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July 21, 2004

A Brief History of the Iranics - Part I
Guest Author: Eswin Oakman

Tomb of Cyrus
Introduction

It is known to historians and the linguists that the Persians (old Persian "Parsa"), belong to the Iranic branch of the Indo-Iranic subgroup of the Indo-European language family, and were the culturally dominating tribe in the Iranian plateau. The Indo-Iranics called themselves "Aryans" from the old Iranic "Airyau", but because of a misconception due to some scholars (starting with Friedrich Schlegel) and the later political implications associated with the word Aryan, this word is no longer in scholarly use and the majority of linguists and historians prefer the term Indo-Iranic. Let us start by reviewing some facts about the relationships of the Indo-Iranics to other Indo-European tribes.

It is widely believed in error that the Indo-Iranics were culturally very similar and closely related to the Celts. A reason, for this misconception is the similarity between the very names of "Iran" and "Ireland". Linguistically, the resemblance between the words Iran and Ireland is coincidental, as Iran comes from the Iranic "Airyanam Vaeja" meaning "of the Aryan land", "Ireland" stems from the Celtic "Iwer-ion" meaning "fertile land".

All cultural connections that exist between the Celts and the Indo-Iranics come from the time span, roughly (300-200 B.C.E to maybe 200-300 A.C.E), when the Celts were the next-door neighbors of the Iranic Scythians, who at that time dwelled in eastern or central Europe and Anatolia. The Scythians were the various Iranic tribes living to the north of Caspian Sea, in Ukraine, and in the steppes of Central Asia. Their Persian relatives knew them as the "Saka" or "Sak". This is an oversimplification, as there were indeed various Iranic tribes that lived in the vast area mentioned before and it is quite likely that these tribes were not more related to each other than the Persians were related to Sakas. It is evident that the Celts got a lot of cultural influence from the Scythians, but the similarities between the two cultures are historically recent. We mention finally that the people closest related to the Celts, linguistically and culturally, were the Indo-European Italics.

The fact is that: There were no Indo-European people closer to the Indo-Iranics than the northern European Baltic people i.e. the Lithuanians, the Latvians and the Prussians. They share almost all of the cultural traits of ancient Iranics (Fires, Equinoxes etc.). The second closest to the Indo-Iranics (linguistically and culturally) were the Slavic Indo-Europeans. There are some connections to the Germanic Indo-Europeans also. Among the Iranic tribes, some extinct and some still around, the most well known are, the Medes, Scythians (e.g. Sakas, Parthians), Persians, Sarmatians (e.g. Alans, Ossetians, the Roxolanis), Bactrians, Sogdians, Kushans, Tajiks, Pashtons, Balochis, and Kaferistanis (Nuristanis nowadays). Some of these tribes might have been a subgroup of the other ones. All of these people shared many common linguistic, cultural, and religious traits such as a passion for horses and natural elements such as the sun, the fire, and the water. While many of them were warlike, they were mostly nomadic and isolated groups, and the urbanization through agriculture came later, and in some cases many of these people still keep the nomadic life styles.

Curiously, many use the word Persian as a synonym for Iranic or Iranian. Strictly speaking the Persians (from old Persian "Parsa") were just an Iranic tribe that settled in the centre and South of what is now Iran. According to some historians, the Persian tribe in turn contained a few smaller tribes, like the Pasargadae, the Maraphii and the Maspii. This is again by far not the complete picture of the Persian sub-tribes. In the south the Persians were not alone, as they had or eventually got some other Iranic neighbors e.g. Scythians and perhaps even some Sogdians and Pashtons.

Persians managed to create the very first Indo-European global empire which was the vastest at that time. In a separate post, we shall discuss more about the Persians in particular, and their contribution to the Iranic culture.

Eswin Oakman von Falkenhausen was born an orphan from a German, British, and Iranian background in 1971. He was raised in Iran and spent most of his childhood in North of Tehran. He later studied history in political science in England and is currently residing in Canada.

Comments
Fereshteh at July 21, 2004 04:53 PM [permalink]:

Hi Eswin,
Thanks for bringing up this topic. I have a question for you which might not be very related to persians. Please tell me if Azeri people living in Iran and Azerbayjan have the same origin with the tribes you've indicated as Indo-Iranics. Is it true that Azaris have different roots from turkish people living in turkey? You may guess that an Azrai Iranian can be more curious about this!

