Tehran in the 1950s

Below are a number of photographs of Tehran’s districts, avenues, radio stations, traditional venues, recreation areas and airport as they appeared in the 1950s. Readers may find these previous postings of interest as well:


North Tehran

Darband and Elahiye district in 1957.

Parks & Recreation

Amjadiyeh pool and sports complex in 1958.

Bagh e Shah

Saadi-Theatre-1The Saadi Theatre – note patrons checking showtimes at panel. The smaller sign situated just at the right of theatre sign is “Bank e Melli Iran” (National Bank of Iran) (Photo from Getty Images – Published in Avaxnews.com).

Snapshots of some of Tehran’s Major Avenues in the 1950s

Saadi Avenue in 1951.

Naderi Avenue in the winter of 1951.

Tehran-Naderi Avenue -1953Naderi avenue in the fall of 1953.

Pahlavi Avenue in 1955.

Sepah Salar Avenue 1957.

Tehran Banks

The Bank Melli (National Bank) of Tehran. Note how the architecture blends elements of ancient pre-Islamic Iranian motifs  (Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images).

Tehran Schools

A Tehran schoolgirl in the early 1950s at a vocational training school for seamstresses (Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images). She is studying a physics book.

Snapshots of some of Tehran’s Traditional Venues and Shopping Districts

Tehran Bazaar in 1954.

Enjoying an outdoor shave in Tehran in 1958. 

Shahr e Farang in Tehran in 1958.

Tehran’s International Mehrabad Airport

Mehrabad Airport in 1958.

Mehrabad Airport check in terminals in 1958.

Tehran Radio

Radio Tehran in 1951.

Israel Post Issues Cyrus Declaration Stamp

The article below entitled Israel features Cyrus Declaration, several nations honor Magna Carta” appeared in the Linn’s Stamp News and Insights website on May 15, 2015. Kindly note that the pictures and accompanying captions seen below did not appear in the original Linn’s Stamp News and Insights article.


Recent stamps commemorate two historic charters: the Cyrus Declaration of 538 B.C. and the Magna Carta of A.D. 1215. Israel pictures the Cyrus Declaration, also known as the Cyrus cylinder, on an 8.30-shekel stamp issued April 14.


The Cyrus Declaration Stamp Sheet (Source: Israel Post).

In announcing this stamp on its website, the Israel Post stated:

In 538 BCE king Cyrus made a public declaration granting the Jews the right to return to Judah and rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.”

The biblical book of Ezra begins with the king’s decree. The tab, or label, attached to the stamp includes a portion of Ezra 1:3, “Anyone of you of all His people … and let him go up to Jerusalem.”

Cyrus Koresh Kourosh street in Jerusalem

When History goes beyond Politics: Koresh or Cyrus street in Jerusalem. There is currently no street named Cyrus or Koroush in Tehran, the capital of Iran today (for more see here…). There is also an “Iran” street in Israel; see also “Iranian Schindler who saved Jews from Nazis“.

The stamp pictures the cylinder, which was discovered by Hormuzd Rassam during a British Museum archaeological excavation in 1879 in Babylon.

The British Museum, in a press release announcing that the cylinder would be displayed in five museums in the United States in 2013, explained its significance:

The Cyrus Cylinder is one of the most famous objects to have survived from the ancient world. The Cylinder was inscribed in Babylonian cuneiform (cuneiform is the earliest form of writing) on the orders of the Persian King Cyrus the Great (559-530 BC) after he captured Babylon in 539 BC. It is often referred to as the first bill of human rights as it appears to encourage freedom of worship throughout the Persian Empire and to allow deported people to return to their homelands … ”

Iranian Jews 2011

Iranian Jews praying during Hanukkah celebrations on Tuesday, December 27, 2011 at the Yousefabad Synagogue, in Tehran, Iran (Source: Wodu). For more see “Professor Jacob Neusner: Persian Elements in Talmud“.

Mehrdad Fakour: Achaemenid Gardens

The article below by Mehrdad Fakour on the Achaemenid Gardens was originally posted in the CAIS website in London hosted by Shapour Suren-Pahlav. A number of pictures posted below are not featured in the original CAIS posting


Since the first millenium B.C.E., the garden has been an integral part of Persian architecture, be it imperial or vernacular. In addition to written historical references, archaeological evidence of Achaemenid gardens exists at Pasargadae, Persepolis, Susa, and other sites (Xenophon, Oeconomicus 4.20-25; Arrian, Anabasis 5.29.4-5; Sâmî, pp. 75-77; Stronach, 1978, pp. 107-12; Pinder-Wilson, p. 85; Yamauchi, p. 332 and n. 55).

paridaeza2An overall top view of Pasargadae at Cyrus’ time. Note the canal, water channels; the two rectangles are gardens: for more see here…

The Achaemenids had a keen interest in horticulture and agriculture. Their administration greatly encouraged the efforts of the satrapies toward innovative practices in agronomy, arboriculture, and irrigation. Numerous varieties of plants were introduced throughout the empire (Xenophon, Oeconomicus 4.8.10-12; Moynihan, pp. 11, 25).

paridaeza1A top view of a reconstruction of the Persian Garden at Pasargadae (Source: CAIS). Note water channels at rim of garden – for more information see History Channel program “Engineering an Empire: The Persians“.

Aside from the practical aspects of the garden and its sensual pleasures, royal gardens also incorporated political, philosophical, and religious symbolism. The idea of the king creating a fertile garden out of barren land, bringing symmetry and order out of chaos, and duplicating the divine paradise on earth, constituted a powerful statement symbolizing authority, fertility, and legitimacy (Eliade, pp. 59-72; Moynihan, p. 20; Faqîh, p. 566; Stronach, 1990, pp. 171-80).

pasargadaeirrigation_canalOne of the remaining irrigation canals at Pasargadae (CAIS).

