Persian Book Review Journal Evaluates Farrokh 2005 On-Line Book

July 30th, 2014

The Persian Book Review Journal has evaluated Farrokh’s 2005 On-Line Book entitled: “Pan-Turanism takes aim at Azarbaijan“. The Review of the 2005 On-line book is available in pdf here: Reza Saberi Review of Kaveh Farrokh’s Pan-Turanism Takes Aim at Azerbaijan, The-Persian Book Review, Winter 2005-2006-Volume XV, Number 46, pages-89-95.

    VamberyArminius (Hermann) Vambery (1832-1913) seen above in eastern dress (left) and European attire (right) (Picture Sources: Public Domain). Vambery was a Hungarian professor, philologist and traveler working as an advisory to the Ottoman Sultan in 1857-1863. Vambery is one of the leading founders of pan-Turkism which is essentially a European invention. In a sense, it may be stated that the anti-Persian philosophy of pan-Turkism has never originated among the Turks – this was created among European thinkers and throuhg Russian support of anti-Persianism in the southern Caucasus in the 19th century.

Kindly note that the 2005 on-line book is being extensively updated and revised and will appear as a monograph with a different title under the guidance of Professor Garnik S. Asatrian (Chair, Iranian Studies Dept., Yerevan State University; Editor, “Iran and the Caucasus”, BRILL, Leiden-Boston) and Professor Victoria Arakelova (Associate Professor, Department of Iranian Studies, Yerevan State University; Associate Editor, “Iran and the Caucasus”, BRILL, Leiden). Below are excerpts of the review of the 2005 On-line text.

Saberi, 2005-2006, pp. 89-90:

“...heavy investment has taken place among Western governments towards the study of domains pertaining to Iran with a large number of Think Tanks engaged in the research of the sociology, psychology, economics, politics, culture and history of Iran and utilizing these against Iran with respect to politics, diplomacy, and propaganda…a book named “Pan-Turanism Takes Aim at Azarbaijan” has been written by Kaveh Farrokh of the University of British Columbia in Canada and it is fortunate that this has been placed on-line on the internet. As far as can be ascertained, this book has not been translated into Persian, and it is incumbent upon translators to engage in this task. The writer of this book has engaged in the attention to a series of issues which are not paid attention to at the present time, but which could due to international circumstances transform into a major political crisis for Iran and profoundly impact upon the life of Iranians. This book considers a number of Western objectives towards Iran, especially with respect to the promotion of Democracy and Human Rights in Iran.”

Ralph Peters’ version of the Bernard Lewis Plan (Professor Bernard Lewis denies being the originator of this plan). The above is a “revised” map of Iran and the Middle East as proposed by Ralph Peters (source: Peters, R. 2006. Blood Borders: How a better Middle East would Look. Armed Forces Journal, June Issue). Note that the Republic of Azarbaijan has absorbed Iran’s Azarbaijan province, a Greater Kurdistan has absorbed Iran’s Kurdish and Luri regions, Iran’s Khuzistan province has become joined to a southern Iraqi Arab state, Iran’s southeast is joined to a Greater Baluchistan. Interestingly, Peters has “compensated” Iran by “granting” it the city of Herat, which was in fact a part of historical Iran until its official detachment from the country by the British Empire in the late 1850s.

Saberi, 2005-2006, pp. 90:

Pan-Turkism, or in its broader sense, pan-Turanism, is a racist ideology akin to pan-Arabism, pan-Iranism, Fascism, Nazism which conveys the message that the culture and history of the Turks is superior to all other peoples in the world, with the aim of creating a Turkish state stretching from Europe to Asia… “

 Super-TuranA map of the proposed pan-Turkic or pan-Turanian state (Picture Source: The apricity). Much of this philosophy can be traced to European thinkers such as Leon Cahun (see below).

David-Leon-CahunDavid Leon Cahun (1841-1900) proposed that the Turks were a superior race or more specifically “supermen” (Picture Source: Public Domain). The notion of racial superiority is an alien concept among the Turks who have always been (and remain) warm, open, friendly and hospitable to all who visit or settle in Turkey. Racism has never existed among Turks or Turkic-speakers – the importation of this concept can be traced to European thinkers such as Cahun who placed a heavy emphasis on drafting pan-Turkism as an anti-Slavic, anti-Islamic  and anti-Persianate philosophy.

Saberi (2005-2006, pp. 91) provides the following overview:

In summary this book provides a detailed description of pan-Turkism and how this is being sponsored by Western economic interests…the writer notes how this ideology claims that the founders of human culture, civilization and language are Turks and that the civilizations of Iran, Greece, Rome and Sumeria were founded by Turks. Tajiks, Kurds and native (North American Indians) are claimed as Turks.”

