New Military History Book by Ian Hughes: Stilicho – The Vandal who saved Rome


Ian Hughes has produced an excellent military history text entitled:

Stilicho: The Vandal who Saved Rome (2010). Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England: Pen & Sword Books Limited. ISBN: 978-1-84415-969-7.


To order, kindly contact:

Address: PEN & SWORD BOOKS LIMITED -47 Church Street, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, S70 2AS, England [Website:]


Hughes’ text is meticuloulsy researched with a plethora of references and resources. The academic calibre of this text will undoubtedly make this a major resource in classrooms and libraries across major universities.

Stilicho lived in one of the most turbulent periods in European history. The Western Empire was collapsing under the pressure of internal revolt and external invasion.  The book explains how Stilicho, who had a Vandal father and a Roman mother, was given control of the Western Empire and describes his attempts to save the West from the rebellion of Constantine III in Britain and from the attacks of barbarian invaders, most notably Radagaisus and Alaric the Goth.

Stilicho monument in the forum in Rome  –  this picture shows the monument erected in honour of Stilicho.  However, after his fall the three lines commemorating his name and deeds were chiselled out as part of the damnatio memoriae. 

Despite his claims that he was attempting to save an united empire, in some ways his policies following his rise to power after the death of the emperor Theodosius the Great in 395 helped to permanently divide the Western and Eastern halves of the Roman Empire. On the other hand he is responsible for the continued existence of the West after the rebellion of Constantine III in Britain and the crossing of the Rhine by a major force of Vandals, Sueves and Alans in AD 406. 

The book places Stilicho firmly within the context of the slow disintegration of the West and also details his political contacts with the East, helping to explain how these helped to divide the Empire in such a way that it would never again become a single political entity.  In this way the importance of Stilicho’s domination is highlighted and the ramifications of his ‘rule’ for the remaining decades of the West’s existence become clear.

Stilicho diptych  –  the only remaining likeness of Stilicho.  On the left is his wife and son, on the right Stilicho himself.  Stilicho carries a shield on which are the images are two boys, most likely the emperors Honorius and Arcadius, demonstrating Stilicho’s claim to be guardian for both halves of the Empire.

It is surprising that despite the recent surge of interest in the history of the Late Roman Empire this is the first definitive biography that has been attempted in English. In a large part this is due to the fact that the story of his life is poorly recorded by ancient sources.  The result has been a long history of debate over Stilicho’s personality and policies, especially with regards to a possible alliance with the Goth Alaric against the Western Empire.  The book looks in detail at the sources and analyzes Stilicho’s actions in an attempt to reveal the reasons for his policies.  Although in some respects the conclusions reached go against some of the accepted theories concerning his life, they are explained in full and some of the opposing theories are explained, allowing the reader to make up their own mind as to which of the different ideas to follow.

Barbarian Invasions of Gaul  –  this map shows a possible route for the invasions of the Vandals, Sueves and Alans that took place in early 407.   Although hypothetical, it follows the descriptions in the sources and explains the reasons for the rapid changes of direction of the invaders.

Dr. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani: Antique Oriental and Arab Weapons and Armour-The Streshinskiy Collection


A new book by Dr. manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani, ,Antique Oriental and Arab Weapons and Armour: The Streshinskiy Collection  provides an outstanding and rare private collection of oriental arms and armour captured in high quailty paper, best quality leather jacket encrusted with silver-inlaid inscriptions, a magnificent silver filigree sculpture in shape of a dagger on the cover made by renowned sculpter and silversmith, breath-taking miniatures from Iranian museums, top-quality pictures of artifacts taken by a world-class photographer, period Persian manuscripts, up-to-date research based on original manuscripts and an outstanding book design made by a famed publisher make up a unique book tiltled Antique Oriental and Arab Weapons and Armour: The Streshinskiy Collection

the text is an exemplary academic text-book as well as being an artistic masterpiece.  The quality of paper and pictures are of an  excellent calibre such that artifiacts have an almost life-like quality to  the reader. The pictures even appear to be three-dimensional thrusting the reader to a world of mystery and wonderful images of oriental arms and armor emanating from the cultures of the Middle East, India, North Africa and Indonesia.

