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Coordinates: 32°N 53°E / 32°N 53°E / 32; 53

Islamic Republic of Iran
جمهوری اسلامی ایران
Jomhuri-ye Eslāmi-ye Irān
Flag Coat of arms
MottoIndependence, Freedom, Islamic Republic
AnthemNational Anthem of Iran²
(and largest city)
35°41′N 51°25′E / 35.683°N 51.417°E / 35.683; 51.417
Official language(s) Persian
Recognised regional languages Azeri, Kurdish, Luri, Mazandarani, Gilaki, Baluchi and Arabic.
Demonym Iranian
Government Islamic republic (a "theocratic republic".[1])
 -  Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
 -  President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
 -  First Vice President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi
 -  Speaker of the Parliament Ali Larijani
 -  Median Empire 625 BC 
 -  Parthian Empire 247 BC 
 -  Safavid Empire 1501[3] 
 -  Islamic Republic declared 1 April 1979 
 -  Total 1,648,195 km2 (18th)
636,372 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 0.7
 -  2009 estimate 74,196,000[4] (18th)
 -  2006 census 70,495,782 
 -  Density 45/km2 (163rd)
116.6/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2009 estimate
 -  Total $830.058 billion[5] (17th)
 -  Per capita $11,202[5] (73rd)
GDP (nominal) 2009 estimate
 -  Total $331.757 billion[5] (29th)
 -  Per capita $4,477[5] (87th)
Gini (2008) 38[6] (medium
HDI (2007) 0.782 (medium) (88th)
Currency Rial (ريال) (IRR)
Time zone IRST (UTC+3:30)
 -  Summer (DST) Iran Daylight Time (IRDT) (UTC+4:30)
Drives on the right
Internet TLD .ir
Calling code 98
3 Statistical Center of Iran. "جمعيت و متوسط رشد سالانه" (in Persian). Retrieved 2009-02-13. 
4 CIA Factbook

Iran (Persian: ایران [ʔiˈɾɒn]  ( listen)), officially the Islamic Republic of Iran[7] is a country in Western Asia.[8] The name Iran has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use in the Western world in 1935, before which the country was widely known as Persia. Both Persia and Iran are used interchangeably in cultural contexts; however, Iran is the name used officially in political contexts.[9][10] The name Iran is a cognate of Aryan, and means "Land of the Aryans".[11][12][13]

The 18th largest country in the world in terms of area at 1,648,195 km², Iran has a population of over 70 million.[14] It is a country of particular geostrategic significance owing to its location in the Middle East and central Eurasia. Iran is bordered on the north by Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. As Iran is a littoral state of the Caspian Sea, which is an inland sea and condominium, Kazakhstan and Russia are also Iran's direct neighbors to the north. Iran is bordered on the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, on the west by Iraq and on the northwest by Turkey. Tehran is the capital, the country's largest city and the political, cultural, commercial and industrial center of the nation. Iran is a regional power,[15][16] and holds an important position in international energy security and world economy as a result of its large reserves of petroleum and natural gas.

Iran is home to one of the world's oldest continuous major civilizations.[17][18][19] The first Iranian dynasty formed during the Elamite kingdom in 2800 BCE. The Iranian Medes unified Iran into an empire in 625 BCE.[2] They were succeeded by the Iranian Achaemenid Empire, the Hellenic Seleucid Empire and two subsequent Iranian empires, the Parthians and the Sassanids, before the Muslim conquest in 651 CE. Iranian post-Islamic dynasties and empires expanded the Persian language and culture throughout the Iranian plateau. Early Iranian dynasties which re-asserted Iranian independence included the Tahirids, Saffarids, Samanids and Buyids.

The blossoming of Persian literature, philosophy, medicine, astronomy, mathematics and art became major elements of Muslim civilization and started with the Saffarids and Samanids. Iran was once again reunified as an independent state in 1501 by the Safavid dynasty[3]—who promoted Twelver Shi'a Islam[20] as the official religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning points in the history of Islam.[21] "Persia's Constitutional Revolution" established the nation's first parliament in 1906, within a constitutional monarchy. Iran officially became an Islamic republic on 1 April 1979, following the Iranian Revolution.[22][23]

Iran is a founding member of the UN, NAM, OIC and OPEC. The political system of Iran, based on the 1979 constitution, comprises several intricately connected governing bodies. The highest state authority is the Supreme Leader. Shia Islam is the official religion and Persian is the official language.[24]



The term Iran (ایران) in modern Persian derives from the Proto-Iranian term Aryānā, first attested in Zoroastrianism's Avesta tradition.[25] Ariya- and Airiia- are also attested as an ethnic designator in Achaemenid inscriptions. The term Ērān, from Middle Persian Ērān (written as ʼyrʼn) is found on the inscription that accompanies the investiture relief of Ardashir I at Naqsh-e Rustam.[26] In this inscription, the king's appellation in Middle Persian contains the term ērān (Pahlavi ʼryʼn), while in the Parthian language inscription that accompanies it, the term aryān describes Iran. In Ardeshir's time, ērān retained this meaning, denoting the people rather than the state.

Notwithstanding this inscriptional use of ērān to refer to the Iranian peoples, the use of ērān to refer to the geographical empire is also attested in the early Sassanid period. An inscription relating to Shapur I, Ardashir's son and immediate successor, includes regions which were not inhabited primarily by Iranians in Ērān regions, such as Armenia and the Caucasus."[27] In Kartir's inscriptions the high priest includes the same regions in his list of provinces of the antonymic Anērān.[27] Both ērān and aryān come from the Proto-Iranian term Aryānām, (Land) of the (Iranian) Aryas. The word and concept of Airyanem Vaejah is present in the name of the country Iran (Lit. Land of the Aryans) inasmuch as Iran (Ērān) is the modern Persian form of the word Aryānā.

Since Sassanian era the country has been known to its own people as Iran; however, to the western world, the official name of Iran from the 6th century BCE until 1935 was Persia or similar foreign language translations (La Perse, Persien, Perzie, etc.).[9] In that year, Reza Shah asked the international community to call the country by the name "Iran". A few years later, some Persian scholars protested to the government that changing the name had separated the country from its past, so in 1949[9][10] Mohammad Reza Shah announced that both terms could officially be used interchangeably. Now both terms are common, but "Iran" is used mostly in the modern political context and "Persia" in a cultural and historical context. Since the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the official name of the country has been the "Islamic Republic of Iran."

Geography and climate

Mount Damavand, Iran's highest point, is located in Mazanderan.
Simplified Climatic Map of Iran      Caspian Mild      Mountains      Desert and Semi-Desert

Iran is the eighteenth largest country in the world,[28] with an area of 1,648,000 km2 (636,000 sq mi).[29] Its area roughly equals that of the United Kingdom, France, Spain, and Germany combined, or somewhat more than the US state of Alaska.[30] Its borders are with Azerbaijan (432 km/268 mi) and Armenia (35 km/22 mi) to the north-west; the Caspian Sea to the north; Turkmenistan (992 km/616 mi) to the north-east; Pakistan (909 km/565 mi) and Afghanistan (936 km/582 mi) to the east; Turkey (499 km/310 mi) and Iraq (1,458 km/906 mi) to the west; and finally the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman to the south.

Iran consists of the Iranian Plateau with the exception of the coasts of the Caspian Sea and Khuzestan. It is one of the world's most mountainous countries, its landscape dominated by rugged mountain ranges that separate various basins or plateaux from one another. The populous western part is the most mountainous, with ranges such as the Caucasus, Zagros and Alborz Mountains; the last contains Iran's highest point, Mount Damavand at 5,610 m (18,405 ft), which is not only the country's highest peak but also the highest mountain on the Eurasian landmass west of the Hindu Kush.[31]

The Northern part of Iran is covered by dense rain forests called Shomal or the Jungles of Iran. The eastern part consists mostly of desert basins such as the Dasht-e Kavir, Iran's largest desert, in the north-central portion of the country, and the Dasht-e Lut, in the east, as well as some salt lakes. This is because the mountain ranges are too high for rain clouds to reach these regions. The only large plains are found along the coast of the Caspian Sea and at the northern end of the Persian Gulf, where Iran borders the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab (or the Arvand Rūd) river. Smaller, discontinuous plains are found along the remaining coast of the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman.

Iran's climate ranges from arid or semiarid, to subtropical along the Caspian coast and the northern forests. On the northern edge of the country (the Caspian coastal plain) temperatures rarely fall below freezing and the area remains humid for the rest of the year. Summer temperatures rarely exceed 29 °C (85 °F).[32][33] Annual precipitation is 680 mm (27 in) in the eastern part of the plain and more than 1,700 mm (67 in) in the western part.

To the west, settlements in the Zagros basin experience lower temperatures, severe winters with below zero average daily temperatures and heavy snowfall. The eastern and central basins are arid, with less than 200 mm (eight in) of rain, and have occasional deserts.[33] Average summer temperatures exceed 38 °C (100 °F). The coastal plains of the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman in southern Iran have mild winters, and very humid and hot summers. The annual precipitation ranges from 135 to 355 mm (five to fourteen inches).[33]

Iran's wildlife is composed of several animal species including bears, gazelles, wild pigs, wolves, jackals, panthers, Eurasian lynx, and foxes. Domestic animals include, sheep, goats, cattle, horses, water buffalo, donkeys, and camels. The pheasant, partridge, stork, eagles and falcon are also native to Iran.

Provinces and cities

Iran is divided into thirty provinces (ostān), each governed by an appointed governor (استاندار, ostāndār). The provinces are divided into counties (shahrestān), and subdivided into districts (bakhsh) and sub-districts (dehestān).

Iran has one of the highest urban growth rates in the world. From 1950 to 2002, the urban proportion of the population increased from 27% to 60%.[34] The United Nations predicts that by 2030, 80% of the population will be urban.[35] Most internal migrants have settled near the cities of Tehran, Isfahan, Ahvaz, and Qom. The listed populations are from the 2006/07 (1385 AP) census.[36] Tehran, with a population of 7,705,036, is the largest city in Iran and is the Capital. Tehran is home to around 11% of Iran's population. Tehran, like many big cities, suffers from severe air pollution. It is the hub of the country's communication and transport network.

Mashhad, with a population of 2,410,800, is the second largest Iranian city and the centre of the province of Razavi Khorasan. Mashhad is one of the holiest Shi'a cities in the world as it is the site of the Imam Reza shrine. It is the centre of tourism in Iran and between 15 and 20 million pilgrims go to the Imam Reza's shrine every year.[37][38]

Another major Iranian city is Isfahan (population 1,583,609), which is the capital of Isfahan Province. The Naghsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The city contains a wide variety of Islamic architectural sites ranging from the eleventh to the 19th century. The growth of the suburban area around the city has turned Isfahan into Iran's second most populous metropolitan area (3,430,353).[39]

The fourth major city of Iran is Tabriz (population 1,378,935), the capital of the East Azerbaijan provience. It is also the second industrial city of Iran after Tehran. Tabriz had been the second largest city in Iran until the late 1960s and one of its former capitals and residence of the crown prince under the Qajar dynasty. The city has proven extremely influential in the country’s recent history.

The fifth major city is Karaj (population 1,377,450), located in Tehran province and situated 20 km west of Tehran, at the foot of the Alborz mountains; however, the city is increasingly becoming an extension of metropolitan Tehran.

The sixth major Iranian city is Shiraz (population 1,214,808); it is the capital of Fars Province. The Elamite civilization to the west greatly influenced the area which soon came to be known as Persis. The ancient Persians were present in the region from about the 9th century BC, and became rulers of a large empire under the Achaemenid dynasty in the 6th century BC. The ruins of Persepolis and Pasargadae, two of the four capitals of the Achaemenid Empire, are located in or near Shiraz. Persepolis was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire and is situated 70 km northeast of modern Shiraz. UNESCO declared the citadel of Persepolis as a World Heritage Site in 1979.

Cities by population


Rank City Province Population in 2006 Rank City Province Population in 2006


1 Tehran Tehran 7,705,036 10 Urmia West Azerbaijan 583,255
2 Mashhad Razavi Khorasan 2,427,316 11 Zahedan Sistan and Baluchestan 552,706
3 Isfahan Isfahan 1,602,110 12 Rasht Gilan 551,161
4 Tabriz East Azerbaijan 1,398,060 13 Kerman Kerman 496,684
5 Karaj Tehran 1,377,450 14 Hamedan Hamedan 473,149
6 Shiraz Fars 1,227,311 15 Arak Markazi 438,338
7 Ahvaz Khuzestan 969,843 16 Yazd Yazd 423,006
8 Qom Qom 951,918 17 Ardabil Ardabil 412,669
9 Kermanshah Kermanshah 784,602 18 Bandar Abbas Hormozgan 367,508


Early history (9000 BCE – 625 BCE)

19th century reconstruction of a map of the world by Eratosthenes, c.200 BCE. The name Ariana (Aryânâ) was used to describe the region where the Iranian Plateau is found.

Dozens of pre-historic sites across the Iranian plateau point to the existence of ancient cultures and urban settlements in the fourth millennium BCE,[40][41][42] centuries before the earliest civilizations arose in nearby Mesopotamia.[43] Proto-Iranians first emerged following the separation of Indo-Iranians, and are traced to the Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex.[44] Aryan, (Proto-Iranian) tribes arrived in the Iranian plateau in the third and second millennium BCE, probably in more than one wave of emigration, and settled as nomads.

Further separation of Proto-Iranians into "Eastern" and "Western" groups occurred due to migration. By the first millennium BCE, Medes, Persians, Bactrians and Parthians populated the western part, while Cimmerians, Sarmatians and Alans populated the steppes north of the Black Sea.

Other tribes began to settle on the eastern edge, as far as on the mountainous frontier of north-western Indian subcontinent and into the area which is now Balochistan. Others, such as the Scythian tribes spread as far west as the Balkans and as far east as Xinjiang. Avestan is an eastern Old Iranian language that was used to compose the sacred hymns and canon of the Zoroastrian Gathas in c. 1000 BCE.

Pre-Islamic statehood (625 BCE – 651 CE)

The Cyrus Cylinder a document issued by Cyrus the Great and regarded by some as a charter of human rights.

The Medes are credited with the unification[2] of Iran as a nation and empire (625[2]–559  BCE), the largest of its day, until Cyrus the Great established a unified empire of the Medes and Persians leading to the Achaemenid Empire (559–330  BCE), and further unification between peoples and cultures. After Cyrus' death, his son Cambyses continued his father's work of conquest, making significant gains in Egypt.

Following a power struggle after Cambyses' death, Darius I was declared king (ruled 522–486 BCE). Under Cyrus the Great and Darius the Great, the Persian Empire eventually became the largest and most powerful empire in human history up until that point.[45] The borders of the Persian empire stretched from the Indus and Oxus Rivers in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west, extending through Anatolia (modern day Turkey) and Egypt.

The Achaemenid Empire at its greatest extent, at about 500 BCE

In 499 BCE Athens lent support to a revolt in Miletus which resulted in the sacking of Sardis. This led to an Achaemenid campaign against Greece known as the Greco-Persian Wars which lasted the first half of the 5th century BCE. During the Greco-Persian wars Persia made some major advances and razed Athens in 480 BCE, but after a string of Greek victories the Persians were forced to withdraw. Fighting ended with the peace of Callias in 449 BCE.

The rules and ethics emanating from Zoroaster's teachings were strictly followed by the Achaemenids who introduced and adopted policies based on human rights, equality and banning of slavery. Zoroastrianism spread unimposed during the time of the Achaemenids and through contacts with the exiled Jewish people in Babylon freed by Cyrus, Zoroastrian concepts further propagated and influenced the Abrahamic religions. The Golden Age of Athens marked by Aristotle, Plato and Socrates also came about during the Achaemenid period while their contacts with Persia and the Near East abounded. The peace, tranquility, security and prosperity that were afforded to the people of the Near East and Southeastern Europe proved to be a rare historical occurrence, an unparalleled period where commerce prospered, and the standard of living for all people of the region improved.[46]

In 334 BCE, Alexander the Great invaded the Achaemenid Empire, defeating the last Achaemenid Emperor Darius III at the Battle of Issus in 333 BCE. He left the annexed territory in 328–327. In each of the former Achaemenid territories he installed his own officers as caretakers, which led to friction and ultimately to the partitioning of the former empire after Alexander's death, and the subsequent formation of the Seleucid Empire.

The Parthian Empire (238 BCE–226 CE), led by the Arsacid Dynasty, was the third Iranian kingdom to dominate the Iranian plateau, after defeating the Greek Seleucid Empire, beginning in the late 3rd century BCE, and intermittently controlled Mesopotamia between ca. 150 BCE and 224 CE. These were the third native dynasty of ancient Iran and lasted five centuries. After the conquests of Media, Assyria, Babylonia and Elam, the Parthians had to organize their empire. The former elites of these countries were Greek, and the new rulers had to adapt to their customs if they wanted their rule to last. As a result, the cities retained their ancient rights and civil administrations remained more or less undisturbed.

Parthia was the arch-enemy of the Roman Empire in the east, limiting Rome's expansion beyond Cappadocia (central Anatolia). By using a heavily armed and armoured cataphract cavalry, and lightly armed but highly mobile mounted archers, the Parthians "held their own against Rome for almost 300 years".[47] Rome's acclaimed general Mark Antony led a disastrous campaign against the Parthians in 36 BCE, in which he lost 32,000 men. By the time of Roman emperor Augustus, Rome and Parthia were settling some of their differences through diplomacy. By this time, Parthia had acquired an assortment of golden eagles, the cherished standards of Rome's legions, captured from Mark Antony, and Crassus, who suffered a defeat at Carrhae in 53 BCE.[48]

Rock-face relief at Naqsh-e Rustam of Iranian emperor Shapur I (on horseback) capturing Roman emperor Valerian (kneeling) and Philip the Arab (standing)

The end of the Parthian Empire came in 224 AD, when the empire was loosely organized and the last king was defeated by Ardashir I, one of the empire's vassals. Ardashir I then went on to create the Sassanid Empire. Soon he started reforming the country both economically and militarily. The Sassanids established an empire roughly within the frontiers achieved by the Achaemenids, referring to it as Erânshahr or Iranshahr, Eranshahr.svg, "Dominion of the Aryans", (i.e. of Iranians), with their capital at Ctesiphon.[49] Unlike the diadochic Seleucids and the succeeding Arsacids, who used a vassalary system, the Sassanids—like the Achaemenids—had a system of governors (MP: shahrab) personally appointed by the Emperor and directed by the central government. The Romans suffered repeated losses particularly by Ardashir I, Shapur I, and Shapur II.[50] During their reign, Sassanid battles with the Roman Empire caused such pessimism in Rome that the historian Cassius Dio wrote:

Geographical extent of Iranian influence in the 1st century BCE. The Parthian Empire (mostly Western Iranian) is shown in red, other areas, dominated by Scythia (mostly Eastern Iranian), in orange.
Here was a source of great fear to us. So formidable does the Sassanid king seem to our eastern legions, that some are liable to go over to him, and others are unwilling to fight at all.[51]
Persian and Median soldiers at Persepolis

In 632 raiders from the Arab peninsula began attacking the Sassanid Empire. Iran was defeated in the Battle of al-Qâdisiyah, paving way for the Islamic conquest of Persia.

During Parthian, and later Sassanid era, trade on the Silk Road was a significant factor in the development of the great civilizations of China, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, Indian subcontinent, and Rome, and helped to lay the foundations for the modern world. Parthian remains display classical Greek influences in some instances and retain their oriental mode in others, a clear expression of the cultural diversity that characterized Parthian art and life.[52]

The Parthians were innovators of many architecture designs such as that of Ctesiphon, which later influenced European Romanesque architecture.[53][54] Under the Sassanids, Iran expanded relations with China. Arts, music, and architecture greatly flourished, and centers such as the School of Nisibis and Academy of Gundishapur became world renowned centers of science and scholarship.

Middle Ages (652–1501)

Map of Iranian Dynasties c. 1000

After the Islamic conquest of Persia, most of the urban lands of the Sassanid empire with the exception of Caspian provinces and Transoxiana came under Islamic rule.[55] Many provinces in Iran defended themselves against the Arab invaders, although none in the end was able to repulse the invaders. However, when the Arabs had subdued the country, many of the cities rose in rebellions, killing Arab governors, although reinforcement by Arab armies succeeded in putting down the rebellions.

However, the Iranians' conversion to Islam was a complex process and is generally considered to have been gradual and the notion of force has largely been discredited,[56] although occasional acts of violence did take place, with Zoroastrian scriptures being burned and Zoroastrian priests being executed.[55][57]

By the 9th century, Islam became a dominant religion in Persia and the conversion of Iranians to Islam brought profound changes to their life and culture.[55] However in some regions, like Fars province, Zoroastrianism was strong up to the 9th century, although Sufis like Abu Eshaq Kazeruni, the founder of Kazeruni Sufi order brought mass conversion of Zoroastrians to Islam in the 10th century.[55]

During the Abbasid caliphate decline, independent[58][59] and semi-independent native Iranian dynasties arose in different parts of Persia including the Tahirids, Saffarids, Samanids, Afrighids, Ghurids, Sallarid, Justanids, Shaddadids and Buyids. Socially, the Arabs abolished the previous social class system of Sassanians while later, especially under the Ummayyads, another form of discrimination and exclusion against non-Arabs evolved.[60] In reaction to these, Abu Moslem, an Iranian[61][62] general, expelled the Umayyads from Damascus and helped the Abbasid caliphs to conquer Baghdad. The Abbasid caliphs frequently chose their "wazirs" (viziers) among Iranians, and Iranian governors acquired a certain amount of local autonomy. Thus in 822, the governor of Khorasan, Tahir, proclaimed his independence and founded a new Persian dynasty of Tahirids. And by the Samanid era, Iran's efforts to regain its independence had been well solidified.[63]

Attempts of Arabization thus never succeeded in Iran, and movements such as the Shuubiyah became catalysts for Iranians to regain their independence in their relations with the Arab invaders.[64] Other notable major revolts, some by Iranian Muslims and others by practitioners of old Iranian religions against Arab rule were lead by Al-Muqanna, Sunpadh, Khurramites, Babak Khorramdin, Maziar, Mardavij, Ustadh Sis and Ya'qub-i Laith Saffari.

The cultural revival of the post-Abbasid period led to a resurfacing of Iranian national identity. The resulting cultural movement reached its peak during the 9th and 10th centuries. The most notable effect of the movement was the continuation of the Persian language, the official language of Iran to the present day. Ferdowsi, Iran's greatest epic poet, is regarded today as the most important figure in maintaining the Persian language. After an interval of silence Iran re-emerged as a separate, different and distinctive element within Islam.

Khwarezmid Empire around 1200

In 1218, the eastern Khwarazmid provinces of Transoxiana and Khorasan suffered a devastating invasion by Genghis Khan. During this period more than half of Iran's population was killed,[65] turning the streets of Persian cities such as Neishabur into "rivers of blood", as the severed heads of men, women, and children were "neatly stacked into carefully constructed pyramids around which the carcasses of the city's dogs and cats were placed".[66] Between 1220 and 1260, the total population of Iran had dropped from 2,500,000 to 250,000 as a result of mass extermination and famine.[67]

In a letter to King Louis IX of France, Holaku, one of the Genghis Khan's grandsons, alone took responsibility for 200,000 deaths in his raids of Iran and the Caliphate.[68] He was followed by yet another conqueror, Tamerlane, who established his capital in Samarkand.[69] The waves of devastation prevented many cities such as Neishabur from reaching their pre-invasion population levels until the 20th century, eight centuries later.[70]

In 1387, Tamerlane avenged a revolt in Isfahan by massacring 70,000 people.[71] But both Hulagu, Tamerlane, and their successors soon came to adopt the ways and customs of that which they had conquered, choosing to surround themselves with a culture that was distinctively Persian.[72] The mid-14th-century Black Death killed about 30% of the country's population.[73]

Illustration from Jami "Rose Garden of the Pious", dated 1553. The image blends Persian poetry and Persian miniature into one, as is the norm for many works of the Timurid era.