Pic20-indianTurk Painting of the mythical Grey Wolf (Ashena) and what is presented as a Turkish Indian warrior (Picture Source: Network54). One of the assertions of Pan-Turkism is that the entire spectrum of the native Indian population of North America are essentially Turks as these crossed Asia into the North American continent along the Bering Strait. Turkic peoples however had not formed as an ethnic group tens of thousands of years ago and linguistic analyses fail to provide any correlations between any indigenous Indian languages in North America (which are highly diverse in their own right) and any Turkic languages.

it is important to note that in contrast to the current establishment in Baku (modern-day Republic of Azarbaijan known as Arran and the Khanates until 1918), many modern-day Turkish historians seriously question the premises of pan-Turkism and acknowledge its ideological nature. Turkish professor  Ayse Gül Altinay has summarized seven premises of pan-Turkism in her 2004 book: The Myth of the Military-Nation: Militarism, Gender, and Education in Turkey, Published by Palgrave-Macmillan, pages 22-23:

  • The original homeland of the Turks is in Central Asia or Turkistan and not on Mongolia.
  • The Turks are a white race of the Brachycephalic type and are not derived from the Asiatic or ‘Yellow” races.
  • The Neolithic civilization of mankind was invented by the Turks in Central Asia.
  • Climactic factors (mainly drought) forced the Turks to migrate out of Central Asia. This resulted in the Turks introducing Neolithic civilization to Asia, the Americas and Europe.
  • Early civilizations of the Near and Middle East such as Mesopotamia, Egypt and Anatolia (especially the Hittites) were founded by the Turks.
  • Turkish is the oldest sophisticated language of mankind and is the basis of ancient Hittite and Sumerian languages.
  • Turks are the founders of several states, kingdoms and empires in history.

As noted Saberi, 2005-2006, pp. 91 with respect to the 2005 Farrokh text:

In part II of the book, the writer engages in the description of pan-Turkist claims to [Iranian] Azerbaijan…being a part of Greater Turkestan. These claims are being mainly promoted by Western petroleum interests…The writer also engages in the examination of the thesis that Azerbaijan was a large kingdom that was split between Qajar Iran and Russia during the Qajar era resulting in a “South Azerbaijan” and a “North Azerbaijan” making this nation that has been split and that must be re-united like Vietnam…

A post-Soviet era propaganda map produced in Baku. The above map (click on the above map to see the associated video) promotes the false notion that a “Greater Azerbaijan” was divided in two by Russia and Iran in 1828. Historically false claims such as these were first promoted by the pan-Turkists of the early 20th century which were then propagated by the former Soviet Union and the Communists, notably Joseph Stalin and Mirjaafar Baguirov. Unfortunately the legacy of historical amnesia has continued to persist at the official level in the South Caucasian state.

Saberi (2005-2006, pp. 91) notes that pan-Turkists claim that:

“...poets such as Shabestari, Ganjavi and Molavi were Turks who were forced to write in Persian…

False Statue in RomeBaku Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov at Nizami Ganjavi monument at Rome’s Villa Borghese park in early February 2013. The Aliev Foundation  funded the installation of this statue as part of the initiative of falsifying Iranian historical icons (see Petition to correct the historical identity of the statue in Rome). Ganjavi composed his poetry in Persian and wrote extensively on the Iranian cultural realm.

Saberi, 2005-2006, pp. 92:

Among the other falsifications examined by the writer is the notion that Turks have resided in the Caucasus for over five thousand years and have spoken Turkish for that time…

Saberi then notes of the writer’s use of primary sources to disprove such claims and demonstrate that Turkic language languages are historically-speaking, relative newcomers to the region, beginning from the post-Islamic era in the 11th century CE.

Polo_game_from_poem_Guy_u_ChawganA Persian miniature made in 1546, during the reign of the Safavid dynasty of Iran (1501-1722). This artwork is of the Persian poem Guy-o Chawgân (“Ball and Polo-mallet”) depicting Iranian nobles engaged in the game of polo, which has been played in Iran for thousands of years (Picture Source: Public Domain). The Baku establishment initially attempted to convince UNESCO that Polo was part of the “Azerbaijani heritage”, however in a positive development, their authorities acknowledged the diverse historical legacy of the game last year. has succeeded in convincing UNESCO to consider the game of Polo as part of an ancient “Azerbaijani heritage” when no such entity has existed since 1918. The only historically attested Azerbaijan is in Iran’s northwest which has been a cultural and historical part of the Iranian realm for thousands of years.

Professor S. Peter Cowe: Church of Etchmiadzin (Ejmiatsin)

July 23rd, 2014

The article below by Professor S. Peter Cowe on the Church of Echmiadzin (Ejmiatsin) was first published December 15, 1998 in the Encyclopedia Iranica and last updated on December 9, 2011.

Kindly note that a number of pictures displayed in the article below are from Kaveh Farrokh’s lectures at the University of British Columbia’s Continuing Studies Division Stanford University’s WAIS 2006 Critical World Problems Conference Presentations on July 30-31, 2006 and Farrokh’s textbook  Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War-Персы: Армия великих царей-سایه‌های صحرا-).

