The Hui Communities of China and Admiral Zheng He

The article below has been forwarded to Kavehfarrokh.com by Sheda Vasseghi. Kindly note that a number of pictures and their accompanying captions have been inserted by Kavehfarrokh.com into the original text by Sheda Vasseghi. A number of sentences and paragraphs have also been added by Kavehfarrokh.com (esp. after the Chinese map of 1418) into the Sheda Vasseghi article.

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.

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The Chinese word HUI (“whey”) referred to all immigrant Muslims of different ethnic groups such as Arabs, Persians and Turks residing in China. According to the 13th c. Persian historian Juvaini, after the fall of Central Asian cities such as  to Mongolians, the lives of some 100,000 artisans and craftsmen were spared by the Mongols after they conquered Samarqand and Bukhara: the Mongols forcibly deported them to China. These were the founders of many early Hui communities.

chinese-hui-operaChinese Hui opera performer on stage during the 25th Chinese Drama Plum Blossom Award competition at Xinan theater (June 4, 2010 in Chengdu, China). The Drama Plum Blossom Award is the highest theatrical award bestowed by China (Picture source: 123RF).

During the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368), the three dominant administrative languages became Chinese, Mongolian and Persian. Michael Dillon has noted on the  persistence of Persian words and the “special” vocabulary that continue to permeate among the Hui communities.

China-Iran-Table 38-Iranica[Click to Enlarge Table] Persian and Central Asian Nesbas discovered in the funerary inscriptions in China. As noted by For more on this topic consult Professor Cheng Da-Sheng’s article “Chinese-Iranian Relations: Persian Settlements in Southeastern China during the T’ang, Sung, and Yuan Dynasties ” in the Encyclopedia Iranica (Picture source: Encyclopedia Iranica).

Descendants of the Hui also mixed Confucianism with their ancestral beliefs. Given ancient Iranian tradition and philosophy in relation to the concept of law (Old Persian “dada”), one may not bypass the notable 16th c. Hui personality in Chinese history known as “the incorruptible and upright judge Hai Rui,” who is a political icon for having been credited with cleaning up corruption in regional government. On another matter, note the similarities between Hui ethnic clothing with Iranian Tajiki attire as seen in the music video below:

Ethnic Hui folk song “Flower and Juvenile” performed by Hui pop singer Ha.

The Mail article “Does this map from 1418 prove historian’s controversial claim that the New World was discovered by the CHINESE 70 years before Columbus?” has stirred a considerable amopunt of controversy.

The article pertains to the famous Chinese explorer and diplomat Admiral Zheng He (1371–1433) who was of Persian descent. His great great great grandfather was a Persian called Shams al-Din Omar, who was appointed as governor of Yunnan during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). His great grandfather’s name was Bayan.

Admiral ZhengStatue of Chinese admiral of Persian descent, Zheng He (Picture source: Business Week)

As a man of science, Zheng He is credited with having improved the places he visited by introducing them to the calendar, meteorological system, medical advancements, technologies of agriculture, manufacture, and the like. Tradition has it that because of Zheng He’s visit, the people of Malacca learned how to build city walls and dig water wells.

1-Admiral Zheng and FleetChinese Admiral Zheng He is recognized for having sailed with his giant fleet to Europe and Africa. Historian Gavin Menzies has proposed that Zheng He also reached the New World (Source: Chris Heller/CORBIS & The Mail).

Zheng He is also credited with having taught the Siamese water treatment and how to fertilize farmland. In 1911, the “Zheng He Stele” dated 1409 was discovered in Sri Lanka. The stele not only describes Zheng He’s donations to the Buddhist temple, but in accordance with his Iranian ancestral spirit of tolerance, Zheng He and his company paid respect to all local deities and customs.

1-zheng-he-SteleThe Zheng He stele which has inscriptions in Chinese, Tamil and Persian languages (Source: 4.bp.blogspot).  It is notable that Zheng He made a determined effort to pay equal homage to all of Sri Lanka’s religions. 

Perhaps most intriguing is a recent discovery of an ancient Chinese map dated to 1418. This  map is claimed to show the Americas. If true, this would indicate that the Chinese knew of the Americas centuries in advance of the Europeans. Such a paradigm shift would challenge the notion that Christopher Columbus was the first explorer to discover the New World.

