ARRAÚN, a region of eastern Transcaucasia. It lay essentially within the great triangle of land, lowland in the east but rising to mountains in the west, formed by the junction of the Rivers Kur or Kura and Araxes or Aras. It was thus bounded on the north by ˆerva@n; on the north west by ˆakk^ (Armenian ˆak¿e) and Kaxeti in eastern Georgia; on the south by Armenia and Azerbaijan; and on the southeast by the Caspian coastal province of Mu@qa@n or Mu@ga@n. Arra@n's situation between these two great rivers explains the name Bayn al-nahrayn given to it by Islamic geographers.
In pre-Islamic times, Arra@n formed the heart of the province of Caucasian Albania (to be distinguished of course from the Balkan Albania), which in fact embraced all eastern Transcaucasia, i.e. Arra@n here was a wider concept than that of post-Islamic Arra@n, and corresponded grosso modo with the modern Azerbaijan SSR. The Armenian term for this land was A¬vank¿ or R˜aneak¿, and the history of the region, from mythical times till the 10th century A.D., is given by the Armenian historian Movse@s Dasxuranc¿i (formerly referred to as Ka¬ankatwac¿i) (Armenian text ed. M. Emin, Moscow, 1860, repr. Tiflis, 1912, annotated tr. C. J. F. Dowsett, The History of the Caucasian Albanians, London, 1961 ). The Greeks knew the people as Albanoi, and the Georgians knew them as Rani, a form taken over in an arabized form for the early Islamic geographical term al-Ra@n (pronounced ar-Ra@n). Early Arra@n seems to have displayed the famed linguistic complexity of the Caucasus as a whole. Strabo 9.4, cites Theophanes of Mytilene that Albania had at least 26 different languages or dialects, and the distinctive Albanian speech persisted into early Islamic times, since Armenian and Islamic sources alike stigmatize the tongue as cacophonous and barbarous, with Esátáakòr^, p. 192, Ebn H®awqal, p. 349, tr. Kramers-Wiet, p. 342, and Moqaddas^, p. 378, recording that al-Ra@n^ya was still spoken in the capital Barda¿a or Bardòa¿a in their time (4th/10th century). Hence Markwart, EÚra@nÞahr, p. 117, was doubtless correct when he spoke of Albania/Arra@n as being pre-eminently a non-Indo-European land; the Albanian tongue must have belonged to the Eastern Caucasian linguistic family, as is indicated by the recently-discovered table of the 52 characters of the Albanian alphabet, in which a few inscriptions have also been found by Soviet archeologists (see V. Minorsky, A History of Sharva@n and Darband in the 10th-11th Centuries, Cambridge, 1958, pp. 11-12; the present Udi language, surviving vestigially in ˆakk^, is considered to be a remnant of it).
Albania became Christianized at approximately the same time as was Armenia; Movse@s Dasxuranc¿i places this event in the reign of King Urμnayr in the mid-4th century, and states that St. Gregory, founder of the Armenian national church, was responsible for the monarch's baptism. The Monophysite Albanian church remained separate from the Armenian one till the end of the 7th century, when the two were united under stimulus from the Arabs. Until well into medieval Islamic times, Muslims must have been only a minority in Arra@n; Moqaddas^, p. 376, writing towards the end of the 4th/10th century, describes the Christians as still a majority in the towns of Qabala and ˆa@bara@n (near Quba). In the Byzantino-Sasanian wars, the Albanian kings sometimes had to supply contingents for the imperial Persian army, and Urμnayr participated with ˆa@pu@r II in the siege of AÚmed in 359, but more generally they combined with their fellow-Christian Armenian princes in resisting Persian expansion into Transcaucasia and Armenia, at times even paying tribute to the Byzantines.
Towards the end of the 5th century, the ancient ruling dynasty of Albania seems to have died out, and in the later 6th century and at the time of the Arab invasions some decades after then, Albania was ruled by princes of the Mihra@n family, who claimed descent from the Sasanians but were probably of Parthian origin. Their most famous representatives in the 7th century were Varaz-Grigor, his son ÔuanÞe@r (Persian Ôava@nÞ^r) and Varaz-Trdat I. The military exploits of the latter two potentates in the period of the first Arab invasions of Armenia and Arra@n figure prominently in the 2nd book of Movse@s Dasxuranc¿i's chronicle. These princes bore the Persian title of Arra@nÞa@h (in certain of the Arabic sources corruptly written as L^ra@nÞa@h), Armenian EranÞahi¿ or ArμanÞahi¿.
