936 (reprint ed.). BRILL. ISBN   978-90-04-09796-4.
  7. de Planhol 1987, pp. 205–215.

Bibliography

Ancient works

Modern works