Anti-Iran Pan-Turk Racialists in Tehran Azadi Stadium

Below is video of pan-Turk anti-Iran separatsts chanting anti-Iranian slogans in Tehran’s  Stadium – this was forwarded to on Friday, Aug 27, 2010 by Tara Farhid-Gallo. In the video below, pan-Turk activists:

  • Chant separatist sentiments for Azarbaijan.
  • Then in a strange twist, they chant “Urumieh is ours, A–b Gulf is yours“. This is strange as these activists are now adopting historically false pan-Arabist rhetoric in reference to the Persian Gulf.
  • They also flash the pan-Turk fascist salute and then howl like wolves in accordance with their philosophy of hailing from a mythical mythical Grey Wolf ancestor.

The above video is also startling in that nearly all of the activists are youths and young adults.

The fact that pan-Turk activists are so brazen at this time should come as no suprise to readers.

1) The dangers of pan-Turkism were warned as early as 1989 by Dr. Jalal Matini in the Iranshenasi Journal as early as 1989:

Matini, J. (1989). Azerbaijan Koja Ast? [Where is Azerbaijan?]. Iranshenasi: A Journal of Iranian Studies,  I (3), p.443-462.

2) Western scholarship also produced a book that outlined the dangers of pan-Turkism for Iran in 2004:

Olson, R. (2004). Turkey-Iran Relations, 1979-2004: Revolution, Ideology, War, Coups and Geopolitics. Costa Mesa, California: Costa Mesa.

3) The writer of this posting prodced an illustrated on-line book in 2005, again outling the dangers of pan-Turkism to Iran:

Pan-Turkism takes Aim at Azarbaijan: A Geopolitical Agenda (posted also ed at UN Association in Geneva– see also Citations of book also made in academic venues).

Much of the  activities of pan-Turk racialists have been tracked and documented for reference by For references to all information on the subject, readers are invited to consult this link:

Pan-Turkism or Pan-Altaism

Below are two examples of vandalism conducted by pan-Turk activists:

Pan-Turk activists engaging in book burnings of texts related to Cyrus the Great on December 19 2006. The photo was originally posted on pan-Turkist website, subsequently reported by Payman Pakmehr of Tabriz News. The photo was then withdrawn by the website.


Destruction of Achaemenid relief by anti-Cyrus vandals at Persepolis, December 6, 2006. Note that this was just 13 days before the book burnings by pan-Turks in Tabriz on December 19, 2006 (Report on December 23, 2006 by Maryam Tabeshian of CHN; and reported by Payvand news of iran).

Pan-Turkim is not some crude movement orchestrated by street thugs and boors. This is supported by certain parties motivated by economic-political interests. The plan was first unveiled in 1979 – a scheme known today as the “Bernard Lewis Plan:


A map of the Bernard Lewis Proposal (source: De Hoyos, L. (1985). Derivative Assassination: Who Killed Indira Ghandi? New York: New Benjamin Franklin House). Note how Iran is now renamed as “Persia” or “Iranistan”. This was first unveiled in 1979.

There are clear references to this plan by Western scholars:

As noted by Engdahl (2004, p.171), the Bernard Lewis proposes that the west

“…encourage autonomous groups such as the Kurds…Ethiopian Copts… Azerbaijanis…”  Engdahl, W. (2004). A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order. London: Pluto Press.

Dreyfus and LeMarc (1980, p. 157-158) provide a very succinct summary of the plan’s methodology:

“According to Lewis, the British should encourage rebellions for national autonomy by the minorities such as the Lebanese Druze, Baluchis, Azerbaiajni Turks, Syrian Alawites, the Copts of Ethiopia, Sudanese mystical sects, Arabian tribes…the goal is the break-up of the Middle East into a mosaic of competing ministates and the weakening of the sovereignty of existing republics and kingdoms…spark a series of breakaway movements by Iran’s Kurds, Azeris, baluchis, and Arabs…these independence movements, in turn would represent dire threats to Turkey, Iraq, Pakistan and other neighbouring states.” [Dreyfus and LeMarc, Hostage. 1980, p.157-158. New York: New Benjamin Franklin House Publishing Company.]