What made gardens special during the Achaemenid reign was that for the first time the garden became not only an integral part of the architecture, but was also the focus of it. Henceforth gardens were an integral part of Persian culture. Successive generations of European and Asian monarchs and garden lovers copied the concept and design of Persian gardens (Xenophon, Cyropaedia 5.3.7-13; idem, Oeconomicus 4.13-14; Moynihan, p. 2 and n. 19; Bazin, 1990, pp. 12-13).

The Persian Gardens were to be adopted by the Greeks and later Romans; above is a reconstruction of the House of the Vettii and its garden in ancient Pompeii (Source: Public Domain).

The earliest gardens on the Iranian plateau associated with the Achaemenids are located at Pasargadae, the royal park residence of Cyrus the Great (ca. 559-530 B.C.E.), the founder of the Persian empire. The royal palaces at Pasargadae were conceived and constructed as a series of palaces and pavilions placed among geometrically designed gardens, parterres, and meticulously hewn and dressed stone water-courses, set in a large formal park containing various flora and fauna. Recent studies suggest that this garden may have been the model for the subsequent chahârbâgh (q.v.) and hašt behešt (Stronach, 1978, pp. 107-12; idem, 1989, pp. 475-87).

Persian Garden-SpainPersian Garden in Spain (Public Domain). The Moors were the primary conduit of bringing this type of architecture into the European mainland following the Arabo-Islamic conquests.

From the time of the Achaemenid empire the idea of an earthly paradise spread to the literature and languages of other cultures. The Avestan word pairidaêza-, Old Persian *paridaida-, Median *paridaiza- (walled-around, i.e., a walled garden), was transliterated into Greek paradeisoi, then rendered into the Latin paradisus, and from there entered into European languages, i.e., French paradis, and English paradise (Oxford English Dictionary XI, pp. 183-84; Yamauchi, pp. 332). The word entered Semitic languages as well: Akkadian pardesu, Hebrew pardes (Nehemiah 2:8; Ecclesiastes 2:5; Song of Solomon 4:13), and Arabic ferdaws (Koran 18.107, 23.11).

taj-mahalThe Taj Mahal, completed by 1648, is also a UNESCO World Heritage site (Source: Public Domain). The master architect of Taj Mahal was an Iranian named ‘Ostad Isaa Afandi’ from Shiraz. The builders were also Persian stone masons, imported from Iran by Mogul Shah Jahan, as per the request of the aforementioned Chief Master Architect Afandi. The white marble for the Taj Mahal was  imported from Isfahan. The calligraphy was created by the Persian calligrapher Abd ul-Haq, who came to India from Shiraz, Iran, in 1609. Shah Jahan conferred the title of “Amanat Khan” upon him as a reward for his “dazzling virtuosity”. Another striking Iranian influence can be seen in the design of the gardens and waterworks of the locale. Much of the fauna of Taj Mahal’s Persian gardens were directly imported from Iran. The term “Taj Mahal” is Persian for “The Royal Gounds” or more literally “The Crown Locale”. 

Although the concept of a paradise may be traced back to the Sumerian epic of Gilgamish (Kramer, pp. 147-49), it seems the idea existed independently in the Indo-Iranian tradition, where we find references in the Avesta (Yt. 22.15).

Baghe Eram Shiraz-House of QavamA Persian Garden at Eram in Shiraz, Iran; also known as the Eram Garden باغ ارم   (Source: Public Domain).


A. Giamatti, The Earthly Paradise and the Renaissance Epic, Princeton, 1966.

G. Bazin, Paradeisos: The Art of the Garden, Boston, Toronto, and London, 1990, pp. 12-13.

M. Boyce, Zoroastrians: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices, London, Boston, and Melbourne, 1979, p. 77.

A. R. Burn, “Persia and the Greeks,” in Camb. Hist. Iran II, p. 339.

M. A. Dandamayev, “Royal Paradeisoi in Babylonia,” in Orientalia J. Duchesne-Guillemin Emerito Oblata, Leiden, p. 117.

M. Eliade, Myth, Dreams, and Mysteries, New York, 1961, pp. 59-72.

N. Faqîh, “Ùehra-ye bâgh-e îrânî,” Iran-nâma 4, 1991, pp. 565-88, esp. p. 566.

G. de Francovich, “Problems of Achaemenid Architecture,” East and West 16, 1966, pp. 201-60.

S. N. Kramer, The Sumerians: Their History, Culture, and Character, 1963.

The Zend-Avesta, tr. J. Darmesteter and L. H. Mills and ed. F. M. Müller, SBE 4, 23, 31, Oxford, 1880-87.

E. Moynihan, Paradise as a Garden in Persia and Mughal India, New York, 1979, pp. 1-2, 11, 20, 25.

R. Pinder-Wilson, “The Persian Garden: Bagh and Chahar Bagh,” in E. B. MacDougall and R. Ettinghausen, eds., The Islamic Garden, Washington, D.C., 1976, pp. 70-85.

V. Sackville-West, “The Persian Garden,” in A. J. Arberry, ed., The Legacy of Persia, Oxford, 1953.

A. Sâmî, Pâsârgâd yâ qadîmtarîn pâytakht-e šâhanšâhî-e Îrân, Shiraz, 1956, pp. 75-77.

Strabo, Geography 15.3.7 (reference to a park surrounding Cyrus’ tomb).

