Ancient Persia

Women's Lives in Ancient Persia

Any analysis of women's lives and status in ancient times is a very complicated task and needs time and space. This very brief article intends to provide much needed basic information based on archaeological evidence and will primarily deal with women in Achaemenid times. The material is based on Fortification and Treasury texts discovered at Persepolis (509-438 BC) and documents recovered at Susa Babylonia and other major Mesopotamian cities of the period. These texts provide us with a unique insight into the social and economic situation of both the royal and non-royal women at the time. In the texts individual women are identified, payments of rations and wages for male and female workers are documented and sealed orders by the royal women themselves or their agents gives us valuable information on how these powerful women managed their wealth.

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The Laws of Ancient Persians

The Laws of the Medes and Persians have acquired universal fame; and the following pages will show how fully deserved that fame was. Iranian history starts in the beginnings of human life on earth, and yet the first Iranian ruling house was a dynasty of lawgivers. Hence Iranian law began to take shape ever since humanity started forming itself society, and indeed that happened far far away in the past when we consider that man has been living on this globe for over ten million years, or probably for much more many ages than that huge period of time.

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Marriage in Ancient Iran

Lack of documented sources and evidences makes it difficult to offer a well-documented survey, far from any presuppositions and pre-judgments, on the subject of identification and distinction of different forms of marriage in Ancient Iran. Therefore, in order to avoid any baseless and unjustifiable speculations, we have to look at the problem from the perspective of the few remaining Pahlavi texts and also those relevant texts written during Islamic era of Iranian civilization.

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The History of Medicine in Ancient Persia

The history of medicine in Iran is as old and as rich as its civilization. In the Avesta, science and medicine rise above class, ethnicity, nationality, race, gender and religion. Some of the earliest practices of ancient Iranian medicine have been documented in the Avesta and other Zoroastrian religious texts.

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Insurance in Ancient Iran

One of the measures taking place in the time of world Achaemenian government was establishing a law known today as insurance. Achaemenian monarchs were the first insured their people and made it official by registering the insuring process in governmental notary offices. The insurance tradition was performed each year in Norouz (beginning of the Iranian New Year); the heads of different ethnic groups as well as others willing to take part, presented gifts to the monarch.

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Medicine in Avesta and Ancient Iran

One of the earliest lawmakers in the history of civilization is the Babylonian king, Hammurabi (1728-1686 B.C.. A total of 282 laws known as the code of Hammurabi have been recognized. (1) The code clearly illustrates its influence in the Judaic and Islamic laws. Law no: 218 states: "If a physician performed a major operation on a seignior with bronze lancet and caused the seignior's death, or he opened up the eye-socket of a seignior and has destroyed the seignior's eye, they shall cut off his hand".

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Women in Ancient Persia, 559-331 B.C

by Maria Brosius. 260 pgs. Questia Book. Clarendon Press Oxford Publication

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Rituals of Iran, Marriage Ceremony, History And Symbolism

The Iranian wedding ceremony despite itslocal and regional variations, like many other rituals in the country goesback to the ancient Zoroastrian tradition. This was the religion of Iranbefore the advent of Islam 1400 years ago. Though the concepts and theoryof the marriage have changed drastically by Quran and Islamic traditions,the actual ceremonies have remained more or less the same.

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Iran's Contribution to the World - Games and Sports

Polo (Chowgan) - is an ancient Persian game. Iranians call it Chowgan (chow to be pronounced like tow, and gan like gun). The oldest mention of this game is in Ferdosi's Shahnameh (composed about 1,000 years ago) where the game played between Siyavash and his Persian retinue in one side and Afrasiyab, the Tooranian King and his brother Garsivaz, on the other is described in the form of poetry.

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Jewelry and Makeup in Ancient Persia

Archaeological finds in Iran show that women and men applied makeup and arrayed themselves with ornaments approximately 10,000 years ago, a trend which began from religious convictions rather than mere beautification motivations. Archaeologists have discovered various instruments of make-up and ornamental items in the Burnt City, which date back to the third millennium BCE.

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Houses in Ancient Persia

In attempting to describe Persian houses during the Achaemenid period,it is necessaary to consider several factors, such as architectural styles and building techniques used in the middle east before ,during and after the Achaemenid period, and archaeological finds. However, firstly one should look at the people themselves and the climate they lived in and the building materials that were readily available, or could be obtained through trade.

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Ancient Persian Festivals

IRANIAN NEW YEAR NO RUZ , by Massoume Price. No Ruz, new day or New Year as the Iranians call it, is a celebration of spring Equinox. It has been celebrated by all the major cultures of ancient Mesopotamia. Sumerians, 3000BC, Babylonians 2000 BC, the ancient kingdom of Elam in Southern Persia 2000BC, Akaddians all have been celebrating it in one form or another. What we have today as No Ruz with its' uniquely Iranian characteristics has been celebrated for at least 3000 years and is deeply rooted in the traditions of Zoroastrian belief system.

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Family Law in Ancient Iran

Mazdean family law is the most extensive and involved section of the civil code as set forth in the few surviving Middle Persian legal texts, especially the Sasanian lawbook entitled MÃ-dayÃ-n î hazÃ-r dÃ-destÃ-n. It comprises a medley of orthodox legislation (kardag) and revisions (dÃ-destÃ-n) enacted by more liberal jurists and dignitaries (dastwarÃ-n, wêhÃ-n "sages"); such revisions were a source of continual controversy and led to the emergence of opposing schools of jurisprudence. In these disputes a remarkable attempt at improving the social status of women, minors, and to a lesser extent bondsmen is apparent (see citizenship ii).

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Economy in the Achaemenid Period

The Achaemenid empire, extending from the Indus river to the Aegean sea, comprised such economically developed countries as Egypt, Syria, Phoenicia, Babylonia, Elam, and Asia Minor, lands which had their long traditions of social institutions, as well as Sakai, Massagetai, Lycians, Libyans, Nubians and other tribes undergoing the disintegration of the primitive-communal phase. Therefore, the socioeconomic structure of the empire was characterized by extreme diversity (Dandamaev and Lukonin, pp. 95-96). For this reason the empire remained a relatively decentralized state with each ethnic province honoring local customs and traditions (idem, pp. 90-91).

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Achaemenids Laws and Justice

Cyrus II and Darius I introduce each number of new laws. These, particularly civil law, based on the law ancient Persian strongly influenced by those of other kingdoms of the ancient near East. No code of law has unfortunately survived, outside of the cylinder of Cyrus that more is not really one. This document, sometimes regarded as the first known text dealing with human rights, describes an altruistic political vision of society in this period:

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Tomb of Xerxes

IRAN: Naqsh-i-Rustam. Tomb of Xerxes (Tomb II), General View

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Xerxes and Fire Altar

IRAN: Naqsh-i-Rustam. Tomb of Xerxes, King, God, and Fire Altar in the Top Register.

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Tomb of Artaxerxes I

IRAN: Naqsh-i-Rustam - Tomb of Artaxerxes I. Top Register, Showing King, God, Fire Altar, and Throne Bearers, with Weapon Bearers and Guard on Left Frame.

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Tomb of Darius II (Tomb IV)

IRAN: Naqsh-i-Rustam - Tomb of Darius II (Tomb IV). General View with the Tower in the Left Foreground.

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IRAN: Naqsh-i-Rustam Environs - Vaulted Tomb

IRAN: Naqsh-i-Rustam Environs - Vaulted Tomb Hewn into a Boulder.

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Pasargadae - Close-up View of the Tomb of Cyrus

IRAN: Pasargadae - Close-up View of the Tomb of Cyrus the Great.

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Sculpture of a Persian's Head

IRAN: Persepolis - Baked Clay Sculpture of a Persian's Head Front View, Found Near NE Corner of the Terrace.

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Sculpture of a Persian's Head (Side View)

IRAN: Persepolis - Baked Clay Sculpture of a Persian's Head. Side View, Found Near NE Corner of the Terrace.

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Bronze Pedestal of Three Lions

IRAN: Persepolis - Detail of the Bronze Pedestal of Three Lions, Found in the Treasury.

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Two Bronze Horses

IRAN: Persepolis - Two Bronze Horses from the Portico of the Throne Hall.

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Persepolis - Bronze Pedestal of Three Lions

IRAN: Persepolis - Bronze Pedestal of Three Lions, Found in the Treasury

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Ram Statuette - Headed God Harsaphes

IRAN: Persepolis - Bronze Patinated Statuette of the Upper Part of the Ram. Headed God Harsaphes, Front View, Found Near the Entrance of the Treasury.

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KA'BAH-I-ZARDUSHT

PERSEPOLIS AND ANCIENT IRAN: KA'BAH-I-ZARDUSHT

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The Early Achaemenid Persian Army - Equipment

Herodotus described the equipment of the Median and Persian infantry: "They wore soft caps called tiaras, multicoloured sleeved tunics with iron scale armour looking like the scales of fish, and trousers. Instead of aspides they carried gerrha with their bows cases slung below them. They carried short spears, large bows, cane arrows and daggers hanging from their belts beside the right thigh."

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The Persian Wars

In the 5th century BC the vast Persian Empire attempted to conquer Greece. If the Persians had succeeded, they would have set up local tyrants, called satraps, to rule Greece and would have crushed the first stirrings of democracy in Europe. The survival of Greek culture and political ideals depended on the ability of the small, disunited Greek city-states to band together and defend themselves against Persia's overwhelming strength. The struggle, known in Western history as the Persian Wars, or Greco-Persian Wars, lasted 20 years--from 499 to 479 BC.

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The Persian Immortals

Immortals: Greek name for an elite regiment in the ancient Achaemenid empire. In his description of the battle of Thermopylae (480 BCE), the Greek researcher Herodotus mentions a Persian elite corps which he calls the Ten Thousand or the Athanatoi, the 'Immortals'. He describes them as a body of picked Persians under the leadership of Hydarnes, the son of Hydarnes. This corps was known as the Immortals, because it was invariably kept up to strength; if a man was killed or fell sick, the vacancy he left was at once filled, so that the total strength of the corps was never less -and never more- than ten thousand.

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History of Iran: Achaemenid Army

he Achaemenian/Achaemenid Army is well known through descriptions by Herodotus, Xenophon, and Arrian as well as by illustrations on Persepolitan and Greco-Persian monuments. Of particular importance for the topic are the Greek representations of Persian warriors and the evidence of the so-called Alexander Sarcophagus from Sidon. The Persians whom Cyrus the Great united did not possess a professional army: as in days of old, the "people" of a region was represented by its backbone, the "military force," so the two words were used synonymously in one Old Persian term, kara (cognate with Lithuanian karias/karis "war, army," Gothic harjis "army," and German Heer "army,"), a sense still retained in the New Persian term kas-o kar "relatives and supporters."

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Alexander Defeats the Persians, 331 BC

Alexander began his war against the Persians in 334 BC. At the time the Macedonian leader was twenty-two years old. At his death eleven years later, Alexander ruled the largest empire of the ancient world. His victory at the battle of Gaugamela on the Persian plains was a decisive conquest that insured the defeat of his Persian rival King Darius III.

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History of Iran: Parthian Army

The Greco-Persian wars and Alexander's victories proved that light-armed troops could not stop heavy, well-trained, and brilliantly led infantry of the type of hoplites or phalanx. These could only be encountered with heavily armed and highly professional cavalry causing disorder in the massed ranks and then attacking them on vulnerable points with bowshots capable of piercing armour and lances effective against shields. This lesson went home with the Parthians who in ousting the Seleucids from Iran had ample opportunity to experience the effect of heavily armed professional infantry led by Macedonian kings, and soon came to learn about the armament, tactics, and strategy of the Roman empire as well. So they formed their armies on sound bases, taking into consideration what was needed and what was available to them.

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Achaemenid Imperial Army

The Achaemenian/Achaemenid army is well known through descriptions by Herodotus, Xenophon, and Arrian as well as by illustrations on Persepolitan and Greco-Persian monuments. Of particular importance for the topic are the Greek representations of Persian warriors and the evidence of the so-called Alexander Sarcophagus from Sidon The Persians whom Cyrus united did not possess a professional army: as in days of old, the "people" of a region was represented by its backbone, the "military force," so the two words were used synonymously in one Old Persian term, k�gra (cognate with Lithuaniank�grias/k�gris "war, army," Gothic harjis "army," and German Heer "army," , a sense still retained in the New Persian term kas-o k�gr "relatives and supporters."

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Achaemenid Army

After Kuroush (Cyrus) overthrew Astayges, unifying the Median and Persian tribes, with himself at the helm, he continued to expand his empire. Though Kuroush was immortalized in the bible for his great tolerance, his military genius helped him overcome many enemies in combat. He trained his soldiers through hefty routines to condition them for combat. During his expansion westward Kuroush battled the armies of Croseus, king of Lydia. Babylon was alarmed, but Kuroush in act of pure political savy, assured Babylon that he was not contemplating attacking them. At that time war in mountainous regions was seasonal. Fighting through the summers and taking a break during the harsh long winters. Kuroush decided to attack early in Spring, when the mountain passes had opened, but the Lydians were still unsuspecting. The Lydians had a formidable cavalry. To solve this issue Kuroush set camels up in front of his army. The ghastly smell from the camels terrified the Lydian horses who fled, leaving their masters hopeless. After conquering Lydia, with Babylon pacified for the time-being, Kuroush set his sights on his eastern domain. Attacking tribes in Afghanistan and Central Asia until his empire had expanded into kingdoms such as Bactria and Sogdiana. Prepared for Babylon, Kuroush moved to attack Babylon. Most people were discontent with their king Nabonidus. The battle was short as Nabonidus soon fled.

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Ionian Revolt

In 539 BC, Cyrus the Great made himself the King of Kings, and ruled all of West Asia. Along the coast of Anatolia (modern Turkey), Cyrus conquered first the Lydians and then the Greek cities that had been dependent on Lydia (LIH-dee-uh). The people who lived in these Greek cities in Turkey were called Ionians (eye-OH-nee-anns). Cyrus and the Persians made some changes in Ionia - they charged higher taxes and imposed tyrants who were loyal to the Persians. So the Ionians were not happy.

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Campaigns of Darius I - Ionian Revolt

Ionia, on the central Western coast of Asia Minor and the adjacent islands was settled by the Greeks about 1000 BC. Between the 8th and 6th centuries BC, the Ionian cities of Miletus, Shmos, Ephesus, led the rest of Greece in trade, colonization, and culture. The region was dominated by Lydia from 550 BC and then by Persian rule after Cyrus the Great's conquest in 546 BC. The Ionian revolt against Persian rule in 499 BC was to last for 6 years and end, not only in defeat for the Ionians but with the enslavement of much of its people, economic ruin, subjugation, and the comparative eclipse of a once thriving culture.

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Battles of Cyrus II

Under the leadership of Cyrus II, the Persians revolted against Median rule and defeated the Median King Astages and gained their freedom. The victory was initiated by Harpagus (a Median general) who sought revenge for the death of his son by Astages. Harpagus persauded others in the Median nobility to overthrow the harsh rule of their king in favour of Cyrus. The Median army was defeated after a short battle as many changed sides or fled, Astages was captured. The Medians gained their freedom from Astages but now became the subjects of Persia.

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Persian Wars of Conquest

B.C. 550-512. Persian Empire versus Medes, Lydia, Babylon, Egypt and Scythia. The Persian Empire was the great rival of Ancient Greece during its Golden Age. It came to prominence under Cyrus the Great in 550 B.C., and lasted until it was overthrown by the Macedonians under Alexander the Great in 331 B.C.. During this period, Persia was the largest, richest and most powerful empire the world had known, encompassing the formerly great kingdoms of Medes (modern Iran), Babylon (modern Iraq and Syria), Lydia (modern Turkey), and Egypt, and at its peak stretched from Thrace in Europe to India.

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The Battle of Marathon, 490 B.C.

The battle of Marathon is one of history's most famous military engagements. It is also one of the earliest recorded battles. Their victory over the Persian invaders gave the fledgling Greek city states confidence in their ability to defend themselves and belief in their continued existence. The battle is therefore considered a defining moment in the development of European culture. In September of 490 BC a Persian armada of 600 ships disgorged an invasion force of approximately 20,000 infantry and cavalry on Greek soil just north of Athens. Their mission was to crush the Greek states in retaliation for their support of their Ionian cousins who had revolted against Persian rule.

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First Persian War

Marathon (First Persian War) After the Ionian Revolt of 499 BC, the Persians and their king Darius wanted to conquer Greece more than ever. Persia wanted to extend its territory. Also, the Greeks had helped the Ionians to revolt against the Persians, and had marched to Sardis and burned the city. The Persians condemned the Greeks as invading terrorists.

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Thermopylae

Termopylae After the Athenians beat the Persians in the First Persian War, at the battle of Marathon, the Persians left the Greeks alone for ten years. The Persians were busy fighting a revolt in Egypt, and their king Darius had died. But as soon as Darius' son Xerxes (ZERK-sees) settled the Egyptian revolt, he began to plan how he would conquer those terrorists in Greece.

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Salamis - Second Persian War

The plan to stop the Persians at Thermopylae hadn't worked, and, in the late summer of 480 BC, the Persian army was marching south towards Athens. The Greeks got together to discuss what to do.