Readers are also referred to:

Creating an “Arc of Crisis”: The Destabilization of the Middle East and Central Asia The Mumbai Attacks and the “Strategy of Tension” – by Andrew Gavin Marshall

In addition, the Bernard Lewis Plan has been “fine tuned” in recent years by Ralph Peters. The map below was published in an article entitled “Blood Borders: How a better Middle East would Look” which appeared in the June 2006 issue of  the US Armed Forces Journal.

A revised map of Iran and the Middle East as proposed by Ralph Peters. Note that Iran’s access to the Persian Gulf is shortened, Iranian Azarbaijan has been absorbed into the Republic of Azarbaijan, Iranian Kurdistan taken into a Greater Kurdistan with Iranian Baluchistan merged into Pakistan’s Baluchistan.

Despite numerous references to the contrary, Professor Bernard Lewis denies that he has originated the plan to Balkanize Iran, Turkey and other countries in Western Asia.

Professor Bernard Lewis. An expert of the entire Islamic World as well as ancient Iran. He categorically denies having any connection with plans to Balkanize Western Asia.

President Harry S. Truman: “I am Cyrus”

The article below originally composed on on August 17, 2010, has been re-posted on February 14, 2017 due to the contemporary state of tumultuous international politics at the time of writing. This posting endeavors to highlight the 2500 year-old legacy of Cyrus the Great, founder of  the Achaemenid Empire. Cyrus the Great built bridges between peoples and languages, endorsed cultural diversity and valued religious freedom. This resulted in the creation of the world’s first multi-lingual and multi-cultural empire. It is a remarkable fact that the founding fathers of the American Republic in 1776, who would write the US Constitution as we know it today, were fully cognizant of Cyrus’ legacy of benevolent governance 2500 years past. These lessons of history highlight the need to construct bonds of understanding between peoples, cultures and religions.


Cyrus II the Great (c. 590-530 BC) was the Achaemenid King of ancient Iran who liberated the Jews from their 70-year captivity after he overthrew the Babylonian Empire in 539 B.C. Cyrus ensured that the Jews would be able to return to Jerusalem.

Cyrus subsidized the Jewish revival at Jerusalem from state funds, a process that continued through his Achaemenid successors. The Jerusalem Temple and city walls were rebuilt.

With the fall of the Achaemenids in 333-323 BC came over 2500 years of sufferring for the Jews.  Throughout their trials and tribulations in history, Jews have always looked to Cyrus as the symbol of the righteous gentile ruler who was also their saviour. Cyrus’ legacy would be evoked by name in the twentieth century, shortly after the Second Workd War.

Just months after he left the office of the President of the United States in November 1953, Harry S. Truman made made a remarkable statement to a number of Jewish dignitaries in New York’s Jewish Theological Seminary. Truman’s long-time associate, Eddie Jacobson, introduced Truman to the jewish dignataries stating  “This is the man who helped create the State of Israel” .”Truman then exclaimed:

What do you mean, ‘helped to create’? I am Cyrus. I am Cyrus“. Links:,

Harry S Truman

Harry S. Truman (1884-1972) who was President of the United States in 1945-1953. Not only did he acknowledge the legacy of Cyrus the Great in liberating the Jews from their Babylonian captivity, he also stood up against Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, who tried to absorb Iran’s Azarbaijan province into the Soviet Union.

The following quotes  from the 2nd Isaiah (also known as the Deutero-Isaiah) clealry shows how the Jews regard Cyrus (note the consistency with chapters 40-55 of the book of Isaiah). Below are a few quotes:

‘I am the Lord, who makes all things, Who stretches out the heavens all alone, Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself; (44.25)…Who says of Cyrus, “He is My shepherd, And he shall perform all My pleasure, saying to Jerusalem, ‘You shall be built,’ and to the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid…(45.1) Thus says the Lord to His anointed [Messiah] to Cyrus -whose right hand I have held…(45.2)…For Jacob My servant’s sake, and Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me.


The West Wall in Jerusalem. After his conquest of Babylon, Cyrus allowed the Jewish captives to return to Israel and rebuild the Hebrew temple. It is believed that approximately 40,000 did permanently return to Israel. President Truman in his support for the Jews in the twentieth century, evoked the name of Cyrus. 

The following quotes are from the Book of Ezra which discuss the Cyrus’ decree supporting the Jews to rebuild their temple:

(1.1) 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 put it in writing:

(1.2) ‘This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: The Lord, the God of Heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. (1.3) 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. (1.4) … provide them with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.’

