Farrokh Lecture on Iran-Caucasus Links at University of Southern California

Kaveh Farrokh will be providing a two-part lecture at the University of Southern California (USC) (topic: Iran and the Caucasus: A Long-Lasting Legacy of Historical & Cultural Ties) on April 22, 2013.

The USC lecture has been made possible by the organizational and coordination efforts of the Persian Academic and Cultural Student Association (PACSA – see Facebook) and support of the Persian American Society (PAS).

PACSA

[Click to Enlarge] The lecture will focus on the overview of the cultural and historical links between Iran and the Caucasus from antiquity to the signing of the Golestan and Turkmenchai treaties in the early 19th century. Examples of topics include influences in linguistics, arts, architecture and culture over the centuries in the regions of ancient Albania (modern Republic of Azerbaijan), Armenia and Georgia (ancient Iberia and Colchis). In addition to influences from Iran proper, the role of North-Iranian speakers in Eastern Europe and their impact on the Caucasus is also examined. The lecture will conclude with the Iranian legacy in the Caucasus after the Russian conquests of 1828.

The lecture at the University of Southern California on Iran and the Caucasus: A Long-Lasting Legacy of Historical & Cultural Ties will be held at:

Location: USC-Waite Phillips Hall (Room WPH B27) – 3470 Trousdale Parkway Los Angeles, CA 90089

Time: 6:30 pm

 

Farrokh Lecture on Ancient Iranian Women at Portland State University

Kaveh Farrokh will be providing a lecture at Portland State University (PSU) (topic: Women in Ancient Iran) on April 20, 2013.

The PSU lecture is part of larger series of talks on Persian Women organized by the Persian program at PSU and  presented with funding from PARSA Community Foundation (see Facebook) and co-sponsored by the Middle East Studies Center and the Department of World Languages & Literatures at Portland State University.

Portland-PARSA-1

[Click to Enlarge] Kaveh Farrokh’s lecture begins with the role of women on the Iranian plateau from the Bronze Age both before and after the Indo-European arrivals. The prime importance of women in Iranian speaking tribes in the Caucasus, Eastern Europe and Central Asia (i.e. Scythians, Sarmatians, etc.), and the Iranian plateau are detailed, notably the Achaemenid and the ensuing Partho-Sassanian eras. (Time permitting) the discussion then draws on select highlights of the post Islamic era: notably the Karim Khan Zand era and the Constitutional Revolution.

Note that the lectures at Portland State University (April 20-21, 2013) also feature a highly impressive array of Iranologist scholars:

  • Dr. Nayareh Tohidi of California State University: Women as Agents of Change in Modern Iran
  • Dr. Dick Davis of Ohio State University: Women in Persian Literature
  • Dr. Shahla Haeri of Boston University: Women and Political Leadership in Iran

The lecture at Portland State University on “Women in Ancient Iran” will be held at:

Location: PSU-Smith Memorial Student Union, room 238, on Broadway St

Time: 3:00 pm

Shimon D. Cohen: The Father of the Iranian Nation visits the United States

An interesting article by Shimon D. Cohen on the London-based CAIS website discusses the history of Cyrus the Great and his legacy to the present day. Cohen’s article was written in the context of the Exhibition of ‘The Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia’ which opened on Saturday 9th March, 2013. The exhibition displays carvings, plaques,  architectural works and luxury objects. The exhibition opened in Washington D.C. at the Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery on March 9 and will continue through until April 28. After the display at the Sackler gallery, the Cyrus Cylinder will be bought over to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. The Cylinder will then conclude its North American trek at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa in Los Angeles in October 2013.

The Cyrus Cylinder now housed in The British Museum. The policies advocated by Cyrus in this Cylinder are corroborated by independent Greek and Biblical sources as well as by a number of other archaeological findings in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq), Egypt and western Anatolia (in Modern Turkey).