See pictures 1-5 below which pertain to the cover of the book Antique Oriental and Arab Weapons and Armour: The Streshinskiy Collection– readers are directed to the silver filigree scupture in shape of a dagger.

Picture 1 (Copyright M.M. Khorasani, 2010)

Picture 2 (Copyright M.M. Khorasani, 2010)


Picture 3 (Copyright M.M. Khorasani, 2010)


Picture 4 (Copyright M.M. Khorasani, 2010)


Picture 5 (Copyright M.M. Khorasani, 2010)

One of the striking features of the Streshinskiy collection is that it not only offers a unique array of historical weapons from North Africa, Arabian Penninsula, Ottoman Empire, Persia/Iran, Afghanistan, India and Indonesia but it also offers quality items from all of those cultures. From breath-taking sculpted jade handles of daggers from India reminding readers of fascinating court ceremonies and events to the sharp blades of Sudanese swords reminiscent of elephant-hunters and takouba swords wielded by Tuareg warriors, the collection encompasses all.   

Picture 6: A Persian khanjar next to a picture of a khanjar from the Streshinskiy collection.

Next to a detailed description of crucible steel patterns described in Persian and Arab manuscripts, the book Antique Oriental and Arab Weapons and Armour: The Streshinskiy Collection shows four beautiful miniatures from Iranian museums.  One of the miniatures from the Persian manuscript Šāhnāme-ye Bāysonqori from the 15 century is titled “Jamšid teaching his people the trades and crafts” shows the Persian King Jamšid and his enthronement. The miniature shows the forging process of armor, horse armor and helmet, hammering out crucible steel bars and a man bellowing a crucible steel forge.  The miniature is titled “Rostam and Siyāvaš conquer Balx” and is taken from a manuscript of the Šāhnāme-ye Šāh Tahmāsbi.  The third miniature titled “Rostam lassoes the Emperor of Turkestān,” taken from the manuscript of the Šāhnāme-ye Bāysonqori, Rostam, the Persian hero, is shown unsaddling and pulling down the emperor of Turkestān from his elephant by using a lasso.  The fourth miniature from a Šāhnāme-ye Šāh Tahmāsbi manuscript showing Sohrāb who has tackled down Rostam (the Persian hero) and is about to attack him with a khanjar (xanjar). 

Picture 7: A Persian kard next to a picture of a kard from the Streshinskiy collection.

Picture 8: Another Persian khanjar next to a picture of a khanjar from the Streshinskiy collection.

Picture 9: A Persian qame next to a picture of a Persian qame from the Streshinskiy collection.

This wonderful book is offered by the publisher Antiga Arabia headquartered in AbuDhabi and comes as a limited edition book.  The pictures are taken by the master photographer Andrey Bronnikov who has an international fame in professional photography.  The paper is of top quality which is Pure Cotton Conqueror 160 gr and Larius Matt 170 gr.  The book is printed in Italy by Grafiche Antiga spa, Crocetta del Montello (TV) in September 2010 and also hand-bound in Italy by L’Arte del Libro, Pantalla di Todi (PG).

Picture 10: A Caucasian kindjal next to a picture of a Caucasian kindjal from the Streshinskiy collection.

Picture 11: An Arab dagger next to a picture of an Arab dagger from the Streshinskiy collection.


Picture 12: The bag for maintaining the book made of silk with silver-thread inscriptions.

The 800 Ct Sterling Silver encrusting in shape of a dagger which appears on the cover of the book is a faithful reproduction of the 1900 C.E. Jambiya from Mecca which is depicted on page 107 of the book.  The original master-cast was sculpted and engraved by Ivan Daviskiba.  The silver encrusted dagger on the front cover of the book is an art in itself.  For more information and ordering the book consult:

Dt. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani recently published a book entitled “Lexicon of Atms and Armor from Iran” on October 1st, 2010– Dr. Khorasani’s book on the lexicon is the first academic book ever to be written on the lexicon and terminology of Iranian arms and warfare. Dr. Khorasani’s first book, Arms & Armor from Iran: The Bronze Age to the End of the Qajar Period is also unique in that it is the first textbook of its kind to provide an exhaustive and detailed compendium on the history, development, description and analysis of Iranian arms and armor from the bronze age to the Qajar era:

To rrder these books, please click on the Legat Publishers link or order directly from LEGAT Publishers: Alexander Frank ( +49 (0) 70 73 / 30 24 49; Mobile +49 (0)179 / 453 61 21



Dr. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani, the world’s leading expert on the history of Iranian and Oriental arms. armour and firearms.

