About Iran History

A journey through time: 7000 B.C.E. to Present day

 

History has always been the greatest teacher of mankind. Going through past civilizations leads us to a more advanced and experienced way in order to achieve our goals. Foundations and principles of those ancient civilizations are the best techniques to conclude a better way of living & basing our future. The origin of human civilizations and agriculture is of course much older than the documentation in the form of inscriptions and bas-reliefs or tombs can tell us. This section is only based on documented history. The research in front of you is the most accurate, up-to-date and scientific document according to the latest archeological and historical discoveries and evidence of the ancient history. This sections contains a summarized historical timeline: A journey through time: 7000 B.C.E. to Present day.

Persia was a power house of academic knowledge in ancient times. They were leaders in astronomy, medicine, mathematics, literature and philosophy. Throughout the millenniums of invasions and conquests, Persians have been tough enough to live through it and repel the invaders. Even during Middle Ages Persia produced the best scholars in the world in all fields of science.

7000 B.C.E. Agricultural Revolution

The Agricultural Revolution made permanent settlements possible and the creation of complex civilizations started. Monumental architecture and more elaborate forms of artistic representation reflect an increasingly differentiated social hierarchy. Forms of administration and recording are developed as cities emerge across the region. The Persian plateau became the cradle of one of the oldest civilizations and Kingdoms in history. In Iran today, there are 1.2 million historical sites, discovered so far, with some 70,000 historical moulds. Our undocumented history goes way back to 9000 B.C.E, buried deep in what is now southwestern Iran.

 

6000 B.C.E. Susiana Civilization

The ancient Shoosh Civilization or in English Susiana Civilization were among the first civilizations to emerge over 8000 years ago in today’s Khoozestan (southwestern Iran). So far this has been reported as one of the oldest civilization in recorded history. By civilization, we mean civilized city government, city state or Kingdom and an advanced state of development in human society, marked by progress in the arts and sciences, the extensive use of writing, and complex political and social institutions. Susians were one of the local Iranian races, before the coming of Aryans into Persia. They were an a non-Semitic Hemitic people (one of the main divisions of the Caucasic family) who had migrated to the Persian plateau in prehistoric times. The location of Susa and its closeness to Mesopotamia was the main reason why these civilizations influenced each other in terms of art and monuments despite their racial differences.

Archeologists were digging in Shoosh since 1897 by Jan Morgan the French Archeologist, all the way until the present day. Dr. Scheil was also another valuable archeologist who dedicated a lot on uncovering the secrets of Susiana based on Geological Layers which the fossils and other material has been found in them. Today we know that these civilizations are much older than previously thought due to archeological discoveries. (Settlements at Susa date to 7000 B.C.E.)

 

5500 B.C.E. History of Wine

Wine-making began 2,000 years earlier than previously thought thanks to recent archeological discoveries and evidence. Wine has a complex and detailed history from its development to the spread of wine production methods throughout the world. The earliest and oldest archaeological finding of wine-making & production comes from an area in Persia called Hajji Firuz Tepe (A Neolithic village site in northern Iran). Here, archeologists discovered the first wine press along with an amphora (a large vase with a narrow neck used primarily to store wine and olive oil) that was layered with the residue of tannin and tartrate crystals, both of which are found in wine. Carbon dating estimates that these artifacts are over 7000 years old.. The Iranians exported/traded wine as far as southern Europe, Egypt, India and China.

 

4200 B.C.E. Historical city of Susa

The magnificent historical city of Susa, (near Kashan) was built in south-western Persia and marked the progress in complex political and social institutions. The ancient capital city of Susa is mentioned in the Old Testament as the place where Prophet Daniel lived. The Iranian governor before this period was a subject ruler under Babylon, then he became an independent King (Shah of Susa). Before this period (5000 B.C.E. to 4200 B.C.E.), there were Governors ruling Susiana, not Kings. Some Governors were subject rulers, some autonomous, and some independent. After this date, Susa became an independent kingdom and a major power in the region. During this era the number of settled communities increased, particularly in the eastern Zagros mountains.

Elamite dynasty (3200 B.C.E.)

Several fragmented small kingdoms were united and created the Elamite Nation (A first dynasty) in the Persian Plateau and began to exert and receive influence from the cultures of the region. This impressive dynasty lasted for over two millenniums. Susa played a vital role in the development and expansion of the Elamite cultural sphere, and the threat of Assyrian attacks prompted the construction of a large 6 meter thick rammed earth wall about the city. The increasing frequencies in foreign invasions led to a need for centralization and organized defenses. Elam is the name of an ancient civilization located in what is now southwest Iran.