The Greeks, including Alexander (356-323 BC), were very favorable in their citations of Cyrus the Great. The Greeks in fact had written a complete Encyclopedia of Cyrus known as the Cyropedia of Xenophon.

Xenophon (431-355 BC) wrote a compendium of Cyrus, known as the Cyropedia. The Cyropaedia has been consulted as a standard reference of just statesmanship by a number of prominent western leaders in history. 

Cyrus also ordered that sacred objects forcibly taken from the Jerusalem Temple to be handed back to the Jews:

(1.5) Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and Levites -everyone whose heart God had moved- prepared to go up and build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem. … (1.7) Moreover, king Cyrus brought out the articles belonging to the temple of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem and had placed in the temple of his god [i.e., Marduk]. (1.8) Cyrus king of Persia had them brought by Mithradates the treasurer, who counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah.

The Cyropedia has also endured the test of time and is with us to this day. It was certainly known to the Romans who respected it, including Scipio Africanus (236-183 BC) who always had a copy of the Cyropedia (consult the introduction of Cawkwell, G. L., The Persian Expedition, Penguin Classics, 1972 ) and even history’s most famous Roman, Julius Caesar (100-44 BC).

Many European thinkers, centuries after the fall of Rome, consulted the Cyropedia. One example being the British empiricist philosopher John Locke (1632-1704). Locke who studied the Cyropaedia, had many parallels between his enlightenment philosophies and elements Zoroastrian philosophy.

The Cyropaedia was also known and referenced by the founding fathers of the United States. One example of this is President Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) who possessed two personal copies of the Cyropedia.

President Thomas Jefferson of the United States of America. Like many of the founding fathers and those who wrote the US Constitution, President Jefferson regularly consulted the Cyropedia – an encyclopedia written by the ancient Greeks about Cyrus the Great. The two personal copies of Thomas Jefferson’s Cyropaedia are in the US Library of Congress in Washington DC.  Thomas Jefferson’s initials “TJ” are seen clearly engraved at the bottom of each page. 

The late Professor A.J. Arberry has summed up the legacy of Cyrus the Great:

The government [of the Achaemenids] was markedly tolerant, and the religions and customs of the many subject peoples were carefully considered and often fostered in their own countries by the kings…”  [A.J. Arberry, The legacy of Persia.  Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1953, p.8].

Cyrus the Great (c. 590-530 BC) as reconstructed by the late Angus McBride and Tim Newark. Cyrus’ legacy has been praised  in Judaeo-Christian, Mesopotamian, Greco-Roman and European sources.

Gisela Fock’s Persophobic “Review” against Dr. Manouchehr Khorasani

The interview below is part of a longer interview conducted by Yusef Amiri with Kaveh Farrokh on the issue of historical revisionism.

The topic discussed below pertains to a recent Eurocentric and biased “review” that has been launched against Dr. Manouchehr M. Khorasani.


Yusef Amiri: We do not deny the presence of Turkic peoples in Iran from the Ghaznvid era since this is a historical reality. But why deny the existence of Iranians in Iran? For example when Dr. Manoucher Khorasani writes a book on Iran’s military history, he is attacked for affirming Iranians’ involvement in Iran’s military history? These even claim that Iran’s military after Islam was exclusively in the hands of Turkic peoples…

Kaveh Farrokh: The case of Dr. Manouchehr Khorasani is revealing for a number of reasons. First it shows how powerful the pro pan-Turkist lobby has become in academia, even in the venue of Iranian Studies. But before we discuss that issue let us focus on the exact nature of the attacks against Dr. Khorasani.

The person who has launched these attacks is a person by the name of Gisela Fock in Berlin. She published a very selective and biased “review” against Dr. Khorasani in the Orientalische Literatur Zeitung: Zeitschrift für die Wissenschaft vom ganzen Orient und seinen Beziehungen zu den Angrenzenden Kulturkreisen. Band 104, Mai-Juni 2009, Heft 3, pp. 342-347.

Put very simply Fock attempts to denigrate a textbook that has taken more than 10 years to write – it is the first book that has comprehensively compiled all manner of arms and armor from Iran from the bronze age to the Qajar era. It contains detailed information and photographs of Iranian military items – including a mass of items never seen in the west or in academia in general.

