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Updated:Monday 13th October 2014

Atropatene Definition

Atropatene or Media Atropatene was an ancient kingdom established and ruled by Iranian dynasts in the 4th century BC in modern Greater Iranian Azarbaijan and Kurdistan. Its capital was Gazaca. Atropatene also was the nominal ancestor of the name Azarbaijan. (Wikipedia) - Atropatene
c. 323 BC–3rd century AD
Map of Atropatene in 4th century BC
Capital Ganzak
Government Monarchy
Historical era Antiquity
 -  Established c. 323 BC
 -  Disestablished 3rd century AD
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Atropatene (Greek: Ἀτροπατηνή; originally known as "Atropatkan" and "Atorpatkan" ) was an ancient kingdom established and ruled under local ethnic Iranian dynasties first with Darius III of Persia and later Alexander the Great of Macedonia starting in the 4th century BC and includes the territory of modern-day Iranian Azarbaijan and Iranian Kurdistan. Its capital was Ganzak. Atropatene also was the nominal ancestor of the name Azarbaijan.

  • 1 History
  • 2 List of rulers
  • 3 References
  • 4 Sources


Following the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC, the Macedonian''s conquests were divided amongst the diadochi at the Partition of Babylon. The former Achaemenid satrapy of Media was divided into two states: The greater (southern) part — Media Magna was assigned to Peithon, one of Alexander''s bodyguards. The smaller (northern) region, which had been the sub-satrapy of Matiene, became Media Atropatene under Atropates, the former Achaemenid governor of all Media, who had by then become father-in-law of Perdiccas, regent of Alexander''s designated successor.

Shortly thereafter, Atropates refused to pay allegiance to Seleucus, and made Media Atropatene an independent kingdom. It subsequently lost the Media prefix in the name and came to be known simply as Atropatene. The dynasty Atropates founded would rule the kingdom for several centuries, first independently, then as vassals of the Arsacids (who called it ''Aturpatakan''). It was eventually annexed by the Arsacids, who then lost it to the Sassanids, who again called it ''Aturpatakan''. At some time between 639 and 643 the Arabs under the Rashidun took control of the area during the reign of Umar. Atropatene formed a separate province of the early Islamic caliphate and was considered to have had strategic importance. It was during the Arab period that Middle Iranian (i.e. Parthian and Middle Persian) Aturpatakan became Adarbaygan, Adarbayjan or Azarbaijan.

List of rulers

Although the below list is incomplete, they are the known ruling Kings of Media Atropatene.

  • Atropates from 320s BC til an unknown date
  • Artabazanes (flourished 3rd century BC) ruled from 221 BC or 220 BC, a contemporary of the Seleucid Greek King Antiochus III the Great. He is said to be a paternal grandson of the Persian King Darius II from his marriage to the daughter of Gobryas
  • Mithridates (100 BC-66 BC), ruled from 67 BC to ca. 66 BC who was a son-in-law of the Armenian King Tigranes the Great
  • Darius I (ca.85 BC-ca.65 BC), ruled ca. 65 BC
  • Ariobarzanes I (ca.85 BC-56 BC), ruled from 65 BC to 56 BC
  • Artavasdes I (65 BC-20 BC), ruled from 56 BC until 31 BC. Son of the above named Ariobarzanes and a son-in-law of King Antiochus I Theos of Commagene
  • Asinnalus (flourished 1st century BC), ruled from 30 BC to an unknown date in the 20s BC
  • Ariobarzanes II (40 BC-4), ruled sometime from 28 BC to 20 BC until 4 and served as King of Armenia from 2 BC to 4
  • Artavasdes II, who served as Artavasdes III (20 BC-6), King of Media Atropatene and Armenia from 4 to 6
  • Artabanus (flourished second half of 1st century BC-38), grandson of Artavasdes I, ruled from 6 until 10
  • Vonones (flourished second half of 1st century BC-51), brother of Artabanus and ruled from 11? until 51
  • Pacorus (flourished 1st century & first half of 2nd century), son of the above named and ruled from 51 until 78

Tags:Abbasid, Abbasid Caliphate, Achaemenid, Achaemenid Empire, Alexander the Great, Arab, Ariobarzanes, Armenia, Armenian, Artabanus, Atabegs of Yazd, Atropatene, Azarbaijan, Babylon, Caliphate, Capital, Damavand, Darius I, Darius II, Darius III, Elam, Elamite, Gobryas, Greek, History of Iran, Hotaki, Ilkhanate, Iran, Iranian, Islamic, Islamic Republic, Islamic Republic of Iran, Kurdistan, Macedonia, Media, Mithridates, Monarchy, Muzaffarid, Pahlavi, Parthian, Parthian Empire, Perdiccas, Persia, Persian, Pishdadian, Proto-Elamite, Qajar, Rashidun, Safavid, Safavid Empire, Saffarid, Samanid, Seleucid, Tahirid, Tigranes, Timurid, Timurid dynasty, Umayyad, Wikipedia, Yazd, Zand

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