Iran was gradually Islamized after the collapse of the Sassanid empire; however, it was not Arabized. Iranian culture re-emerged with a separate and distinctive character and made an immense contribution to the Islamic civilization.[74][75] When Islam came through Iran, there developed Iranian Islam or Persian Islam rather than the original Arab Islam, and this new Islam is sometimes referred to by scholars as Islam-i Ajam (Persian Islam).[74][76]

It was this Persian Islam and Sufism which was brought to new areas and new peoples like the Turks of Central Asia, the Ottoman Empire, and the Indian subcontinent.[74] Among the major Iranian Muslims who cultivated Sufism and helped the spread of Islam through Sufism, one can mention Habib Ajami, Hallaj, Hasan Basri, Junayd Baghdadi, Bayazid Bistami, Maruf Karkhi, Abdul Qadir Jilani, Moinuddin Chishti, Jalaluddin Rumi, Najmuddin Kubra, and Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari. Note should also be made of Abu Hanifa, the founder of the Hanafi school of thought which is followed by most Muslims today.

Arabic writer Ibn Khaldun has remarked that the sedentary culture which was necessary for the development of civilization was rooted in the Persian empire.[77]

One of the main developments after the advent of Islam in Iran was the rise of the New Persian language as an important Indo-European language. The New Persian language was an evolution of Middle Persian, which in turn was derived from Old Persian. New Persian absorbed a considerable amount of Arabic vocabulary[78][79] during this era, although the Arabic vocabulary that was Persianized[80] often took a different meaning than the Arabic origin. In terms of contribution to the Arabic language, Iranians like Sibawayhi[81] pioneered writing books of grammar of the Arabic language.

Culturally, Iranians preserved their language, while they used Arabic for scientific and philosophical discourses;[82] this enabled them to reach a worldwide audience for the first time.[82] After the 10th century, Persian, written in the modified Perso-Arabic script alongside Arabic, was used for scientific, philosophical, historical, mathematical, musical, and medical works, as important Iranian writers such as Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, Avicenna, Qotb al-Din Shirazi, Gurgani, Naser Khusraw, Biruni, Abdul Qadir Maraghi made contributions to Persian scientific writing.

During this era, Iranians continued on a much larger scale the cultural and scientific enterprises set up by the Sassanids.[83] The blossoming Persian literature, philosophy, medicine, and art became major elements in the forming Muslim civilization. The Islamic Golden Age, which is characterized by developments in science, owed to a large extent its importance to vital contributions made by Iranians.[84] The Islamic Golden Age reached its peak in the 10th and 11th centuries, during which Persia was the main theatre of scientific activity.[83] The Persian influence of this period relied heavily upon the achievements of the Sassanids, and the weight of this influence has led the Muslim world to accept Islamic civilization as the Perso-Islamic civilization.[85]

Even in the development of Arabic scientific prose itself, which differs in style from that of the Quran, Persian scholars like Ibn al-Muqaffa had a major role. Indeed, the class of clerks and civil administrators that was responsible for the cultivation of the sciences in the early Islamic centuries consisted mostly of Persians.[86] The contributions of Iranians to the Arabic language are however not limited to scientific prose but are also found in Arabic poetry. The contributions by Iranians are characterised as "the lively and graceful fancy, elegance of diction, depth and tenderness of feeling, and a rich store of ideas".[87]

Iranian philosophy after the Islamic conquest is characterized by different interactions with Old Iranian philosophy, with Greek philosophy, and with the development of Islamic philosophy. The Illumination School and Transcendent Philosophy are regarded as two of the main philosophical traditions of this era in Persia. These movements continued well into the 11th century, during which the Nizamiyya university was founded and hundreds of Iranian scholars and scientists contributed greatly to technology, science, and medicine, later influencing the rise of European sciences during the Renaissance.[88]

Early modern era (1501–1921)

Shah Ismail I, the founder of the Safavid Dynasty (1501–1736)

Iran's first encompassing Shi'a Islamic state was established under the Safavid Dynasty (1501–1722) by Shah Ismail I. The Safavid Dynasty soon became a major political power and promoted the flow of bilateral state contacts. The Safavid peak was during the rule of Shah Abbas The Great.[21] The Safavid Dynasty frequently warred with the Ottoman Empire, Uzbek tribes and the Portuguese Empire.

The Safavids moved their capital from Tabriz to Qazvin and then to Isfahan, where their patronage for the arts propelled Iran into one of its most aesthetically productive eras. Under their rule, the state became highly centralized, the first attempts to modernize the military were made, and even a distinct style of architecture developed. In 1722 Afghan rebels defeated Shah Sultan Hossein and ended the Safavid Dynasty, but in 1735, Nader Shah successfully drove out the Afghan rebels from Isfahan and established the Afsharid Dynasty.

He then staged an incursion into India in 1738, securing the Peacock throne, Koh-i-Noor, and Darya-ye Noor among other royal treasures. His rule did not last long, however, as he was assassinated in 1747. The Mashhad based Afshar Dynasty was succeeded by the Zand dynasty in 1750, founded by Karim Khan, who established his capital at Shiraz. His rule brought a period of relative peace and renewed prosperity.

The Zand dynasty lasted three generations, until Aga Muhammad Khan executed Lotf Ali Khan, and founded his new capital in Tehran, marking the dawn of the Qajar Dynasty in 1794. The Qajar chancellor Amir Kabir established Iran's first modern college system, among other modernizing reforms. Iran suffered several wars with Imperial Russia during the Qajar era, resulting in Iran losing almost half of its territories to Imperial Russia and the British Empire, via the treaties of Gulistan, Turkmenchay and Akhal. The Great Persian Famine of 1870–1871 is believed to have caused the death of 2 million persons.[89]

In spite of The Great Game Iran managed to maintain her sovereignty and was never colonized, unlike neighbouring states in the region. Repeated foreign intervention and a corrupt and weakened Qajar rule led to various protests, which by the end of the Qajar period resulted in Iran's constitutional revolution establishing the nation's first parliament in 1906, within a constitutional monarchy.

Recent history (1921–present)

Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddeq

In 1925, Reza Khan overthrew the weakening Qajar Dynasty and became Shah. Reza Shah initiated industrialization, railroad construction, and the establishment of a national education system. Reza Shah sought to balance Russian and British influence, but when World War II started, his nascent ties to Germany alarmed Britain and Russia. In 1941, Britain and the USSR invaded Iran to use Iranian railroad capacity during World War II. The Shah was forced to abdicate in favour of his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

In 1951, Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh was elected prime minister. As prime minister, Mossadegh became enormously popular in Iran after he nationalized Iran's petroleum industry and oil reserves. In response, The British government, headed by Winston Churchill, embargoed Iranian oil and successfully enlist the United States to join in a plot to depose the democratically elected government of Mossadegh, and in 1953 President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorized Operation Ajax. The operation was successful, and Mossadegh was arrested on 19 August 1953. The coup was the first time the US had openly overthrown an elected, civil government.[90]

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and Empress Farah in official uniform

After Operation Ajax, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi's rule became increasingly autocratic. With American support, the Shah was able to rapidly modernize Iranian infrastructure, but he simultaneously crushed all forms of political opposition with his intelligence agency, SAVAK. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini became an active critic of the Shah's White Revolution and publicly denounced the government.

Khomeini was arrested and imprisoned for 18 months. After his release in 1964 Khomeini publicly criticized the United States government. The Shah was persuaded to send him into exile by General Hassan Pakravan. Khomeini was sent first to Turkey, then to Iraq and finally to France. While in exile, he continued to denounce the Shah.

Iranian Revolution

The Iranian Revolution, also known as the Islamic Revolution,[91][92][93] began in January 1978 with the first major demonstrations against the Shah.[94] After strikes and demonstrations paralysed the country and its economy, the Shah fled the country in January 1979 and Ayatollah Khomeini returned from exile to Tehran. The Pahlavi Dynasty collapsed ten days later, on 11 February, when Iran's military declared itself "neutral" after guerrillas and rebel troops overwhelmed troops loyal to the Shah in armed street fighting. Iran officially became an Islamic Republic on 1 April 1979 when Iranians overwhelmingly approved a national referendum to make it so.[22][23]

In December 1979, the country approved a theocratic constitution, whereby Khomeini became Supreme Leader of the country. The speed and success of the revolution surprised many throughout the world,[95] as it had not been precipitated by a military defeat, a financial crisis, or a peasant rebellion.[96] Although both nationalists and Marxists joined with Islamic traditionalists to overthrow the Shah, tens of thousands were killed and executed by the Islamic regime afterward, and the revolution ultimately resulted in an Islamic Republic under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.[97]

Ayatollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Iran's relationship with the United States deteriorated rapidly during the revolution. On 4 November 1979, a group of Iranian students seized US embassy personnel, labelling the embassy a "den of spies".[98] They accused its personnel of being CIA agents plotting to overthrow the revolutionary government, as the CIA had done to Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953. While the student ringleaders had not asked for permission from Khomeini to seize the embassy, Khomeini nonetheless supported the embassy takeover after hearing of its success.[99]

While most of the female and African American hostages were released within the first months,[99] the remaining fifty-two hostages were held for 444 days. Subsequently attempts by the Jimmy Carter administration to negotiate or rescue were unsuccessful. In January 1981 the hostages were set free according to the Algiers declaration.

Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein decided to take advantage of what he perceived to be disorder in the wake of the Iranian Revolution and its unpopularity with Western governments. The once-strong Iranian military had been disbanded during the revolution. Saddam sought to expand Iraq's access to the Persian Gulf by acquiring territories that Iraq had claimed earlier from Iran during the Shah's rule. Of chief importance to Iraq was Khuzestan which not only has a substantial Arab population, but boasted rich oil fields as well. On the unilateral behalf of the United Arab Emirates, the islands of Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs became objectives as well. On 22 September 1980 the Iraqi army invaded Iran at Khuzestan, precipitating the Iran–Iraq War.

Although Saddam Hussein's forces made several early advances, by 1982, Iranian forces managed to push the Iraqi army back into Iraq. Khomeini sought to export his Islamic revolution westward into Iraq, especially on the majority Shi'a Arabs living in the country. The war then continued for six more years until 1988, when Khomeini, in his words, "drank the cup of poison" and accepted a truce mediated by the United Nations. The total Iranian casualties of the war were estimated to be anywhere between 500,000 and 1,000,000; with more than 100,000 Iranians being victims of Iraq's chemical weapons.[100] Almost all relevant international agencies have confirmed that Saddam engaged in chemical warfare to blunt Iranian human wave attacks; these agencies unanimously confirmed that Iran never used chemical weapons during the war.[101][102][103]

Following the Iran–Iraq War President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and his administration concentrated on a pragmatic pro-business policy of rebuilding and strengthening the economy without making any dramatic break with the ideology of the revolution. Rafsanjani served until 1997 when he was succeeded by the moderate reformist Mohammad Khatami. During his two terms as president, Khatami advocated freedom of expression, tolerance and civil society, constructive diplomatic relations with other states including EU and Asian governments, and an economic policy that supported free market and foreign investment. However, Khatami is widely regarded as having been unsuccessful in achieving his goal of making Iran more free and democratic.[104] In the 2005 presidential elections, Iran made yet another change in political direction, when conservative populist candidate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected over Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.[105]

A significant challenge to Ahmadinejad's political power, and the foundations of the Islamic Republic itself occurred during the 2009 Iranian presidential election that was held on 12 June 2009,[106] the tenth presidential election to be held in the country.[107] The Interior Ministry, announced incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won the election with 62.63% receiving 24.5 million vote, while Mir-Hossein Mousavi had come in second place with 13.2 milion votes 33,75%.[108][109] The European Union and several western countries expressed concern over alleged irregularities during the vote,[110] and some analysts and journalists from the United States and United Kingdom news media voiced doubts about the authenticity of the results.[111][112][113]

Mousavi issued a statement accusing the Interior Ministry, responsible for conducting the election, of widespread election fraud and urged his supporters to engage in peaceful protests. He also lodged an official appeal with the Guardian Council for new and more transparent elections. Protests, in favour of Mousavi and against the alleged fraud, broke out in Tehran. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged the nation to unite behind Ahmadinejad, labeling his victory as a "divine assessment".[114] Khamenei then announced there would be an investigation into vote-rigging claims.[115]

On 16 June, the Guardian Council announced it would recount 10% of the votes and concluded there were no irregularities at all, dismissing all election complaints.[116][117][118] However, Mousavi stated that a recount would not be sufficient since he claimed 14 million unused ballots were missing, giving the Interior Ministry an opportunity to manipulate the results.[119] On June 19, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei denounced the pro-Mousavi demonstrations as illegal,[120] and protests the next day were met with stiff resistance from government forces, with many reported deaths.[121]

Government and politics

Iran's complex and unusual political system combines elements of a modern Islamic theocracy with democracy.

The political system of the Islamic Republic is based on the 1979 Constitution. Accordingly, it is the duty of the Islamic government to furnish all citizens with equal and appropriate opportunities, to provide them with work, and to satisfy their essential needs, so that the course of their progress may be assured.[122]

The system comprises several intricately connected governing bodies. The Supreme Leader of Iran is responsible for delineation and supervision of the general policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran.[123] The Supreme Leader is Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, controls the military intelligence and security operations; and has sole power to declare war or peace.[123]

The heads of the judiciary, state radio and television networks, the commanders of the police and military forces and six of the twelve members of the Council of Guardians are appointed by the Supreme Leader.[123] The Assembly of Experts elects and dismisses the Supreme Leader on the basis of qualifications and popular esteem.[124] The Assembly of Experts is responsible for supervising the Supreme Leader in the performance of legal duties.

After the Supreme Leader, the Constitution defines the President of Iran as the highest state authority.[123][125] The President is elected by universal suffrage for a term of four years and can only be re-elected for one term.[125] Presidential candidates must be approved by the Council of Guardians prior to running in order to ensure their allegiance to the ideals of the Islamic revolution.[126]

The President is responsible for the implementation of the Constitution and for the exercise of executive powers, except for matters directly related to the Supreme Leader, who has the final say in all matters.[123] The President appoints and supervises the Council of Ministers, coordinates government decisions, and selects government policies to be placed before the legislature.[127] Eight Vice-Presidents serve under the President, as well as a cabinet of twenty two ministers, who must all be approved by the legislature.[128]

Unlike many other states, the executive branch in Iran does not control the armed forces. Although the President appoints the Ministers of Intelligence and Defense, it is customary for the President to obtain explicit approval from the Supreme Leader for these two ministers before presenting them to the legislature for a vote of confidence. Iran's current president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was first elected in a run-off poll in the 2005 presidential elections and re-elected in the 2009 presidential elections.

As of 2008, the Legislature of Iran (also known as the Majlis of Iran) is a unicameral body.[129] Before the Iranian Revolution, the legislature was bicameral, but the upper house was removed under the new constitution. The Majlis of Iran comprises 290 members elected for four-year terms.[129] The Majlis drafts legislation, ratifies international treaties, and approves the national budget. All Majlis candidates and all legislation from the assembly must be approved by the Council of Guardians.[130]

The Council of Guardians comprises twelve jurists including six appointed by the Supreme Leader. The others are elected by the Parliament from among the jurists nominated by the Head of the Judiciary.[125][131] The Council interprets the constitution and may veto Parliament. If a law is deemed incompatible with the constitution or Sharia (Islamic law), it is referred back to Parliament for revision.[125] In a controversial exercise of its authority, the Council has drawn upon a narrow interpretation of Iran's constitution to veto parliamentary candidates. The Expediency Council has the authority to mediate disputes between Parliament and the Council of Guardians, and serves as an advisory body to the Supreme Leader, making it one of the most powerful governing bodies in the country.[132]

Shirin Ebadi, lawyer, human rights activist and 2006 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

The Supreme Leader appoints the head of Iran's Judiciary, who in turn appoints the head of the Supreme Court and the chief public prosecutor.[133] There are several types of courts including public courts that deal with civil and criminal cases, and "revolutionary courts" which deal with certain categories of offenses, including crimes against national security. The decisions of the revolutionary courts are final and cannot be appealed.[133] The Special Clerical Court handles crimes allegedly committed by clerics, although it has also taken on cases involving lay people. The Special Clerical Court functions independently of the regular judicial framework and is accountable only to the Supreme Leader. The Court's rulings are final and cannot be appealed.[133]

The Assembly of Experts, which meets for one week annually, comprises 86 "virtuous and learned" clerics elected by adult suffrage for eight-year terms. As with the presidential and parliamentary elections, the Council of Guardians determines candidates' eligibility.[133] The Assembly elects the Supreme Leader and has the constitutional authority to remove the Supreme Leader from power at any time.[133] It has not challenged any of the Supreme Leader's decisions[133]

Local City Councils are elected by public vote to four-year terms in all cities and villages of Iran. According to article seven of Iran's Constitution, these local councils together with the Parliament are "decision-making and administrative organs of the State". This section of the constitution was not implemented until 1999 when the first local council elections were held across the country. Councils have many different responsibilities including electing mayors, supervising the activities of municipalities; studying, planning, co-ordinating and implementing of social, cultural, educational, health, economic, and welfare requirements of their constituencies.

Foreign relations and military

HESA Saeqeh was first test-flown in 2004 and has been delivered to the air force since 2007
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Iran's foreign relations are based on two strategic principles: eliminating outside influences in the region and pursuing extensive diplomatic contacts with developing and non-aligned countries. Iran maintains diplomatic relations with almost every member of the United Nations, except for Israel, which Iran does not recognize, and the United States since the Iranian Revolution.[134] Since 2005, Iran's nuclear program has become the subject of contention with the Western world due to suspicions that Iran could divert the civilian nuclear technology to a weapons program. This has led the UN Security Council to impose sanctions against Iran on select companies linked to this program, thus furthering its economic isolation on the international scene. The U.S. Director of National Intelligence said in February 2009 that Iran would not realistically be able to a get a nuclear weapon until 2013, if it chose to develop one.[135]

One of Iran's three SSK Kilo class submarines

The Islamic Republic of Iran has two types of armed forces: the regular forces Islamic Republic of Iran Army, Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force, Islamic Republic of Iran Navy and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), totaling about 545,000 active troops. Iran also has around 350,000 Reserve Force totaling around 900,000 trained troops.[136] Iran has a paramilitary, volunteer militia force within the IRGC, called the Basij, which includes about 90,000 full-time, active-duty uniformed members. Up to 11 million men and women are members of the Basij who could potentially be called up for service; estimates Iran could mobilize "up to one million men". This would be among the largest troop mobilizations in the world.[137] In 2007, Iran's military spending represented 2.6% of the GDP or $102 per capita, the lowest figure of the Persian Gulf nations.[138] Iran's military doctrine is based on deterrence.[139]

Since the Iranian revolution, to overcome foreign embargo, Iran has developed its own military industry, produced its own tanks, armored personnel carriers, guided missiles, submarines, military vessels, guided missile destroyer, radar systems, helicopters and fighter planes.[140][141][142] In recent years, official announcements have highlighted the development of weapons such as the Hoot, Kowsar, Zelzal, Fateh-110, Shahab-3 and Sajjil missiles, and a variety of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).[143] The Fajr-3 (MIRV) is currently Iran's most advanced ballistic missile, it is a liquid fuel missile with an undisclosed range which was developed and produced domestically.


There is an estimated population of 1.2 million weavers in Iran producing carpets for domestic markets and international export.[144]

Iran's economy is a mixture of central planning, state ownership of oil and other large enterprises, village agriculture, and small-scale private trading and service ventures.[145] Its economic infrastructure has been improving steadily over the past two decades but continues to be affected by inflation and unemployment.[146] In the early 21st century the service sector contributed the largest percentage of the GDP, followed by industry (mining and manufacturing) and agriculture. In 2006, about 45% of the government's budget came from oil and natural gas revenues, and 31% came from taxes and fees.[147]

Government spending contributed to an average annual inflation rate of 14% in the period 2000–2004. As of 2007, Iran has earned $70 billion in foreign exchange reserves mostly (80%) from crude oil exports.[148] In 2007, the GDP was estimated at $206 billion ($852 billion at PPP), or $3,160 per capita ($12,300 at PPP).[29] Iran's official annual growth rate was at 6% (2008).[149] Because of these figures and the country’s diversified but small industrial base, the United Nations classifies Iran's economy as semi-developed (1998).[150]

Iran's automobile production crossed the 1 million mark in 2005. Iran Khodro is the largest car manufacturer in the Middle-East. It has established joint-ventures with foreign partners on 4 continents.

Close to 1.8% of national employment is generated in the tourism sector which is slated to increase to 10% in the next five years.[151] About 1,659,000 foreign tourists visited Iran in 2004; most came from Asian countries, including the republics of Central Asia, while a small share came from the countries of the European Union and North America. Iran currently ranks 89th in tourist income, but is rated among the "10 most touristic countries" in the world.[152] Weak advertising, unstable regional conditions, a poor public image in some parts of the world, and absence of efficient planning schemes in the tourism sector have all hindered the growth of tourism.

The administration continues to follow the market reform plans of the previous one and indicated that it will diversify Iran's oil-reliant economy. Iran has also developed a biotechnology, nanotechnology, and pharmaceuticals industry.[153] The strong oil market since 1996 helped ease financial pressures on Iran and allowed for Tehran's timely debt service payments.

Iranian budget deficits have been a chronic problem, mostly due to large-scale state subsidies, that include foodstuffs and especially gasoline, totaling more than $84 billion in 2008 for the energy sector alone.[154][155] In 2010, the economic reform plan was approved by parliament to cut subsidies gradually and replace them with targeted social assistance. The objective is to move towards free market prices in a 5-year period and increase productivity.

Over the past 15 years, the authorities have placed an emphasis on the local production of domestic-consumption oriented goods such as home appliances, cars, agricultural products, pharmaceutical, etc. Today, Iran possesses a good manufacturing industry, despite restrictions imposed by foreign countries. However, nationalized industries such as the bonyads have often been managed badly, making them ineffective and uncompetitive with years. Currently, the government is trying to privatize these industries, and, despite successes, there are still several problems to be overcome, such as the lagging corruption in the public sector and lack of competitiveness.

Iran has leading manufacture industry in the fields of car-manufacture and transportation, construction materials, home appliances, food and agricultural goods, armaments, pharmaceuticals, information technology, power and petrochemicals in the Middle East.[156]


Iran holds 10% of the world's proven oil reserves and 15% of its gas. It is OPEC's second largest exporter and the world's fourth oil producer.

Iran ranks second in the world in natural gas reserves and also second in oil reserves.[157] It is OPEC's 2nd largest oil exporter. It has the potential to become an energy superpower.[158] In 2005, Iran spent $4 billion on fuel imports, because of contraband and inefficient domestic use.[159] Oil industry output averaged 4 million barrels per day (640,000 m3/d) in 2005, compared with the peak of six million barrels per day reached in 1974. In the early 2000s, industry infrastructure was increasingly inefficient because of technological lags. Few exploratory wells were drilled in 2005.