Fock dismisses Dr. Khorasani’s work with a simple argument: she argues that the mass of Iranian militaria is simply “Turkish”. This is an argument that is essentially based on the politically pan-Turkist writers of the 19th century and later Communists we discussed earlier.

This is again another attack against the history of Iran – yet another attempt to distort this in favor of pan-Turkist discourse. Her distortions are so many that responding to these would take volumes of pages – yet dismissing her arguments is also rather easy to do.

First, using the term “Turkish” as an anti-thesis to “Persian” or “Iranian” is misleading, distorted and divisive. If we are talking about a culture, then the correct term is “Turco-Persian” or “Persianate”. Turks and Iranians share many cultural features, with Iran and Turkey having many cultural, artistic, musical features in common. The two peoples have had a profound admixture since pre-Islamic times. In terms of military history, much of the military equipment seen in Iran, Central Asia and Iran are referred to as Turco-Iranian. How is Ms. Fock making such a sharp distinction?

As per the origins of Turkic equipment before Islamic times, Western historians are rather clear. Note Dr. Newark, who states very clearly that:

Sassanid Persian weaponry and armor influenced steppe warriors such as the Huns and the Turks, and later influenced the Arabs” (see Newark, 1985, p.87).

Yes, it is possible to argue that Turkic or earlier Hephthalite peoples introduced the belt-lappet system for suspending swords as well as stirrups to the Sassanian Iranians. So here we see a clear interchange. But the fact of the matter is that the Iranian post-Islamic military technology and tradition is rooted in pre-Islamic Iran, whose military technology pre-dates the Turkic arrivals in Central Asia by thousands of years. Yet, Ms. Fock wants us to believe in a black and white definition of historical events and technological development.

As per weapons being in Iran built by “Turks” is again simplistic and politically driven. The notion that Azarbaijanis are Turkic in origin is simply false as Persian and other Iranian languages were highly prevalent in Iran’s Azarbaijan province well after the arrivals of the Seljuks on the 11th century AD. The archaeological analyses of urban structures and farming methods of the area, places these clearly in the Iranian domain. As per weapons construction during the Safavid era, Iran had a number of production centers. Shah Ismail himself bought many artisans and builders from Herat into Tabriz to create a fusion between eastern and western Iranian techniques of weapons construction. By later Safavid times there were major centers in Mashad, Herat, Tabriz, Shiraz, Isfahan, Kermanshah, etc. Evidently Dr. Fock is not aware of the vast amount of scholarship on this subject – just a handful of these include Safavi, Ravandi, Taheri, Pikolosekayev, Parizi, Siaghi in the references. Instead of becoming informed of the research and publications, Dr. Fock engages in highly selective analysis by stating:

A discussion of established opinions such as those of weapons specialist David Nicolle would have been required, who namely doubted that the most successful weapon developments stemmed from Iran and in this respect he pointed out to the Ottoman Empire

David Nicolle, like Dr. Fock, is unaware of the vast area of research in the domain of Iranian weapon’s development we just mentioned. Another issue is that Nicolle is very biased and anti-Iranian.

Nicolle’s works are rarely subjected to rigorous and objective peer-reviews. His book on the Sassanian Empire for example contains numerous errors – these are far too many go into detail here. Just three technical errors include:

(1) Nicolle’s usage of the term Paighansalah to define the commander of the infantry (Nicolle, 1996, pp.14). This is incorrect. The term “Salah” is not Pahlavi – it is Arabic in origin. The correct Pahlavi military term for commander or leader in this case is Salar not Salah. Nicolle’s mistake here may be derived from his ability speak fluent Arabic – he in fact worked in the BBC Arabic service for many years.

(2) Nicolle’s definition of the term Varhranighan-khvadhay as “Thousand Immortals” (Nicolle, 1996, pp.26). This is not correct as “thousand’ in Pahlavi is “Hazar”. The term “Immortal” in Pahlavi can be variously defined as Anosag, Ahos, Anos (this can also mean antidote, elixir and the next life), and Amahraspand (this means “Holy Immortal”). The term Fravahar, which refers to the holy Zoroastrian symbol, can also mean “the immortal soul of man and the guardian angel during his lifetime”. Note that the term Anos is root of Anoshirvan (He of the immortal soul) that was used to refer to Khosrow I. The unit being referred to was known as the Zhayedan which was a revival of the Immortals of the Achaemenid era. Nicolle has confused the title of the commander of the Zhayedan who was known as Varthragh-Nighan Khvadhay with the name of the unit.