Eswin at July 21, 2004 07:04 PM [permalink]:
This is going to be as long as a post, but I felt compelled to respond. Fereshteh (a very Iranik name indeed): I appreciate your encouraging comments and the question. First of all, allow me to attach a disclaimer that such studies are like detective work and much of the evidence is a combination of archaeological artefact tracing, linguistic studies, and cross-examination of old histories. As new evidence is found, we have to revise these findings, but for one thing the present governmetn of Iran has shown no interest in such issues and as a result the study of ancient Iranik languages and extensive archeological studies have been weakened, if not put on hold, in this area for the past 25 years. The short response is that a majority of our today Azeris are indeed the descendents of Median (Maads), Sythians, and Parthians. One should not exaggerate the impact of the Arab and/or Turkic invasions between 7th and 9th centuries as these people largely passed by, and they were not as many as the Iraniks who lived in the Zagros mountain areas and the ancient Plains of the Magi (Magi is the Latin plural of Magus, from Moghan is from Mogh, spiritual man/leader, I will explain more a bit more later). Indeed, Mathikan and other ancient Persian sources suggest that more than a million people lived in North-western Iran, and that is why this area was the fertile land of the Iranik resistance against the Arab occupiers (different histories on Babak's rebellion, which was a follow-up of another great Athurpatkan leader-Javedan, provide more detailed information that these people spoke Middle Persian). Ancient Athurpatkan was Front Line province against the Roman invasion. The present modern Dashteh Moghan, the Plains of the Magi, shows the significance of this province for the Parthians and Sassanids. The term Magi is from Mogh, which was transmitted to Western European languages through Latin. The ancient name of Azerbaijan is Athurpatkanaah. Azerbaijan, before the Arab Muslim occupation of Iran, was a land that hosted a mixture of Scythian, Parthians, and Median tribes. Although these tribes were in coexistence, they were related through matrimonial alliances. For example, Mandanaa, Cyrus's mother was Median. Medians are the ancestors of the Kurds of today. From the spread of the Kurdish people today, it is clear that Athrurpatkannaa was a much larger province. Hence, the Medians were the dominant and oldest peoples of this area, by this time, end of the Sassanid period. Athurpaat, according to some historians, was the name of a Parthian tribe whose leader Athurpat was a great General. However, since the Sassanids destroyed almost everything that was Parthian, many available historical sources cite that the Chief Zoroastrian Magi under Shahpour was called Athurpat (the Guardian of Fire). Much of the linguistic changes of Athurpatkaan seem to have happened under the Seljuk dynasty as their capital was in Athurpatkan and they moved their respective allied tribes to the region and began to change the population fabric of the region. However, I should emphasize that the Turkic speaking people were already the result of a much more ancient mixing between Scythian and Parthian Iraniks of Central Asia with Mongol-Altaic tribes. The type of Parthian bow is indeed an Altaic invention. Hence, the Turks that came to Iran were already carrying with themselves the Mythologies of Shahanaame, as the descendents of Afrasiab, or the heroes of Toora ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Fereshteh at July 21, 2004 08:59 PM [permalink]:

Eswin,
I am completely impressed by your knowledge about the history of Iraniks. I do really appreciate your effort to clear me about this matter. Now I got the idea what my roots are coming from. Quite interesting and fascinating!
P.S. Of course I read all of it and I enjoyed every bit of it.
Thanks a lot cousin:-)Sagolasan!

An Iranian Student (AIS) at July 22, 2004 03:07 AM [permalink]:

That was avery informative article Eswin, thanks.
One question on my part. First of all I didn't know that Sarmatians were related to Iranic tribes. (or that any such people existed at all!)

It is quite some coincidence but I just saw the film "King Arthur" (it was a well made interesting film) which tries to depict a possible choice for the historical origin of the Arthurian legend, based on current archealogical theories.
In the film the origin of the Nights of the Round Table (except Arthur himself) are (pagan) Sarmatians who fought for the Roman Empire.
Do you know anything about any such connection?

Some links:
Movie's official webpage
Insomnia preview of "King Arthur"

Here are also some scholarly articles about the possible Sarmatian link to Arthur:
Sarmatian-Magyar connection and the Holy Grail
From Scythia to Camelot
Lucius Artorius Castus

Mohammad at July 22, 2004 11:35 AM [permalink]:

Dear Eswin,

Thank you very much for openning this debate. I have some comments:
1. By the time of Parthian and Sassanid kings, the majority of Iranian people were settled, as urban trades people or as rural peasents. Using the term "tribe" may not be a very accurate choice for settled people, as this term is usually used for nomads.
2. I also add another factor to linguistic substitution during Mongol rule and later principalities: nomads produce high value added food stuffs (diary products, meat, ...) and two important commodities, wool and raw hide. Compared to these products, peasants produce lower valued food stuffs (veggies and grains). In the exchange (say barter), the nomads have two advantages: military power (by being organized in tribes) and more expensive goods. The peasants may learn very fast to immitate their language to get inside information, and also appear as an insider. A couple of generations and you have language substitution.
3. I think King Arthur's Sarmatian link is pretty weak. Roman client auxilliaries were an important (but not overwhelming) component in late Roman imperial army. But most of them were recruited from Germanic tribes. Moreover, they were usually deployed in an area close to their ancestral lands (they were a police force in essence).

