Introducing the Works of Ardeshir Radpour

Readers, academics and all interested in the ancient military history of Iran (or Ancient Persia) are strongly encouraged to visit the following website: Ardeshir Radpour.

The photos and videos below in this posting are samples of Ardeshir Radpour’s recreations of ancient Iranian military personnel. These recreations are meticulous and surprisingly accurate to the minutest details, as Ardeshir Radpour consults original historical sources, archives and military historians on a regular basis.

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Ardeshir Radpour as Sassanian knight with Roxanna as portrayed by actress, model, TV host, and fashion designer Leila Milani (لیلا میلانی‎) (see video further below). Roxanna is a Sassanian noblewoman who is the knight’s consort as well her comrade in arms in the Savaran cavalry. 

Ardeshir Radpour has spent years researching the militaries of ancient Iran. He has worked hard to recreate the military personnel of the Achaemenids and Sassanians, as well as those of Ancient Greece and Rome.

Below is a recreation by Ardeshir Radpour of an elite member of the Achaemenid armies:

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Recreation of an Immortal Guardsman of the Achaemenid Armies by Ardeshir Radpour as they would have appeared during Xerxes’ invasion of Greece in 480 BCE (Image courtesy of Ardeshir Radpour). 

The works of Ardeshir Radpour are extensive, as evidenced by the photograph below at an event with the Farhang Foundation:


Radpour-Achaemenid Contingent

The full panoply of Achaemenid warriors – the equipment and military attire have been recreated by Ardeshir Radpour (Image courtesy of Ardeshir Radpour). 

Below is a recreation by Ardeshir Radpour of an elite member of the Savaran knights of the Sassanian armies (Spah):

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Recreation of the equestrian, armour, attire and equipment of the Elite Sassanian Cavalry-اسواران ساسانی- by Ardashir Radpour (Image courtesy of Ardeshir Radpour). 

Below is a recreation of the aftermath of the Battle of Qadissisyah in c. 636 CE showing a Sassanian military officer in search of his beloved Roxanna who is his consort as well as fellow warrior in the Sassanian army battling against the invading Arabo-Islamic invasion forces of the Caliphate:

Movie Clip-Ardashir Radpour

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Ardashir Radpour

 

 

 

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.

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[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.

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Professor Shapour Shahbazi: The Sassanian Army

The posting below highlights the late Professor Shapour Shahbazi’s discussion of the Sassanian army which was orginally published in the Encyclopedia Iranica on December 15, 1986 .

The notion of deriding the martial facets of Iran’s history can be partially traced to the political activities of the Iranian left and religious right mainly during the 1950s – 1970s, although the roots of Iranian anti-Iranism may be traced to earlier decades. There are presently links between Eurocentrists and similar minded Iranian anti-Iranists who share an antipathy towards Iranian military history and the legacy of Iranian history in general.

Trailer for the Arabian military history series “Omar”. The movie carefully avoids mention of the fact that Sassanian Persia and the Romano-Byzantine Empire had fought a devastating 22-year old war which resulted in the deaths of close to 400,000+ warriors on both sides (see Nabil Rastani: the Ancient World War and pages 256-261 in Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War-Персы: Армия великих царей-سایه‌های صحرا-). The Arabs attacked just 8-9 years after the Sassanian-Byzantine ceasefire in 628 CE, catching both empires when they were at the height of their military exhaustion.  In short, the Arabs were not facing legions of first-rate and battle-experienced warriors when they invaded the Sassanian and Romano-Byzantine Empires. The movie also falsifies information by portraying the Elite Sassanian knights or Savaran (Arabic: Asawira) as cowardly when in fact Greco-Roman and even Arabo-Islamic historical sources contradict this. Perhaps the most important omission in the movie is the fact that numbers of Iranians actually joined the invading forces to fight against the Sassanian Empire. On the other hand, the movie correctly portrays the military equipment of the Arabs at the time; the Arabs for example carried straight swords rather than the later curved sabres of Turkish origin.