In 2004, a large share of Iran's natural gas reserves were untapped. The addition of new hydroelectric stations and the streamlining of conventional coal and oil-fired stations increased installed capacity to 33,000 megawatts. Of that amount, about 75% was based on natural gas, 18% on oil, and 7% on hydroelectric power. In 2004, Iran opened its first wind-powered and geothermal plants, and the first solar thermal plant is to come online in 2009.

Demographic trends and intensified industrialization have caused electric power demand to grow by 8% per year. The government’s goal of 53,000 megawatts of installed capacity by 2010 is to be reached by bringing on line new gas-fired plants and by adding hydroelectric, and nuclear power generating capacity. Iran’s first nuclear power plant at Bushehr is set to go online by 2010.[160][161]


Major Ethnic Groups of Iran

Iran is a diverse country consisting of people of many religions and ethnic backgrounds cemented by the Persian culture[162]. The majority of the population speaks the Persian language, which is also the official language of the country, as well as other Iranian languages or dialects. Turkic languages and dialects (most importantly Azeri) are spoken in different areas in Iran. Additionally, Arabic is spoken in the southwestern parts of the country.

The exact ethnic breakdown of Iran is unknown as there are no official numbers, however some organizations have made estimates. The CIA World Factbook released the estimate: Persians (51%), Azeris (24%), Gilaki and Mazandarani (8%), Kurds (7%), Arabs (3%), Baluchi (2%), Lurs (2%), Turkmens (2%), Laks, Qashqai, Armenians, Persian Jews, Georgians, Assyrians, Circassians, Tats, Mandaeans, Gypsies, Brahuis, Hazara, Kazakhs and others (1%).[29] However according to them Persian and its dialects are spoken as first language by 58% while Azeri is spoken by 26%, Kurdish by 9%, Luri by 3%, Balochi by 1%, Arabic by 1% and that some 2% have other languages as first language.[29]

The Library of Congress Persians (65%), Azeris (16 %), Kurds (7%), Lurs (6%), Arabs (2%), Baluchi (2%), Turkmens (1%), Turkic tribal groups such as the Qashqai (1%), and non-Iranian, non-Turkic groups such as Armenians, Assyrians, and Georgians (less than 1%). According to them Persian is spoken as a mother tongue by at least 65% of the population and as a second language by a large proportion of the remaining 35%.[163]

Iran religiosity
Religion Percent
Shia Islam
Sunni Islam

Iran's population increased dramatically during the latter half of the 20th century, reaching about 75 million by 2009.[164] In recent years, however, Iran's birth rate has dropped significantly. Studies project that Iran's rate of population growth will continue to slow until it stabilizes above 105 million by 2050.[165][166] More than two-thirds of the population is under the age of 30, and the literacy rate is 83%.[29] Women today compose more than half of the incoming classes for universities around the country and increasingly continue to play pivotal roles in society.

Iran hosts one of the largest refugee populations in the world, with more than one million refugees, mostly from Afghanistan and Iraq.[167] Since 2006, Iranian officials have been working with the UNHCR and Afghan officials for their repatriation.[168] According to estimates, about three million Iranian citizens have emigrated to other countries, mostly since the Iranian Revolution in 1979.[169]

Population of Iran

Religion in Iran is dominated by the Twelver Shi'a branch of Islam, which is the official state religion and to which about 89% of Iranians belong. About 9% of Iranians belong to the Sunni branch of Islam, mainly Kurds and Iran's Balochi Sunni. The remaining 2% are non-Muslim religious minorities, including Bahá'ís, Mandeans, Hindus, Yezidis, Yarsanis, Zoroastrians, Jews, and Christians.[29]

The latter three minority religions are officially recognized and protected, and have reserved seats in the Majlis (Parliament). However the Bahá'í Faith, Iran's largest religious minority,[170] is not officially recognized, and has been persecuted during its existence in Iran. Since the 1979 revolution the persecution of Bahá'ís has increased with executions, the denial of civil rights and liberties, and the denial of access to higher education and employment.[171][172]

According to the Iranian Constitution, the government is required to provide every citizen of the country with access to social security that covers retirement, unemployment, old age, disability, accidents, calamities, health and medical treatment and care services. This is covered by public revenues and income derived from public contributions. The World Health Organization in the last report on health systems ranks Iran's performance on health level 58th, and its overall health system performance 93rd among the world's nations.[173]


City Theater of Tehran, the largest Theater auditorium in the Middle East

The Culture of Iran is a mix of ancient pre-Islamic culture and Islamic culture. Iranian culture probably originated in Central Asia and the Andronovo culture is strongly suggested as the predecessor of Iranian culture ca. 2000 BC. Iranian culture has long been a predominant culture of the Middle East and Central Asia, with Persian considered the language of intellectuals during much of the 2nd millennium, and the language of religion and the populace before that.

The Sassanid era was an important and influential historical period in Iran as Iranian culture influenced China, India and Roman civilization considerably,[174] and so influenced as far as Western Europe and Africa.[175] This influence played a prominent role in the formation of both Asiatic and European medieval art.[176] This influence carried forward to the Islamic world. Much of what later became known as Islamic learning, such as philology, literature, jurisprudence, philosophy, medicine, architecture and the sciences were based on some of the practises taken from the Sassanid Persians to the broader Muslim world.[177][178][179]

After Islamicization of Iran Islamic rituals have penetrated in the Iranian culture. The most noticeable one of them is commemoration of Husayn ibn Ali. Every year in Day of Ashura most of Iranians, including Armenians and Zoroastrians participate in mourning for the martyrs of battle of Karbala. Daily life in modern Iran is closely interwoven with Shia Islam and the country's art, literature, and architecture are an ever-present reminder of its deep national tradition and of a broader literary culture.[179][180]

Ferdowsi, poet, author of the Shāhnāmeh

The Iranian New Year (Nowruz) is an ancient tradition celebrated on 21 March to mark the beginning of spring in Iran. It is also celebrated in Afghanistan, Republic of Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and previously also in Georgia and Armenia. It is also celebrated by the Iraqi and Anatolian Kurds.[181] Nowrouz was nominated as one of UNESCO's Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2004.[182]

Hafezi'eh, tomb of the Hafez in Shiraz City

The cuisine of Iran is diverse, with each province featuring dishes, as well as culinary traditions and styles, distinct to their regions. The main Persian cuisines are combinations of rice with meat, chicken or fish and some onion, vegetables, nuts, and herbs. Herbs are frequently used along with fruits such as plums, pomegranates, quince, prunes, apricots, and raisins. Iranians also usually eat plain yogurt (Persian: ماست, māst) with lunch and dinner; it is a staple of the diet in Iran. To achieve a balanced taste, characteristic flavourings such as saffron, dried limes, cinnamon, and parsley are mixed delicately and used in some special dishes. Onions and garlic are normally used in the preparation of the accompanying course, but are also served separately during meals, either in raw or pickled form. Iran is also famous for its caviar.[183] Iranian food is not spicy.

Iranian cinema has thrived in modern Iran, and many Iranian directors have garnered worldwide recognition for their work. Iranian movies have won over three hundred awards in the past twenty-five years. One of the best-known directors is Abbas Kiarostami. The media of Iran is a mixture of private and state-owned, but books and movies must be approved by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance before being released to the public. The Internet has become enormously popular among the Iranian youth. Iran is now the world's fourth largest country of bloggers.[184]

Language and literature

Geographic distribution of the Modern Iranian languages: Persian (green), Pashto (purple) and Kurdish (turquoise), Lurish (red), Baloch (Yellow), as well as smaller communities of other Iranian languages

Article 15 of the Iranian constitution states that the "Official language (of Iran)... is Persian...[and]... the use of regional and tribal languages in the press and mass media, as well as for teaching of their literature in schools, is allowed in addition to Persian." Persian serves as a lingua franca in Iran and most publications and broadcastings are in this language.

Next to Persian, there are many publications and broadcastings in other relatively popular languages of Iran such as Azeri, Kurdish and even in less popular ones such as Arabic and Armenian. Many languages originated in Iran, but Persian is the most used language. Persian belongs to the Aryan or Iranian branch of the Indo-European family of languages. The oldest records in Old Persian date to the Achaemenid Empire,[185] and examples of Old Persian have been found in present-day Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt.

In the late 8th century, Persian was highly Arabized and written in a modified Arabic script. This caused a movement supporting the revival of Persian. An important event of this revival was the writing of the Shahname by Ferdowsi (Persian: Epic of Kings), Iran's national epic, which is said to have been written entirely in native Persian. This gave rise to a strong reassertion of Iranian national identity, and is in part credited for the continued existence of Persian as a separate language.

بسی رنج بردم در این سال سی
عجم زنده کردم بدین پارسی
For thirty years, I suffered much pain and strife
with Persian I gave the Ajam verve and life
Ferdowsi (935–1020)
Kelileh va Demneh Persian manuscript copy dated 1429
17th century painting from Hasht-Bahesht palace, Isfahan

Persian beside Arabic has been a medium for literary and scientific contributions to the Islamic world especially in Anatolia, central Asia and Indian sub-continent. Poetry is a very important part of Persian culture. Poetry is used in many Persian classical works, whether from literature, science, or metaphysics. Persian literature has been considered by such thinkers as Goethe as one of the four main bodies of world literature.[186]

The Persian language has produced a number of famous poets; however, only a few poets as Rumi and Omar Khayyám have surfaced among western popular readership, even though the likes of Hafez, Saadi, Nezami[187] Attar, Sanai, Naser Khusraw, Jami are considered by many Iranians to be just as influential. The books of famous poets have been translated into western languages since 1634. An example of Persian poetic influence is the poem below which is widely popular:

بنى آدم اعضاء يک پیکرند
که در آفرينش ز يک گوهرند
چو عضوى بدرد آورد روزگارد
دگر عضوها را نماند قرار
Of one Essence is the human race
thus has Creation put the base
One Limb impacted is sufficient
For all Others to feel the Mace
Saadi (1184–1283)

Art and architecture

Greater Iran is home to one of the richest artistic traditions in world history and encompasses many disciplines, including architecture, painting, weaving, pottery, calligraphy, metalworking and stone masonry. Carpet-weaving is one of the most distinguished manifestations of Persian culture and art, and dates back to ancient Persia. Persians were among the first to use mathematics, geometry, and astronomy in architecture and also have extraordinary skills in making massive domes which can be seen frequently in the structure of bazaars and mosques. The main building types of classical Iranian architecture are the mosque and the palace. Iran, besides being home to a large number of art houses and galleries, also holds one of the largest and valuable jewel collections in the world.

Iran ranks seventh among countries in the world with the most archeological architectural ruins and attractions from antiquity as recognized by UNESCO.[188] Fifteen of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites are creations of Iranian architecture.

Panoramic view of Naqsh-e Jahan Square

Science and technology

13th century manuscript depicting an epicyclic planetary model

Ancient Iranians built Qanats and Yakhchal to provide and keep water. The first windmill appeared in Iran in the 9th century.[189] Iranians contributed significantly to the current understanding of astronomy, natural science, medicine, mathematics, and philosophy. Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī is widely hailed as the father of algebra. Ethanol (alcohol) was first identified by Persian alchemists such as Muhammad ibn Zakarīya Rāzi. Throughout the Middle Ages, the natural philosophy and mathematics of the Ancient Greeks and Persians were furthered and preserved within Persia. The Academy of Gundishapur was a renowned centre of learning in the city of Gundeshapur during late antiquity and was the most important medical centre of the ancient world during the sixth and seventh centuries.[190] During this period, Persia became a centre for the manufacture of scientific instruments, retaining its reputation for quality well into the 19th century.

Iran's first domestically made satellite (Omid) was placed into orbit through Safir rocket in 2009

Iran strives to revive the golden age of Persian science. The country has increased its publication output nearly tenfold from 1996 through 2004, and has been ranked first in terms of output growth rate followed by China.[191] Despite the limitations in funds, facilities, and international collaborations, Iranian scientists remain highly productive in several experimental fields as pharmacology, pharmaceutical chemistry, organic chemistry, and polymer chemistry. Iranian scientists are also helping construct the Compact Muon Solenoid, a detector for CERN's Large Hadron Collider. In 2009, a SUSE Linux-based HPC system made by the Aerospace Research Institute of Iran (ARI) was launched with 32 cores and now runs 96 cores. Its performance was pegged at 192 GFLOPS.[192]

In the biomedical sciences, Iran's Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics is a UNESCO chair in biology.[193] In late 2006, Iranian scientists successfully cloned a sheep by somatic cell nuclear transfer, at the Rouyan research centre in Tehran.[194] According to a study by David Morrison and Ali Khademhosseini (Harvard-MIT and Cambridge), stem cell research in Iran is amongst the top 10 in the world.[195] Iran ranks 15th in the world in nanotechnologies.[196][197][198]

An 18th century Persian astrolabe

The Iranian nuclear program was launched in the 1950s. Iran is the 7th country in production of uranium hexafluoride.[199] Iran now controls the entire cycle for producing nuclear fuel.[200] Iran's current facilities includes several research reactors, a uranium mine, an almost complete commercial nuclear reactor, and uranium processing facilities that include a uranium enrichment plant.

The Iranian Space Agency launched its first reconnaissance satellite named Sina-1 in 2006, and a space rocket in 2007,[201] which aimed at improving science and research for university students.[202] Iran placed its domestically built satellite, Omid into orbit on the 30th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution, on February 2, 2009,[203] through Safir rocket, becoming the ninth country in the world capable of both producing a satellite and sending it into space from a domestically made launcher.[204]

Iranian scientists outside Iran have also made some major contributions to science. In 1960, Ali Javan co-invented the first gas laser and fuzzy set theory was introduced by Lotfi Zadeh.[205] Iranian cardiologist, Tofy Mussivand invented and developed the first artificial cardiac pump, the precursor of the artificial heart. Furthering research and treatment of diabetes, HbA1c was discovered by Samuel Rahbar. Iranian physics is especially strong in string theory, with many papers being published in Iran.[206] Iranian-American string theorist Cumrun Vafa proposed the Vafa-Witten theorem together with Edward Witten.


Dizin skiing resort, Iran

With two thirds of Iran's population under the age of 25, many sports are practised in Iran, both traditional and modern. Iran is the birthplace of polo,[207] and Varzesh-e Pahlavani. Freestyle wrestling has been traditionally regarded as Iran's national sport, however today, the most popular sport in Iran is football (soccer), with the national team having reached the World Cup Final Tournament three times, and having won the Asian Cup on three occasions. In 1974, Iran became the first country in the Middle East to host the Asian Games. Iran is home to several unique skiing resorts,[208] with the Tochal resort being the world's fifth-highest ski resort (3,730 m/12,238 ft at its highest station), and located only fifteen minutes away from Tehran. Being a mountainous country, Iran is a venue for hiking, rock climbing,[209] and mountain climbing.[210][211][212]

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  206. ^ CERN – European Organization for Nuclear Research retrieved 23 January 2008
  207. ^ retrieved 23 January 2008
  208. ^ retrieved 23 January 2008
  209. ^ Rock Climbing Routes, Gear, Photos, Videos & Articles retrieved 23 January 2008
  210. ^ Iran Mountain Zone (IMZ) retrieved 23 January 2008
  211. ^ Mountaineering in Iran retrieved 23 January 2008
  212. ^ Local Woman Feared Dead In Iran Mountain Hike retrieved 23 January 2008

Further reading

  • Benjamin Walker, Persian Pageant: A Cultural History of Iran, Arya Press, Calcutta, 1950.

External links



Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Iran article)

From Wikiquote


Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran (Persian جمهوری اسلامی ايران), transliteration: Jomhūrī-ye Eslāmī-ye Īrān), formerly known internationally as Persia, is a Southwest Asian country located in the geographical territories of the Middle East and South Asia.


  • Where are your valiant warriors and your priests? Where are your hunting parties and your feasts? Where is that warlike mien, and where are those? Great armies that destroyed our country's foes? . . . Count Iran as a ruin, as the lair of lions and leopards! Look now and despair!
  • I would rather discover one true cause than gain the kingdom of Persia.
  • Iran's civilization and culture has become imbued and infused with humanitarianism, respect for the life, belief and faith of others, propagation of tolerance and compromise and avoidance of violence, bloodshed and war. The luminaries of Iranian literature, in particular our Gnostic literature, from Hafiz, Mowlavi [better known in the West as Rumi] and Attar to Saadi, Sanaei, Naser Khosrow and Nezami, are emissaries of this humanitarian culture.
  • If we ask Germans how powerful Germany is, they will say the power of Germany is to the extend that German tanks can go. If you ask French how powerful is France they will say it is to the extend that their guns can fire and if you ask the Arabs that how powerful you are they will say to the extend that our swords can kill. But it is different about Iranians. Iranians never call themselves as Iran Empire or terms like these. They always talk about Iran sphere of power. Sphere of power means to the extend that minds and thoughts can work.
  • I come from the noble land of Iran, representing a great and renowned nation, famous for its age old civilization as well as its distinguished contribution to the founding and expansion of the Islamic civilization; a nation that has survived the strong winds of despotism, reactionism and submission, relying on its cultural and human wealth; a nation which pioneered in the East the establishment of civil society and constitutional government in the course of its contemporary history, even though as a result of foreign interference and domestic deficiencies, at times it may have faltered in its course; a nation which has been at the forefront of the struggle for independence and against colonialism, though its national movement was subverted by a foreign- orchestrated coup. And, a nation which carries the torch of its popular revolution, not won by force of arms or a coup, but by dethroning of the regime of coup d'etat through the power of "word" and "enlightenment". In the course of its new experience, our nation has endured eight years of an imposed war, pressure, sanctions and various allegations. It has also fallen victim to terrorism, this ominous and sinister phenomenon of the twentieth century.
  • We like to forget the history, Iranians don't. In 1953, The United States and Britain overthrew the parliamentary government [in Iran] and installed a brutal dictator. [...] In 1979, the population overthrew the dictator. And since then the United States has been essentially torturing Iran: First tried the military coup and then supported Saddam Hossein during Iraq’s invasion of Iran which killed hundreds of thousands of people and after that United States started imposing harsh sanctions on Iran.
  • I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran (if it attacks Israel). In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them. That's a terrible thing to say but those people who run Iran need to understand that because that perhaps will deter them from doing something that would be reckless, foolish and tragic.
  • Where will it [Iran] drop it [the future nuclear bomb], this bomb? On Israel? It would not have gone off 200 meters into the atmosphere before Tehran would be razed to the ground.
  • The Persians ruled for a thousand years and did not need us Arabs even for a day. We have been ruling them for one or two centuries and cannot do without them for an hour.
    • Abbasid Caliphate in Bertold Spuler. The Muslim World. Vol. I The Age of the Caliphs. Leiden. E.J. Brill. 1960 ISBN 0-685-23328-6 p.29

See also

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Iran article)

From Wikitravel

Asia : Middle East : Iran
Quick Facts
Capital Tehran
Government Theocratic Republic
Currency Iranian Rial (IRR)
Area 1.648 million km2
Population 68,688,433(July 2006 est.)
Language Persian and Persian dialects 58%, Turkic and Turkic dialects 26%, Kurdish 9%, Luri 2%, Balochi 1%, Arabic 1%, Turkish 1%, other 2%
Religion Muslim 98% (Shi'a 89%, Sunni 10%), other (includes Zoroastrian, Jewish, Christian, and Baha'i) 1%
Electricity 220V/50Hz (European plug)
Calling Code +98
Internet TLD .ir
Time Zone UTC+3:30

Iran (Persian: ايران) is a large country in the Middle East, between the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf, and the Caspian Sea. It is bordered by Iraq to the west, Turkey, Azerbaijan's Naxcivan enclave, Armenia, and Azerbaijan to the northwest, Turkmenistan to the northeast, Afghanistan and Pakistan to the southeast.


Known as Persia until 1935, Iran became an Islamic republic in 1979 after the ruling Shah was forced into exile. Conservative clerical forces subsequently crushed Americanizing, yet also liberal/left-wing, influences. Iranian student protesters seized the US Embassy in Tehran on 4 November 1979 and held it until 20 January 1981. From 1980 to 1988, Iran fought a bloody, indecisive war with Iraq over disputed territory. Key current issues affecting the country include the pace of accepting outside modernizing influences and reconciliation between clerical control of the regime and popular government participation and widespread demands for reform. Unemployment among the youth is also an issue.

Ethnic groups and languages

Humans have inhabited the area that makes up modern Iran since the stone age. The ancient Persians arrived about 1500 BC, one branch of the great movement of people that also brought northern India and most of Europe their modern populations. The name Iran is from the same root as "Aryan" which, until Hitler perverted it, was just an ancient name for those invading peoples. Persian (or Farsi) is an Indo-European language; ancient Persian was related to Sanskrit, ancient Greek, and all the others in that family. Modern Farsi is closely related to Dari, one of the two main languages of Afghanistan, and to Tajik, a major language of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Persians are ethnically and linguistically unrelated to their neighbors on the West, the Arabs and Turks.

However, Iran has many people other than ethnic Persians. The Northwestern region, Azerbaijan, is largely populated by Azeris, who are ethnically and linguistically close to Turks. Other regions are mostly Kurds or Baluchis, two other Indo-European groups. There are also Armenians, Turkomans, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Arabs, and a small community of sephardic Jews. Afghans have come to Iran for work and education for centuries, and recently many have come as refugees,

There are also two substantial communities of people of Iranian descent in India and Pakistan — Parsis who have been there for over 1000 years, and Iranis who arrived in the 19th and 20th centuries — both Zoroastrians who fled religious persecution in Muslim Iran.


Throughout history, Persia has generally been an empire, one whose fortunes varied enormously. In ancient times, Persia controlled most of what we now call the Middle East, and came close to conquering Greece. A few centuries later, Alexander of Macedonia conquered (among other things) the entire Persian Empire. Later, Persia was conquered by the Arabs in the wild expansion of Islam in the centuries immediately after the Prophet; Persian and other languages of the region are still written with the Arabic alphabet. About 1250, Persia was overrun by the Mongols. Marco Polo passed through just after that, learned Persian, and wrote extensively of the region.

At other times, Persia conquered many of her neighbors. Her empire often included much of what we now call Central Asia (Polo counted Bokhara and Samarkand as Persian cities), and sometimes various other areas. A few generations after the Mongols took Persia. the dynasty they founded there took all of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and most of India. The Indian term "Moghul" for some of their rulers is from "Mongol", via Persia. Even in periods when she did not rule them, Persia has always exerted a large cultural influence on her neighbors, especially Afghanistan and Central Asia.

The Safavid dynasty re-united Persia as an independent state in 1501, established Shi'a Islam as the official religion, and ushered in a golden age of Persian culture. They were overthrown in 1736 by Nadir Shah, the last great Asian conqueror, who expanded the Empire to again include Afghanistan and much of India. His short-lived dynasty and its successor lasted until 1795. Then the Qajar dynasty ruled 1795-1925, a period of heavy pressure from foreign powers, notably Britain and Russia who jointly occupied Iran during World War I. In 1906, Qajar rule became a constitutional monarchy and the Majlis (Persian for parliament) was established.