During the time of the orthodox caliphs, and in particular during ¿Ot¯ma@n's caliphate, such Arab commanders as Salma@n b. Rab^¿a al-Ba@hel^ and H®ab^b b. Maslama led raids into Armenia and Arra@n, and in ca. 24/645 conquered the chief town of Arra@n, Partaw (Arabic Barda¿a, q.v.). Henceforth, Barda¿a was always to be the bastion of Islam in these parts, though Muslim garrisons were placed in other urban centers such as Baylaqa@n, ˆamku@r, and Qabala, and these were used as bases for raids northwards to Darband (q.v.) or Ba@b al-Abwa@b and the Khazar lands (see D. M. Dunlop, The History of the Jewish Khazars, Princeton, 1954, pp. 46ff., and Minorsky, A History of Sharva@n and Darband, pp. 17ff.). Nevertheless, Arab control over these Caucasian march lands was of necessity light and often uncertain, in the face of periodic invasions by such northern peoples as the Alans and Khazars. Arra@n remained essentially a frontier province, left to its native princes, who were led by the Mihranids (these last being accorded by the Arabs the title of Batár^q or Patricius, cf. Ya¿qu@b^, II, p. 562), on condition of the payment of tribute to the Muslim exchequer. In practice, the princes of Arra@n in the time of Varaz-Trdat I (d. 705) paid tribute simultaneously to the Arabs, the Byzantines and the Khazars, according to Movse@s Dasxuranc¿i (3.12; in regard to the first two powers, probably as a result of the treaty of 685 between Justinian II and ¿Abd-al-Malek providing for the division between the two empires of the tribute of Armenia and Arra@n), an indication of the confused state of affairs in eastern Transcaucasia.
Since the people of Arra@n remained substantially Christian, they were treated in Islamic law as Ahl al-D¨emma, hence liable to the poll-tax or èezya. This was paid in coins with Islamic superscriptions, and under the Omayyads sporadically and under the ¿Abbasids regularly, dirhams were issued from a mint called “Arra@n” (probably either Barda¿a or Baylaqa@n), in the case of the ¿Abbasids, from 145/762 onwards, continuing into the 3rd/9th century (see E. von Zambaur, Die Münzprägungen des Islams, zeitlich und örtlich geordnet I, Wiesbaden, 1968, p. 39; coins were also minted with the name “Arra@n” under the Il-khanids in the first half of the 8th/14th century). There was also in Arra@n, as in the whole Caucasian region, much intermarriage between Christians and Muslims, and Movse@s Dasxuranc¿i (2.32) inveighs against those Albanian nobles who polluted the race and their faith by marriages with the infidels.
The Mihranids were extinguished through the assassination of Varaz-Trdat II by Nerseh P¿i¬ippean in 207/822-23, and the Armenian prince of ˆakk^ to the north of Arra@n, Sahl i Smbatean (Arabic, Sahl b. Sonba@tá), extended his power over Arra@n. The province was in these years much disturbed by the revolt of the K¨orram^ rebel Ba@bak, whose center was at Badòdò just to the south of the Araxes, and it was Sahl who delivered up Ba@bak to the caliph al-Mo¿tasáem in 223/837-38 (see Minorsky, “Caucasica IV. 1. Sahl ibn-Sunba@tá of Shakk^ and Arra@n,” in BSOAS 15, 1953, pp. 504-14). The middle years of this century saw an intensification, however, of the policies of Islamization under al-Motawakkel's governor in Armenia Bog@a@ al-Kab^r, when various Armenian and Albanian local princes were deported to Baghdad and Samarra. But in 247/861-62 the caliph recognized as supreme prince in these regions the Bagratuni AÞot I (Arabic, AÞu@tá), who in 272/886 received the title of king. As ¿Abbasid control over the outlying parts of the caliphate decayed, so its authority in the Caucasian region weakened, allowing local Muslim military commanders and adventurers, like the Iranian Sajids (q.v.) of Azerbaijan and then, in the 4th/10th century, the Daylam^ Mosaferids (q.v.); also called Sallarids or Kangarids to assume control in eastern Transcaucasia south of ˆerva@n (which now had its own line of ˆerva@nÞa@hs, the Arab Yaz^d^s, based on the town of ˆerva@n). The northern branch of the Mosaferids, a family originally from T®a@rom in Daylam, ruled in Arra@n under Marzoba@n b. Moháammad b. Mosa@fer (330-46/941-57), followed by his son Ebra@h^m, extending momentarily as far north as Darband, but failing to maintain their position in Azerbaijan and Arra@n under pressure from the Kurdish Rawwadids of Tabr^z. It was during the Mosaferids' rule in Arra@n that the Scandinavian Ru@s mounted their celebrated raid up the Kur valley to Barda¿a (332/943-4).