Mohammad at July 22, 2004 11:39 AM [permalink]:

The anti-Iranian angle in some of the political rhetoric heard now a days, is relatively new. It would be nice to discuss it in detail. To be very nice, this rhetoric lacks intellectual foundations. You have to play fast and loose with historical, political, economic, and social facts to reach the type of conclusions that some of these people put forth.

Eswin at July 22, 2004 03:19 PM [permalink]:

Dear all,

As you all see, I have been on the Internet for too long for the past 48 hours.

I will gradually respond to the questions by the weekned. But please wait for the second and third posts to come. Because they may include some answers to your questions.

Fereshteh, I will have my respond to you more substantiated soon, but you will find the second post interesting.

AIS, there were people called Sarmatians and they are Iranics, I will get back to you on that soon.

Mohammad, your point about Roman recruiting practices is correct, however, you may be interested to know that Marcus Aurelius captured 5400 Sarmatians in the Marcomanic war, and indeed sent them to Britain. The more interesting issue that shows you already know something about the topic, which is very encouraging and I am very happy for your, is that they were captured in Germany because they were allies of the Germanic Marcomans and the Quadis.

As you know nomadic peoples move fast... and on your other points I have more extensive response concerning the linguistic change in Athurpatkaanaa.

For Divas (Tiwaz) Sake Don't Miss It!

AliS in Wonderland at July 22, 2004 05:45 PM [permalink]:

Freshteh read "Ya Zaban Bastan Azarbaygan: Azari : Or the National Language of Azarbaijan" you'll find the answer to some parts of your question there.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0936347317/qid=1090532658/sr=8-3/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i3_xgl14/002-7542259-3065648?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

An Iranian Student (AIS) at July 22, 2004 11:52 PM [permalink]:

I'm waiting for your subsequent articles.
I have another question as well. Were the Khazars also related to Scythians or other Iranic people?

Mohammad at July 23, 2004 09:07 AM [permalink]:

I think I can answer the Khazar question.
Strictly speaking, Khazars were a Turkic people (their language was related to Chuvash language spoken in parts of Russian Federation today). It is quite possible that when they conquared the Northern parts of Caucasus and Volga region, they absorbed what remained of Scythian and Sarmatian population by that time. Archeological and historical evidence points to the fact that Khazar kingdom was indeed a confederation of many people and tribes. It included proto-Hungarians, Bulgars, Crimean Goths, Osetians, Slavs, and numerous Turkic tribes.
But Khazars, as the ruling clan, were Turkic, not Iranic. There were intermarriages (especially between Byzantine and Khazar royal families) and Khazars sacked Azarbaijan several times and naturally enslaved many people, including women. But the culture and the government followed Turkic patterns, not Iranic.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at July 23, 2004 11:04 PM [permalink]:

Thanks Mohammad for the info. What still is unclear to me is who teh Turkic tribes were accurately. I know they are from the east, the anatoly(?) mountains and related to Mongolians... but not accuaretly enough. For example what is the relation between turkic people and the Chinese or Koreans or Japanese?
I'd appreciate any information there.

yahya at July 23, 2004 11:13 PM [permalink]:

The claim of connections of Iranians to other Indo-European tribes is largely misleading. The loose linguistic connections do not amount to much and have almost no relevance to today's realities of Iran.

I think Iranians need to reconsider what they are going to tell their children as their history. Iran's history has to be written by focusing on where Iran is now and who lives in it (farss, turks, kurds, arabs...). With no force to conform Turks or Kurds to some sort of Aryan tribes who went disarray or changed their language. Iranians today have a strong sense of nationhood and an ethno-centric history can only be source of a problem. Under what I suggest, Iranians can still celebrate the cultural influence of "Aryans", Turks, and Arabs. This new paradigm can also remove racism among some Iranians against Arabs and Turks and bring more security for Iran by helping improving its relation with its neighbors.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at July 24, 2004 02:00 PM [permalink]:

Excuse me but what is this thing with racism now? Is this the new trend? Neither Iranian, scythian, arab, turk, or this mythical 'aryan' are a 'race'.
Neither can Iranians be called racist. Religious yes, a bit too much, but racist I don't accept. Just because there are jokes around or similar trivialities doesn't mean anything. All other people have that as well. If you want Racism see what Arabs are doing in Sudan. I ask you or any other to give ONE instanc eof such a behaviour by Iranians based on 'racial' or 'ethnic' grounds.