The latest research by Dr. Parvaneh Pourshariati indicates that the fundamental reason for the fall of the Sassanians was due to the process of political disintegration between the Arsacids (Parthian) clans and the Sasanian royal family. For more on this topic see:

Parvaneh Pourshariati (2008). Decline and Fall of the Sasanian Empire: The Sasanian-Parthian Confederacy and the Arab Conquest of Iran (International Library of Irani. I. B. Tauris.  See Foreword (translated to Persian) by Khashayar Rokhasani –پیشگفتار: خشایار رُخسانی; See first chapter (translated to Persian) –نشیب و فروپاشی فرمانروایی ساسانی(pdf).

For more on Sassanian Military History click on the picture below:

Kindly note that a number of pictures displayed in the Shahbazi article below are from 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; as well as various textbooks such as Ian Hughes’ textbook –Belisarius-the Last Roman General and Farrokh’s texts اسواران ساسانی– Elite Sassanian cavalry, 2005 and Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War-Персы: Армия великих царей-سایه‌های صحرا-.

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The Iranian society under the Sasanians was divided—allegedly by Ardašīr I—into four groups: priests, warriors (artēštār), state officials, and artisans and peasants. The second category embraced princes, lords, and landed aristocracy (Christensen, Iran Sass., p. 98), and one of the three great fires of the empire, Ādur Gušnasp at Šīz (Taḵt-e Solaymān in Azerbaijan) belonged to them (ibid., pp. 166f.). With a clear military plan aimed at the revival of the Persian empire (Dio Cassius 80.4.2; Herodian 6.2.2), Ardašīr I formed a standing army which was under his personal command and its officers were separate from satraps and local princes and nobility (Agathangelos [Greek version] 1.8). Ardašīr had started as the military commander of Dārābgerd (Ṭabarī, tr. Nöldeke, Geschichte der Perser, p. 5), and was knowledgeable in older and contemporary military history, from which he benefited, as history shows, substantially. For he restored Achaemenid military organizations, retained Parthian cavalry, and employed Roman-style armor and siege-engines, thereby creating a standing army (Mid. Pers. spāh) which served his successors for over four centuries, and defended Iran against Central Asiatic nomads and Roman armies (Christensen, op. cit., p. 207).

[Click to Enlarge] Ardashir I in a lance-joust scene at Firuzabad which ciommemorates the great battle in which the House of Sassan overthrew the Parthians in 224 CE. Note the large hair bundle (Korymbos) on top of Ardashir I’s head  (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).

The backbone of the spāh was its heavy cavalry “in which all the nobles and men of rank” underwent “hard service” (Ammianus Marcellinus 23.6.83) and became professional soldiers “through military training and discipline, through constant exercise in warfare and military manoeuvers” (ibid.). From the third century the Romans also formed units of heavy cavalry of the Oriental type (Rundgren, Orientalia Suecana 6, 1957, pp. 35ff.); they called such horsemen clibanarii “mail-clad [riders]” (e.g. Ammianus Marcellinus 16.10.8), a term thought to have derived from an Iranian *grīwbānar < *grīwbānwar < *grīva-pāna-bara “neck-guard wearer” (Rundgren, op. cit., pp. 48f., evidently unaware that the Pahlavi grīwbān “neck-guard” is attested inVendidad 14.9: A.V. W. Jackson, “Herodotus VII. 61, or the Arms of the Ancient Persians Illustrated from Iranian Sources,” in Classical Studies in Honour of Henry Drisler, New York, 1894, pp. 95ff., esp. p. 118). The heavy cavalry of Šāpūr II is described by an eye-witness historian as follows: “all the companies were clad in iron, and all parts of their bodies were covered with thick plates, so fitted that the stiff joints conformed with those of their limbs; and the forms of human faces were so skillfully fitted to their heads, that since their entire body was covered with metal, arrows that fell upon them could lodge only where they could see a little through tiny openings opposite the pupil of the eye, or where through the tip of their nose they were able to get a little breath. Of these some who were armed with pikes, stood so motionless that you would have thought them held fast by clamps of bronze” (Ammianus Marcellinus 25.1. 12-13, cf. 24.6.8).

[CLICK TO ENLARGE]- Emperor Julian is killed during his failed invasion of Sassanian Persia in June 26, 363 AD. Above is a recreation of  Sassanian Persia’s elite cavalry, the Savaran, as they would have appeared during Julian’s failed invasion.  Note the heavily armored Sassanian elite guardsman (Pushtighban) whose lance has pierced a Roman infantryman. Further right is a Savaran officer whose sword is drawn in what is now known as the “Italian grip” but Sassanian in origin. To the far right can be seen a Zoroastrian or Mithraist Magus brandishing a Sassanian era symbol. Also of interest are the armored elephants in the background. Armored elephants were especially prized as their cabs afforded very high elevation over the battlefield, which was ideal for Sassanian archery ( Picture source: Farrokh, Plate D, -اسواران ساسانی- Elite Sassanian cavalry, 2005).

