Saturday, June 28, 2003

Gate Of All Nations ( Darvaze Mellal)

One of the most fabulous ruins in Iran is Persepolis or Takht-e- Jamshid as we Iranians call it which covers 125.000 squer meter in the province of Fars located in heart of Iran. Persepolis was built in about 500 BC by Achaemenian Kings Darius, Xerxes (khashayar), and their successors. There are no words to describe this beautiful Palace which was later on burnt down by Alexander the not so Great. One of the most interesting features of Persepolis is a gate called the Gate of All Nations, also known as the Gate of Xerxes. The gate contains the figure of a creature with the head of a human, body of a lion, wings of the eagle and the legs of a bull which represent the four signs of the Zodiac and was used as a welcome gesture to all the nations from the four corners of the world, for these constellations covered the four corners of the night sky. The Egyptions had the four sons of Horus the Sun God representing the same idea. Also this gate bears inscriptions in three languages which implies that you should be kind to travelers and must respect other people's cultures, and idea that today the "civilized" first World countries try to imply. This great sense of hospitality is still popular among Persians, infact it is one of their best characters. Another representative of the Persians hospitality is one of the best kept reliefs along the staircases of the Apadana Palace. There are 23 different scenes representative of 23 different countries during the blooseming years of the Achaemenian Empire. The relief shows the way that the representatives of these countries dressed, the weapons they carried and the treasury that they brought from their homelands to please the King of Persia. In a sense you could compare the hospitality of Persians with the way that Homer discribed Greeks in his Odessey.
The Gate of all Nations is one of the most amazing sites I have ever visited. It is at the for front of an even greater monument, the Persepolis. You can visit the pictures I took over the summer!
Perhaps the United Nation should put a replica of the Gate of All Nations at their entrance in New-York.

To see the pictures of the Gate of All Nations reffer to the following links:

Friday, June 27, 2003

The Xerxes Canal

In 480 B.C., King Xerxes,(khashayar), of Persia ordered his men to build a canal a mile and a quarter long through a peninsula in Northern Greece- conceivably one of the biggest engineering assignments of it's time. The canal was critical to Xerxes' plan of invading Greece, a goal that his general, Mardonius, had unsuccessfully attempted 12 years earlier. Mardonius's fleet was destroyed in a storm while sailing around the tip of the peninsula, and Xerxes wanted to avoid a similar setback by building the canal. Xerxes went on to invade Greece, starting a brief period of Persian conquest in Europe. In the 2,500 year since, historians have debated whether the famed canal of Xerxes was really dug all the way from Coast to Coast. Some have doubted its existence, pointing to a rocky plateau that they argue would have made the construction an impossible task for workers of those days. Now, scientists from Britain and Greece have come up with what they say is conclusive evidence that the canal was indeed built. The structure now lies buried and a map has been drawn detailing the canal's dimensions ans courses. The findings confirms the description given in an account by the ancient Greek histiruan Herodotus, which some scholars have long regarded with skepticism.
Buried under centuries of silt and alluvium, the structure is testament to remarkable military strategy, work-force management and civil engineering. It also tells of an eager king who was in such a hurry to conquer the World that he never thought of preserving the canal as a perminent waterway.
Spanning about 100 feet at the surface, the canal was just wide enough for two war galleys to pass. Its sides sloped inward, forming a width of roughly 50 feet at the bottom, about 45 feet below the surface. The construction was as much of a feat of management as it was of engineering. Upon the completion of the canal, the Persian fleet made it safely to the Agean Sea, where it was joined by troops that had taken the land route from the North. The ships sailed on to Greece. Xerxes's soldiers stormed the Coast and advanced deep into Greek territory. They destroyed Athen but eventually lost to Athenians in a battle that ended the Persian's fleeting imperial presence in Europe.
To see the pictures of Xerxes cick on the below links: ( his picture on an ancient coin)
Pictures of Xerxe:

Pictures of Xerxes Channel:

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Persians Influence In Poland