(3) Yellow and green appear as significant colors for Sassanian kings in Persian art…” (Nicolle, 1996, p. 27).

This is incorrect as such colors appeared many hundreds of years before the Sassanians, namely, during the Achaemenid era; the yellow-saffron color is used in the shoes of the nobility of the Achaemenid court just as green was one of the colors used in the Alexander mosaic (see Sekunda, 1992, pages 9 and 30 respectively).

Nicolle also completely ignores the major battles of the Sassanian army yet over-emphasizes the role of the Arabs before Islam and diverts pages 48-50 to information that is essentially irrelevant to Sassanian military affairs – one example being his detailed discussion on the origins of Arab dress on page 50.

It is clear that Nicolle’s lack of knowledge of Iranian military history makes him an unreliable source in Dr. Fock’s review.

Nicolle also displays a distinct Arabo-phile stance. He repeatedly refers to the Persian Gulf as “Arabian Gulf” (pages 28, 45) a term which is not recognized by the United Nations as designating the body of water known as the Persian Gulf. It certainly does not exist in ancient sources, except in reference to the modern Red Sea. The originators of this incorrect terminology are pan-Arab nationalists such as Gamal Abdel Nasser, Moammar Ghaddafi and Saddam Hussein. This means that Nicolle is using a politically-loaded term, an action which reduces the objective reliability of his work.

Nicolle goes further. He makes statements which are virtually identical to the propaganda statements of the now discredited Baathist pan-Arab party of the late Saddam Hussein. Just two examples of these include:

The Iranian concept of society collapsed before the Muslims in the 7th century but…re-emerged in the following years to corrupt the egalitarian character of Arab Islam” (Nicolle, 1996, page 11).

The Arabs steadily increasing role was a political and cultural embarrassment” (Nicolle, 1996, page 47).

The above sentences are rigid, simplistic, unbalanced and smack of strong ethnic prejudice. It is very clear that Nicolle is very biased against Iranian military history and history in general. His overtly anti-Iranian stance compromises his objective reliability.

So in summary Dr. Fock relies on a single highly questionable source for her assertions while ignoring over 95 percent of the established research in the domain.

If Dr. Fock’s “review” had been peer-reviewed by non-partisan specialists of Iranian militaria, it is not likely that her analysis of Dr. Khorasani’s work could have been published.

But far more interesting is how Dr. Fock has arrived at the fantastic conclusion that the ethnic origin of all weapons producers outside of Turco-phone Azarbaijan, were “Turkish”. As per the Turco-phone Azarbaijanis, they were originally Iranian-speaking and are culturally in the Iranian domain – they have been a part of the ancient Iranian realm for thousands of years. There are plenty of references for this subject as well, just a handful of references include: Thomas, (1977), Atabaki (2000), Abdullaeva (2007), Melville (2007), Radtke (2007), Rezazadeh (1973), Sharma (2007), Tourkin (2007) (we have full references for readers in the references section).

There are so many historical references reporting Azarbaiajnis as Iranians and Iranian-speaking, especially before the Turkic arrivals that it would take a textbook to compile. Recall the reference by Al-Masudi in the 10th Century AD we cited previously in this interview.

So to put it mildly, Fock’s usage of terminology is clearly misinformed – she mistakes historical Iranian Turco-phone Azarbaijanis as ethnic Turks. This issue however, as we have already noted, is highly political – so much so that politics has now begun to invade academia. Dr. Fock’s “review” is clearly such a case in point.

But perhaps most interesting is that Dr. Fock is associated with highly prominent members in Iranian Studies and venues. Dr. Fock was present at the book launch of Parviz Tanavoli and Abbas Kiarostami in November 2009:

Parviz Tanavoli and Abbas Kiarostami Exhibition in Dubai

Dr. Tanavoli is an excellent world-class scholar and very respected by his peers. He has also written for the Encyclopedia Iranica:

Dr. Fock’s success in associating herself with Dr. Tanavoli again shows how far individuals with Persophobic views have circuitously entered the domains of Iranian studies. It speaks volumes to the gullibility of us Iranians in welcoming Persophobic persons into the domain of Iranian Studies.