Etchmiadzin (Ejmiatsin) is currently designation of three separate but interrelated entities: the cathedral and monastic complex which forms the residence of the supreme patriarch and catholicos of all the Armenians, the city in which this complex is located, and the district of which the latter is the administrative center. Notably, excavations conducted by the Yerevan Institute of art in 1955-56 and 1959 demonstrate that the Etchmiadzin cathedral had been constructed over an Iranian (Zoroastrian or Mithraic) fire temple.

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EJMIATSIN (or Echmiadzin; Arm. Eǰmiacin; Tk. Ūč Kelīsā), currently designation of three separate but interrelated entities: the cathedral and monastic complex which forms the residence of the supreme patriarch and catholicos of all the Armenians, the city in which this complex is located, and the district of which the latter is the administrative center. The name means “The Only-begotten descended” and is associated with a vision vouchsafed to the first primate of Armenia, St. Gregory the Illuminator, soon afer the Christianization of the court in 314 C.E., generally dated to the 460’s. In it Christ appeared to the prelate and indicated with blows of a gold hammer the site where the cathedral church (katʿołikē) should be constructed (Agathangelos, p. 276, tr., p. 277). Since the Middle Ages the term has been used to designate the church and was further applied to the city and the surrounding district in 1945.

Echmiadzin-ChurchThe Etchmiadzin Cathedral is the Church in Armenia and is in fact considered to be the world’s oldest cathedral (Picture Source: Public Domain).

Located in the central sector of the plain of Ararat in what was the Aragacotn district of the Ayrarat region and favored with a mild climate, the area has yielded up a variety of antiquities from the stone, bronze, and iron ages indicating early habitation. From the first through the early fifth centuries it was royal domain of the Arsacid dynasty branch of the Parthian royal house of Persia. It is probable that the city itself was established by King Vałarš I (117-40 C.E.), as its original name Vałaršapat implies. A somewhat embellished description of its foundation is recorded by a later Armenian historian now generally dated to the eighth-ninth centuries (Moses of Khorene, pp. 199-200, tr. Thomson, pp. 210-211). In 163 it was proclaimed capital of Armenia by the Romans under the designation Kainēpolis (New city), by which it is also known in certain early Armenian writings (Koriwn, pp. 98, 118, 140, tr., pp. 280, 288, 297). Latin inscriptions testify to the Romans strengthening its defense works and garrisoning a vexillatio (a cavalry force of 600 horsemen) of the XV Legion Apollinaris there.

The city appears to have been the residence of the Arsacid dynasty during the fourth century, but seems never fully to have recovered from its sack and the deportation of its population under Šāpūr II (after 363), apart from a period under King Vramašpuh (ca. 392-414). After Dvin became a capital in the second half of the fifth century, Ejmiatsin’s status remained primarily religious. In addition to its association with Gregory the Illuminator it gained prestige from being the locus of the martyrdom of Sts. Hṙipʿsimē and Gayanē and a group of virgins who, according to the sources, had accompanied them from Rome at the turn of the fourth century (Agathangelos, pp. 296, 298, tr., p. 297, 299). Soon annual feast days were appointed and martyria constructed in their honor, which became a source of pilgrimage. The existence of three prominent churches in the city prompted its Turkish title of Ūč Kelīsā. In 1694 the melik Ałamal Šoṙotʿecʿi endowed a fourth, the Šołakatʿ. Excavations in 1955-56 and 1959 by the Institute of art in Erevan revealed that the cathedral had been constructed over an Iranian fire temple.

A Persian Zoroastrian or Mithraic Fire Altar discovered Underneath the Etchmiadzin Cathedral, Armenia in the late 1950s. The presenters at the scene note a number of Iranian types themes at the Fire Altar. This discovery at Etchmiadzin provides further substantiation for Professor Whittow’s observation that: “The oldest outside influence in Trans-Caucasia is that of Persia … many of its populations, including Armenians and Georgians, as well as Persians and Kurds, the Transcaucasus had much closer ties with the former Sassanian world [224-651 CE] to its south and east than with the world to the west” (Whittow, M. (1996). The Making of Byzantium: 600-1025. Berkley: University of California Press, pp.203-204).

Its fourth century basilica structure was damaged during Yazdegerd II’s campaign of 449-51 and was rebuilt in the cross-in-square design which it still retains by the sparapet Vahan Mamikonean in 483 (Łazar Pʿarpecʿi, p. 157, tr., p. 217). As the Armenian kingdom of Cilicia was subjected to increased Mamluk pressure at the end of thirteenth century and contemplated various accommodations to Latin faith and order to gain support from the pope and Western powers, a movement of civil and religious leaders in Greater Armenia began to press for the seat of the catholicate (currently in the Cilician capital of Sis) to be transferred to Ejmiatsin. This is embodied in the evocative lament of 1304 by Stepʿannos Ōrbēlean, in which the cathedral is personified as a widowed mother mourning the loss of her children. Finally, through efforts of Yovhannēs Hermonecʿi and Tovama Mecopʿecʿi a council was convened at Ejmiatsin in 1441 which created a new supreme catholicate, the jurisdiction of Sis thereafter being of purely local significance. Catholicos Grigor X Jalalbekeancʿ (1443-65) then purchased the city and surrounding district which remained under ecclesiastical control until the establishment of Soviet orders in 1920.

