New Book on Persian Firearms by Dr. Manouchehr M. Khorasani

The book Persian Fire and Steel: Historical Firearms of Iran” by Dr. Manouchehr M. Khorasani has been published. Dr. Khorasani endeavors to share with the world the beauty and the sophistication of historical Persian firearms, and the respect accorded for the skill of the craftsmen who constructed these and decorated them. There is particular focus on the ingenuity of the engineers who designed them, and the bravery of the people who used them in battle.

Book cover of “Persian Fire and Steel: Historical Firearms of Iran“;

Orders for this textbook can be taken at: info@mmkhorasani.com

Like his previous book, Arms and Armour from Iran, the aim of Persian Fire and Steel is to provide the reader with a view of these artifacts not only as instruments of war, but also as objects of art and great beauty.

Sample page from the textPersian Fire and Steel: Historical Firearms of Iran“.

This book is the result of several years of research and translation by Dr. Khorasani in several collections and archives in different countries. It is his hope that lovers of art, history, and weaponry all find in it something that speaks to them.

With over four hundred pages and hundreds of high quality photographs and illustrations describing over , Persian Fire and Steel represents one of the most comprehensive insights into the world of historical Persian firearms ever written.

Ranging from small arms to artillery, it covers everything on the subject from their manufacture to their deployment in battle as described in contemporary treatises. Many of these texts are included in this book, where they have been translated to English for the first time.

Short video by Dr. Khorasani’s regarding his text “Persian Fire and Steel: Historical Firearms of Iran“.

Academic Publishing House (Qoqnoos) Translates Iran at War into Persian

Kaveh Farrokh’s third textbook, Iran at War: 1500-1988 (Osprey Publishing, 2011) has been translated into Persian by one of the most prestigious academic Persian-language publishing houses, known as Qoqnoos Publishers (انتشارات ققنوس). The translation (ایران در جنگ) has been conducted by Maryam Saremi. Qoqnoos has translated into Persian academic textbooks by scholars such as David Nicolle, Josef Wiesehofer, Duncan head, Touraj Atabaki, Nino Piglokevskaya, Sandra Mackey, Touraj Daryaee, Mohammed Dandamaev, Agrar Aliev, Christopher Foster, and Mary Boyce.

Cover pages of Iran at War (1500-1988) (Left) and the 2018 translation “ایران در جنگ” by Maryam Saremi of Qoqnoos publishers (Right). Iran at War is Farrokh’s third textbook on the military history of Iran. The total number of translations of Farrokh’s first three books are now seven (discussed further below). To date (Fall of 2018), Farrokh has published and co-authored eight textbooks on the Military History of Iran (three have been published in 2018).

The publishing of the Persian translation of “ایران در جنگ” (Iran at War) has been announced by major Persian-language news outlets such as:

Cover jacket of Iran at War: 1500-1988. [CLICK TO ENLARGE] A photo taken in 1926 of a military assembly in Tehran. The troops are about to pose for a military review. Note  diverse nature of Iranian troops (Kurds, Azeris, Lurs, Baluchis, Qashqais, Persians), reminiscent of the armies of Iran since antiquity.  Colonel Haji Khan Pirbastami at far left (with hand resting on sword – more on him further below) and unknown officer to the right are members of the Gendarmerie para-military forces.

Farrokh’s original 2011 English language text was reviewed by the Wall Street Journal in 2011 (link now broken but excerpts available here, and announced by the University of British Columbia on Twitter):

Kaveh Farrokh is an expert on Persian languages and Iranian history whose new book, Iran at War: 1500-1988, provides a full examination of modern Iranian military history… His previous title Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War (Osprey, 2007) was named “Best History Book” by the World Academy of Arts Literature and Media in 2008. Dr. Patrick Hunt at Stanford University, said this about it,  ”… a book for all who have ever been curious about the ‘other’ view on Persia, not from the Western standpoint rooted in Greece, but from the traditions of the Persians themselves… Meticulously researched and documented….

