Atropatene, also known as Media Atropatene, 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 northern Iran. Its capital was Ganzak. Atropatene also was the nominal ancestor of the name of the historic Azerbaijan region in Iran.
In 331 BC, during the Battle of Gaugamela between the Achaemenid ruler Darius III and Alexander the Great, albans, sakasens, cadusians fought alongside the army of Achaemenid in the army of Atropates. After this war, which resulted in the victory of Alexander the Great and the fall of the Achaemenid Empire, Atropates expressed his loyalty to Alexander. In 328-327 BC, Alexander appointed him governor of Media. 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. Antiochus III (223-187 B.C.) came to power in the State of Seleucids which was one of the states that emerged in the east after the death of Alexander the Great. In 223 B.C. attack toward Atropatene resulted in victory. Consequently, the king of Atropatene- Artabazan accepted the ascendency of Seleucids and became dependent on it, on the other hand, interior independence was preserved… At the same time, the Roman Empire came into sight in the Mediterranean basin and was trying to spread its power in the East and at the battle of Magnesia Selevkids were defeated by Romans in 190 B.C. Then, Parthia and Atropatene considered Rome a threat to their independence and therefore allied themselves in the struggle against Rome. After the battle between Rome and the Parthians in 38 BC, the Romans won and the Roman general Antony attacked Fraaspa (36 BC), one of the central cities of Atropatene. The city was surrounded by strong defences. After a long blockade, Antony receded, losing approximately thirty-five thousand soldiers. In the face of Parthian attempts to annex Atropatene, Atropatene began to draw closer to Rome, thus, Ariobarzan II, who came to power in Atropatene in 20 BC, lived in Rome for about ten years. 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’.