The district remained under Persian rule from 1502 to 1827 as a component of the Khanate of Erevan (q.v.). In order to retain a powerful Armenian presence in Persia in the aftermath of his widespread deportations, Shah ʿAbbās I (996-1038/1588-1629, q.v.) determined to dismantle the cathedral stone by stone and have it reconstructed in New Julfa in the suburb of Isfahan. However, upon reflection he contented himself with its primary elements, the four corner stones, the altar, stone of Christ’s descent, baptismal font, right hand of St. Gregory utilized in consecrating bishops, etc. From the 1630’s until the end of the century a succession of pontiffs supervised the edifice’s repair and extension and the provision of auxiliary buildings, such as a belltower, bakehouse, refectory and enlarged retaining wall as well as irrigation canals and artificial lakes. Expenses for these operations were provided by the Armenian ḵoǰas of New Julfa, who enjoyed great influence in the election of the catholicoi at this period, and čelebīs of Constantinople. The century also witnessed the foundation of a school of higher theological studies at Ejmiatsin where secular subjects were also taught, in part in order to combat Catholic missionaries. The latter seem to have had a special devotion toward St. Hṙipʿsimē, whose relics one of them attempted to purloin from their shrine (Ghougassian, p. 168).

Echmiadzin-Farrokh-1[Click to Enlarge] Portrait of Shah Abbas at the Etchmiadzin Cathedral (Picture Source: Kaveh Farrokh, November, 5, 2013).

Two other councils convoked at Ejmiatsin were directed against Persian rule over the eastern provinces of the Armenian homeland. Since the catholicos was recognized as ethnarch in both civil and religious affairs he has the obligation to take the initiative in such measures. Consequently, Catholicos Stepʿannos Salmastecʿi summoned both clerics and lay representatives to the first in 1547 which planned overtures to Venice and the the Pope to institute the new crusade. Subsequently, the catholicos approached Emperor Charles V and Sigismund II of Poland. However, his death in 1552 brought the episode to a close. The second, which was destined to end in similar fashion, was organized by Catholicos Yakob Jułayecʿi in 1677. Hearing about its purpose, the khan of Erevan attempted to obstruct it, but the catholicos managed to escape to Georgia where he enlisted the support of Giorgi XI, King of Kartli, before continuing to Cosnstantinople. There he entered into correspondence with Jan Sobieski of Poland, but died before much progress was made. One delegation, Israel Ori, son of one of the meliks (secular lords) of Siwnikʿ, attempted single-handedly to pursue negotiations but with no success.

The skillful diplomacy of Catholicos Abraham Kretacʿi (1734-37) kept Ejmiatsin out of the Turko-Persian war and was rewarded by a vistit of Nader Shah to the city in June 1735, during which he granted the catholicate various privileges (Marvī, p. 411). The pontiff’s history of his times was published in 1870 at the monastery press established by Simēon Erevancʿi in 1771. The eighteenth century saw a steady improvement in the complex’s situation maintained by his successors’ political conservatism. Between 1715 and 1799 various members of the renowned Yovnatʿanean family were commissioned to paint different parts of the cathedral in the Persian style. The monastery built a hospice in the 1730s, opened a paper factory in 1776 to supply the press, and invested in a cotton production plant.

Etchmiadzin Cathedral 5th century planThe 5th century floor plan of the Etchmiadzin Cathedral which bears parallels with the Sassanian-era architecture of Iran – for more on Armenian-Iranian-Roman architectural links see “Professors Curatolia and Scaria: Dome Architecture and Europe(Picture Source: Public Domain).

During the first Russo-Persian War (1804-13) Ejmiatsin was threatened by ʿAbbās Mīrzā’s forces, until relieved by General Tsitsianov who transported some of the monastery’s treasures to Tiflis for safe keeping. The city was again taken by Russian troops in September 1806, but was ceded to Persia by the Treaty of Golestān. In the prelude to the second Russo-Persian War (1826-28) both ʿAbbās Mīrzā and Ḥosaynqolī Khan Īravānī tried unsuccessfully to win the support of Nersēs Aštarakecʿi, the pro-Russian candidate for the pontifical office. He responded that he would consider Persian rule only if the church’s large debt repayments were reduced to small installments and Ejmiatsin were solely responsible to ʿAbbās Mīrzā, thus creating a small autonomous Armenian enclave under royal protection. Subsequently, the cleric raised Armenian militias which participated in the Russian advance on Ejmiatsin and fostered plans to encourage Armenians from the north of Persia and the Ottoman empire to immigrate to the Erevan region, many of whom settled around the city.