The Islamic geographers of this period give descriptions of Arra@n in general and of its towns (Barda¿a, Baylaqa@n, Ganèa and ˆamku@r or al-Motawakkel^ya) in particular, describing their agricultural fertility and their importance for commerce across the Caucasus, despite their vulnerability to attacks from the Georgians and the Ru@s. The H®odu@d al-¿a@lam, (tr. Minorsky pp. 142-45, commentary pp. 396-403), considers Azerbaijan, Arra@n, and Armenia as the pleasantest of all the Islamic lands. It is also interesting that Ebn H®awqal (pp. 349, 356, tr. pp. 342, 348) speaks of “the two Arra@ns,” apparently meaning Arra@n proper to the south of the Kur and also ˆerva@n to its north. The native princes of Arra@n were in the later 4th/10th century and early 5th/11th century hard-pressed by the Kurdish Shaddadids established in Ganèa from 360/970 onwards, who also captured the Armenian city of Dvin. It seems that certain of the princes of Arra@n tried to preserve their position by marriage alliances with the Rawwadids. Also, after this time, when the Shaddadids were in full occupation of Arra@n, the Persian poet Qatára@n (q.v.), who flourished in the middle decades of the 5th/11th century and was the eulogist of various Muslim potentates of Azerbaijan and Arra@n, praises the Shaddadid Am^r Fazμlu@n b. Fazμl II b. Abi÷l-Aswa@r (465-67/1073-75) for his descent on the maternal side from the Bagratunis, indicating further Muslim-Christian alliances (see Minorsky, H®odu@d al-¿a@lam, pp. 396-97, and idem, Studies in Caucasian History, London, 1953, chaps. i and ii). The last known native prince of Arra@n from the old families mentioned by a continuator of Movse@s Dasxuranc¿i (3.23) is the ruler Senek¿erim of Yovhanne@s son of IÞxan, king of the Armenian province of Siwnik¿ or Sisakan (the mountainous region lying between Lake Sevan, later Turkish Gök±e, and the Araxes, hence to the west of Arra@n, see Markwart, EÚra@nÞahr, pp. 120-22, and Minorsky, op. cit., pp. 68-70) in the last years of the 11th century (according to Brosset, ca. 1080-1105).
The eastern Caucasus came under Saljuq control in the middle years of the 5th/11th century, and in ca. 468/1075-56 Sultan Alp Arsla@n sent his slave commander ¿Ema@d-al-d^n Savtigin as governor of Azerbaijan and Arra@n, displacing the last Shaddadids. From this period begins the increasing Turkicization of Arra@n, under the Saljuqs and then under the line of Eldigüzid or Ildeñizid Atabegs, who had to defend eastern Transcaucasia against the attacks of the resurgent Georgian kings. The influx of Oghuz and other Türkmens was accentuated by the Mongol invasions. Barda¿a had never revived fully after the Ru@s sacking, and is little mentioned in the sources. It seems to have been replaced as the capital of Arra@n by Baylaqa@n, but this was in turn sacked by the Mongols en route for ˆerva@n and Darband in spring 1221 (Ôovayn^, tr. Boyle, I, pp. 148-49); after this, Ganèa (q.v.), the later Elizavetopol and now Kirova@ba@d, rose to prominence, the southern part of Arra@n now becoming known as Qaraba@g@ (q.v.). The old name Arra@n drops out of use, and the history and fortunes of the region now merge into those of Azerbaijan (q.v.)
See also Albania.
Bibliography : See also Sam¿a@n^ (Hyderabad), VI pp. 49-50 (a few ¿olama@÷ with the nesba “al-Ra@n^”); Ya@qu@t (Beirut), III, pp. 18-19; A. Manandian, Beiträge zur albanischen Geschichte, Leipzig, 1897. Markwart, EÚra@nÞahr, pp. 116-19. Idem, Osteuropäische und ostasiatische Streifzüge, Leipzig, 1903, pp. 443 ff. Le Strange, Lands, pp. 176-79. J. Laurent, L'Arme‚nie entre Byzance et l'Islam, Paris, 1919. P. Schwarz, Iran, pp. 978ff., 1098-1100, 1139, 1144-45. V. Minorsky and Cl. Cahen, “Le recueil transcaucasien de Mas¿ûd b. Nâmdâr (de‚but du VIe/XIIe siecle),” JA, 1949, pp. 93-142. Minorsky, “Caucasica IV,” BSOAS 15, 1953, pp. 504-29. Zeki Velidi Togan, “Arrân,” in IA I, pp. 596-98.
(C. E. Bosworth)