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Battle of Salamis

After the Battle of Thermopylae, Athens was in despair. The Athenians knew that their city would surely be destroyed by the Persians. There was simply no place between the Persians and Athens where the Greeks dared to risk battle. Most of the Athenians fled to the island of Salamis where they watched their city burn and placed their trust in the fleet.

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Platea - Persian Wars - Battle of Platea

Spartans, Tegeans, and Athenians fought the Persian army that remained in Greece, at the final battle on Greek soil of the Persian Wars, the Battle of Plataea, in 479 B.C. Xerxes and his fleet had returned to Persia, but Persian troops remained in Greece, under Mardonius. They stationed themselves for battle in a place suitable for their horsemen -- the plain. Under the Spartan leader Pausanias, the Greeks stationed themselves advantageously in the foothills of Mt. Cithaeron.

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Battle of Mycale

The Battle of Mycale was one of the two major battles that ended the Persian Wars and returned freedom to the Greek city-states. The battle took place on or about August 27, 479 BC outside the Ionian city of Samos. Mycale resulted in the destruction of the main Persian forces in Ionia, as well as their Mediterranean fleet. The Battle of Plataea on the same day on the Greek mainland was a victory as well, and the Persians were forced to leave both Greece and Ionia and retreat inland, thereby ending Persian rule. The battle is known to history through the writings of Herodotus of Halicarnassus.

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Battle of Cunaxa 410 B.C.

The Achaemenid King, Darius II died in 404 B.C. and was succeeded by his eldest son, Artaxerxes II. The death of Darius had precipitated a power struggle between Artaxerxes II and his brother, 'Cyrus, the younger', the satrap of Anatolia, which culminated in the battle of Cunaxa 401 B.C. near Babylon. A description of the battle is preserved in detail by Xenophon in his classic Anabasis as well as in Plutarch - Artaxerxes II.

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The Battle of Carrhae

It was probably on the third or fourth day after he had quitted the Euphrates that Crassus found himself approaching his enemy. After a hasty and hot march he had approached the banks of the Belik, when his scouts brought him word that they had fallen in with the Parthian army, which was advancing in force and seemingly full of confidence. Abgarus had recently quitted him on the plea of doing him some undefined service, but really to range himself on the side of his real friends, the Parthians. His officers now advised Crassus to encamp upon the river, and defer an engagement till the morrow; but he had no fears; his son, Publius, who had lately joined him with a body of Gallic horse sent by Julius Caesar, was anxious for the fray; and accordingly the Roman commander gave the order to his troops to take some refreshment as they stood, and then to push forward rapidly.

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Illustrated Persian Wars

Dr. J's Illustrated Persian Wars. The Classical Age begins with the monumental Greek victory over the Persians in what have become known to us as the Persian Wars. Pericles makes reference to these wars when he boasts about the previous generation of Athenians' success in "stemming the tide of foreign aggression." The Persian Wars were really a series of Persian versus Greek battles, in which Greek citizens from many city-states fought against the barbarian (as they saw it) invaders. The Persian Wars are said to have been provoked by the gradual rejection of Persian authority by the Greek colonies along the Ionian coast (across the Aegean Sea from Athens, on the shore of the continent of Asia) from 499-494 BC. Living in the shadow of the Persian Empire, and tired of paying tribute, some of the colonies (founded during the Archaic period during the Age of Expansion/Colonization) tried flexing their muscles and were immediately and utterly trounced by the much more formidable Persians. Once the Persians invaded Eretria, one of the big naysayers, and enslaved her population, Athens (Persia's next target) knew that trouble was coming down the pike and prepared as best she could...

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Persian Myths, The Gods of Ancient Persia

The religious texts of the Zoroastrians are rich with information on the ancient Persians and their gods. These texts include the Avesta and later sources such as the Bundahishn and Denkard. Within the Avesta, the gods, heroes and fabulous creatures mostly appear in the section known as the Yasht. Here, myths of 'pre-Zoroastrian' origin which reflect a pagan ideology are described in hymns dedicated to various gods.

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Encyclopedia Mythica: Persian Mythology

The beliefs and practices of the culturally and linguistically related group of ancient peoples who inhabited the Iranian Plateau and its borderlands, as well as areas of Central Asia from the Black Sea to Khotan (modern Ho-t'ien, China). Much of the information about Persian (old-Iranian) gods can be found in the religious texts from Zarathustra such as the Avesta, and in later sources such as the Bundahishn and the Denkard. The original Avesta dates back to 1400 - 1200 BCE but it was destroyed by Alexander the Great when he invaded Persia. The current version dates from the 13th or 14th century, and contains only a fragment of the original text.

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Avestae - History

Most of what we know about Persian gods comes to us from a document written by Zorasterians - the Avestae (prayer). At some time earlier than 2700 B.C.E. the Persians worshipped natural forces, as well as a social pantheon of gods. The supreme god was Ahura Mazdah the sky. Against him stood Ahriman, god of darkness. Between them stood Vayu, god of air and wind. The other gods with Vayu were Tishtrya, the rain god; and Anahita source of all water on earth , of human reproduction and the cosmic sea; and finally the often repeated disappearing god, named Rapithwin, lord of noonday heat and summer months who disappears beneath the ground when the demon of winter appears. Around 2700 B.C.E. the prophet Zoroaster sets down the inherent dualism of the Persian faith, and states that only Ahura Mazdah is worthy of worship. The end of the universe will result in good triumphing over evil. The Avestae consists of several books:

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Persian Mythology, Gods and Goddesses - Part 2

Iran Politics Club: Persian Mythology, Gods & Goddesses Part 2. Persian Mythology, Gods and Goddesses. A Pictorial Research and Guide

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Persian Mythology, Gods & Goddesses - Part 1

Iran Politics Club: Persian Mythology, Gods & Goddesses Part 1. Persian Mythology, Index of titles I. Persian Gods II. Persian Guardian-Messenger Gods and Goddesses (Yazatas) III. Persian Goddesses IV. Persian Arch-Angels and Angels (Amesha Spentas) V. Faravashis (Foruhars) VI. Persian Mythical Characters, Creatures and Plants VII. Persian Arch-Demons and Demonesses (Daevas and Drugs) VIII. Persian Minor Demons (Khord Daevas) IX... Persian Minor Demonesses (Khord Drugs)

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Demons in Ancient Iranian Literature

Iran Chamber Society: A Mythological Glance at Demons in Ancient Iranian Literature The Book of Kings (Shahnameh) has it that during the rule of the legendary king of Persian, Jamshid, demons worked as engineers and architects to build bathhouses, bridges and houses. As one can understand from Firdawsi's poems, demons were like humans or those with different, heretical religious beliefs. Probably they were polytheists and had remained faithful to the religion of their ancestors. Therefore, they were probably people who were backward in terms of civilization. They were hunters who lived in caves or were nomads and spent most of their lives in the mountains. Can't we take caves as symbol of black tents at those times?

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Ancient Iranian Mythology - CAIS

Contains several articles of Ancient Iranian Mythology

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A Religion Founded by the Prophet Zoroaster

The Mythology of Ancient Persia: Stems from A Religion Founded by the Prophet Zoroaster in the 6th century Ancient Persia occupied the land that is now modern Iran. Persia is a land of stark contrasts: a land of barren deserts and tropical jungles, of snowy mountains and fertile valleys. There are regions where apple trees and date palms grow within just a few miles of each other. The people who built the civilization there migrated into Iran from a region of Asia, in modern Kazakhstan east of the Volga river, from the 17th to the 12th centuries BCE. These people are now referred to as Indo-Aryans, and the language they spoke is the ancestor of many languages from Europe (including English) to India.

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THE PERSIAN WARS - The Size of Persian Fleet

The problem of the size of the Persian army can be illuminated by considering the size of the Persian fleet, since there must have been a proportion between the two forces. Herodotus reports that the fleet consisted of 1207 triremes and 3000 lesser fighting ships and supply ships (VII 89, 184). The figure of 1207 triremes is itemized by specifying the number of ships contributed by the several subjects and allies of the Persian Empire (VIII 89-95). Nobody has succeeded in proving that any of these partial figures is questionable; the contributions made by the Greek subjects of Persia corresponds to what we know to have been their naval strength in other episodes of Greek history. Herodotus' figures are confirmed by several other sources. The historian Darius (XI 3) states that the triremes were 1200 at the time of the muster at Doriskos; the orator Lysias (II 27) mentions an initial force of 1200 triremes, whereas the orator Isokrates mentions 1300 triremes at the beginning of the campaign (VII 49) and 1200 on the eve of the battle of Salamis (IV 93); Plato (Laws, III 699 B) speaking in general terms refers to "one thousand ships and more." In order to find a trace of disagreement it is necessary to refer to the narrative of the historian Ctesias, as summarized by the Byzantine writers of the ninth century, Photios; in this text the figure of the triremes is given as 1000, but the text contains such an accumulation of obviously wrong information that either Ktesias or Photios must be dismissed as totally unreliable.

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Reconstruction of Achaemenid Battle-Ship in Shiraz

After studying 47 Iranian and Aniranian historical resources an Achaemenid ship's original design was re-sketched. The archetype of this ship, which is a kind of "Three Room" model, was used as a battleship during Achaemenid dynasty. Now a small model of that ship has been made in Shiraz, Iran. In the construction of a new model of an Achaemenid battleship, which is made by experts of aero-marine research centre of Malek Ashtar University, all traditional and old techniques were respected.

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Bid to Find Lost Persian Armada

Archaeologists have embarked on an epic search for an ancient fleet of Persian ships that was destroyed in a violent storm off Greece in 492 BC... The team will search for sunken remains of the armada - sent by Persian king Darius to invade Greece - which was annihilated before reaching its target. [Ancient Persia "" Shipwrecks]

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Sunken Persian Warships

University of Colorado archaeologist, colleagues hot on the trail of ancient Persian warships Most useful research tool an octopus. CU-Boulder's Robert Hohlfelder enters the manned Thetis submersible submarine off the northern coast of Greece last October in search of sunken Persian warships. An international research team including a University of Colorado at Boulder professor has mounted a deep-water search off the northern coast of Greece in search of a fleet of Persian warships presumed lost in a massive ocean storm in 492 B.C. The armada of warships is believed to have been sent by Persian King Darius to invade Greece, according to ancient historical accounts. The research team included more than a dozen Greek, Canadian, American and Finnish scholars.

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Iran Bull Head

This dark grey limestone bull head, over six feet tall, was one of a pair of statues which flanked the entrance to the Throne Hall at Persepolis. The body of the bull, which was carved in relief on the wall of the portico, was left at the site. In preparation for its installation in the gallery, the subfloor was reinforced, and "I" beams were installed to support its weight.

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Iran Double Bull Capital

Double bull capital from Persepolis, as restored by sculptor Donato Bastiani. This column capital once supported a roof beam in the Apadana of Darius I (521-486 B.C.).

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Beaker With Geometric Designs And Birds

Archaeologists working in Iran at the site of Tepe Giyan during 1931 and 1932 excavated 119 burials dating to five successive periods. Among the vessels characteristic of the Giyan II Period were ones whose decoration combined geometric patterns with representations of small suns and birds. This beaker, acquired by the archaeologist Ernst Herzfeld prior to the 1930's excavations, thus can be dated by its decoration to Giyan II.

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Painted Jar

This handmade vessel has a lozenge pattern on the shoulder painted in black on a plum-red burnished surface. This type of ware and decoration are characteristic of a phase in the development of Iranian civilization on the central plateau that is often called "Cheshmeh Ali" after a site of that name near Tehran.

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COLOSSAL BULL HEAD

Carved in the court style typical of the Achaemenid Empire, this highly polished stone head originally belonged to one of two guardian bulls flanking the portico of the hundred-columned Throne Hall at Persepolis. The heads of the bulls projected in the round and the bodies were carved in relief on the sidewalls of the porch; the ears and horns had been added separately. The use of pairs of guardian figures such as these to protect important buildings was a common architectural feature in the ancient Near East.

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FRIEZE OF STRIDING LIONS

An Achaemenid artisan carved this piece of stone to represent part of a cloth canopy that was decorated with woven or appliquéd figures of rosettes and striding lions. Remnants of crenellations on the top of the block indicate that it belonged to the uppermost row of stones. The fringe along the lower edge, representing knotted cords ending in tassels, was partly chipped away in ancient times, perhaps before the stone was reused in the balustrade of a small stairway east of Darius' residential palace.

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FOUNDATION SLAB OF XERXES

This stone tablet inscribed with Babylonian cuneiform characters lists the nations under Persian rule shortly after the uprisings that occurred when Xerxes came to the throne. Although the tablet was intended as a foundation deposit to be placed beneath a corner of one of Xerxes' buildings, it apparently was never used. It was found, along with other tablets bearing the same text in Old Persian and Elamite, employed as the facing of a mud brick bench in the garrison quarters at Persepolis.

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KRATER WITH IBEXES

The geographical term "Susiana," referring to the area ruled in the historical period by the city of Susa, is also applied to the prehistoric cultures of lowland southwestern Iran. Representational designs such as the stylized wild goats with long sweeping horns painted beneath the rim of this krater are characteristic for an advanced stage of the Susiana sequence.

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PAINTED BOWL

Many of the pottery vessels from the site of Tall-i-Bakun in the plain of Persepolis show a highly sophisticated use of negative designs in conjunction with more usual painted patterns. On this bowl, two patterns alternate in rhythmic sequence. One is a painted design of anthropomorphic inspiration with a "head" flanked by upraised "arms" facing both the rim and base of the bowl. The other pattern, which is given in negative by the buff surface of the vessel, consists of a cross and two lozenges.

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DISC-HEADED PIN

Large numbers of decorated disc-headed pins were found in the sanctuary at Surkh Dum-i-Luri. They may have been votive offerings to a fertility goddess or, on analogy with a modern ethnographic parallel, deposits verifying wedding contracts among nomadic peoples moving through the area. The decoration of this example, with an eight-petaled central rosette and surrounding borders of smaller rosettes and punctate patterns, is typical. The tiny incised lion's (?) head faces away from the shaft because the pins were worn with the head hanging down and the shaft pointing up.

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SPOUTED GRAY-WARE PITCHER

Around 1200 B.C. monochrome wares were introduced in many parts of Iran and replaced the earlier painted pottery. These new, frequently burnished, wares occur in both a reddish-orange and a dark gray variety. The gray wares, of which this long-spouted pitcher is a characteristic example, were given their color by special firing in an oxygen-reducing atmosphere. They appear to have been ceramic imitations of metal vessels.

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PERSIAN ROUNDEL

This snarling winged lion worked in gold repoussé attests to the exceptional skill of Achaemenid goldsmiths. The back of the horned feline's body and the slender twisted cord that surrounds it bear sixteen tiny loops for attachment to a garment or textile. Greek writers often speak of the tremendous wealth of the Persians, and Herodotus writes that King Xerxes' troops "were adorned with the greatest magnificence...they glittered all over with gold, vast quantitites of which they wore about their persons" (vii.83).

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IRAN: Persepolis - Tomb of Artaxerxes II

(Tomb V), Upper Register and Entablature of Lower Register.

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IRAN: Persepolis - Tomb of Artaxerxes II

Upper Register, Showing Throne Bearers.

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IRAN: Persepolis - Unfinished Tomb of Darius III

General View with Persepolis Terrace in the Distance.

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Persepolis - Unfinished Tomb of Darius III

Showing Partly Completed Reliefs on the Facade.

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View of the Tomb of Darius the Great.

IRAN: Naqsh-i-Rustam - View of the Tomb of Darius the Great.

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Tomb of Darius I, Close-up of King and God.

IRAN: Naqsh-i-Rustam - Tomb of Darius I, Close-up of King and God.

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IRAN: Naqsh-i-Rustam - Cliff with Royal Tombs

In Foreground, the Excavated Fortification Wall.

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IRAN: Naqsh-i-Rustam - Tomb of Darius I

Relief of Aspathines on the Left Frame.

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Detail of the Guard - Darius Tomb

IRAN: Naqsh-i-Rustam - Tomb of Darius I. Detail of the Guard on the Left Frame.

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Relief of Gobryas (Darius Tomb)

IRAN: Naqsh-i-Rustam - Tomb of Darius I. Relief of Gobryas on the Left Frame, Top Register.

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Relief of Gobryas, Head and Inscription -Darius Tomb

IRAN: Naqsh-i-Rustam - Tomb of Darius I. Relief of Gobryas, Close-up of Head and Inscription Above, Top Register.

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Ancient Persian Inscription

IRAN: Naqsh-i-Rustam Close-up of an ancient Persian Inscription on the Rock Panel between the Tombs of Darius I and Xerxes

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Ancient Iran Site Map Oriental Institute

This first installment of the Oriental Institute Map Series presents seven Site Maps covering the ancient Near East (Egypt, Sudan, The Levant, Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran), locating primary archaeological sites, modern cities, and river courses set against a plain background. They enlarge to 300 dpi. Oriental Institute, University of Chicago.

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Persepolis and Ancient Iran

Oriental Institute. Catalog of Expedition Photographs. This document is a catalog of 999 photographs contained in an Oriental Institute text/microfiche publication entitled Persepolis and Ancient Iran. With an introduction by Ursula Schneider, former Oriental Institute photographer, it presents a comprehensive survey of archaeological sites in the environs of Persepolis.

