The Last Iranian Tiger in Georgia

The information cited below was forward to Kavehfarrokh.com by Kooshan Mehran. It was originally posted in the Georgian National Museum.

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The Turan tiger-Male, Panthera (Tigris) Virgata species is now unfortunately extinct. The sample seen below was hunted near Tbilisi, specifically in the village of  Lelobi in 1922 by the Tiklauri brothers. The tiger is believed to have come to Georgia from Iran, before meeting his demise in Lelobi.

Panthera-virgata The Panthera (Tigris) Virgata who originated in Iran and met his end in the village of Lelobi, near Tbilisi in Georgia. This is one of the last known specimens of this species of Tiger, now believed to be extinct (Picture Source: Georgian National Museum).

 

The Castle-Citadel of Zahak

The Zahak Castle is located in Hashtrud, within Iran’s East Azerbaijan Province. The name Zahak or Zahhak is derived from ancient Iranian mythology (possibly from Azhi Dahak).

Zahak Castle-Multi ViewThe Zahak castle in Azarbaijan province in northwest Iran. Note pattern of brick works, archways and stairway. The origins of the site has been dated as far back as 2000 BCE, during the reign of the Parthian dynasty (c. 250 BCE-224 CE) (Photo sources: Images forwarded to Kavehfarrokh.com by Ms. Tara Farhid-Gallo in the article –گردایه (مجموعه) باستانی آژدهاک ( ضحاک ) آذرآبادگان– and in Darvakeran Blogspot).

Experts share a general consensus that this region was inhabited from the second millennium BCE until the Timurid era (1370-1507).

Zahhak_castle_stucco_1[Click to Enlarge] Stucco from the Zahak castle housed in the antiquities museum in Azarbaijan. The above depicts a large bird of prey digging its claws onto the back of a bull. There are striking parallels between this stucco and the depictions of the sacred bull in ancient Mithraic temples. Interestingly the depiction of the bull (especially its lifted and exposed neck) is strikingly similar to the image of Mithras slaying the bull in Romano-European Mithraism (Photo sources: Images forwarded to Kavehfarrokh.com by Ms. Tara Farhid-Gallo in the article –گردایه (مجموعه) باستانی آژدهاک ( ضحاک ) آذرآبادگان– and in Darvakeran Blogspot).

The site was first excavated by British archeologists in the 19th century. Iran’s Cultural Heritage Organization has been researching the structure in a methodical six-phase study.

 

Zahak Castle-ExcavationsImages of excavation works at the Zahak site in Azarbaijan province (Photo sources: Images forwarded to Kavehfarrokh.com by Ms. Tara Farhid-Gallo in the article –گردایه (مجموعه) باستانی آژدهاک ( ضحاک ) آذرآبادگان– and in Darvakeran Blogspot).

The site has also yielded a very rare visual glimpse of what the Mede infantry of the Parthian era may have appeared during the invasion of Marc Antony in 37 BCE. Marc Antony was defeated, in large part due to the actions of the local Median infantry who supported the Parthian armored cavalry and horse archers.

Parthian Stucco-Zahhak[Click to Enlarge] Another stucco discovered at the Zahak site, now housed in the Museum of Azarbaijan in Iran. The image depicts a Mede infantryman of the Parthian era. It was Mede infantry such as these who defeated the invading troops of Roman general Marc Antony in 37 BCE (Photo sources: Images forwarded to Kavehfarrokh.com by Ms. Tara Farhid-Gallo in the article –گردایه (مجموعه) باستانی آژدهاک ( ضحاک ) آذرآبادگان– and in Darvakeran Blogspot).

There have also been interesting discoveries of stucco from the site, with some traces of coloring still visible.

Zahak Castle-Stucco[Click to Enlarge] Display of artifacts discovered at the Zahhak castle, at the Azarbaijan Museum in Tabriz. Note that the left petal-type stucco still has visible traces of red and yellow color with the right facial-flower stucco still bearing traces of yellow upon it (Picture Source: Public Domain).

 Zahak Castle-4-Sign

 Signage in Azarbaijan province in Iran at the Zahak site (Picture Source: in Darvakeran Blogspot).

Azerbaijan Republic acknowledges Historical Legacy of Polo Game

One enduring legacy of the former Soviet Union is its school of falsifying history. That same school of historical falsification now continues to endure in one the former Soviet Union’s satellite regions, the modern Republic of Azerbaijan (known as Arran and the Khanates until 1918). Nazrin Mehdiyeva, a historian from the Republic of Azerbaijan, has noted that:

“…the myth [of a North versus South Azerbaijan] was invented under the Soviets for the purpose of breaking Azerbaijan’s historical links with Iran. To make this historical revisionism more acceptable, the Soviet authorities falsified documents and re-wrote history books. As a result, the myth became deeply ingrained in the population [of the Republic of Azerbaijan-known as Arran and the Khanates until 1918] … as part of the rhetoric” (Mehdiyeva, N.,2003, Azerbaijan and its foreign policy dilemma. Asian Affairs, 34, pp. 271-285, cited from p.280).