Chinese Map-1418A Chinese map dated to 1418 which shows remarkable accuracy with respect to cartographic representation of all the continents, including North America. According to Gavin Menzies, Chinese knowledge of the Americas is derived from the voyages of Zheng He. This is interesting as Columbus did not set foot onto the New World until 1492; technically he had discovered islands off the coast of America which then opened the door to other voyages towards the New World. It was Amerigo Vespucci who actually reached America in 1498-99. More recently, the notion of Columbus being the first European to discover the Americas has also been challenged (Source: Chris Heller/CORBIS & The Mail).

At the time of his death, Zheng He had visited 38 countries in 28 years. Ironically, in 1433, Zheng He died while returning from a trip to his ancestral homeland, Kingdom of Hormuz within the Persian Gulf! As the case with many great admirals, he was buried at sea.

persian-gulf--Hormuz-iran-antique-map-by-bellin-1746[Click to Enlarge] The Kingdom of Hormuz as depicted in a European map by Bellin in 1746 (Picture source: Map and Maps). Also known as Ohrmuzd, the term “Hormuz” is another variation of the Zoroastrian term “Ohrmazd” (the supreme monotheistic spiritual entity). By the 13th century Hormuz was under the rule of Persia. Zheng He made his final voyage to this island in the Persian Gulf.

The links between China and Turco-Iranian or Persianate civilization continue to endure. The two realms have had a rich interchange of culture, especially in cuisine, technology, musical instruments and the arts.

Mehdi Farrokh and Chiang Kai Shek in Nanking 1949Ambassador of Iran to China, Mehdi Farrokh (1886-1973), greeted in Nanking by President of nationalist China, Chiang Kai Shek (1887-1975) in 1949. The two men developed a close friendship and often discussed the ancient ties of the Persianate and Chinese civilizations. Chiang Kai Shek became deeply embroiled in major battles against Mao Tse Tung’s Communist armies – Farrokh was to witness the occupation of Nanking by Mao’s troops. Chiang Kai Shek and the nationalist forces then fled to modern-day Taiwan.

Mehdi Farrokh wrote a book on his mission to China entitled “Safar be Keshvar e Asrar Amiz e Chin” [Travel to the Wondrous/Mysterious Country of China]” in which he highly praised the people, culture, cuisine, civilization and work ethic of China. Mehdi Farrokh also noted the deep sense of integrity, intelligence, kindness, and spirit of generosity in the person of Chiang Kai Shek and all Chinese whom he had the opportunity to contact during his mission to China.   This book along with scores of others from the late Mehdi Farrokh’s office, had been donated by Kaveh Farrokh to the “Ketabkhaneye Melli Iran” [National Library of Iran] in Tehran in the summer of 2001.

Flags of Nader Shah’s Army Discovered in the Caucasus

Nader Shah, was one of post-Islamic Iran’s most brilliant military leaders.

Statue-of-Nader-Shah[Click to Enlarge] Statue of Nader Shah Afshar in Mashhad, the provincial capital of Khorasan. Nader Shah’s tomb restoration project was led by Houshang Seyhoun in the 1950s, with the 6.5-meter statue being sculpted by Abolhasan Seddighi. The latter reconstructed Nader’s face and features in accordance with historical illustrations.  The sculpting process took place in the Borooni workshop supervised by the Italian Embassy in Tehran (Picture source: Kaveh Farrokh’’s lectures at the University of British Columbia’s Continuing Studies Division and Stanford University’s WAIS 2006 Critical World Problems Conference Presentations on July 30-31, 2006).

Nader’s reign over Iran lasted just barely over a decade in 1736-47. Rising from humble origins among Iran’s Afshar tribes, Nader distinguished himself with a meteoric military career which not only rescued Iran from certain fragmentation, but also inflicted crushing military defeats upon the Afghans, Ottomans and Mughuls.