The last dynasty

In 1925, a military coup by Reza Shah established a new "Pahlavi" dynasty, named for the most ancient Persian dynasty around 500 BC. His rule was quite nationalistic; he changed the country's name from "Persia" to "Iran" and built a strong military. It was also quite authoritarian; he built a powerful secret police and a propaganda apparatus, and did not hesitate to crush dissent. He also made considerable efforts toward modernisation, and came into conflict with conservatives over some of it. When World War II came, he refused Allied demands for guarantees that Iran would resist if German forces got that far. Iran was then invaded by Anglo-Indian forces from the South and Russians from the North, and a railway built (largely by US army engineers) to bring supplies from the Gulf across Iran to beleagured Russia. Reza Shah went off to exile in South Africa, abdicating on the steps of the airplane in favour of his son.

The son, Mohammad Shah, continued his father's nationalistic, authoritarian and modernising tendencies. However, coming to power in 1941, he had a problem; he needed powerful friends, but who? Given the history, no sane Iranian ruler would choose Britain or Russia. Being pro-German had not worked out well for dad and, in 1941, France did not count for much. That left the Americans, and he became one of America's most important allies in the region, seen as a "bulwark against Communism", a constitutional monarch, in some ways a progressive ruler — modernising, sometimes comparing himself to Kemal Ataturk who led Turkey's modernisation — and a protector of US and other Western interests. He was one of very few Middle Eastern rulers to extend diplomatic recognition to Israel and helped prevent Iranian nationalisation of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. On the other hand, he was quite capable of putting Iranian interests before Western ones, as when he was one of the key players in creating OPEC.

While in some ways progressive, the Shah was also very much the oriental despot. When the Soviets left Northwestern Iran after the war, they left behind something that claimed to be an independent government of Azerbaijan, of course communist. The first major conflict of the Cold War came as the Shah, advised by the CIA, brought in troops (mainly Baluchis from the opposite end of Iran) and very thoroughly and brutally crushed that government and the communist party (Tudeh in Persian). Throughout his reign, his Savak secret police stomped hard on any opposition. His regime was also massively corrupt, with his relatives and various others getting hugely rich while much of the country was very poor. On the other hand, he did build infrastructure and start various projects to benefit the poor, including a program that sent new university graduates into the countryside as teachers.

In theory, Iran under the Shah was still a constitutional monarchy. Mohammed Mosaddeq became Prime Minister in 1951 and instituted reforms that included nationalising the oil companies and a land reform program. He was overthrown in a 1953 coup backed by the CIA, the British (who had large oil interests at stake), and the Shah. The Shah and the new Prime Minister reversed the oil nationalisation, but continued with a land reform program. However, as well as giving land to the peasants, it worked out that the Shah's family and others with connections got a lot. The Ayatollah Khomeni went into exile at this time, originally because of his objections to land reform taking land from the mosques.

The Islamic revolution

In 1979, the Shah was overthrown and went off into exile, dying a few years later. The revolution involved many groups — Tudeh, Mosaddeq-style secular reformers, and various Islamic factions — but came to be led and dominated by a conservative Islamic faction under Ayatollah Khomeni. Partly in reaction to the Shah's policies, they were also strongly anti-Western and in particular anti-American.

The main divisions of Islam are Shia'a and Sunni. The split goes back to a time just after the Prophet's death; would the movement be controlled by some of his leading followers (Sunni), or by his family, in particular by his son-in-law Ali (Shia'a)? There was a long, complex and bloody struggle over this. Today, Iran is the only major country that is predominantly and officially Shia'a, though there are Shia'a minorities elsewhere and a Sunni minority in Iran. The Iranian government supports the Shia'a Hezbollah movement further West, and is therefore accused by America of fomenting terrorism.

One of the major events of Shi'a religious life is the Day of Ashura on the 10th of the month of Moharram; "ashura" means "10th". It commemorates the death of Ali's son Hussein at the Battle of Karbala in 61 AH (680 AD). This is not a joyful celebration, but a very sober day of atonement. Travellers should not play music or act remarkably cheerful in public at this time. Ashura is more-or-less the opposite of the Christian "Jesus died for your sins; you are forgiven", closer to "Hussein is dead and you did not save him; you must atone." Traditional activities include parades in which people beat themselves with whips, chains, even swords (safe if you are careful, and scalp wounds bleed beautifully). Some governments, including the Shah's and the Khameni regime in Iran, have forbidden the more extreme variants of this. Some terrorist groups also exploit the religious fervor of the day; Hezbollah's 1983 suicide bomber attack on the US embassy in Lebanon took place on Ashura.


Iran has a diverse climate. In the northwest, winters are cold with heavy snowfall and subfreezing temperatures during December and January. Spring and fall are relatively mild, while summers are dry and hot. In the south, winters are mild and the summers are very hot, having average daily temperatures in July exceeding 38° C (100° F) and can hit 50° C in parts of the desert. On the Khuzestan plain, summer heat is accompanied by high humidity.

In general, Iran has an arid climate in which most of the relatively scant annual precipitation falls from October through April. In most of the country, yearly precipitation averages 25 centimeters or less. The major exceptions are the higher mountain valleys of the Zagros and the Caspian coastal plain, where precipitation averages at least 50 centimeters annually. In the western part of the Caspian, rainfall exceeds 100 centimeters annually and is distributed relatively evenly throughout the year.

Mount Damavand (5,671 meters) northeast of Tehran
Mount Damavand (5,671 meters) northeast of Tehran

Rugged, mountainous rim; high, central basin with deserts, mountains; small, discontinuous plains along both coasts. The highest point is Mount Damavand (5,671 meters). Desert: Two great deserts extend over much of central Iran: the Dasht-e Lut is covered largely with sand and rocks, and the Dasht-e Kavir is covered mainly with salt. Both deserts are inhospitable and virtually uninhabited. Mountain: The Zagros range stretches from the border with the Republic of Armenia in the north-west to the Persian Gulf, and then eastward into Baluchistan. Zagros is extremely hard, difficult to access, and populated largely by pastoral nomads. The Alborz mountain range, narrower than the Zagros, runs along the southern shore of the Caspian to meet the border ranges of Khorasan to the east. Forest: Approximately 11 percent of Iran is forested, most extensively in the Caspian region. Here one finds the broad-leafed, vigorous deciduous trees, usually oak, beech, linden, elm, walnut, ash, and hornbeam, as well as a few broad-leafed evergreens. Thorny shrubs and fern also abound.The narrow Caspian coastal plain, in contrast, is covered with rich brown forest soil.

Caspian Iran
Central Iran
Gulf Region
Iranian Azerbaijan
Western Iran


Below is a list of nine of the most notable cities:

  • Tehran – the vibrant capital, a beautiful city that suffers horrendous traffic and air pollution
  • Hamedan – one of the oldest cities in Iran
  • Isfahan – former capital with stunning architecture, great bazaar, and tree-lined boulevards. There's a Persian saying, "Isfahan is half the world."
  • Kerman – provincial capital and major center for carpets
  • Mashad – greatest city of Eastern Iran with an important mosque, the shrine of the martyr Imam Reza
  • Qom – one of the holiest cities in the Middle East, considered the Jewel of Iran
  • Shiraz – a former capital, home of famous Persian poets such as Hafiz and Sa'di; known for gardens, especially roses
  • Tabriz – provincial capital in Western Iran; it's been suggested by some that this is the site of the Biblical "Garden of Eden"
  • Yazd – a remote desert city – circumstance influenced special architectural themes where water streams run in underground rooms in houses and wind-towers to keep them cool.
  • Persepolis Impressive ruins of a vast city-like complex built over 2500 years ago, near the modern City of Shiraz. It was set on fire by Alexander of Macedon and further ruined by Arabs. Called TakhteJamshid in Persian, Persepolis is the symbol of Iranian nationality.
  • Kish Island, a free trade zone in the Persian Gulf, it is regarded as a consumer's 'paradise', with numerous malls, shopping centres, tourist attractions, and resort hotels. Kish is the home of Dariush Grand Hotel, a magnificent hotel in Iran and one of the top ten best hotels in the Middle East.[1]
  • Qeshm Island, is Iran's largest and the Persian Gulf's largest island. Qeshm island is famous for its wide range of ecotourist attractions such as the Hara marine forests. According to environmentalists, about 1.5% of the world birds and 25% of Iran's native birds annually migrate to Hara forests which is the first national geo park.
  • Susa, or Shush located 200 km North of Ahvaz, was Iran's most ancient city. The Zigurat of Chughazanbil, Darius the Great's palace, the Jewish prophet Daniel's temple and Artaxerxer II 's palace are among the historical sites.
  • Dizin is one of the highest ski resorts in the world located just two hours north of Tehran. Great powder snow, cheap prices and few international visitors makes this is a great place for a ski holiday.
  • Pasargad, the first capital of the Achaemenid Empire, and home to the Tomb of Cyrus.
Travel Warning
Visa Restrictions:

Entry will be refused to citizens of Israel and travelers with any evidence of visiting Israel: not just Israeli entry stamps, but Egyptian/Jordanian neighboring land borders with Israel, any products with Hebrew labeling, etc.

For US Citizens...

US citizens can apply for a visa at the Iranian Interest Section of the Pakistani Embassy in Washington, [2]. However, US citizens must have an MFA-approved guide to accompany them for the entire trip and must have an exact itinerary. This generally precludes crossing into Iran at any border, as your guide would have to meet you at the border. Tour guides, however, are generally friendly to Americans, understand the process, and can work with you to set up a custom itinerary for you.

To get the visa, US citizens must work in advance with an Iranian travel agency to set up a guided itinerary; only then can that travel agency apply for a visa authorization number from the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Once approved, the authorization number is transmitted to the interest section. At that point the applicant can then apply for the visa. Turnaround times can be as short as a week, but the interest section does not reliably answer emails or phone calls.

A valid passport and visa are required for travel through Iran. In 2006 the rules for obtaining a tourist visa changed and it has become much easier for nationals of many countries to get in to Iran by obtaining a visa at the airport. Visa are issued at the Imam Khomeini and Mehrabad airports in Tehran, and also the airports at Mashad, Shiraz, Tabriz and Isfahan. The visa is valid for up to 17 days and costs US$50. You will receive the forms on arrival. You are advised to bring passport photos with you. However, in many cases they are not collected.

Visas are only issued at the airport for holders of ordinary passports from the states below:

Albania, Armenia, Austria, Australia, Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, China, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Oman, Palestine, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam.

It is generally not possible to get an extension for the one week visa. There is a large stamp on it which specifically states "non-extendable". If you wish to stay for longer than a week, or you are not resident of one of the countries listed above, you will need to apply for a Tourist Visa before you arrive in Iran.

Extending a tourist visa is very easy and can be done in most cities. The lonely planet advises not to do this in Tehran as it is very time consuming. This is no longer the case and the process of extending a visa in Tehran can be done in just one hour (including tea offerings and being the object of curiosity in the office). Extending a visa a second time requires the passport to be sent to a department in Tehran (no matter where you extend your visa from) and thus takes longer time than doing this the first time.

Although it has become easier to get a Tourist Visa in recent years, whether the process takes one day or one month depends largely on your nationality and the staff of the embassy you are applying to. Your best bet is to apply to the Iranian embassy in your own country at least three months before your departure, but it is possible to obtain one while traveling in other countries, with varying degrees of difficulty. Women need to make sure they are wearing the Hijab or a head scarf in their submitted passport-sized photos.

Tourists can now receive their e-visa in less than 72 hours following confirmation of their application. Foreigners can access the Iranian Foreign Ministry website [3]. After filling the application form and entering the required details, the user will be given a reference code to pursue his/her application. Once approved, applicants can choose to receive their visa either at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport or at an official travel agency in their home country.[4]

Transit visas are usually easier to get than tourist visas (usually for one or two weeks) and very useful for people traveling between Europe and South Asia. Various travel agents inside Iran help you obtaining visas, often through their home pages.

Chances are your bags won't be searched for salacious material, but if found, it will be confiscated and will complicate your arrival. Don't try to bring in any magazines or books that might offend strict Islamic sensibilities or criticise the government. This has become much more loose in recent years.

As a notable exception, the beach resort of Kish Island, easily accessible from Dubai, does not require advance visas for visits of up to 14 days, including Americans. See the Kish Island article for details.

Imam Khomeini International Airport
Imam Khomeini International Airport

All international flights to Tehran land at the new Imam Khomeini International Airport [5] based 37km southwest of Tehran.. There are 70 smaller regional airports, for example those in Shiraz, Mashhad, and Isfahan, and these have daily flights to many international destinations.

Dubai has scheduled flights to many Iranian cities, including Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan, Kerman, Lar, Mashhad, Tabriz, Kish Island, Bandar Abbas, Bushher, Zahedan, and is therefore worth considering traveling to Iran from. Flights are operated by Iran Air, Emirates (for Tehran), Iran Aseman Airlines, Mahan Air and other Iranian companies. Fares are relatively cheap on Iranian carriers, ranging from $100 to $250 for a return trip depending on your destination and time of booking.

Iran Air and Mahan Air connect Tehran with some of the major European cities as well as destinations in Asia and Middle East. European companies landing in Tehran include BMI, Lufthansa, KLM, Alitalia, Turkish Airlines, Austrian Airlines and Aeroflot. Here are some of the Middle-Eastern airlines: Saudi Arabian Airlines, Emirates, and Etihad. So finding a flight to Iran should not be hard. Connections are also easily available via Manama, Bahrain using Gulf Air (Bahrain's national carrier). Additionally, Qatar airlines offers several flights to Iran and provides non-stop service to Doha from Washington DC (IAD). The following low-cost carriers also operate flights to Tehran or other cities in Iran: Pegasus Airlines, Air Arabia, Jazeera Airways and Air Bahrain.

Note that if not staying in Tehran and planning to get to any city other than Tehran upon your arrival, you would have to change airports, from Imam Khomeini to Mehrabad, 40Kms away, to get to your domestic flight. Allow at least 3-4 hours between the flights. If going to Mashhad, you may be able to avoid the plane change in Iran using Turkish Airlines, Gulf Air, Kuwait Airways, Jazeera Airways, or Qatar Airways. If going to Shiraz, several flights from Persian Gulf States are available. For Tabriz, you can try traveling via Istanbul on Turkish Airlines or via Baku on IranAir.

In spite of economic sanctions the majority of Iranian based airlines did not have high level of incidents during recent years. However sanctions resulted in inability to purchase new planes and the fleet of all airlines are old. Among Iranian based airlines Iran Air, Mahan Air and Aseman Airlines have been completely safe with no serious incidents during recent years. Due to safety issues flying with other Iranian based airlines is not recommended. The service and flying skill of Iranian pilots are fairly well known.

There are no direct flights from U.S.A or Canada at present due to sanctions, but you could travel via either Europe or Persian Gulf States. Non-stop flights from Dubai via JFK, IAD, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston or Toronto are good bets. Visitors from Australia or New Zealand can consider traveling via Dubai or Abu Dhabi,or can use a combination of Iran Air and Malaysian Airlines to get from any major city in Australia to Tehran, via Kuala Lumpur.

By rail


  • The Istanbul service runs weekly via Ankara, includes a ferry over Lake Van, crosses the Iranian border then stops at Tabriz before arriving in Tehran. The journey takes 69 hours (3 nights traveling). Services leave Istanbul Wednesday evening (arriving Saturday evening) and Tehran Thursday evening (arriving Sunday evening). The train includes couchettes and a dining car.
  • The Tabriz-Van service (different from Istanbul service) is a weekly train between Van and Tabriz.


  • The Syria service does not cross Iraq, stopping at Aleppo before crossing the Turkish border, heading to Lake Van and running along a similar route to the Istanbul service. This journey takes 54 hours (2 nights traveling) leaving Damascus Monday mornings (arriving Tehran Wednesday evening) and leaving Tehran at the same time (Monday) with corresponding arrival in Damascus (Wednesday evening). Couchettes are available between Lake Van and Tehran, but need to be specially booked for the Syrian leg between Damascus and Lake Van otherwise reclining seats are available. The journy costs around $60 for couchettes the whole way, and $45 for the reclining seat and couchette combination.


  • The Mashad-Herat railway which is under construction right now is completed untill the city of Khaf near Afghanistan border.


  • The Khorramshar-Basra railway will be completed in a few months which will connect Iranian railways to Iraq. There will be specially train routes for Iranians going to pilgrim in Najaf and Karbala. There is another project that will be completed later going through Kermanshah to Khanaqin in Iraq.


  • The Quetta-Zahedan line connects Pakistan and Iran by rail. A train leaves every 1st and 15th of each month from Quetta and the journey takes 11 hours and costs about €8. In opposite direction the train leaves every 3rd and 17th of each month from Zahedan.

In June 2009 a Bam-Zahedan link was completed, which connected Zahedan to rest of Iranian railway network. However there is no passenger train between Bam and Zahedan presently, so you have to take a bus or taxi.


  • The Nakhchivan-Tabriz service connects Nakhchivan_(city) with Tabriz and crosses from the Jolfa border. The route used to be a part of Tehran-Moscow railway line which is closed right now due to Azerbaijan-Armenia conflicts.
  • There is a railway from Baku to the border city of Astara. From there you can walk through the border to Iran. The railway is going to be joined to Tehran via Rasht and Zanjan.


  • There is a daily service between Mashad and Sarakhs border everyday. The train does not go more because of gauge change. At the other side of the border there is train to Merv and Ashgabat.

By car

Many people drive to Iran via Turkey. This requires a Carnet De Passage unless you wish to pay import tax. A Carnet can be aquired from your local drivers association (such as the RAC in the UK). An international driver's license is highly recommend with translation into Farsi very beneficial.

By bus


From Armenia here are daily, modern buses from Yerevan to Tabriz and even further to Teheran. Otherwise the only Iran/Armenia land border at Nuduz/Agarak is very badly served by public transport. On the Armenian side you can get as far as Meghri by one Marschrutka a day from Yerevan. In both directions the Marshrutka leaves quiet early in the morning. Kaplan and Karajan are more frequently served by marschrutkas but it is a long and mountainous (and therefore expensive) stretch to the border from there. From Meghri it is around 8 km to the border and hitching or a taxi is the only option. On the iranian side the closest puplic transport can be found around 50km to the west in Jolfa, so a taxi (around 10-15$) again is the only (commercial) choice. Expect to be asked a lot for all taxi rides, so hard bargaining is essential. Make clear (or pretend) that you have other choices (hitchhiking) to get fair prices.

The border is not busy at all, so when hitching you have to mainly stick with the truck drivers and Russian or Farsi helps a lot here. Consider for yourself whether this is a safe option.


You can find Seir-o-Safar agencies in Istanbul, Antalya and Ankara to buy cheap bus tickets for Tehran. A one-way ticket between Istanbul or Ankara and Tehran costs US$ 35.00.

  • Dogubeyazit/Bazergan This Turkey/Iran border crossing is easily (and fast) done by puplic transport. Take a bus to Dogubeyazit and a frequent minibus (ca. 5YTL, 15 minutes) to the border. Cross the border stretch per pedes, take the customs taxi (give the driver some 1000 Rial bakschis) to the next village and take a taxi (3-4$) to the bus terminal in Bazergan. There could also be buses to Bazergan, but the taxi drivers approaching you at the border are not the right people to ask for that. From there you can easily get buses to major destinations in Iran. Check the security situation in the region, due to the unsolved PKK conflict. Make sure you get a clear idea about exchange rates if you want to change YTL or Rial as the official bank at the border does not exchange these currencies and you have to deal with the plentyful black market.
  • There are also buses from Van to Urmia crossing from Esendere-Sero border. The buses cost €13 and it takes more than 6 hours to finish the 300-kilometer path. That's because of poor roads in the Turkish side and also too many check stops at the Turkish side (more than 5) because security reasons concerning P.K.K.
  • You can also take mini buses to the town Yüksekova near the border and ask for taxis to bring you to the border. Cross the border check point on your own since the taxis wont cross into Iran. Get rid of the dozens of Iranian taxi drivers and simply keep walking down the street. One by one the drivers will follow you and offered prices for a ride to the next bigger town (Urmia) will drop by the minute.


You can also (depending on the political situation) enter from Pakistan via the border crossing between Taftan (on the Pakistani side) and Zahedan (on the Iranian side)as long as you have a valid visa for Iran. You can NOT get a visa on the border. Overnight buses leave from Quetta arriving in Taftan in the early morning, from there you can either hire a taxi to the border or walk a couple of kilometers. Once across the border (which can take some time on the Iranian side, you need to organise transport to Zahedan (the local town) where buses depart for destinations in Eastern Iran such as Bam, Kerman and Yazd. See the Istanbul to New Delhi over land 3.9 Iran-Pakistan border, for more details on the crossing.


There are daily buses from Arbil to Urmia, also there are daily buses from Sanandaj and Kermanshah to Sulaymaniyah.


There are daily buses between Herat and Mashad. The buses go through Dogharoun Border. The road has been built by Iran and is reported safe.


A bus service also runs between Ashgabat and Mashhad.

By boat

There are some scheduled services from Baku to Bandar Anzali on the Caspian Sea and from cities on the Persian Gulf to cities on the Iranian coast. They are usually of low quality.

Starting in late 2007 and 2008; high quality semi-luxurious ferry service started between Kish Island and Abu Dhabi and Dubai. This service is of nominal fee (@ $50 USD) and the journey across one of the busiest stretches of water is sure to entertain. It is not currently known what the Customs and Entry Visa process is like using this service however as the boats do not enter via the airport. While the entry/exit process at the airport is fairly well established, it is unknown if the process is as well managed when entering via the docks. It is likely to be more chaotic and it is not know whether visas are issued on the spot as is the case at the airport. There are also ferries from Bandar Abbas to Dubai and Sharjah in UAE, and also ferries from Bushehr to Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain.

Get around

While not as comfortable or fast as Europe or North America, Iranian transport is of high quality, and is very affordable. There are few places the very cheap buses don't travel to, the train network is limited but comfortable and reasonably priced and travel by air is laughably cheap, especially by international standards (in fact one of the cheapest in the world). The ticket prices are always fixed and you don't have benefits of early bookings.

By plane

For anyone on a tight deadline, affordable domestic air services are a blessing. The major national carrier Iran Air, and its semi-private competitors ( Iran Aseman Airlines - Aseman meaning "sky" in Persian , Mahan Air, Kish Air, etc.) link Tehran with most regional capitals and offer inter-regional flights for no more than US $60.

Their services are frequent, reliable and safe are definitely worth considering to skip the large distances within Iran. Planes are aging, and maintenance and safety procedures are sometimes well below western standards, but it still remains the safest way to get around Iran, given the huge death toll on the roads.

Tupolev Tu-154 and other Russian planes are still used by some carriers (Iran Airtours notably). However, the odds are you will board a Shah-era B727 or some more recent Fokker, ATR or even Airbus A310 if you're lucky. Busy domestic routes are sometimes flown by B747SP, and the extra boarding and run-up time are worth the thrill of flying in one of the last of these shortened Jumbos still operated in the world. Saha Air, another internal Iranian airline, is also the last operator of the Boeing 707 in scheduled commercial passenger service. If you insist on flying, try getting some of the new planes leased from Russia.

Tickets can be bought at airports or travel agents dotted through the most major cities. Book early during the summer months of August and September since finding seats at short notice is virtually impossible. It is possible to pay extra to get onto a booked flight by bribing someone or paying them to take their seat on the plane. Some flights will auction off the last few seats to the highest bidder. For westerners, the conversion makes it easy to outbid everyone.