Surrender of Iranian Garisson to Paskevich-1828Surrender of the 3000-man Iranian Garrison in Yerevan to Russian forces on October, 1, 1828. The ensuing Treaty of Turkmenchai (February 21, 1827) resulted in Iran renouncing all of its Caucasian territories to the Czarist Russian empire. For a full history of the Russo-Iranian wars leading to the Treaty of Turkmenchai, readers are referred to Farrokh’s third text Iran at War: 1500-1988 in pages 187-198 (accompanying footnotes in pages 433-435) (Picture forwarded to Kavehfarrokh.com by Kooshan Mehran). Note the domed mosque on the left side of the street; this appears to be the famous Blue Mosque of Yerevan, which exists intact today in the city’s Mesrop Mashtots avenue.

During the nineteenth century more amenities were added to the monastic complex, especially under the catholicate of Gēorg IV Kostaninupolsecʿi (1866-82). In addition to inaugurating Ararat, the first periodical in Armenia, and opening a museum and reading room, the latter founded the only institution of higher learning in the Erevan province, which achieved renown under his name as the Gēorgean Jemaran (academy). It counted a number of celebrated cultural figures among its teaching staff and student body, e.g., Komitas, Y. Yovhannisean and M. Abełean. After the revolution of 1905 it developed social democrat and later Bolshevist cells until its closure in 1917.

During Soviet rule the Ejmiatsin district underwent a marked degree of industrialization and became one of the most densely populated areas of the Armenian Republic. The main plans for the modern city were laid in 1939-46 under architect S. Manukyan. After reaching a nadir with the murder of Catholicos Xorēn Muradbekyan on April 4, 1938 in Ejmiatsin the church experienced a partial easing of its position after the Second World War under the long reign of Vazgēn I Palčyan (1955-94). Since 1988 both city and district have given shelter to numerous refugees from the ethnic conflict in the Republic of Azerbaijan (known as Arran and the Khanates since 1918).

Primary Sources

Aṙak’el Dawrižecʿi (Arkʿel of Tabrīz), Girkʿ pamutʿeancʿ (Book of histories), ed. L. A. Khanlaryan, Erevan, 1990; tr. L. A. Khanlaryan as Kniga istoriĭ, Moscow, 1973.

B. M. Arutjunjan, Ečmiadzin, Erevan, 1969.

Koriwn, Varkʿ Maštocʿi (Life of Maštocʿ), ed. A. Pivazyan; tr. B. Norehad, Erevan, 1981.

A. Kretacʿi, Patmagrutʿiwn ancʿicʿn iwrocʿ ew Natr-Šahin Parsicʿ (Historiography of the events of his own time and that of Nadir Shah of the Persians), 1870.

Moḥammad-Kāẓem Marvī, ʿAlamārā-ye nāderī, ed. M.-A. Rīāḥī, 3 vols., Tehran, 1364 Š./1985.

Łazar Pʿarpecʿi, Patmutʿiwn hayocʿ (Armenian history), ed. G. Tēr-Mkrtčean and S. Malxasean, Tbilisi, 1904; repr. with introduction by D. Kouymjian, New York, 1985; tr. R. W. Thomson as The History of Łazar Pʿarpecʿi, Atlanta, GA, 1991.

Ps. Pʿawstos, The Epic histories, tr. N. G. Garoïan, Harvard Armenian Texts and Studies 8, Cambridge, MA, 1989.

Stepʿannos Ōrbēlean, Ołb i S. Katʿołikēn (Lament on the holy cathedral of Ejmiacin), Tbilisi, 1885. Tovma Mecopʿecʿi, Višatakaran (Colophon), Tbilisi, 1892.

Z. Agulecʿi, Ōragrutʿiwn (Diary), Erevan, 1938. Zakʿria Sarkawag, Patmagrutʿiwn (Historiography), Vałaršapat, 1870.

 

Secondary Sources

Ł. Ališan, Ayrarat, Venice, 1890.

A. Alpoyašean, Patmutʿiwn hay dprocʿi (History of the Armenian school) I, Cairo, 1946.

H. M. Anasyan, XVII dari azatagrakan šaržumnern arewmtyan hayastanum (17th-Century liberation movements in western Armenia), Erevan, 1961.

B. Aṙakʿelyan, Kʿałakʿnerē ew arshestnerē Hayastanum IX-XIII darerum (Cities and trade in Armenia during the 9th-13th centuries) I-II, Erevan, 1958-64.

V. Bastameancʿ, Nkaragrutʿiwn mayr ekełecʿwoyn hayocʿ S. Eǰmiacni (Description of the Armenian mother church of Holy Ejmiacin), Vałaršapat, 1877.

S. Epʿrikean, S. Eǰmiacin 303-1903 (Holy Ejmiacin 303-1903), Venice, 1903.

V. S. Ghougassian, The Emergence of the Armenian Diocese of New Julfa in the Seventeenth Century, Ph.D. thesis, Columbia University, New York, 1995.

H. Hübschmann, Die altarmenischen Ortsnamen, Strassburg, 1904, repr. Amsterdam, 1969.

Ł. Inǰiǰean, Storagrutʿiwn hin hayastaneaycʿ (Description of ancient Armenia), Venice, 1822.