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Persepolis Terrace

Architecture, Reliefs, And Finds "" Oriental Institute Photographic Archives. The magnificent palace complex at Persepolis was founded by Darius the Great around 518 B.C., although more than a century passed before it was finally completed. Conceived to be the seat of government for the Achaemenian kings and a center for receptions and ceremonial festivities, the wealth of the Persian empire was evident in all aspects of its construction. The splendor of Persepolis, however, was short-lived; the palaces were looted and burned by Alexander the Great in 331""330 B.C. The ruins were not excavated until the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago sponsored an archaeological expedition to Persepolis and its environs under the supervision of Professor Ernst Herzfeld from 1931 to 1934, and Erich F. Schmidt from 1934 to 1939.

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The Prehistoric Mound Of Tall-i-Bakun

Oriental Institute Photographic Archives. Three kilometers south of Persepolis, in the plain of Marv Dasht, lies the prehistoric site of Tall-i-Bakun, consisting of two flat hillocks. Here in 1928, Ernst Herzfeld, of the University of Berlin, decided to undertake a trial excavation of the western mound, where he had previously discovered many prehistoric sherds Iying about on the ground. Later, in 1932, he conducted more extensive excavations, subsequently continued by Erich F. Schmidt (1935""37).

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The Tall-e-Bakun Project Report

Tall-e Bakun is a twin site located in the fertile Marv Dasht plain of Fars, near Persepolis, the Achaemenid ceremonial capital. Bakun has played a prominent role in the understanding of the prehistory of Fars, partly because it was the first large-scale excavation of a prehistoric mound there, and primarily for the richness of its finds.

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ISTAKHR, THE ISLAMIC CITY MOUND

Oriental Institute Photographic Archives. The large mound of the Islamic city of Istakhr lies five kilometers north of Persepolis at the end of the Pulvar Valley, where it opens into the plain of Marv Dasht. The exact date of the founding of Istakhr is not known. Historical and archaeological evidence points to the importance of the city in Sasanian and Islamic times (beginning of the third century to the end of the ninth century A.D.) and to its prominence as a fire sanctuary of the goddess Anahita. Istakhr suffered extensive damage and capitulated to the Arabs in 648 A.D. When Shiraz was founded in 684 A.D., Istakhr was finally replaced as capital of the province of Fars.

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The Persian Expedition - Oriental Institute

During the winter of 1930-31, the Oriental Institute organized a Persian Expedition to conduct excavations in the largely unexplored mountainous regions east and southeast of the Mesopotamian plain. James Henry Breasted requested, and was granted, a concession to excavate the remains of Persepolis, an Achaemenid royal administrative center in the province of Fars. Thanks to an anonymous benefactress, work started the same year under the direction of Ernst Herzfeld, Professor of Oriental Archaeology at the University of Berlin. Herzfeld served as director of the Persian Expedition until the end of 1934, when he was succeeded by Erich Schmidt, who continued to excavate in the region until 1939.

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British Institute of Persian Studies: Susa

Archaeological Site, Susa (Biblical Shushan also Greek: ΣÃŽ λεÃ?χεια, transliterated as Seleukeia or Seleukheia; Latin Seleucia ad Eulaeum; modern Shush, coordinates: 32.18922° N 48.25778° E empires of ) was an ancient city of the Elamite, Persian and Parthian Iran, located about 150 miles east of the Tigris River in Khuzestan province of Iran. As well as being an archaeological site, Susa is also a lively village due to the devotion of Shi'a Muslims and the Persian Jewish community for the prophet Daniel.

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Achaemenid Archaeology - History & Method of Research

The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies (CAIS) IRANIAN ART & ARCHAEOLOGY: ACHAEMENID DYNASTY By: Professor David Stronach. Patterns of discovery. While outside Iran the Bible, the Histories of Herodotus, and a host of other early sources served to preserve a knowledge of the conquests of Cyrus the Great and Darius the Great, in Iran itself all accurate memory of Achaemenid achievement was lost for many centuries. From 1474 onward, early travelers to Iran reported (and on occasion took leave to doubt) the popular belief that the still-intact fabric of Cyrus's tomb represented the "tomb of the mother of Solomon" (A. Gabriel, Die Erforscltung Persiens,Vienna, 1952, pp. 49f.). There matters largely stood until 1802, when G. F. Grotefend, working from the first accurate copies of the cuneiform inscriptions at Persepolis, was able to identify them as records left by the Achaemenid kings (cf. C. F. C. Hoeck, Veteris Mediae et Persiae monuments, Gottingen, 1818, p.56.). Similarly, as late as 1818 R. Ker Porter found the relief of Cyrus the Great at Bisotnn to depict a "king of Assyria and the Medes" before captive "representatives of the Ten Tribes" (Travels in Georgia, Persia, Armenia, Ancient Babylonia during the Years 1817, 1818, 1819, and 1820 1, London, 1821, pp. 507f.). H. C. Rawlinson was the first to reach the relief and to begin to copy its adjacent trilingual inscriptions something only accomplished with the aid of ropes-in 1835. But from this moment onward progress was rapid: Barely ten years were to pass before Rawlinson had completed his translation of most of the Old Persian version of Darius the Great' inscription (H. C. Rawlinson, "The Persian Cuneiform Inscription at Behistun, Decyphered and Translated...," JRAS 10, 1847-48, pp. xxvii-xxxix).

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Post-Achaemenid Archaeology

History & Method of Research. The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies (CAIS) IRANIAN ART & ARCHAEOLOGY: Post-Achaemenid Period By: K. Schippmann. Very few monuments from this period have been discovered in Iran, and probably none from the time of Alexander the Great, though it has been argued by H. Luschey that the long known life-size stone lion of HamadÃ-n was erected by Alexander as a cenotaph for his male-lover Hephaiston, who died suddenly at the games held in EcbÃ-tÃ-nÃ- in 324 BCE (A MI, N. F. I , 1968, pp. 115ff.). The only other monument which could perhaps be attributed to the Alexandrian period is the town of Ai Khanum (Ay XÃ-nom, q...v.) in the east of Greater-Iran, in what is today known as Afghanistan. P. Bernard, who excavated the site from 1964, does not rule out this possibility, though he is more inclined to date the foundation of the town from the reign of Seleucus I (312-281 BCE) (Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, 1971, pp. 450f.; MDAFA 21, 1973; Comptes Rendus, 1975, pp. 167ff.)...The famous capital of this Greco-Bactrian kingdom, Bactra, modern Balkh, might also date to Alexander, however, the few excavations carried out there have produced no evidence concerning the post)Qxhqe,enid period, and no firm conclusions can be drawn (A. Foucher, MDAFA 1, 1942, pp. 98ff.; J.-C. Gardin, MDAFA 15, 1957).

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Excavations at Chogha Bonut

Oriental Institute "" Excavations at Chogha Bonut: The Earliest Vilage in Susiana, Iran. By Abbas Alizadeh, Research Associate. The Oriental Institute and the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. The University of Chicago. The political upheavals in Iran in 1978/79 interrupted the process of momentous discoveries of the beginning of village life in lowland Susiana. The Oriental Institute excavations at Chogha Mish (recently published by the Oriental Institute Publications Office) not only provided a long uninterrupted sequence of prehistoric Susiana, but also yielded evidence of cultures much earlier than what had been previously known, pushing back the date of human occupation on the plain for at least one millennium. The work of Helene Kantor and Pinhas Delougaz at Chogha Mish, the largest early fifth-millennium site, added the Archaic period to the already well-established Susiana prehistoric sequence. The sophistication of the artifacts and architecture of even the earliest phase of the Archaic period showed that there must have been a stage of cultural development antecedent to the successful adaptation of village life in southwestern Iran, but surveys and excavations had failed to reveal such a phase in that region.

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Urban Planning Used in Dahaneh Gholaman

2500 Years Ago. Dahaneh Gholaman. CAIS ARCHAEOLOGICAL & CULTURAL NEWS. Studies on the precise architecture and great harmony in the design of the Achaemenid era city of Dahaneh Gholaman indicate that it was constructed based on urban planning, the director of the Iranian archaeological team working in the region and at the 5200-year-old Burnt City said on Saturday."No architectural plan for a city in any ancient site in the world, and particularly prehistoric sites, has ever been observed until the Achaemenid era. In fact, the sites had been small villages which had grown into cities due to an increase of the population, but the stratigraphy studies and research carried out by Iranian and Italian archaeologists indicate that this city had been constructed based on preplanning with precise and unique architecture," Mansur Sajjadi added.

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Underwater Archaeology in Iran

As evidenced by archeological documents, the ancient city of Kish, the wall of the ancient city of Gorgan, Takht-e Suleiman and part of the Portuguese Castle are submerged in Iran's coastal waters. Although Iran's underwater archeological activities are over half a century old, this topic is yet to be treated in a suitable manner.

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Median Archaeology: History and Method of Research

By: Professor David Stronach. The rise of the Medes and the Achaemenids, the first and second Iranian dynasties was in part a product of changes that took place far beyond the bounds of the ancient kingdoms of the Near East. The establishment of Indo-European populations on the steppe lands west of the Tien Shan, followed by the emergence of pastoral economies based on horse riding, served to bring successive waves of invaders into more fertile lands to the south. At least as early as 2000 BCE, the long-established Bronze Age settlements located southeast of the Caspian Sea became subject to external attack, and anywhere from five hundred to a thousand years later the main body of the Iranian tribes can be presumed to have established themselves on the upland plateau that today bears their name. Among such invaders it was the Medes of Iranian stock, close cousins of the Persians, who assumed the dominant role in the early 1st millennium BCE.

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The Burnt City, a Great Civilization in a Small Desert

By: Nastaran Zafar Ardalan. Abstract: The Burnt City in eastern Iran dates back to 5,000 years ago and is spread in an area of 150 hectares. In its life span of 1100 years, the Burnt City has been witness to four civilization eras. It was unearthed in the year 1915. The area, 56 km from the city of Zabol in Sistan-Baluchestan Province, is the place that is known by some local people as the "region of bandits" but in fact far from any wickedness, it is the place where our past history has taken shape. The place is the "Burnt City", a land that has come from 5000-years ago, and has opened up its secrets to archaeologists to enable them to reveal its magnificence to the contemporary generation.

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Funerary Sites

Excavations of Bronze Age Funerary Sites in Arran Province (Nowadays Republic of Azerbaijan). By: G. Goscharly, D. Maynard, R. Moore & N. Musei. A number of archaeological sites are being excavated in advance of construction of the BTC pipeline in former Iranian province of Arran today known as the Republic of Azerbaijan. The Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Baku and British archaeologists are conducting the work. Up to the end of 2003, two sites had been completed: a kurgan burial mound in Goranboy Region and a cemetery at Zayamchai in Shamkir Region. Both sites are of Bronze Age date, although there is evidence of later use. Approximately 20 other sites have been examined during 2004.

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Archaeological Discoveries at Susa

The progress of oriental archaeology leads us from one surprise to another. Year after year discoveries are made in rapid succession, which we watch with breathless interest as they transform and elucidate some chapter in the history of those primitive civilizations from which our own is in part derived. Following the discoveries made in ChaldÃ"a, Assyria, and PhÅ"nicia, another region of the East now takes its turn in throwing light on the past--the country of Elam, or Susiana, a region hitherto almost unknown to us, although in the earliest ages of the world it played an important part. The ruins of Susa, situated at the north of Ahwaz, form a number of immense tells which cover an extent of four and a half to six square miles on both banks of the river Kerkha. The plain, which is dominated by these majestic mounds as far as the banks of the Karun, stretches far to the north, where it is bounded by the Bakhtiyari mountains. Southward it extends to the Arvand river (also known as Shatt) and Lower ChaldÃ"a.

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Archaeology of Ancient Iran

Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies. Articles on ancent Iranian art, archaeology and architecture.

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Mamasani Archaeological Project (Iran)

The Mamasani Archaeological Project is a collaborative fieldwork expedition directed by Professor D.T. Potts (University of Sydney), Mr. K. Roustaei (2003-2005, Iranian Centre for Archaeological Research), and Mr. Alireza Asgari Chaverdi (2006-present, ICAR). The project is investigating the Mamasani district in the highlands of Fars in southwest Iran. Mamasani lies strategically on the route between the ancient highland and lowland capitals of successive early states that existed in the region, notably Elam and Persia, and is critical in understanding their origins and development. The Mamasani Archaeological Project developed from a wider survey in SW Iran undertaken by D.T. Potts, K. Roustaei, Dr. C.A Petrie (Cambridge University) and Dr. Lloyd Weeks in November 2002.

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Save the Archaeological Sites of Pasargad

Archaeological Committee to Save the Archaeological Sites of Pasargad

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Ancient Salt Cured Man Found in Iranian Mine

National Geographic News. Another "natural mummy" the sixth so far"" has emerged in Iran's Chehrabad Salt Mine, archaeologists say. The individual, who was naturally mummified by the preserving properties of salt over the past 1,800 years, was recently exposed when heavy rains pounded the salt mine. The functioning mine is located in the Hamzehlu region near Zanjan, a northwestern Iranian province. Scientists believe the man was a Roman Empire-era salt mine worker killed by falling rocks during an earthquake. Scientific Treasure Trove. Five other "salt men" have been found in the mine in recent years. They range in date from the Achaemenid period (539 to 333 B.C.) to the Sasanian era (A.D. 240 to 640).

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Temple of Anahita at Kangavar

On the road traveling from Tehran toward the city of Kermanshah "Bakhtaran," one passes through the valley of Asad-abad. In small town of Kangavar, ruins of a majestic historic site start to appear right by the roadside. The site is known as the Temple of Anahita, built by Achaemenian Emperor Ardeshir II (Artaxerxes II), 404 BC to 359 BC. Kangavar was mentioned by the Greek geographer Isidore of Charax in the first century AD, under the name of Konkobar in ancient province of Egbatana; its name may be derived from the Avestan Kanha-vara, 'enclosure of Kanha'.

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Pre-Achaemenid Vilage Discovered in Iran

Discovery of a village belonging to the pre-Achaemenid period in Gandab historical site in Semnan province has stunned archeologists. Considering the existence of a 1.5-hecatare cemetery in the area, archeologists believe that about 100 families might have lived in this historical village during the Iron Age III. "Discovery of a village belonging to more than 2500 years ago in Gandab historical site was absolutely surprising. Archeological excavations in the region resulted in unearthing a residential settlement area 500x300 square meter in size which is likely to span over more than one hectare area once its boundaries are determined," said Siamak Sarlak, head of archeology team of the third season of excavations in the ancient cemeteries of Gandab and Kharand.

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29 Achaemenid Governmental Seats

Archeologists in Search of 29 Achaemenid Governmental Seats. By Soudabeh Sadigh. Discovery of one of 30 governmental seats in Nourabad Mamasani, Fars province, which were constructed during Achaemenid dynastic era has encouraged archeologists to undertake further excavations on the ancient path of Persepolis to Susa to find the other 29 centers.

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Achaemenid Remains in Parthian City

In Search of Achaemenid Remains in Parthian City. While looking for evidence of the Median civilization in Ecbatana historic hill in Hamadan, remains of the Parthian civilization were discovered. New season of excavations in this ancient hill will focus on the rich civilizations of the Parthians and the Achaemenids. Last year, archeologists started their excavations in the historic Ecbatana (Hegmataneh) hill in Iran's Hamedan province, looking for evidence of Median civilization which is believed to have populated this area sometime between 728 BC and 550 BC. Instead, excavations in the lower layers of this hill resulted in the discovery of a number of historic remains which archeologists believe to have belonged to the Parthian Empire (248 BC""AD 224) and surprisingly no single evidence from the Medians was found, making archeologists suspicious of the existence of the Medians in this hill at all.

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Eastern Porch of Darius' Palace

Discovered in Bolaghi Gorge By Soudabeh Sadigh. Following the discovery of black plinths, archeologists succeeded in pinpointing the location of the eastern porch of a palace denoted to Achaemenid King Darius the Great, found recently in Bolaghi Gorge, Fars province. In continuation of their excavations in area number 34 of the historic site of Bolaghi Gorge where evidence of a palace denoted to Achaemenid Emperor Darius the Great (549-486 BC) had previously been discovered, Iranian and French archeologists succeeded in discovering the eastern porch of the palace.

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Bolaghi Gorge

Bolaghi-Gorge the Biggest Archaeological Salvage Operation in Iran. Bolaghi Gorge is to be immersed under water once the Sivand Dam is inundated, however, its salvation project, the biggest one in the history of Iran's archaeological activities, has engaged the presence of several archaeological teams from 8 countries and spending of hundreds of thousands dollars. Day-in-day-out excavations in every inch of the site all through the year and the domestic and international efforts in King Road have made the project a global one, which represents the crucial importance of the site and its Achaemenid artifacts.

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Achaemenid city ruins found in Iran

Archeologists have discovered the ruins of an Achaemenid city during excavations in the southern city of Nourabad Mamasani in Iran.