The Elamites were non-Semitic Alpine people who had migrated to the Persian plateau in prehistoric times and Susa became their primary capital of the kingdom. The Elamite language is regarded by the vast majority of linguists as a language isolate and has no close relation to the neighbouring Semitic languages or to Sumerian.

 

2300 B.C.E. Shift of Power

Susa city-state falls under the rule of the Mesopotamian kings of Akkad and, later, the Third Dynasty of Ur. At the end of this period, the Elamites invaded southern Mesopotamia, destroying the city of Ur as a revenge for the previous Babylonian invasions and marked the beginning of a new era of rising Elamite power within the region. Elamites interfered in Mesopotamian affairs, usually in alliance with Babylon, against the constant pressure of Neo-Assyrian expansion.

Susa later played an important part in Babylonian opposition to the brutal Assyrian domination. Susa Kingdom reign ended by start of the Persian Achaemenid Empire.

The distinction between Indo-European tribes

The era of mass Arian migration (Indo-Aryan) to Persia and the beginning of the distinction between Indo-European tribes is assigned to roughly ~2000–1000 B.C.E.. The Aryans gave Persia its historical name: Airyana, The land of the Aryans from which the name Iran/Aryan comes. Arian Tribes who emigrated to the west became the ancestors of Greeks and people who chose east as their destination came to be known as Indo-Iranians. Aryan (Arian) means noble or honorable. It is widely held to have been used as an ethnic self-designation of the Iranians. When the Arians finally took over most of the Persian plateau they started organizing their domains. Small cities, headed by local mayors, and each independent of each other with almost no unity. This method soon proved useless, especially under the constant attack of new masters of Mesopotamia, Assyrians. Slowly, the Iranian tribes re-organized themselves into united kingdoms modeled after the Elamite Kingdom.

Indo-Europeans that went west became the ancestors of Greeks, those that went east split into several Indo-Iranian tribes: (Persians, Medes, Parthians, Scythians etc.)

The First Monotheist Prophet

Zarathushtra was the first prophet to introduce the concepts of: monotheism, equalism, duality of good and evil, mankind’s free choice between the two alternatives, messianic redemption, resurrection, final judgement, heaven (the word Paradise comes from Old Persian), hell and the notion of an almighty, kind, loving and forgiving God. He believed man’s salvation in life and in the afterlife could only be ensured through Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds. Many of these concepts had a profound influence on Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Persians adopted Zoroastrianism at a time when Greeks and, later, Romans still practiced polytheistic religions, at a time when every race considered itself to be the chosen people of Gods/God, Zarathushtra did not discriminate between race, cast and creed. Zoroaster’s birthday falls on March 26th 1767 B.C.E. (6th of Farvardin in Persian Calendar) This date is more significant and special for the Zoroastrians. The Zoroastrian Year Calendar is based on his 40th Birthday, right now (in 2017), the year is 3755 Zoroastrian Holy Year.

* These dates are based on linguistic evidence, language studies and archeology and not the usual Greek anachronism which often corrupts historical fact. (Many wrongly confuse King Vishtasp who reigned during Zarathustra’s life with the father of Darius the Great, with the same name). That mistake alone is the main reason why many ancient Greek historians wrongly believed that Zarathustra lived around (600 B.C.E) 258 years before the reign of the Macedonian king Alexander, when in fact Zarathustra lived over 14 centuries before him.

 

Yalda: The day of Equality

The Christmas celebrations actually derive from the Persian celebration of Yalda during the longest night of the year on the eve of the Winter Solstice. On the Yalda night, Persians used to stay awake all night till the dawn and normally the following days were a holiday (December 22-25). It was also the day of Equality because on this day the Monarchs and Nobles were to dress just like ordinary people so as not to be recognized in the crowd and nobody was supposed to give order.

On December 25th Persians celebrated Mithrakana: The Birth of Mithra (Angelic divinity of covenant and oath) and hanged a wreathe of green cypress on their doors, gave gifts to their loved ones and feasted the night together. Many Christian, Jewish and Muslim customs have root in Mithraism and Zoroastrianism: the first Equal, Universal and Monotheist Religion. The birtyday of Mithra (Mehr) was celebrated in Persia, Rome and other parts of Europe as Mithraism rapidly spread throughout the ancient world, Coincidence with Jewish Hanukkah (Festival of Lights) is not just an accident. An old tradition that would serve as a green movement today was that everyone pledged to plant a cedar tree during the festival of Yalda. (Christmas tree, holy bread and more other things entered, in this way)

The oldest record of the Yalda night celebrated throughout the Indo-European world dates back to 1600 B.C.E. Merry Mithrakana eventually became Merry Christmas with the spread of Christianity in the Roman Empire. The priests, since could not stop the practice of celebrating Mithra’s birthday on December the 25th. declared this day as the birthday of Jesus, which is still so (Because the date of Jesus’ birth is unknown).