D. Stronach, Pasargadae: A Report on the Excavations Conducted by the British Institute of Persian Studies from 1961 to 1963, Oxford, 1978, pp. 107-12.

Idem, “The Garden as a Political Statement: Some Case Studies from the Near East in the First Millenium B. C.,” Bulletin of the Asia Institute 4, 1990, pp. 171-80.

Idem, “The Royal Garden at Pasargadae: Evolution and Legacy,” Archaeologica Iranica et Orientalis: Miscellanea in Honorem Louis Vanden Berghe, Ghent, 1989, pp. 476-502.

A. Tadjvidi, “Persepolis,” Iran 11, 1973, pp. 200-201. A. B. Tilia, Studies and Restorations at Persepolis and Other Sites of Fars II, IsMEO Centro Studi e Scavi Archeologici i Asia, Reports and Memoirs 18, Rome, 1978.

D. N. Wilber, Persian Gardens and Garden Pavilions, Tokyo, 1962.

E. M. Yamauchi, Persia and the Bible, Grand Rapids, Mich., 1990, pp. 332-33.

M. L. Chaumont: Greek Historian Arrian (2nd century CE)

The article below by M. L. Chaumont on the Greek historian Arrian (2nd century CE) was originally published in the Encyclopedia Iranica on December 15, 1986 and last updated on August 15, 2011. This article is available in print (Vol. II, Fasc. 5, pp. 523-524).

Kindly note that the pictures and accompanying captions below do not appear in the original Encyclopedia Iranica publication.


Arrian, L. Flavius Arrianus, Greek historian from Bithynia, born in Nicomedia, whose father had obtained Roman citizenship. He held very high positions. The apex of his career occurred under the emperor Hadrian who appointed him governor of Cappadocia in 131 A.D. His reputation as a historian earned him the name the new Xenophon. Achaemenid and Parthian Iran occupied an important place in Arrian’s historical work, including: (1) the Anabasis, which treats Alexander’s expeditions; its supplement, the History of India; and the History of Events after Alexander; and (2) the Parthica or History of the Parthians.

Arrian-FlaviusPortrait of a bearded man attributed to Flavius Arrianus (Source: Fernhill.com).

The Anabasis is divided into seven books on the model of the Anabasis of Xenophon. Written in a sober and simple style, it is a mine of information on Iran toward the end of the Achaemenid period. It not only describes the famous battles of the Macedonian forces against the armies of Darius III Codomannus, but it also contains many details about the provinces and peoples of the Persian empire, as well as its leading generals and satraps.

Arrian of NicomediaPhilip A. Stadter’s 2010 book “Arrian of Nicomedia” (University of North Carolina Press; for more information see Amazon…)

The principal sources of the Anabasis are Ptolemy, the son of Lagus, and Aristobulus of Cassandreia; these were the authors who Arrian considered most reliable, as he remarks in his preface. Both of them had taken part in Alexander’s campaigns. The former, of Macedonian nobility, had been a member of the bodyguard and the companion in arms of the conqueror before becoming, after Alexander’s death, satrap, and then king of Egypt (Ptolemy I Soter). The second had also belonged to Alexander’s entourage, but in a more modest position, as an engineer or architect. Not even the titles of the works of Ptolemy and Aristobulus have survived, nor do we know what they covered.

Map of Achaemenid Empire-Kaveh Farrokh-2007Map of the Achaemenid Empire drafted by Kaveh Farrokh on page 87 (2007) for the book Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War-Персы: Армия великих царей-سایه‌های صحرا-; Arrian has provided valuable descriptions of the provinces and peoples od the ancient Persian Empire.

The agreement between Ptolemy and Aristobulus on certain points is underlined by Arrian, e.g., Alexander’s generous treatment of the mother, wife, and children of Darius III, taken prisoner at the battle of Issus in October, 333 (Anabasis 2.12.3-6). Similarly, they are agreed that the battle that decided the fate of the Persian empire took place, not at Arbela, as is the general consensus, but at a small Assyrian village, Gaugamela (now Tell Gōmēl) on the Bumelus river (now Gōmēl-sū), 500 or 600 stades from Arbela (ibid., 6.11.5-6). There are instances where the two authors disagree, which Arrian does not fail to note.

Arrian refers to Ptolemy on several occasions, e.g., regarding the intervention of Darius’ mother in favor of the vanquished Uxii (in Ḵūzestān). They were allowed to keep their possessions in exchange for the payment of an annual tribute (ibid., 3.17.6). Probably from the same source is the passage concerning the submission of this bellicose people, who controlled the passes that gave access to Fārs (the Persian Gates) and the taking of these passes in spite of the resistance of the satrap Ariobarzanes (ibid., 3.17. 6; 3.18, 2; cf. E. Kornemman, Die Alexandergeschichte, pp. 56ff. and now W. Heckel, “Alexander at the Persian Gates,” Athenaeum 58, 1980, pp. 168-74). Another example is the account of Bessus, regicide and usurper, who was captured by the soldiers of Ptolemy himself in a village of Bactriana. Arrian also mentions the different version of this event by Aristobulus (cf. L. Pearson, The Lost Histories, p. 166). Again from Ptolemy’s work is the text of the correspondence exchanged between Darius III (in flight) and Alexander after Issus (Anabasis 2.14.1-9; cf. Kornemann, op. cit., p. 115, defending the authenticity of this correspondence).

Alexander and Darius III-Issus-Pompei MosaicPompeii floor mosaic depicting Alexander and Darius III at the Battle of Issus (November 333 BC) (Source: Public Domain). Known often as the “Mosaico di Alessandro” (Mosaic of Alexander) The above is a Roman copy of its Greek original that had been crafted by Philoxenos of Eretria.