A post-Soviet era propaganda map produced in Baku. The above map promotes the false notion that a “Greater Azerbaijan” was divided in two by Russia and Iran in 1828 [Click above map to view the official Baku establishment narrative]. Historically false claims such as these were first promoted by the pan-Turkists of the early 20th century which were then propagated by the former Soviet Union and the Communists, notably Joseph Stalin and Mirjaafar Baguirov. Unfortunately the legacy of historical amnesia has continued to persist at the official level in the Caucasian state.

The Baku administration has based its falsification of history by appropriating the historical legacy of its neighbors, especially Iran as well as Armenia. In mid-September 2013 for example, the Baku establishment replaced the Persian-inscribed tiles at Nezami mausoleum – for more on this topic consult: Lornejad, S., & Doostzadeh, A. (2012). On the Modern Politicization of the Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi. Yerevan Series for Oriental Studies (Volume I), Edited by Garnik S. Asatrian. Yerevan: Caucasian Center for Iranian Studies. (pdf) – NOTE: This is the Official Digitized Version by Victoria Arakelova; with errata fixed from the print edition. False Statue in RomeBaku Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov at Nizami Ganjavi monument at Rome’s Villa Borghese park in early February 2013. The Aliev Foundation  funded the installation of this statue as part of the initiative of falsifying Iranian historical icons (see Petition to correct the historical identity of the statue in Rome). Ganjavi composed his poetry in Persian and wrote extensively on the Iranian cultural realm.

The very name “Azerbaijan” had never been applied to the region of the modern-day Republic – this was first proposed by pan-Turkist elements of the Musavat movement on May, 28, 1918 – prior to that date, the only historical reference to Az/a/rbaijan was to the historical province located in northwest Iran. The succeeding Soviets who followed the Musavat regime in Baku retained that incorrect name for the region. As noted by Barthold:

The name “Azerbaijan” for the Republic of Azarbaijan (Soviet Azerbaijan) was selected on the assumption that the stationing of such a republic would lead to that entity and its Iranian counterpart to become one…this is the reason why the name “Az/a/rbaijan” was selected (for Arran)…anytime when it is necessary to select a name that refers to the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan, we should/can select the name Arran …” (Quote from Bartold, Soviet academic, politician and foreign office official. See Bartold, V.V., Sochineniia, Tom II, Chast I, Izdatelstvo Vostochnoi Literary, p.217, 1963).

Ata Yurduتبلیغات ضد ایرانی در کتابهای درسی رژیم حاکم بر باکو!-[Anti-Iranian propaganda in school textbooks printed by the current regime of Baku]. History books are being re-written in Baku and exported to major Western libraries and universities in the effort to undermine Iranian history.

Most recently the Baku establishment had contacted UNESCO to consider the game of polo as an “Azerbaiiani” sport. For more see: Fars News (October 28, 2013): Iran urges UNESCO to reject Republic of Azerbaijan’s claim on ancient Polo game. Polo is the one of the world’s oldest known competitive team sports, in which players use mallets on horseback to shoot a ball through the opposing team’s goal post. The game continues to be intensely popular in modern-day Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. In fact, as noted by Mehdi Hojjat (Deputy Director ICHHTO) Afghanistan, Pakistan and India who have claims to the legacy of Polo, have also objected against the Republic of Azerbaijan’s application to UNESCO. As noted by Hojjat:

 “We will tell UNESCO that the traditional game is a common element that should be not registered exclusively in the name of a single country.”

Polo_game_from_poem_Guy_u_ChawganA Persian miniature made in 1546, during the reign of the Safavid dynasty of Iran (1501-1722). This artwork is of the Persian poem Guy-o Chawgân (“Ball and Polo-mallet”) depicting Iranian nobles engaged in the game of polo, which has been played in Iran for thousands of years (Picture Source: Public Domain).

The efforts of Mehdi Hojjat have borne success and the truth of history has prevailed – see Tehran Times based report Payvand News Report (December 5, 2013): below:

Azerbaijan concedes chogan is not an Azeri game: Iranian official

Below is the full report provided by Payvand News – readers are encouraged to read further comments further below after the Payvand News report:

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An official of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO) has said that Azerbaijan has officially accepted the fact that chogan (polo) is not an Azeri game.

ICHTHO’s Department for Registration of Natural, Historical and Intangible Heritage Director Farhad Nazari made the remarks on Tuesday after UNESCO registered chovqan (the Azeri word for chogan) as a traditional Karabakh horse-riding game for the Republic of Azerbaijan on its List of Intangible Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding during the 8th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The efforts made by the Iranian delegation at the meeting convinced Azerbaijan to officially acknowledge verbally and in writing the fact that chogan is not an Azeri game,” he said.

He added that the efforts also led to the modification of Azerbaijan’s file on chogan in the meeting.

In the file, Iran’s West Azarbaijan Province and East Azarbaijan Province had been referred to as “south Azerbaijan”, but this reference was removed when, during the meeting, it faced opposition from the Iranian delegation.

As a result, Iran also can to apply for registration of the Iranian chogan on the list. In addition, UNESCO experts in the meeting agreed that chogan would be registered as a multinational element on the UNESCO list,” Nazari stated.

ICHTHO Director Mohammad-Ali Najafi asked UNESCO in October to register chogan as a multinational element on its List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

ICHTHO Deputy Director Mehdi Hojjat previously said that Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, along with Iran, have a claim on the game.

The 8th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage will continue in Baku until December 7.

The Paach ceremony, a corn-veneration ritual celebrated in San Pedro Sacatepequez in Guatemala was also on the List of Intangible Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.

The Committee is also scheduled to review four other nominations for the list and 30 nominations for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

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In summary, this has been a very positive development and shows once again that with reference to proper historical sources combined with an academic and objective approach, the truth of history is safeguarded.

So what about the origins of Polo? There certainly is diversity of opinion, however reputable mainstream academia simply does not place the origin and invention of polo in the southeastern Caucasian territory north of the Araxes River (known as “Azerbaijan” since 1918). There are suggestions that this was invented in Iran and/or by Iranian peoples in antiquity, examples being:

  • Goel and Goel (1988, p. 318) who attribute this to the Persians in 2000 BCE (Goel, R. G. & Goel, V., 1988. Encyclopaedia of Sports and Games. Vikas Publishing House).
  • Craig (2002, p.157) who attributes the origins of polo to the Medes in the 100s CE (Craig, S., 2002. Sports and Games of the Ancients. Greenwood Publishing Group)

Singh (2007, p. 10) however challenges the Iranian origin thesis by highlighting Polo’s possible origins in China and India for example (Singh, J., 2002. Polo in India. London: New Holland).

Meydan Naghshe Jahan-Isfahan-Iran[Click to Enlarge] The Safavid era Meydan e Nagshe Jahan in modern-day isfahan which was a major venue for the game of polo in Iran (Picture Source: Public Domain).

Polo is indeed an international sport, whose origins overlap several modern nations in Western and Central Asia. The Republic of Azerbaijan is one of the heirs to this tradition, especially given its long-standing cultural and historical ties to Iran until 1828.  The south Caucasus region such as Armenia and modern-day Azerbaijan Republic (known as Arran and the Khanates until 1918) were introduced to Polo and equestrian sports by  thousands of years of cultural interaction with the Iranian realms.

Polo is referred to as “Chovgun” in the Republic of Azarbaijan – this term is actually derived from the Persian word “Chowgan” which means polo stick. It is possible that the term “Chowgan“, may have entered Western lore as “Chicane” (French), “Choca” (Spanish and Portuguese), “Schaggun” (German) or “Chekan” (Russian). On the other hand, the name of “Polo” is believed to have been derived from the Tibetan word “Puulu” which means ball (Crego, 2003, p.23 – Crego, R., 2003, Sports and Games of the 18th and 19th centuries, Greenwood Publishing Group). Etymology however is  insufficient at academically “proving” a Tibetan, Iranian or other (Indian, Chinese, etc.) origin for Polo – but it certainly is suggestive of an east-west cultural dynamic.

Ardashir1[Click to Enlarge] The founder of the Sassanian dynasty (224-651 CE) Ardashir I (180-242 CE) depicted in a lance-joust scene at Firuzabad. Ardashir and the Sassanians in general, were greatly fond of Polo (Picture source: Photo taken by Farrokh in August 2001 and shown in Kaveh Farrokh’s lectures at The University of British Columbia’s Continuing Studies Division Stanford University’s WAIS 2006 Critical World Problems Conference Presentations on July 30-31, 2006).

While the questions of origins remained debated, it is generally agreed that Polo has been an integral aspect of the culture and history of Iran since pre-Islamic times. Below are some excerpts from the Encyclopedia Brittanica:

A game of Central Asian origin, polo was first played in Persia (Iran) at dates given from the 6th century bc to the 1st century ad. Polo was at first a training game for cavalry units, usually the king’s guard or other elite troops. To the warlike tribesmen, who played it with as many as 100 to a side, it was a miniature battle. In time polo became a Persian national sport played extensively by the nobility. Women as well as men played the game, as indicated by references to the queen and her ladies engaging King Khosrow II Parvīz and his courtiers in the 6th century ad. From Persia the game spread to Arabia, then to Tibet (the English word polo is the Balti word meaning “ball”), to China, and to Japan. In China (910) the death of a favoured relative in a game prompted Emperor A-pao-chi to order the beheading of all surviving players. Polo was introduced into India by the Muslim conquerors in the 13th century…

Polo-Tang Dynasty[Click to Enlarge] Chinese Polo players of the 8th century CE during the Tang dynasty (618–907 CE) (Picture Source: AsiaSociety.org).

Despite the aforementioned official efforts with UNESCO and negotiations with the Republic of Azerbaijan by Iranian authorities, Dr. Mohammad Reza Said-Abadi (دکترمحمدرضا سعیدآبادی), the chair of Iran’s commission to UNESCO ( دبیرکل کمیسیون ملی یونسکو ) has contradicted his Iranian colleagues by stating:

مهم این نیست که قدمت و ریشه چوگان در کجای این منطقه است و توسط کجا به ثبت رسیده است بلکه مهم این نکته است که این بازی و مهارت در کجا فعال و به خطر افتاده است ،بنابراین اگر بخواهیم در چارچوب حقوقی صحبت کنیم با وجود اینکه قدمت چوگان در ایران است اما این اشتباه است که بگوییم آذربایجان نباید آن را به ثبت برساند و چوگان مال ماست! درباره اینکه ما زودتر باید این را به ثبت می‌رساندیم سؤال دیگری است

Dr Said-AbadiTranslation: It is not important which region of this locale is identified with the antiquity and roots of Chowgan [Polo] or who has registered this [with UNESCO] – what is important is where this game and its skills/expertise have been endangered, therefore if we wish to speak in legal terms even-though the antiquity of Chowgan [Polo] is in Iran, it is wrong to say that [Republic of Azerbaijan] should not register Chowgan [Polo], because Chowgan [Polo] belongs to us! As to whether we should have registered this sooner is another question…(Picture Source: UT.ac.ir)

First, as noted previously by Mehdi Hojjat (Deputy Director ICHHTO, Iran’s official position is not that Polo is exclusively Iranian. Instead Hojjat’s argument is that Polo is a shared heritage not exclusive to just one country. Second, Mr. Said-Reza appears to be stating that “it’s ok” to distort history and register this with UNESCO.   Perhaps it may be conjectured that Dr. Mohammad Reza Said-Abadi is speaking from an ideological standpoint  consistent with pan-Islamism which downplays the history and legacy of Iran in favor of the wider pan-Muslim dynamic. Much like the former “pan-internationalist” Communists of the Soviet Union, all forms of “national” history are dismissed as “bourgeois”.

Baku to replace Persian-inscribed tiles at Nezami mausoleum

Below is a short report first issued by Iran’s Press TV entitled “Baku to replace Persian-inscribed tiles at Nezami mausoleum” (September, 12, 2013) (see also Payvand News (September 18, 2013) report entitled “INLA asks Azerbaijan to stop replacement of Persian inscriptions of Nezami’s tomb“). Kindly note that the pictures and accompanying captions inserted below did not appear in the original Press TV report.

Before reading the report, readers are invited to consult:

Lornejad, S., & Doostzadeh, A. (2012). On the Modern Politicization of the Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi. Yerevan Series for Oriental Studies (Volume I), Edited by Garnik S. Asatrian. Yerevan: Caucasian Centre for Iranian Studies. (pdf) – NOTE: This is the Official Digitized Version by Victoria Arakelova; with errata fixed from the print edition.

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An Azeri official says the Persian-inscribed tiles in the mausoleum of renowned Iranian poet Nezami Ganjavi will be replaced with the Azeri translation of his poems.

Director of Nizami Ganjavi Centre of Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences (ANAS) Khalil Yusifli said the poet’s chosen poems inscribed on tiles were translated into Azeri from Persian.

Earlier this month, the Azeri government destroyed all tiles with Persian inscription on them at the mausoleum in Ganja using restoration work as a pretext for the measure.

On August 19, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Araqchi expressed regret over Azerbaijan’s reported move at the Nezami Ganjavi mausoleum.

11-Boniyadov-StalinFalsifiers of history: the late Ziya Bonyadov (1921-1997) (left) and Joseph Stalin (1878-1953) (right). Stalin referred to Iranian historical icons such as Nizami Ganjavi as “Azarbaijani historical figures”. Stalin’s myths (called “Stalin’s school of historical falsification by Leon Trotsky) have been adopted by the modern day citizens of the Republic of Azarbaijan. Ziya Bonyadov for example deliberately falsified history to omit the fact that Babak Khorramdin is identified as a Persian in ancient sources. Instead, he promoted Stalinist terminology which is essentially Persophobic.

The Azeri government has been waging an extensive campaign to falsify the identity of the renowned 12th-century Persian poet, whose formal name was Jamal ad-Din Abu Muhammad Ilyas ibn-Yusuf ibn-Zakki.

Ata Yurduتبلیغات ضد ایرانی در کتابهای درسی رژیم حاکم بر باکو!-[Anti-Iranian propaganda in school textbooks printed by the current regime of Baku]. History books are being re-written in Baku and exported to major Western libraries and universities in the effort to undermine Iranian history.

In 2012, the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, which is run by Azerbaijan’s first lady Mehriban Aliyeva, paid Rome City Municipality EUR 110,000 to install a monument of Nezami in the Villa Borghese Park in the Italian capital.

False Statue in RomeBaku Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov at Nizami Ganjavi monument at Rome’s Villa Borghese park in early February 2013. The Aliev Foundation  funded the installation of this statue as part of the initiative of falsifying Iranian historical icons (see Petition to correct the historical identity of the statue in Rome).

Meanwhile, Baku has introduced Nezami as an Azeri poet in all the country’s text books. This is while Nezami (1141 to 1209) has not written any poems in Azeri, and the Republic of Azerbaijan gained independence from Russia only 22 years ago.

Map of Greater Azarbaijan by ROAA historically false map published in Baku of an alleged “Greater Azarbaijan” during the Arab Caliphate. Historically all contemporary Islamic sources clearly distinguish between the real-historical Azarbaijan described south of the Araxes River in northwest Iran versus Arran or Albania (re-named “Azerbaijan Republic” in 1918) located to the north of the Araxes River. There are no maps or references that cite ancient Arran in the Caucasus above the Araxes River as “Azarbaijan”. 

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Comments sent to Kavehfarrokh.com

—- Original Message —-

From: Terence xxxx <xxxxgmail.com>

To: Dr. Kaveh Farrokh <manuvera@kavehfarrokh.com>

Sent: Sun, Sep 15, 2013 5:17 am

Subject: Re: Baku to replace Persian-inscribed tiles at Nezami Mausoleum

Dear Kaveh,

The Turkification policy pursued by the Russians, both Tsarist and Soviet – They in Baku are being torn from their true roots to be given a false identification. To begin with, following Ahmad Kasravi’s word, Azari is properly the term for a Persian dialect, not a Turkic one. Hence, the Tati-, Hazrani- and Taleshi-speakers are the last representatives of the true Azari.

Now, of course, the Turkish language was introduced into Azarbaijan only 4 centuries ago. This means that Azaris are Iranians who happen to speak a Turkic dialect. Also, the ‘Turkification’ of Azarbaijan came hand-in-hand with the Shi’fication of it. As a result, in modern-day Azarbaijan, whichever side of the border, Turkic-speakers tend to be Shi’ite and Azari-Persian-speakers Sunni and Sufi (either Qaderi or Naqshbandi), like the Kurds.

All the great Azari Sufi masters and poets of the past – Shams-e Tabrizi, Shah Qasem-e Anvâr, Sheikh Mahmud-e Shabestari, Kamâl-e Khojandi (buried in Tabriz), and Mohammad Shirin Maghrebi – were all Persian-speakers, not to speak of the great classical poets Nezami and Khaqani. Only two prominent poets were bi-lingual: Nesimi and the late Shahriyar. Sheikh Safi-ye Ardabili spoke only Persian Azari, which is close to the Gilaki of his master Sheikh Zahed-e Gilani. In the biography of Sheikh Safi – Safvat as-safâ – conversations between master and disciple are quoted in the popular language of the two, i.e., Azari Persian and Gilaki.

Finally, who is the greatest son of Azarbaijan in all of history? Zoroaster, who spoke not a word of Turkish!

How do we get this point across dear Kaveh?

Cheers,

Terence

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From: Fazli xxxx <xxxx@xxxx.net>

To: Dr. Kaveh Farrokh <manuvera@kavehfarrokh.com>

Sent: Fri, Sep 13, 2013 4:53 pm

Subject: Re: Baku to replace Persian-inscribed tiles at Nezami Mausoleum

Kaveh Jan,

It is interesting that the level of misinformation and political muckraking is degenerating to this point. It seems that pure imagination and political expediency has taken precedence over historical facts. Has any of these people even heard of Minorsky’s “A History of Sharvan and Darband in the 10th-11th Centuries”, Cambridge, 1958?

In his book, Vladimir Minorsky has photographs of the gateway in Derband that is attributed to the Sassani time. Derband (Derbent) is north of Baku so by definition Baku was Sassani territory. He also mentions that there was a wall built by the Sassani extending from Derband on the Caspian coast toward the Black sea. His estimate was the the wall was 40 km (I have to check this number) and the rest of the distance was guarded by fortifications that I assume were similar to Ghaleh Babak.

The wall I refer to is mentioned in Minorsky pages 87-90. On page 87 Minorsky has a map and identifies a northern wall built by Khusrau Anushirvan 531-578 Ad and a southern wall built by Qubad 488-531 AD. These walls were dismantled and rebuilt many many times in the following centuries, but they were so massive that some sections are still existing today (see attached photo from Minorsky). Minorsky specifically mentions that Masudi, an early geographer, claimed the walls were 200 km but he says that realistically they were 15 km with another 25 KM covered with fortifications. Minorsky quotes extensively from Monajem Bashi “trarik bab al awab” recording events of around the first millinium AD. At that time apparently the “Turks were new invaders” – Minorsky page 3.

The travels of Ibn Fadlan are described in “Ibn Fadlan’s Journey to Russia” by Richard Frye. (attached is the map, page 13). Even Frye raise the question of why Ibn Fadlan made such a long detour and a possible answer is the chaos on the Darbend (also known by the Arabic word “Bab” -meaning door) and Shirvan. Ibn Fadlan was traveling with a large entourage (5,000 men and 3,000 pack animals, page 81) and with such a responsibility it would be prudent to avoid an area which was not really secure.

The Arab dominance of the region of Shervan/Derband was never complete and in fact the Arab governors hardly ever set foot it into the region. The area was mostly governed by local tribal clans and/or lords who did or did not look to Bagdad, depending on their proclivity and mood. The map drawn in your link is complete fiction, and no bearing on anything historical. A better map is shown in Minorsky’s book which has historic references as a base.