The thing about Sarmatians in these theories (and since I have no background knowledge I don't know how reliable they arer...they seem to be quite controversial) that interested me was the shared mythology. Mythology of course is still very present, in more subtle and indirect ways and is an integral part of each culture.

Marco Ferreri at July 24, 2004 02:24 PM [permalink]:

AIS, search for "khazar" on freethoughts website from the main page.

Mohammad at July 24, 2004 03:19 PM [permalink]:

Dear AIS,

Again, I can give you some leads, but not a whole history here:
Turkic languages are related to Korean, Mongol, Yatut, and Tunguz languages of Noethern Asia and Siberia. They are "linguistically", but not "racially" related to Ural-Altaic family of lnguages. Some turkic speaking people have clear Far Eastern features (Turkmens, Kirgiz, Bashkir, and Kazakhs) and some share mediterranean features (Turks of Turkey, Azaris, Turks of Balkans). It is a common mistake to mix linguistic differences with racial background.
For example, we do not have anything called Turkish, Arab or Iranian "race", but we have the aforementioned languages. Linguistic distinction may (or may not) cause cultural distinction.
What we call Turkish tribes, were the people that at some time or other were members of Oguz confederation. This confederation of tribes (12 tribes) used to live on the far side of river Oxus in Central Asia by 7th or 8th century AD. During the time of Islamic conquest, after converting to Islam (around 9 and 10th centuries AD)they moved to the southern banks of Oxus and then they spread to central Asia, Iran and later to Turkey (they conquared the Anatolian lands from Byzantines). Ghaznavids and Saljuk dynasties belonged to these people. If you have further questions, we can correspond personally, off list.

Mohammad at July 24, 2004 03:19 PM [permalink]:

Dear AIS,

Again, I can give you some leads, but not a whole history here:
Turkic languages are related to Korean, Mongol, Yatut, and Tunguz languages of Noethern Asia and Siberia. They are "linguistically", but not "racially" related to Ural-Altaic family of lnguages. Some turkic speaking people have clear Far Eastern features (Turkmens, Kirgiz, Bashkir, and Kazakhs) and some share mediterranean features (Turks of Turkey, Azaris, Turks of Balkans). It is a common mistake to mix linguistic differences with racial background.
For example, we do not have anything called Turkish, Arab or Iranian "race", but we have the aforementioned languages. Linguistic distinction may (or may not) cause cultural distinction.
What we call Turkish tribes, were the people that at some time or other were members of Oguz confederation. This confederation of tribes (12 tribes) used to live on the far side of river Oxus in Central Asia by 7th or 8th century AD. During the time of Islamic conquest, after converting to Islam (around 9 and 10th centuries AD)they moved to the southern banks of Oxus and then they spread to central Asia, Iran and later to Turkey (they conquared the Anatolian lands from Byzantines). Ghaznavids and Saljuk dynasties belonged to these people. If you have further questions, we can correspond personally, off list.

occasional visitor at July 24, 2004 03:23 PM [permalink]:

any volunteer for writing the letter, dear
activists? (hope you remember from elementary school litrature that "do sad gofte con nim kerdaar nist"!)

Mohammad at July 24, 2004 03:33 PM [permalink]:

Regarding Mr Yahya's comments, I really do not get the point. Over 75% of people living in Iran today, speak an Indo-European language. They also have mediterranean (or caucasian) features.
I do not understand how you claim that linguistic links between Iranians and other Indo-Europeans are "loose" since Iranian languages are one of the main branches of this linguistic tree.
Also, as far as I know Iran has always been where it is now (moving land around is rather tough you see), so what do you mean by rewriting the history with regard to wre Iran is now?
Kurds are a Indo-European people and their language is the second major Iranic language after Persian.
No one has ever tried to consider Turkish as Indo-European. Probably what you are refering to is the debate about languages spoken in Eastern Anatoly, Arran, and Azarbaijan before predominance of Turkic dialects. It is a linguistic debate and has nothing to do with recism.
Regarding Persian-Arab distrust, it is an offshoot of political and historical developments dating back quite a bit of time, and re enforced by Arab nationalism in 1960s to present. I think you should refocus your proposal.

Jahan at July 24, 2004 03:46 PM [permalink]:

Yahya- I could have not disagreed more with your views on the Iranian history. History, by definition, is the study of past eras. It makes absolutely no sense to focus on present social climate and work the history backwards (unless one wants to forge history!), with the excuse of political correctness. Just because some take advantage of racial and ethnic differences among people for idealogic and/or political causes, that does not mean studying the origin of various ethnicities is a harmful act. Should we condemn physics for leading to the development of nuclear weapons and abandon research in nuclear physics altogether in a similar fashion??