5-Afsharid Musket[Click to Enlarge] Flintlock muskets were introduced into Iran during the Afšārid period. Iranian-built flintlock musket of the Afsharid- Qajar type [A] and the barrel of an Iranian flintlock shaped like a dragon’s head with two red stones serving as the “eyes” of that dragon! [B] (Picture Source: Khorasani, Manouchehr, Mosthagh (2009), Pistols and Gun Accessories in Iran. Classic Arms and Militaria, pp. 23-24).

At the zenith of Nader’s military career, Iran’s sway extended over northern India, segments of Central Asia, and much of the Caucasus. Even imperial Russia decided against testing the mettle of the armies of Nader Shah and his genius at military leadership. The Russians evacuated Iranian territories that had been occupied by Peter the Great (1672-1725) in Iran’s north and the Caucasus following the fall of the Safavids in 1722. The  area where Nader faced constant military challenges was the Lezghian region. Nader’s brother, Ibrahim-Qoli, lost his life battling the Lezghians.  It is in this context where a number of Iranian army banners from Nader Shah’s legions have been discovered in the Caucasus. In a sense, these discoveries are nothing new as the items had been stored in Georgian archives and tabulated as far back as the 1920s, however these had gone virtually unnoticed by mainstream scholarship. The Georgian National Museum has now made significant efforts to display these for the benefit of knowledge, historiography and mainstream scholarship. This information was forwarded to Kavehfarrokh.com by Guseyn Guseynov.

Nader-Kafkaz-1One of the banners from Nader Shah’s armies discovered in the Daghestan region and housed in the National Museum of Georgia (reported by Russian-language website: Gazavat). These had been captured by Lezghian fighters in the Daghestan region of the Caucasus in 1741.

Nader Shah launched a number of  punitive expeditions in 1741-1743 into Daghestan against the Lezghians in retaliation for his brother’s death. Unlike his previous brilliant successes against mighty opponents such as the Ottomans, Nader’s campaigns against the Lezghians proved inconclusive.

Nader-Kafkaz-2Another banner from Nader Shah’s armies in the Daghestan region on display by the National Museum of Georgia (reported by Russian-language website: Gazavat).

Maestro Loris Tjeknavorian and the First Symphony on Cyrus the Great -نخستین اجرای سمفونی جهانی کوروش بزرگ-

Maestro Loris Tjeknavorian, one of the world’s leading composers, was born in 1937, in Iran, to an immigrant Armenian family. He lived most of his life in Austria, the USA, the UK, and Armenia.

Loris TjeknavorianMaestro Loris Tjeknavorian is one of the world’s leading composers (Photo: Ardeane Music). For more information on the Maestro’s works consult his website here.

Tjeknavorian studied violin at the Tehran Conservatory of Music, before moving to Vienna to study at the Vienna Music Academy where, in 1961, he graduated with honors. Shortly upon graduation, a number of Tjeknavorian’s works were published by Doblinger Publishing in Vienna. His latest work is a symphony  composed for Cyrus the Great –کوروش بزرگ which was officially opened in San Francisco in late August 2013 (see Gooya News).

 News report of the opening of Maestro Tjeknavorian’s and First Symphony on Cyrus the Great -نخستین اجرای سمفونی جهانی کوروش بزرگ-

In 1963 Carl Orff granted him a scholarship, which allowed him to reside in Salzburg and to continue working on his opera “Rostam and Sohrab“, one of the major epics of Firdowsi’s Shahname, known as the “Iliad of Persia“.

 

Maestro Loris Tjeknavorian’s masterpiece Opera “Rostam and Sohrab” from the Shahname epic. Note that the Shahname epics have parallels in the Legend of King Arthur.

In 1965 Tjeknavorian began to study conducting at the University of Michigan. From 1966 to 1967 he was appointed composer in residence at the Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, and from 1966 to 1970 head of the instrumental and opera departments at the Moorhead University in Minnesota. In 1975 Tjeknavorian signed an exclusive conducting contract with the RCA recording company and made many successful recordings with leading orchestras, such as the London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, etc.

 

Maestro Loris Tjeknavorian conducts his “Rostam and Sohrab” Opera in Tehran. The Opera video above (which features English subtitles) is towards the end of the performance which outlines the final tragedy of Sohrab’s funeral.

