Review of Kaveh Farrokh book by Terry Graham


Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War as reviewed by Dr. Terry Graham, the Literary Editor of the journal, Sufi: A Journal of Sufism:

It is rare to have a history of arms and warfare be so intelligently interwoven with the issues of social development. The context of Dr. Farrokh’s study of Iranian armament from the ancient days of the Persian empire to the Islamic conquest is richly developed, so that this book serves not only as a handbook for military historians but also as a vivid history accessible to the average reader, who may take delight in the workings of Iranian society at every stage as it is played out over a period of more than a millenium.

One advantage of taking ancient history from the military perspective is that armament, armor and weaponry are amongst the most visible pieces of evidence from areas which are less well-covered by written records. Then again, where narratives and histories exist, they tend to focus on military campaigns with their victories and defeats. Using this more substantial evidence as his point of departure, the author goes into the cultural, political, social and economic aspects, of which he gives a thorough-going account in its own right.

With the book lavishly illustrated with color photographs, the reader has a truly Persian banquet of delights on which to feast. Not just the tools of war, but also the objects of art and high culture, for which the Persians set the highest standard during this era, much emulated by the Greeks, the Romans, the Indians and the Chinese – all the bearers of the great civilizations on the historical threshold of our times.


Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War“,  won the “Best History Book of 2008 Award” in the London WAALM award ceremonies on October 31st 2008 (see collage of 2008 WAALM winnders that include Professors John Curtis and Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis of the British Museum, Professor Richard Davis, etc). The book was also nominted as being among the top three History books of 2008 by the Independent Book Publishers Association of the United States. There have been citaitons of the book by the BBCthe Kayhan Newspaper of London and

The foreword of “Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War” written by Harvard University Professor Emeritus Richard Nelson Frye of Harvard University, the world’s leading authority in Iranian Studies (especially with respect to the Achaemenid, Parthian, Seleucid and Sassanian domains). Frye whose publications span nearly five decades, was honoured as the world’s leading authority of Iranian Studies by leading Iranologists such as Dr. David Stronach, Dr. Farhang Mehr, Dr. Jalal Matini (editor of Iranshenasi journal),  and Dr. Ehsan Yarshater (Editor of Encyclopedia Iranica). The event was hosted by the Persian American Society on March 1, 2008.

The book has also been examined and favorably reviewed by other leading authorities in the fields of Classical Studies pertaining to Iranica including Geoffrey Greatrex (University of Ottawa), Patrick Hunt (Stanford University), and Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones (University of Edinburgh).

The Voice of America interviewed Kaveh Farrokh live on December 20, 2008 regarding his book: 

  1. Part I (
  2. Part II (

Tajik Movie of Rustam and Sohrab

I was informed by Canada-Tajikistan Association of Tajiks in Canada that three movies had been produced by Tajik producers during the era of Soviet Union – these movies bought major parts the Iranian epic Shahnameh of Ferdowsi to life:

1. Doston/Dastan-e Rustam
2. Doston/Dastan-e Rustam-ou Suhrab
2. Doston/Dastan-e Siavoush

All three movies were produced by the late legendary Tajikistan producer Benyamin Kimyagarov (a Tajik Boukarian Jew). The second producer and director was the Tajik movie star Ustad Davlat Khoudonazarov, who currently lives in Moscow. He visited Montreal’s Tajik community in May 2008.

Here are the final moments of Rustam-ou Suhrab (Rustam and Suhrab):

Rustam – Played by Bimbolat Vataev, North Ossetian actor, who died a few years ago in Vladikavkaz (North Ossetia).

Tahmineh – Played by Svetlana Norbaeva

Suhrab/Sohrab – Played by Hoshim Gadoev, a Tajik cinema and theatre star who currently resides in Dushanbe, Tajikistan


Rustam slays the dragon. The tales of Rustam (the “Hercules of Persia”) are narrated in the Shahname epic written in the post-Islamic era after the fall of the Sassanian Empire. Known as the “Illiad of Persia”, the Shahname has preserved much of Iran’s ancient pre-Islamic heritage.  

Kaveh Farrokh VOA interview: Dangers to Tomb of Cyrus

The Tomb of Cyrus at Pasragardae has been the subject of a number of controversies to date. The most recent one pertians to questionable “restoration” methods used by a local Iranian team led by Hassan Rahsaz. The latter was interviewed live along with Kaveh Farrokh in a televised debate in the Voice of America program “Meezgerd ba Shoma” (Roundtable with You) on December 29, 2008:

مصاحبه با دکتر کاوه فرخ و حسن راهساز درباره
وضعيت آرامگاه کورش در پاسارگاد



Farrokh noted in the interview that the only way to resolve the debates, questions and doubts is to allow neutral 3rd party non-governmental archaeologists and Iranologists from inside of Iran and abroad to visit the site and examine it up close (i.e. Professor David Stronach, Professor Richard Nelson Frye, etc.).

All other pertinent issues are also discussed and revisited in the link below:

Translation of Kaveh Farrokh’s First Book into Persian

The complete and authorized Persian translation of Sassanian Elite Cavalry has been finished by Yusef Amiri more than a year ago and is in the production process now. It is expected to be published in Iran in Spring or Summer 1388 / 2009.

This is the only translation that has the permission of the author and the original publisher (Osprey). Please see two sample pages of the translation (pdf)



For more information on the orginal English version please see:

Yusef Amiri has significantly enriched and expanded the original English text by providing footnotes and additional information for Iranian readers using references such as Shahnameh of Ferdowsi, Iranica, “Golden Age of Persia” by Richard Nelson Frye, and “Iran under Sassanians” by Arthur Christensen among others.

The London WAALM event and Tribute to Cyrus the Great


The WAAlm 3rd Persian Golden Lioness Awards in London England on October 31st 2008  paid a special tribute to the Legacy of Cyrus the Great.


Cyrus the Great (575-530 BC)

All of the awardees of the Golden Lioness Awards made a reference to the legacy Cyrus in their respective speeches. The video clip below shows the Awardees’ speeches In the following order of appearance: Dr. Musi Dorbayani (one of the executive founders of WAALM alongside Dr. Marjan Abdi), Kaveh Farrokh (winner of Best History Book of 2008 Award), Patrick Hunt of Stanford University, Vesta Sarkhosh-Curtis accompanied by John Curtis of the British Museum, Eric Jerpe of the Washington Indepedent Writers, Dr. Ahmad-Reza Baharloo (a veteran of Voice of America network),  Cyrus Forough of Carneige Melon University), and Reza Najfar (Tiroler Landeskonservatorium Innsbruck). Please see: