Dr. Vugar Sultanzade,
Eastern Mediterranean University, Cyprus
The article deals with the origin of the wordsAstara and Astarabad(now Gorgan), that are the names of the towns located at the southwestern and southeastern corners of Caspian Sea, respectively. The etymology of the toponymAstara is generally explained by the geographical location of the city. Many researchers argues that Astara means ‘lowland’ because of the Old Turkic word ast ‘low’. Some argue that the etymology of the name Astara relates to the tribe As. According to the third opinion, Astara is a Talish name, etymologically consisting of the words h(osto) ‘plain; smooth’ and ro ‘road’. As for the etymology of the name Astarabad, “one tradition connects it with Yazīd and says that he founded it on the site of the village of Astarak (other popular etymologies connect the town’s name with the Persian word setāra (star) or astar(mule)” (Bosworth, Blair). All above-mentioned etymologies are disputable. To our opinion, the etymology of these related toponyms of Caspian regionis connected with the goddess known under names Ishtar (Babylonian mythology), Astarta/ Astarte (Greek), Astara (Persian) and Astar, Ishdar, Istaru (other languages). In ancient times, the cult of this goddess was very popular in the mentioned region. The paper explains the reasons why this etymology is convincing.
The above abstract is part of the article which was accepted at The First International Conference on Current Issues of Languages, Dialects and Linguistics (WWW.LLLD.IR) & The Third National Conference on English Studies and Linguistics (WWW.ELTL.IR) , 2-3 February 2017 , Iran-Ahwaz.