AThe described horsemen are represented by the seventh-century knight depicting Ḵosrow Parvēz on his steed Šabdīz on a rock relief at Ṭāq-e Bostān in Kermānšāh (E. Herzfeld, AMI 9/1938, pp. 91ff.). Since the Sasanian horseman lacked the stirrup (A. D. H. Bivar, “The Stirrup and its origins,” Oriental Art, N.S. 1, 1965, pp. 61-65), he used a war saddle which, like the medieval type, had a cantle at the back and two guard clamps curving across the top of the rider’s thighs enabling him thereby to stay in the saddle especially during violent contact in battle (E. F. Schmidt, Persepolis III, Chicago, 1970, p. 135). The inventory of weapons ascribed to Sasanian horsemen at the time of Ḵosrow Anōšīravān (Ṭabarī, I, p. 964 [tr. Nöldeke, pp. 248f.]; Baḷʿami, Tārīḵ, p. 1048; Ferdowsī, Šāh-nāma VIII, p. 63), resembles the twelve items of war mentioned in Vendidad 14.9 (Jackson, loc. cit.), thus showing that this part of the text had been revised in the later Sasanian period.

[Click to Enlarge] An excellent depiction of late sassanian knights at Taghe Bostan. The figure is oftne identified as Khosrow II “Parviz” and his steed, Sabdiz (Picture source: Farrokh, page 225, Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War-Персы: Армия великих царей-سایه‌های صحرا).  

More interestingly, the most important Byzantine treatise on the art of war, the Strategicon, also written at this period, requires the same equipments from a heavily-armed horseman (Bivar in Dumbarton Oaks Papers 26, 1972, pp. 287-88). This was due to the gradual orientalization of the Roman army to the extent that in the sixth century “the military usages of the Romans and the Persians become more and more assimilated, so that the armies of Justinian and Khosrow are already very much like each other;” and, indeed, the military literatures of the two sides show strong affinities and interrelations (C. A. Inostrantsev, “Sasanian Military Theory,” tr. L. Bogdanov in Journal of the Cama Oriental Institute 7, 1926, pp. 7ff. esp. p. 23). According to the Iranian sources mentioned above, the martial equipments of a heavily-armed Sasanian horseman were as follows: helmet, hauberk (Pahlavi grīwbān), breastplate, mail, gauntlet (Pahlavi abdast), girdle, thigh-guards (Pahlavi rān-ban), lance, sword, battle-axe, mace, bowcase with two bows and two bowstrings, quiver with 30 arrows, two extra bowstrings, spear, and horse armor (zēn-abzār); to these some have added a lasso (kamand), or a sling with slingstones (Nöldeke, Geschichte der Perser, pp. 248f.; Jackson, op. cit., pp. 108ff.). The elite corps of the cavalry was called “the Immortals,” evidently numbering—like their Achaemenid namesakes—10,000 men (Christensen, Iran Sass., p. 208 with references). On one occasion (under Bahrām V) the force attacked a Roman army but outnumbered, it stood firm and was cut down to a man (Socrates Scholasticus 7.20). Another elite cavalry group was the Armenian one, whom the Persians accorded particular honor (Christensen, op. cit., p. 210). In due course the importance of the heavy cavalry increased and the distinguished horseman assumed the meaning of “knight” as in European chivalry; if not of royal blood, he ranked next to the members of the ruling families and was among the king’s boon companions (ibid., pp. 112, 368-69; J. M. Unvala, The Pahlavi Text “King Ḫusrav and his Boy,” Paris, 1921).

Recreation of the Savaran during the 2,500 year celebrations in Iran, 1971 (Picture source: Farrokh, page 222, Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War-Персы: Армия великих царей-سایه‌های صحرا).