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Tomb of Cyrus

This tomb of the great Persian ruler, Cyrus, was discovered in 1951 at the ruins of Pasargadae (south-central Iran). Over 2500 years old, the tomb is in decent condition, made of white limestone and stands a total of 36 feet high. The tomb itself is 18 feet high resting on a 6 level base, also 18 feet high. It was built like a Ziggurat with Ionian and Lydian features. There is a small entrance and double doors leading to a room with no windows which once contained the "golden sarcophagus" of Cyrus, it is now an empty shell. Five huge stones make up its roof, which was slanted (gabled) to shed heavy rains. These Nordic gables were the architectural style of lands far to the north. The inscription was seen and recorded by Plutarch in AD 90.

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Bistun (Behistun) Inscription

The Behistun Inscription (also Bisitun, Bistun or Bisutun, Modern Persian: ÈíÃ"ÊÃ"ä ; Old Persian: Bagastana, meaning "the god's place or land") is located in the Kermanshah Province of Iran... The inscription includes three versions of the same text, written in three different cuneiform script languages: Old Persian, Elamite, and Babylonian. A British army officer, Henry Rawlinson, had the inscription transcribed in two parts, in 1835 and 1843. The text of the inscription is a statement by "Darius I" the great of Persia, written three times in three different scripts and languages: two languages side by side, Old Persian and Elamite, and Babylonian above them. Some time around 515 BC, he arranged for the inscription of a long tale of his accession in the face of the usurper Smerdis of Persia (and Darius' subsequent successful wars and suppressions of rebellion) to be inscribed into a cliff near the modern town of Bisistun, in the foothills of the Zagros Mountains of Iran.

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Choghazanbil

Choqa (or Chogha) Zanbil is an ancient Elamite complex in the Khuzestan province of Iran. It is one of the few extant ziggurats outside of Mesopotamia. It was built about 1250 BCE by the king Untash-Napirisha, mainly to honour the great god Inshushinak .The ziggurat is considered to be the best preserved example in the world. In 1979, Choqa Zanbil became the first Iranian site to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

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The Large Choghazanbil Temple

CHOGHÂZANBIL (A LARGE TEMPLE FOR GOD). The large Choghazanbil temple is one of the three ancient monuments in Iran which have been registered in the Index of World Heritage. The Elamites built this temple approximately 1250 BCE and it resembles the architecture employed in the Egyptian pyramids and Mayan temples.The king, his queen and the crown prince accompanied by his courtiers approach ziggurat mounted on royal chariots. While a large congregation of common people are watching the procession, they disembark from their chariots and enter the ziggurat precincts from the royal gate. Inside the ziggurat Shaten, the chief priest pours water on the king's hands by a pitcher. The ceremony commences with the musicians playing religious melodies by harp, lute and flute. The animals chosen for sacrifice are killed in 14 platforms built like short headless pyramids beside the temple of In-Shushinak. Then the king and his companions ascend to the second floor of the building by stairs. Here the king pours a special syrup on the altar for the intended god and accompanied by the chief priest and a small number of his attendants he ascends to the third floor. In the third floor some of his attendants remain and only the chief priest and his close associates ascend to the fourth floor. In this flour the close associates remain and the king, accompanied only by the chief priest, ascends the main temple of the ziggurat in the fifth floor.

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Temple of Anahita

On the road traveling from Tehran toward the city of Kermanshah "Bakhtaran," one passes through the valley of Asad-abad. In small town of Kangavar, ruins of a majestic historic site start to appear right by the roadside. The site is known as the Temple of Anahita, built by Achaemenian Emperor Ardeshir II (Artaxerxes II), 404 BC to 359 BC.

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Verjuy Mithra Temple

The Oldest Surviving Mithraist Temple in Iran. Maragheh is one of Iran's most ancient cities having its roots in legends. In the past, its suburbs were used to build temples belonging to the religion of Mithraism. One of the temples is located 4 kilometers south of Maragheh in Verjuy village. There were no signs indicating the location of the temple in the village or even at the entrance of the cemetery. Among other main Mithraism temples in Maragheh, we can refer to hand made caves of the observatory hill.

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Artaxerxes Tomb

Persepolis - Tomb of Artaxerxes III. The tomb on this webpage (map #10) is usually attributed to Artaxerxes III, but may in fact be that of king Artaxerxes II Mnemon. If this sarcophagus indeed belonged to the third Artaxerxes, this room may also have served as last resting place of Artaxerxes IV Arses and Darius III Codomannus, because their never received a proper burial.

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Darius Tomb

Iran Naqsh-e Rostam. Tomb of Darius III, great cousin of Artaxerxes III, ruled Persia from 336 - 330BC untildefeated by Alexander the Great, and so becoming the last Achaemenid ruler.

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Gold Daric Coin

British Museum. Achaemenid Persian Empire, late 5th-early 4th century BC. Minted in western Asia Minor (in modern Turkey). The gold of the Persian Empire

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Achaemenid Empire Coins

An ancient Persian dynasty whose kings ruled from 559 to 330 BC, when Darius III was defeated by Alexander the Great.

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Parthian Empire Coins

In 247 BC, Arsaces, leader of a Scythian group in Central Asia called the Parni (a branch of the Dahae) is crowned king. He overthrows the Seleucid governor of Parthia in 238 BC and establishes a nation that lasts for almost 500 years. 95 - 57 BC is referred to as the Parthian 'dark age,' and civil wars make the chronology of this period a matter of conjecture. At the height of their power, the Parthians were second only to Rome and were the only civilized nation able to stand up to her. The empire began its decline in the 2nd century AD and the rebellion of Ardashir of Persis in 220 AD was its death knell. The last Parthian king, Artabanos IV, was killed in the battle of Hormuzdagan in 224 AD and Ardashir became the first Sasanian king.

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Coins of the Parthians

Some of the most interesting ancient coins were neither 'Greek' or 'Roman'. In fact, the coin producing civilizations of the ancient world spread far across Asia including people and places rarely mentioned in beginning World History classes. One of the most well known of these were the rulers of much of what is today Iran, Iraq and surrounding regions: the Parthians.

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Persian King with Spear and Bow

Persian Empire, Artaxerxes I - Darius III, c. 450 - 330 B.C., Lydia 30327. Gold daric, SGCV II 4679, choice gVF, excellent style, 8.276g, 16.6mm, obverse Bearded archer (the Great King) kneeling right holding spear and bow; reverse Oblong punch; American Numismatic Association Certifiction Service photo certificate of authenticity, dated 11-2-78

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Ancient Persian Coins

Ancient Coins of Persia, Mesopotamia and Other West Asia Also included on this page are coins minted under Persian rule in other regions of the Persian Empire.

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Persia: AV 15 Daric

Obv. -- Great king in kneeling-running stance r. Rev. -- Incuse punch Sear G4677v: Carradice IIIb group A/B (pl. xiii, 27) good VF

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Parthian Drachm

Parthian Kingdom, Mithradates I: AR Drachm. Obv. -- Diad. bust l. Archer seated r. S0024: Sellwood 11.1 VF

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Mithradates I Coin

Parthia, Mithradates I, 171-138BC, AR Drachm (3.8g). Head left wearing bashlyk/Archer seated rt. on omphalos, Shore 13, Sell.10.1. Centered, nice portrait, slightly double struck obv., bold clear rev., light tone, a nice example of a scarcer early ruler,

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Battles of the Achaemenid Empire Timeline

The Persian wars. 490 - 448 BC

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Campaigns of Achaemenid Persia 550 - 330 BC

The Achaemenid Kings and their Satraps were constantly involved in organising campaigns either to expand their empire or to fight in its defence. In doing so they showed themslves to be highly organised and capable of thorough planning in mobilising vast and hetergoneous forces.

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The Early Achaemenid Persian Army

The Persian army was very multicultural in its make up. It consisted of trained regular units of Persian and Median infantry and cavalry supplemented by conscripts from subject nations within the empire and well as hired mercenaries or garrison troops from within or from outside the empire. The full time regular soldiers such as the Immortals were supplied with arms and armour and so are uniformly equipped, many allied contingents supplied their own equipment and fought in their own style. Hordes of lightly armed bow and javelin-man and non fighting camp attendants, wives, concubines and slaves account for the vast numbers that were characteristic of the Persian army.

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Persian Helmet

Lost during the Olympia campaign in Greece, 490 B.C. (Olympia Museum). The inscription added by the Greeks indicates that it ended as booty dedicated to the gods. The helmet style is Assyrian.

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Gold Warrior Coin

Gold coin. Achaemenid daric showing a warrior, perhaps based on Elam model.

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Achaemenid gold plaque from the Oxus Treasure

A Persian magus carries the barsom - the sacred twigs associated with priesthood.

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A torque pair with lion-head terminals

Some of the cloisonne inlays survive. Achaemenid grave at Susa, 4th c. B.C. (Paris: Louvre). 20 cm.

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British Museum - Ancient Iran (Room 52)

The Rahim Irvani Gallery 3000 BC "" AD 651. Iran was a major centre of ancient culture. It was rich in valuable natural resources, especially metals, and played an important role in the development of ancient Middle Eastern civilisation and trade. Room 52 highlights these ancient interconnections and the rise of distinctive local cultures, such as in Luristan, during the age of migrations after about 1400 BC.

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Persepolis Photo Gallery

Persepolis: The magnificent palace complex at Persepolis was founded by Darius the Great around 518 B.C. Conceived to be the seat of government for the Achaemenian kings and a center for receptions and ceremonial festivities. The palaces were looted and burned by Alexander the Great in 331-330 B.C. The ruins were not excavated until the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago sponsored an archaeological expedition under the supervision of Professor Ernst Herzfeld from 1931 to 1934, and Erich F. Schmidt from 1934 to 1939.

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Naqsh-e Rustam

Naqsh-e Rustam: is an archaeological site located about 3 km northwest of Persepolis. Naqsh-e Rustam, contains seven tombs which belongs to Achaemenian kings. One of those is expressly declared in its inscriptions to be the tomb of Darius I. In addition to tombs, there are also seven gigantic rock carvings in Naqsh-e Rustam, below the tombs, belonging to the Sassanid kings.

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Passargad

Passargad (Passargadae): The first capital of the Persian Empire. The construction of the capital city by Cyrus the Great, begun around 546 BCE. Passargad remained the Persian capital until Darius began assembling another in Persepolis. The most important monument in Passargad is undoubtedly the tomb of Cyrus the Great. It has six broad steps leading to the sepulcher, the chamber of which measures 3.17 m x 2.11 m x 2.11 m, and has a low and narrow entrance.

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Shushtar - Ancient Hydro Engineering Exhibition

Shushtar: the old name of Shushtar, Achaemenian times. The name itself, Shushtar, is connected with the name of another ancient city, Susa, and means "greater (or better) than Shush". During the Sassanian era, it was an island city on the Karun river and selected to become the winter capital. The river was channelled to form a moat around the city. Several rivers nearby are conducive to the extension of agriculture; the cultivation of sugar cane, the main crop, dates back to 226 CE. When the Sassanian Shah Shapur I defeated the Roman emperor Valerian, he ordered the captive Roman soldiers to build a vast bridge and dam stretching over 550 metres, known as the Band-e Qaisar ("Caesar's bridge") which is now mostly destroyed. Irrigation system for agricultural, urban and industrial purposes, comprising dams (Shadurvan, Gargar, Mahi Bazan, Khak, Lashkar, Ayyar, Qir), water distribution dikes, manually dug channels (Dariun), aqueducts and water-mills are now remained.

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Dezful

Dezful: Dezful (Dezh-pol, Persian: Fortress Bridge) a city in the Khuzestan province. Dezful is 6000 years old, but the most famous ancient structure of the city is a bridge that dates back to 300 BCE.The bridge was built during shapur I and it is the oldest full functioning bridge in the world. When the Roman Empire Valerian was defeated in Battle of Edessa, remain of his captured army was used to finish the bridge. It's believed that the bridge was made over the ruin of a much older bridge, built during Elamite dynasties.

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Susa (Shushan)

Susa: also called Shushan , Greek Susiane , modern Shush, capital of Elam (Susiana) and administrative capital of the Achaemenian king Darius I the great and his successors from 522 BC. Susa is one of the oldest cities in the world. Excavations have established that people were living at the acropolis in 5000 BCE. This gallery contains images of the Royal Hill (Apadana Palace).

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Anahita Temple

Anahita, or Nahid, was a major deity in the Persia. She was the protector of water and the goddess of beauty, fertility and fecundity. The Anahita Temple is the name of one of two archaeological sites in Iran popularly thought to have been attributed to the ancient deity Anahita. The larger and more widely known of the two is located at KangÃ-var in Kermanshah Province. The other is located at Bishapur. The remains at Kangavar reveal an edifice that is Hellenistic in character, and yet display Persian architectural designs. The plinth's enormous dimensions for example, which measure just over 200m on a side, and its megalithic foundations, which echo Achaemenid stone platforms, "constitute Persian elements". This is thought to be corroborated by the "two lateral stairways that ascend the massive stone platform recalling Achaemenid traditions". In the first half of the first century AD the Greek geographer, Isidore of Charax, was the first to mention the Temple in his book, refering to it as the "Temple of Artemis".

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Takht-e-Soleyman

The archaeological site of Takht-e- Soleyman (the Throne of Solomon) is considered to be one of the most ancient sites, located in North Western Iran. The ruins of Takht-e- Soleyman lie in a broad and remote mountain valley between cities of Zanjan and Tekab. The site includes the principal Zoroastrian sanctuary partly rebuilt in the Ilkhanid (Mongol) period (13th century) as well as a temple of the Sassanid period dedicated to Anahita.There is a lake with floor springs in the region.

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Hegmataneh (Ecbatana)

The historic Hegmataneh or Ecbatana is located within the boundaries of the modern city of Hamedan and covers an area of 30 hectares. Hegmataneh in historic classical sources had named as the capital of the first Iranian dynastic empire, the Medes (728-550 BCE). It later became one of the main seats of their successors, the Achaemenid dynasty (550-330 BCE), though Persepolis near Shiraz was considered the centre of the throne, Ecbatana was considered a strategic place. The city continued to kept its' importance during the following dynasties, the Parthians (248 BCE-224 CE) and Sasanids (224""651 CE).

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Ancient City of Goor (Gur)

Ancient city of Goor also Gour or Gur is located 100km south of Shiraz, Fars Province, next to city of Firooz Abad. The city is believed to be founded during Achaemenid dynasty (550-330 BCE). It was encircled by Alexander, but because of its robust fortification and dedicated defenders he couldn't be able to surrender the city; then ordered to submerge the city by diverting nearby river to low area of city turn it into a lake. After centuries, Ardashir Babakan, the founder of Sasanid dynasty (224""651 CE), ordered to dig a channel and discharged the lake, then rebuilt the city as his capital. During Arabs' invasion (651 CE), the city again destroyed and after about 3 centuries, a new city which is now called Firooz Abad, was built just next to ruins of the original city by Daylamiain Dynasty.

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Choqa Zanbil

The well-preserved ziggurat, or pyramid, at Choqa Zanbil, is by far the best preserved and most dramatic example of Elamite architecture extant... It was built at Dur Untashi, a city near Susa, by Untash-gal, King of Elam, circa 1250 BC.

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The Guardian Angel

A famous statue from the palace of Cyrus in Pasargadae. (ca. 530 BCE)

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Persian Soldiers

Part of a Wall of Persepolis, near Shiraz. From the 5th Cent. BC. (ca. 520's BCE)

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Fravahr

Fravahr an old Iranian religious sign, from Persepolis (ca. 520 BCE)

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Bronze Persian Bowl

Bronze bowl. Persian repousse bowl in the form of an open lotus flower. 5th century B.C. Achaemenid.

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Silver Persian Pin

Silver pin. Persian. Tapering form with flattened head. 500 B.C.

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Stone relief from Persepolis showing a servant

Achaemenid Persian, 4th century BC From Persepolis, south-west Iran. A servant in the royal court of Persia. This relief from Persepolis shows a servant wearing so-called Median dress: a distinctive knee-length tunic, tightly fitting trousers and a cap with ear-flaps and neck-guard. This is different from the usual Persian costume of a long pleated dress. He also wears the akinakes, or typical Achaemenid short sword.

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Stone relief from the Apadana

Stone relief from the Apadana (audience hall) at Persepolis Achaemenid Persian, 6th-5th century BC. From Persepolis, south-west Iran. This broken relief from the Persian royal capital Persepolis depicts a row of so-called Susian guards. They are very similar to figures formed from moulded glazed bricks from the city of Susa. They may represent the 'immortals' who made up the king's personal bodyguard.

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Stone relief showing a charioteer

Achaemenid Persian, 5th century BC. From Persepolis, south-west Iran. This relief of a charioteer driving his horse comes from the great Achaemenid Persian centre of Persepolis. It was excavated in July 1811 by Robert Gordon who was part of a diplomatic mission to Iran led by Sir Gore Ouseley, British Ambassador to Persia from 1811 to 1814. It originally decorated a staircase on the east wing of the north side of the Apadana or audience hall. This structure, with an adjoining series of private palaces and their ancillary buildings, was built on the western side of a large artificial terrace on the edge of the Marv Dasht plain. To the east lay the many-columned Treasury with adjacent storerooms, offices and barracks. The Apadana reliefs show delegations from many parts of the Persian Empire bringing tribute and gifts.