A. Kʿalantʿar, Hin Vałaršapati pełumnerē (The excavations of ancient Vałaršapat), Erevan, 1935.

H. F. B. Lynch, Armenia Travels and Studies I, London, 1901, repr. New York, 1990.

K. Maksoudian, Chosen of God. The Election of the Catholicos of All Armenians, New York, 1995.

A. Mxitʿareancʿ, Vałaršapat kʿałakʿamayr Hayastani (Vałašapat capital of Armenia), Vałaršapat, 1874.

H. Šahxatʿunean, Storagrutʿiwn katʿołikē Eǰmiacni ew hing gawaṙacʿn Araratay (Description of the cathedral of and the five districts of Ararat) I-II, Vałaršapat, 1842.

A. A. Sainjan, Nobye Dannye ob arxitekturnom oblike Ečmiadzinskogo sobora , Moscow, 1960. M. Santʿrosyan, Arewelahay dprocʿē XIX d. aṙaǰin kesin (The east Armenian school in the first half of the 19th century), Erevan, 1964.

A. Smbatyan, Eǰmiacni miabanutʿyan grakan-krtʿakan gorcuneutʿyunē ew Mayr atʿoṙi tparanē (The literary and educational activity of the brotherhood of Ejmiacin and the Mother see press).

New Book by Cam Rea on Parthian Military History

July 16th, 2014

Cam Rea (author of “The Rise of Parthia in the East: From the Seleucid Empire to the Arrival of Rome“) has recently published “Leviathan vs. Behemoth: The Roman-Parthian Wars 66 BC-217 AD”:

Rea-Leviathan

  • Paperback: 450 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (July 8, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 150042403X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1500424039
  • Available at Amazon

Cam rea-PortraitCam Rea has a BA and MA in Military History. He is a regular contributor to Classical Wisdom Weekly. In addition, he is an ancient history enthusiast and a Teaching Assistant at the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

The Roman-Parthian Wars were clashes between eastern and western titans over hegemony, territory and political power. Parthia  was perhaps one of Rome’s greatest military rivals on the battlefield. As Rome pushed militarily and diplomatically eastward during the 90’s BCE, they eventually arrived near the Upper Euphrates to discover that many of the mini-kingdoms were in fact Parthian client states, especially Armenia.

Once Rome officially discovered and understood the sphere of influence Parthia had over its western neighbors, Rome gradually took that model and began to court the eastern kingdoms subject to Parthian influence. However, before they can accomplish this, they must first meet their equals. Around 92 BCE, their first diplomatic meeting took place.

34-Map of Parthian Empire 44 BC to 138 AD[Click to Enlarge] Map of the Parthian Empire in 44 BCE to 138 CE (Picture source: Farrokh, page 155, Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War-Персы: Армия великих царей-سایه‌های صحرا-). 

The relationship between both empires started peacefully. As time went on, tensions began to grow over the control of the Near East. While Parthia’s sphere of influence dominated the region, Rome’s political push at Parthia’s client states slowly caused a rift between the two powers that eventually led to war when Crassus invaded Parthia and was obliterated with his Roman forces at the Battle of Carrhae in 53 BCE. After Carrhae, their relations would never be the same, as both sides would continue a tug of war with the kingdoms between their borders, at times directly engaging each other.

Roman generals, like Mark Antony, and many of the emperors, who attempted to conquer Parthia underestimated the enemy multiple times, all in hopes that they could imitate their hero Alexander the Great, only to gain incremental victories and nothing more. The various generals and emperors sought glory and riches but remained ignorant of the people they sought to subjugate. So what was Rome’s overall grand strategy when dealing with Parthia? The answer is, there was none.

Parth-Savar1 Parthian armored knight (Picture source: Peter Wilcox & Angus McBride, Osprey Publishing).

There was no Roman strategy in how to subjugate the Parthians, and if there was, those emperors who led campaigns had not the means nor the ability to implement their goals fully, as far as totally subjugating Parthia. Another way to look at it is that the Romans had a grand strategy when it came to conquest, but had none for governing after conquest, at least with Parthia.

However, even this became problematic for the Roman emperors. While they had the ability to trample Mesopotamia under, they could not go further than their ability allowed. Unrest in the newly conquered region is one of many reasons why Rome could not hold the region effectively, plague was another, not to mention that overstretched legions and insufficient resources, along with the cost of war limited their ability to penetrate Parthia farther. Roman emperors were smart enough to know that they could not afford to use their legions on a grand scale, for they could not afford to lose them. In this sense, from the campaigns discussed in this book, the Romans, while not as limited as the Parthians, were in many ways just as limited when it came to military campaigning like the Parthians. The only difference is that Rome could go on a bit longer.

marcantony2Marc Antony (83-30 BC) Roman statesman and military leader. His expedition into ancient Praaspa (near modern Tabriz) ended in disaster in 36 BC mainly at the hands of Iranian Parthian armored knights and horse-archers (Shiva-tir). In one of the engagements, the Mede infantry destroyed 10,000 Roman legionnaires. Marc Antony and his surviving troops fled into Syria and from there to Egypt where Ptolemid Queen Cleopatra provided them sanctuary and shelter  (For more details consult Farrokh, 2007, p.144-146).

