Azerbaijan International

Autumn 2004 (12.3)
Page 23

Remembering Igrar Aliyev

Historian of Ancient Azerbaijan

Reknown historian Igrar Habib oghlu Aliyev (1924-2004), esteemed for his research into Azerbaijan's ancient history, passed away on June 11, 2004. He was 80 years old.

Dr. Aliyev was the first Azerbaijani scholar to examine the history of the ancient states known as Media (beginning in the 9th century B.C.) and Atropatena (4th-2nd century B.C.), both of which played a great role in the ancient history of Azerbaijan and Iran.

Photo: Dr. Igrar Aliyev, Historian

Igrar Aliyev was revered for his encyclopedic knowledge of history. He knew ancient languages and was the single scholar in Azerbaijan who could read Sumerian, Akkadian, Assyrian and Persian cuneiform scripts, equipping him to be a rare professional in the field of these ancient cultures. His works, which were devoted to the ethnic history of Azerbaijan as well as the history and culture of ancient Media, Atropatena and Caucasian Albania, are considered to be a valuable contribution to Azerbaijani historiography.

Aliyev authored 160 scientific publications, including major books, many of which are devoted to the history of the Median kingdom that was situated in what is now Southern Azerbaijan [now located in Iran]. His major books include: "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" (in Persian, published in Iran).

Aliyev also was the major author of the first volume of the "History Of Azerbaijan" (Baku, 1998) and it was under his supervision as editor that the entire series of seven volumes was rewritten and published in the new Latin-modified script, replacing the Cyrillic script that was used during the Soviet period.

Professor Aliyev directed the Institute of History of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences. In 2001, he was elected as an Academician of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences. He belonged to the scientific school of the world-famous Soviet Academician V. V. Struve, who was a leading specialist in the field of ancient Oriental studies.

Aliyev was not immune to controversy; his works were often severely criticized. He was against a simplified approach to history, insisting that the history of Azerbaijan must be written based only on facts, not on nationalist and ideological delusions. His memory and courage will live on in the hearts of serious scientists and students of Azerbaijani history.

Azerbaijan International (12.3) Autumn 2004.
© Azerbaijan International 2004. All rights reserved.

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