During the reign of King Wagner III in Poland a number of rich persians earned power and even went so far as to rule the country. These noble people were called "Szlakhta". The role that they played was specially evident when they chose Jadwiga, (the second doughter of Loui of Hungry, the husband of Wagner III's sister), to become the Queen of Poland. You see, Wagner III had no children and so when he died the country,(Poland), was left to his sister's husband, Loui Of Hungry who was the King of Hungry and treated Poland as one of his provinces. This is when "Szlakhta" really came in to power. They started to rule the country untill a new Queen was elected. Infact, they were the ones who chose Jadwiga as the Queen of Poland, because they wanted to keep their power and influence.
Even later on, Szlakhtas were involve in important decision makings in ruling the country. Apperently Poland was an interest to both Germany and Russia, so they payed 1 member of the Szlakhta during these elections called "Lebero Veto", which meant that even if the vote of one out of the 100 Szlakhta members was inconsistent with the rest of the votes, the members of the parliament did not pass that constitution. This role of Szlakhta specially played a big part while there was an election in Poland and with their help Germany and Russia were able to devide the country in half. Later on the uprisers pinpointed this problem and tried to take away Szlakhtas power which was successful in the long run.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Did You Know?

*I could proudly claim we Iranians have used the solar calendar ever since we reckoned the need to keep track of our days. While even today there are many cummunities that use a lunar calendar despite the fact that urban and agricultural societies need a solar calendar to be able to function sceintifically. Even Omar Khayam has cited that he used ancient sourses for designing his "Jalali Calendar", which is a more accurate calendar than the "Gregory Calendar" which was designed 200 years after the "Jalali Calendar" and todays Christian calendar is based on it.

*While "Plutarch", a Roman historian-army commander, was traveling in Persian in 700 BCE, he passed through a city called "Hekmatane", (todays Hamedan). In "Hekmatane", he came across a school (university) whome he discribed as to have a head faculty and 100 students. In the school they learned astronomy, medicine, philosophy and mathematics. Very many of the world's greatest scholars and physicians visited them at the university. "Plutarch" mentioned of similar schools in all Iranian cities. If science did not prevail in Iran, then what were these people studying? what happened to that knowledge?

*"Plotinus", a Greek historian who visited Iran in 100 BCE, wrote, "when I was in Iran, they were measuring the radius of the Earth and its curvature". Other refrences to the spherical shape of the Earth can be found in "Yasht's". To measure the Earth's radius you have to be familiar with astronomy and mathematics. This was when the Greeks still assumed that the Earth was a flat land sorrounded by water.

*"Phisaghorous", (Pythogarus) the Greek philosopher and mathematician spent 20 years of his life in Iran and "Babylon", (which was a part of the acient Persian Empire), accurding to his biography. During this time he learned the knowledge of the "Moghan", (Magi). His philosophy of light was under the influence of Persians who believed in spherical Earth rotating around the central Sun. There has also been doubts about the famous theory of right angle triangles. Today, it is a know fact that the theory did not belong to "Pythogarus" but was named after him later on. Towards the end of "Ghajar" era, French archaeologists found some documents in "Elam" which was published in France. Among the findings were 17 cases of the right-angle triangles with different dimensions and calculations similar to those of "Pythogarus". Apparently, they were looking for a single solution and its possible that they found it.

*There is an ancient Greek thesis from somebody named "Paapoos". He cited "Estaans" the Moughan as a naturalist philosopher believing in "self management and self-recycling power of nature provided that humans do not destroy it". This philosophy is still valid and we have to take care of our environment.

*"Oghladous" was an Iranian who was born in Asia Minor and migrated to "Eskandarieh" (Alexandria) to work and never lived in Greece.

*While the Greeks had no progressive calculation and mathematics and nothing to offer in Algebra, Babylonians were using a numaric system and had even invented 0. At this time Greeks used alphabets for numbers. "Araashmidous" the greatest mathematician in ancient Greece, wrote a book to represent a big number, and called it his masterpiece. However, thousands of years before the Greeks, Elamians had a numaric system similar to what we have today.