From Aristobulus, whose witness is often invoked, came the following information: (a) The order of battle of Darius III’s army at Gaugamela: the different peoples composing the left and right wings are enumerated; in the center was the Great King himself with his kinsmen, picked guard, etc. (ibid., 3.11.3ff.). (b) Description of the tomb of Cyrus the Great at Pasargadae (a description recognized as exact in modern times). Alexander, finding the tomb profaned and damaged, gave the order to Aristobulus to repair everything and to restore the monument (ibid., 6.20.4-8). (c) The account of the weddings at Susa, especially the marriages of Alexander to Barsine, the eldest daughter of Darius III, and to Parysatis, the youngest daughter of Artaxerxes III, when he was already married to Roxane, daughter of the Bactrian Oxyatres (ibid., 7.4.4).

Among Arrian’s other sources was Nearchus of Crete. After the conquest of India Nearchus was assigned the duty of bringing the Greek fleet from the mouth of the Indus to Susa. The work that Nearchus composed describing this long voyage was to furnish Arrian with the essential material for his History of India (Indica), which is, in fact, the history of one of the stages of Alexander’s expedition. (On the facts of the periplus of Nearchus, see W. Capelle, “Nearchus” no. 3, in Pauly-Wissowa, XVI/2, 1935, cols. 2185ff.; Pearson, op. cit., pp. 112-49; W. Spoerri, “Nearchos,” in Der Kleine Pauly IV, 1972, pp. 33-34.) Nearchus described the banks along which his fleet passed, their ports, water courses, and islands, and he cites the distances between points. He discusses the coasts of the “fisheaters” south of Gedrosia (Tūrān and Makurān), of Carmania (Kermān) (chaps. 32-37), of the Persians (Fārs) (chaps. 38-39), and of the Susians (Ḵūzestān). Then followed, after the mouth of the Euphrates, the passage upward from Pasitigris (Kārūn) and the rendezvous of Nearchus’ fleet and Alexander’s army near a bridge of boats (chap. 24) near modern Ahvāz (cf. G. Le Rider, Suse sous les Séleucides et les Parthes, Paris, 1965, p. 264). The itinerary from there to Susa is found in Anabasis 7.7.1-2. This description contains valuable ethnological and climatic details. This History of India also preserves several indigenous place names more or less faithfully: Neoptana, Hormozeia (Hormuz), on the coast of Carmania (chap. 33); the mountain Ochus (Vahuka), Apostana, Gogana, on the coast of the Persians (chap. 38); the island of Margastana, along the littoral of the Susians (chap. 41).

Winged Sphinx of Darius at SusaWinged Sphinx of Darius at Susa (Source: Public Domain).

The History of Events after Alexander (in ten books) has not survived. It is known through a long summary by Photius (Bibliotheca 92; ed. R. Henry, II, pp. 20-33) and through fragments (ed. A. G. Roos and G. Wirth, II, pp. 253-86; F. Jacoby, Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker II, Berlin, 1929, pp. 840-51, 872-73, 874, 881-83. The work in four books of Dexippus of Athens (3rd cent. A.D.) on the same subject seems to have been an epitome of the History of Arrian (see F. Jacoby, op. cit., II C: Kommentar, Berlin, 1926, pp. 306-07; we possess from it a brief summary also by Photius (Bibliotheca 82, ed. R. Henry, I, pp. 188-90). The work, in ten books, is devoted to events from 323 to 321, notably to the two successive partitions of the Achaemenid territories and to their consequences. Most of the actual Iranian satrapies passed into the hands of the Macedonian generals. However, some Persians were among the beneficiaries of these partitions.

The Parthica or History of the Parthians is also lost. Arrian was not ignorant of the Parthians. At the time when he governed Cappadocia, the Alan peril may have brought together briefly Parthians and Romans. But when Dio Cassius (Historia romana 69.15) speaks of the intervention of Vologases in those circumstances, it is not easy to determine whether he is concerned with the king Vologases II (III) of Parthia or rather his parent and homonym, the king of Armenia (for the latter identification, see A. von Gutschmid, Geschichte Irans und seiner Nachbarländer, Tübingen, 1888, p. 147). In writing a History of the Parthians, his essential goal was to set down the different phases of Trajan’s Parthian war (114-17). Of this work, in 17 books, Photius has preserved only a brief notice (Bibliotheca 58; ed. R. Henry, I, Paris, 1959, pp. 51-52). But the important fragments preserved by the Suda (Suidas) and Stephan of Byzantium help to partially reestablish its contents (ed. Roos-Wirth, II, 1968, pp. 223-52). See especially the erudite study of A. G. Roos (Studia), and now C. Coppola, “I Parthica d’Arriano nella biblioteca di Fozio,” Studia in memoria di R. Cantarella, Università di Salerno, 1981, pp. 475-91).

Parthian-1-Parthian NoblemanA reconstruction of the face on the statue of a Parthian nobleman housed at Tehran’s Iran Bastan Museum (Picture Source: Parthian Empire).