New Book: Lexicon of Arms and Armor from Iran


An excellent new and comprehensive textbook has been published pertaining to Iranian military history and terminology:

Lexicon of Arms and Armor from Iran: A Study of Symbols and Terminology 

Author: Dr. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani

Publisher: Legat Publishers (Tübingen, Germany) (2010)

ISBN: 978 0 96276 645 9

To Order click on the Legat Publishers link or order directly from LEGAT Publishers: Alexander Frank ( +49 (0) 70 73 / 30 24 49; Mobile +49 (0)179 / 453 61 21

The book has already elicited a number of highly supportive reviews; including the one posted on the Persian Mirror Magazine. This book is an excellent companion to Dr. Khorasani’s Arms & Armor from Iran: The Bronze Age to the End of the Qajar Period published in 2006. Dr. Khorasani’s books are indeed in the tradition of great scholars of Iranian Studies such as the late Roman Roman Ghirshman’s “Iran: Parthians and Sassanians” (1962). Dr. Khorasani’s books have also set the standard of academic excellence in the domain the military history of Iran.

With over 5700 entries, the book Lexicon of Arms and Armor from Iran: A Study of Symbols and Terminology provides a sound and solid base of terminology of arms and armor in Persian so that military historians, historians, museum curators, researchers and collectors and also people interested in reading historical accounts and epic stories would be able to understand and use the appropriate terms related to each certain type of weapons. 

A double-headed Sar-e-Tabar (axe-head), of the late Safavid era. Dr. Khorasani is the first researcher to make an exhaustive compilation of all ancient Iranian arms from the bronze age to the present. The vast majority of the photgraphs that Dr. Khorasani provides in his 2006 Arms and Armor book have never been seen by Western researchers or venues. Christie’s of London now uses Dr. Khorasani’s 2006 text as a standard reference (Picture Source:  Khorasani, Arms and Armor from Iran: The Bronze Age to the end of the Qajar Period. Legat Verlag, 2006, pp.662).

Persian culture and civilization is a fascinating old culture.  Therefore, all major types of the Persian language are taken into consideration, namely, the Avestan, the Old Persian, the Middle Persian (Pahlavi), and the New Persian.  Next to each entry which is written in its phonetic alphabet, the original script is provided as well.  Therefore, there are four different phonetic alphabets provided for each type of script.  Next to each entry, after the phonetic alphabet and original script, the type of Persian language is identified as (Avestā), (Old Persian), (Middle Persian/Pahlavi) or (New Persian).  Additionally, Kārnāme-ye Ardešir Bābakān [The War Treatise of Ardešir Bābakān] is identified as a source for some entries in the Middle Persian as (Kārnāme-ye Ardešir Bābakān, Middle Persian/Pahlavi).  Sources in New Persian are identified individually as well after the phonetic alphabet and the original script, such as (Šāhnāme).  Over ninety primary sources in New Persian were consulted to search for arms-and-armor-related words among them the Šāhnāme, Eskandarnāme and different types of Zafarnāme.  Further, due to their importance for this research, three manuscripts in Arabic were consulted that were written by Persian scholars.  These include Alboldān by Abubakr Ahmad ben Mohammad ben Eshāq Hamedāni, Ahsan al-Taqāsim fi Ma’refat-e al-Qālim by Šamsoldin Abu Abdollāh Mohammad ben Ahmad ben Ababakr Šāmi Moqadasi, and Al-Jamāhir fi Marefat al-Jawāher by Abu Reihān Beyruni.  A phonetic alphabet is provided separately for the Avestan, the Old Persian, the Middle Persian, and the New Persian.  A combined table of different phonetic alphabets in alphabetical order is also provided so that a search for a certain word can be done easily.  Some suras from the holy Qur’an are also taken into consideration as these suras written in Arabic are used as gold-inlaid or gold-overlaid inscriptions on a number of Persian arms and armor.