The same goes for the Parthian kings. Even though the Euphrates represented the border between the two powers in theory, it was just an illusion. Parthian kings, especially during the 50-30’s BCE, took advantage of this and expanded their influence to the south in Judea and to the west into Anatolia before retreating into their dominion. They, unlike Rome, were not centralized and had no standing army.

The Parthian grand strategy was defensive. Unlike Rome, where the best defense is an offense, Parthia had no such ability, at least over the long term. As mentioned, Parthia had no standing army, but a militia, and relied primarily on the satraps to raise forces when in need. Parthia, unlike Rome, was not a centralized state, and if they committed the bulk of their forces to the west, they ran the risk of rebellions rising within Parthia or foreign invasion. Furthermore, they did not have the means to supply the men day in and day out. The militia had homes and families to attend. Therefore, military service was temporary and protracted military campaigns were out of the question.

Horse Arhers at CarrhaeParthian Shiva-tir horse archers attack Roman formations at the Battle of Carrhae in 53 BCE (Picture source: Antony Karasulas & Angus McBride, Osprey Publishing).

In the end, with Parthia gone, Rome’s war in the east continued. A new power would emerge due to the vacuum Rome created. This power, unlike Parthia, was a centralized, leviathanic reflection of Rome. They were the Sassanids.

Discovery of one of Ten largest Achaemenid buildings with Persepolis Structure

July 10th, 2014

The report below was originally by Payvand Iran News (July 2, 2008) (with the original Persian-language report by ISNA).

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Have the archaeologists reached the ancient city of Lidoma, mentioned in historical plates?

In the second round of excavations in the historical site of Achaemenid region in Noorabad, Mamasani, of Fars province in Southern Iran, a restricted amount of remains of a columned balcony and a hall and its stairway, were discovered; this is one of the ten largest buildings having a structure similar to Persepolis.

Achaemenid-Noorabad-1[Click to Enlarge] Excavated column bases and stairway at Noorabad (Photo Source: Payvand News).

According to the cultural heritage reporter of ISNA (Iranian Students’ News Agency), the Iranian chief of the excavation site in this area, confirming the above news, said: The excavations have been going on from Dey (January) and has reached a balcony and a hall and stairway belonging to a large building. He added: This Achaemenid building has huge columns with a base about one meter thick. The styles of columns are the same as the Persepolis columns. The dimensions are similar to columns of Hall of Hundred Columns of Persepolis.

According to this report, there are traces of lotus flowers on the base of columns and the colour of the columns are the same as the Persepolis columns.

He pointed out to the fact that the discovery of this building has created several questions and said: The exact date of Achaemenid period in which the building was erected is not yet clear. The building could be one of the buildings of the famous Lidoma city, which has been mentioned in Persepolis plates.

The excavations in this are is carried out under the supervision of Ali Reza Asgari, from the archaeology research center and Daniel Thomas Pats from the Australian Sydney University.

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAExcavation work at Noorabad (Photo Source: Payvand News).

The joint team of Iranian archaeology research centre and the Australian Sydney University, began the excavations from 1381 [2003] in Mamasani region in Fars province. The outcome of excavations of this stage is the discovery of 51 historical sites in Rostam 1and 2 plains, 25 historical plates in Noorabad and 16 other in Espid hills. The dates were verified by radioactive process and give valuable information regarding the settlements in the sixth millennium BC to year 50 in this region.

Asgari stated the following:

The second phase of excavations started in 2007 and was planned to continue the explorations done in the previous stage. At this stage the excavations were concentrated in Achaemenid historical zones. These zones have different names such as Qal’e Koli, Servan, and Jinjan. The discoveries in this region open the path to an understanding of the Achaemenid studies in South and South-West Iran“.

Hertzfeld first discovered this area in 1924 and called it Jinjan. In 1935, Stein, mentions the villages in this region by the name Jinjan.

The first excavations in this area were carried out by an Iranian-Japanese archaeological team in 1959, during which a column-base colored in grey was found, having lotus figures on its top.

Asgari pointed out that the remains of a large building with columns in this region, along with numerous stone made pots, similar to those found in Persepolis area suggest that maybe as Herodotus has said, the king’s road passed by this area. Or as Hertzfeld and Stein suggest this area could have been a caravanserai in the kings’ road towards Shush. Some have also suggested that this place could have been a depot for collecting and storing the tax of the region.

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA[Click to Enlarge] Remarkably intact Lotus-flower pattern column base excavated at Noorabad (Photo Source: Payvand News).

The Iranian supervisor of the archaeology team insisted: Although it is speculated that the functions of this place is similar to that of a region called Borazjan, but it is too early to conclude anything about the Jinjan region. It is true that large collection depots were numerous in this region, including the one in Borazjan, but more studies should be carried out in Jinjan region.

He corrected his last year statements according to which he had said that the building discovered in this region was the fourth in its kind and said: Considering the building discovered from the Achaemenid period, this is the tenth building of its kind which belongs to this period.