The first seven books dealt with the period before Trajan: Book I. Origin and customs of the Parthians; the first Arsacids. Arrian gives as ancestor of this dynasty Arsaces, son of Phriapites (frag. I, Roos-Wirth, p. 225 = Photius, Bibliotheca 58, ed. Henry, I, p. 51). This ancestry seems confirmed, to a certain extent, by some Parthian ostraca recently discovered at Nisa. Indeed in the formula of this document the Arsacid king appears as a grandson or great-grandson of Friyapatak (= Phriapites) (cf. M. L. Chaumont, Syria 48, 1971, pp. 145ff.). Book II. The war of Crassus against the Persians and the battle of Carrhae (53 B.C.). Book IV. Mark Antony’s expedition into Media Atropatene (36 B.C.). Book V. Roman-Parthian relations under Augustus, Tiberius, and Claudius. Book VI. Corbulo’s campaign into Armenia. Book VII. Relations of Romans and Parthians under the Flavians; the complaints voiced against Trajan by the Arsacid Pacorus II (frag. 32; Roos-Wirth, p. 235).

The account of Trajan’s expedition is contained in books VIII-XVII: Book VIII. Armenian campaign of 114; the attitude of the Roman emperor toward the Arsacid aspirants to the throne of Armenia, Parthamasiris and Axidares (frags. 37-40; Roos, p. 237). Book IX. Mesopotamian campaign (114-l5); many village names mark Trajan’s itinerary from Edessa to Babylonia. In Books XI-XVI he includes, in chronological order: the taking of Ctesiphon, the voyage down the Tigris by the Roman fleet in the direction of the Persian Gulf, the short-lived success in Mesene and Characene, the return to Ctesiphon and Babylonia (116). An interesting fragment survives from the history of the revolt of the Parthian and Armenian princes, concerning the Armenian king, Sanatruces (Sanatruk) (frag. 59; Roos-Wirth, p. 247). In the last book (XVII) were described the siege of Hatra and subsequent events up to the return to Syria.

Roman Emperor TrajanRoman Emperor Trajan as depicted in a marble bust (r. 98-117 CE) (Source: Public Domain).

Although the History of the Parthians probably reflected only the Roman point of view, nevertheless its loss is regrettable. Everything indeed inclines us to believe that Arrian, thanks to his high connections, would have had first-hand access to official and private documents. The few fragments that remain from the original work have been put to good use by modern historians. See N. C. Debevoise, A Political History of Parthia, Chicago, 1936, p. 278 (index); J. Guey, Essai sur la guerre parthique de Trajan, Bibliothèque d’Istros II, Bucarest, 1937, p. 153 (index); G. Wirth, “Zur Tigrisfahrt des Kaisers Trajan,” Philologus 102, 1963, pp. 288-300.

32-Partho-Sassanian belt buckle 2nd or 3rd century CEPartho-Sassanian belt buckle dated to the 2nd or 3rd century CE (Picture source: Farrokh, page 143, Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War-Персы: Армия великих царей-سایه‌های صحرا).  


Editions of Arrian’s work: Arriani Anabasis et Indica, ed. F. Dübner, Paris, 1848.

Flavii Arriani quae existant omnia (Teubner ed.), ed. A. G. Roos and G. Wirth, Leipzig, 1968, I: Alexandri Anabasis; II: Scripta minora et fragmenta (contains the History of India, the fragments of the History of the Parthians). Anabasis Alexandri, with an English translation by E. Iliff Robson (Loeb Class. Library), 2 vols., Cambridge, Mass., and London, 1958-61.

Secondary sources: E. Kornemann, Die Alexandergeschichte des Königs Ptolemaios von Ägypten, Berlin, 1935.

M. Luedeke, De fontibus quibus usus Arrianus composuit (Leipziger Studien II), 1882.

L. Pearson, The Lost Histories of Alexander the Great (Philological Monographs XX), New York, 1960.

A Robinson, The History of Alexander the Great (Brown University Studies 16), Providence, 1953.

A. G. Roos, Studia Arriania, Leipzig, 1912.

E. Schwartz, “Arrianus” no. 9, in Pauly-Wissowa, I, 1894, cols. 1230-47; “Aristobolus” no. 4, ibid., cols. 911-18.

W. Vincent, The Voyage of Nearchus, Oxford, 1809.

F. Wenger, Die Alexandergeschichte des Aristobulos von Kassandreia, Würzburg, 1914.

G. Wirth, “Arrianus,” in Der kleine Pauly I, 1964, pp. 605-06.

Idem, “Ptolemaios I als Historiker,” in Pauly-Wissowa, XXIII, 1959, cols. 2467ff.; Der kleine Pauly IV, 1972, col. 1228.

A. B. Bosworth, A Historical Commentary on Arrian’s History of Alexander (Books I-III) I, Oxford, 1980.

R. Syme, “The Career of Arrian,” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 86, 1982, pp. 181-211.

A Short History of the F-4 Fighter-Bomber in the Iranian Air Force

The article below on the Iranian Air Force F-4 Phantom II Fighter-Bomber was originally posted in the IIAF website. Excepting one photo, all other photographs posted below are from miscellaneous sources. Kindly note that the captions/descriptions for each of the photographs are not featured in the IIAF article on the F-4 Phantom II.


The Iranian Air Force was the largest overseas operators of the F-4 Phantom before the Revolution. order were placed for 16 F-4Ds in 1967. A second batch of 16 more F-4Ds was ordered later. The first batch of F-4Ds arrived in Iran on September 8, 1968, with a total of 32 F-4Ds being ultimately delivered to the Iranian Air Force. Iranian F-4Ds were used in several unsuccessful attempts to intercept Soviet MiG-25 that were spying on Iran. The first combat use by Iran of the F-4D was in 1975 when Iran provided military assistance to the Sultan of Oman in actions against rebels. One of these F-4Ds was lost to ground fire.