Universities and research institutions spend billions to investigate the origin of life, evolution and biologic diversity, mainly to understand where we, as the human species, have come from? What is wrong with learning the origin of various cultures and civilizations? We Iranians as a nation should be ashamed of ourselves for sitting on our bottoms, waiting for western scholars to come over and find out where our ancestors come from, how they lived or what language they spoke (let alone criticising them for doing it!!!).

An Iranian Student (AIS) at July 24, 2004 04:09 PM [permalink]:

Thanks Mohammad for all the information. I have to admit that I know very little of these parts of history, a defection that I am very eager to remove as much as possible.
If I come by any more questions I will definitely email you about it. :)

Marco,

I know of the article by Kaveh on a post-modern 'dictionary' on Khazars. (I actually commented on some of the comments there)
But thanks anyway for taking the time and informing me about it.

yahya at July 24, 2004 04:49 PM [permalink]:

Simply, there is no biological support that Iranians are any different from other Middle Eastern groups. There is also no evidence for any major migration of
Aryans to Iran. So whatever we have merely some linguistic and cultural influences. But what is actually happening, people take that influence as proof for where Iranians came from.

What I am suggesting is that let's drop this crap about where Iranians came from because it is irrelant to the realities on the ground (many ethnic groups in Iran who do not what to call themselves Persians such as Azeri and Kurd). Then let's appreciate the cultural diversity and claim all of it as what makes us Iranians.

Iranian culture today is a mixture of old-Zorostians, Arabs, Turks, Babylonians(yes babylonians because of what is called Persian Newyear).

In answer to Jahan, I am not claiming to forging the history. In fact, I am claiming that Pahlavi dynasty made people believe these crazy stuff about Iranians being Aryans with little historical support for it. What I would like to see is a history written which has a focus on all the major ethnicities in Iran.

Arash Jalali at July 24, 2004 05:05 PM [permalink]:

There is a history professor, who if I am not mistaken is a Tehran University faculty member, by the name of Mr.Nasser Poorpiraar. He has a series of books titled "Twelve Centuries of Silence". The title I believe has been chosen to contrast the "Two Centuries of Silence" by Mr.Zarrinkoub.

In the first volume, which is about the Achaemenids, the author criticizes the popular conception about the Aryans. He argues that whatever information we have about the Aryans, and the Acheminids being a great tribe rising to build one of the greatest empires throughout the history of mankind, is based on the falsified and/or inaccurate information taken from unreliable sources such as the inscriptions on tablets made by the Achaeminid kings themselves, or the narratives written by the delusional and phoney Greek historian Herodotus, who Mr.Poorpiraar claims was under the payroll of the Achaemenids themselves at the time. He also demonstrates the discrepancies and contradictions in the literature regarding the origins and peculiarities of the Aryans.

I am of course totally out of my league when it comes to history but his critical arguments seemed quite scholarly and worthy of attention to me. However, to the best of my knowledge, his critique has not yet been responded to by any of the members of the academia.

The only thing that makes one feel suspicious about him, is that after making those criticisms which mostly seem to be quite valid, he then proposes this rather bizarre consipiracy theory that all these apparent mistakes and misinformation is not conincidental, and that there is a great conspiracy behind it perpetrated by the Jews.

I wonder if anyone here has any familiarity with his work, and/or the gentleman himself.

an Iranic at July 24, 2004 05:38 PM [permalink]:

Thank God that we have the Jews to blame everything on them :)
Imagine how tasteless life would have been if we didn’t have them ;)
Arash, sometimes people don't respond because they don't find the remarks worth of wasting their breath. I don't know the person whom you mentioned but I can imagine that there are times in life that you have to choose your fights.

Kaveh Kh. at July 24, 2004 06:05 PM [permalink]:

I have heard about that theory too. There was an article published about it in, well, Keyhan, the conservative fundamentalist newspaper in Iran.

The conflicting interests in review/revising this part of our history seem to have brought such exotic ideas into actual written discourse.