Tehran in the 1960s-1970s

July 3rd, 2014

Below is a selection of photos of Tehran in the 1960s and 1970s. Readers may find these previous postings of interest as well:

Snapshots of some of Tehran’s Major Avenues, Hotels and Mehrabad airport in the 1960s and 1970s

 

[Click picture to Enlarge] Aerial view of Vali Ahd Square (Meydan e Vali Ahd) in 1971 (Picture source: R. Tarverdi (Editor) & A. Massoudi (Art editor), The land of Kings, Tehran: Rahnama Publications, 1971).

Pahlavi avenue ingress to Vali Ahd Square (Meydan e Vali Ahd) in the 1960s (Picture source: Fouman.com).

Tehran’s Hilton Hotel in 1961 (Picture source: Iranian.com).

[Click picture to Enlarge] Mehrabad airport in 1971. Note the four-engined Boeing 707. Mehrabad was to become one of the busiest and most modern airports in Western Asia by the late 1970s (Picture source: R. Tarverdi (Editor) & A. Massoudi (Art editor), The land of Kings, Tehran: Rahnama Publications, 1971). 

 [Click picture to Enlarge] Takht e Jamshid Avenue in the 1971.

Istanbul Avenue in 1965.

 
Firdowsi avenue towards the north as seen in the 1960s.

[Click picture to Enlarge] Queen Elizabeth Boulevard in 1971 (Picture source: R. Tarverdi (Editor) & A. Massoudi (Art editor), The land of Kings, Tehran: Rahnama Publications, 1971).

Tehran University

[Click picture to Enlarge] Aerial View of Tehran University in the 1970s (Picture source: R. Tarverdi (Editor) & A. Massoudi (Art editor), The land of Kings, Tehran: Rahnama Publications, 1971).

[Click picture to Enlarge] Entrance to Tehran University in 1971 (Picture source: R. Tarverdi (Editor) & A. Massoudi (Art editor), The land of Kings, Tehran: Rahnama Publications, 1971).

[Click picture to Enlarge] Tehran university students in 1971 (Picture source: R. Tarverdi (Editor) & A. Massoudi (Art editor), The land of Kings, Tehran: Rahnama Publications, 1971).

Iranian university students in the 1970s.

[Click picture to Enlarge] Medical students at Tehran University. 

Tehran’s entertainment-recreation venues and cultural icons in the 196os and 1970s

 

 

The Shahyad Landmark of Tehran (re-named Azadi in 1979) under construction in 1966 (Original Source: Iranian.com)

 [Click to Enlarge]Miss Iran 1967, Shahla Vahabzadeh (Original Source: Iranian.com). For more see Miss Iran Pageants in 1960s and 1970s…

[Click picture to Enlarge] The Shemshak ski resort in 1971 (Picture source: R. Tarverdi (Editor) & A. Massoudi (Art editor), The land of Kings, Tehran: Rahnama Publications, 1971).

The Abeali Ski resort in 1966 (Picture Source: Iranian.com).

[Click to Enlarge] The late actor Mohammad-Ali Fardin (1933-2000).

Ski enthusiasts at the Abeali Ski resort in 1966.

Am Iranian Pepsi-Cola cap from the 1970s. Tehranis often claimed that their version of Pepsi-Cola was better tasting than the American original!

-جرای گروه بلک کتز در سالهای دور – The original Iranian rock and jazz band known as the Black Cats. The name of this band was revived from the early 1990s by the Iranian diaspora community in Los Angeles.  For more see Selections and Memories of Iranian Popular Music of the 1960s…

Golden City Cinema in 1971 (Picture source: Fouman.com).

Tehran’s posh Chattanooga restaurant and coffee bar in 1966.

Snapshot of Tehranis in the 1960s and 1970s

[Click picture to Enlarge] The Tehran Twist: The Tehran jet-set entertaining themselves with rock and roll music in the early 1960s (Picture Source and with special thanks to: Shamsi V (Original photographer) posted in Flickr). 

[Click picture to Enlarge] Old men amusing themselves with water-pipes on Isfahan street in the 1960s. 

[Click picture to Enlarge] A Tehran government official takes a break from the office. 

 Department Stores 

[Click picture to Enlarge] The Kourosh department store in the 1970s. The department store also featured a popular restaurant on its top floor (Picture source: R. Tarverdi (Editor) & A. Massoudi (Art editor), The land of Kings, Tehran: Rahnama Publications, 1971).

[Click picture to Enlarge] Mother shopping for her young son in the children’s section of a Tehran department store in 1971 (Picture source: R. Tarverdi (Editor) & A. Massoudi (Art editor), The land of Kings, Tehran: Rahnama Publications, 1971).

Radio Stations

 Iran radio station circa early 1970s.

Health Care

[Click picture to Enlarge] A Tehran hospital operating room in 1971 (Picture source: R. Tarverdi (Editor) & A. Massoudi (Art editor), The land of Kings, Tehran: Rahnama Publications, 1971).