Phantom II northern IranIranian Air Force Phantom II on patrol over the skies of northern Iran (Source: IIAF). Specifications for McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II are as follows: (a) Aircraft type: multi-role fighter (b) combat radius: 786 miles (c) Operational ceiling: 62000 feet (d) Maximum velocity: 1585 mph (e) Power plant: two General Electric J79-GE-17A turbojets rated at 11810 lbs thrust each dry; 17900 with afterburner. The standard weaponry of the Phantom II are as follows: (a) one M61 20mm cannon w/ 640 rounds (b) maximum ordnance 16000 lbs, including bombs, missiles, AIM-7 Sparrow, AIM-9 Sidewinder, Maverick (air to ground missile system) and AAMs.

The government of Iran ordered 208 F-4Es and a total of 32 RF-4E from McDonnell during the early and mid-1970s. The first examples were delivered in March of 1971. A total of 177 F-4Es (plus eight F-4Es borrowed from the USA and subsequently returned) and 16 RF-4E were delivered to the Imperial Iranian Air Force between the years 1971 and 1979. However, in 1979, Revolution took over the government, and on February 28, 1979, the US government placed an embargo on further arms deliveries to Iran. The remaining 31 F-4Es and 16 RF-4E on the contract were never delivered.

The_First_F-4D_Phantom_II_Squadron_of_iran-1971Airmen and support crews pose in front of an F-4D Phantom II in 1971 (Source: Public Domain); the above photo  was taken at Shiraz’s 7th tactical fighter base.

By the late 1970s, the Iranian Air Force was deploying its F-4 Phantoms in the following squadrons:

  • 1st Tactical Air Base, Tehran (Mehrabad): Two Squadrons F- 4E, One Squadron RF- 4E Reconnaisance
  • 2nd Tactical Air Base, Tabriz: Three Squadrons F-4E
  • 3rd Tactical Air Base, Hamadan (Shahrokhi): Three Squadrons F-4E
  • 6th Tactical Air Base, Bushehr: One Squadron F-4E, Two Squadrons F-4D
  • 7th Tactical Air Base, Shiraz: One Squadrons F-4E
  • 9th Tactical Air Base, Bandar Abbas: One Squadrons F-4E
  • 10th Tactical Air Base , Chabahar: One Squadron F-4E

 Mehrabad-Iran-F-4D-brake chuteIranian air force lands with brake chute at Mehrabad airport in the mid-late 1970s (Source: Public Domain).

Onset of the Iran-Iraq War

By late February 1979, Iran had almost 223 operational Phantoms. Contrary to Western reports, F-4 squadrons managed to maintain their combat effectiveness despite widespread political upheavals and personnel purges. Technical malfunctions, often appearing during flight preparation, would reduce the flight packages, but missions were seldom aborted for this reason.

The outbreak of the Iraq-Iran War on the afternoon of September 22, 1980, resulted in the newly re-organized Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) having to rely heavily on its F-4 Phantom units. This legendary veteran fighter-bomber was definitely the star of the Iranian Air Force during the eight-year war with Iraq, performing virtually every combat role, from pure fighter to deep-penetration interceptor. Phantoms were to play a key role in most of the missions far into Iraqi territory, in many cases returning to base after sustaining heavy combat damage.

The F-4’s baptism of fire during the war with Iraq was an unexpected one. The conflict began with an Iraqi air attack on six Iranian air bases and four Iranian army barracks, followed by a land offensive deep into the country at four points along a 435-mile (700km) front. This first Iraqi air attack failed due to rigid and inflexible mission planning, lack of sufficient target intelligence and the use of unsuitable General Purpose (GP) bombs. One F-4E was destroyed by having its nose section cut off in a strafing run on the ramp at the Mehrabad airport, and another F-4 base, Hamedan, also suffered some damage.

Iranian_F-4E_Phantom_II_armed_with_AGM-65_MaverickAn Iranian F-4E armed with Maverick air-ground missiles preparing for take-off (Source: Public Domain). Maverick-armed phantoms wreaked considerable havoc upon Iraqi armored units during the Iran-Iraq war, especially during the operations that led to the liberation of the city of Khorramshahr on May 24, 1981; for more on this topic, see here…

The first Iranian air attack into Iraq saw the successful bombing of Al-Shoibiya naval base, near the port city of Um-Al Qassr, by four F-4s from Bushehr AB, using 1,000lb (450kg) bombs. Among the targets were several anti-shipping missile batteries. This Iranian retaliation was so swift that Iraqi air defense positions had been caught by surprise right across the flight route. The next day, up to 140 Iranian fighter-bombers, including significant numbers of F-4s from Bushehr, Tehran and Hamedan, attacked a number of Iraqi air bases and military installations with almost total impunity.
These first days of the war saw other air strikes against such targets as the military installations of the Um-Al-Quasar. On one such mission a two-ship formation of F-4Es, each armed with six 750lb (340kg) GP bombs, attacked Iraqi port installations and anchored missile boats. Some 20 minutes later, an RF-4E took reconnaissance photos of the aftermath, which showed that heavy damage had been inflicted on ships and harbor installations.

Invasion of Iran 1980-Iranian PhantomsTayyara! Tayyara! (Arabic: Airplane! Airplane!). Iraqi crew of a BMP armored personnel carrier advancing in Iran in 1980 (at left) abandon their vehicle in haste at the sound of the roaring engines of two US-made Iranian F-4E Phantoms. Iranian Phantoms (at right) were also reported to be flying just meters above ground level to fire their 20mm cannon at Iraqi tanks and armored vehicles (Picture Source at left: www.Acig.org; Picture Source at right: Farzad Bishop, Combat Aircraft 37, reproduced with permission in Iran at War: 1500-1988, 2011).