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Cast silver statuette from the Oxus treasure

Achaemenid Persian, 5th-4th century BC. From the region of Takht-i Kuwad, Tadjikistan. This statuette is part of the Oxus treasure, the most important collection of gold and silver to have survived from the Achaemenid period. The treasure, probably from a temple on the banks of the river Oxus, dates mainly from the fifth and fourth centuries BC.

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Stone relief showing a sphinx

Achaemenid Persian, 5th century BC. From Palace H at Persepolis, south-west Iran. A guardian deity, originally protecting the royal Persian god. This male sphinx wears the imposing horned headdress of a divinity. Discovered at Persepolis by Colonel John MacDonald Kinneir during excavations in 1826, it was originally one of a pair flanking the winged disc figure of Ahura-Mazda, a god adopted as the Persian royal deity by Darius I (522-486 BC).

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Achaemenid Glazed Brick Relief Panel

Glazed brick relief panel - Achaemenid Persian, late 6th century BC From Susa, south-west Iran. From the palace of Darius I, ruler of the largest empire in antiquity. This panel is made of polychrome glazed bricks which were found by French excavators scattered in a courtyard of the palace built by the Persian king Darius I (522-486 BC). At least 18 figures have been restored and this example is on permanent loan to The British Museum from the Musée du Louvre, Paris. It was part of a larger frieze depicting rows of guards, perhaps the 'immortals' who made up the king's personal bodyguard. The arrangement of the figures may have been similar to the rows of sculptured guards carved in relief at Persepolis. According to a foundation inscription at Susa, the craftsmen who made the brick panels came from Babylonia where there had been a tradition of this sort of architectural decoration.

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Bronze fitting in the form of a seated figure

Elamite, about 1450-1200 BC. From south-west Iran. This bronze figure was originally fitted onto a larger object such as a piece of furniture, hence the two rivet holes for attachment through the tail-liker projection. It was obtained in south-west Iran, near the ancient town-site of Tang-e Sarvak. The form and appearance of the figure indicates that it should be dated to the fourteenth or thirteenth centuries BC. The hair style is very similar to that of terracotta figurines from Susa, of similar date.

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Painted jar

Bronze Age, around 2000 BC. Acquired in Nahavand, said to be from Tepe Giyan, western Iran. During the third - early second millennium BC, as in other periods, different regional styles characterized pottery made in south-west, western, northern and south-east Iran. These seem to reflect flourishing regional areas. This is an example of a vessel which belongs to a long sequence of monochrome pottery found at sites such as Tepe Giyan and Godin Tepe.

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Silver Beaker

Amlash culture, about 1400-900 BC. From north-west Iran. This silver beaker belongs to the so-called Amlash culture of Gilan province in north-west Iran... This was one of the most distinctive Iranian cultures of the late second and early first millennia BC. The beaker probably came from the region of Marlik Tepe. Here, in one of the richest cemeteries of the region, fifty three intact tombs were excavated in 1961-62. Vessels similar to this one were found there, and indeed gold and silver beakers with concave sides formed a prominent part of the material from the cemetery. The decoration on this beaker consists of horses flanking a stylized tree on the upper register, and winged lions attacking rams on the lower: both friezes are defined by herring-bone and guilloche.

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Silver bowl with applied gold figures

Achaemenid Persian, about 5th-4th century BC. This silver bowl is decorated with applied gold sheet cutouts. It dates to a period when vessels of precious metal became widespread. While a variety of styles and forms are found throughout the Achaemenid empire, because of its great size, there is also a recognizably Achaemenid style, perhaps promoted outside Iran by satraps (provincial governors) and other representatives of the Persian court. Large silver dishes and pourers (rhyta) are the best-known types yet others included hemispherical drinking cups such as this; a plain gold cup of the same shape forms part of the Oxus treasure.

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Painted vessel with bridge-spout

Early Iron Age, about 1000-800 BC. Probably from Tepe Sialk, central Iran. This type of painted pottery is a local central Iranian variation of the Grey Ware typical of sites of this period in northern Iran. In the early centuries of the first millennium BC new forms of a type of pottery called Late Western Grey Ware emerged. This bridge-spouted vessel is typical. Similar jars with long spouts are known earlier, but now have the addition of a bridge between the rim and the spout. The popularity of bridge-spouted jars in pottery is probably a reflection of the widespread use of sheet-metal versions during this period in Iran.

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Part of a hoard of silver currency

Median, buried in the 6th century BC. From Tepe Nush-i Jan, western Iran. This group of silver objects is probably the most important find at the Median site of Tepe Nush-i Jan. They were packed inside a bronze bowl and buried in the floor. Although the hoard was probably buried in the late seventh century BC, some of the items are very much older. The spiral beads and pendant probably date from the end of the third or beginning of the second millennium BC, suggesting that they had been found by Iron Age grave-robbers and were about to be recycled as scrap for their metal value.

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Blue chalcedony cylinder seal

Achaemenid, about 6th-4th century BC. From Kirmanshah, Iran. This seal shows the varied foreign influences on the art of the Achaemenid Persian empire. The Persians had, at first, no clearly defined art of their own, but they made use of foreign craftsmen and expertise and welded the disparate traditions of their immense empire into a coherent and distinctive style. Greek and Egyptian motifs were particularly popular. Here is a representation of a falcon, perhaps the Egyptian god Horus, beside an incense burner. Along the border runs the Egyptian wedjat eye or 'Eye of Horus', a symbol of perfection. The winged goat is typical of Achaemenid art.

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Bronze axe-head

Luristan culture, 10th-7th centuries BC. From Luristan, western Iran... The style of this cast bronze axe-head links it to the region of Luristan in western Iran. Bronzes of this kind were plundere d from the cemeteries and shrines of the area from the 1920s onwards. Many of the graves were rich in bronzes, and even the poorest male graves appear to have contained a few weapons.

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Bronze harness ring

Luristan culture, 10th-7th century BC. From Luristan, western Iran. This object is among a variety of elaborate metal horse-trappings produced and used in Luristan. Such wheel-shaped pieces, of which many survive, probably served as ornaments for the horse's headstall. They are decorated at the top either with the complete figure of a moufflon or more commonly, as here, just with the head of a moufflon flanked by other beasts.

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Bronze horse-bit with decorated cheek-pieces

Early Iron Age, about 10th-7th centuries BC. From Luristan, western Iran. The region of Luristan in western Iran saw a rich tradition of bronze production in the early part of the first millennium BC. Virtually all the bronzes that have survived come from plundered cemeteries of stone-built graves in the region. These mostly date from between about 1000 and 700 BC. At a number of sites, bronzes were also deposited in shrines.

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Bronze pin decorated with an image of a goddess

Luristan culture, 10th-7th century BC. From western Iran. Elaborately decorated bronze pins of this kind are linked stylistically to the rich metalworking tradition of the region of Luristan in the mountains of western Iran. Virtually all the surviving bronzes come from plundered cemeteries of stone-built graves. These vary considerably in date, but predominantly belong early in the first millennium BC. At a number of sites, bronzes were also deposited in shrines.

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Cast silver statuette of a bearded man

From the Oxus treasure Achaemenid Persian, 5th-4th century BC. From the region of Takht-i Kuwad, Tadjikistan. This statuette is part of the Oxus treasure, the most important collection of gold and silver to have survived from the Achaemenid period. The treasure, probably from a temple on the banks of the river Oxus, dates mainly from the fifth and fourth centuries BC.

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Chalcedony pendant

Elamite, 12th century BC. From south-west Iran. A gift from the Elamite king to his daughter. This is a pendant of pale blue chalcedony, pierced for suspension. It is carved with an inscription in Elamite which reads: 'I, Shilhak-Inshushinak, enlarger of the kingdom, this jasper from [the land of] Puralish I took. What I painstakingly made I placed here, and to Bar-Uli, my beloved daughter, I gave [it].'

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Ceremonial gold scabbard from the Oxus treasure

Achaemenid Persian, 5th-4th century BC. From the region of Takht-i Kuwad, Tadjikistan. This scabbard is part of the Oxus treasure, the most important collection of gold and silver to have survived from the Achaemenid period. The treasure, probably from a temple on the banks of the river Oxus, dates mainly from the fifth and fourth centuries BC.

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Ancient Persia

Persian Arts has a very ancient history and tradition. It's attracted not only in Asia and Europe but also around the Globe. Persian Arts spread in different fields like Architecture, Calligraphy, Carpets, Cinema, Music, Painting and Different types of Crafts. In Iran, as in all Islamic societies, art favors the non-representational, the derivative and the stylized rather than the figurative, the innovative and the true-to-life. Accurate representation of the human form has never been a part of traditional Islamic art, and though portraiture is not forbidden by Shiite Islam, it never really caught on in Iran until the introduction of the camera.

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The Cyrus Cylinder

Text. The Cyrus Cylinder, discovered in 1879 and now in the British Museum, is one of the most famous cuneiform texts, because it was once believed that it confirmed what the Bible says (Isaiah 44.23-45.8; Ezra 1.1-6, 6.1-5; 2 Chronicles 36.22-23): that in 539 BCE, the Persian conqueror Cyrus the Great had allowed the Jews to return from their Babylonian Exile.

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The Cyrus Cylinder - Translation

The Cyrus Cylinder was discovered in 1879 and rapidly became one of the most famous cuneiform texts, as it seemed to confirm that the Persian conqueror Cyrus the Great had allowed the Jews to return from their Babylonian Exile. Although this is a bit exaggerated (more...), it remains an interesting text.

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Avesta

Avesta: the holy book of Zoroastrianism, the Iranian religion that was founded by the legendary Bactrian prophet Zarathustra. Like the Bible, the Avesta (sometimes incorrectly called Zend-Avesta) is actually a library, containing different sacred texts which were written during a very long period in different languages. A difference with the Bible is that the Avesta often resembles a prayer book and has few narratives.

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Daiva Inscription

Achaemend Royal Inscriptions: XPh ("Daiva Inscription") In ca.521, the Persian king Darius I the Great ordered that a new alphabet, the Aryan script, was to be developed. This was used for a small corpus of inscriptions, known as the Achaemenid Royal Inscriptions. One of the most important Achaemenid Royal Inscriptions is the "Daiva inscription". The Old Persian text is known from three slabs of stone from Persepolis and Pasargadae. (Elamite and Babylonian copies exist.) The interesting detail for which this text has become famous is the rebel country mentioned in section #4, although -unfortunately- it cannot be identified with sufficient certainty. Much depends on the meaning of the word daiva, which clearly means 'demon' and looks similar to the word daeva in the Avesta, the holy book of Zoroastrianism . If daiva and daeva are identical, we can assume that the rebels lived in Iran, where the Zoroastrian religion was influential.

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Persepolis fortification tablets

Persepolis fortification tablets: large collection of ancient Persian cuneiform administrative texts, written between 506 and 497 BCE. They are one of the most important sources for the study of the administration of the Achaemenid empire. Persepolis was one of the capitals of the ancient Persian empire, founded by king Darius I the Great in 518 BCE. It was excavated by the Oriental Institute of Chicago: Ernst Herzfeld and F. Schmidt were working in Persepolis from 1931 to 1939. During the excavations, two archives of cuneiform texts were discovered.

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Ganjnameh Inscription

Ganjnameh is an ancient inscription, 5 km southwest of Hamedan, on the side of Alvand Mountain in Iran. The inscription, which has been carved in granite, is composed of two sections. One (on the left) ordered by Darius I (521-485 BC) and the other (on the right) ordered by Xerxes I (485-65 BC). Both sections, which have been carved in three ancient languages of Old Persian, Neo-Babylonian and Neo-Elamite, start with praise of God (Ahura Mazda) and describe the lineage and deeds of the mentioned kings. The later generations who could not read the Cuneiform alphabets of the ancient Persian assumed that they contained the guide to an uncovered treasury; hence they called it Ganjnameh. The name literally means "treasure epistle", but it has also been called Jangnameh (Persian: Ìä?äÇãå) whose literal translation is "war epistle".

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History of Iran Timeline

From Ancient Persia to Contemporary Iran "" History of Iran Timeline. From Ancient Persia to Contemporary Iran covers the highlights of Iran's history in a brief, easy to read, factually acurate and inexpensive timeline. The full-color 11" x 5" brochure opens accordion-style to the size of 11" x 35." The highest quality paper and printing process have been used to make it a lovely gift for all occasions and a wonderful way to introduce someone to the history and cultural heritage of Iran.

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Persia History Timeline

Achaemenid Persia. Persian Timeline

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A Chronology of Persian History

From the dawn of history Persia has preserved its individuality while influencing the art, architecture and culture of other countries. This chronology catalogues and compares Iran's colourful history with that of the rest of the world from 4000 BC to modern times.

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Rulers and Dynasties of Persia (Iran)

The following is a timetable of rulers and dynasties that ruled over Iran. It has been tried to name all rulers of Iran from the period of the Medesto the present. The dates mentioned are the period that the person inquestion ruled over (some part of ) Iran. Therefore you will also find different persons during the same time period. They probably ruled over different parts or were rival pretenders to the throne.

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Kingdoms of Persia

The Persians (or Parsu) were a grouping of Indo-Europeans who settled to the east of ancient Elam during the period of instability and migration which occurred throughout the Middle East between 1200-900 BC, when other tribal groups such as the Aramaeans and the Sea Peoples were causing chaos further west. The Persian capital until 559 BC was Pasargadae, before increasing dominance saw them move it to the former Elamite capital at Susa. In effect, they were Elam's successors, inheriting their language and culture, especially during the Achaemenid period.

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Timeline of Iranian History

Timeline of Iranian History from Ancient Persia to the Islamic Republic

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Genealogy of Parthian Rulers

This chart presents the genealogy on which all dating and attributions of this web site are based, and represents the generally accepted genealogy for Parthian rulers and rival claimants. (See commentary below.) In main, the chronologies of Frye [The History of Ancient Iran (1984), pp. 209ff, 360] and Sellwood [An Introduction to the Coinage of Parthia, 1980, 2nd ed...] are followed with some modification. Specific changes include revisions to the early kings following Koshelenko's theory of descent based on information found in the Parthian ostraca of Nisa. [Koshelenko (1976), "Genealogia Pervykh Arshakidov", p. 34]. Koshelenko reconciles Justin (Trogus) with Arrian, based on archaeological evidence. Olson's study of Greek letterforms (1973) and additional numismatic evidence have been considered. The revised father-son relationship between Mithradates IV and Vologases IV is established by the inscription on the bronze Herakles [W. I. al-Salihi, Sumer 43 (1984), p. 219, and J. Black, ibid., p. 230]. Tiridates III was added at the end of the genealogy following Sellwood's clarification of a numismatic inscription in "The End of the Parthian Dynasty" (1990).

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Cyrus the Great, The Phenomenon

Cyrus (Kourosh in Persian; Kouros in Greek) is regarded as one of the most outstanding figures in history. His success in creating and maintaining the Achaemenian Empire was the result of an intelligent blending of diplomatic and military skills and his rule was tempered with wisdom and tact. The Persians called him 'father'; the Greeks, whom he conquered, saw him as 'a worthy ruler and lawgiver' and the Jews regarded him as 'the Lord's anointed'. His ideals were high, as he laid down that no man was fit to rule unless, he was more capable than all of his subjects. As an administrator Cyrus' insight was great, and he showed himself both intelligent and reasonable, and thereby made his rule easier than that of his previous conquerors.

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Cyrus

Cyrus (Old Persian Kuruš; Hebrew Kores): founder of the Achaemenid empire. He was born about 600 BCE as the son of Cambyses I, the king of the Persian kingdom called Anšan. During Cambyses' reign, the Persians were vassals of the Median leader Astyages.

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Cyrus the Great

Cyrus the Great (ca.600 - 529 BCE) was a towering figure in the history of mankind. As the "father of the Iranian nation", he was the first world leader to be referred to as "The Great". Cyrus founded the first world empire - and the second Iranian dynastic empire (the Achaemenids) - after defeating the Median dynasty and uniting the Medes with the other major Iranian tribe, the Persians.

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History of Iran: Cyrus the Great

Cyrus (580-529 BC) was the first Achaemenid Emperor. He founded Persia by uniting the two original Iranian Tribes- the Medes and the Persians. Although he was known to be a great conqueror, who at one point controlled one of the greatest Empires ever seen, he is best remembered for his unprecedented tolerance and magnanimous attitude towards those he defeated.

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Amestris

Amestris or Amastris: wife of the Persian king Xerxes, mother of king Artaxerxes I. Her reputation among Greek historians is very bad. Amestris was the daughter of Otanes, one of the seven conspirators who killed the Persian rebel king GaumÃ-ta (22 September 522 BCE). After this, Darius I the Great started his reign. According to the Greek researcher Herodotus of Halicarnassus (fifth century), Otanes was honored with a diplomatic marriage: the new king married Otanes' daughter Phaedymia, and Otanes married a sister of Darius, who gave birth to Amestris.