Abdullaeva, F.I. (2007). What’s in a Safina? In A.A. Seyid-Gohrab & S. McGlinn (eds.), A Treasury from Tabriz: the Great Il-Khanid Compendium, pp. 46-68. Amsterdam: Rozenberg Publishers.

Atabaki, T. (2000). Azerbaijan: Ethnicity and the Struggle for Power in Iran. IB Taurus.

Melville, Ch.  (2007). Qadi Baidawi’s Nizam al-tawarikh in the Safina-yi Tabriz: An early witness of the text. In A.A. Seyed-Gohrab & S. McGlinn (Eds.), The Treasury of Tabriz: The Great Il-Khanid Compendium (pp. 91-102). Amsterdam: Rozenberg Publishers.

Nicolle, D. (1996). Sassanian Armies. Montvert Publications.

Parizi, M. (1999). Siasat va Eghtesad dar Asre Safavi [Policy and Economics during the Safavid Era].  Tehran: Safi Alishah.

Pikolosekayev [Translated to Persian by K. Keshavarz] (1975). Tarikh-e Iran az Doran Bastan ta Payan-e Sadeye Hejdah Miladi. Tehran: Payam.

Ravandi, M. (1973). Tarikh Ejtemaie Iran [Social History of Iran] (8 Volumes). Tehran: Gilan Press.

Safavi, R. (1962). Zendeganiye Shah Ismail e Safavi [The Life and Times of Shah Ismail the Safavid].  Ketbaforoushiye Khayyam.

Sekunda, N. (1992). The Persian Army 560-330 AD. London: Osprey Publishing.

Siaghi, M. D. (1989). Tazakor ol Molook (Sazman e Edari e Hokoomat-e Safavi). Tehran: Amir Kabir.

 Taheri, A. (1975-1978). Tarikh-e Ravabet-e Bazargani va Siyasi-ye Iran va Inglis [The history of the Mercantile and Political relationship between Iran and England] (2 volumes). Tehran: Anjoman e Asar e Melli.

The History of Medicine in Ancient Persia

This article was originally written and posted by PressTV. Readers are encouraged to read over the critiques of this article at the end of this page.


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.

It can be inferred from these books that Zoroastrians placed great importance on personal hygiene, public health and the prevention of contagious diseases.

The best teachers of medicine and astrology were Iranian Magi and Mobeds (Zoroastrian priests) who passed their knowledge on to their pupils from one generation to the next.

According to Avestan texts, King Jamshid was the physician who initiated the custom of bathing with hot and cold water.

Iranians refrained from polluting the four elements. They would not bathe or wash dirty objects in flowing water, and urinating or spitting into water was considered a great sin.

Odorous materials were never thrown into the fire. Wild rue and frankincense were always burned inside houses to kill insects and bacteria, a custom which continues to this today.

The Persians, who lived in an empire stretching from the Indus valley in the east to the Aegean Sea in the west with considerable variation in climate and vegetation, became familiar with a vast range of medicinal plants.

The Avesta mentions several medicinal herbs including basil, chicory, sweet violet, and peppermint, while Bundahishn cites the names of thirty sacred medicinal plants.

Avestan texts list not only the various parts of plants such as roots, stems, scales, leaves, fruit and seeds used for treatment but also indicate which plant is the remedy for each disease.

According to the Zâdspram, a Pahlavi text of the ninth century AD, there are thousands of species of medicinal plants created by Ahura Mazda for the prevention of thousands of sicknesses created by Ahriman and that the best of these plants is haoma (Vedic soma).

Haoma (Ephedra Vulgaris) is indigenous to the Iranian plateau and contains a large quantity of Ephedrine which is effective in the treatment of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.

Garlic was used to reduce blood pressure, combat heart disease and treat infections.

Rue was once a popular remedy for earache, easing shaking fits and joint pain; it was also used to disinfect the house.

Bangha, extracted from Cannabis Indica seeds, has hallucinatory effects and was used as an anesthetic.

Frankincense was used for inhalation therapy.

Aloeswood was used in the treatment of cardiac disease and irregular heartbeat.

Many modern-day Iranian herbalists use reference books inherited from generations past, and still prescribe plants such as Borage, Sweet Marjoram, Fenugreek and Chicory as treatment.