The lexicon provides the following categories of words and expressions:

a) all types of offensive weapons, such as swords, maces

b) all types of defensive weapons, such as shields, armor

c) techniques employed by each weapon, such as striking the top of the head with a sword

d) forging techniques, materials used in making crucible steel cakes and forging, and terms related to watered steel

e) different types of horses because horses were used by the cavalry in the battle

f) all horse-related equipment, such as harness

g) siege weapons, such as catapult

h) other types of animals used on the battlefield, such as elephants and camels

i) terms related to the warrior codex of javānmardi

j) terms related to the traditional Persian martial art of varzeš pahlavāni and its related tools

k) wrestling techniques

l) metals and stones used as decorative elements in arms and armor such as gold and precious stones

m) terms related to fighting and warfare, such as attack

n) historical firearms, such as matchlocks and flintlock guns 

The present lexicon uses the holy book of the Avestā for the Avestan terms as it provides a good source for the terminology related to the arms and armor in this old language.  The holy book of the Avestā presents a marvelous description of an array of weapons used by different deities in the battlefield.  For arms-and-armor-related terms in Old Persian sources, the following inscriptions in cuneiform are used: a) the inscriptions of Dāryuš Bozorg in Bistun, b) the inscription of Dāryuš Bozorg in Šuš (Susa), c) the inscription of Dāryuš Bozorg in Naqš-e Rostam, d) the inscription of Dāryuš Bozorg in Suez, e) the inscription of Dāryuš Bozorg in Taxt-e Jamšid, f) the inscription of Xašāyāršāh in Taxt-e Jamšid, g) the inscription of Ardešir II in Šuš, and h) the golden tablet of Aršām, Hamedān.  For terms in the Middle Persian, the treatise Kārnāme-ye Ardešir Bābakān [The War Treatise of Ardešir Bābakān] (2007/1386) was used as a source. 

A close-up of an Iranian-built firearm from the Zand era; note British percussion cap mechanism. Dr. Khorasani is also the first researcher to provide a comprehensive study of Iranian-built muskets and guns (Picture Source: Khorasani, Manouchehr, Mosthagh (2009), Persian Firearms Part Three: The percussion Cap Lock. Classic Arms and Militaria, Volume XVI Issue 3, pp.22-27).

For the terms related to arms and armor and warfare in New Persian many manuscripts were consulted.  These manuscripts are chosen from the following groups: a) epic stories in verse and prose, such as Šāhnāme by Ferdowsi (1995/1384), b) period history books, such as Tārix-e Ālām Ārāye Abbāsi by Eskandar Beyyg Torkamān (2003/1382), c) popular stories such as Samak Ayyār by Al-Kāteb al-Rajāni (2004/1383), d) manuscripts written on metals and precious stones that often have a chapter on iron, steel, and swordmaking, such as Gŏharnāme by Mansur (1975/1354), e) famous anthologies such as Masnavi Ma’navi by Molavi (2007/1385), f) journey accounts, such as Safarnāme-ye Nāser Xosrŏ by Nāser Xosrŏ (1985:1363), g) period geography books, such as Gogrāfiyā-ye Esfahān by Tahvildār Esfahāni (1964/1342), h) treatises of war and warfare, such as Ādāb al-Harb va al-Šojā-e by Mobārak Šāh Faxr-e Modabbar (1967/1346), i) books about spiritual journeys, such as Ardāvirāfnāme by Bahrām Paždō (1965/1343), j) books dealing with life and heroic lives of religious figures, such as Xāvarānnāme by Xusofi Birjandi (2002/1381), k) books about the principles of warriors and javānmardān, such as Fotovvatnāme-ye Soltāni by Kāšefi Sabzevāri (1971/1350), l) treatises on bows and archery, such as Jāme al-Hadāyat fi Elm al-Romāyat by Dorudbāši Beyhaqi (1975/1354), m) treatises on the sword, swordmaking, and sword classification, such as Ta’id Besārat by Mirzā Lotfallāh  (1706-1707:1118 or 1108:1696-1697), and n) treatises on army rules and regulations, such as Qavāede Koliye az Barāye Mašq va Harkat-e Piyādenezām Dolat-e Aliyeye Irān (1852/1268 hegira). Some of the manuscripts used in the lexicon have not been published before, such as Ta’id Besārat by Mirzā Lotfallāh (1706-1707:1118 or 1108:1696-1697), which is an extremely important source of sword classification written in India during the Safavid period.  Another one that provides a lot of useful information on bows and archery is Jāme al-Hadāyat fi Elm al-Romāyat by Dorudbāši Beihaqi (1975/1354). Many miniatures and pictures of artifacts accompany the text so that the readers could clearly see the types of weapons and fighting techniques used.

