Archive for September, 2009

The Inauguration of the WAALM-School of Cultural Diplomacy

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

 

The WAALM School of Cultural Diplomacy for the promotion of international peace, dialogue, learning and inter-cultural communication has been officially inaugurated in England. This features five distinct departments with over 20 programs.

For an overview to the organization kindly consult the introductory notes in English (pdf) or in Persian (pdf) as well as the website:  http://www.waalmdiplomacy.org/

The introductory video below is also of interest: 

Among the faculty of the WAALM School of Cultural Diplomacy are:

Dr. Patrick Hunt of Stanford University who has won awards for his various activities as an  archaeologist, writer, composer, poet and art historian. He has been filmed in many documentaries including National Geographic Explorer TV, History Channel and PBS. Professor Hunt is the Director of the Alpine Archaeology Project (1994-2009), conducting high altitude research in the Alps between France, Italy and Switzerland. He is also a National Lecturer for the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) 2009-2010 and the author of eight books, including the best-seller TEN DISCOVERIES THAT REWROTE HISTORY (Penguin-Plume, 2007). Professor Hunt has been a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society since 1989.

Professor Dick Davis who is a Professor of Persian and Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at Ohio State University. His works in Medieval Persian literature have set the standard of academic excellence. He has also taught at the Universities of Durham and Newcastle in the UK as well as Universities of Tehran (Iran) and California (Santa Barbara). As author, translator or editor, he has produced over 20 books; among his academic works he has published translations from Italian (prose) and Persian (prose and verse) and books of his own poetry. Professor Davis has been a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature since 1981.

Kaveh Farrokh is a member of the Hellenic-Iranian Studies program at Leiden University, the Iran Linguistics Society, the Persian Gulf Preservation Society, the Pasargard Preservation Foundation and other organizations. He has been interviewed on ancient Persian history and archaeology by the BBC, the History Channel and the Voice of America media network. Kaveh teaches ancient Persian history through the Continuing Studies Division of the University of British Columbia. He has received a number of citations for his second book, the most recent being the Merit and Scholarship Award of 2009 for his writings and books in Iranian Studies.

Ancient Ruler discovered in Iran

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

 

A little known report dated to January 31, 2005 cites the Iranian Cultural heritage News agency’s discovery of the world’s oldest known ruler. This was unearthed in 2005 at the Shahr e Sookhteh or Burnt City near Zabol in iran’s southeast province of Sistan-Baluchistan.

The Burnt City, dated to 5000 years ago, is perhaps one of the ancient world’s most advanced urban centers. The site indicates that advanced urban centers and accompanying technology in Western Asia did not necessarily originate in the Mesopotamian and/or Levant arenas. Western scholars have worked alongside their Iranian colleagues for a number of years to conduct excavations at the Burnt City and elsewhere on the Iranian plateau.

A display of the thousands year old Rulers (or pieces of the same ruler) discovered at Shahr e Sookhteh (Burnt City). The device made of ebony wood, has a precise system of measurement whose units correspond to 1.5 millimeters (Courtesy CHN & Payvand News).

Dr. Mansour Sajjadi, the head of the excavation team, told CHN reporters that:

During the recent excavations, we found a piece of ebony wood 10-centimeter long with some cuts which have evidently been made with a sharp tool. After carrying out the necessary tests and studying the wood under microscope, we found out that the cuts were divided in one millimeter and half millimeter measures…”

This precise system of measurement indicates that the inhabitants of the Burnt City were highly advanced in the sciences, mathematics and civil construction works. The discovery of the ancient ruler is suggests that the inhabitants of the Burnt City probably had developed other precise measurement tools. The Burnt city has already yielded interesting finds such as an artifical eye, backgammon pieces, and an example of animation.