The general tactic for during such missions was to approach the target from different directions and then execute a pop-up and dive attack. On the return flight, one of the Phantoms was hit by a SAM missile on the right wing, damaging some of its systems and control surfaces; despite this, the aircraft was still flyable. However, the fuel indicators did not work and the right wing caught fire. The runways of the nearest base were still damaged from the first day’s bombing, so the crippled Phantom had to land on the unaffected part at a higher than normal speed. The tires burst and the aircraft ran off the end of the runway, after the crew had already ejected. Later, the aircraft’s wing was replaced, the first time such work had been undertaken in Iran, and it was returned to combat service.

F4E_Iran-Low Level flightUndated photo of an Iranian Phantom II flying at very low level (Source: Persiangig).

The first months of the war saw the Iranian Air Force making concentrated efforts to halt the Iraqi ground advance, often directly engaging tank and vehicle columns, sometimes at altitudes as low as 10-13f. (3-4m). Iraqi MiG-21 and MiG-23 fighters were used as top cover to protect their military columns heading toward Iran, and as a result there were many air-to-air encounters – with mixed results.

Attack on Habbaniyeh Airfield

A month after the Iraqi invasion, two F-4D Phantoms were sent to attack the important air base of Habbaniyeh, 70 miles (112km) west of Baghdad. The flight was equipped with ECM pods and supported by F-14 Tomcats at the border, with an RF-4E on stand-by. Aerial refueling was carried out at 13,000ft (3,960m) and the Phantoms then crossed the border to their target. One aircraft was shot down by a SAM over Baghdad and its crew taken prisoner. The second Phantom was able to evade an SA-6 missile by making an 11g turn, the missile passing across the aircraft’s tail and wing. The crew realized that it was impossible to continue the attack and resorted to a pre-determined secondary target, the Al-Bakr oil refinery.

Babaie-Phantom-IranAn F-4E lands after the conclusion of a successful mission during the Iran-Iraq war (date unknown). At the back-seat is war hero Lieutenant-General Abbas Babaie, who was deputy-commander of the Iranian air force at the time. Babaie also flew combat missions before being reportedly killed by Iraqi anti-aircraft fire (Picture Source: 2000, Air Forces Monthly Special: Classic Aircraft Series Number 1, “Combat over Iraq”).

On the return leg, two Iraqi MiG-23s intercepted the F-4 and fired air-to-air missiles; the Phantom, flying at very low altitude, jettisoned its drop tanks and made evasive maneuvers. The MiGs finally broke off the pursuit, by this time the Phantom was very low on fuel and the crew declared an emergency, preparing to eject. Having no other alternative, the supporting stand-by Boeing 707 tanker crossed the border into Iraq to provide much-needed fuel for the starving F-4, which by that time had only 700lb. left.

During the early months of the war, the number of Iranian aircraft being shot down by Iraqi air defenses was relatively low, mainly because the operators were so inexperienced. However, this rate increased as the conflict progressed and newer systems were introduced. The flat topography of Southern Iraq meant that intruding Iranian aircraft were detected soon after entering the country. Deployment of newly-purchased low-altitude Cortile and Roland SAMs in and around Nasseriyeh AB and other military significant sites, including the strategic city of Baghubeh near Baghdad, during 1986-87, increased the capabilities of the Iraqi defenses.

Refueling a PhantomFill her Up! This F-4 Phantom is being refueled by a Boeing 707 aerial tanker during the Iran-Iraq war. Iranian jets often refueled before going into combat missions inside Iraq. This particular Phantom is equipped with six Mk-82 bombs (equipped with Snakeye retarding fins). These allowed the Phantoms to attack ground targets at low-level  and high-speed (Picture Source: Bishop & Cooper, 2003, color picture 5).

The most impenetrable air defense network in Iraq was undeniably to be found protecting Baghdad. The city was surrounded by overlapping belts of SA-2/-3/-6/-8, Roland and Cortile SAMs, radar-guided AAA and MiG-21/-23 and -25 air defense fighter interceptors.

On March 19, 1982, a high-altitude strike formation of Phantoms was bounced and engaged by an Iraqi MiG-25 Foxbat from a distance of 60 miles (97km), and was also simultaneously illuminated by air defense radars. A number of SA-2 ‘telegraph poles’ were seen passing through the formation, but all exploded at higher altitude, having been decoyed by the Phantom ECM pods. However, one F-4 was hit by an AAM fired from the Foxbat, shattering its canopy, causing the right engine to shut down, and badly damaging the fuselage. Nevertheless, the pilot managed to land his aircraft safely.

Liberation of Khuzestan in march 1982Elements of the Iraqi 12th Armored Division assemble at Fakkeh (in the Dezful area) on March 23rd 1982 to rescue remnants of the Iraqi 4th Army Corps crushed by a powerful Iranian offensive (Photo source: Steven J. Zaloga, Modern Soviet Combat Tanks, Osprey Vanguard  37, p.32).  As these units deployed to attack, they were bombed and strafed by up to 95 Iranian F-4 and F-5 combat aircraft.  The Iraqi 12th Armored Division was virtually eliminated. The right photo is of Iranian regular army troops atop an overturned Iraqi tank of the 12th armored division (Photo source: www.shahed.isaar.ir). Note that the vehicle has been blown upside down as a result of aerial bombardment by Iranian F-4 and F-5 combat aircraft.