 

New Year’s celebrations

Norouz or new day, is wonderful and ancient Persian national celebration that reflects the rich cultural heritage of the nation. Norouz is the most cherished of all the Persian festivals and has been celebrated for more than 3500 years according to the latest archeological and historical discoveries. The Persian New Year always begins on the first day of spring (March 20th each year, at the exact time the sun enters Aries) Its exact time is calculated according to ancient astronomical methods established by a solar calendar in Persia. Norouz ceremonies are symbolic representations of two ancient concepts: the End and the Rebirth. It is a celebration of spring equinox and represents ancient Persians’ impressive understanding of science and astronomy. A few weeks before the New Year, Persians clean and rearrange their homes. They make new clothes, bake pastries and germinate seeds as sign of renewal and decorate their family Norouz table. The ceremonial cloth is set up in each household. Troubadours, referred to as Haji Firuz, disguise themselves with makeup and wear brightly colored outfits of satin. These Haji Firuz, singing and dancing, parade as a carnival through the streets with tambourines, kettle drums, and trumpets to spread good cheer and the news of the coming new year.

Some of the activities during Norooz are Spring cleaning, painting eggs, family reunions, Persian dancing, exchanging presents, visiting neighbors and friends etc. just to name a few. The Norouz holiday and celebrations ends by having a massive family picnic on the 13th day of Spring.

693 B.C.E. Assyrians Destroyed Susa

The glorious, ancient, biblical and historical city of Susa in Persia was captured and razed to ground by the notorious army of Ashur Banipal. The Assyrians had built a very strong army that ruled over a vast area without any tolerance for other civilizations. Their source of wealth was plundering the weak and not let them regain power. They enslaved many nations including the Jews and the entire Iranian plateau. Assyrians destroyed the Elam kingdom leaving behind an ancient ruin called the Burnt City. This marked the end of 2000 years of Elamite kingdom and the Start of a New Era for the Aryan nomads.

 

 

 

678 B.C.E. Aryan nomads unite their Kingdoms

Three groups of Aryan nomads: The Medians (Central and North-Western parts) and the Persians (In South and South-Western parts) and the Parthians (North-Eastern and Eastern parts) united their Kingdoms and established the United Median Dynasty (678–559 B.C.E.) in order to to withstand the brutal Assyrians. An alliance between the Medians and Persians put an end to the Assyrian terror forever. After their defeat, many Medians were settled in Assyrian-territory in the region in order to prevent Assyrians from emerging again. The Persians in the South-Western parts eventually supplanted and absorbed the United-Median Kingdom in the massive Achaemenid Persian World Empire.

The Medes were Iranian people, who lived in the north, western, and northwestern portions of present-day Iran, and roughly the areas of present day Tehran, Hamedan, Azarbaijan, north of Esfahan, Zanjan, and Kurdistan. This region was known in Greek as Media.

The historical city of Susa which was destroyed by the Assyrians was rebuilt during the Persian Achaemenid Dynasty and became the second winter capital for official affairs and also the ceremonial capital of the Empire.

 

600–559 B.C.E. Princess Mandana

Mandana (Mandane) was a Median princess, daughter of the mighty King Astyages and later, the Queen consort of Cambyses of Anshan and mother of Cyrus the Great, (ruler of Persia’s Achaemenid Dynasty and the writer of the first declaration of human rights, named: Cyrus Cylinder). Queen Mandana is a central character in legends describing Cyrus the great’s early years. According to ancient greek historian Herodotus, after the birth of Cyrus, King Astyages had a strange dream that his Magi (Court Magician) interpreted as a sign that his grandson would eventually overthrow him. He then ordered his steward Harpagus to get rid of the boy. Harpagus, morally unable to do so hid the child with a shepherd named Mitridates. Cyrus grew up without knowing that he came from a Royal Bloodline. According to this legend, Cyrus would eventually defy his grandfather, King Astyages, leading to a great war between them; as the dream had forecast. There are references to Mandana’s death as 559 B.C.E. in the history books. King Darius the Great named his daughter Mandana after her.

 

 

Internal conflicts & shift of Power

Cyrus the Great (576–530 B.C.E.) defeats the Median king Astyages at the battle of Pasargadae in 551 B.C.E. and becomes the king of both kingdoms. He established the Persian Empire in 550 B.C.E. Cyrus the Great had a concept of One World and the Unification of All People around the known World. By accepting the practices and religions of the subject people he created the world’s first humane and religiously tolerant empire and evolved an administrative system that was sufficiently flexible to cater for the multitude of different languages, races, religions and cultures while maintaining the fundamental unity of government necessary to maintain the huge empire.

 

 

 

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