Iran or Eran

ایران یا دا که اران

Most of the nations around the South Caspian region or the Greater Iran have more in common than the it is traditionally portrayed by conservative politicians. The so called Pan-Turkism and Pan-Iranism idelogies are two fallacy ideologies were inspired by the 19-th century super powers such as the Russian and British empires. Instigated by the imperial secret services, the goal was to lure the local nations (the Turkic and Iranic speaking) into the conflict, and hence, to protect the established imperial borders.

Known as the "Great Game", it is a set of political, diplomatic and military confrontations that occurred through most of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century – involving the rivalry of the British Empire and the Russian Empire over territories in Central and South Asia, and having direct consequences in Caucases, Turkestan, Iran, British India, Afghanistan, and Tibet.

The fictional conflict between Turan and Iran in "Shahnameh" by the Iranian poet Ferdowsi became a handbook of the imperial secret services to stir a conflict between various ethnic groups in the reigion.

Not many people are aware that the modern Iran has a dual origin: a) The actual Iranian, based on the tradition and cultutre of North, North West, Cental and Caspian regions including Rep. of Azerbaijan; b) The present Persian, rooted on the tradition and cultutre of South and South East, East, Gulf and Afghan regions.

Asia (Front)

One of the four sculptures representing  the continent of Asia. The Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens, London

Asia (Right)

The Iranian figure with the pointed fur hat represents Eran (Rep. of Azerbaijan), North and Center of Iran

Asia (Left)

The Persian figure with the turban represnts Fars, Khorasan, Baluchestan, Afghanistan, and South of Iran

The first reference to the ancient location of Iran Proper or Iranzamin (ایران‌ زمین) can be found in The Book of Kings, Shahnameh. It is a long epic poem written by the Iranian poet Ferdowsi between c. 977 and 1010 CE and is the national epic of Greater Iran. Shahnameh consists of some 50,000 "distichs" or couplets (two-line verses).

The chapter named “The Birth of Feraydun” states: 

Faranak hurried to the meadows again and said to the man who had saved her son, “God has put a wise notion into my heart, and I must act on it, because my son is as sweet as life to me. I will leave this land of magicians and go with my boy toward India. I’ll disappear from men’s sight, and take this handsome child to the Alborz mountains.

It continues,

There was a religious man living there, who had cut himself off from the cares of the world, and Faranak said to him, “Reverend sir, I have come here grieving from Iran. You should know that this noble child of mine will be the leader of his people”

As the text explains, the land of Iran is adjacent to the land of magicians, it lies above the Alborz mountains on the way toward India. The land of Magicians is Mughan, and it is adjacent to the Aran plains in the Republic of Azerbaijan.

The second reference to the ancient location of Iran Proper or Iranzamin (ایران‌ زمین) can be found in the same book, see the chapter called "The Story of Iraj":

Then Feraydun brought into the open a plan he had kept secret. He divided the world into three parts: one part consisted of the West (Rum), another of China and the land of the Turks (Turan), and the third of Iranzamin, the land of warriors.

Ferdowsi provides the literal translation of the name "Iran", and it matches to the Azeri "Əran" or "Land of Warriors": Ər – "warrior" or "man"; an – "land". It is a historical kingdom of Eran (الران), within a present day Republic of Azerbaijan, mentioned by a 10th-century Arab Muslim writer, geographer Ibn Hawqal. It is also known as Caucasian Albania in the western historical sources. It should be noted that Eran is an ethnonym, and not to be confused with Aran (one word), which is a geographic toponym meaning "plain" or "lowland" in Azeri. The Eranians are also mentioned in Oghuznama as "ərənlər" of Inner Oghuz or Ghuz (referred as Iškuzaya by the Assyrians). The letter "a" changes into "ə" as a result of vowel harmony.

The Iran Proper by Johann Baptist Homann

The map of Persia by the German cartographer  Johann Baptist Homann dated 18th century.