Ancient Persian physicians believed that good health is the result of the ‘right’ measure of the elements of humor, and that sickness is the product of their excess or deficiency.

Therefore, the medicine of the body consists of keeping the body in good health and re-establishing balance and the medicine of the soul involves curing the body and preserving it from sin.

The Vendidad tells of three kinds of medicine practiced; medicine by the knife (surgery), medicine by herbs, and medicine by divine words, which according to the sacred text, is the best form of the three.

A Mazdean physician-in-training was required to treat and cure three non-Mazdean patients before receiving permission to treat Mazdeans.

In this way physicians were taught to treat any and all patients, whether friend or foe. Avestan scriptures did not restrict giving treatment to Mazdeans alone.

The Ordibehesht Yasht classifies physicians under five categories:

1 – Health Physician (Ashoo Pezeshk)

This physician was in charge of the well-being of the city, preventing the spread of contagious diseases by quarantining, keeping the four sacred elements of water, wind, earth and fire free from contamination, and making sure the sanitation of houses was maintained.

2 – Medical Examiner (Dâd Pezeshk)

Similar to modern-day pathologist/coroners, their duties included examining the dead, performing autopsies when required, the issuance of burial licenses and ascertaining the cause of death with an eye toward finding cures for future cases.

3- Surgeon (Kard Pezeshk)

Archeological excavations in the Burnt City in Sistan have yielded skulls that show signs of surgery. Surgical procedures, difficult and dangerous even in the present time, were much more so in the past when it was not possible to properly anaesthetize patients and medical instruments were rudimentary.

4 – Herbalist (Gyâh Pezeshk)

The origin of herbal medicine predates the development of agriculture and cultivation in Iran, yet some believe that the ancient Persians were the first to document the properties of herbs and to use plants to cure diseases.

5- Psychiatrists (Mantreh Pezeshk)

This physician used holy words and prayers to cure patients suffering from a sickness of body and soul which could not be cured with herbs.

Treatment consisted of verbal communication, the reading of poetry, listening to music and the recitation of prayers, including ones from the holy books of other nations, which were designed to console and heal the patient.

Avestan texts tell of consultation among the surgeons, herbalists and psychiatrists which indicates a form of medical association at the time.

Referring to a foreign physician when a Persian one was at hand was considered a sin, and a physician’s fee for service was based on the patient’s income while the fee for treating a priest was his pious blessing.

The first physician as documented by Avestan texts was Vivangahan, followed by Abtin, Atrat and Purshaspa.

Mani, Roozbeh, and Bozorgmehr are among the other notable Persian physicians named in the Avesta.

Credit for the establishment of hospital and training system must be given to the ancient Persians, as they founded the first teaching hospital in Gundishapur where medical students practiced on patients under the supervision of physicians.

The international university, founded in 271 AD by Shahpour I, was a center of learning and study in the fields of science and medicine.

The age-old school is still a center of knowledge in Khuzestan Province in southwestern Iran.

Gundishapur, mentioned in Ferdowsi’s (935 – 1020 AD) eternal epic Shahnameh (Book of Kings), was located near the city of Susa.

It was an important cultural and scientific center of the Sassanid era (226 – 652 AD) and scholars from various countries, one of whom was Diogenes, studied different fields including medicine at the university.

The library of the university known as the ‘city of Hippocrates’ consisted of eight floors and 259 halls containing an estimated 400,000 books.

The university was a gathering place for great scientists and physicians from all civilizations of the ancient world, a breeding ground for ideas and innovations.

Medical science, anatomy, dentistry, astronomy, mathematics, philosophy, military command, architecture, agriculture and irrigation were taught in Greek or Syriac and later Pahlavi in the school.

Gundishapur physicians were required to pass special examinations to obtain a license for practicing medicine.

This well-organized medical institute was operated by a director, medical staff, pharmacists and servants, and upon its portal was engraved “knowledge and virtue are superior to sword and strength.”

The Sassanid ruler Khosrow Anushiravan (531 – 578 AD) who took an interest in the school and the advancement of medicine sent the Iranian physician Burzuyah to India to obtain medical and scientific books and translate them into the Pahlavi language.

In 550 AD, the world’s first medical conference was held on Anushiravan’s order in Ctesiphon. Hundreds of Mobeds and physicians from Persia and other countries attended this congress, a historical event which Ferdowsi versified in Shahnameh.