You can also find domestic tickets in some Iran Air offices abroad (Dubai for instance), but expect to pay a little more due to the change rate applied. Domestic tickets for other companies must be bought inside Iran.

Note if you are from a "western" country, some agencies are reluctant to let you book a domestic flight. Be prepared to argue, bargain and make sure you bring someone, who is able to translate for you.

By bus

The Iranian domestic bus network is extensive and thanks to the low cost of fuel, very cheap. In fact the only drawback is speed: the government has limited buses to 80 km/h to combat lead-footed bus drivers so long haul trips such as Shiraz to Mashhad can take up to 20 hours.

There is little difference between the various bus companies, and most offer two classes: 'lux' or 'Mercedes' (2nd class) and 'super' or 'Volvo' (1st class). First class buses are air-conditioned and you will be provided with a small snack during your trip, while second class services are more frequent. Given the affordability of first class tickets (for example IR 33,000 from Esfehan to Shiraz), there's little financial incentive to opt for the second class services, espcially in summer.

You can buy tickets from the bus terminals or ticket offices up to a week in advance, but you shouldn't have a problem finding a seat if you turn up to the terminal an hour or so before your intended departure time.

Most cities operate comprehensive local bus services, but given the low cost of taxis and the difficulties of reading Persian-language signs (which, unlike road signs, do not have English counterparts) and route numbers, they are of little use to the casual traveller. If you're cash strapped and brave enough to try, however, remember that the buses are segregated. Men enter via the front or rear door and hand their ticket to the driver before taking a seat in the front half of the bus. Women and children should hand their ticket to the driver via the front doors (without actually getting on) before entering via the rear door to take a seat at the back. Tickets, usually around IR 200, are sold from booths near most bus stops.

By train

Raja Passenger Trains [6] is the passenger rail system. Travelling by train through Iran is generally more comfortable and faster than speed-limited buses. Sleeper berths in overnight trains are especially good value as they allow you to get a good night's sleep while saving on a night's accommodation.

The rail network is comprised of three main trunks. The first stretches east to west across the north of the country linking the Turkish and Turkemenistan borders via Tabriz, Tehran and Mashhad. The second and third extend south of Tehran but split at Qom. One line connects to the Persian Gulf via Ahvaz and Arak, while the other traverses the country's centre linking Kashan, Yazd and Kerman.

Tickets can be bought from train stations up to one month before the date of departure, and it is wise to book at least a couple of days in advance during the peak domestic holiday months. First class tickets cost roughly twice the comparable bus fare.

Known as a "gatar" in Farsi; trains are probably the cheapest, safest, most reliable and easiest way to travel around the country. As an added benefit; you'll get to meet the people, sample food and see other tourists. You also avoid all the checkpoints will driving on the road. Trains are frequently delayed so leave plenty of time between destinations.

By taxi

Low fuel costs have made inter-city travel by taxi a great value option in Iran. When travelling between cities up to 250 km apart, you may be able to hire one of the shared savāri taxis that loiter around bus terminals and train stations. Savari taxis are faster than buses and Taxis will only leave when four paying passengers have been found, so if you're in a hurry you can offer to pay for an extra seat.

Official shared local taxis or Savari, identifiable by some kind of orange paint marking, also ply the major roads of most cities. Recently the taxis are turning into yellow, also on busy routs there are green vans with a capacity of 11 passengers. They all offer the same fare for every passenger. They usually run straight lines between major sqaures and landmarks, and their set rates (between IR 1,000 and IR 6,500) are dictated by the local governments.

Hailing one of these taxis is an art you'll soon master. Stand on the side of the road with traffic flowing in your intended direction and flag down a passing cab. It will slow down fractionally, giving you about one second to shout your destination--pick a major nearby landmark instead of the full address--through the open passenger window. If the driver is intereseted, he'll slow down enough for you to negotiate the details.

If you're in a hurry, you can rent the taxi privately. Just shout the destination followed by the phrase dar bast (literally 'closed door') and the driver will almost be sure to stop. Negotiate the price before departure, but since you are paying for all the empty seats expect to pay five times the normal shared taxi fare.

You can also rent these taxis by the hour to visit a number of sites, but you can expect to pay from IR 40,000 to 70,000 per hour, depending on your bargaining skills.

By car

A large road network and low fuel costs of historically made Iran an attractive country for exploring with your own car. However a recent government fuel tax on foreigners entering Iran by private car has somewhat dimmed the allure.

Foreigners arriving in Iran with their own car will need to have a carnet de passage and a valid international drivers' license. Petrol stations can be found on the outskirts of all cities and towns and in car-filled Iran, a mechanic is never far away.

Do not underestimate the sheer chaos of Iran's traffic. The often ignored road rules state that you must drive on the right unless overtaking and give way to traffic coming on to a roundabout. Drivers frequently top 160 km/h (100 mph) on intercity highways. Laws requiring car occupants to wear seatbelts is are not always complied with.

Be aware also that motorcycles are sometimes seen transporting up to five people, sans helmets.

Avoid large rocks in the middle of highway. These are often placed there in an attempt to burst your tires. Afterward, a passerby will offer to replace your tire for $50 USD. This is of course a scam that occurs mostly at night time but has diminished due to aggressive policing.

You can also rent a car, usually for 20 - 50 dollars a day. Insurance and legal liability may make you think twice about renting a car, especially considering the fact that renting a car with a driver usually costs the same.


Persian (called fārsi in Persian, فارسی), an Indo-European language, is Iran's national and official language. Although Persian is written with a modified Arabic alphabet, the two languages are not related but Persian does contain a very large number of Arabic loanwords, many of which form part of basic Persian vocabulary (See "Iranian Nationality" under "Respect" ).

Many young Iranians in major cities, and almost certainly those working in international travel agents and high-end hotels will speak conversational English but basic Persian phrases will definitely come in handy, particularly in rural areas.

Road signs are often double signed in English, but few other signs are. As an extra challenge, most Persian signage uses an ornate calligraphic script that bears little resemblance to its typed form. This can make comparing typed words in phrase books--such as 'bank' and 'hotel'--to signs on buildings quite difficult. However it is still worth memorising the Persian script for a few key words such as restaurant, guesthouse, and hotel (see relevant sections below for the script).

Be aware that Kurdish and Azeri languages are also spoken in areas of large Kurdish and Azeri populations.

See also: Persian phrasebook



The rial (ریال) is the official currency of Iran, however to save time in a high-inflation economy prices are most commonly quoted in toman (تومان). One toman is equal to ten rials. As of May 2009, the exchange rate is about IRR 9,807 per U.S. dollar.

Coins are issued in values of 50, 100, 250, 500 and 1000 rials with banknotes produced in 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000, 20000, 50000, 500000 and 1000000 rial denominations.

As a general guide, written prices are given in rials and prices quoted in conversation are in tomans. To confuse you even further, shopkeepers will often omit the denomination of high prices, so you may be told a jar of coffee costs 2 tomans (meaning 2,000 tomans or IR 20,000) and that a fine rug will cost 3 tomans (meaning 3,000,000 tomans or IR 30,000,000).

Most travellers spend the first few days of their trip coming to grips with this mind-boggling system, and money changers on the border will often exploit this confusion to rip you off. Be careful, and if in doubt, always ask a shopkeeper or moneychanger if they are quoting a price in rials or tomans.

Carrying money

Iranians can not use major credit cards due to U.S. sanctions, so bring enough hard currency for the duration of your stay. US dollars and euros are the most useful, and new and large (USD 100 or EUR 100 or higher) bills in good condition are preferred and usually get a better rate. Trade embargoes mean that banks will not forward cash advances on your foreign credit cards and they are only accepted by select stores for large purchases, such as Persian rugs. Most will be happy to forward you some cash on your credit card at the same time as your purchase. If you are desperate for cash, you can also try asking these shops to extend you the same favour without buying a rug or souvenir, but expect to pay dearly for the luxury.

Travellers' cheques Although in theory central banks in provincial capitals are able to cash them, the paperwork and time involved make them impractical for tourist use.

ATMs exist in most cities, and there are point-of-sale devices in some larger stores for only Iranian customers, but only local bank cards and some cards from Arabian countries are accepted,

Money and daily life

There is little point in risking the black market moneychangers who loiter outside of major banks and only offer marginally better rates than the banks. Central banks in most cities will change money for you, but the process can be a drawn out affair requiring signatures from countless officials and a fair deal of running around.

A better compromise are the private exchange offices (sarāfi) scattered around most large cities and major tourist centres. Although their rates are comparable to those of the banks, they are far quicker and, unlike their black market colleagues, they can be traced later on if something goes wrong.

The most widely-accepted currency is the US dollar ($), but euros(€) and UK Sterling Pound(£)are also widely used. Other currencies are harder to change. $100 unfolded notes attract the highest prices, and you will be quoted lower rates for any old or ripped notes.

Bargain ruthlessly when buying handcrafts, rugs or big ticket items and modestly when hailing private taxis. In most other aspects of life prices are fixed. Tipping is generally not expected, but locals will generally round up the bill in taxis and add around 10% in classy restaurants. Porters and bellboys will expect IR 2,000 - 3,000. A discreet gift of a few thousand tomāns may help grease the wheels of Iranian society and serve to thank an extraordinarily helpful local, but bakhsheeh and bribing are not a major part of Iranian life.

You won't be able to escape the government-sanctioned dual pricing system that applies to accommodation and some tourist attactions in Iran; foreigners often pay up to ten times the price quoted to locals. However thanks to the government's recent commendable efforts to eliminate 'foreigner' prices from many tourist attractions, most notably Persepolis, low food and transport costs make Iran a cheap travel destination.

If you are prepared to stay in the cheapest guesthouses, travel only by bus and eat only at fast food outlets or kabābis, you can get by in Iran on a minimum of around IR 100,000 per day. If you want to eat a decent restaurant meal every now and then and stay in mid-range accommodation, a more realistic budget is around IR 250,000. If you want to eat and sleep in luxury and fly between major sights, you can easily chew through IR 700,000 per day.


Meal times in Iran vary considerably from those in Europe and the US. Lunch can be served from 1:00 - 3:00PM. and dinner is often eaten after 9:00PM. These and other social occasions in Iran are often long, drawn-out affairs conducted in a relatively relaxed tempo, often involving pastries, fruit and possibly nuts. As it is considered rude to refuse what is served, visitors should accept the items offered, even if they do not intend to consume them.

The importation and consumption of alcohol is strictly banned. Penalties are severe. Religious minorities, however, are allowed to manufacture and consume alcohol, but not to sell or import it. Pork and pork products are forbidden and, like alcohol, their import is illegal.

The good news for travellers is that Iranian cuisine is superb. A wide range of influences from Central Asia, the Caucasus, Russia, Europe and the Middle East have created a diverse, relatively healthy range of dishes that focus on fresh produce and aromatic herbs. The bad news, however, is that Iranians prefer to eat at home, rather than in restaurants, so decent eateries are scarce and stick to a repetitive selection of dishes (mainly kebabs). An invitation to an Iranian home for dinner will be a definite highlight of your stay. When visiting an Iranian household for the first time or on a special occasion it is customary for Iranians to bring a small gift. Flowers, sweets or pastries are popular gift choices.

Traditional cuisine

Fragrant rice (برنج, berenj) is the staple of Iranian food. Boiled and then steamed, it is often coloured with saffron or flavoured with a variety of spices. When served plain as an accompaniment it is known as chelo (چلو). The two most common meat / chelo combinations are kebab variations (chelo kabāb, چلو کباب) or rotisserie chicken (chelo morgh, چلو مرغ). Flavoured rice, known as polo, is often served as a main course or as an accompaniment to a meat dish. Examples include shirin polo flavoured with orange zest, young cherries and honey glazed carrots, the broad-bean and herb heavy bāghli polo and sabzi polo laced with parsley, dill and mint.

The ubiquitous Persian Kabab is often served with both plain rice and a special (yellow cake) rice called tah-chin.
The ubiquitous Persian Kabab is often served with both plain rice and a special (yellow cake) rice called tah-chin.

The rice and kebab dish chelo kabāb (چلو کباب) and its half-dozen variations are the most common (and often the only) items on Iranian restaurant menus. A grilled skewer of meat is served on a bed of fluffy rice, and accompanied by an array of condiments. You can add butter, grilled tomatoes and a sour spice known as somāgh to your rice, while some restaurants also provide a raw egg yolk. Raw onion and fresh basil are used to clear your palate between mouthfuls. Variations in kabāb dishes come from the meats they are served with. You will commonly see:

  • Kabāb koobideh (كباب كوبيده) - a kebab of minced beef, shredded onion and spices.
  • Kabāb barg (كباب برگ) - pieces of lamb marinated in lemon juice and shredded onion.
  • Kabāb makhsoos (كباب مخصوص) - usually the most expensive option, this big kebab uses the highest quality meat.
  • Joojeh kabāb (جوجه كباب) - a skewer of chicken pieces marinated in lemon juice and saffron.
  • Kabāb bakhtiāri (كباب ب‍ختیارِی) - great for the indecisive eater, this is a skewer of alternating chicken and lamb pieces.

At home people most often eat rice with a thick stew (khoresht, خورشت) containing a modest amount of meat. There are dozens of khoresht variations such as the sweet and sour fessenjān made from ground walnuts and pomegranate syrup, ghormeh-sabzi based on fresh herbs, dried limes and kidney beans, gheimeh flavoured with split-peas and often garnished with French fries, and the sweet sib-āloo which uses apples and plums.

Hearty Iranian soups (āsh, آش) are meals in themselves. The most popular is the vegetarian āsh reshteh (آش رشته) made from herbs, chickpeas and thick noodles, and garnished with yoghurt and fried onions.

Flat bread (nān, نان) is another pillar of Iranian food. It is served at breakfast with herbs, feta cheese and a variety of jams, or as an accompaniment to meals. Sangak (سنگك) is a dimpled variety cooked on a pebbled oven while lavāsh (لواش) is a thin and bland staple.

International Cuisine

There are several good international restaurants which offer Chinese, Japanese, Italian and French food as well as vegetarian menus in Tehran and other major cities.

A common fast food venue in Iran
A common fast food venue in Iran

Most food outlets in Iran are either kabābis or fast food outlets serving a standard fare of burgers, sandwiches, felafels or pizza (پیتزا). A burger and a soft drink at a snack shop will fill you up at lunchtime for around IR 15,000, while pizzas start at IR 20,000.

Many teahouses (see Drink below) also serve traditional snacks and light meals. The most common of these is ābgusht (آبگوشت) a hot pot made from lamb, chickpeas and dried limes that is also known as dizi, also the name of the dish in which its served. You will be given a bowl (the dizi) containing the ābgusht and another, smaller one. Drain the broth into the smaller bowl and eat it like a soup with the bread provided. Then pound the remaining meat and vegetables into a paste with the pestle provided and eat with even more bread, pieces raw onion and wads of fresh herbs.

Sweets and desserts

The neverending demand for dentists in Iran lies testament to the country's obssession with sweets and pastries, known collectively as shirini (شیرینی).

Iranian baghlava tends to be harder and more crystalline than its Turkish equivalent while the pistachio noughat called gaz (گز) is an Isfahan speciality. Sohan is a rich pistachio brittle popular in Qom, and freshly-baked pastries are often taken as gifts to people's houses. Lavāshak fruit leathers are delicious fruit leathers made from dried plums.

Honey-saffron and pistachio are just two local flavours of ice cream, while fāloodeh (فالوده) is a deliciously refreshing sorbet made from rosewater and vermicelli noodles made from starch, served with lashings of lemon juice.

Special needs

Given that most travellers are stuck eating kebabs for much of their trip, vegetarians will have a particularly difficult time in Iran. Most snack shops sell felafels (فلافل) and garden salads (sālād-e-fassl, سالاد فصل) and greengrocers are common. Most ash varieties are meat-free and filling, as are most variations of kookoo (کوکو), the Iranian take on the frittata. The phrases man vegetarian hastam (I am vegetarian) and bedoon-e goosht (without meat) will come in handy.

It's a safe bet that all food in Iran is halal, but those seeking a kosher or other diet may have some trouble.


Black tea (chāi, چای) is the national drink of alcohol-free Iran. It is served strong and with crystallised or cubed sugar (ghand, قند) which is held artfully between the teeth while tea is sipped through. You can try asking for milk in your tea, but expect nothing but strange looks or a big delay in return.

Tea houses (chāi khāneh, چای خانه) are favourite local haunt for men (and less commonly families) to drink tea and puff away on a water pipe.

Lovers of coffee (ghahveh, قهوه) have little to cheer in Iran but their choices have increased recently. Where available, it is served Turkish style, French coffee or espresso. Imported instant coffee (nescāffe, نسكافه) and instant Cappuccino are available also.

A wide variety of fruit juices (āb miveh, آب ميوه) and drinks are available from shops and street vendors including cherry cordial (sharbat ālbāloo, شربت آلبالو) and banana milkshakes (shir moz, شير موز).

Soft drinks are widely available, both international makes such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi, and their brand names including 7up, Sprite, Fanta, etc., and local makes such as ZamZam. Note that "Coca-Cola Original" and "Pepsi Original" etc. are NOT made of original The Coca-Cola Company's and PepsiCo's ingredients and taste exactly the same as ZamZam.

Doogh (دوغ) is a sour drink made from yoghurt, salt, and water (sometimes gaseous) and sometimes flavoured with mint or other plants. It takes some getting used to, but will rehydrate you quickly in the heat of Iran's summer. It is the same as Turkish Ayran.

Drinking alcohol is illegal, and if seen by police may be met with punishment. Of course, you will not find any place in Iran that openly sells alcohol. Drinking is, however, common among some of people especially during parties, weddings and is begrudgingly tolerated for use among the tiny Christian community provided it's not bought and sold for profit. An interesting item of trivia is that both wine and distilled spirits are believed to have first originated in Iran. Non-alcoholic drinks are widely available.


Accommodations in Iran range from luxurious, if a little weary, five star hotels (هتل) in major cities to the small, cheap mosāferkhuneh (مسافرخانه) and mehmānpazir (مهماﻧپذیر) guesthouses that are littered about most centres. Moreover, staff in mosāferkhuneh often are so happy to provide room for non-Iranians, as these facilities have a recommendation from local governments to serve all tourists. For longer stays, villas with all facilities (including central air conditioning, pool and Internet connection) can be rented in Tehran and all other major cities at reasonable prices.


Iran has a large network of private, public, and state affiliated universities offering degrees in higher education. State-run universities of Iran are under the direct supervision of Iran's Ministry of Science, Research and Technology [7] (for non-medical universities) and Ministry of Health and Medical Education [8] (for medical schools).


Foreigners with special expertise and skills have little difficulty in obtaining permits. Work permits are issued, extended or renewed for a period of one year. In special cases, temporary work permits valid for a maximum period of three months may be issued. An exit permit must be obtained for a stay longer than three months. The assumed minimum monthly salaries range from US$2,500 for unskilled European workers to US$7,000 for European managing directors.

The maximum working week is 44 hours, with no more than eight hours any single day unless overtime compensation is provided. Overtime could not exceed four hours per day. Friday is the weekly day of rest. Overtime is payable at 40 per cent above the normal hourly wage. There are allowances for shift work equivalent to 10, 15 or 22.5 per cent of a worker's wage, depending on working shift (eg. evening, morning and night)

Workers are entitled to public holidays and a paid annual one-month leave. For workers with less than a year of employment, annual leaves are calculated in proportion to the actual length of service. Furthermore, every worker is entitled to take one full month of paid leave or one month of unpaid leave (if no leave is available) once during his or her working life in order to perform the pilgrimage to Mecca.

The employment of workers less than 15 years of age is prohibited. Young workers between 15 and 18 years of age must undergo a medical examination by the Social Security Organisation prior to commencing employment. Women are entitled to a 90-day maternity leave.

There is a minimum national wage applicable to each sector of activity fixed by the Supreme Labour Council. Workers and employers have the right to establish guild societies. Collective bargaining is allowed. Membership in the social security system for all employees is compulsory.

To have a valid contract concluded under the Law, the following provisions must be included:

  • 1. Type of Work, vocation or duty that must be undertaken by the worker;
  • 2. Basic compensation and supplements thereto;
  • 3. Working hours, holidays and leaves;
  • 4. Place of performance of duties;
  • 5. Probationary period, if any;
  • 6. Date of conclusion of contract;
  • 7. Duration of employment; and
  • 8. Any other terms and conditions required according to nature of employment.

The employer may require the employee to be subject to a probationary period. However, the probation time may not exceed one month for unskilled workers and three months for skilled and professional workers. During the probation period, either party may immediately terminate the employment relationship without cause or payment of severance pay. The only caveat being that if the employer terminates the relationship, he must pay the employee for the entire duration of the probation period.

  • Iranians are very formal and it will take several meetings before a more personal relationship can be established. This is particularly true for government officials, representatives of state controlled companies and foundations.
  • Negotiations will be long, detailed and protracted.
  • Exchange of gifts is a tradition among private sector business people.
  • Along with the social customs, certain additional business etiquettes should be realized prior to interaction with Iranian businessmen. Although officials of the Islamic Republic are not allowed to wear a tie, it is very common for visiting foreigners to do so though proper business attire need not include a tie in Iran.
  • Women must adhere to the Islamic dress code referred to below. It is important to note that most officials will not shake hands with a member of the opposite sex, especially in public. It is highly recommended not to create an awkward situation by extending one's hand. The same is true for private citizens who are particularly religious.

Stay safe

In general, Iran is much safer than Westerners might expect. Most people are genuinely friendly and interested to know about you and your country, so leave aside your pre-conceptions and come with an open mind. Iran is still a relatively low-crime country, although thefts and muggings have been on the increase in recent years. Keep your wits about you, and take the usual precautions against pickpockets in crowded bazaars and buses.

In particular, the tourist center of Isfahan has had problems with muggings of foreigners in unlicensed taxis, and fake police making random checks of tourists' passports. Only use official taxis, and never allow 'officials' to make impromptu searches of your belongings.

Iranian traffic is horrendous. Drivers attack their art with equal amounts of aggression and incompetence and road rules are ignored enough to be non-discernable! Guidelines are lax and rarely followed. Take care when crossing the roads, and even greater care when driving on them - Iranian drivers tend to overtake along pavements and any section of the road where there is space. Watch out for joobs (جوب), the open storm water drains that shoulder every road and are easy to miss when walking in the dark.

Travellers should avoid the southeastern area of Iran, particularly the province of Sistan va Baluchistan. The drug trade thrives based on smuggling heroin from Afghanistan. There is plenty of associated robbery, kidnapping and murder. Some cities, such as Zahedan, Zabol and Mirjaveh are particularly dangerous, although not every place in this region is dangerous. Chahbahar, which is close to the Pakistani border, is a very calm and friendly city.

Iranian Perceptions of Outsiders

Even though travellers may arrive with the image of a throng chanting "Death to America", this is a superficial media presentation of the Iranian people and your chances of facing anti-Western sentiment as a traveller are slim. Even hardline Iranians make a clear distinction between the Western governments they distrust and individual travelers who visit their country. Americans may receive the odd jibe about their government's policies, but usually nothing more serious than that. However, it is always best to err on the side of caution and avoid politically-oriented conversations, particularly in taxi cabs. In addition, a few Iranian-Americans have been detained recently and accused of espionage. These kind of incidents are rare, but still the broader implications are worth considering and bearing in mind.