The Sasanians did not form light-armed cavalry but extensively employed—as allies or mercenaries—troops from warlike tribes who fought under their own chiefs. “The Sagestani were the bravest of all” (Ammianus Marcellinus 19.2.3); the Gelani, Albani and the Hephthalites, the Kushans and the Khazars were the main suppliers of light-armed cavalry. The skill of the Dailamites in the use of sword and dagger made them valuable troopers in close combat (Agathias 3.17), while Arabs were efficient in desert warfare (Christensen, op. cit., pp. 209, 275).

The infantry (paygān) consisted of the archers and ordinary footmen. The former were protected “by an oblong curved shield, covered with wickerwork and rawhide” (Ammianus Marcellinus 24.6.8). Advancing in close order, they showered the enemy with storms of arrows. The ordinary footmen were recruited from peasants and received no pay (ibid., 23.6.83), serving mainly as pages to the mounted warriors; they also attacked walls, excavated mines and looked after the baggage train, their weapons being a spear and a shield (ibid., 23.6.83; Procopius 1.14.24, 52; Christensen, op. cit., p. 209). The cavalry was better supported by war elephants “looking like walking towers” (Ammianus Marcellinus 25.1.14; sec also E. Herzfeld AMI 3, 1931, pp. 26ff.), which could cause disorder and damage in enemy ranks in open and level fields. War chariots were not used by the Sasanians (contra Alexander Severus in Lampridius, Vita Alex. Sev. 56). Unlike the Parthians, however, the Persians organized an efficient siege machine for reducing enemy forts and walled towns. They learned this system of defense from the Romans but soon came to match them not only in the use of offensive siege engines—such as scorpions, balistae, battering rams, and moving towers—but also in the methods of defending their own fortifications against such devices by catapults, by throwing stones or pouring boiling liquid on the attackers or hurling fire brands and blazing missiles (Ammianus Marcellinus 19.5f., 20.6-7, 11).

Sassanian helmet of riveted construction of the “Spangenhelm” type, discovered at Ninenveh, dated to 5th – 7th centuries CE  (Picture source: Farrokh, page 222, Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War-Персы: Армия великих царей-سایه‌های صحرا-).

The organization of the Sasanian army is not quite clear, and it is not even certain that a decimal scale prevailed, although such titles as hazārmard (Nöldeke, Geschichte der Perser, p. 284 n. 2) might indicate such a system. Yet the proverbial strength of an army was 12,000 men (Ferdowsī, Šāh-nāma VIII, p. 343). The total strength of the registered warriors in 578 was 70,000 (Ṭabarī, tr. Nöldeke, p. 271). The army was divided, as in the Parthian times, into several gunds, each consisting of a number of drafšs (units with particular banners), each made up of some wašts (Christensen, op. cit., p. 210). The imperial banner was the Drafš-e Kāvīān, a talismanic emblem accompanying the Great King or the commander-in-chief of the army who was stationed in the center of his forces and managed the affairs of the combat from the elevation of a throne (A. Christensen, Smeden Kāväh, tr. Unvala, pp. 28f.). At least from the time of Ḵosrow Anōšīravān a seven-grade hierarchical system seems to have been favored in the organization of the army (M. Grignaschi, “Quelques spécimens de la litterature sassanide conservés dans les bibliothèques d’Istanbul,” JA, 1966, pp. 1ff. esp. pp. 24, 42 n. 76).

The highest military title was argbed (q.v.) which was a prerogative of the Sasanian family (Nöldeke, op. cit., p. 5 n. 3). Until Ḵosrow Anōšīravān’s military reforms, the whole of the Persian army was under a supreme commander, Ērān-spāhbed, who acted as the minister of defense, empowered to conduct peace negotiations; he usually came from one of the great noble families and was counted as a counselor of the Great King (Christensen, Iran Sass., pp. 130f.). Along with the revival of “heroic” names in the middle of the Sasanian period, an anachronistic title, artēštārān sālār (q.v., Greek rendering adrastadaran salanes: Procopius 1.6. 18) was coined to designate a generalissimo with extraordinary authority, but this was soon abandoned when Anōšīravān abolished the office of Ērān-spāhbed and replaced it with those of the four marshals (spāhbed) of the empire, each of whom was the military authority in one quarter of the realm (Christensen, op. cit., pp. 131, 370). Other senior officials connected with the army were: Ērān-ambāragbed “minister of the magazines of empire,” responsible for the arms and armaments of warriors (ibid., pp. 107-108); the marzbāns “margraves”—rulers of important border provinces (ibid., pp. 102, 108, 371ff.; 518ff.); kanārang—evidently a hereditary title of the ruler of Ṭūs (ibid., pp. 108, 351, 507); gund-sālār “general” (ibid., p. 210); paygān-sālār “commander of the infantry” (ibid.); and puštigbān-sālār “commander of the royal guard” (ibid.).