Monday, June 23, 2003

The Status Of Science In Ancient Iran

Who says we Persians have no Plato, Oghlidous or Apolinious?In my mind I always percieved the vanishment of the discoveries of Iranian scholars as a fault of the persian community and the fact that they dont appriciate what they have and always take it for granted. What is evident though is that our country has been percieved as a golden land, plundered by many qonquerers such as Alexander the Great and Changeez The Moghol whose goal was to destroy the ever growing Persian civilization. You would be surprise to learn some of the famous philosophers whom you might have percieved to be greek were actually persian or the fact that most earned their scholarship through Persian Scientists or philosophers. Arabs alone did serious damege to our Scientific heritge and that is one of the reasons why Persian philosophers like Estans-e- Razi are unknown to the world while an undergraduate student like myself can borow Arsitotle's gatherings at the university library. It has been documanted that when the Arabs invaded Persia they massacred Iranians and confiscated their belongings. All Persian cities were looted repeatedly. They destroyed everything in order to inplant their ideas in peoples minds. For example in "kharazm" they asked for 4000 educated people among the population and beheaded all of them. In "kerman", they asked people to bring their ancient books as a form of tax or else they would be deeply punished. The citizen presented their mathematics and philosophy books in order to save their lives. The same fate repeated with the Mogols attacks. The truth is that there were both scientists and scientific books in ancient Iran, many volumes of which were looted and burnt. Even we burnt many of our books out of fear. This bit of a text and the above "Did You Know?" is dedicated to Professor Fazlollah Reza whom has closed his eyes to realities and the facts and believes that science and philosophy did not existed in the ancient Iran.

Saturday, June 21, 2003

Homer Vs. Ferdousi

Homer and Ferdousi are two of the Epic writers( One from Greece, and the other from Iran), whom occupy a central position in the self-definition of their cultures. These two writers with their brilliant work gave the later ganerations a sense of national and cultural identity in a way that people still refer to them during their daily activities.There are not too many differences in the way that the two writers present their works, they both wrote long poems about the historical events of their countries. What strikes me though is the fact that the two epics by Homer (Illiate and Odessay) have been widely introduced and analyzed in the western world, while Ferdousi's work (Shahname) is unknown to most. This discrimination has nothing to do with Homer's epics being better written, but perhaps by the way that the citizens of each country treat their ancients heritege. In order to write this text I wanted to do some research on the two writers, and my research was clouded by the fact that there is not much writen about Ferousi even on the net. This is while the Homer's epics have been translated to English and even thought in some High Schools in Northern America as a part of their English course. The obvious deffirence between the two writers can be depicted in the fact that Homer's epics are concentrated on only one event and that is the Trojan War and the returning of the noble fighters, (the trojan war my have never happend and the Homer's epics may infact only be a myth), on the other hand Ferdousi's epic holds within it self the true history of Iran, discribing the kings and dynasties one after another including beatiful miniture paintings to describe the scenes.
To read the shahname in farsi visit ===>

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

How Arabs Changed Iran's Fate

I have always been wanting to figure out the reasons for which the lizard eating Arab tribes succeeded in conquering the Persian Empire and forcing them to give up their religion and rituals while they had been standing against the more powerful Roman Empire for all those centuries. Well, in fact, the defeat of the Persian Empire had little to do with the Arab armies being too strong. Arabs moved towards Iran with the purpose of popularizing their new religion, Islam and dystroying Zoroastriasm. At this time Persia was under the influence of Sassanian royal family whom in a little while became extremely weak. "Ghobad II", had killed all the members of the royal family, hence, there where no strong rulers left to role the Empire, (in a pariod of 3 years 10 rulers gained power and got exterminated). To introduce to you the reasons for our loss, I will put them in point forms below:

- the disability of the royal family to perform their duty and to keep the Empire toghether as a result of their conflicts.
- the lose of faith in the Mazdiyasmi religion since it required people to spend a good part of their days performing the rituals and limiting their behaviours accordingly (one of the rituals was to keep everything clean at all times). These somewhat hard to fallow rituals resulted in people getting tired and look for something different.
- the sensetized population of the Western part of the Empire, ( Semitic race whom lived in todays Iraq).
- the unhuman like treatment of the citizens of the Iranian cities by the invaders (Arabs).

There has been many evidances of the harsh treatment of Persians by Arabs when they conquered their cities. Forexample, in "kazeroun", the birth place of "salman-e-Parsi", the invaders beheaded one thousand non-Muslims everyday! How much do u think the over all population of "kazeroun" was in those days to have 1000 people killed everyday? In "kharazm", they band people from speaking Farsi ordering their soldiers to cut off the tongue of anyone who dared to speak Farsi. That is how people of "Kharazm" stopped speaking their mother tongue and the popular "kharazmi" dialect vanished. This is why in Arabic, Iranian people are called "Ajam", meaning mute!