There are a lot of military and other sensitive facilities in Iran. Photography near military and other government installations is strictly prohibited. Any transgression may result in detention and serious criminal charges, including espionage, which can carry the death penalty. Do not photograph any military object, jails, harbours, or telecommunication devices, airports or other objects and facilities which you suspect are military in nature. Be aware that this rule is taken very seriously in Iran.


Female travelers should not encounter any major problems when visiting Iran, but will undoubtedly be the subject of at least some unwanted attention but a stern look should be enough to deter amorous locals. Contrary to popular belief, Iranian women typically differ little from those in the West, although differences may be more prominent in highly religious families. In Tehran and several bigger cities Western clothing and formality is accepted but wearing a hijab may be required in most of rural areas. Women by law must wear a headscarf in public.

Gay and Lesbian Travel

Gay and lesbian travelers should also not encounter much trouble while visiting Iran, although discretion in public places is advised. Though there are many gays and lesbians in Iran, under the strict Sharia law, sodomy is punishable by death and sex by lesbians is punishable with lashes. This law, however, is rarely enforced and only applies to those who engage in such activities with Iranian citizens. While public displays of platonic affection between members of the same sex -- such as holding hands, arms draped over shoulders and kissing on the cheek -- are very common in Iranian culture, foreign visitors who are gay or lesbian probably should be discreet about overtly romantic displays of affections considering the possibility of harassment by security forces. Many Iranians still have unfavorable views of same-sex relationships, but personal, violent attacks against homosexuals or homosexual couples are very rare.


Emergency services are extensive in Iran, and response times are very good compared to other local regions, 110 is the telephone number of the local Police control center, it is probably easiest to phone 110, as the local police have direct contact with other emergency services, and will probably be the only number with English speaking operators.Other Emergency Services are also available via 115 for Ambulances and 125 for the Fire and Rescue team (these numbers are frequently answered by the Ambulance or Fire crew operating from them, there is little guarantee these men will speak English). The international number 112 is available from cell phones, and will usually connect you to the Police. Iran has also "Iran Assistance" an insurance company specializing in international medical evacuation.

Stay healthy

Iran has state-of-the-art medical facilities in all its major cities. Apart from being up to date with your usual travel vaccinations (tetanus, polio, etc) no special preparation is needed for travel to Iran. For minor ailments, your hotel can contact an English-speaking doctor. In case of serious illness or accident, you can ask to be taken to a hospital with English-speaking staff (such as Milad Hospital, Atiyeh Hospital, Mehrad Hospital, Day Hospital or Khatam ol-Anbia Hospital in Tehran). Make sure that your health insurance covers illness or accident on holidays since free medical service is not available in Iran.

Tap water is safe to drink in most of the country (and especially the cities), although you may find the chalkiness and taste off-putting in some areas (mainly Qom, Yazd, Hormozgan and Boushehr provinces). Bottled mineral water (āb ma'dani) is widely available. Also, on many streets and sites, public water fridges are installed to provide drinking water.


In general, Iranians are warm, friendly and generous individuals with a strong interest in foreigners and other cultures. In dealing with Iranians, the following tips relating to customs and etiquette may prove useful:

The liberalisation in Iran is going backward and the legally-enforced Islamic codes of conduct dictate many aspects of public life. Respecting the dozens of unspoken rules and regulations of Iranian life can be a daunting prospect for travellers, but don't be intimidated. As a foreigner you will be given leeway and it doesn't take long to acclimatise yourself.

The culture, like most others in the Middle East and Central Asia, has a strong tradition of hospitality. Guests are often treated extremely well. On the other hand, there is some insularity; any foreigner may be regarded with suspicion.

Iranian Nationality

Iran is a country of over 4000 years of written history and organized civilization. It was conquered three times by the Greek, Arabs and Mongols. "Persia" is a name of Greek origin attributed to Iran; hence, "Persian" incorrectly refers to Iranian, as Iran has several different ethnic groups, including Persian, Azeri, Kurd, Arab, Baluchi, Mazandarani, etc. Arab conquest was the most destructive of all as it banned public and official use of Parsi, the Iranian language, for about two centuries, and changed its alphabet. The ban resulted in the elimination of many basic Parsi words from the language.

Over 19th and 20th centuries, Iran was frequently subject to unfavorable political interference by Russian Empire and its successor the USSR, the UK and the USA. In 1980, Iraq under Saddam Hussain, supported by the global community, invaded Iran and caused the country to suffer a bloody eight-year war that drastically undermined its infrastructure and used up its resources.

Given the above, the Iranian people feel that history has frequently not been on their side and that the global community owes them respect and sensibility."the Persian Gulf" that the Iranians, authorities as well as general public, are extremely sensitive about and insist that this internationally recognized name be used for the body of water. Do not, under any circumstances, use the expressions "the Gulf" and especially "the Arabian Gulf"; otherwise, you may encounter oppositions of various types, official and unofficial.


Perhaps the most visible mark of Iran's Islamic leanings is the conservative dress expected of its citizens. Although normal, Western style clothing is acceptable in private homes, when in public women are required to cover everything but their face, hands and feet.

The most common uniform consists of a head scarf (roo-sari, روسری) to conceal the head and neck, a formless, knee-length coat known as a roo-poosh (روپوش) and a long dress or pair of pants. In holy sites, you will be expected to dress even more modestly in a chādor, a full-length swathe of black cloth designed to cloak everything but your face from view.

As a foreigner, a female traveller is officially expected to cover her hair and body excluding hands and feet. Usually more tolerance tends to be shown towards foreigners over the detail of the dress code than is the case for Iranian women. However, this does not include leaving one’s hair fully uncovered under any circumstance. "Acceptable" outfits may include a long, loose dress or shirt worn over loose skirt or pants and a scarf in the summer, and a full-length woolen coat and scarf in the winter (calf-length is acceptable if worn over pants). All colors and modest designs are acceptable. Even when undertaking sporting activity in public (such as tennis or jogging), the dress code described above must be maintained.

Men also require to abide the following dress code: Short-sleeved shirts and t-shirts are acceptable for daily wear. Shorts and three-quarter length pants are only acceptable on the beach. Dress attire for men is similar to that in Europe. Neckties are better to be avoided if visiting one of the more conservative government bodies. Regarded by the authorities as a sign of American imperialism and a reminder of the pro-western kingdom era, wearing neckties by the authorities and office workers of state-run companies is forbidden. It is quite acceptable in the areas outside though it denotes indifference toward or opposition against state regulations and values. Jogging in tracksuits (but not shorts) is acceptable for men. Jeans should also be avoided as they seen as a sign of Americanisation.


Iran is a publicly segregated society. Many facilities such as transport and mosques are segregatated and extended social interaction between men and women who are not related or married is eyed with suspicion.

Greet people of the same sex with a handshake, three kisses or both, but avoid physical contact with people of the opposite sex in public. Place your hand over your heart and bow slightly to greet them instead. In private, only shake hands with a member of the opposite sex when he/ she holds out his/ her hand first.

Be careful of initiating political discussions. The relative political freedom of ex-President Mohammad Khatami's era is fading quickly and vocal opposition can be more trouble than its worth, even if your Iranian companions get engaged in it. It's best not to discuss topics such as the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict or the role of Islam in society regardless of what opinion you hold.


Tarof (Persian: تعارف ) is a genuine Persian form of civility emphasizing both self-deference and social rank. The term encompasses a range of social behaviours, from a man displaying etiquette by opening the door for another person, to a group of colleagues standing on ceremony in front of a door that can permit the entry of only one at time, earnestly imploring the most senior to break the deadlock.

The prevalence of tarof often gives rise to different styles of negotiation than one would see in a European or North American culture. For example, a worker negotiating a salary might begin with a eulogy of the employer, followed by a lengthy bargaining session consisting entirely of indirect, polite language -- both parties are expected to understand the implied topic of discussion. It is quite common for an Iranian worker (even one employed in an Iranian neighborhood within Europe) to work unpaid for a week or two before the issue of wages is finally broached. Likewise, a shopkeeper may initially refuse to quote a price for an item, suggesting that it is worthless. Tarof obliges the customer to insist on paying, possibly several times, before a shopkeeper finally quotes a price and real negotiation can begin.

Tarof also governs the rules of hospitality: a host is obliged to offer anything a guest might want, and a guest is equally obliged to refuse it. This ritual may repeat itself several times before the host and guest finally determine whether the host's offer and the guest's refusal are real or simply polite. It is possible to ask someone not to tarof (tarof näkonid), but that raises new difficulties, since the request itself might be a devious type of tarof. The best approach to handle Tarof is to be politely direct. Accept or reject as soon as you wish to, and be sure that Iranians will not be offended. Even though Tarof is purely about the art of civility, your engagement in Tarof might enter you into a vicious cycle of hypocrisy that may ruin your entire stay.

Visiting holy sites

Although no trip to Iran would be complete without a glimpse at the stunning architecture and sombre environments of its mosques or holy shrines, many travellers are daunted by the prospect of walking into the foreign world of a mosque. Don't let these fears stop you; Iranians are welcoming and will understand any unintended breach of protocol.

Some mosques, and most holy shrines, require women to be wearing a chādor before entering the complex. If you don't have one, there are sometimes kiosks by the door that lend or hire chādors. It is better for men to wear long-sleeved shirts inside a mosque or shrine, though this is not mandatory.

Shoes are not worn within prayer areas of a mosque or shrine. Busier mosques have free shoe repositories where you trade your shoes for a token. Also try to avoid mosques on the holy day of Friday and don't photograph a mosque while prayers are taking place.

Holy shrines, like those in Mashad and Qom, are usually off limits to non-Muslims, although the surrounding complexes are fine. Always ask first before you enter a room you are unsure of.

Obscene Gestures

The thumbs up gesture is extremely rude in Iran, roughly equivalent to raising the middle finger in Western countries.

Hitchhiking is rare in Iran, and the country has a good public transportation system. If you do hitchhike, do not use a thumbs up signal. Also, be aware that drivers will generally expect to be paid and, unless you are an expert haggler, hitchhiking will often be more expensive than taking a bus.


Unlike some other fundamentalist Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia, public observance of other religions, besides the Baha'i faith, is officially tolerated in Iran. There is a sizable Christian community, most of whom are ethnic Armenians, and a small but proud Jewish community. However, remember that this is still a fundamentalist Muslim country and do not do or say anything which can be perceived as an insult to Islam. Also note that the Islamic dress codes still apply even to non-Muslims.


Western music and dancing in public is banned in Iran. However, the visitor may notice that even shared taxis openly play the music of their choice. Still, customs may confiscate any music tapes or CDs brought in as some western music is considered unislamic, degrading towards women and corrupting for the minds of the youth. However, many Iranian youth have widespread access to all kinds of music.

  • H.M Australian Embassy to Iran [9] - No. 13, 23rd Street, Intifada Ave, Tehran - Telephone: +98 21 8872 4456 - Fax: +98 21 8872 0484
  • H.M British Embassy to Iran [10] - 198 Ferdowsi Avenue, Tehran, Iran - Telephone: + 98 21 6670 5011 - Fax: +98 21 6671 0761
  • Royal Norwegian Embassy in Tehran [11] No. 201 Dr. Lavasani St. (Ex. Farmanieh St.), Tehran, Iran - Telephone: +98 21 22 29 13 33 - Fax: +98 21 22 29 27 76
  • Embassy of Switzerland in Iran [12] 13 Yasaman Street Sharifi Manesh Avenue, Tehran, Iran - Telephone: +98 21 22 00 83 33 - Fax: +98 21 22 00 60 02.
  • Royal Netherlands Embassy in Iran [13] Darrous Shahrzad Blvd., Kamassale Street, First East Lane no. 33, Tehran - Tel: 0098 (0) 21 2256 7005; fax: 0098 (0) 21 2256 6990;
  • Embassy of the Republic of Ireland [14] North Kamranieh Ave., Bonbast Nahid Street 8, Tehran 19369, Iran - Tel: +98-21-22803835 (08.30-16.30 Sun-Thurs)
  • Americans should go to the US Interests Section of the Swiss Embassy if in need of assistance. Services are extremely limited, and the Swiss may be reluctant and/or unable to help in minor cases.


These are the area codes for major cities Tehran(021) -Kashan (0361)- Isfahan(0311) - Ahwaz(0611) - Shiraz(0711) - Tabriz(0411) - Mashad(0511) - Kerman(0341)

When making international calls from Iran, the prefix to be dialled prior to country code is 00.


Irancell (MTN) [15] offers relatively cheap pre-paid sim-cards for international travelers. It is possible to buy recharge cards from most newsstands. The cheap prices is outweighed by the infamously poor network coverage but it works quite well in most major cities. GPRS is also available at very low prices, specially at night, for surfing the web or checking your email with your mobile phone (Gmail has an excellent mobile application and Opera Mini is a very good mobile web browser).


The Islamic Republic of Iran Post Company has 209 central post offices which supervise all the 275 urban and 1,153 rural post offices. The company provides many of the internationally available post services. Parcel sending is very cheap and reliable. Bring your items unpacked to the post office. International courier companies such as DHL [16] , Skypak etc have offices in Tehran and accept documents for foreign destinations.


Conservative forces within the Iranian government have been wary connecting their country to the adult content and politically dissident views of the Internet. After a clampdown on unlicensed internet cafes a few years ago, cafe-net (کافی نت) facilities have popped up across all major cities and tourist centres. Some, but not all, are double-signed in English, so you may want to memorise the Persian script. If in doubt, any young Iranian should be able to point you in the direction of the nearest coffee net. Iran is the fourth largest country of bloggers.

Some websites are blocked based on words appearing in their URL, although savvy coffee net users may be able to show you how to circumvent these restrictions. You can expect to pay between IR 8,000 - IR 15,000 per hour and speeds range from acceptable in major cities, to the infuriatingly slow in small towns and rural areas. More recently, some facilities in major cities use broadband wireless or DSL connections. Most coffee net places will also have a DVD burner for downloading photos from digital cameras.

You will also find Internet connectivity in most middle-class Iranian homes.

  • Banks. All banks were nationalized after the revolution. Banks are generally open from 07:30 to 13:30 hrs Saturday thru Wednesday and 07:30 to 12:00 hrs on Thursdays. (CLOSED ON FRIDAYS). Airports have a bank open whenever international flights arrive or depart. All banks have boards in both English as well as Farsi.
  • Bus Company. Offices at the terminals in larger cities open daily from early morning until the evening more or less without a break. In smaller cities they may keep smaller or less regular hours.
  • Foreign Embassies. Consulates and Embassies follow the Iranian working week, closing on Friday and often on one other day of the week, usually Saturday, as well as their own national holidays. However, to make sure on all cases, it is advisable to call first before visiting.
  • Government Offices. Generally open from 8PM to 2PM, Saturday to Wednesday. Some offices, especially Ministries in Tehran, are closed completely on Thursday and others open only from 8 to 11.30PM or noon. In general, Thursday is not a good day for conducting official business.
  • Principal Businesses. Open from 9PM to 1PM and 3PM to 9PM weekdays and closed on Fridays. The bazaar and some shops close on Thursday afternoon, too.
  • Museums. Each museum has its own visiting hours. It is better to check the timings before visiting.

Hours may change during Ramadan, the month of fasting. During that month, Muslims are not allowed to eat or drink while the sun is in the sky. Restaurants are closed all day, opening at sundown and perhaps remaining open very late. Other businesses may adjust their hours as well.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

PERSIA, a kingdom of western Asia, bounded on the N. by the Caspian Sea and the Russian Transcaucasian and Transcaspian territories, on the E. by Afghanistan and Baluchistan, on the S. by the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf, and on the W. by Turkish territory. Long before the Christian era the satrapies of Darius com.prehended roughly an immense range of territory, from the Mediterranean to the Indus and, from the Caucasian chain and Jaxartes to the Persian Gulf and Arabian Ocean. In the 17th and 18th centuries A.D. the conquests of Abbas and Nadir kept up these boundaries more or less on the east, but failed to secure them on the west, and were limited to the Caucasus and Oxus on the north. Persia of the present day is not only, in the matter of geographical definition, far from the vast empire of Sacred Writ and remote history, but it is not even the less extensive dominion of the Safawi kings and Nadir Shah. It may be said, however, to comprise now quite as much settled and consolidated territory as at any period of its political existence of which we can speak with authority.

Boundaries.The region of Ararat presents a good starting point for the definition of the western and northern frontiers of Persia. A line 20 m. in length from a point /, Western on the river Aras, in 39 45 N. and 44 40 E. to Frontier. Mt Ararat, in the south-westerly direction, divides Persia from Russia. Southwards from Mt Ararat the PersoTurkish frontier extends about 700 m. to the mouth of the Shatt el Arab in the Persian Gulf in 30 N. and 48 40 E., but is undefined with the exception of the western boundary of the little district of Kotur. A mixed commission was appointed in 1843 for the settlement of the Perso-Turkish frontier. The labors of this commission resulted in the Erzerum treaty of 1847, by which both powers abandoned some lands and agreed to appoint commissioners to define the frontier. The comrn missioners met in 1849, 1850 and 1851 at Bagdad and Muhamral without arriving at an.y result. In 1851 Lord Palmerstor proposed that the general line of frontier should be traced by thf agents of Turkey and Persia at Constantinople, assisted by th commissioners, in conformity with the treaty of Erzerum, leaving doubtful localities to be settled in future. The Russian government agreed to this proposal, and the work of surveying the country from Mt Ararat to the Persian Gulf was then undertaken. When this was done the preparation of a map, embracing territory 700 m. in length by 20 to 40 m. broad,

was put in hand, and this work lasted from November 1857 till March 1865, when the Porte was informed in May of that year that in the opinion of the mediating Powers, the future line of boundary between the respective dominions of the sultan and the shah was to be found within the limits traced o~i the map; that the two Mahommedan governments should themselves mark out the line; and that in the event of any differences arising between them in regard to any particular locality, the points in dispute should be referred to the decision of the governr~ients of England and 1~ussia. This boundary has remained unsettled, and disputes have frequently arisen between the Turkish and Persian governments with regard to their respective claims to land (Hertslet, Persian Treaties). In the autumn of 1907 Turkish troops occupied not only doubtful localities but also adjoining lands which were indisputably Persian territory. The want of a determined line of demarcation C 6O D - 1 - C - Longitude East 6c~ of GreenwIch J)

between the two countries may have political advantages, but is inconvenient to the geographer and most unfavourable tc the cause of order and good government.

From the point on the Aras River 20 m. north-east of Mt Ararat, the river forms the northern boundary down to 480 E. The frontier line then runs about 35 m. in a southeasterly direction through the Moghan steppe to Pilsowar on the Bulgharu River and then south with a bend to the west to the Astara River and the port of Astara in 3~ 27 N. and 48 53 E. From Astara eastwards the boundary is formed by the shore of the Caspian until it touches the Bay of Hassan Kul north of As arabad. East of the Caspian Sea and beginning at Has an Kuli Bay the river Atrek serves as the frontier as far as Chat. It then extends east and south-east to Serrakhs on the Tejen River in 36 40 N. and 6I 20 E. The distance from Mt Ararat to Serrakhs in a straight line is about 930 m. The frontier from Mt Ararat to Astara was defined by the treaty of Turkmanchai (Feb. 22, 1828), and a convention of the 8th of July 1893. The frontier east of the Caspian was defined by the Akhal-Khorasan Boundary Convention of the 21st of December 1881 and the frontier convention of the 8th of July 1893.

The eastern frontier extends from Serrakhs to near Gwetter on the Arabian Sea in 25 N. and 61 30 E., a distance of about 800 m. From Serrakhs to near Kuhsan the boundary Eastern .

Frontier. is formed by the Tejen River (called Han Rud, or river of Herat, in its upper course); it then. runs almost due south to the border of Seistan in 31 N., and then through Seistan follows the line fixed by Sir Frederick Goldsmids and Sir Henry McMahons commissions in 1872 and1903-1905to Kuh i Malik Siah. From this point to the sea the frontier separates Persian territory from British Baluchistan and runs south-east to Kuhak and then south-west to Gwetter. This last section was determined by Sir Frederick Goldsmids commission in 1871.

The southern boundary is the coast line of the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf from Gwetter to the mouth of the Shatt el Arab, a distance of about 870 m., comprised Southern ,

Frontier. between 48 40 E. and 61 30 E. The islands situated close to the northern shore of the Persian Gulf are Persian territory; they are, from east to west, Hormuz (Ormus), Larak, Kishm, Hengam, Furur, Kish (Kais), Hindarabi, Shaikh-Shuaib, Jebnin, Kharak, Kharaku (Khorgu).

PhysicoJ Geography.Modern Persia occupies the western and larger half of the great Iranian plateau which, rising to a height of from 4000 to 8000 ft. between the valleys of the Indus and Tigris, covers more than a million square miles. Taking the Kuren Dagh or Kopet Dagh to form the northern scarp of this plateau east of the Caspian, we find a prolongation of it in the highlands north of the political frontier on the Aras, and even in the Caucasus itself. On the north-west Persia is united by the highlands of Armenia to the mountains of Asia Minor; on the north-west the Paropamisus and Hindu Kush connect it with the Himalayas. The lines of boundary on the western and eastern faces are to be traced amid high ranges of mountains broken here and there by deserts and valleys. These ranges lie for the most part north-east and southeast, as do those in the interior, with a marked exception between Teheran and Bujnurd, and in Baluchistan, where they lie rather north-east and south-west, or, in the latter case, sometimes east and west. The real lowlands are the tracts near the sea-coast belonging to the forest-clad provinces of the Caspian in the north and the shores of the Persian Gulf below Basra and elsewhere. The Persians have no special names for the great ranges. Mountains and valleys are known only by local names which frequently cover but a few miles. Even the name Elburz, which European geographers apply to the chains and ranges that extend for a length of over 500 in. from Azerhaijan in the west to Khorasan in the east, stands with the Persians only for the 60 or 70 m. of mountains north and north-east of Teheran, including the cone of Demavend. The great central range, which extends, almost unbroken, for nearly 800 m. from Azerbaijan in the north-west to Baluchistan in the south-east, may aptly be called the Central Range. It has many peaks 9000 to 10,000 ft. in height, and some of its summits rise to an elevation of 11,000 ft. and near Kerman of nearly 13,000 ft. (Kuh-i-Jupar). The valleys and plains west of the Central Range, as for instance those of Mahallat, Joshekan, Isfahan, Sirjan, have an elevation of 5000 to 6500 ft.; those within the range, as Jasp, Ardahal, So, Pariz, are about 1000 ft. higher; and those east of it slope from an elevation of 5000 to 6000 ft. down to the depressions of the central plateau which, east of Kum, are not more than 2600 ft. and east of Kermgn 1500 to 1700 ft. above the sea-level. Some of the ranges west of the Central Range, which form the highlands of Kurdistan, Luristan, Bakhtiari and Fars, and are parallel to it, end near the Persian Gulf; others follow the Central Range, and take a direction to the east at some point between Kermgn and the sea on the western frontier of Baluchistan. Some of these western ranges rise to considerable elevations; those forming the TurkoPersian frontier west of the lake of Urmia have peaks 11,000 ft. in height, while the Sahand, east of the lake and south of Tabniz, has an elevation of 12,000 ft. Farther south, the Takht-i-Bilkis, in the Afshar district, rises to 11,200 ft., the Elvend (ancient Orontes), near Hamadan, to 11,600. The Shuturun Kuh, south of Burujird, is over 11,000 ft. in height, the Shahan Kuh, Kuh-iGerra, Zardeh Kuh and Kuh-i-Karan (by some writers called Kuh-i-Rang), all in the Bakhtiari country west of Isfahan, are 12,800 to 13,000 ft. in height; and the Kuh-i-Dina (by some writers wrongly called Kuh-i-Dinar) has an elevation of over 14,000 ft. Still farther south, towards Kerman, there are several peaks (BidKhan, Lalehzar, Shah-Kuh, Jamal Bariz, &c.) which rise to an elevation of 13,000 ft. or more, and the Kuh-i-Hazar, south of Kermn, is 14,700 ft. in height. Beginning near Ardebil in Azerbaijan, where the cone of Savelan rises to an elevation of 15,792 ft. (Russian trigonometrical survey), and ending in Khorasan, the great Elburz range presents on its southern, or inward, face a more or less abrupt scarp rising above immense gravel slopes, and reaches in some of its summits a height of nearly 13,000 ft.; and the peak of Demavend, north-west of Teheran, has a height of at least 18,000 ft. There are several important ranges in Khorasan, and one of them, the Binalud, west of Meshed and north of Nishapur, has several peaks of 11,000 to 12,000 ft. in height. In south-eastern Persia the Kuhi-Basman, a dormant volcano, 11,000 to 12,000 ft. in height, in the Basman district, and the Kuh-i-Taftan, i.e. the hot or burning mountain (also called Kuh-i-Nushadar from the sal ammoniac, nushadar, found on its slopes), an active triple-peaked volcano in the Sarhad district and I2,681 ft. in height (Captain Jennings), are notable features.