Gundishapur scholars and graduates were appointed to important governmental positions. The minister of health (Iran Dorostbod) was chosen from among the best physicians, and the minister of education (Iran Farhangbod), was an accomplished scholar of philosophy, logic, mathematics or psychology.

Iranian medicine, which combined medical traditions from Greece, Egypt, India and China for more than 4000 years, became the foundation of the medical practices of European countries during the 13th century.

Among the torchbearers of ancient Persia’s scientific heritage are Mohammad Zakaria Razi, Abu Nasr Farabi, Omar Khayyam and Avicenna, who used this knowledge to make further discoveries of benefit to all humankind.

Razi, known in the West as Razes (865-925 AD), considered the father of pediatrics and a pioneer of neurosurgery and ophthalmology, discovered and refined the use of ethanol in medicine.

Farabi also known in the West as Alfarabius (872-951 AD), is noted for his contributions to psychology. He wrote the first treatises on social psychology.

Avicenna (980-1037 AD), a prolific genius, introduced systematic experimentation into the study of physiology, experimental medicine, evidence based medicine, clinical trials, risk factor analysis, the idea of a syndrome and contributed to clinical pharmacology and neuropsychiatry.

Khayyam (1048-1131 AD) was a renowned astronomer who contributed to mathematics and calendar reform.

These outstanding scholars are among the many whose names will forever shine in the history of medicine and science and will always be revered by the Iranian people.


Below are critiques of the PressTV article that have been bought to the attention of


—–Original Message—–
From: Kaywan Dashti
Sent: Fri, Aug 6, 2010 1:47 pm
Subject: Re: The History of Medicine in Ancient Persia

دکتر بر استاد ارجمند 

نوشته های شما و پژوهش هایتان را دنبال می کنم. ارزنده و سودمند و ایران خواهانه است… 

یک یادآوری کوچک، در پیشگاه ساحت استادانه شما. 

در فارسی واژه هایی دلریم همانند، شاه لوله، شاه بیت حافظ، شاه کار مثلا بهزاد، و یا شاهراه ایران و چین……

واژه شاه، مقدس ترین، و در عین حال والاترین و با شکوه ترین واژه برای بیان یک اثر و هنر و بنا و یا هر چیزی دیگری است. و ما هنگام ترجمه شاه راه نمی گیوییم 

Road of Kings

و یا در ترجمه و برگردان شاه کار آقای بهزاد نمی گوییم

The painting of Kings of Mr. Bhzad

و به همین نسبت در باره هر واژه دیگری که در آن شاه در آغاز دو واژه آمده باشد. 

در فارسی این دو را ، مضاف و مضاف الله می گویند، که یکی به بزرگی آن دیگری گواهی می دهد…. از اینرو، برگردان اثر شکوهمند و تاریخی و حماسی و جهانی استاد توس به 

Books of Kings

بسیار نتبجا، نادرست، ناروا، و غیر علمی است…

بویژه از شما استاد فرهیخته انتظار نمی رود که در پخشاندن آن کوشا باشید 

در کجای نام کتاب فردوسی شما واژه «شاهان» می بینید که آنرا  «کینگز» ترجمه کرده اید…. 

برگردان درست نام کتاب غرور آفرین «شاهنامه» به انگلیسی 

The Master Piece by Ferdowi 

می باشد. همچنان که شاه لوله، یعنی بهترین، کارآمدن، بزرگترین و بی نظیرترین لوۀه و یا شاهکار یعنی ارزنده ترین و بی همتا ترین اثر وو دیگران… از اینرو، هنگامی فردوسی این را برگزید، در حقیقت بی همتا ترین و ارزنده ترین نام را برای آن در نظر گرفت.. 

از سوی دیگر، نامه، بر خلاف رسم امروز زبان فارسی، این نامه ای نیست که به عمه و یا دایی مان می نویسم. نامه کوتاه شده «نامک» در ایران باستان است. همانند ختای نامک   یا خدای نامه……. و نامه و یا دفتر هر دو بجای «کتاب»  می باشد….

با پوزش از یادآوری 

Gundishapur, mentioned in Ferdowsi’s (935 – 1020 AD) eternal epic Shahnameh (Book of Kings), was located near the city of Susa.