In 1989, Tjeknavorian was appointed Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra. During his eleven years of collaboration with the orchestra, his recordings for ORF (the Austrian radio and television station) and ASV (an English recording company) achieved world-wide recognition. In 2010 Tjeknavorian was appointed Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the Glendale Symphony Orchestra in California.

Iranian opera singer Darya Dadvar sings the tragedy of Rostam and Sohrab in Tehran. She currently resides in France.

In the course of his career, Tjeknavorian has made numerous recordings (with RCA, Philips, EMI, ASV, etc.) and written more than 70 compositions (symphonies, operas, a requiem, chamber music, concerto for piano, violin, guitar, cello and pipa (Chinese lute), ballet music, choral works and an oratorio, and over 40 film scores. His works have been performed by some of the world’s major orchestras (including the Vienna Symphony, the London Philharmonic, the American Symphony, etc.) and have received high critical acclaim. Among his many honors, Tjeknavorian was recently presented with the Austrian Presidential Gold Medal for Artistic Merit.

Books on Armies of Ancient Iran Translated into Persian

Yusef Amiri (يوسف اميري) has translated four English-language texts on the military history of Iran into Persian. Readers are encouraged to consult the following site: Asvaran (پژوهش‌های یوسف امیری درباره‌ی ارتش‌های ایران باستان -Yusef Amiri’s Research on the Armies of Ancient Iran).

Yusef AmiriYusef Amiri (يوسف اميري). For an overview of Yusef Amiri’s translation works see -ارتشهاي ايرانيان باستان-Armies of Ancient Iran (pdf – in Persian).

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1-Achaemenids-AmiriThe first book translated into Persian by Yusef Amiri (يوسف اميري) is Nicholas Sekunda’s (نيكولاس سكوندا) book “Ancient Persian Army: 560-330 BC” (Osprey Publishing, 1992) which discusses the Armies of the Achaemenids (book jacket at left):

-ارتش هخامنشيان-(Nicholas Sekunda) نگارش: نيكولاس سكوندا-(Color plates: Simon Chew) تصويرگر: سيمون چو

برگردان: يوسف اميري

-چاپ يكم: 1391 خ / 2012 م-شابك: 964-5599-88-1-

For more  on the Military and Armies of the Achaemenids click image below:

Achaemenid cavalry

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2-Partho-Sassanian-AmiriThe second book translated into Persian by Yusef Amiri (يوسف اميري) is Peter Wilcox’s (پيتر ويلكاكس) book “Rome’s Enemies: Parthians and Sassanid Persians” (Elite 42, Osprey Publishing, 1986) which discusses the armies of the Parthians and Sassanians (book jacket at left):

-اشكانيان و ساسانيان-(Peter Wilcox) نگارش: پيتر ويلكاكس-(Color plates by Angus McBride)تصويرگر: آنگس مك برايد –

-برگردان: يوسف اميري-

-چاپ يكم: 1391 خ / 2012 م-

For more  on the Military and Armies of the Parthians click image below:

                       Parth-Savar1

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The third  book translated into Persian by Yusef Amiri (يوسف اميري) is Kaveh Farrokh’s first book “Elite Sassanian Cavalry” (Elite 110, Osprey Publishing, 2005) which discusses the elite Savaran cavalry of the Sassanian army (click image panel below for more information):

4-EliteSassanianCavalry-Versions-1

For more  on the Military and Armies of the Sassanians click image below:

 Turkish-Hun wars-2

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3-Scythians-Persian-AmiriThe fourth  book translated into Persian by Yusef Amiri (يوسف اميري) is E.V. Cernenko’s (چرننكو) book “The Scythians: 700-300 BC” (Men at Arms 137, Osprey Publishing, 1983) which discusses the armies of the Parthians and Sassanians (book jacket at left) – (see also Blog-news release: Translation of “The Scythians” into Persian by Yusef Amiri):

-سكاهاي باختري-(E. V. Chernenko) نگارش: چرننكو-(Color plates by Angus McBride)تصويرگر: آنگس مك برايد –

-برگردان: يوسف اميري-

-شابك: 964-5599-90-3/چاپ يكم: 1391 خ / 2012 م-

For more  on the Military and Armies of the Scythians click image below:

Scythian

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?