An Iranian-built cannon from the early Qajar era (in the Tehran Museum) as seen in one of Dr. Khorasani’s recent articles on the history of Iranian artillery. Dr. Khorasani’s recent studies now question a number of 18-19th century European observers who claimed that Iranian artillery pieces were “badly built”. Dr. Khorasani’s research has also uncovered much hitherto unknown data on Iranian rockets dating back to the Qajar era (Picture Source: Khorasani, Maouchehr, Mosthagh (2009), Persian Firepower: Artillery. Classic Arms and Militaria, Volume XVII Issue 2, pp.21).

Each entry is described not only in linguistic terms but also a full historical information and background are provided as well.  Hence most entries provide very detailed information on the subject.  The book also offers a catalog of Persian arms and armor at the end offering a marvelous selection of sixty exquisite pieces of Iranian arms and armor from the Cultural Institute of Bonyād in Tehran and some pieces from private collections, among them the Ghiringhelli Collection in Italy.  The catalog includes sixty items that include two bronze daggers from Luristan, one golden dagger from Kalardašt in northern Iran, a two-handed iron sword from Sassanian period, the golden and silver fittings of a P-shaped Sassanian sword, two P-shaped Sassanian swords with silver handle and scabbards, fifteen curved šamšir swords (nine from the Safavid period, three from the Zand period, and three from the Qājār period), one straight sword from the Qājār period, a Persian yatağan sword from the Qājār period, a zolfaqār sword from the Qājār period, a Persian military sword from the Qājār period, six kārd knives (one from the Safavid period, three from the Zand period and two from the Qājār period), four pišqabz daggers (one from the Safavid period and three from the Zand period), six xanjar daggers (one from the Zand period and five from the Qājār period), four axes (two from the Safavid period, one from the Afšārid period and one from the Qājār period), two maces (one from the Safavid period and one from the Qājār period), one spear head from the Zand period, two helmets from the Qājār period, four shields from the Qājār period, one mail armor from the Qājār period, one bow from the Qājār period, one matchlock musket from the Safavid period, one flintlock musket from the Afšārid period and one percussion cap musket from the Zand and the Qājār periods.    The reference list is based on 303 references that consist of 113 primary sources, 109 secondary Iranian sources and 81 international sources.

New Military History Book by Ian Hughes: Belisarius-The Last Roman General

Ian Hughes has produced an excellent military history text entitled:

Belisarius: The Last Roman General (2009). Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England: Pen & Sword Books Limited. ISBN: 978-1-84415-833-1.


To order, kindly contact:

Address: PEN & SWORD BOOKS LIMITED -47 Church Street, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, S70 2AS, England [Website:]


Hughes’ text is meticuloulsy researched with a plethora of references and resources. The academic calibre of this text will undoubtedly make this a major resource in classrooms and libraries across major universities.


This book is a military history of the campaigns of Belisarius.  After fighting the Persians, Belisarius was sent by the Emperor Justinian to reconquer North Africa from the Vandals.  This he did in a single year at the age of 29.  After this success he was sent to Italy to fight the Ostrogoths, where he recaptured the ‘eternal city’ of Rome for the Romans. 