It is interesting that during the time of Caliph al Moghtadir in the 10th century CE, when Ibn Fadlan was sent as an emissary of the Caliphate to Russia, he chose to traveled thru Khorassan to Russia, since the Shirvan/Derband area of the Caucauses was so independent of the Caliphate, that the writ of the al Moghtadir was worthless. Thus Arab control of the area at best was “iffy” and any Arab map showing political control – if it existed – is imaginary.

So the map shown in the link is a figment of someone’s political imagination and politics, to quote a Persian proverb, has neither a father nor a mother. (Siyasat pedar madr nadard)

I think the issue of the name of Azerbaijan is self explanatory and requires no further elaboration.

Finally I kinda wonder what the Khamseh of Nezami would sound like in Turkish.

How would:

“pir zani ra setami dar gereft

Dast zad o daman sanjar gereft”

Be poetically translated??

Best

Fazli

PS: by the way the city of Derband is a name from Sassani times and referrers to the gate in the Wall separating “Eranshahr” from the ‘barbarians to the north’. Also the very name Azar Baijan, comes from the Pahlavi word “Azar” meaning fire and “baijan” (a corruption of “abadegan”) meaning developed area. One of the major exports of Shirvan/Darband, even during the Sassani, was pitch, i.e., crude oil, which is why the area was named Azar – fire! So, maybe they should also change Azerbaijan to gelismis alani yangin?

 

World Tribune: Rewriting the History of Iran

The article entitled “The mullah’s rewrite of Iran’s ancient history: Don’t overlook this atrocity” written by Sheda Vasseghi for the World Tribune (September 15, 2009).

sheda

Sheda Vasseghi has a Master of Arts in Ancient History, with honors, emphasis on Ancient Persia, from American Military University (West Virginia) and a Master of Science in Business Administration from Strayer University (Washington, DC). Ms. Vasseghi is an adjunct professor of history at Northern Virginia Community College. She is also a correspondent with Freepressers in relation to Iran’s affairs. Ms. Vasseghi is a spokeswoman for Azadegan Foundation, a non-profit organization in support of a secular, democratic Iran. She joined persepolis3D in 2003 in handling historical consultation on Iran’s history as well as public relations matters. Ms. Vasseghi may be contacted in relation to the following: (1) planning exhibitions for advertising purposes in promoting historical and cultural awareness of ancient and modern Iran (2) educational services such as conducting and providing classes, workshops, and seminars featuring interviews and speeches in the field of Iranian affairs (3) custom writing services in the field of Iranian affairs and (4) writing of articles for professional journals in the field of Iranian affairs. Ms. Vasseghi may be contacted at sheda@persepolis3D.com.

Readers are also reminded that there are many Iranian Studies professors outside of Iran (such as Sheda Vasseghi) and also inside Iran who oppose the historical revisionism of the authorities, Eurocentrists, pan-Turkists, pan-Arabists, etc. Nevertheless, the Vasseghi article has accurately exposed the process of historical revisionism that is taking place. The pictures and captions below illustrate those authorities and professors supporting historical revisionism.

The pictures, videos and accompanying captions displayed in this posting did not appear in the original World Tribune article by Sheda Vasseghi.

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The Islamic Republic’s butchery of Iran’s ancient history is beyond belief and comprehension.

The clerics’ audacity and blatant hatred for Iran spews from every page written by approved scholars. Iranology suffers from the lack of sufficient primary sources — especially native — making the task of balanced fact-finding more difficult. But any degree of bias observed in foreign sources about ancient Persians is nothing compared to the negativity, falsehood, and insufficient information provided by the Islamic Republic to Iranian children.

Hussein Ravazadeh claims in a speech in Tehran (June 2011) that ” History is written by Zionists…Iran never had a king named Cyrus the Great nor a king named Darius…they made Cyrus our king simply because he liberated some Jews…this has proven scientifically and recently verified from Germany …just because he [Cyrus] helped the Jews, they [the Jews] have made Cyrus the premier king of Iran … ”.

A quick survey of 2005-06 history textbooks for middle school (grades 6-8) shows that over 1300 years of Iranian history as one of the ancient superpowers prior to the Moslem invasion is covered in approximately 37 pages while more than 2.5 volumes of materials are dedicated to Islam, its founder, and Iran’s post-Islamic history (mid-7th century to present). With more than half of the 37 pages devoted to pictures and maps, it is fair to say that 1300 years of history is crammed into 17 pages of actual written content. It goes without saying that putting this part of history in 6th grade textbook provides a convenient forum for simplifying materials.

In reviewing all of these 37 pages dedicated to one of the most important ancient civilizations, the following general observations are made. There are no dates associated with any of the eras, characters, or major events. It is difficult to understand how history can be taught without dates. Only a few kings are mentioned for each dynasty and no explanation is provided as to why those few are named in the first place. No major events such as wars, peace treaties, or social and political developments are mentioned. In short, there are no discussions as to what 1300 years of ancient Iranian history contributed to civilization. There is nothing in the 37 pages indicating that the Achaemenid Persia was the first ancient world empire, and prior to Islam Iran was a superpower for 13 centuries.