Late Sassanian sword from Dailaman, northern Iran (Picture source: Farrokh, page 222, Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War-Персы: Армия великих царей-سایه‌های صحرا-).

A good deal of what is known of the Sasanian army dates from the sixth and seventh centuries when, as the results of Anōšīravān’s reforms, four main corps were established; soldiers were enrolled as state officials receiving pay and subsidies as well as arms and horses; and many vulnerable border areas were garrisoned by resettled warlike tribes (ibid., pp. 367ff.). The sources are particularly rich in accounts of the Sasanian art of warfare because there existed a substantial military literature, traces of which are found in the Šāh-nāma, Dēnkard 8.26—an abstract of a chapter of the Sasanian Avesta entitled Artēštārestān “warrior code”—and in the extracts from the Āʾīn-nāma which Ebn Qotayba has preserved in his ʿOyūn al-aḵbār and Inostrantsev has explained in detail (in Journal of the Cama Oriental Institute 7, 1926, pp. 7-52; see also Christensen, op. cit., pp. 215f.).

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

The Artēštārestān was a complete manual for the military: it described in detail the regulations on recruitments, arms and armor, horses and their equipments, trainings, ranks, and pay of the soldiers and provisions for them, gathering military intelligence and taking precaution against surprise attack, qualifications of commanders and their duties in arraying the lines, preserving the lives of their men, safeguarding Iran, rewarding the brave and treating the vanquished (Sanjana’s tr. in Dēnkard, vol. XVI, Bombay, 1917, pp. 6ff.). The Āʾīn-nāma furnished valuable instructions on tactics, strategy and logistics. It enjoined, for instance, that the cavalry should be placed in front, left-handed archers capable of shooting to both sides be positioned on the left wing, which was to remain defensive and be used as support in case of enemy advance, the center be stationed in an elevated place so that its two main parts (i.e., the chief line of cavalry, and the lesser line of infantry behind them) could resist enemy charges more efficiently, and that the men should be so lined up as to have the sun and wind to their back (Inostrantsev, op. cit., pp. 13ff.).

Battles were usually decided by the shock cavalry of the front line charging the opposite ranks with heavy lances while archers gave support by discharging storms of arrows. The center, where the commander-in-chief took his position on a throne under the Drafš-e Kāvīān, was defended by the strongest units. Since the carrying of the shield on the left made a soldier inefficient in using his weapons leftwards, the right was considered the line of attack, each side trying to outflank the enemy from that direction, i.e., at the respective opponent’s left; hence, the left wing was made stronger but assigned a defensive role (ibid., pp. 16ff.; Bivar, op. cit., pp. 289f.). The chief weakness of the Persian army was its lack of endurance in close combat (Ammianus Marcellinus 25.1.18). Another fault was the Persian’s too great a reliance on the presence of their leader: the moment the commander fell or fled his men gave way regardless of the course of action.

[Click to Enlarge] Iranian belt from the Sassanian era found in the Caucasus (Picture source: Farrokh, page 214, Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War-Персы: Армия великих царей-سایه‌های صحرا-Picture printed in text was under the Courtesy of the Institute of Manuscripts, Georgian Academy of Sciences and printed specifically  with the permission of Dr. David Khoupenia) .

During the Sasanian period the ancient tradition of single combat (mard o-mard) developed to a firm code (Christensen, op. cit., p. 216). In 421 Bahrām V opposed a Roman army but accepted the war as lost when his champion in a single contest was slain by a Goth from the Roman side (Johannes Malalas [in B. G. Niebuhr, ed., Hist. Byzant. Scriptores, Bonn, 1831], p. 14a). Such duels are represented on several Sasanian rock-reliefs at Naqš-e Rostam (Schmidt, Persepolis III, pp. 130ff.), and on a famous cameo in Paris depicting Šāpūr I capturing Valerian (R. Ghirshman, Iran 249 B.C.-A.D. 657: The Parthian and Sassanian Dynasties, London, 1962, fig. 195).