Mehdi, Pahlavis had of course their own interest in these matters, but you may want to know about certain genetic studies reported for example here:

http://hpgl.stanford.edu/index.html

It happens to be at your current workplace, so why don't you just go and ask them about it :)

Eswin at July 24, 2004 06:06 PM [permalink]:
Yahya, (please read these lines while listening to the 2nd Movement of the Ninth Symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven): Your Ambivalence to the High-value of Yahya, (please read these lines while listening to the 2nd Movement of the Ninth Symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven): Your Ambivalence to the High-value of Your Ancestors' history, does not mean that we have to begin a campaign of building cultural death camps to destroy whatever that is non-Iranic and build a pure Iranic culture (however romantic the idea might be in the eyes of some people like Oos Yaghoob Yazid Nazi Abadi!). I suppose your human good will motivated your assumption of the common background of all Iranians, and I appreciate that, but in fact, Iranians of today do not share the same history. However, you are totally ignoring the vast amount of research both inside and outside of Iran that has been done in the past 100 years. The people responsible for the main bulk of the research have no ‘immediate’ genetic connection to Iran (Germans, English, Scandinavian, and Scottish and Americans). The scholars (also Iranian) have unanimously concluded that Iranics originated from the Indo-European speaking tribes, and migrated to Iran, India, and Anatolia, in different waves, starting from roughly 2 500 B.C. This is relatively recent. Thus, the point of this post and the incoming ones is that Iranics have shown the ability to coexist with other people: 1) Through Remaining Iranic first as conquerors, and second, as the conquered, in a way which has no parallel in the history of the world. 2) Through establishing matrimonial alliances with non-Iranic people, without losing their cosmopolitan Iranic cultural identity. 3) Through assimilation of the cultures which were initially alien to them, without building death camps. Of course, you may like to conceive yourself simply just as a human being, which is a homosapiens sapiens. In my view, you will have the ultimate ability of establishing an earth nationalism that finds a close kinship with chimpanzees and orang-utans, as well as all the dolphins and rodents, particularly squirrels. The green identity more comprehensively unites us all as we share one origin. In fact, our shared ancestral creature looked more like a frog, and that should be the starting point to stop the present calamities and catastrophes on the Earth "Today"! As you see however, you will have to go back at least 250,000,000 years to understand the relationship between us and "THE REST" of this planet in order to be a good 'person' if not a good advanced ape. Iranics, however, and this one of the main purposes of this post and the incoming ones, had a great deal of respect for this common earthly identity, although I think they would not like to know that they could be part squirrel. Historians agree that nomadic people of the Russian steppes managed to spread over Eurasia, bringing along their Indo-European language and culture (including many naturist cultural traits) which were very distinct from that of Egyptians and Mesopotamians. Naturist traditions of Iranic peoples were spread to the Middle East, India, and Europe by these nomadic people, for which we should thank horses too, even if they are more distantly related. There are many things that the Fars and the Kurds and the Arabs and the so-called "Turks" (because I don't know if there is any Turk in the strictest sense of the word living in Iran) have in common. I emphasize tha ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
An Iranian Student (AIS) at July 24, 2004 06:24 PM [permalink]:
Yahya, I can understand how you want to be a universal humanitarian...that's all very fine. Good for you. What I can't understand is why you, and people like you, seem to believe that they can only be like that at the expense of the rich culture of an ancient people. (I hope you still admit that this is an ancient people) "there is no biological support that Iranians are any different from other Middle Eastern groups" Man, you seem horribly mixed up here. WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!! What kind of nonsense is this?! Who the hell is expecting to see BIOLOGICAL differences?!! For the thousandth time, the indo-european, aryan, iranic,turkic,arab, middle eastern, NONE OF THEM IS RACIAL, OK? Give it a rest! "There is also no evidence for any major migration of Aryans to Iran." Oh...really? So where did the languages all come here? They fell from the sky perhaps? How did the very name of 'Iran' came to be used for this region? Where did all the similarities with Indian civilzation come from then? What in gods name have all these linguists and archealogists been doing in the past two centuries?! And what makes YOU such an expert in this matter? What is your problem with investigating the old heritage of a nation. Obviously all the ancient and modern tribes and people of Iran are what constitutes Iran, they all share it. This goes without saying. It is also a fact that the Medes, he Persians and the Parthians (which I persume to be Scythians) were the ones who formed major dynaisties in Iran and that the Persian heritage is the lasting one that encompasses the whole region. So naturally they get a bigger share of the study and focus on Iran' shistory. I don't understand how this is in any way inconsistent with the fact that Iran belongs to all Iranians etc. One more thing. You don't seem to have that much problems when the religious divisions are emphasized, do you? THAT one seems to be just natural eh? Despite the fact that it is the religious seperatism that has done the immense REAL harm in Iran, ever since the late Sassanid fanatics up to this very bastards? You don't seem to mind it a lot when the beloved Shirin Ebadi for example talks ONLY about moslem women, muslim women this, muslim women that, Islam this, Islam and democracy that...what about others? What racial segregation has been done in Iran, including in the time of those 'bad' Pahlavis? No seriously. You speak of racism and such devestating things very lightly my friend. How many 'persian' families in Iran do you know that are unwilling to intermarry with Kurds, Turks etc. as a result of all that 'bad' things that were said about our history?! How many? Now how many seem to be OK with religious minorities? Did you know that Jews, Chrisitians and Zoroastrians couldn't come out in rainy days in those beloved Safavid or Qajar times? Or that their houses should have been lower than muslims, or that converts among them would be legally permitted to steal all the inheritance from all his family? Or while those 'najes' dhimmis were paying tribute they had to be slapped in the face or humiliated? Should I go on? Yet when the likes of our Action-heroine constantly denegrate Iran to mulsim and Islam, you people seem to rather like that eh? You don't even seem to notice that such a thing is being implied all the time in such talks, or that of reformist buffoons like Khatami or Shamsolvaezin, callin himslef shamelessly an 'Religious intellectual' (religious here of course me ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
An Iranian Student (AIS) at July 24, 2004 06:51 PM [permalink]:

Arash,

My God, I can't believe what I read here? You think anything that stinking peace of f***ng sh*t garbage filth is even slightly to be taken seriously?!!
He is a Nazi type anti-semite galour, something identical to Julius Streicher and his infamous Stuermer, or to Goebbles and the like, Who not surprisingly cuddles the islamic part of this anti-semtic , anti-iranian fascits islamic system to be able to express his sick fantasies. My best guess, he is a renegade 'Tudeyi' communist...one of the 'tavvabin'.
What he mentione about the Torah/Cyrus/Darius/Achamenid similarities are nothing new.
Neither is the fact that Zorosatrianism is not necessarily the continuation of a certain Zarathustra. Only Gathas is dated as that old. There is even not enough evidence that Zarathustra was an Iranian. Could very well have belonged to another tribe.
What constitues the rest of zoroastriansim can, as far as I know, be traced back only to the Sassanid era.
And the similarities between Judaism and Zorosatrianism, in their ideals, worldview, apocalyptic vision, messianism, concept of a moral God...are too obvious and has always been noted (by real scholars, not the kind of filth as pourpirar.)
So is the absolute almost identical similarity between the creation myth in Bondaheshn and the Mystic Jewish version in Kabala (only one is dualistic and the other absolute monotheistic-Judaism is stil the only absolute monotheistic faith, BTW. Both Chrsistianity and Islam are semi-dualistic with their Devil and Hell)
You want more? The similarity between the story of Noah and Fereydoon. The constant parallelism between Jamshid and Solomon (and Cyrus/Darius...including takhte Jamshid for Persepolis...or the fact that Cyrus tomb was traditionally known by the natives as the tomb of Solomon or Solomon's mother...the possible connection of Zahak with Babylon and the parallel in the Babylonian exile...need I go on?)
After all we are all people of the same region and ever since Cyrus THE GREAT, there has been a lot of interwining between the two people. The temple, the refusal of Jews to collaborate with ALexander, the joint ventures of Parthians and Jews against the Seleucid rule, the writing of the Babylonian Talmud....) I myself here have stated that many many times.

Iranian civilisation has always been 'semitic' to use that not so meaningful word. Achamenides adopted Aramaeic as their official lingu afranc...In the same Sassanid era you have Hozvaresh, were words are written in Arameic and read in Persian. (like 'mlk' read as 'shah') that much was the Arameic/Babylonian/Semitic influence always in Iran. Nothing new in that either.

You want to see what a mad hateful psycho 'oqdeyi' that Pourpirar is.
Here is his filthy weblog:
Hagh va Sabr (!!)

Enjoy!
(one example for those who can't read persian: Saddam is a hero middle-eastern warrior against the filthy West ruled by Zionists! You want another one, the word 'Persian' is from the the same root as barking of dogs.)

occasional visitor at July 24, 2004 06:55 PM [permalink]:

After reading this section and the responses to Yahya, I cracked up :)
Sorry I read very quickly, but Yahya did you say that you're a researcher at Stanford and couldn't find any biological evidence?

Mohammad at July 24, 2004 11:47 PM [permalink]:

Dear Friends,

In short: Pour Pirar is not a professor in Tehran University (or any university for that matter). He does not have a degree in any area related to what he writes about. His works (I have read all but the last of them) are idiotic to put it mildly. What confuses me is that seemingly educated people take his works seriously. It also makes me wonder that people who decidedly know very little in certain areas, make sweeping claims in those areas where they know the least. Also, Mr Yahya, Pahlavis did not make claims regarding origins of Iranian peoples, research done by historians did. I think you have your facts wrong.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at July 25, 2004 04:50 AM [permalink]:

Arash,

I'm sorry for using not so appropriate language here. Although I insist that that Pourpirar deserves much worse words to describe him, this website is not the place to use them. It's justy that the degree of degeneracy reaches such lows some time that controling onself in the face of it would need a Herculean effort.
I apologize to everyone for foul language here.