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Artemisia of Halicarnassus

Artemisia: queen of Halicarnassus in c. 480 BCE, ally of the Persian king Xerxes during his invasion of Greece. Halicarnassus was a Graeco-Carian city that belonged to the empire of the Persian Achaemenids. The Persian authorities liked their cities to be ruled by one man, and not by an uncontrollable oligarchy or democracy, and preferred Lygdamis as king of Halicarnassus. When he died, he was succeeded by his daughter Artemisia, who is best known to us from the Histories by the Greek researcher Herodotus, also a Halicarnassian.

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Artaxerxes IV Arses

Artaxerxes IV (old-Persian Artakhšaça): name of a Achaemenid king of the Persian empire, ruled 338-336. His real name was Arses.Arses was a son of the Persian king Artaxerxes III Ochus (358-338), and succeeded his father. According to a Greek source, Diodorus of Sicily, the powerful eunuch Bagoas poisoned many members of the royal family, but a cuneiform tablet in the British Museum (BM 71537) suggests that the king died from natural causes. However this may be, it happened in September 338, and it is probable that Bagoas killed everyone to make sure that Arses, who is presented by Diodorus as some sort of a puppet king, became the new ruler of the Achaemenid empire. Alternatively, Arses ordered the executions himself. This is not uncommon.

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Cambyses

Cambyses was the oldest son of Cyrus the Great, the first king of the Achaemenid empire (559-530). The name of Cambyses' mother is not known. The Greek researcher Herodotus of Halicarnassus calls her Cassandane, but Ctesias of Cnidus states she was Amytis, the daughter of the last king of independent Media, Astyages. Cyrus' career was dazzling. In 559, he became king of Persia; in 550, he subdued his overlord, Astyages the Mede. Three years later, he conquered Lydia (western Turkey) and in 539, he added Babylonia to his empire.

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Phraortes

Phraortes (Old Persian FrÃ-da): son of Upadaranma, king of Media (522-521 BCE). The immediate cause of Phraortes' rebellion was the death of the Persian king Cambyses in the Spring of 522 and the usurpation of the throne by a Magian named GaumÃ-ta, who did not belong to the Achaemenid dynasty and may have been a Mede by birth. The adherents of the Persian royal house helped Darius become king; he killed GaumÃ-ta in the stronghold SikayauvatiÅ¡ in Media on 29 September.

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Cyaxares

Cyaxares (Persian Uvakhšatara, Akkadian Umakištar): name of a king of the Medes, who may have reigned from c.625 to c.585. The only narrative about the reign of Cyaxares can be found in the first book of the Histories by the Greek researcher Herodotus (c.480-c.429). He writes that the Median leader Phraortes.

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Astyages

Astyages (Akkadian IÅ¡tumegu): last king of Media, son of king Cyaxares, dethroned 550 BCE. Most information on Astyages can be found in the second part of the first book of the Histories by the Greek researcher Herodotus, who lived in the fifth century, hundred years after Astyages' reign. However, he is almost our only source, and it is inevitable to follow Herodotus' lead and trying to check him where possible.

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Cyrus of Ansan

Brief article on Cyrus (Kuraš): king of Anšan, the grandfather of king Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Achaemenid empire.

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Darius the Great

History of Iran: Darius the Great Darius I Hystaspes, or Darius the Great, king of Persia [522-486 BCE]. Through his father Hystaspes, Darius belonged to the Achaemenid family, as did Cyrus The Great and his son Cambyses II, but to a different branch of this family. When Cambyses was in Egypt, during the last year of his reign, a certain Gaumata usurped the throne by pretending to be Bardiya, Cambyses' brother, who had been assassinated secretly before Cambyses started out for his Egyptian campaign in 525 BCE.

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Darius I the Great

Darius I (Old Persian DÃ-rayavauÅ¡): king of ancient Persia, whose reign lasted from 522 to 486. He seized power after killing king GaumÃ-ta, fought a civil war (described in the Behistun inscription), and was finally able to refound the Achaemenid empire, which had been very loosely organized until then. Darius fought several foreign wars, which brought him to India and Thrace. When he died, the Persian empire had reached its largest extent. He was succeeded by his son Xerxes.

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Xerxes I

Xerxes I , was a Persian king (reigned 485 - 465 BC) of the Achaemenid dynasty. "Xerxes" is the Greek transliteration of the Persian throne name Khshayarsha or Khsha-yar-shan, meaning "ruler of heroes.". In the Hebrew Bible, the Persian king à çùåøù Aḥashverosh (Ahasuerus in Greek) probably corresponds to Xerxes I.

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Artaxerxes I

History of Iran: Artaxerxes I Artaxerxes (ArtÃ-khshatra) Ardashir-e DerÃ-z-Dast. The first Artaxerxes (465 - 425 BCE), among all the kings of Persia (Achaemanian Empire) the most remarkable for a gentle and noble spirit, was surnamed the Long-handed, his right hand being longer than his left, and was the son of Xerxes. The second, whose story I am now writing, who had the surname of the Mindful, was the grandson of the former, by his daughter Parysatis, who brought Darius four sons, the eldest Artaxerxes, the next Cyrus, and two younger than these, Ostanes and Oxathres. Cyrus took his name of the ancient Cyrus, as he, they say, had his from the sun, which, in the Persian language, is called Cyrus. Artaxerxes was at first called Arsicas; Dinon says Oarses; but it is utterly improbable that Ctesias (however otherwise he may have filled his books with a perfect farrago of incredible and senseless fables) should be ignorant of the name of the king with whom he lived as his physician, attending upon himself, his wife, his mother, and his children.

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Xerxes II and Sogdianus

Xerxes II (Old Persian KhÅ¡ayÃ-rÅ¡Ã-) and Sogdianus: kings of the ancient Achaemenid empire. Xerxes ruled forty five days in the first months of 423 BCE; Sogdianus ruled for six months and fifteen days. Our only source for the reign of Xerxes II and Sogdianus is the Greek author Ctesias of Cnidus, one of the most unreliable writers from Antiquity. In the eighteenth book of his History of the Persians, (§§46-51), he states that Xerxes II was the only lawful son of king Artaxerxes I and queen Damaspia (who is otherwise unknown); Xerxes had been appointed as crown prince (mathiÅ¡ta). When Artaxerxes and Damaspia died on the same day, he succeeded to the throne. The last cuneiform tablet (found in Nippur) from the reign of Artaxerxes I is dated 24 December 424; there are no tablets from the reign of Xerxes II.

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Darius II Nothus

Darius II Nothus: Achaemenid king of the Persian Empire, ruled from 423 to 404.

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Artaxerxes II Mnemon

Artaxerxes II Mnemon: Achaemenid king of the Persian Empire, ruled from 404 to 358.

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Artaxerxes III Ochus

Artaxerxes III Ochus: Achaemenid king of the Persian Empire, ruled from 358 to 338.

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Darius III Codomannus

Darius III Codomannus - Last Achaemenid Great King of Persia In 331 BC the Persian King Darius III suffered his shattering defeat by Alexander the Great at the battle of Gaugamela. In the aftermath Darius was murdered by his kinsmen. With his death ended the Achaemenid dynasty which had reigned supreme over the Ancient world for more than two centuries.

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The Accession of Darius III

In the summer of 336, Darius III Codomannus became king of Persia. This brave man was to be the last king of the ancient empire, because he was defeated by Alexander the Great. Darius became king after a very troubled succession. The Greek author Diodorus of Sicily, describes the events in section 17.5.3-6.3 of his World history.

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The Death of Darius III

In the early Summer of 330, Alexander hunted down the Persian king Darius III Codomannus. His courtiers arrested, perhaps because they thought that extraditing him would guarantee their own lives, or perhaps because they wanted to choose a new, stronger king. However, Alexander was too close to deliberate, and when the first Macedonian horsemen appeared, the Persian courtiers decided to kill their king. A relative of Darius, Bessus, became the new king under the name of Artaxerxes V. Darius was murdered in the desert east of modern Tehran ancient Rhagae). He was fifty years old. The following description is taken from the Anabasis (section 3.21.6-22.2) by Arrian of Nicomedia; it was translated by Aubrey de Sélincourt.

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Alexander the Great

He was king of Macedonia and one of the greatest generals in history... He conquered much of what was then the civilized world. Alexander brought Greek ideas and the Greek way of doing things to all the countries he conquered. This great general and king made possible the broadly developed culture of the Hellenistic Age.

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History of Alexander the Great

Alexander is born in Pella, the Macedonian capital, at about the time his father becomes king of Macedonia. Philip II's expansion of the kingdom, an unfolding saga of glory and excitement, is Alexander's boyhood. At an early age he proves himself well equipped to share in these military adventures. He is only sixteen when he is left in charge of Macedonia, while his father campaigns in the east against Byzantium. During his father's absence he crushes a rebellious tribe, the Thracians. As a reward he is allowed to found a new town in their territory - Alexandropolis, the first of many to be named after him.

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Parthian Rulers Index

In main, the chronologies of Frye [The History of Ancient Iran (1984), pp. 209ff, 360] and Sellwood [An Introduction to the Coinage of Parthia, 1980, 2nd ed.] are followed with some modification. Specific changes include revisions to the early kings following Koshelenko's theory of descent based on information found in the Parthian ostraca of Nisa. [Koshelenko (1976), "Genealogia Pervykh Arshakidov", p. 34]. Koshelenko reconciles Justin (Trogus) with Arrian, based on archaeological evidence. Olson's study of Greek letterforms (1973) and additional numismatic evidence have been considered. The revised father-son relationship between Mithradates IV and Vologases IV is established by the inscription on the bronze Herakles [W. I. al-Salihi, Sumer 43 (1984), p. 219, and J. Black, ibid., p. 230]. Tiridates III was added at the end of the genealogy following Sellwood's clarification of a numismatic inscription in "The End of the Parthian Dynasty" (1990).

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Parthia

Parthia (Old Persian Parthava): satrapy of the ancient Achaemenid empire, the north-east of modern Iran. The borders of Parthia were the Kopet Dag mountain range in the north (today the border between Iran and Turkmenistan) and the Dasht-e-Kavir desert in the south. In the west was Media, in the northwest Hyrcania, in the northeast Margiana, in the southeast Aria. (The road from Media through Parthia to Margiana is the famous Silk road.) On the other side of the southern desert was Persia proper. The country south of the Kopet Dag is fertile and was well-irrigated in Antiquity. There were large forests.

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Parthian Empire

The Parthian empire was the most enduring of the empires of the ancient Near East. After the Parni nomads had settled in Parthia and had built a small independent kingdom, they rose to power under king Mithradates the Great (171-138). The Parthian empire occupied all of modern Iran, Iraq and Armenia, parts of Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, and -for brief periods- territories in Pakistan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Israel. The end of this loosely organized empire came in 224, when the last king was defeated by one of their vassals, the Persians of the Sasanian dynasty.

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Seleucid Empire

History of Iran: Seleucid Empire The Hellenistic period is one of the most controversial in the history of Iran. The Greek or Macedonian dynasties were never fully accepted as more than occupants, and in hindsight their reign has been neglected. In the West, where the Hellenistic kings were defeated by Rome, most historians tend to look down on them as degenerated tyrants. The criticism is not wholly unfounded, but in many aspects the kingdoms of the age were vital and dynamic states with an eclectic and progressive view of the different cultures they embraced. The Seleucid Empire was by far the largest of them and its ambition was no less than to maintain the great empire of Alexander in the east.

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History of Iran: Parthian Empire

The Parthian empire was the most enduring of the empires of the ancient Near East. After the Parni nomads had settled in Parthia and had built a small independent kingdom, they rose to power under king Mithradates the Great (171-138 BCE). The Parthian empire occupied all of modern Iran, Iraq and Armenia, parts of Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, and -for brief periods- territories in Pakistan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Israel. The end of this loosely organized empire came in 224 CE, when the last king was defeated by one of their vassals, the Persians of the Sassanid dynasty.

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Tomb of Cyrus the Great (c. 550-529)

Near his palace at PasargadÃ". Cyrus, founder of the Persian Empire, won independence from the Media and expanded his control to Mesopotamia. He drew from Mesopotamia some ideological elements for a reconstructed monarchy. Tombs are above ground to prevent the corpse's being defiled.

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Palace of Cyrus Stone Relief

Stone relief from doorway of Cyrus' palace at Pasargadae A winged figure, probably a protective spirit of the royal household. The crown resembles a Near Eastern figure that wards off evil spirits.

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Winged Creatures from Persepolis

Relief of winged creatures at the gate of Persepolis. Probably derived from Babylonian supernatural beings who guard the entrances to sacred places, and perhaps Babylonia is also the source for reconstituting the AchÃ"menid dynasty in terms of sacral kingship.

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Stone relief from palace of Persopolis

This typical Persian motif draws it wings and central ring from Egyptian and Mesopotamian prototypes. Traditional view is that the figure represents Ahura Mazda

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Persepolis Bull's Head

Bull's head carving from column capital at Persepolis.

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Griffin's head from column at Persopolis

May reflect a borrowing a Mesopotamian political symbolism.

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Persepolis Lion's head

Lion's head from top of a column at Persepolis.

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Soldiers from Persepolis

Relief of soldiers from Persepolis with wicker shields. 6th c. B.C. (East Berlin: Pergamum Museum).

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Head from a statue of an archer

From the walls of the palace at Persepolis. Typical AchÃ"menid aesthetic interest in repeated patterns.

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Soldiers from the Ten Thousand Immortals

Glazed tile relief showing soldiers from the Ten Thousand Immortals. This imperial guard was an elite force made up of trustworthy ethnic Persians. From the Achaemenid winter palace at Susa, Elam. 520-500 B.C. (Paris: Louvre)

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Glazed tile relief from Palace at Susa

Glazed tile relief originally from the Persian winter palace at Susa, capital of Elam. 520-500 B.C. (Paris: Louvre). Another imperial guard. The light military dress was designed for offensive combat, to rush out to address crises within the far-flung Persian Empire.

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Immortal infantry - Lancer and Archer

Frieze of glazed tiles showing Immortal infantry. A lancer and archer.

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The History of Medicine in Ancient Persia

By Hedieh Ghavidel, Press TV, Tehran The history of medicine in Iran is as old and as rich as its civilization. In the Avesta, science and medicine rise above class, ethnicity, nationality, race, gender and religion. Some of the earliest practices of ancient Iranian medicine have been documented in the Avesta and other Zoroastrian religious texts. During the Achaemenid era (559-330 BCE), the 21 books of Avesta encompassing 815 chapters were an encyclopedia of science consisting of medicine, astronomy, law, social science, philosophy, general knowledge, logic and biology.

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Persian Empire, Persepolis

The early history of man in Iran goes back well beyond the Neolithic period, it begins to get more interesting around 6000 BC, when people began to domesticate animals and plant wheat and barley. The number of settled communities increased, particularly in the eastern Zagros mountains, and handmade painted pottery appears. Throughout the prehistoric period, from the middle of the sixth millennium BC to about 3000 BC, painted pottery is a characteristic feature of many sites in Iran.

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Women's Lives in Ancient Persia

History of Iran: Women's Lives in Ancient Persia By: Massoume Price. Any analysis of women's lives and status in ancient times is a very complicated task and needs time and space. This very brief article intends to provide much needed basic information based on archaeological evidence and will primarily deal with women in Achaemenid times. The material is based on Fortification and Treasury texts discovered at Persepolis (509-438 BC) and documents recovered at Susa Babylonia and other major Mesopotamian cities of the period. These texts provide us with a unique insight into the social and economic situation of both the royal and non-royal women at the time. In the texts individual women are identified, payments of rations and wages for male and female workers are documented and sealed orders by the royal women themselves or their agents gives us valuable information on how these powerful women managed their wealth.

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Iran Before the Iranians

The Elamite civilization in Iran, first developed in the Susian plain, under the influence of nearby Sumeria and Mesopotamia in the Tigris-Euphrates valley. Around 3500 B.C., animal drawn wheeled carts were in use in Sumeria. They also used ploughs to till their land, and oars to propel their ships on the Euphrates river. The Sumerians were the most advanced and complex civilization in the world at that time, and by 3100 B.C. they had invented a system of writing which was the first of its kind in the world.

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The Achaemenians

The Persians achieved unity under the leadership of Achaemenes, whose descendant Cyrus brought the Achaemenian Empire onto the centre stage of world history. Cyrus was the descendant of a long line of Persian kings and should be referred to as Cyrus II, having been named after his grandfather... According to the writings of Herodotus, the last ruler of the Medes, Astyages (585 - 550 B.C.) was defeated and captured by Cyrus in 549 B.C.. In all probability Cyrus had the support of the Babylonian sovereign Nabonidus. The Persian king overthrew the Median empire and seized Ecbatana (Place of Assembly), which became his capital. He spared the defeated ruler, preferring not to indulge in the mass killings, which until then had been a feature of Assyrian victories. On the contrary he brought nobles and civilian officials, both Median and Persian, into the government of his kingdom.

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The Parthian Empire

Under Mithridates I (171-138 B.C.), the Parthians continued their conquests and annexed Media, Fars, Babylonia and Assyria, creating an empire that extended from the Euphrates to Herat in Afghanistan. This in effect was a restoration of the ancient Achaemenian Empire of Cyrus the Great.