A close-up of the Mosaic of the Basilica of San Vitale at Ravenna. The Romano-Byzantine emperor Justinian (r. 527-565) is seen at the center (note halo surrounding his crowned head). Belisarius (500-565) stands to the left of Justinian with the prominent banker, Giuliano Argentario, standing to the right. As noted by Hughes, the Basilica of San Vitale mosaic bears the only portrait we have today of Belisarius.

The book discusses the evolution of the late-Roman/early-Byzantine army and its  systems of warfare. The text also discusses the army, military equipment and tactics of Rome’s chief enemies, Sassanian Iran, Goths and Vandals. 

The Porta Pinciana (The Gate of  Pinciana). This came under the control of Belisarius during the siege of Rome. Belisarius launched a successful sortie from this location against the Germanic Goths.

There is a constant analysis of Belisarius’ exemplary abilities as a general throughout the book

Belisarius and the Military history of Romano-Sassanian Warfare

Hughes’ text is also ground-breaking in that it follows a new (and welcome) Western tradition in which (Western) scholars examine the military history of ancient pre-Islamic Iran with objectivity and balance.

Belisarius (500-565) is one of the most brilliant military strategists ever produced by the Romano-Byzantine world and its Western/European successors. Few are aware that it was in Sassanian Iran where Belisarius met his military equals. Iran’s Savaran cavalry not only held their own against the formidable armies of Belisarius but even scored a number of successes. Belisarius in turn also scored his own successes against the Savaran; indeed the Iranian-Roman frontier experienced numerous battles before the arrival of the Arabo-Islamic armies in the 7th century.

In an endeavor to provide a closer insight into Sassanian arms, equipment and tactics, Hughes has printed a number of diagrams that were produced by Kaveh Farrokh during his research for his first book Elite Sassanian cavalry published in 2005 and translated to Persian by Yusef Amiri in 2009. Farrokh also had the assistance of military historian and martial arts specialist Antony Karasuals in Australia in his research. One notable contribution by Karasulas was his deployment of the Sassanian method of firing arrows for assessment.

Below is one diagram by Farrokh which is being published for the first time in the Hughes text:


Late Sassanian sword (Farrokh 2004; reprinted Hughes 2010, p.51). Entire sword from front [1] and back [2]; sword handle at front [3] and back [4]; sword mount at front [5] and back [6].

Hughes also provides excellent maps, diagrams and battle plans throughout his text.



The Romano-Sassanian frontier at the time of Emperor Justinian. Note the location of Romano-Iranian battles in Pers-Armenia, Dara and Callinicum.

Hughes’ text is a highly recommended item for those interested in Roman-Byzantine military history, including those interested in the military history of the wars between Sassanian Iran and the Romano-Byzantines.


Late Sassanian belt found at Nahavand (Farrokh 2004; reprinted Hughes 2010, p.52). This belt system utilizes the Turco-Avar lappet suspension system for swords and quivers.

Peer-reviewed Iranshenasi Journal Praises Farrokh Book


Iranshenasi: A journal of Iranian Studies is one the most highly respected peer-reviewed journals of Iranian Studies and features an advisorry board of Iranian Studies scholars of the highest calibre. The chief editor of this journal is the distinguished Dr. Jalal Matini who has worked for decades to ensure the publication of articles pertinent to Iranian culture, history, society and the state of Iranian Studies programs in academia. Dr. Matini was the President of Ferdowsi University in Mashhad before the 1979 revolution.

Dr. Jalal Matini (standing at podium), the Chief Editor of the Iranshenasi journal  flanked by the late Iranian poet and thinker, Nader Naderpour (seated at left) at UCLA.

The iranshenasi journal also utilizes first-class academics in the field of Iranian Studies to review recent books and publications. The recent Iranshenasi edition features the following book review by Farhad Mafie of California State University (Fullerton):

Mafie, Farhad (2010). Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War, by Dr. Kaveh Farrokh. Iranshenasi, Volume XXII, No.1, Spring 2010, pp.1-5 (see document in pdf).