Sasanian kings were conscious of their role as military leaders: many took part in battle, and some were killed; the Picture Book of Sasanian Kings showed them as warriors with lance or sword (Ḥamza, pp. 50-54; Moǰmal, pp. 33ff.). Some are credited with writing manuals on archery (Bivar, op. cit., p. 284), and they are known to have kept accounts of their campaigns (e.g., Šāpūr’s inscription on the Kaʿba-ye Zardošt, and cf. Ebrāhīm b. Moḥammad Bayhaqī, al-Moḥāsen wa’l-mosāwī, ed. F. Schwally, Giessen, 1902, p. 481: “When Ḵosrow Parvēz concluded his wars with Bahrām-e Čūbīna and consolidated his rule over the empire, he ordered his secretary to write down an account of those wars and related events in full, from the beginning to the end”).

Remains of the Archway of Ctesiphon, capital of the Sasanian Empire (224-651 AD). Picture and caption from Kaveh Farrokh’’s lectures at the University of British Columbia’s Continuing Studies Division and were also presented at Stanford University’s WAIS 2006 Critical World Problems Conference Presentations on July 30-31, 2006).

While heavy cavalry proved efficient against Roman armies, it was too slow and regimentalized to act with full force against agile and unpredictable light-armed cavalry and rapid foot archers; the Persians who in the early seventh century conquered Egypt and Asia Minor lost decisive battles a generation later when nimble, lightly armed Arabs accustomed to skirmishes and desert warfare attacked them. Hired light-armed Arab or East Iranian mercenaries could have served them much better.

[Click to Enlarge] Map of the Sassanian and Roman campaigns of the 6th century  CE (Picture source: Farrokh, page 233, Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War-Персы: Армия великих царей-سایه‌های صحرا-). The end result of the ensuing long and devastating Romano-Sassanian wars of the early 7th century CE was the creation of a military vacuum which was to be adeptly expolited by the Arabo-Islamic invasion forces of the newly established Caliphate in Arabia. 

Dr. Armen M. Ayvazyan’s New Text on Armenian Military History

Dr. Armen M. Ayvazyan (Aivazian) has written an excellent military history text entitled:

The Armenian Military in the Byzantine Empire: Conflict and alliance under Justinian and Maurice  – see also Flyer in pdf (click here…)

ISBN : 978-2-9173-2939-9

128 pages, 15x21cm,

With full colour battlefield map 21x27cm

Price: € 14,50 / $19,95

Language : English

Release date: June 22, 2012

The foreword of the text has been written by Dr. Ilkka Syvanne, Vice Chairman for the Finnish Society of Byzantine Studies. Below are highlights from Dr. Syvanne’s review:

“When I was asked to write a foreword for this book, I was very pleased to comply becuase there is a definite need for the kind of study Dr. Ayvazyan has written…Dr. Armen Ayzazyan’s…dense study of Byzantine, Armenian and Iranian military relations is a pioneering piece of scholarhsip, indeed capable of triggerring a renewed interest by Western military historians inot the too-often ignored Armenian material. Not coincidentally,  this is one of the author’s stated objectives in his Preface, which represents, in effect, a well-developed investigative draft plan for future students of Armenian military history.”

For the entire foreword by Dr. Ilkka Syvanne, kindly click here… 

CLICK TO ENLARGEA photocopy of a miniature which has been used in Dr. Ayvazyan’s book – the image depcits a military scene from a fourteenth-century Armenian manuscript (source: La Storia di Alessandro il Macedone. Codice armeno miniato del XIV secolo (Venezia, San Lazzaro, 424), a cura di Giusto Traina, con la collaborazione di C. Franco, D. Kouymjian, C. Arslan, Padoue, 2003.)

Dr. Ayvazyan is in fact the author of several monographs, book chapters, and many articles in Armenian and international journals.