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The Medes

During the second millennia B.C., successive Indo-European (Aryan) invaders broke through into the Iranian plateau, either from the Caucasus, or through Central Asia. Those who settled in Iran were divided into tribes that were distinguished from each other by their different dialects. The most famous of these tribes were the Persians (Parsa), and the Medes (Mada).

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Persia in the Internet Ancient History Sourcebook

Internet Ancient History Sourcebook: Persia

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Achaemenid Persia

Introduction. Persia is an alternate, though unofficial name for the country of Iran, its people, its art and its ancient empire. The early Persians were one of several Aryan tribes that settled in the Iranian plateau. The Persians settled into the southern region of the plateau, while the Medes occupied the north western portion. Herodotus tells us the Persian nation was made up of many tribes. The principal ones being the Pasargadae, the Maraphians, and the Maspians, of whom the Pasargadae were the noblest. The Achaemenidae, from which spring all the Persian kings, being one of their clans. The other Persian tribes being the Panthialaeans, the Derusiaeans, the Germanians, were engaged in husbandry; the Daans, the Mardians, the Dropicans, and the Sagartians, who were nomads.

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The Achaemenid Empire, 550 - 420 B.C.

The Persian Empire grew in the vacuum left by Assyria's destruction of the Kingdom of Elam. Prince Teispes captured Anshan, once a stonghold of the Elamites and began to call himself "King of the City of Anshan". His father, Achaemenes 681 BC, a warrior chief, is apparently responsible for training and organising the early Persian army and it is his name that begins the royal line of Achaemenian Kings.

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Iran in the Bible

What the Bible Says About Persia and Persians "In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of The Lord spoken by Jeremiah, The Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing: "This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: "The Lord, The God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and He has appointed me to build a Temple [see Temples] for Him at Jerusalem in Judah. Anyone of his people among you - may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build The Temple of The Lord, The God of Israel, The God who is in Jerusalem." (Ezra 1:1-3)

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Catholic Encyclopedia: Persia

The history, religion, and civilization of Persia are offshoots from those of Media. Both Medes and Persians are Aryans; the Aryans who settled in the southern part of the Iranian plateau became known as Persians, while those of the mountain regions of the north-west were called Medes. The Medes were at first the leading nation, but towards the middle of the sixth century, B.C. the Persians became the dominant power, not only in Iran, but also in Western Asia.

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History of Persia

From the Medes and the Persians of 9th Century BC. Of the two main Indo-European tribes moving south into Iran, it is at first the Medes who play the dominant role. With a capital at Ecbatana (modern Hamadan), they establish themselves as powerful neighbours of Assyria. In 612 they combine with Babylon to sack the Assyrian capital at Nineveh. Their spoils are northern Assyria and much of Anatolia, where the Halys river becomes the border between themselves and Lydia. The Medes already control much of Iran including Fars, in the southwest. This is the heartland of the Parsa or Persians, whose king is a vassal of the Medes.

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The Achaemenid Persian Empire (550 - 330 B.C.)

The Achaemenid Persian empire was the largest that the ancient world had seen, extending from Anatolia and Egypt across western Asia to northern India and Central Asia. Its formation began in 550 B.C., when King Astyages of Media, who dominated much of Iran and eastern Anatolia (Turkey), was defeated by his southern neighbor Cyrus II ("the Great"), king of Persia (r... 559""530 B.C.). This upset the balance of power in the Near East. The Lydians of western Anatolia under King Croesus took advantage of the fall of Media to push east and clashed with Persian forces. The Lydian army withdrew for the winter but the Persians advanced to the Lydian capital at Sardis, which fell after a two-week siege. The Lydians had been allied with the Babylonians and Egyptians and Cyrus now had to confront these major powers. The Babylonian empire controlled Mesopotamia and the eastern Mediterranean. In 539 B.C., Persian forces defeated the Babylonian army at the site of Opis, east of the Tigris. Cyrus entered Babylon and presented himself as a traditional Mesopotamian monarch, restoring temples and releasing political prisoners. The one western power that remained unconquered in Cyrus' lightning campaigns was Egypt. It was left to his son Cambyses to rout the Egyptian forces in the eastern Nile Delta in 525 B.C. After a ten-day siege, Egypt's ancient capital Memphis fell to the Persians.

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Forgotten Empire: The World of Ancient Persia

The British Museum. Magnificent palaces, glittering gold life-like carvings: the wealth and power of ancient Persia "" modern Iran is legendary. Two thousand years ago, this vast and powerful empire stretched from the Mediterranean to the River Indus. Great kings created the breathtaking cities of Persepolis, Susa and Pasargadae, which now lie in ruins. Follow the links to rediscover the riches of a forgotten empire...

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Islamic Beginnings in Ancient Persia

The Iranian plateau, much of the territory of present-day Iran, was first populated in the 9th century BCE, when the Medes people migrated there from Central Asia. The Medes were followed by the Persians in the 8th century BCE, and these two groups laid the foundation for a series of empires that arose on the Iranian plateau over the next thousand years. Around 750 BCE the Medes people formed their own kingdom, called Media, in the northwest plateau, becoming powerful enough by 612 BCE to defeat the older Assyrian Empire to the west. In 550 BCE, however, the Persian leader Cyrus the Great led the Persians into battle against the ruling Medes people, resulting in the unification of the two groups under the name of the victor, the Persians. Cyrus also captured the city of Babylon on the Euphrates River and freed the Jewish captives there, earning himself a place in the Book of Isaiah. The first Persian Empire, the Achaemenid, emerged from Cyrus' victories, and lasted until the 2nd century BCE. The Achaemenid Empire was the largest empire yet seen in the ancient world, extending at its height as far east as the Hindu Kush mountains in present-day Afghanistan. Economically, the Achaemenids established an efficient trade system throughout their empire. Persian words for many commodities spread throughout the region as a result of this commercial activity, some of which are still used in English today. Examples include bazaar, shawl, sash, turquoise, tiara, orange, lemon, melon, peach, spinach, and asparagus.

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Women in Ancient Persia, 559–331 BC

Questia. Book by Maria Brosius; Clarendon Press,1998, 260 pgs. This book discusses Greek attitudes towards the royal women of the Achaemenid court ( 559-331 BC). It also attempts to look at the position of royal and non-royal women from a Near Eastern view point by examining the evidence of the Fortification texts from Persepolis and Neo-Babylonian texts.

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Ancient Persia Religion

The Persians, like other Indo-European groups such as the Medes and Scythians were originally polytheists. They worshipped numerous gods associated with natural phenomena such as the moon and the sun, fire, wind and water. Their religious practices included, animal sacrifice, a reverence for fire and the drinking of a natural intoxicant made from the juice of the haoma plant. Around 600 B.C. the prophet and teacher Zoroaster, founded a new religion, Zoroastrianism. Zoroaster, also known by the Greek name Zarathrustra, wrote down his beliefs in a sacred book known as the "Zend Avesta".

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Iran The Country, General Facts

Always known as Iran to its people, the country for centuries was referred to as Persia by the Europeans. Both names are widely used today. Its position as a vast natural fortress, with mountain ranges, enabled the Persians to preserve their individuality in spite of the conquests by the Arabs (7th century), the Turks (10th century), and the Mongols (13th to 15th centuries). Today, Iran remains a country rich in traditions, very hospitable, home to ancient cities, labyrinthine bazaars, and elegant mosques. Its culture has had a great influence on other countries, both in Central Asia, and throughout the world.

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CIA - The World Factbook: Iran

Known as Persia until 1935, Iran became an Islamic republic in 1979 after the ruling monarchy was overthrown and the shah was forced into exile... Conservative clerical forces established a theocratic system of government with ultimate political authority vested in a learned religious scholar referred to commonly as the Supreme Leader who, according to the constitution, is accountable only to the Assembly of Experts. US-Iranian relations have been strained since a group of Iranian students seized the US Embassy in Tehran on 4 November 1979 and held it until 20 January 1981. During 1980-88, Iran fought a bloody, indecisive war with Iraq that eventually expanded into the Persian Gulf and led to clashes between US Navy and Iranian military forces between 1987 and 1988.

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Culture of Iran

History; Culture & Art; Celebrations; Religion; Codes of Behavior; and Gender Relations in Iran

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Alexander the Great - The End of Persia

The Ten-Horned Beast? Alexander the Great "" The End of Persia Alexander the Great (*356; r. 336-323): the Macedonian king who defeated his Persian colleague Darius III Codomannus and conquered the Achaemenid Empire. During his campaigns, Alexander visited a.o. Egypt, Babylonia, Persis, Media, Bactria, the Punjab, and the valley of the Indus. In the second half of his reign, he had to find a way to rule his newly conquered countries. Therefore, he made Babylon his capital and introduced the oriental court ceremonial, which caused great tensions with his Macedonian and Greek officers.

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Cyrus Takes Babylon (530 BCE): Cyrus Cylinder

In October 539 BCE, the Persian king Cyrus took Babylon, the ancient capital of an oriental empire covering modern Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Israel. In a broader sense, Babylon was the ancient world's capital of scholarship and science. The subject provinces soon recognized Cyrus as their legitimate ruler. Since he was already lord of peripheral regions in modern Turkey and Iran (and Afghanistan?), it is not exaggerated to say that the conquest of Babylonia meant the birth of a true world empire. The Achaemenid empire was to last for more than two centuries, until it was divided by the successors of the Macedonian king Alexander the Great. A remarkable aspect of the capture of Babylon is the fact that Cyrus allowed the Jews (who were exiled in Babylonia) to return home. In this text, a clay cylinder now in the British Museum, Cyrus describes how he conquers the old city. Nabonidus is considered a tyrant with strange religious ideas, which causes the god Marduk to intervene. That Cyrus thought of himself as chosen by a supreme god, is confirmed by Second Isaiah; his claim that he entered the city without struggle corroborates the same statement in the Chronicle of Nabonidus.

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Cyrus Takes Babylon: The Nabonidus Chronicle

The Chronicle of Nabonidus tells us the story of the rule of the last king of independent Babylonia. The text is badly damaged and contains many lacunas. However, it makes clear that the rise of Cyrus was not unexpected. We meet him for the first time in Nabonidus' sixth year (=550 BCE), when he defeats the Median leader Astyages. A second reference can be found in year nine, when he defeats the king of a country that can not be identified (547 BCE).

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Cyrus Takes Babylon: The Verse Account

The question what Nabonidus was doing in TemÃ- will probably remain unsolved for ever. From the following text, we may deduce that during his life time, there were strong rumors that the king suffered from a mental illness and proposed a religious reform (preferring the Moon god Sin to all other gods). These rumors were used by the author of theVerse account to explain Nabonidus' stay abroad: being mad, he ignored the supreme god Marduk and went away. We will discuss the truth of the allegations below. Nabonidus' devotion to the Moon is a historical fact, proven by an inscription found in Harran (in 1956). That he blasphemed against Marduk, however, must be an exaggeration.

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Cyrus Takes Babylon: Daniel and Prayer of Nabonidus

The final redaction of the biblical book of Daniel (called after a Jewish sage at the court of Belshazzar, i.e. Nabonidus' crown prince Bêlsharusur) took place in the second century BCE, but it contains some older elements. Probably, no less than four authors have contributed to the text. The resulting text can not be taken as history. Too many elements are too incredible (e.g., about every personal name is wrong). However, chapter four contains a bit of information that is corroborated by a text known as the Prayer of Nabonidus. According to Daniel's story, the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar suffers from a mental illness, and lives isolated for seven years, until he acknowledges the power of the one God. From cuneiform texts, nothing is known about Nebuchadnezzar's mental health. The original story must have centered on another royal patient: Nabonidus, about whom rumors like this did circulate (see the Verse account). Moreover, several details return in the Prayer, where Nabonidus is the sad hero: the period of seven years, the isolation, the ultimate recognition of the power of the supreme God. Since the authors of Daniel consistently avoid mentioning Nabonidus, it is likely that one of them is responsible for the change of names.

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Cyrus Takes Babylon: Second Isaiah & Ezra

'Second Isaiah' or 'Deutero-Isaiah' is the name of the chapters 40-55 of the Biblical book of Isaiah, which were added to the 'real' text of Isaiah. The second prophet predicts the coming of king Cyrus, who will liberate the Jews from their Babylonian Exile and will bring them to the Promised Land. It may be noted that Cyrus was considered by the Jews a monotheist, an opinion that was more or less correct, since many Persians venerated the 'wise lord' Ahuramazda who was the eternal enemy of an evil god named Angrya Manyu. Persian religion also stressed that people should be honest and righteous, and it is possible that these ideas about a wise Lord with an ethical message influenced the lines 45.7-8 quoted below.

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Cyrus Takes Babylon: Herodotus

The Histories by the Greek researcher Herodotus of Halicarnassus (fifth century BCE) are the world's first historical study. The account of the Fall of Babylon -which is here presented in the translation by George Rawlinson- proves beyond all reasonable doubt that the author never spoke a Babylonian about the event. Only two details he has right: that Cyrus entered Babylonia at Opis, where a battle was fought, and that he finally took the ancient city.

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Aryans

Aryans: name of the ancestors of the Persian elite of the Achaemenid empire. (Not to be confused with Arians.)

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Earth and Water

Earth and water: symbol of surrender in the ancient Achaemenid empire. The Persian custom to demand "earth and water" from subject people is known from the Histories by the Greek researcher Herodotus of Halicarnassus. It is tempting to think that those who surrendered gave up everything: their land and the liquids they needed. In other words, surrender was unconditional, and the Persian king was able to grant life to his new subjects. After the exchange of earth and water and the acknowledgement of Persian superiority, negotiations could begin about obligations and benefits.

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Epic Literature of Ancient Iran

The most significant literary heritage of ancient Iran, however, is the heroic poetry which eventually evolved into the Iranian national epic. The core of this poetry belongs to a heroic age of remote antiquity, that of the Kayanians. Under this dynasty, whose history is wrapped in legend, the ancestors of the Avestan people offered worship and sacrifice to a broad range of deities who often symbolized the forces of nature. Grappling with the hazards of a cold, frost-stricken climate, beset by demons of drought, and harassed by marauding neighbors, they struggled to overcome the physical and social challenges of their environment. The institution of kingship had already developed among them; the worship of tribal gods and ancestral spirits had given way to a common worship of universal gods and the spirits of protective, departed heroes. The first adumbration of the major legends of the Iranian epic are found in the Yashts of the Avesta, where Kayanian kings offer sacrifice to the gods in order to earn their support and gain strength in the perpetual struggle against their enemies, the Turanians. As the major concern of the Kayanians, this bitter, never-ending feud with the Turanians constitutes the main theme of the Iranian epic. Zoroastrianism adopted these legends of the past and extended its blessing to their protagonists.

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Persian Period in Anatolia and Asia Minor

Medes and Persians who, in the 13th C. BCE, entered Northwest Persia via Caucasus were of Indo-European origin. Medes settled first in the Ecbatana region (today's Hamadan), and Persians settled in the mountainous Zagros region later they moved to another area called Parthia. Medes and Persians were first mentioned in the annals of Assyrians in about 843 and 835 BCE... Medes, towards the end of 8th C. BCE., gathered and built the foundations of their first kingdom. About 715 BCE the Median chieftain Dayaukku, led the Medes in an unsuccessful rebellion against the Assyrian king Sargon II (reigned 722-705 BCE). The later rulers of Media considered Dayaukku the founder of the Median dynasty.

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Iran Chamber Society: When Persia became Iran

In 1935 the Iranian government requested those countries which it had diplomatic relations with, to call Persia "Iran," which is the name of the country in Persian. The suggestion for the change is said to have come from the Iranian ambassador to Germany, who came under the influence of the Nazis. At the time Germany was in the grip of racial fever and cultivated good relations with nations of "Aryan" blood. It is said that some German friends of the ambassador persuaded him that, as with the advent of Reza Shah, Persia had turned a new leaf in its history and had freed itself from the pernicious influences of Britain and Russia, whose interventions in Persian affairs had practically crippled the country under the Qajars, it was only fitting that the country be called by its own name, "Iran." This would not only signal a new beginning and bring home to the world the new era in Iranian history, but would also signify the Aryan race of its population, as "Iran" is a cognate of "Aryan" and derived from it.

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Flags of Persia and Iran

Flags of glorious Ancient Iranian Empires(Pre-Islamic period)

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Art, Culture and History of the Ancient Middle East

Ancient Persia "" The Art, Culture and History of the Ancient Middle East The early history of man in Iran goes back well beyond the Neolithic period, it begins to get more interesting around 6000 BC, when people began to domesticate animals and plant wheat and barley. The number of settled communities increased, particularly in the eastern Zagros mountains, and handmade painted pottery appears. Throughout the prehistoric period, from the middle of the sixth millennium BC to about 3000 BC, painted pottery is a characteristic feature of many sites in Iran.

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Persian Empire

The later years of the Achaemenid dynasty were marked by decay and decadence. The mightiest empire in the world collapsed in only eight years, when it fell under the attack of a young Macedonian king, Alexander the Great.