Taking the area of Persia at 628,000 sq. m. the drainage may thus be distributed: (I) into the Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf, 135,000 sq. m.; (2) into the Caspian, 100,000; (~) into irs the Seistan depression, 43,000; (4) into the Urmia Lake, 20,000; (5) into the interior of Persia, 330,000. The first district comprises most of the south-western provinces and the whole of the coast region as far east as Gwetter; the second relates to the tracts west, south and east of the southern part of the Caspian Sea. The tracts south of the Caspian are not more than 20 to 50 m. wide; those on the west widen out to a depth of 250 m., meeting the watershed of the Tigris on the one side and that of the Euphrates and Lake Van on the other, and embracing between the two the basin of Lake Urmia. On the east the watershed of the Caspian gradually increases in breadth, the foot of the scarp extending considerably to the north of the south-eastern angle of that sea, three degrees east of which it turns to the south-east, parallel to the axis of the Kopet Dagh. The third drainage area comprises Persian Seistan with part of the Helmund (Hilmend) basin and a considerable tract adjoining it on the west. The fourth is a comparatively small area on the western frontier containing the basin of Lake Urmia, shut off from the rest of the inland drainage, and the fifth area takes in a part of Baluchistan, most of Kermgn, a part of Fars, all Yezd, Isfahan, Kashan, Kum, Irak, Khamseh, Kazvin, Teheran, Samnan, Damghan, Shahrud, Khorasan and the central desert regions.

Four rivers belonging essentially to Persia, in reference to the Caspian watershed, are the Seafid Rud or Kizil Uzain on the southwest, the Herhaz on the south and the Gurgan and Atrek at the south-eastern corner of that inland sea. The Seafid Rud rises in Persian Kurdistan in about 35 50 N. and 46 45 E., a few miles from Senendij. It has a very tortuous course of nearly 500 m., for the distance from its source to the Caspian, 57 m. east of Resht, is only 210 m. in a straight line. The Kizil Uzain takes up some important affluents and is called Seafid Rud from the point where it breaks through the Elburz to the sea, a distance of 70 m. It drains 25,000 to 30,000 sq. m. of the country. The Herhaz, though not important in length of course or drainage, also, like the Seafid Rud, breaks through the Elburz range from the inner southern scarp to the north. It rises on the slopes of the Kasil Kuh, a peak 12,000 ft. in height within the Elburz, and about 25 m. north of Teheran, flows easterly through the Lar plateau, where it is known as the Lar River, and takes up several affluents; turns to the northeast at the foot of Demavend, leaving that mountain to the left, and flows due north past Amol to the Caspian. Its length is about 120 m. The Gurgan rises on the Armutlu plateau in Khorasan east of Astarabad, and enters the Caspian in 37 4 N., northwest of Astarabad, after a course of about 200 m. The Atrek rises a few miles from Kuchan and enters the Caspian at the Bay of Hassan Kuli in 37 21 N., after a course of about 300 m. From the sea to the Russian frontier post of Chat the river forms the frontier between Persia and the Russian Transcaspian region.

The drainage of the rivers which have no outlet to the sea and form inland lakes and swamps (kav-ir) may be estimated at 350,000 sq. m., including the drainage of Lake Urmia, which is about 20,000 sq. m. Fourteen rivers flow into the lake: the Aji Chai, Safi Chai, Mundi Chai and Jaghatu from the east, the Tatau (Tatava) from the south, and nine smaller rivers from the west. During heavy rains and when the snows on the hills melt, thousands of streams flow from all directions into the innumerable depressions of inner Persia, or help to swell the perennial rivers which have no outlet to the sea. These latter are few in number, and some of them barely suffice for purposes of agricultural irrigation, and in summer dwindle down to small nills. The perennial streams which help to form the kavirs (salt swamps) east of Kum and Kashan are the Hableh-nud. nisine east of Demavend. the Tairud.

rising north of Teheran, the Kend and Kerej rivers, rising nrthwest of Teheran, the Shureh-rud (also called Abhar-rud), rising near Sultanieh on the road between Kazvin and Tabriz, and the Kara-su, which rises near Hamadan and is joined by the Zarinrud (also known as Do-ab), the Reza Chai (also called Mazdakanrud), the Jehrud River and the Kum-rud. The river of Isfahan, Zendeh-rud, i.e. the great river (from Persian zendeh to the bearing of the axes of the great mountain chains. A dry and warm wind comes down from the snowy Elburz to Gilan in December and January, and much resembles the fhn of the Alps (Dr Tholozan, Sur les vents du Nord de la Perse et sur le foehn du Guilan, Corn pies rendus, Acad. d. Sciences, March 1882).

Station. Lat. N. Long. Alti- ~ Year. Au tude. ,i, Feet. Years.

Lenkoran. 3846 485f 60 283/4 4682 Supan.1

Resht -. 37 17 49 35 50 2 56.45 British Ashurada - 36 54 53 55 80 19 17.17 Supan.i Astarabad - 36 51 54 25 40 7 I6~28 Symons Meshed -. 36 17 59 36 3180 9 933 British Quetta - - 30 II 673 5500 19 10.09 Supan.1

Kalat.. - 28 53 66 28 6500.15 8.98 ,,

Maskat - - 23 29 58 33 3 6f~

Jask -. - 25 39 57 46 10 3.24 English Bushire.. 2859 50049~ 19 13.36 Supan.

Isfahan. - 32 37 51 40 5370 7 544 English TeherAn - 3541 5I2~ 3810 15 9.86 Thewr, Urmia (Sair). 37 28 45 8 6225 I 21.51 Syrnons Bagdad. - 33 19 44 26 7 10.59 Supan.1

Merv - 37 35 61 50 700 1 6.36 Symon~

Observations for temperature have been taken for many years at the stations of the Indo-European Telegraph and for a few years at the British consulate in Meshed, and the monthly and annual means shown in the following table have been derived from the indications of maximum and minimum thermometers in degrees Fahrenheit.

Station. Jan. Feb. Mar. April. May. June. July Meshed.. - 32 34 49 59 68 76 ~8

TeherAn -. 38 38 48 51 7! 8i 84

Tabriz -. - 17 25 39 54 63 74 79

Kashan.. - 35 36 43 o 74 83 90

1sf ahan -.. Abadeh -. - 41 41 47 56 68 75 79

Dehbid. - - 27 30 38 45 57 65 69

Shiraz.. - 48 47 55 63 73 80 85

Kazerund -. 51 50 52 67 84 93 95

Borazjuan1f - - 55 57 66 80 94 97 I0(

Bushire. - - 58 60 65 74 82 86 90

Very few hygrometrical observations have been taken, and only those of the British residency at Bushire are more or less trustworthy, and have been regularly registered for a number of years. In inner Persia the air is exceptionally dry, and in many districts polished steel may be exposed in the open during a great part of the year without becoming tarnished. Along the shores of the Caspian, particularly in Gilan and Mazandaran, and of the Persian Gulf from the mouth of the Shatt el Arab down to Bander Abbasi, the air during a great part of the year contains much moisturedry- and wet-bulb thermometers at times indicating the same temperatureand at nights there are heavy falls of dew. In Gilan and Mazandaran the air contains much moisture up to considerable elevations and as far as 30 to 40 m. away from the sea; but along the Persian Gulf, where vegetation is very scanty, stations only a few miles away from the coast and not more than 20 or 30 ft. above the sea-level have a comparatively dry climate.

1 Dr A. Supan, Die Vertheilung des Niederschlags auf der festen Erdoberflnche, Pet. Mitt., Suppl. 124 (1898).

2 Consular report (Gilan, 1897).

Symonss Monthly Meteorological Mag. (Dec. 1893).

~ f8~~i~o7.

Observations taken at the telegraph stations, and kindly communicated by Mr R. C. Barker, C.I.E., director of the IndoEuropean Telegraph Department in Persia. Those for Isfahan are during the years 1900-1907.

38 5 N.; 46 18 E.; altitude 4423 ft.

34 ,,; 51 27 ,,; ,, 3190

31 18 ,,; 52 38 ,,; ,, 6200 ,,

30 37 ,,; 53 10 ,,; ,, 8o00

10 29 37 ,,; 52 32 ,,; ,, 5000

n 29 37 ,,; 51 43 ,,; ,, 2800

12 29 15 ,,; 51 3 ,,; ,, 100 ..

Frequently when the temperature in the shade at Bushire is not more than 85 or 90, and the great humidity of the air causes much bodily discomfort, life is almost pleasant 12 or 20 m. inland with a temperature of over ioo.

Fauna.Mr W. T. Blanford has described with great care and minuteness the zoology of Persia. In company with Major St John, R.E., he made a large collection of the vertebrate fauna in a journey from Gwetter to Tehergn in 1872. Having added to this a previous;hority. collection made by the same officer with the assist ance of a native from Calcutta, he had before him the principal materials for his work. Before com mencing his analysis he adverted to his prede cessors in the same field, i.e. Gmelin (whose travels were published in 1774-1784), Olivier (1807), Pallas (181i),Mntries (1832), Belanger (1834), Eichwald ..onsul.2 (1834-1841), AucherEloy (185,), Loftus, Count Key serling, Kokschy, Chesney, the Hon. C. Murray, De Filippi (1865), Home (1873), and Professor Strauch onsul.4 of St Petersburg. All of these had, more or less, contributed something to the knowledge of the subject, whether as writers or as collectors, or in both capacities, and to all the due meed of credit was Telegraph.5 assigned. Blanford divided Persia into five zoological provinces: (1) the Persian plateau, or from the Kopet Telegraph.5 Dagh southwards to nearly 28 N. lat., including all ter. Khorasan to the Perso-Afghan border, its western limit being indicated by a long line to the northwest from near Shiraz, taking in the whole upper country to the Russian frontier and the Elburz; (2) the provinces south and south-west of the Caspian; (3) a narrow strip of wooded country south-west of the Zagros range, from the Diyala River in Turkey in Asia to Shiraz; (4) the Persian side of the Shatt-el-Arab, and Aralictan, east of the Tigris; and (5) the shores of the Persian Gulf and Baluchistan. The fauna of the Persian plateau he described as Palaearctic, with a great prevalence of desert forms; or, perhaps more correctly, Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec. Year. ~ a 70 67 55 48 40 56.3 91 15 76

81 73 64 53 43 60.4 III 3 108

81 73 62 48 34 54.1 99 iS 117

85 77 68 53 42 62.2 ii~ 9 104

58.o 106 3 109

75 7! 59 55 46 595 96 14 82

65 61 52 43 36 49O 91 19 110

8i 76 67 55 49 65.o 113 21 92

94 87 79 70 56 73~2 110 36 74

99 92 83 72 64 8o~o 117 48 69

90 87 8o 71 62 75.4 109 41 68

as being of the desert type with Palaearctic species in the more fertile regions. In the Caspian provinces he found the fauna, on the whole, Palaearctic also, most of the animals being identical with those of south-eastern Europe. But some were essentially indigenous, and he observed a singular character given to the fauna by the presence of certain Eastern forms, unknown in other parts of Persia, such as the tiger, a remarkable deer of the IndoMalayan group, allied to Cervus axis, and a pit viper (Halys). Including the oak-forests of Shiraz with the wooded slopes of the Zagros, he found in his third division that, however little known was the tract, it appeared to contain, like the second, a Palaearctic fauna with a few peculiar species. As to Persian Mesopotamia, he considered its fauna to belong to the same Palaearctic region as Syria, but could scarcely speak with confidence on its characteristic forms. The fifth and last division, Baluchistan and the shores of the Persian Gulf, presented, however, in the animals common to the Persian highland for the most part desert types, whilst the characteristic Palaearctic species almost entirely disappear, their place being taken by Indian or Indo-African forms. The Persian Gulf Arab, though not equal to the pure Arabian, is a very serviceable animal, and has always a value in the Indian market. Among others the wandering Turkish tribes in Fars have the credit of possessing good steeds. The Turkoman horse of Khorasan and the Atak is a large, bony and clumsy-looking quadruped, with marvellous power and endurance. Colonel C. H. Stewart stated that the Khorasan camel is celebrated for its size and strength, that it has very long hair, and bears cold and exposure far better than the ordinary Arabian or Persian camel, and that, while the ordinary Persian camel only carries a load of some 320 lb and an Indian camel one of some 400 Ib, the Khorasan camel will carry from 600 to 700 lb. The best animals, he notes, are a cross between the Bactrian or two-humped and the Arabian or one-humped camel, Sheep, goats, dogs and cats are good of their kind; but not all the last are the beautiful creatures which, bearing the name of the country, have arrived at such distinction in Europe. Nor are these to be obtained, as supposed, at Angora in Asia Minor. Van or Isfahan is a more likely habitat. The cat at the first place, called by the Turks Van kedisi, has a certain local reputation. Among the wild animals are the lion, tiger, leopard, lynx, brown bear, hyena, hog, badger, porcupine, pole-cat, weasel, marten, wolf, jackal, fox, hare, wild ass, wild sheep, wild cat, mountaingoat, gazelle and deer. The tiger is peculiar to the Caspian provinces. Lovett says they are plentiful in Astrabad; he measured two specimens, one 10 ft. 8 in., the other 8 ft. 10 in. from the tip of the nose to the end of the tail. Lynxes and bears were to be found in the same vicinity, and the wild pig was both numerous and destructive.

According to Blanford there are about four hundred known species of birds in Persia. The game birds have admirable representatives in the pheasant, karkavul (Phasianus coichicus, L.); snowcock or royal partridge, kebk-i-dari (Tetraogallus Caspius, Gmel.); black partridge, durraj (Francolinus vulgaris, Steph.); red-legged partridge, kebk (Caccabis chukar, Gray); sandpartridge or seesee, tihu (Ammoperdix bonhami, Gray); Indian ~rey partridge, jirufti (Ortygornis ponticerianus, Gmel.); quail, belderjin (Coturnix communis, Bonn.); sandgrouse, siyahsineh (Plerocles arenarius, Pall.); bustard, hubareh (Otis tetrax, L. and 0. McQueenii, Gray); woodcock, snipe, pigeon, many kinds of goose, duck, &c. The flamingo comes up from the south as far north as the neighborhood of Teheran; the stork abounds. Poult7 is good and plentiful. A large kind of fowl known as Lan (from the province Lar, in southern Persia) is said to be a descendant of fowls brought to Persia by the Portuguese in the 16th century.

The fish principally caught along the southern shore of the Caspian are the sturgeon, sagmahi, dogfish (Acipenser ruihenus and A. huso); sheat-fish or silure, simm, summ (Silurus glanis); salmon, azad mahi (Salmo solar); trout, maseh (Salmo trutta); carp, kupur (Cyprinus ballerus and C. car pio); bream, subulu (Abramis brama); pike-perch, mahi safid(Perca lucsoperca or Lucioperca sandra). There is also a herring which frequents only the southern half of the Caspian, not passing over the shallow part of the sea which extends from Baku eastwards. As it was first observed near the mouth of the river Kur it has been named Cia pea Kurensis. Fish are scarce in inner Persia; salmon trout and mud-trout are plentiful in some of the mountain streams. Many underground canals are frequented by carp and roach. The silure has also been observed in some streams which flow into the ljrmia lake, and in Kurdistan.

Flora.ln the provinces of Gilan, Mazandaran and Astarabad on the Caspian, from the shore to an altitude of about 3000 ft. on the northern slopes of the great mountain range which separates those provinces from the highlands of Persia, the flora is similar to that of Grisebachs mediterranean region. At higher altitudes many forms of a more northern flora appear. As we approach inner Persia the flora rapidly makes place to steppe vegetation in the plains, while the mediterranean flora predominates in the hills. The steppe vegetation extends in the south to the outer range of the hills which separate inner Persia from the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean. Beyond this outer range and along the shore of the sea the flora is that of the Sahara region, which extends eastwards to Sind.

Generally speaking, everywhere, excepting in the northern lowlands and in a few favored spots in the hilly districts, the vegetation is scanty. In inner Persia the hills and plains are bare of trees, and steppe and desert predominate. The date-palm thrives well as far north as Tabbas in latitude 33 36 and at an altitude of 2000 ft. and in the south extensive date-groves, producing excellent fruit, exist at altitudes of 2000 to 5000 ft. The olive is cultivated at Rudbar south of Resht in Gilan, and a few isolated olive-trees have been observed in central and southern Persia.

Of fruits the variety is great, and nearly all the fruits of Europe are well represented. The common, yet excellent melons, watermelons, grapes, apricots, cherries, plums, apples, are within the reach of the poorest. Less common and picked fruits are expensive, particularly so when cost of transport has to be considered; for instance, a good orange costs 2d. or 3d. in Teheran, while in Mazandaran (only 100 m. distant), whence the oranges are brought, it costs 1/8d. Some fruits are famous and vie in excellence with any that European orchards produce; such are the peaches of Tabri2 and Meshed, the sugar melons of Kashan and Isfahan, the apRIes of Demavend, pears of Natanz, figs of KermgnshAh, &c. Ihe strawberry was brought to Persia about 1859, and is much cultivated in the gardens of Teherfln and neighborhood; the raspberry was introduced at about the same time, but is not much apprecIated. Currants and gooseberries are now also grown. The common vegetables also are plentiful and cheap, but only a few, such a1 the broad-bean, egg-plant (Solanum melongena), onion, carrot, beetroot, black turnip, are appreciated by the natives, who gener. ally do not take kindly to newly-introduced varieties. The potato although successfully cultivated in Persia since about 1780, has not yet found favor, and the same may be said of the tomato, asparagus celery and others. Flowers are abundant, but it is only sinc~ ~hs h~o-in,,~no of Nssr M cm Shahs reign (18&81. when Eurooeal gardeners were employed in Persia, that they were rationally cultivated. Nearly all the European garden flowers, even the rarer ones, can now be seen not only in the parks and gardens of the rich and well-to-do but in many unpretentious courtyards with only a few square yards of surface.

Population.In 1881 the present writer estimated the population of Persia at 7,653,600; 1,963,800 urban, 3,780,000 rural and 1,909,800 wandering (Bevolkerung der Erde, p. 28; Ency. Brit. gth ed. p. 628); and, allowing for an increase of about 1% per annum the population for 1910 may be estimated at 10 millions. No statistics whatever being kept, nothing precise is known of the movement of the population. During the ninth decade of the 19th century many Persian subjects emigrated, and many Persian villages were deserted and fell to ruins; since then a small immigration has set in and new villages have been founded. Persians say that the females exceed the males by so to 20%, but wherever the present writer has been able to obtain trustworthy information he found the excess to be less than 2%. Of the deaths in any place the only check obtainable is from the public body-washers, but many corpses areburied without the aid of the public body-washers; and the population of the place not being accurately known, the number of deaths, however correct, is useless for statistical purposes. Medical men have stated that the number of deaths, in times when there are no epidemics, amounts to 59 or 20 per thousand, and the number of births to 25 to 40 per thousand.

The prices of the staple articles of food and all necessaries of life have risen considerably since 1880, and, particularly in the large cities, are now very high. As salaries and wages have not increased at the same rate, many of the upper classes and officials are not so well off as formerly. By dismissing their servants in order to reduce expenditure, they have thrown great numbers of men out of employment, while many laborers and workmen are living very poorly and often suffer want. Tradesmen are less affected, because they can sell the articles which they manufacture at values which are more in proportion with the increased prices of food. In 1880 a laborer earning 25 krans, or LI sterling a month, could afford to keep a family; by 1908, in krans, he earned double what he did in 1880, but his wage, expressed in sterling, was the same, and wherever the prices of food have risen more than his wages he could not afford to keep a family. In many districts and cities the number of births is therefore reduced, while at the ,same time the mortality, in consequence of bad and often insufficient food, is considerably increased.

The description of the Persian character by C. J. Wills, in his In I/ic Land of the Lion and Sun (1883), iS still worth quoting: The character of the Persian is that of an easy-going man with a wish to make things pleasant generally. He is hospitable, obliging, and specially well disposed to the foreigner. His home virtues are many: he is very kind and indulgent to his children and, as a son, his respect for both parents is excessive, developed in a greater degree to his father, in whose presence he will rarely sit, and whom he is in the habit of addressing and speaking of as master. The full stream of his love and reverence is reserved for his mother; he never leaves her to starve, and her wishes are laws to him. The mother is always the most important member of the household, and the grandmother is treated with veneration. The presence of the mother-in-law is coveted by their sons-in-law, who look on them as the guardians of the virtue of their wives. The paternal uncle is a much nearer tie than with us; while men look on their first cousins on the fathers side as their most natural wives.

Black slaves and men-nurses or lallahs are much respected; the dayah or wet nurse is looked on as a second mother and usually provided for for life. Persians are very kind to their servants; a master will often be addressed by his servant as his father, and the servant will protect his masters property as he would his own. A servant is invariably spoken to as bacha (child). The servants expect that their master will never allow them to be wronged. The slaves in Persia have a good time; well fed, well clothed, treated as spoiled children, given the lightest work, and often given in marriage to a favorite son or taken ar segah or concubine by the master himself, slaves have the certainty of a well-cared-for old age. They are looked on as confidential servants, are entrusted with large sums of money, and the conduct of the most important affairs; and seldom abuse their trust. The greatest punishment to an untrustworthy slave is tc give him his liberty and let him earn his living. They vary ir color and value: the Habashi or Abyssinian is the most valued the Suhali or Somali, next in blackness, is next in price; the Born bassi, or coal-black negro of the interior, being of much less price and usually only used as a cook. The prices of slaves in Shira are, a good Habashi girl of twelve to fourteen iso, a good Somal same age, half as much; while a Bombassi is to be got for 14, being chosen merely for physical strength. They are never sold, save on importation, though at times they are given away.. .. I have never seen a Persian unkind to his own horse or his slave, and when overtaken by poverty he will first sell his shirt, then his slave.