Introduction & the State of Iranian Studies Programs

Below are some select quotes from Mafie’s introductiory observations:

Fortunately, more and more first- and second-generation Iranian scholars, archaeologists, and researchers in the West have shown great interest in…studying ancient Persia…faciliated some serious scholarly works  on Iran’s pre-Islamic eras, in spite of the lack of financial support nad many other limitations” (Mafie, 2010, pp.1).

Mafie’s reference to the “lack of financial support and many other limitations” is very astute and to the point. Professor Ehsan Yarshater, the editor of the Encyclopaedia Iranica, noted in an interview with the Gooya News Service on June 6, 2004 that:

“…the total number of competent scholars in Iranian Studies is decreasing…the number of young scholars drawn to Iranian Studies has become alarmingly low…the one exception is Italy…”.

Since that interview, Iranian studies in Italy have been threatened by the possible closure of the Istituto Italiano per l’Africa e l’Oriente .


Professor Yarshater meets Farrokh during the Persian American Society’s honoring ceremonies for Professor Emeritus Richard Nelson Frye on March 1, 2008. It was during one of the key speeches at this event when Professor Yarshater raised alarm with respect to anti-Iran historical revisionists and the dangers of insufficient support for Iranian Studies in the West.



Mafie has provided a number of points evaluating Farrokh’s text. Four of these are cited below’: 

Even though the book obviously focuses on the history of warfare and armaments during the Achaemenid, Parthian and Sassanian Empires, Farrokh metioculously analyzes the cultural, political and religious aspects of each period and he shows how they are all interwoven and how they have impacted each war and its aftermath” (Mafie, 2010, pp.2).

To his credit, while he shows the glories of the Persian Empires, he makes objective assesments of the events and their consequences…based on the historical evidences  ”  (Mafie, 2010, pp.3).

Even if one does not have the time to read this wonderful and informative book in its entirty…Chapter 19 (“The Legacy of Persia after the Islamic Conquest”) must be read, especially by all young Iranians interested in learning about Sassanians’ and Iran’s impact throughout history upon civilizations around the world…Chapter 19 could be expanded to a separate volume… ” (Mafie, 2010, pp.4).

The book contains a very useful chronology and a comprehensive bibliography of both primary and secondary sources, which help the reader to find the desired relevant references much faster. In addition to a comprehensive index, Farrokh provides an excellent Endnotes section that offers further explanations, references and relevant information on various key points in each chapter. A great help to students! ” (Mafie, 2010, pp.4).



Mafie has made reference to the text’s recognition by noting that:

Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War received the “Best History Book of 2008 Award” in the London WAALM (the World Academy of Arts, Literature, and Media) ceremonies in November 2008. It has also been selected as among the top three history books of 2008 by the Independent Book Publishers Association of the United States” (Mafie, 2010, pp.4).


Farrokh at the WAALM ceremonies of November 2008.


Conclusion Notes

Mafie has referred to the text as a reference source at the post-secondary level:

Many historians in major universities…have selected this outstanding volume…I am sure more and more universities and colleges will be adopting Farrokh’s book once they have had the opportunity to read and examine this informative volume for themselves” (Mafie, 2010, pp.5).


Meeting his mentors: Farrokh greets Professor Emeritus Richard Nelson Frye of Harvard University(shaking hands with Farrokh) and world-renowned Iranologist, Dr. Farhang Mehr (at center), winner of the 2010 Merit and Scholarship award (photo from Persian American Society,March 1, 2008).  As noted by Mafie, Professor Frye of Harvard University wrote the foreword of Farrokh’s text stating that “…Dr. Kaveh Farrokh has given us the Persian side of the picture as opposed to the Greek and Roman viewpoint …it is refreshing to see the other perspective, and Dr. farrokh sheds light on many Persian institutions in this history…” (Mafie, 2010, pp.2).  

Mafie conludes that:

“I highly recommend this wonderful bookl to anyone who is interested in learning about pre-Islamic Iranian history…and how the legacy of the Persian Empires continues in today’s world (Mafie, 2010, pp.4)…this book is not limited to textbook use or to scholarly studies. Everyone who is interested in world history will enjoy this volume…” (Mafie, 2010, pp.5).