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Three Treaties Between Sparta and Persia

In the first phase of the Peloponnesian War, the Archidamian War, the Spartans had been unable to achieve their aim: dissolving the Delian League. However, after the catastrophic losses that Athens had suffered during the Sicilian Expedition, the balance of power had changed and Sparta renewed the war: the Decelean or Ionian War. Moreover, the Athenians had supported a rebel in the Persian Empire, Amorges, an act that broke the (tacit or official) agreement between the Achaemenid king and the Delian League not to interfere in each other's sphere of influence. So, Sparta and Persia shared a dislike of Athens and had something to offer to each other. In 412, they concluded an agreement, which was later revised.

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History of Persian Ceramics

Pottery making in the Iranian Plateau dates back to the Early Neolithic Age (7th millennium BCE) with the production of coarse, unglazed wares. Later wares were made from earthenware clays with a layer of white slip (engobe). They were covered by transparent lead glazes and colors were added with oxides. Persian ceramics matured with time into more elaborate styles and techniques.

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Persian Art Through the Centuries

The long prehistoric period in Iran, is known to us mostly from excavation work carried out in a few key sites, which has led to a chronology of distinct periods, each one characterised by the development of certain types of pottery, artefacts and architecture. Pottery is one of the oldest Persian art forms, and examples have been unearthed from burial mounds (Tappeh), dating back from the 5th millennium BC.

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Ancient Soul of Iran - National Geographic

Persia: Ancient Soul of Iran "" National Geographic Magazine Iran Archaeology. What's so striking about the ruins of Persepolis in southern Iran, an ancient capital of the Persian Empire that was burned down after being conquered by Alexander the Great, is the absence of violent imagery on what's left of its stone walls. Among the carvings there are soldiers, but they're not fighting; there are weapons, but they're not drawn. Mainly you see emblems suggesting that something humane went on here instead""people of different nations gathering peace fully, bearing gifts, draping their hands amiably on one another's shoulders. In an era noted for its barbarity, Persepolis, it seems, was a relatively cosmopolitan place""and for many Iranians today its ruins are a breathtaking reminder of who their Persian ancestors were and what they did.

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WWW-VL History Index - Iran

List of research tools about the study of Iran

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Achaemenians Hakhamanesh Persian History

The 6th century BC was witness to the establishment of these Persians in the present-day region of Fars. Fars (or Persis to the Greeks) was a recognizable district of the Assyrian Empire like the neighboring but greater Media. Persian rulers, claiming descent from one Achaemenes (or Hakhamanesh), took over the rule of Media from Astyages in the middle of the 6th century BC. In an amazingly short time Cyrus could extend his conquests from Elam and Media west and north. He pushed into Asia Minor and, upon defeating the Lydians, established the greatest Persian Empire, which was to endure long under his successors, the Achaemenians.

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Persian Rug History

A Persian rug has a wide variety designs and styles, and trying to organize them in to a category is a very difficult task. With the passage of time, the materials used in carpets, including wool and cotton, decay. Therefore archaeologists are not able to make any particularly useful discoveries during archaeological excavations, save for special circumstances. What has remained from early times as evidence of carpet-weaving is nothing more than a few pieces of worn-out rugs. And such fragments do not help very much in recognizing the carpet-weaving characteristics of pre-Seljuk period (13th and 14th centuries AD) in Persia. The advanced weaving technique used in the Pazyryk carpet indicates a long history of evolution and experience in this art. Most experts believe that the Pazyryk carpet is a late achievement of at least one thousand years of technique evolution and history. According to this theory the art of carpet-weaving in Iran is at least 3500 years old.

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Glory of Persia - Five Stages of Iran History

When it comes to the history of Iran, you will find five distinct stages which shaped the future of the country. Those broad stages often include the early, pre-historic, the pre-Islamic statehood, the Middle Ages, the early modern era, and modern day (recent history).

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Glory of Persia

The essence of Persian culture, history and civilization.

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Achaemenid Persian Maps of the Empire

The Achaemenid empire at its greatest, during the reign of Darius I, 500 B.C. The map below shows the borders of the satrapies which were to fluctuate with numerous revolts. Artaxerxes III reconsolidated the empire in 343 B.C.

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Ancient Persia Geography

Persia was a land that included parts of what are now Iran and Afghanistan. The map above shows the Achaemenid Empire at its peak in 500BC. It was the center of an empire that stretched west to the central Mediterranean Sea, east to India, and from the Gulf of Oman in the southern Russia in the north. Persia is one of the world's most mountainous countries. Its mountains have helped to shape both the political and the economic history of the country for several centuries. The mountains enclose several broad basins, or plateaus, on which major agricultural and urban settlements are located. There are no major river systems in the country, and historically transportation was by means of caravans that followed routes traversing gaps and passes in the mountains. The mountains also impeded easy access to the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea.

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Map of Persia

Persian in its greatest extent 500 B.C.

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Iran - Achaemenid Dynasty; 550-330BCE

Iran - Achaemenid (HakhÃ-maneshiyÃ-n) Dynasty; 550-330BCE

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Parthian Arsacid Dynasty; 247 BC - 224 AD

Iran - Parthian /Arsacid (AshkÃ-niÃ-n) Dynasty; 247BCE-CE224

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Achaemenid Royal Inscriptions

In ca.521, the Persian king Darius I the Great ordered that a new alphabet, which he called the Aryan script, was to be developed. It was used for a small corpus of inscriptions, known as the Achaemenid Royal Inscriptions. This page offers links to transcriptions, translations and pictures.

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Old Persian Texts

The Achaemenian Kings left extensive cuneiform inscriptions in Old Persian dated roughly between 600 BCE and 300 BCE. They also left ruins which have been described as the most grandiose of the ancient world. While it is by no means certain that they were orthodox Zoroastrians, the majority opinion among scholars is that this is very likely. One of the strongest arguments for this is the frequent mention of Ahura Mazda in the inscriptions, which is almost certainly an innovation of Zarathushtra's. Their religion is also described by Herodotus in sufficient detail to leave little doubt that they were basically Zoroastrian.

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Persian Testimonies About Ancient Macedonian Ethnicity

Yauna Takabara. The Persian Story of Zulqarneen. Bahram Yasht.

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Discovery of the First Old-Persian-Inscription

Discovery of the First Old-Persian-Inscription among the Persepolis' Fortification-Tablets. LONDON, (CAIS) -- Researchers at Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago for the first time have identified an Old-Persian (Aryan) inscription among the loaned Achaemenid-clay tablets, announced Abdolmajid Arfaee, an Iranian Archaeologist with ICHT . This invaluable collection of clay tablets is currently housed in the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago in trust for further studies. Dr Arfaee stated that University of Chicago has not disclosed their discovery in detail, but they will publish their findings soon. This discovery is expected to shed further light on the administrative, economic and political situation of Iran during the reign of the Achaemenid dynasty (550-330 BCE).

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Behistun Inscription

The Behistun Inscription is to cuneiform what the Rosetta Stone is to Egyptian hieroglyphs: the document most crucial in the decipherment of a previously lost script. It is located in the Kermanshah Province of Iran. The inscription includes three versions of the same text, written in three different cuneiform script languages: Old Persian, Elamite, and Babylonian. A British army officer, Sir Henry Rawlinson, had the inscription transcribed in two parts, in 1835 and 1843. Rawlinson was able to translate the Old Persian cuneiform text in 1838, and the Elamite and Babylonian texts were translated by Rawlinson and others after 1843. Babylonian was a later form of Akkadian: both are Semitic languages.

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Darius the Great and the Bisutun Inscription

J. Andrew McLaughlin. What is the significance of the association between Darius I ("The Great") of Persia and the inscription on the rock of Bisutun? Of what importance is this association to the reconstruction of Persian history? This inscription, carved 300 feet above the ground near Bisutun (a.k.a. Bisitun, Behistun, and Bahistun) in modern Iran, exhibits a relief depicting Darius' ascension to the throne of Persia, his triumph over his enemies, and his endorsement by the chief god Ahuramazda. This carving is supplemented by a large amount of accompanying text in three languages important at the time of the Persian empire: Babylonian, Old Persian, and Elamite. R.

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ACHAEMENID ROYAL INSCRIPTIONS FROM PERSEPOLIS

Oriental Institute - ACHAEMENID ROYAL INSCRIPTIONS FROM PERSEPOLIS By Matthew W. Stolper, Professor of Assyriology in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, and Gene Gragg, Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Director of the Oriental Institute The University of Chicago. From 550 BC on, Cyrus the Great and his successors, the Persian kings of the Achaemenid dynasty, conquered and held an empire on a scale that was without precedent in earlier Near Eastern history, and without parallel until the formation of the Roman Empire. At its greatest extent, its corners were in Libya and Ethiopia, Thrace and Macedonia, Afghanistan and Central Asia, and the Punjab. It incorporated ancient literate societies in Elam, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and elsewhere. It engaged the emerging Greek states in a long confrontation that had profound effects on Greek and later European historical consciousness. It lasted without substantial loss of control until it was conquered by Alexander the Great, and then dismantled by his successors after 330 BC.

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Darius' Suez Inscriptions

Darius I (Old Persian DÃ-rayavauÅ¡): king of ancient Persia, whose reign lasted from 522 to 486. He seized power after killing king GaumÃ-ta, fought a civil war (described in the Behistun inscription), and was finally able to refound the Achaemenid empire, which had been very loosely organized until then. Darius fought several foreign wars, which brought him to India and Thrace. When he died, the Persian empire had reached its largest extent. He was succeeded by his son Xerxes.

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Khark Stone Inscription

Tehran Times - Khark stone inscription may add five new words to ancient Persian TEHRAN -- It is possible that five words have been added to our knowledge of the ancient Persian language by the recent discovery of a stone inscription on Khark Island in the Persian Gulf, the Persian service of CHN reported on Tuesday. The cuneiform inscription, comprising six words on six different horizontal lines inscribed on a piece of uneven rock encrusted with corals, has been found last week during a road construction project. Measuring about a meter square, the rock has become detached from its original terrain.

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The Achaemenids Law Dâta

By: Rüdiger Sshmitt. DÃ-ta, Old Iranian term for "law" (originally the neuter verbal adjective dÃ-ta-m from the root dÃ-- "to put, place," thus "(the law) set/laid down"; cf. Ger. Gesetz and Eng. law respectively), attested both in Avestan texts (Old and Younger Av. dÃ-ta-) and in Achaemenid royal inscriptions (Old Pers. dÃ-ta-; Kent, Old Persian, p. 189). The Old Persian term was incorporated into the languages of several neighboring peoples during the Achaemenid and subsequent periods (e.g., El. da-ad-da-um, da-at-tam, da-tam, da-ad-da-(-ma) [cf. Hinz and Koch, pp. 246-47, 256, 298], Late Babylonian da-a-ta/ti/tu, Hebrew dt-, biblical Aram. d´t, dÃ-t, inscriptional Aram... [Xanthos] dt-h, Syr. dt-´, Arm. dat (cf. Mid. Pers., NPers. dÃ-d, etc.). In the Achaemenid royal inscriptions Old Persian dÃ-ta- is used in a dual sense. In texts of Darius I the Great (q.v. iii; 522-486 B.C.E.) all the references are to the king's law, by which order was established and guaranteed in his empire (DB I.23: "these countries obeyed my law"; DNa 21-22=DSe 20-21=XPh 18-19: "my law""that held them (firm)"; DSe 37-39 "my law""of that they are afraid"). In two instances in Xerxes' so-called "daiva inscription," however, the law of Ahura MazdÃ- (q.v.) is mentioned ("obey that law which AuramazdÃ- has established"; the man who obeys "both becomes happy while living and blessed when dead"; XPh 49-56; Kent, Old Persian, pp. 151-52). Divine law thus apparently applied not only to order on earth but also to welfare in the life to come.

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The linguistic Setting of Old Persia

Old Persian "" The linguistic Setting of Old Persia. Old Persian is the name applied to the Persian language used in the cuneiform inscriptions of the Achaemenian dynasty; it can be localized as the language of the southwestern Persia, or Persis in the narrower sense, and was the vernacular speech of the Achaemenian rulers. The OP inscriptions are commonly accompanied also by translations into Elamite and Accadian, engraved in other types of cuneiform writing, and sometimes by an Aramaic version or an Egyptian hieroglyphic version. Linguistically, OP belongs to the Iranian branch of Indo-Iranian or Aryan, which is one of the main divisions of the Indo-European family of languages.

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Persian Language and Literature

NETBible: Persian Language and Literature (Ancient) The Persian language, ancient and modern alike, is an Aryan tongue. In its ancient forms it is more closely connected with Vedic Sanskrit than with any other language except Armenian. Most of its roots are to be found also in Slavonic, Greek, Latin and other tongues of the same stock. Dialects: There were two main dialects in the ancient language of Iran (Airyanem), (1) that of the Persians proper, and (2) that of the Medes. The former is known to us from the inscriptions of the Achemenian kings, the latter from the Avesta, and a few Median words preserved for us by Herodotus and other Greek writers.

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Ancient Persian Alphabet

When the Persian king Darius I the Great (522-486) ordered the Behistun inscription to be made, he also ordered the making of a special, Persian alphabet, which he called 'the Aryan script'. It consists of thirty-six signs indicating syllables and eight ideograms for the words 'king', 'country' (2x) 'good', 'god', 'earth', and 'Ahuramazda' (3x). A slanting wedge (\) is used as a word divider. This alphabet was mainly used for royal inscriptions; the last text in the 'Aryan script' can be dated to the fourth century BCE.

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Old Persian (Aryan)

Edited by Shapour Suren-Pahlav. Linguistically, Old Persian is the oldest attested Persid language, which is classified in the group of Western Iranian languages. The Middle-Persian (Pahlavi) and New Persian, are the direct continuation of the Old Persian evolution. Old Persian was the vernacular tongue of the Achaemenid monarchs, but had already been spoken for a few centuries prior to the rise of the Achaemenid dynasty. Old Persian script was called Aryan (OP. ariyÃ-) by the Achaemenids. It is largely known from an extensive body of cuneiform inscriptions "" especially from the time of Darius the Great (r. 522-486 BCE) and his son Xerxes (r. 486-465BCE). However, some scholars believe that Aryan was invented by the first Iranian dynasty, the Medes (728-550BCE), and then adopted by the Achaemenids as the imperial script. Old Persian script continued to survive, though in a corrupt form described by Skj¿rv¸ as "˜post-Old-Persian', as late as the first century BCE.

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Persian Language

Persian language, also known as Farsi, is the most widely spoken member of the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian languages. It is the official language of Iran and is also widely spoken in Afghanistan and, in an archaic form, in Tadjikistan and the Pamir mountain region.

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Ancient Scripts: Avestan

Avestan was an Iranian language in which the earliest Zoroastrian hymns were orally transmitted since 1500 BCE. Due to lingusitic change, fluency in Avestan as spoken a thousand years earlier was deteorating, and hence the need to write the language became increasingly apparent. By the 3rd century CE an alphabet was created to write down the ancient Avestan language...

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Ancient Scripts: Old Persian

The first Persian Empire of the Achaemenid dynasty rose to power in the middle of the 6th century BCE and quickly conquered an area that stretched from Mesopotamia to Afghanistan. Early in the history of the dynasty, a syllabic script to write the Old Persian language was developed. This script was not a direct descendent of the Sumerian and Akkadian systems, because even though the physical appearance of Old Persian signs are cuneiform, or in the shape of wedges, the actual shape of the signs do not correspond to signs in older systems with similar phonetic values. Old Persian only kept the cuneiform appearance of its characters simply out of tradition, and the actual shape of the signs were completely original.

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Iranian Scripts: Old Persian Cuneiform

Darius I [522 - 486 BCE] claims credit for the invention of Old Persian Cuneiform in an inscription on a cliff at Behistun in south-west Iran. The inscription dates from 520 BCE and is in three languages - Elamite, Babylonian and Old Persian. Some scholars are sceptical about Darius' claims, others take them seriously, although they think that Darius probably commissioned his scribes to create the alphabet, rather than inventing it himself...

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Ancient Persia History

The early history of man in Iran goes back well beyond the Neolithic period, it begins to get more interesting around 6000 BC, when people began to domesticate animals and plant wheat and barley. The number of settled communities increased, particularly in the eastern Zagros mountains, and handmade painted pottery appears. Throughout the prehistoric period, from the middle of the sixth millennium BC to about 3000 BC, painted pottery is a characteristic feature of many sites in Iran.

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Persians

Around 1200 BC, some new people invaded West Asia from the north. These people were called the Persians and the Medes. Both of them were Indo-European people, distantly related to the Hittites, the Greeks and the Romans. Like the Scythians, the Medes and the Persians were nomadic people. They travelled around Siberia with their horses and their cattle, and grazed the cattle and the horses on the great fields of grass there. Usually they lived well enough this way.

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ANE History: Persia

The first mention we have of the Persians is on a tablet recording the expedition of Shalmanesser III into a country called Parsua, in the mountains of Kurdistan around 837 BC. There, it seems that twenty-seven chieftain-kings ruled over twenty-seven states thinly populated by a people called Amadai, Madai, or Medes. They were Indo-European and had probably come from around the Caspian Sea into Western Asia about 1000 BC. The Zend-Avesta, the sacred scriptures of the Persains, idealized the racial memory of their ancient homeland and described it as a paradise. Not likely, since if it was so nice, why would they have ever left? In any case, scenes of our youth and the past are often wonderful and pleasant -- if we don't have to live in them again.

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