The Exhibition is being supported by the British museum and sponsored by members of the Iranian diaspora — especially the Iran Heritage Foundation.

Cohen’s article also discusses political lobbies opposed to the legacy of the Cyrus Cylinder, especially Eurocentrists and Pan-Islamists:

Outside Iran, the regime has also hired a number of foreigners to attack Cyrus the Great’ historical figure – some of which claim Cyrus was not even a Persian. It is alleged, that a well known among them is a pseudo-historian who calls himself Jona Lendering, and runs a blog that provides the most biased and inaccurate information about pre-Islamic Iran. It is believed that the majority of the Wikipedia articles concerning the Achaemenid history, particularly those referenced to Cyrus the Great, has been edited by Lendering. To back his propaganda, he references all the entries – majority back to his blog ‘Livius.org’, or other likeminded blogs and websites. It was also alleged a few years ago that the Islamic republic has opened an office for him in Central Tehran and put him on their pay list for his supererogatory services. To promote himself as a ‘historian’, one of his friends even created a page in Wikipedia. He also began a hate campaign against those Iranian academics not favoured by the Islamic Republic, who are living outside Iran and are expert in Pre-Islamic Iranian history, in particular Dr Kaveh Farrokh. Lendering also succeeded to influence two prominent European newspapers; Der Spiegel and the Daily Telegraph which have fallen for his propaganda and began a hate campaign against Cyrus the Great and ancient Persia.

A Persian Rabbi in 2008 accused Der Spiegel of inciting anti-Semitism and called for a legal action against the editor. Rabbi Yohanna Hamadani described the article as a “dark coalition of anti-Semitic-Neo-Nazis, [Muslim] fundamentalists and Eurocentrics embodied in an article.”

Cohen has aptly summarized how historical icons can become politicized.

Before attacking Kaveh Farrokh, Jona Lendering first sold his pictures for Farrokh’s text Shadows in the Desert (2007) to Osprey Publishing. Mr. Lendering received money for his pictures published in pages 23, 53, 54, 89, 116, 128, 179, 180, 181, 183, 189, 195, 225, and 288 – After receiving payment Mr. Lendering launched ad hominem attacks against Kaveh Farrokh on Wikipedia, the internet (in Dutch and English) with the support of Dr. Wouter Henkelman, Dr. Amelie Kuhrt, Dr. Pierre Briant and Dr. Matt Stolper and their backers in the internet and Wikipedia (many based in Iran, Bosnia and Russia and posing as westerners).  NOTE: Farrokh had never written against any of these individuals or Mr. Lendering (or Livius.org).

Cohen’s article has identified the reason for these attacks: Farrokh was being “punished” for daring to contradict the post-1979 (revisionist) narratives against Cyrus the Great.

 

Jona “Tehran” Lendering (left) and one of his defamatory-attack victims, Iranian historian Shapour Suren-Pahlav (right) who is also host of the Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies (CAIS) in London which provides resources for learning about ancient Iran. Lendering used his Wikipedia supporters and administrators to forcefully eject CAIS postings regarding Cyrus the Great out of the Wikipedia in 2007-2009. The reason:  Mr. Lendering’s perspective that the Human Rights legacy of Cyrus the Great  is “Shah propaganda”Even more bizarre are Lendering’s attacks against Shapour-Suren Pahlav for raising alarm bells regarding the destruction of historical sites (including UNESCO sites) in Iran. Lendering has even attempted to whitewash reports that the Sivand Dam is harmful to Cyrus’ tomb at Pasargad by labelling this as ”anti-Iranian propaganda“! A number of Eurocentric Assyriologists and their supporters inside the Iranian establishment support Jona Lendering’s narratives.

