Arran (PerB|آران), also known as Aran, Ardhan (in Parthian), Al-Ran (in Arabic), Aghvank and Alvank (in Armenian), Ran-i (in Georgian) or Caucasian Albania (in Latin), was a geographical name used in ancient and medieval times to signify the territory which lies within the triangle of land, lowland in the east and mountainous in the west, formed by the junction of Kura and Aras rivers, [ Encyclopedia Iranica. C. E. Bosworth. Arran] ] including the highland and lowland Karabakh (Artsakh [C. J. F. Dowsett. "The Albanian Chronicle of Mxit'ar Goš", Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 21, No. 1/3. (1958) p. 475: "In Albania, Xacen, part of the old province of Arcax, had preserved its independence, and we know that it was partly at the request of one of its rulers, Prince Vaxtang, that Mxit'ar composed his lawbook."] Dubious|date=March 2008), Mil plain and parts of the Mughan plain, and in the pre-Islamic times, corresponded roughly to the territory of modern-day Republic of Azerbaijan. The term is the Middle Persian"Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland". The Society, published 1902, page 64. Text states: "In Mustawfi's lists, however, the Arabic article has everywhere disappeared and we have Ray, Mawsil, etc.; while names such as Ar-Ran and Ar-Ras (spelt Al-Ran, Al-Ras in the Arabic writing), which in the older geographers had thus the false appearance of Arab names, in the pages of Mustawfi appear in plain Persian as Arran and Aras."] [Prasad, Ganga. "The Fountain Head of Religion". Published by the Book Tree in 2000, page 46] equivalent to the Greco-Roman "Albania". It was known as "Aghvania", "Alvan-k"V. Minorsky. Caucasica IV. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 15, No. 3. (1953), p. 504] in Armenian, and "Al-ran" (Arabized form of "Arran") in Arabic. The native name for the country is unknown.Robert H. Hewsen. Ethno-History and the Armenian Influence upon the Caucasian Albanians, in: Samuelian, Thomas J. (Hg.), Classical Armenian Culture. Influences and Creativity, Chico: 1982, 27-40.]

Today, the term Arran is mainly used in the Republic of Azerbaijan to indicate territories consisting of Mil and Mughan plains Fact|date=July 2007(mostly, Beylaqan, Imishli, Saatli, Sabirabad provinces of the Republic of Azerbaijan)Fact|date=July 2007.

Origins of the name

According to some legends and ancient sources, such as Movses Kagankatvatsi, "Arran" or "Arhan" [ [ Kirakos' History of the Armenians ] ] was the name of the legendary founder of Caucasian Albania, who in some versions was son of Noah's son Yafet (Japheth) and also, possibly the eponym of the ancient Caucasian Albanians ("Aghvan"), [ [ Moses Kalankatuatsi. History of country of Aluank. Chapter IV.] ] and/or the Iranic tribe known as Alans (Alani). The nearby Araks (Aras) river was known to Ancient Greek geographers as the "Araxes", and has a source near from Mt. Ararat. James Darmesteter, in his discussion of the geography of the Avesta's "Vendidad" I, observes that the 12th century "Bundahishn" (29:12) identified the "Airyana Vaego by the Vanguhi Daitya" on the northern border of Azerbaijan, and did so "probably in order that it should be as near as possible to the seat of the Zoroastrian religion yet without losing its supernatural character by the counter-evidence of facts." [Darmesteter, James (trans., ed.). "Vendidad." "Zend Avesta I" (SBE 4). Oxford University Press, 1880. p. 3, p. 5 n.2,3.] This name "Airyana Vaego" has also been compared with that of Arran [ [ Darmesteter's translation and notes] ] .Disputed-inline|date=September 2008

According to C.E. Bosworth:

Moreover in Kurdish language which is Median, "Aran" means lowlandFact|date=March 2008.


In pre-Islamic times, Caucasian Albania/Arran was a wider concept than that of post-Islamic Arran. Ancient Arran covered all eastern Transcaucasia, which included most of the territory of modern day Azerbaijan Republic and part of the territory of Dagestan. However in post-Islamic times the geographic notion of Arran reduced to the territory between the rivers of Kura and Araks.

In a medieval chronicle "Ajayib-ad-Dunia", written in the 13th century by an unknown author, Arran is said to have been 30 "farsakhs" (200 km) in width, and 40 "farsakhs" (270 km) in length. All the right bank of the Kura river until it joined with the Aras was attributed to Arran (the left bank of the Kura was known as Shirvan). The boundaries of Arran have shifted throughout history, sometimes encompassing the entire territory of the present day Republic of Azerbaijan, and at other times only parts of the South Caucasus. In some instances Arran was a part of Armenia [Abi Ali Ahmad ibn Umar ibn Rustah, al-A'laq Al-Nafisah, Tab'ah 1,Bayrut : Dar al-Kutub al-ʻIlmiyah, 1998, pg 96-98.] .