Sunday, June 15, 2003

"We of Iranian background have in our ancient culture elements that rival anything that Greece and Roman has offered to the heritage of man. It would be a shame if a few with a narrow understanding of what a fullbodied culture is succeed in hijacking our chance of proper self discovery and tie our hands with their limited views." Mehr Afzoon


Sometimes I get this feeling that I'm being too nationalist but am I? I dont believe so, because I'm aware of the negetive aspect of the Persian cummunity and i pay attention to little things that can dystroy us. For example, one of the negetive elements in the behavior of a Persian citizin is their way of handeling critisizm. You see, the ultimate goal of critisizm is to reach a unified goal. Persians on the other hand have misunderstood the consept of critisizm. They use this powerful weapon against each other for their own personal benefits. There is a tendecy between us to ignore the points made by our opposition groups!Perhaps a little open mindedness and selfishness could help us all while deciding on important matters!There is an statement by Aristotle which he made in his book published by his son with the name of " NICOMACHEAN ETHICS", i hope that we all learn something from this saying and apply it in our daily lives.
" To criticize a particular subject, a man must have been trained in that subject, to be a good critic generally, he must have had an all-around education.....and it makes no difference whether they are young in years or immature in character: the defect is not a question of time, it is because their life and its various aims are guided by feelings; for to such persons their knowledge is of no use, any more than it is to persons of defective self-restraint." (9, Aristotle)

Continuation To Mithraism

Did You Know:
- the word "Metropolitan", means the city of Mitra or the city of the Sun and was known to mean the capital city!
- the name of the city Milan, Italy comes from the word Mehrayns or Mirans which were the centers of Mithraism in the ancient world.
-the names of the weeks in English have their roots in the Mithraism and the Persian language,
eg: * Mahshid (god of moon), Monday
* Bahramshid (day of TeeVis), Tuesday
* Titshid (the Vedin day), Wednesday
* Berjisshid (Tour day), Thursday
* Nahidshid (god of firtility), Friday
* Keyvanshid (day of Saturn), Saturday
* Mehrshid (day of Sun), Sunday


Have u ever heard the name Mitra before? As Mitra is a popular name among us persians these days, the roots of the name go back as far as 1735BC. In ancient Persia, before the time of the prophet Zarathushtra, the worshiping of the sun god Mithra and of the water goddess Anahita,(the Greeks call her Anitha),was popular among not only persians but all around the world, It was referred to as Mithraism, the life savior and guirdiance of the ppl of pre_christ era. The story of Mithraism somewhat reflects that of the christ. Iranian scholar Dr.Behrooz, in the course of his research has found evidance that supports the existance of a personality claiming to be the Messiah who called himself Mehr or Mithra. Legends about Mehr claim that he was conceived by a young virgin named Anahita or Nahid. It is claimed by the cult that Nahid became empregnated magically while bathing in the waters of Lake Hamun in Sistan. Mithra the god of love represents all the male energies. On the other hand Anahita represents all of the female energies and feminine forces of nature. Like the Yin and Yang of the Tao religion, Mehr and Nahid are depicted inevery fibre of the cosmos, dancing with one another and thereby moving the universe forward towards perfection and immortality. The era of Mithraism continued all the way to the time of Sasanian who strognly favoured Zorastrianism hence destroyed most belongings of the Mithraism in the Persian Empire. A similar fate destroyed Mithraism in the west when the birth of christianity took over Mithraism. The Romans feared being taken over by the Persians and tried to become independent. The Roman Empire was in constant conflict with the Persian Empire becaouse they regarded Iran as the birth place of Mithraism and feared the Persian influences on their idiologies.Consequently, they felt the need for an independent government and that was the base for growth of christianity.
Today u can get a glimce of remainders of Mithraism in "Taghe Boostan" in a cave like cunstruction,, or "fire-temple" in Bishapur in Iran and in Milan, Italy or Basilca of Trajan. Some reminders of Mithraism has even been depicted in the poetry of the famous Persian poet, Hafez.