 

 

Professor Georges Roux and Cyrus the Great

Friday, September 11th, 2009

 

Professor Georges Roux (not to be confused with the late science fiction illustrator of the same name) has specialized for decades in the archaeology and history of southern Iraq and has published articles for prestigious journals such as Sumer and Journal D’Assyriologie and has been nominated as being among the top Assyriologists by French academicians in the field. His book, “Ancient Iraq”” has the following description of Cyrus the Great and his treatment of Babylon (1992, pp.387):

“”Far from being destoryed as its rival Nineveh had been, Babylon was treated with the utmost respect.  From the first day of Persian occupation (12 October 539 BC.), care was taken not to offend the Babylonians in any way, and every effort was made to resettle them in their homes, to enforce law and order throughout the country. The gods of Sumer and Akkad whom Nabonidus had bought into Babylon during the war, were reinstalled in theri chapels, “the places whuich make them happy’, and even the gods of Assyria. once taken captive by the Medes, were returned and their temples rebuilt. Cyrus made it known that he considered himself as the successor of the national rulers, that he worshipped Marduk and praised his great godhead joyously. Indeed we can beleive the Persian conqueror when, in an inscription written in Akkadian on a clay cylinder he declares that the Babylonians accepted his rule with enthusiasm.”

The Ishtar Gate, now housed in the Berlin Museum.

Graf, Hirsch, Gleason, and Krefter affirm that when Cyrus entered Babylon-city through the Ishtar gates, the city’s inhabitants laid branches in his path. As noted by Graf, Hirsch, Gleason, and Krefter (1988, pp.15):

Cyrus proved a tolerant conqueror: when he entered Babylon…he ordered his troops to show respect for the city’s temples and religious customs.”

The inscription cited by Professor Roux is the Cyrus Cylinder now housed in the British Museum.

The Cyrus Cylinder now housed in the British Museum.

This is how Professor Roux has translated the pertinent portion of the Cylinder 

All the inhabitents of Babylon, as well as of the enture country of Sumer and Akkad, princes and governors, bowed to him [Cyrus] and kissed his feet, jubiliant that he had recieved the kingship, and with shining faces happily greeted him as a master through whose help they had come to life from death and had all been spared damage and disaster, and they worshipped his name.

 

Cyrus the Great as portrayed by the late Angus McBride.

References

Graf, D.F., Hirsch, S.W., Gleason, K. & Krefter, F.H. (1988), A Soaring Spirit. New York:Time-Life Books,

Roux, G. (1992). Ancient Iraq. Penguin Books.

Important note regarding my Response to Spiegel in July 2008

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

 

In July 2008, I wrote a humble retort to Spiegel magaizne regarding its negative characterization of Cyrus the Great and the people of Iran:

http://www.kavehfarrokh.com/articles/nordicism/response-to-spiegel-magazine-2/

Here are some quotes against Cyrus the Great from the original Spiegel article posted on July 15, 2008:

“…a Persian despot…upstart king…no humanist…no evidence of moral reforms or humane commandments…”.

Please note that author of the article, Reporter Matthias Schulz is not the same person as Professor Matthias Schulz who did not write the article. I was contacted by Professor Matthias Schulz and he assured me that the writer of the article is a different person who only shares the same name as he.

Kindly note that I had not confused the reporter (Matthias Schulz ) with Professor (Matthias Schulz) in my original protests to Spiegel in July last year (see first link cited).

However many persons are now confusing the two – this even led to me making the same mistake a few months ago in a posting about Greece and Persia which I have now corrected here:

http://www.kavehfarrokh.com/news/challenging-the-core-of-greek-and-iranian-identities/

I also removed the picture of Dr. Schulz from the above posting and expressed my regret for having originally posted that in the above link. It is my hope that other Iranian authors and sites will also ensure that they identify the correct Matthias Schulz. 

This raises serious questions as to how/why the name mix-up occurred and why Spiegel has chosen to ignore this.  As noted in an e-mail to me (September 1, 2009) by Professor Matthias Schulz (who is not the same person as reporter Matthias Schulz):

Your [Kaveh farrokh] statements about the Spiegel confirm my impression that it is not the good journal it pretends to be, but rather a sensationalist weekly.