Igrar Aliyev

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Igrar Habib oglu Aliyev (Azerbaijani: İqrar Əliyev) (14 March 1924, Baku – 11 June 2004, Baku) was a Soviet and Azerbaijani historian. Aliyev was the author of 160 peer reviewed journal publications and books.[1] Many of his books are devoted to the Medes and Median Empire. Among his writings are: "The History Of Media"(Baku, 1960), "A Historical Survey of Atropatena" (Baku, 1989), "History of Azerbaijan (Baku, 1993, and in Russian, 1995). "Nagorno Karabakh: History, Facts and Events", No. 22-34 (Baku: Elm, 1982), "On Problems Related to the Ethnic History of the Azerbaijani People" (Baku: Nurlan, 2002), "The History of Aturpatakan" (also translated into Persian, published in Iran in 1999).

Aliyev was a director of the Institute of History of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan. He followed the methodology of the world-famous Soviet academician V. V. Struve, who was a leading specialist in the field of ancient Oriental studies. Aliyev knew ancient dead languages including Sumerian, Akkadian and Old Persian. His works specialized in ancient Media, Atropatena and Caucasian Albania and are cited by Western experts[2][3][4] in the relevant fields.

Controversy and criticism[edit]

A number of Aliyev's assertions in his works are highly controversial, particularly in the area relating to the history of Artsakh and Caucasian Albania. Like many other Azerbaijani historians, Aliyev contends that the Christian Armenians of Artsakh systematically erased and appropriated the Caucasian Albanians' culture as their own:

Following this dirty intrigue [the reaction of the Armenian pontiff to the attempted split by the Church of Albania during the Arab periods], the Arabs put an end to the sovereignty of the Albania, and the Albanian Church was subordinated to the Armenian. That was the beginning of a progressive de-ethnicization of the Albanian nation. Thus the darkest forecasts were realized. The Armenians (for the nth time) began to oppress the Albanians.[5]

This argument, however, lacks support outside of Azerbaijan.[6] A pamphlet written in 1997 on architecture in Artsakh by Aliyev and Kamil Mamedzade, the two authors also asserted that the celebrated thirteenth century Gandzasar monastery, built by the Armenian prince Hasan-Jalal Dawla,[7] was built by Caucasian Albanians.[8] The pamphlet, which refers to the Armenians of Karabakh as "so-called Armenians" because of their alleged descent from the purported Albanian population of the region and which others have pointed out fails properly to show readers the medieval Armenian inscriptions of the monastery,[9] goes on to claim:

The indisputable conclusion follows from everything said above that the so-called Armenians of Karabakh and the Azerbijanis as such (who are the descendants of the Albanian population) of northern Azerbaijan share the same mother. Both of them are completely indisputably former Albanians and therefore the Armenians as such [original emphasis] on the territory of Nagorny Karabakh, into which they surged in huge numbers after the first quarter of the nineteenth century, have no rights.[9]


  • The History of Media, Baku, 1960. (Also translated into Persian, Published in Iran)
  • The Survey of History of Athropatena, Baku, 1989.
  • Nagorny Karabakh: history, facts, events. "Elm", Baku, no. 22-34, 1982.
  • The History of Azerbaijan, Baku, 1993
  • (in Russian) The History of Azerbaijan, Baku, 1995.
  • The History of Aturpatakan. (Also translated into Persian, Published in Iran)
  • The History of Azerbaijan, 1st volume of seven.


  1. ^ "Remembering Igrar Aliyev." Azerbaijan International. Autumn 2004 (12.3).
  2. ^ Encyclopedia Iranica. M. L. Chaumont. s.v. "Albania'. Archived 2007-03-10 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Encyclopedia Iranica. Archeology VIII. Northern Azerbaijan (Republic of Azerbaijan)
  4. ^ Encyclopedia Iranica. Media
  5. ^ (in Russian) Aliyev, Igrar. Nagorny Karabakh: History, Facts, Events. Baku: Izd-vo Ėlm, 1989, p. 62.
  6. ^ Hewsen, Robert H. "Ethno-History and the Armenian Influence upon the Caucasian Albanians" in Samuelian, Thomas J. (Ed.), Classical Armenian Culture. Influences and Creativity. Chico, CA: Scholars Press 1982, p. 34.
  7. ^ De Waal, Thomas (2003). Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan Through Peace and War. New York: New York University Press. pp. 156-157 ISBN 0-8147-1945-7.
  8. ^ De Waal. Black Garden, pp. 154-155.
  9. ^ a b de Waal. Black Garden, p. 155.

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