Shah Ismail as depicted by a European painter – the painting is now housed in the Uffizi Gallery in Italy. Note the Latin terms “Rex Persareum” [Monarch of Persia] which makes clear that Shah Ismail was the king of Safavid Persia or Iran. Despite being hopelessly outmatched by the Ottoman armies in manpower and firearms, Ismail stood his ground in Chaldiran on August 23, 1514. Despite their victory, the Ottoman Turks, who had also suffered heavy losses,  failed to conquer Iran.

The Iran-based Library, Museum and Center of Manuscripts (May 20, 2012) (ارایه کتاب «ایران در جنگ: ۱۹۸۸-۱۵۰۰» در کتابخانه مجلس-(۳۱ اردیبهشت ۱۳۹۱ provided a review of the original 2011 English language text (see excerpts below):

فرخ با تحلیل جنگ های مذهبی و غیرمذهبی رخ داده در این مدت به ما نشان می دهد که چگونه ایران از همه طرف (شرق، غرب، جنوب) و در دوره های مختلفی مورد هجوم همسایه هایش قرار گرفته است… تحلیل های فرخ از انقلاب اسلامی و جنگ ایران و عراق، اطلاعاتی در مورد پیشینه نظامی ایران در اختیار ما می گذارد که تا به حال مطرح نشده است.-

“Farrokh has analyzed the religious and non-religious wars and has demonstrated how Iran has been attacked by its neighbors from all sides (east, west and south) over several periods…Farrokh’s analyses of the Islamic revolution and the Iran-Iraq war provides us information that has hitherto remained unmentioned…”

A painting of the Battle of Karnal (February 22, 1739) made by Mosavar ol-Mamalek.The battle ended in an overwhelming victory for Nader Shah (see his statue in the inset photo). The Iranians then occupied Delhi and captured India’s royal jewels. Some Indian historians (i.e. Sarkar) have argued that India was severely weakened by Nader Shah; this allowed the British Empire to easily spread its dominance over the entire Indian subcontinent just decades after the battle of Karnal (picture source: R. Tarverdi (Editor) & A. Massoudi (Art editor), The land of Kings, Tehran: Rahnama Publications, 1971, p.228).

The Business Daily Report of Egypt published a review in September 2011 by Robert Terpstra of the original 2011 English language text (see excerpts below):

Documenting nearly five centuries of history is no small feat, and Kaveh Farrokh does it well in Iran at War: 1500–1988. … detailed account of key figures and dates on history’s battlegrounds. What is refreshing, however, is that the book discusses the Islamic Republic of Iran without painstakingly rehashing the Islamic Revolution, which appears in just about every book on the country.
The strongest chapter … dealing with the Iran-Iraq war … not much is known about the Iran-Iraq war. Farrokh helped change that … What is telling, and what the author illustrates as an important part of his research, is the detailing of the territorial boundaries of the state — in 1772 stretching from Ghazni in modern day eastern Afghanistan west to Diyarbakir in modern day Kurdistan or Turkey proper. The empire reached as far north as the North Caucasus as well as encapsulating both the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in present-day Iraq.Several maps throughout the book illustrate the growth and significant receding landmass of Iran. Presently, more than 200 years after the 18th century Afghan invasions, Iran still presents itself as an imposing state and a necessary inclusion in all conversations in negotiating mention of the volatile Middle East. The book is a must for the progression of modern day and historical Iranian scholasticism. At 480 pages, absorbing the book over time is best — a book that’s content contains such detail demands and deserves it.

Some scenes from the Iran-Iraq war (1980-198): [1] Demoralized Iraqi army tank crew surrenders during the Iranian liberation of Khorranshahr in May 1982 (Picture Source: Military Photos) [2] Ex-Iraqi BMP armored personnel carriers being used by the Iranians against their former owners (Picture Source: Shahed) [3] A captured Iraqi French-made ROLAND low-altitude anti-aircraft missile system at Fao in February 1986 (Picture source: Military Photos) [4] Iranian troops transport captured Iraqi SAM missiles in the aftermath of the expulsion of occupying Iraqi forces from Khuzestan in May-June 1982 (Picture source: Military Photos).