Pic-3-Kuhrt-Henkelman-Bahrani

An article posted on Iranian.com describes the above three academics (left to right: Amélie Kuhrt from England-winner of “Islamic Republic of Iran World Book Prize 2010“, Wouter Henkelman from Holland (recipient of consistent funding for regular Iran trips), and Zainab al-Bahrani) as having “…completely discredited any positive reference to Cyrus [the Great], his legacy and any and all things Persian and Iranian…ridiculing all things Persian”. The strident anti-Iranian attitude of the above three at the conference prompted one of the audience members to state publicly at the venue that “…this is an anti-Iranian conference”! Another report on CAIS has noted that “Amélie Kuhrt…is known for her anti-Iranian postures among the British Academics“.

The overall tone is negativity towards Iranian monarchs, who define the nation’s culture and history, and all leaders of the Iranian communities, who helped build and protect the country. The ancient Persians are described as greedy, unjust, chaotic, and selfish. According to the textbook, Iranian leaders accomplished nothing of importance for the common good, and that the people of Iran hated their leaders and way of life. There is no mention of the ancient Iranian prophet, Zoroaster, who is credited with being the first monotheist. Most scholars agree that Zoroaster lived around 1700 BCE. That makes Zoroastrianism the dominant religion in Iran for at least 2700 years, and yet the middle school history textbook barely mentions it, let alone its teachings.

There is nothing in the 37 pages about Persian society, daily life, commerce, warfare, technology, and international diplomacy. As a misogynistic regime, there is no hint as to the relatively liberal status of women in ancient Persia. The names of famous Iranian women who were queens, monarchs and warriors are completely disregarded. There is no discussion about the development of the Persian language or the invention of cuneiform. As a history textbook, it is baffling to find that myths are actually taught as history. Incorrect information and religious propaganda are boundless. In short, Iran’s ancient history has been sterilized and faces extinction.

Agha-Tehrani

Hatred of the Persian Language: Hojat-ol-Islam va Al-Moslemeen Agha-Tehrani states “You [People of Iran] made an error to become engaged/participate in the fantasies of this book [Shahname], to set aside Arabic and instead to revive the Ajam [non-Arab or Persian]. I am Persian-speaking but say: what “flower” (colloquial: pride/honor) has this Persian bestowed upon us/upon our heads?

Median Empire (728-550 BCE) – 5 pages

The events leading up to the conquest of Assyria by Babylonian-Median alliance is not discussed. The textbook claims that because of the friendship of the Lydians and the Babylonians, the Medes were no longer threatened by external forces. The Median Empire is marginalized and its downfall is attributed to the kings’ life of leisure, greedy nobility, abuse of the people, and high taxes collected from neighboring tribes.

Achaemenid Empire (550-330 BCE) – 10 pages

The Achaemenid kings important to world history such as Cyrus and Darius are not referred to as “the Great.” Incorrect and inadequate information are given regarding the origin of the name “Achaemenid,” the relationships between Cyrus and Darius or Cyrus and the Median ruling house, conflict between the Persians and the Medes, and the conquest of Lydia and other nations by Cyrus. The book also suggests that Cyrus’ motivation for conquest was to become wealthy. Nothing is mentioned of Cyrus’ famous bill of rights cylinder and his decree in freeing the Jewish captives from Babylonia while taking on the financial responsibility to rebuild their temple. No mention of ancient Jewish communities was noted. The book states that some experts believe Cyrus was great, as if Iranians do not. No reason is given as to why he would be considered great even by his own enemies.

Briant

Professor Pierre Briant well-known for his tome “From Cyrus to Alexander: A History of the Persian Empire, Eisenbrauns, 2002”. Despite claims to the contrary, close examination of Briant’s text reveals a distinct circumspect Eurocentric (or neo-Eurocentric)  view of ancient Iran. The narrative of  Briant’s text (like the writings of Kuhrt, Henkelman, etc.) essentially runs contrary to the historiography school of past doyens of Iranian Studies such as Professor Richard Nelson Frye, the late Professor Shapour Shahbazi and the late Professor Roman Ghirschman. This may partly explain why Briant, who is closely aligned with Amélie Kuhrt, Wouter Henkelman and blogger-archivist Jona Lendering (see below) has been so well received by a number of Iran establishment authorities.

The events surrounding the death of Cyrus’s younger son Bardiya and his relationship with his older brother and king, Cambyses, are incorrect. The role of the usurper Gaumata responsible for Bardiya’s death is misrepresented at the expense of Iranian leaders, who saved the fragile empire from destruction. The book claims that the Median and Persian ruling families were unjust and cruel to the people. Rebellions without details are generally emphasized to show that the Persian rulers were hated. The brilliant administrative skills and innovations of Darius and the ability of the Iranian leaders in managing an unprecedented empire comprising of 23 nations are not mentioned. The book states that the Greeks were the most important neighbors to the Persians when in fact the Achaemenid political strategy considered Mesopotamia, Egypt, Central Asia, and India as the most important regions. None of the famous Persian-Greek wars or their aftermath is mentioned. The fall of the Achaemenids is attributed to the fact that nobody had any say in the matters of the country but the monarch, and that is why they eventually became corrupt. Apparently, the greed of the nobility caused further suffering for the people. Alexander’s invasion of Iran is mentioned in one sentence, and the bravery of the Iranian defenders during that invasion is not discussed.