Medieval Islamic geographers gave descriptions of Arran in general, and of its towns, which included Barda, Beylagan, and Ganja, along with others.

History of Arran

:"History of Arran is summarized in History of Azerbaijan section, where you can refer for detailed description."



Following the Arab invasion of Iran, the Arabs invaded the Caucasus in the 8th century and most of the former territory of Caucasian Albania was included under the name of Arran. This region was at times part of the Abbasid province of Armenia based on numismatic and historical evidence. Dynasties of Parthian or Persian descent, such as the Mihranids had come to rule the territory during Sassanian times. Its kings were given title "Arranshah", and after the Arab invasions, fought against the caliphate from the late 7th to middle 8th centuries.

Early Muslim ruling dynasties of the time included Rawadids, Sajids, Salarids, Shaddadids, Shirvanshahs, and the Sheki and Tiflis emirates. The principal cities of Arran in early medieval times were Barda (Partav) and Ganja. Barda reached prominence in the 10th century, and was used to house a mint. Barda was sacked by the Rus and Norse several times in 10th century as result of the Caspian expeditions of the Rus. Barda never revived after these raids and was replaced as capital by Baylaqan, which in turn was sacked by the Mongols in 1221. After this Ganja rose to prominence and became the central city of the region. The capital of the Shaddadid dynasty, Ganja was considered the "mother city of Arran" during their reign.

The territory of Arran became a part of the Seljuk empire, followed by the Ildegizid state. It was taken briefly by the Khwarizmid dynasty and then overran by Mongol Hulagu empire in the 13th century. Later, it became a part of Chobanid, Jalayirid, Timurid, and Safavid states.


Caucasian Albanians were the aboriginal inhabitants of Arran. Prior to the Islamicization of the region, the Albanians had mostly been Christians [ [ C.E Bosworth. "Arran". "Encyclopaedia Iranica] ] . Albanians adopted the Sunni branch of Islam, which was later largely replaced by the Shia branchFact|date=April 2008. Muslim chronicles of the 10th century reported that some of the population of Arran spoke al-rānīya, as well as Arabic and Persian languages [ [ In Russian, text states: Язык в Адербейджане, Армении и Арране персидский и арабский, исключая области города Дабиля: вокруг него говорят по-армянски: в стране Берда'а язык арранский.] ] [ Al-Muqaddasi, 985] ] [ Ibn-Hawqal, 978] ] . Due to the fact that there is no written evidence, some scholars have presumed al-rānīya to be an Iranian dialect [Encyclopedia Iranica, "Azerbaijan: Islamic history to 1941." C. E. Bosworth:"North of the Aras, the distinct, presumably Iranian, speech of Arrān long survived, called by Ebn Hawqal al-rānīya"] while others have presumed it to be a remnant of a Caucasian Albanian language. The area in which there was Ganja, during the 9th to 12th century named Arran; its urban population spoke mainly in the Persian language [ [ История Востока. В 6 т. Т. 2. Восток в средние века.] М., «Восточная литература», 2002. ISBN: 5-02-017711-3 (History of the East. In 6 volumes. Volume 2. Moscow, publishing house of the Russian Academy of sciences «East literature»): The polyethnic population of Albania left-bank at this time is increasingly moving to the Persian language. Mainly this applies to cities of Aran and Shirvan, as begin from 9-10 centuries named two main areas in the territory of Azerbaijan. With regard to the rural population, it would seem, mostly retained for a long time, their old languages, related to modern Daghestanian family, especially Lezgin. (russian text: Пестрое в этническом плане население левобережнoй Албании в это время все больше переходит на персидский язык. Главным образом это относится к городам Арана и Ширвана, как стали в IX-Х вв. именоваться два главные области на территории Азербайджана. Что касается сельского населения, то оно, по-видимому, в основном сохраняло еще долгое время свои старые языки, родственные современным дагестанским, прежде всего лезгинскому. ] [ [ Дьяконов, Игорь Михайлович. Книга воспоминаний. Издательство "Европейский дом", Санкт-Петербург, 1995., 1995] . - ISBN 5-85733-042-4. cтр. 730-731 Igor Diakonov. The book of memoirs.]

After the Turkification of the region, the population became Turkic speaking, and thus referred to by Europeans, particularly the Russians, as Tartars. They were later called Azerbaijanis.

ee also

*Caucasian Albania
*South Caucasus
*Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
*Azerbaijan SSR


* Bashi, Munnjim, Duwal Al-Islam
* Minorsky, V.,Studies in Caucasian history, Cambridge University Press, 1957
* Volkmar Gantzhorn, Oriental Carpets


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