The Small Wars Journal published a review in July 2012 by Youssef Aboul-Enein (Adjunct Islamic Studies Chair at Dwight D.Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy [formerly ICAF]) of the original 2011 English language text (see excerpts below):

As the United States and the international community faces Iran over a variety of contentious issues from the acquisition of militarized nuclear capabilities to support for the Syrian regime, as well as Hizbullah in Lebanon it becomes necessary for members of the United States Armed Forces and our partners to immerse themselves on book about Iran. Dr. Kaveh Farrokh … has published a timely volume immersing readers in five centuries of how Persians have waged and conducted war. The book delves deeply into the history and psychology of warfare and provides a grounding of how Iranians see threats and challenges today.

Modern-day Lur rifleman of the type that formed the backbone of the armies of Karim Khan Zand (1705-1779) (Picture source: courtesy of Mehdi Dehghan). At bottom is an Iranian gun with a British percussion cap mechanism fitted to the barrel from the Zand era (Picture source: Dr. Manouchehr M. Khorasani (2009), Persian Firearms part Three: The percussion Cap Lock. Classic Arms and Militaria, pp.22-27).

Note that Qoqnoos had already translated into Persian another of Kaveh Farrokh’s books, “Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War” (2007), in 2011 (translator: Maryam Saremi). There are two other translations of “Shadows in the Desert”:

In addition, Kaveh Farrokh’s first book, Elite Sassanian cavalry (2005, Osprey Publishing) has been translated thrice the following:

Undated photo of Colonel Haji Khan Pirbastami before his final mission to fight the Bolsheviks invading northern Iran in c.1926-1927. Haji Khan believed in the concept of fighting alongside the troops he commanded. Fate finally caught up with him as he was engaged in close quarters fighting against the Bolsheviks. As he was locked in hand to hand combat, one of the Bolsheviks shot him at close quarters. Although Haji Khan did survive the battlefield, he had to be bought back from the north to Tehran for medical treatment. Haji Khan reached the capital city but it was already too late: he finally succumbed to his wounds shortly thereafter. 

Book Review on Sassanian Studies by Matthew G. Marsh

Matthew G. Marsh (University of North Dakota) has written a book review in 2018 in the Journal of Ancient History and Archaeology for Touraj Daryaee’s “Sasanian Iran (224-651 CE)” [left image] and has noted the following with respect to the state of Sassanian studies: “… the last two decades have seen a marked increase in publications on the Sasanian Empire as authors such as Kaveh Farrokh, Touraj Daryaee, P. Pourshariati, among others, have opened up Sasanian studies to an English speaking audience”. [Marsh, M.G. (2018). Review of Touraj Daryaee. Sasanian Iran (224-651 CE). Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda Publishers, Inc., 2008, xxiii + 140p., ISBN 978-1-56859-169-8. Journal of Ancient History and Archaeology, No. 5.2, pages 75-80].

Parvaneh Pourshariati’s book [above, at right] “Decline and Fall of the Sasanian Empire: The Sasanian-Parthian Confederacy and the Arab Conquest of Iran”, is also a comprehensive and in-depth text that provides a detailed examination of the factors leading to the fall of the Sassanian Empire in the 78th century CE.

Marsh’s review has also cited two of Kaveh Farrokh’s recent textbooks co-authored with top expert scholars such as Katarzyna Maksymiuk (Institute of History and International Relations, Faculty of Humanities, Siedlce University of Natural Sciences and Humanities, Poland), Gholamreza Karamian (Department of Archaeology & History Central Tehran Branch, Tehran Azad University) and Javier Sánchez-Gracia (HRM Ediciones, Zaragoza, Spain) in the following section of his review (page 79, 2018) – APPENDIX II – ADDITIONAL WORKS ON THE SASANIAN EMPIRE:

Farrokh, K. (2017). Armies of Persia: the Sassanians. Barnsley, England: Pen & Sword Publishing.

Farrokh, K., Karamian, Gh., & Maksymiuk, K. (2018). A Synopsis of Sassanian Military Organization and Combat Units. Tehran Azad University & Siedlce University: Publishing House of Siedlce University of Natural Sciences and Humanities.