Alexander/Seleucids (330-247 BCE) – 2 pages

Only two pages are dedicated to this era. Nothing substantive is mentioned. Alexander’s desire and subsequent actions to mix the Persians and the Greeks are not discussed nor the effect, if any, of Hellenization on the Achaemenid Empire. The textbook does not cover how Alexander used Iranian soldiers, commanders, and governors for his eastern conquests and management of the empire.

Potts-Arabian Gulf Professor Daniel Potts of the University of Sydney (top) and his 2-volume textbook “The Ar..bian Gulf in Antiquity” (bottom) used today as a standard reference in Arabian universities such as the University of Sharjah. In the above book, Potts argues that the Persian Gulf was known as Ar…b Gulf since pre-Islamic times. Professor Potts is strongly supported by Iran establishment authorities and vigorously promoted by select individuals in Iranian Studies venues in the West. His most recent theory is that Cyrus the Great was not Persian but an Elamite.

Parthians (247 BCE-224 CE) – 9 pages

According to the textbook, the Iranian noble families helped the Parthians in pushing out the foreign Seleucids, but only for personal gain. The Romans are slave-owners mostly in pursuit of leisure. Jesus Christ is introduced as savior of the people from the hands of the evil Romans. The textbook states that Jesus appeared in Palestine during these difficult times while his Jewish heritage is omitted. Jesus is portrayed in a limited but political capacity. He is defined as a defender of those in suffering. According to the textbook, the Romans, who abused the Christians, after some time decided to become Christians too. The fall of the Parthians is attributed to the weakness of the kings, greed and power hungry nobility, and Parthian liberal attitude towards religious matters.

-جعل نام خلیج فارس توسط رئیس پلیس امنیت اخلاقی ایران-News report from Iran in which a government official (Chief of Morality Police) refers to the Persian Gulf by pan-Arabist terminology. Note previous citation of Professor Daniel Pott’s 2-volume textbook “The Ar..bian Gulf in Antiquity”.

Sasanians (224-651 CE) – 11 pages

The book claims that Ardeshir I, founder of the Sasanians, rose to power because he promised the Zoroastrian priests that he would revive the religion if they support him in overthrowing the Parthians since the Parthians did not know how to manage the country. Ardeshir is credited with specifically stating that the rise of Buddhism and Christianity is one of the unattended problems. According to the book, those Iranian nobles who supported Ardeshir did so only for personal ambition. However, despite the rise of the Sasanians, religious chaos continued because people were free to practice their religion.

The relationship between Armenia and Persia is marginalized, and the continuous Roman-Persian conflict over Armenia is not discussed. Mani and Mazdak, two radical and independent socio-religious figures, are sympathized as oppose to the Sasanian rulers. The political and social implications caused by the respective preachings of Mani and Mazdak are not discussed. The textbook accuses Sasanian rulers from becoming very wealthy by taxing people and that most of the tax collected was not used for the benefit of the people.

Common Ground

Persophobia’s Common ground: (left) The late pan-Islamist activist Ayatollah Sadegh Khalkhali (1926-2003) who labelled Cyrus as “a tyrant…a liar” (Molavi, 2005, p.14) (middle) Jona Lendering whose Eurocentric view labels the history of Cyrus the Great as “Shah propaganda” (right) Dr. Sadegh Zibakalam [صادق زيباکلام] has declared that “I would not give/exchange a single hair of an Arab…for hundreds of Cyrus’… !“

The textbook incorrectly claims that the Sasanian society was divided into two classes: the nobility and the common folk. It further claims that nobility had many privileges including education while commoners were not allowed to attend school. Nothing is mentioned of the large middle class, the dehghans, created by the Sasanian monarchs to balance the society. An alleged letter from the prophet of Islam to Sasanian king asking him to convert as well as the king’s audacity to reject such an invitation are mentioned as well-known history. Not surprisingly, the book claims that the righteous Moslem invaders were able to defeat the corrupt and cruel Sasanians, and bring freedom and justice to the people, who willingly accepted Islam.

Volumes of books in many languages have been written on Iran’s 1300 years of pre-Islamic history. One of the most respected, comprehensive set is The Cambridge History of Iran which has devoted 2600 pages without pictures to this era. Yet the Islamic Republic only found enough written material to cover 17 full pages directed to 6th grade students most of which contain deliberate misinformation and anti-Iranian sentiment. The mullahs are using Iran and its resources to further a warped religious agenda at the detriment of the Iranian people and the international community. In this process, they are systematically destroying a nation’s understanding of its past given such a past is more advanced, humane, and liberal than the Islamic Republic’s Constitution of the 21st century. Stay tuned for more on the ongoing Iranian genocide at the hands of the Islamofascist clerics.