Detailed map of the Persian empire (the name asit is shown on the map) by the German cartographer  Johann Baptist Homann dated from circa 1700 until circa 1720, extending from the Black Sea, Khasikstan and Turkistan in the North to the Red Sea, Persian Gulf, Euphrates and the Mediterranean in the South, showing a part of Cyprus. Decorative map, showing cities, mountains, rivers, lakes, roads, etc. Large decorative cartouche inthe lower left corner and smaller cartouche in the right upper corner. The map places "Iran" between Karabagh and Albania (Shirvan), just above Media, corresponding to the Aran plains within the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Now, the main question is what is Azerbaijan? But before we move to it, we need to clear our some inaccuracies associated with the Western views on the history of Persia and Eran (Iran).

According to the "Histories" of Herodotus (440 BC), Book VII, Chapter 62:

The Medes had exactly the same equipment (armoury) as the Persians, and inded the dress common to both is not so much Persian as Median. They had for commander Tigranes, of the race of the Achaemenids (non-Medes). 

These Medes were called anciently by all people Arians, but when the Colchian woman Medea came from Athens to the Arians, they changed their name. Such is the account which they themselves give.

The name Madai, which the Persians used to describe the Medes, is of the Hindi origin. It means मड़ई (Maḍaī) "shanty", "hut" or "cottage". Perhaps, it reference to a house with one large room called "otağ" (otagh) used by the Eranians for living. The same term "otagh" is used in Oghuznama to describe the living space. Now, this suggests that the Persians (Fars) themselves, although were related to the Eranians (Medes), but were under the strong Hindi influence.

The term Persian, which is favored by the Iranian expats in the west, is actually diminititative and derogative term introduce by the Greek to discredit the Fars. It translates from the Greek verb πέρθειν as "to waste", "to ravage", "to sack", "to destroy". From "Histories" of Herodotus (440 BC), Book VII, Chapter 61:

... The people [of Fars] was know to the Greeks in ancient times by the name of Cephenians, but they called themselves and were called by their neighbours, Artaeans. It was not till Perseus, the son of Zeus and Danae, visited Cepheus the son of Belus [the kingdom of "Aethiopia"], and, marrying his daughter Andromeda, had by her a son called Perses (whom he left behind him in the country because Cepheus had no male offspring), that the nation took from this Perses the name Persians.

The kingdom of "Aethiopia" here is probably a reference to the dark faced inhabitants of Fars, who most likely were the mix of Aranians and Hindian migrants. The Artaens is most likley refer to Athar (fire), hence, "fire-worshippers", who later became the Zoroastrians.

The pre-historic dolmen in the Qala open-air museum, the predecessor of large one room house, "otagh". Republic of Azerbaijan, 11.08.2022

It should be noted that the Greek name of a region Aria or Ariana within an Achaemenid empire corresponding to the present-day western Afghanistan have never been refered by the local sources as Iran or even Arian. It was called Haraiva. Neither Bactirans nor Sogdians, or even the Kushans ever referred to themselves as the Eranians, Iranians or even Arians. This suggests only one thing that Eranians were living on the both side of the Caspian sea, the historical regions of Eran and Khwarazm.

According to the "Histories" of Herodotus (440 BC), Book VII, Chapter 66:

The Arians [of Khwarazm] carried Median bows, but in other respects were equipped like the Bactrians. Their commander was Sisamnes, the son of Hydarnes the Elder.

Hydarnes the Elder served as the satrap of Media under Darius, and he was survived by two sons, Hydarnes the Younger and Sisamnes, who both served as commanders under Darius' son and successor, Xerxes I (r. 486–465 BC)

Unlike the Persians, the early Eranians and later the Medes were alias of the Greeks through the marriage. Besides that they (Greeks and Eranians) also shared the 24-letter Phoenician alphabet. For example, if we transliterate the Greek word "επτα", which means "seven" through the Phoenician alphabet, it will be spelled as "h(e)fta", and it means "week" in the modern Azerbaijani language, or "həftə".

The story to be continued …

the article is prepared by Dr. Elmar Janahmadov as the part of book "The Holy Book of Oghuz.Oghuznama".