Another book by Kaveh Farrokh, Katarzyna Maksymiuk and Javier Sánchez-Gracia on Sassanian military history also appeared in late summer 2018:

Farrokh, K., Maksymiuk, K., & Sánchez-Gracia, J. (2018). The Siege of Amida (359 CE), Siedlce University: Publishing House of Siedlce University of Natural Sciences and Humanities.

Book Review by Military History Journal of Kaveh Farrokh’s 2017 Textbook on Sassanian Army

The below 2017 book by Kaveh Farrokh has been reviewed by Richard A. Gabriel of the Military History journal on April 29, 2018. This is available on-line at HistoryNet and Academia.edu:

The Armies of Ancient Persia: The Sassanians, by Kaveh Farrokh, Pen and Sword Books, Barnsley, U.K., 2017.

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Following Alexander’s conquest of the Achaemenid empire, rule of the region passed from the Seleucids to two succeeding powers: the Parthians (247 BCE–224 CE) and the Sassanians (224–651). Before Muslim armies ultimately overwhelmed the latter, the Sassanians earned due recognition as the most formidable rival of the Roman–Byzantine empire. Over more than three centuries the two powers fought a number of major and minor wars, conflicts that weakened both, until the armies of Islam overran the Sassanians. Much of what historians later attributed to Muslim culture in art, architecture, military technology and medicine was mostly Sassanid in origin, spread through the Mediterranean world by the expansion of Islam.

Despite their contribution to Western military history and its technological advances, the armies of ancient Persia have received scant attention from Western military historians. Focusing on the armies of the Sassanians, this book is the first in a three-volume set intended to address that oversight.

Author Kaveh Farrokh is a historian born in Greece who speaks Persian, among several other languages, attributes that enabled him to access source materials inaccessible to most Western scholars. The book is well researched, edited, organized and written. His 46 pages of footnotes, 15 pages of references and 14 pages of maps place a trove of source materials in the reader’s hands, though general readers may find the level of detail somewhat overwhelming. The result is a major work of scholarship that is long overdue.

Savārān officer engaged in archery. Recreations by Ardashir Radpour (courtesy A. Radpour & H. Martin).

Article by Kaveh Farrokh and Taraneh Farhid on Achaemenid Era Edicts, Stele and the Cyrus Cylinder

An important recent contribution to the field of Iranian Studies is the publication in 2018 of the following textbook:

Arj-e-Xirad: Papers in Honour of Professor Djalal Khaleghi-Motlagh (edited by Farhad Aslani & Massoumeh Pourtaghi). Tehran: Morvarid Publications.

Professor Djalal Khaleghi-Motlagh (Hamburg University, Iranian Studies) is a doyen of Iranian Studies much like Dick Davis and those who have passed such as Richard Nelson Frye (1920-2014) and Shapour Shahbazi (1942-2006).

The above textbook includes scholarly articles by world-class scholars such as Dariush Akbarzadeh, Dick Davis, Richard Foltz, Shaul Shaked, Gholamreza Karamian, Jurgen Ehlers, Touraj Daryee, Kamyar Abdi and a slew of other scholars.

Kaveh Farrokh and Taraneh Farhid have also contributed the following article to the above textbook [this can be downloaded in pdf from Academia.edu]:

Farrokh, K., & Farhid, T. (1396/2018). [استوانه کوروش بزرگ و اسناد “دیگر” در بابل, مصر و ستون سنگی یادبود خانتوس] “Other” Cylinders and Records before and after Cyrus the Great: Kelar, Babylon, Egypt and Xanthus. Studies in Honor of Professor Jalal Khaleghi Motlagh (ed. F. Aslani & M. Pourtaghi), Tehran: Morvarid Publications, pp.379-394.

The above article challenges a number of new Eurocentric theories proposed since 1979 with respect to the history of Cyrus the Great and the Cyrus Cylinder. The new theories were promoted in Spiegel Magazine (by Matthias Schultz, July 15, 2008) and the Daily Telegraph (by Harry de Quetteville, July 16, 2008) … these however were responded to by Kaveh Farrokh:

The Cyrus Cylinder housed at the British Museum (Picture Source:  Angelina Perri Birney).