 

New Course: Forgotten Gifts of Persia

Kaveh Farrokh, an instructor at the University of British Columbia’s Continuing Studies Division is offering a new course entitled:

The Forgotten Gifts of Persia

Below is the official course description:

Learn about the forgotten contributions of Persia to world civilization in the realm of technology and architecture. Topics include the world’s first movies, the artificial eye, the battery, aqueducts, refrigeration and air-conditioning systems, windmills, pontoon bridges and the world’s first hospital and medical university, as well as examples of the influence of Persian architecture in China, India, Rome, Western Europe, and throughout the Middle East.

Astrolabe-Persian-18-century1

[Click to enlarge] An 18th century Persian Astrolabe  housed in Cambridge Museum’s History of Sciences section Picture source: Fouman.com).

For details consult The Forgotten Gifts of Persia | UBC Continuing Studies (pdf):

  • Format: In Class
  • Code: UP723 W13 A
  • Start: Weds Mar 13, 2013
  • Schedule: Weds  1pm – 3pm
  • Location: Tapestry at Wesbrook Village (University of British Columbia Point Grey campus)

artificial-Eye

[Click to Enlarge] (RIGHT) Iranian researcher examining the artificial eye found at Shahr e Sookhteh – further tests are being conducted in Iran to determine the exact chemical composition of the prosthetic (LEFT) A curious feature of the “eye” are parallel lines that have been drawn around the pupil to form a diamond shape …READ MORE

There is also a determined drive from the Asian Studies department of the University of British Columbia to establish a full-time Iranian Studies program.

Professor Harjot S. Oberoi of the UBC Asian Studies program introduces “An Evening with Dr. Kaveh Farrokh – Sassanian Architecture” (Monday March 12, 2011). This talk was given as part of the overall drive to promote support for the University of British Columbia’s Iranian Studies and Persian language initiative.

1-Persian-at-UBC1

Achaemenid Engineers knew of the value of Pi

The report below was first posted by Payvand News of Iran on December 29, 2004. Kindly note that the image displayed below did not appear in the original Payvand News report.

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Achaemenian engineers had been using pi number in geometry 2500 years ago. They used this mathematical concept in building the conical stone structures and columns in Persepolis.

4-Darius

The Achaemenian king Darius the Great (550-486 BCE) founded Persepolis, near Shiraz in Fars province circa 521 BCE. By 486 BCE much of the major structures of Persepolis such as palaces, residences, water canals, etc. had been completed, but in practice continuing work at the site appears to have continued well into the arrival of Alexander in the 330s BCE. 

Pi representing the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter is one of the most important discoveries in geometry. Mathematicians today still do not know the exact date when this number was first used. Many people believe that the Egyptians have been the discoverers of this number, and some consider the Greek as its discoverer. But new studies show that the Achaemenians were also familiar with this concept.

Abdol-Azim Shah-Karami, a geophysics expert responsible for studying the engineering of Persepolis structure, told CHN (Cultural Heritage News).

“New research on Persepolis structures and especially its columns and conical shapes show that the Achaemenians 2500 years ago used the assistance of mathematicians who had solved the mystery of pi for building conical shapes…The precision in building the Persepolis circular columns shows that these mathematicians had calculated pi to several decimal places. The Achaemenian engineers could determine the exact conic section of each circular column, and in order to do this, they had to calculate pi to several decimal places. This helped them calculate the height of columns and the pressure on them, and distribute the tension on the conic section of each column”

According to historical records, the first person to be able to exactly calculate pi was the Muslim scientist, Ghiasoddin Mohammad Kashani. He computed pi to several decimal places, and scientists like Pascal followed him with more precise calculations. Referring to conic sections in different parts of Persepolis, Shah-karami said it would have been impossible to measure the area and circumference of these circular and oval structures without knowing pi.

Persepolis-Apadana-Reconstruction-2

[Click to Enlarge] A reconstruction of the facade of the Apadana. Note cieling of timber (from the cedars of ancient Phoneica or modern Lebanon) (at left). A modern reconstruction of the bull motif atop the Apadana pillars top right – by Persepolis 3D.com) and remains of the bull motif in the Louvre Museum at Paris at present.