The Iraqis also practiced a tactic of setting up ambushes inside Iran at the border areas and pulling Iranian aircraft into the Iraqi airspace. Then Iraqi Mirage F1 or MiG-25 fighters equipped with long-range missiles would intercept them. Some Iranian F-4s were shot down using this tactic, particularly over the northern Persian Gulf. Iranian Phantoms and F-14A Tomcats also used to take advantage of such co-operative tactics; F-4s acting as the prey and F-14s as the hunters. This is contrary to previous reports in Western publications, where it had been suggested that Tomcats acted as prey for hunter Phantoms.
As for another important mission late in the war, during Operation Valfajr-10, Iranian F-4 Phantoms attacked and bombed Baghdad’s Tamuz nuclear reactors for a second time.


Iranian Air Force used various weapons options in conjunction with its F-4 Phantom operations. They included general purpose bombs; such as 500lb. Snakeye (x12) to 750lb. (x6) and 1,000lb. (x6) GP or retard versions. AIM-7E Sparrow and AIM-9P/J Sidewinder missiles were also carried regularly for air defense and fighter escort missions. Other weapons included the AGM-65A Maverick used in conjunction with TISEO electro-optical sensor, BL 755 cluster bomb customized for low-altitude delivery, Napalm tanks and LAU-61 rocket launchers. Iranian F-4Ds also used the SUU-23 gun pods to good effect.

Iranian Phantom bombing Iraqi positionsAn excellent gun camera view of an F-4 Phantom attack on a rear Iraqi supply unit on May 15, 1984. The Phantom is flying very low as seen by its shadow; note explosions in background. Iran often launched successful attacks with its aircraft, but these were far too few to offset Iraq’s growing military strength on the ground and in the air (Picture Source: Farzin Nadimi, Air Forces Monthly, Classic Aircraft Series no.1, The Phantom, 2000, p.79).

Two Iranian F-4D Phantoms were tasked with striking a logistically important bridge near Basreh on September 29, 1981, employing LGBs. They used a buddy-lasing tactic, one acting as target designator at about 13,000ft equipped with AVQ-9 Pave Light laser designator. The target was hit, but a short time later an SA-6 missile homed in on the designating aircraft. Both crew ejected as the aircraft was destroyed.

Escaping US Missiles

According to Iranian records, in early spring 1988 – it actually happened during the so called “Battle of the Frigates” on 18 April, 1988, an Iranian F-4E Phantom from 9th Tactical Fighter Base, Bandar-Abbas, armed with air-to-air missiles, was tasked with escorting a number of other Iranian Phantoms undertaking an unspecified strike mission within the Persian Gulf. That day, US forces in the area were also active and their warships warned off the low-flying Iranian strike package several times.
The escort Phantom was scanning the area for any hostile activity, as the other F-4s attacked their targets one after the other and then left the area. Shortly after the last attacking aircraft returned, the escort fighter’s RWR/RHAW indicated a missile lock. Moments later, a reportedly Standard Missile SM- 2ER radar guided surface-to-air missile, said to be launched from USS Wainwright, operating in the area near the Straight of Hormuz was seen coming towards the Phantom.

Phantom II-Iran Air Force-PGPost-war photo of a trio of Iranian Phantoms on patrol over the Persian Gulf (Source: Business Insider).

To break the radar lock, the Phantom jinked hard with maximum power, pulling a +12g turn. The missile exploded nearby, spraying the airframe with shrapnel, severing hydraulic lines and damaging the left engine. The aircraft headed towards the nearest auxiliary airstrip, but on the way it again came under attack from behind. The Phantom tried hard to break the radar lock by flying low and taking evasive action. Moment later, near the airstrip, another missile passed the right side of the F-4, hitting the water and exploding. The aircraft managed to evade this and landed on the runway. Since the airstrip lacked a barrier facility, the pilot decided to get airborne again – despite the threat from the unseen missile shooter – and headed towards the main base.
Despite partial hydraulic failure, engine problems and severe damage to the wing and fuselage, the Phantom remained controllable and finally landed in Bandar Abbas. This particular aircraft was rebuilt and returned to service after 6,000 man-hours and two and half months of work.

Phantom had been undeniably the backbone of the Iranian Air Force during the country’s eight year war with Iraq. A role that it still is fulfilling to the best of Iranian Air Force’s technical ability.

Main F-4 Operating Bases during the Iran-Iraq War

1st Fighter Base, Mehrabad, Tehran. Generating fighter and escort missions inside the border along western and south-western Iraq. It also operated as the main hub for tanker operations and aerial reconnaissance missions into Iraq and over battle fronts.

3rd Fighter Base, Hamedan (Shahrokhi, later Nojeh). Home to 31st and 32nd Fighter Wings. This base was in charge of aerial support of the western front Flying time from this base to Baghdad was 30 minutes. Due to its high sortie generation rate, Nojeh came under constant enemy bombing.

4th Fighter Base, Dezful (Vahdati) (mostly F-5). Because of its proximity to the Iraqi border, this base was constantly under artillery attacks and bombing.

6th Fighter Base, Bushehr. This base was mainly tasked with attacks on shipping in the northern and central parts of the Persian Gulf, escort and support of Iranian naval operations, and strike missions against Iraqi ports and naval vessels.

9th Fighter Base, Bandar Abbas. Mainly in charge of attacking shipping in the Persian Gulf, aircraft from this base monitored foreign military activities in and around the Strait of Hormuz, and provided escort and support of Iranian naval assets.
10th Fighter Base, Chabahar. This particular air base was in charge of monitoring the Sea of Oman and the Arabian Sea.

Iran Phantom supportng Kurds-2014The Old Warhorse in action in late 2014: the venerable Phantom attacking ISIS positions in support of the Kurds; this photo is from a film report by the Al-Jazeera network (Source: Al-Jazeera, December 2, 2014).