Painting Persepolis in the 18th Century: Sir Robert Ker Porter’s Travels

Porter gave a glimpse into a region that was largely unknown to most Europeans. Introduction Sir Robert Ker Porter’s accounts of his travels in the Middle East gave a glimpse into a region that was largely unknown to most Europeans. His original watercolours provide a compelling visual source and are both descriptive of their settings and[…]

A Brief History of the Persian Gulf

During the years 550 to 330 B.C.E., the name “Pars Sea” was widely written in the compiled texts when referring to the whole part of the Persian Gulf. Introduction The Persian Gulf is located in Southwest Asia. It is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula. Historically and commonly known as the Persian Gulf, this[…]

A Thousand Years of the Persian Book

Persian gained prominence as a literary language and a lingua franca—a common cultural language—about a thousand years ago. Introduction In the past millennium, a rich and varied written and spoken heritage has developed in the Persian language, elevating the visibility of Persian civilization among world intellectual traditions. That tradition is particularly strong in the fields[…]

A 20th-Century Economic History of Iran

Examining Iran’s economic history pre- and post-revolution. Introduction Prior to 1979, Iran’s economic development was rapid. Traditionally an agricultural society, by the 1970s the country had undergone significant industrialization and economic modernization.[1][2] This pace of growth had slowed dramatically by 1978 as capital flight reached $30 to $40 billion 1980 US dollars just before the revolution.[3] After the Revolution[…]

Science and Technology in Ancient and Medieval Persia (Iran)

Throughout history, Iran was always a cradle of science, contributing to medicine, mathematics, astronomy and philosophy. Introduction Iran has made considerable advances in science and technology through education and training, despite international sanctions in almost all aspects of research during the past 30 years. In recent years, the growth in Iran’s scientific output is reported[…]

Medicine in the Late Medieval and Early Modern Islamic World

In the 17th century, early modern European medical theory had an impact upon Islamic medicine through the writings of the Paracelsians. As the Islamic world became increasingly fragmented, the patronage and accompanying prestige and security enjoyed by the leading physicians declined. Spain was lost, European crusaders made repeated invasions into the central lands, and in[…]

The Mongol Conquest and Rule of Iran, 1219-1370

The Mongol invasion of Iran began in 1219, after two diplomatic missions to Khwarezm sent by Genghis Khan had been massacred. The Mongol Invasion, 1219-1221 The Khwarazmian dynasty only lasted for a few decades, until the arrival of the Mongols. Genghis Khan had unified the Mongols, and under him the Mongol Empire quickly expanded in[…]

Susa, Political Center of Ancient Elam

Susa began as a small village in the Neolithic Age around 7000 BCE. Introduction Susa was one of the oldest cities in the world and part of the site is still inhabited as Shush, Khuzestan Province, Iran. Excavations have uncovered evidence of continual habitation dating back to 4200 BCE but that early community grew from an even older[…]

Safavid Trade during the 17th Century: Iran’s Transit Economy

Analyzing the role that the Safavid economy played within the rapidly developing global economic system. By Connor J. HamelCompetitive Intelligence AnalystAccenture Federal Services Introduction The seventeenth century ushered in a plethora of changes in global trade patterns. These fluctuating trade patterns began to generate nascent economic, political, and social trends the likes of which had[…]

The Safavid Empire, 1501-1736

The empire established Shi’a Islam as Iran’s official religion and united its provinces under a single Iranian sovereignty in the early modern period. Introduction The Safavids (Persian: صفویان) were a native Iranian dynasty from Azarbaijan that ruled from 1501 to 1736, and which established Shi’a Islam as Iran’s official religion and united its provinces under a single Iranian sovereignty in the[…]

The Salt Mine Mummies of Ancient Iran

The “Saltmen of Zanjan” were preserved by a very rare form of natural mummification which had occurred in a salt mine. By Haleh BrooksArchaeologist As a young girl interested in archaeology and history, mummies always intrigued me. From the intricate Egyptian mummies to the naturally and beautifully preserved mummies of the Incas, they seemed to me to be beautiful[…]

Civil Disobedience in Modern Iran: History, Challenges, Prospects for Change

An interview with Mohsen Sazegara, exiled dissident, journalist and writer from Iran. When I sat down with Mohsen Sazegara, exiled dissident, journalist and writer from Iran, to talk about civil resistance in his origin country, I got an unexpected lesson in physics. A former student of mechanical engineering, Sazegara found a way to apply the[…]

The Rise of the Qajar Dynasty in 18th-Century Iran and Its History

Qajars first settled during the Mongol period in the vicinity of Armenia and were among the seven Qizilbash tribes that supported the Safavids. Introduction The Qajar dynasty (also known as Ghajar or Kadjar) is a common term to describe Iran (then known as Persia) under the ruling Qajar royal family[1] that ruled Iran from 1794 to 1925. In 1794, the Qajar[…]

Persepolis: Ancient Ceremonial Capital of the Achaemenid Empire

The earliest remains of Persepolis date back to 515 BCE. It exemplifies the Achaemenid style of architecture. Name The English word Persepolis is derived from Greek Persépolis (Περσέπολις), a compound of Pérsēs (Πέρσης) and pólis (πόλις), meaning “the Persian city” or “the city of the Persians”. To the ancient Persians, the city was known as Pārsa, which is also the word for the region[…]

Darius the Great: Organizing the Achaemenid Empire

Darius was the ruler of a multicultural empire, and he was willing to accept the gods of other ethnic groups. Darius I (Old Persian Dârayavauš) was king of ancient Persia, whose reign lasted from 522 to 486. He seized power after killing king Gaumâta, fought a civil war (described in the Behistun inscription), and was[…]