Etymology

The name “Āzar” (Persian: آذر‎) means Fire and baijan was originally known as “Pāyegān” (Persian: پایگان‎) meaning Guardian/Protector (Āzar Pāyegān = “Guardians of Fire”) (Persian: آذر پایگان‎). Such name roots back to the Zoroastrianism era of Persia (Iran). After the Muslim conquest of Persia many Persian words lost their original form as in Arabic there are no letter for pronouncing “G / P / ZH / CH”; hence, “Azar Paigān” came to be known as Azarbaijan (e.g., the Persian language in Persian is now both known as Pārsi (Persian: پارسی‎) and Fārsi due to the Arab invasion of Greater Iran and the great resistance of Iranians around the north.
According to an alternate etymology, the name of Azerbaijan derives from that of Atropates, a Persian satrap under the Achaemenid Empire, who was later reinstated as the satrap of Media under Alexander the Great. The original etymology of this name is thought to have its roots in the once-dominant Zoroastrian religion. In the Avesta, Frawardin Yasht (“Hymn to the Guardian Angels”), there is a mention of âterepâtahe ashaonô fravashîm ýazamaide, which literally translates from Avestan as “we worship the Fravashi of the holy Atropatene”.
Atropates ruled over the region of Atropatene (present Iranian Azerbaijan). The name “Atropates” itself is the Greek transliteration of an Old Iranian, probably Median, compounded name with the meaning “Protected by the (Holy) Fire” or “The Land of the (Holy) Fire”. The Greek name is mentioned by Diodorus Siculus and Strabo. Over the span of millennia the name evolved to Āturpātākān then to Ādharbādhagān, Ādharbāyagān, Āzarbāydjān and present-day Azerbaijan. The word is translatable as “The Treasury” and “The Treasurer” of fire or “The Land of the Fire” in Modern Persian.

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