Dr. Ayvazyan is the Director of the “Ararat” Center for Strategic Research and Senior Researcher in the Matenadaran, the Yerevan Institute of Medieval Manuscripts. He holds doctoral degrees in History (1992) and Political Science (2004).  For more information on Dr. Armen M. Ayvazyan and his accomplishments, kindly consult his official website (click here…)

Dr. Armen Ayvazyan in Lyons, France. He was a recipient of an International Security Studies grant provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, working in affiliation with the Program on the Analysis and Resolution of Conflicts, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University (1995). During the 1997-1998 academic year, he was a Visiting Senior Fulbright Scholar, affiliated with the Center for Russian and East European Studies, Stanford University, USA. He was a Visiting Alexander S. Onassis Foundation Fellow at ELIAMEP, Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (2000-2001, Athens).

Dr. Ayvazyan’s recent textbook on Armenian military history has also referred to Kaveh Farrokh’s first text entitled Sassanian Elite Cavalry AD 224-651 –اسواران ساسانی in reference to the importance and honor granted by the Sassanian dynasty’s military to Armenian knights in the prestigious ranks of the Sassanian elite knights or Savaran (or Asvaran).

CLICK TO ENLARGE- The court of Khosrow II in the early 7th century AD. From left to right – Guiw Nobleman, Queen Shireen, Khosrow II “Parveez” and the legendary Sassanian general from Armenia, Smbat Bagratuni. The latter defeated a massive Turco-Hun force from Central Asia in 619 AD – he then drove the remnants of the invaders back into the depths of Central Asia. Bagratuni achieved this success just as General Shahrbaraz was invading Egypt in that same year (619 AD) (for more information consult: pp. 255-257, Farrokh, –سایه‌های صحرا-Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War-Персы: Армия великих царей, 2007;  pp.53-54, Farrokh, Elite Sassanina Cavalry, 2005). Picture source: Farrokh, Plate G, -اسواران ساسانی- Elite Sassanian cavalry, 2005.

 

Dr. Manouchehr M. Khorasani: Traditional Iranian Martial Arts

 

Dr. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani, the world’s leading expert on the history of Iranian and Oriental arms. armour, firearms and traditional Iranian martial arts.See for example Dr. Khorasani’s lecture at M.I.T. on Iranian arms and armor from the Bronze age to the Qajar era. For more information on Dr. Khorasani’s works, consult his list of publications.

Note that Dr. Khorasani is the only person to have obtained two awards of academic merit in the field of Iranian Studies – he won the Book the Year Award in 2009 and well as the Book of the year Award in 2012. Dr. Khorasani’s first book (recipient of the 2009 award), Arms & Armor from Iran: The Bronze Age to the End of the Qajar Period is also unique in that it is the first textbook of its kind to provide an exhaustive and detailed compendium on the history, development, description and analysis of Iranian arms and armor from the bronze age to the Qajar era.

Dt. Khorasani “Lexicon of Atms and Armor from Iran (which won the 2012 award) is the first academic book ever to be written on the lexicon and terminology of Iranian arms and warfare.

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

   

The pictures seen below will appear in Dr Khorasani’s upcoming text:  “Persian Archery and Swordsmanship: Traditional Martial Arts of Iran” .

 

[Click to Enlarge] Historical weapons of Iran (kard, khanjar, separ, gorz, tabar, neyze, akenakes, shamsher sasani, qame, qaddare, ir va kaman, pishqabz/deshne): part of the upcoming book by Dr Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani “Persian Archery and Swordsmanship: Traditional Martial Arts of Iran” to be published soon

[Click to Enlarge] Koshti jangi (war wrestling) part of the upcoming book by Dr Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani “Persian Archery and Swordsmanship: Traditional Martial Arts of Iran” to be published soon.

 

[Click to Enlarge]  Traditional workouts from the Zoorkhaneh (lit. House of Power) along with traditional Iranian martial arts and archery techniques. Dr. Khorasani has done much to restore and revive traditional Iranian martial arts.

 

[Click to Enlarge]Razmafsar

 

[Click to Enlarge]War wrestling (koshti-ye jangi). 

 

[Click to Enlarge]War wrestling (koshti-ye jangi)

[Click to Enlarge]Razmafzar: Persian swordsmanship and traditional martial arts of Iran

[Click to Enlarge]  Razmafzar, Dr. Khorasani’s project of reviving Persian/Iranian martial arts and swordsmanship is going very well. Now he has also our constitution (asasnameh) defining all steps and levels with names and techniques

[Click to Enlarge]Razmafzar: A Persian Fighting Art based on Persian manuscripts