Just to make my main point again, nothing of what might have struck you as though inspiring is new in his 'works' but have laready been and still are researched everywhere and again since besides us the Jews, Armenians and the small minority of Assyrians are the only living cultures of ancient miidle east who have kept the worldview and traditions alive, it is no wonder if we find so mant stratling paralleles between Iranians and Jewish worldview, history, Mysticism and mythology. If other parst of the middle east hadn't lost ther direct contact with their rich histories after the bloodshe and power of the relentless sword of muslim arab barbarians we would definitely have many parallels with Sumerians, Babylonians and Akkadians, Syrians, Phoenicians and Tyrians, Egyptians and so on as well.

eswin at July 25, 2004 06:27 AM [permalink]:

Dear AIS:

I honestly am surprised by your ability to cross-reference and analyze different narratives of history. You are certainly a very well-read person, and I really am hopeful that there are more of you amongst the young generation of Iranic students (if you are of course as young as I think you are).

I am so proud of you! I believe that you and your kind are true Iranics and one of the missing links of the broader of Nordic-Iranic-Allied community.

May the spirits of our ancestors be with you!

Just to let everyone know, the next post will be dedicated to The Secrets of the Iranic Cultural Resilience In Defeat. This will be in short: the Story of "Iranic Rebellion and Persian Resistance under Occupation and Strife".

Arash Jalali at July 26, 2004 04:01 AM [permalink]:
AIS, Thanks for the information. Well as I said, unfortunately, history has never been at the top of my reading list, so what I said about Mr.Pourpirar was merely a statement of the observations made by a less-informed person on history (that being me) in a book that raises doubts about some customarily accepted historical facts; so I think there was no reason for anyone to get emotional. I was just asking for directions and other people's opinions. Now, as I said, my impression of Mr.Pourpirar's book (or at least the volume on the Achaemenids) is rather ambivalent, because I see it as a book that consists of two totally different parts. The first deals with presenting (seemingly) evidence and arguments in support of the doubtfulness of the popular conceptions about Achaemenids. This part, irrespective of who has written it and what their intentions have been, I still find interesting because he raises doubts which I think should be addressed by history scholars, even if, and I dare say especially, if they are not valid. The second part, however, I find rather bizarre and devoid of any scholarly argumentation. The information you kindly provided regarding the similarities between the Iranian and Jewish mythologies, I think is related to claims made in the second part of his book, where he strangely tries to attribute all the alleged inconsistencies to a Jewish led conspiracy! However, what I am more interested in knowing, is what everyone, and especially you (preferrably without getting angry again :-) ), think about his claims of the doubtfulness and/or unreliability of the evidence suggesting the commonly accepted facts on Achaemenians. To a layman in history like me, his suggestion that the information about Cyrus on a tablet made by Cyrus himself cannot be considered reliable, is quite reasonable. Or when he proposes that the history of every nation/tribe/race etc. is highly dependant on the type of terrain, and generally the geographical characteristics of that region, again I find that acceptable. Also, assuming that his quotes and references from books such as that of Girshman's or "The Ancient Iran" by late Mr.Peernia are accurate, the inconsistencies regarding the genealogy of Darius seems plausible. I think many people's attitude towards his work has been shaped and influenced by his strange conspiracy theories, and that has overshadowed whatever he is, correctly or incorrectly, saying about the validity of the historical evidence. That is about which I am interested in knowing other well-informed counter-opinions. And finally one more thing on a more personal and friendly note: I should say I personally don't find Mr.Pourpirar's tone very scholarly and that his arguments are sometimes highly mixed with rhetoric because there is this inherent anger that he does not seem to be able to control. I hope you don't get offended by me saying this, but I sometimes get the same impression from your comments, AIS, in some of which you lose control of your temper. That however, has never made me disregard the truths in your arguments, wherever I am able to see them, but for what it's worth, I think if you set forth your points of view with less passion, not only it won't imply that you believe in them any less that you really do, but the arguements might even strike more people as being correct, not just the ones who already agree with you, but maybe also those who are trying to form an opinion if not also those who disagree with you ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Taghi at October 22, 2004 05:38 PM [permalink]:

It seems this page deals with historical issues concerning Iran and Turk issues in part. I refer all the attendants to a series of hisotrical volumes named: "12 decades of silence" in Farsi written by Naser Purpirar. These works regards history of Iran and the tribes/cultures from a different point of view. I think some of Purpirar's views make us keen to review the existant historical approaches critically again. I hope this can help somebody to find new opinions on the "fairy story" written as the "fair history" of Iran!