In commercial morality, a Persian merchant will compare not unfavourably with the European generally.. .. To the poor, Persians are unostentatiously generous; most of the rich have regular pensioners, old servants, or poor relations who live on their bounty; and though there are no workhouses, there are in ordinary times no deaths from starvation; and charity, though not organized, is general.. .. Procrastination is the attribute of all Persians, to-morrow being ever the answer to any proposition, and the to-morrow means indefinite delay. A great dislike is shown generally to a written contract binding the parties to a fixed date; and, as a rule, on breaking it the Persian always appeals for and expects delay and indefinite days of grace. .

Persians are clean in their persons, washing themselves and their garments frequently. The Persian always makes the best of his appearance; he is very neat in his dress, and is particular as to the sit of his hat and the cut of his coat. All Persians are fond of animals, and do not treat them badly when their own property.

Cruelty is not a Persian vice; torture and punishments of an unusual and painful nature being part of their judicial system. There are no vindictive punishments, such as a solitary confinement, penal servitude for long terms of years, &c. Seldom, indeed, is a man imprisoned more than twelve months, the rule being that there is a general jail delivery at the New Year. Royal clemency is frequently shown, often, perhaps, with want of judgment.

Costume.The costume of the Persians may be shortly described as fitted to their active habits. The men invariably, wear an onstarched shirt of cotton, sewn with white silk, often, particularly in the south of Persia, elaborately embroidered about the neck. It fastens in front by a flap, having two small buttons or knots at the left shoulder, and seldom comes below the hips. It has no collar, and the sleeves are loose. The lower orders often have it dyed blue; but the servant and upper classes always prefer a white shirt. Silk shirts are now seldom seen on men. Among the very religious during the mourning month (Muharram) the shirt is at times dyed black. The zir-jamah, or trousers,i are of cloth among the higher classes, particularly those of the military order, who affect a garment of a tightness approaching that worn by Europeans. The ordinary zir-jamah are of white, blue or red cotton, very loose, and are exactly similar to the pyjamas worn by Europeans in India. They are held up by a thin cord of red or green silk or cotton round the waist, and the laboring classes, when engaged in heavy or dirty work, or when running, generally tuck the end of these garments under the cord, which leaves their legs bare and free to the middle of the thigh. The amplitude of this part of his attire enables the Persian to sit without discomfort on his heels; chairs are only used by the rich, great or Europeanized. Over the shirt and zir-jamah comes the arkhalik, generally of quilted chintz or print, a closely-fitting garment, collarless, with tight sleeves to the elbow, whence, to the wrist, are a number of little metal buttons, fastened in winter, but not in summer. Above this is the kamarchin, a tunic of colored calico, cloth, Kashmir or Kermn shawl, silk, satin or velvet (gold embroidered, or otherwise), according to the time of the year and the purse and position of the wearer. This, like the arkhalik, is open in front, and shows the shirt. It sometimes has a small standing collar, and is double-breasted. It has a pocket-hole on either side, giving access to the pockets, which are always in the arkhalik, where also is the breast-pocket in which watch, money, jewels, and seals are kept. The length of the kamarchin denotes the class of the wearer. The military and official classes and the various servants wear it short, to the knee, while fops and sharpers wear it even shorter. Priests, merchants, villagers, especially about Shiraz, townsmen, shopkeepers, doctors and lawyers wear it very long, often nearly to the heels. Over the kamarchin is worn the kulijah, or coat. This is, as a rule, cast off in summer, save on formal occasions, and is often borne by a servant, or carried over the shoulder by the owner. It is of cloth, shawl or camel-hair cloth, and is lined with silk or cloth, flannel or fur. It has, like the Turkish frockcoat, a very loose sleeve, with many plaits behind. It has lapels, as with us, and is trimmed with gold lace, shawl or fur, or is worn quite plain. It has a roll collar and false pockets.

Besides these garments there are others: the long jubba, or cloth cloak, worn by mirzas (secretaries), government employs of high rank, as ministers, farmers of taxes, courtiers, physicians, priests; the abba, or camel-hair cloak of the Arab, worn by travellers, priests and horsemen; the pustin, or Afghan skincloak, used by travellers and the sick or aged; the nimtan, or common sheepskin jacket, with short sleeves, used by shopkeepers and the lower class of servants, grooms, &c., in winter; the yapanjah, or woollen Kurdish cloak, a kind of felt, having a shaggy side, of immense thickness, worn generally by shepherds, who use it as greatcoat, bed and bedding. There is also the felt coat of the Zir jamah are loose trousers and also drawers worn under the .shaivar, or tight trousers.

villager, very warm and inexpensive, the cost being from 5 to 15 krans (a kran = Iod.). The kamarband, or girdle, is also characteristic of class. It is made of muslin, shawl or cotton cloth among the priests, merchants, bazaar people, the secretary class and the more aged government employs. In it are carried, by literati and merchants, the pen-case and a roll of paper; its voluminous folds are used as pockets; by the bazaar people and villagers, porters and merchants servants, a small sheath knife is struck in it; while by farrashes, the carpet-spreader class, a large khanjar, or curved dagger, with a heavy ivory handle, is carried. The headgear is very distinctive. The turban worn by priests is generally white, consisting of many yards of muslin. When the wearers are saiyid of the Prophet, a green2 turban is worn, also a kamarband of green muslin, or shawl or cotton cloth. Merchants generally wear a turban of muslin embroidered in colors, or of a yellow pattern on straw-colored muslin, or of calico, or shawl. The distinctive mark of the courtier, military, and upper servant class is the belt, generally of black varnished leather with a brass clasp; princes and courtiers often replace this clasp by a huge round ornament of cut stones. The kulah, or hat, is of cloth or sheepskin on a frame of pasteboard. The fashions in hats change yearly. The Isfahan merchant and the Armenian at times wear the hat very tall. (The waist of the Persian is generally small, and he is very proud of his fine figure and broad shoulders.)

The hair is generally shaved at the crown, or the entire head is shaved, a kakul, or long thin lock, being sometimes left, often 2 ft. long, from the middle of the crown. This is to enable the prophet Mahomet to draw up the believer into paradise. The lower orders generally, have the hair over the temporal bone long, and brought in two long locks turning backwards behind the ear, termed zulf; the beaux and youths are constantly twisting and combing these. The rest of the head is shaven. Long hair, however, is going out of fashion in Persia, and the more civilized affect the cropped hair worn by Europeans, and even have a parting in it. The chin is never shaved, save by beauty men, or kashangs, though often clipped, while the moustache is usually left long. At forty a man generally lets his beard grow its full length, and cherishes it much; part of a Persians religious exercises is the combing of his beard. Socks, knitted principally at Isfahan, are worn; they are only about 2 in. long in the leg. The rich, however, wear them longer. They are of white cotton in summer and colored worsted in winter. Villagers only wear socks on state occasions. Shoes are of many patterns. The urussi, or Russian shoe is the most common; next, the kafsh or slipper of various kinds. The heel is folded down and remains so. The priests wear a peculiar heavy shoe, with an ivory or wooden lining at the heel. Green shoes of shagreen are common at Isfahan. Blacking is unknown to Persians generally. Boots are only used by horsemen, and are then worn much too large for ease. Those worn by couriers often come up the thigh. With boots are worn shaiwars, or baggy riding breeches, very loose, and tied by a string at the ankle; a sort of kilt is worn by couriers. Pocket-handkerchiefs are seldom used, save by the rich or the Tehernis. Most Persians wear a shah kulah, or night hat, a loose baggy cap of shawl or quilted material, often embroidered by the ladies.

Arms are usually carried only by tribesmen. The natives of the south of Persia and servants carry a kammah, or dirk. The soldiery, on or off duty, always carry one of these or their sidearms, sometimes both. They hack but never thrust with them. On the road the carrying of weapons is necessary.

The costume of the women has undergone considerable change in the last century. It is now, when carried to the extreme of fashion, highly indecent and must be very uncomfortable. The garment doing duty as a chemise is called a pirahan; it is, with the lower orders, of white or blue calico, and comes down to the middle of the thigh, leaving the leg nude. Among the upper classes it is frequently of silk. At Shiraz it is often of fine cotton, and elaborately ornamented with black embroidery. With the rich it is often of gauze, and much embroidered with gold thread,pearls, &c. The head is usually covered with a char-kadd, or large square of embroidered silk or cotton, folded so as to display the corners, and fastened under the chin by a brooch. It is often of considerable value, being of Kashmir shawl, embroidered gauze, &c. A jika, a jewelled feather-like ornament, is often worn at the side of the head, while the front hair, cut to a level with the mouth, is brought up in love-locks on either cheek. Beneath the, charkaddis generally a small kerchief of dark material, only the edge of which is visible. The ends of the char-kadd cover the shoulders, but the gauze pirahan is quite transparent. A profusion of jewellery is worn of the most solid description, none hollow; silver is worn only by the very poor, coral only by negresses. Necklaces and bracelets are much affected, and chains with scent-caskets attached, while the arms are covered with clanking glass bangles called alangu, some twenty even of these being on one arm. Jewelled bazubands, containing talismans, are often worn on the upper arm, while among the lower orders and south Persian or Arab women nose-rings are not uncommon, and bangles or anklets of beads.

1 Green turbans are now rarely seen; the color is generally dark blue, or black.

The face on important occasions is usually much painted, save by young ladies in the heyday of beauty. The color is very freely applied, the cheeks being as much raddled as a clowns, and the neck smeared with white, while the eyelashes are marked round with kuhi. This is supposed to be beneficial to the eyes, and almost every woman uses it. The eyebrows are widened and painted till they appear to meet, while sham moles or stars are painted on the chin and cheek; even spangles are stuck at times on the chin and forehead. Tattooing is common among the poor and in villages, and is seen among the upper classes. The hair, though generally hidden by the char-kadd, is at times exposed and plaited into innumerable little tails of great length, while a coquettish little skull-cap of embroidery, or shawl, or colored silk is worn. False hair is common. The Persian ladies hair is very luxuriant and never cut; it is nearly always dyed red with henna, or with indigo to a blue-black tinge; it is naturally a glossy black. Fair hair is not esteemed. Blue eyes are not uncommon, but brown ones are the rule. A full-moon face is much admired, and a dark complexion termed narnak (salt) is the highest native idea of beauty. Most Persian women are small, with tiny feet and hands. The figure is always lost after maternity, and no support of any kind is wOrn.

A very short jacket, of gay color, quite open in front, having tight sleeves with many metal buttons, is usually worn in summer, and a lined outer coat in cold weather. In winter a pair of very short white cotton socks are used, and tiny slippers with a high heel; in summer, in the house ladies go often barefoot. The rest of the costume is composed of the tumbun or shalvar, short skirts of great width, held by a running stringthe outer one being usually of silk, velvet, or Kashmir shawl, often trimmed with gold lace, or, among the poor, of loud-patterned chintz or print. Beneath are innumerable other garments of the same shape, varying in texture from silk and satin to print. The whole is very short, among the women of fashion extending only to the thigh. In winter an over-mantle like the kulijah, or coat of the man, with short sleeves, lined and trimmed with furs, is worn. Leg-coverings are now being introduced. In ancient days the Persian ladies always wore them, as may be seen by the pictures in the South l~ensington Museum. Then the two embroidered legs, now so fashionable as Persian embroideries (nalfsh), occupied a girl from childhood to marriage in making; they are all sewing in elaborate patterns of great beauty, worked on muslin in silk. The outdoor costume of the Persian women is quite another thing. Enveloped in a huge blue sheet, with a yard of linen as a veil perforated for two inches square with minute holes, the feet thrust into two huge bags of colored stuff, a wife is perfectly unrecognizable, even by her husband, when out of doors. The dress of all is the same; and, save in quality or costliness, the effect is similar.

As for the children, they are always when infants swaddled; when they can walk they are dressed as little men and women, and with the dress they generally ape the manners. It is a strange custom with the Persian ladies to dress little girls as boys, and little boys as girls, till they reach the age of seven or eight years; this is often done for fun, or on account of some vowoftenQr to avert the evil eye.

Towns.The principal cities of Persia with their populations as estimated in 1908 are: Teheran (280,000); Tabriz (200,000);

Isfahan (100,000); Meshed (8o,ooo); Kerman, Resht, Shiraz (6o,ooo); Barfurush, Kazvin, Yezd (5o,ooo); Hamadan, Kermnshah (40,000); Kashan, Khoi, Urmia (35,000); Birjend, Burujird, Bushire, Dizful, Kum, Senendij (Sinna), Zenjan (25,00o to 30,000); Amol, Ardebil, Ardistan, Astarabad, Abekuh, Barn, Bander, Abbasi, Bander Lingah, Damghan, Dilman, Istahbanat, Jahnim, Khunsar, Kumishah, Kuchan, Marand, Maragha, Nishapur, Sari, Sabzevar, Samnan, Shahrud, Shushter (1o,ooo to 20,000).

Political and Administrative Divisions.The empire of Persia, officially known as Mamalik i Mahruseh i Iran, the protected kingdoms of Persia, is divided into a number of provinces, which, when large, and containing important sub-provinces and districts, are called mamlikat, kingdom, when smaller, vilayat and ayalat, and are ruled by governors-general and governors appointed by and directly responsible to the Crown, These provinces are further divided into sub-provinces, vilayats districts, sub-districts and parishes, buluk, na/ziyeh, mahal, and towns, cities, parishes and villages, shehr, kassabeh, mahalleh diii, which are ruled by lieutenant-governors and other functionaries appointed by and responsible to the governors. Al] governors are called hakim, or hukmran, but those of largc provinces generally have the title of vali, and sometimes firman. firma. A governor of a small district is a zabit; a deputygovernor is called naib el Izukumeh, or naib el ayaleh; an administrative division is a kalamro, or hukumat. Until recently th~

principal governorships were conferred upon the shahs sons, brothers, uncles and other near relatives, but now many of them are held by men who have little if any connection with the royal family. Also, the governors are now, as a rule, resident in theii provinces instead of being absentees at the capital. There are also some small districts or dependencies generally held in fief, turyul, by princes or high functionaries who take the revenues in lieu of salaries, pensions, allowances, &c., and either themselves govern or appoint others to do so.

Every town. has a mayor, or chief magistrate, called beglerbegi, lord of lords, kalantar, the greater, and sometimes darogha, overseer, or chief of police; every ward or parish, niahalleh, of a town and every village has a head-man called ked khoda, house-lord. These officers are responsible to the governor for the collection of the taxes and the orderly state of their towns, parishes and villages. In the important provinces and subprovinces the governors are assisted by a man of experience, to whom the accounts and details of the government are entrusted. This person, called viziar, or paishkar, is often nominated by the shah, and his functions in the provincial government are similar to those of the grand vizir in. the central government, and corn. prise very extended administrative powers, including at times the command of the military forces in his province. Among the nomads a different system of titles prevails, the chiefs who are responsible for the taxes and the orderly conduct of their tribes and clans being known as ilklzani, ilbegi (both meaning tribe-lord, but the latter being considered an inferior title to the former), khan, rais, amir, mir, shaikh, tushmal, &c.

The governors and chiefs, excepting those possessing hereditary rights, are frequently changed; appointments are for one year only and are sometimes renewed, but it does not often occur that an official holds the same government for longer than that period, while it happens rarely that a province is governed by the same person for two or three years. This was not so formerly, when not infrequently an official, generally a near relation of the shah, held the same governorship for five, ten or even more years. The governorship of the province of Azerbaijan was an exception until the end of ioo, being always held by the Valiahd, heir apparent, or crown prince.

The political divisions of Persia, provinces, sub-provinces, districts, &c., ruled by, hakims number over 200 (cf. the statement in Noldekes Geschichte des Artachlir Edpakdn, after Alexanders death there were in Iran 240 local governors), but the administrative divisions, hukumat, or kalamro, with governors appointed by the Crown and responsible to it for the revenues, have been under fifty for sixty-five years or more. In 1840 there were twentynine administrative divisions, in 1868 twenty-two, in 1875 twentynine, in 1884 nineteen, in 1890 forty-six, and in 1908 thirty-five, as follows:

(a) Provinces I. Arabistan and Bakhtiari. 14. Kamseh.

2. Astarabad and Gurgan. 15; Khar.

3. Azerbaijan. 16. Khorasan.

4. Fars. 17. Kum.

5. Gerrus. 18. Kurdistan.

6. Gilan and Talish. 19. Luristan and Burujird.

7. Hamadafi. 20. Mazandaran.

8. Irak, Gulpaigan, Khunsar, 2!. Nehavend, Malayir and Kamereh, Kezzaz, Fera- Tusirkhan.

kan. 22. Savah.

9. Isfahan. 23. Samnan and Damghan.

10. Kashan. 24. Shahrud and Bostam.

II. Kazvin. 25. Teheran.

12. Kerman and Baluchistan. 26. Zerend and Bagdadi 13. Kermanshah. Shahsevens.

(b) Dependencies, or Fiefs :

1. Asadabad. 6. Natanz.

2. Demavend. 7.

3. Firuzkuh., 8. Tarom Ulia.

4. Josehekan. 9. Kharakan.

5. Kangaver.

Roads.With the exception of five short roads, having an aggre. gate length of less than 900 m., all the roads of the country are mere mule tracks, carriageable in the plains and during the dry season, but totally unfit for continuous wheeled traffic during all seasons, and in the hilly districts often so difficult ,as to cause mucF damage to goods and the animals carrying them. There are s few miles of roads in the immediate neighborhood of Teher~ii leading from the city to royal palaces, but not of any commercia importance. The five exceptions areS (I) ReshtKazvinTehern, 227 m.; (2) JulfaTabriz, 80 m.; (3) TeheranKum-Sultanabad, ifio m.; (4) MeshedKuchanAskabad, 150 m.; 30 of which are on Russian territory; (5) IsfahanAhvaz, 280 m. The first of these roads consists of two sections: ReshtKazvin, 135 m., and Kazvin Teheran, 92 m. The first section was constructed in1897-1899by a Russian company, in virtue of a concession which the Persian government granted in 1893; and the second section was constructed in1878-1879by the Persian government at a cost of about 20,000, ceded to the concessionnaire of the first section in 1896, and repaired and partly reconstructed by the Russian company in i8981899. Both sections were officially opened to traffic in August I899. The capital of the company is 3,200,000 roubles (~34i,33o), of which 1,700,000 is in shares taken by the public, and 1,500,000 in debentures taken by the Russian government, which also guarantees 5% on the shares. About two-thirds of the capital has been expended on construction. The companys income is derived from tolls levied on vehicles and animals using the road. These tolls were at first very high but were reduced by 15% in 1904, and by another io% in 19ci9. If all the trade between Russia and Teheran were to pass over this road, the tolls would no doubt pay a fair dividend on the capital, but much of it goes by way of the TeherAnMeshed--i-Sar route, which is much shorter and has no tolls. The second road, JulfaTabriz, 80 m., was constructed by the same Russian company in 1903. The third road, TeherflnKum Sultanabad, 160 m., also consists of two sections: the first, Teheran Kum, 92 m., the other, KumSultanabad, 68 rn. The first section was constructed by the Persian government in 1883 at a cost of about 12,000, purchased by the Imperial Bank of Persia in 1890 for 10,000, and reconstructed at a cost of about 45,000. The second section formed part of the Ahvaz road concession which was obtained by the Imperial Bank of Persia in 1890 with the object of connecting Teheran with Ahvaz on the Karun by a direct cart road via Sultanabad, Burujird, Khorremabad (Luristan), Dizful and Shushter. The concession was ceded to Messrs Lynch, of London, The Persian Road and Transport Company, in 1903. The fourth cart-road, MeshedAskabad, 120 m. to the Persian frontier, was constructed by the Persian government in1889-1892in accordance with art. v. of the Khorasan Boundary Convention between Russia and Persia of December I88f. The Persian section Cost 13,000. The fifth road, IsfahanAhvaz, 280 rn., is the old mule track provided with some bridges, and improved by freeing it of boulders and stones, &c., at a total cost of 5500. The concession for this road was obtained in 1897 by the Bakhtiari chiefs and ceded to Messrs Lynch, of London, who advanced the necessary capital at 6% interest and later formed the Persian Road and Transport Company. The road was opened for traffic in the autumn of 1900. The revenue is derived from tolls levied on animals passing with loads. The tolls collected in 1907 amounted to 3100.

Railways.Persia possesses only 8 m. of railway and 63/4 m. of tramway, both worked by a Belgian company. The railway consists of a single line, one-metre gauge, from Teheran to Shah-abdul-Azim, south of TeherAn, and of two branch lines which connect the main line with some limestone quarries in the hills south-east of the city. The tramway also is a single line of one-metre gauge, and runs through some of the principal streets of TeherAn. The length of the main railway line is 53/4 m., that of the branches 23/4. The main line was opened in 1888, the branches were constructed in 1893, and the tramway started in 1889. The capital now invested in this enterprise, and largely subscribed for by Russian capitalists, amounts to 320,000. There are also ordinary shares to the amount of 200,000 put down in the companys annual balance-sheets as of no value. The general opinion is that if Russian capitalists had not been interested in the enterprise the company would have liquidated long ago. (On railways in Persia, the many concessions granted by the Persian government, and only one having a result, ch. xviii. of Lord Curzons Persia enterprise, Lorinis La Persia economica Teheran-Meshed line (555 m.), however, is looked after by an English inspector and two English clerks at Meshed, and since 1885 the Indian government has allowed a sum not exceeding 20,000 rupees per annum for its maintenance; and the Meshed Seistan line, 523 m., is looked after by twelve Russian inspectors and clerks. The Persian lines are farmed out for 1,800,000 krans (about 36,000) per annum and no statistics are published. There are in all 131 stations. Statistics of the traffic on the Indo-European line are given in the administration reports of the Indo-European telegraph department, published by government, and from them the figures in the following table have been obtained:

Traffic over Lines Earnings in N r~ fit f th between adon ih~san~sof Government Dept.

Year o.2

- Number of a Total Messages p ~ ~. amount. ~ 0 transmitted. ~, i~ Rupees ~

i8871888 83,031 74 100 198,381.75

1892-1893 117,500 84 116 437,668 3.80

i8971898 146,988 106 45 758,172 6.57

1902-1903 178,250 III 155 589,571 4.50

1905-1906 211,003 113 157 774,368 5.39

f9o6--f907 259,355 108 149 458,559 3.09

Manufaclures, &c.The handbook on Persian art published by Colonel Murdoch Smith, RE., in 1876, with reference to the collection purchased and sent home by him for the Victoria and Albert Museum, has an instructive account of the more common manufactures of the country. They are classified under the respective heads of porcelain and earthenware, tiles, arms and armour, textile fabrics, needlework and embroidery, metal-work, wood carving and mosaic-painting, manuscripts, enamel, jewelry and musical instruments. Specimens of the greater number are not only to be procured in England, but are almost familiar to the ordinary Londoner. It need scarcely be said that tiles have rather increased in value than deteriorated in the eyes of the connoisseur, that the ornamentation of metal-work, wood carving and inlaying, gem and seal engraving, are exquisite of their kind, and that the carpets manufactured by skilled workmen, when left to themselves and their native patterns, are to a great extent unrivalled. Of the above-mentioned articles, carpets, shawls, woollen and cotton fabrics and silk stuffs are the more important. Carpets may be divided into three categories: (I) Kali, with a pile, and cut like plush; (2) gilim, smooth; (3) nimads, felts. Only the two first are exported. The Kali and its smaller sizes, called Kaiicheh (in Europe, rugs), are chiefly made in Ferahan, Sultanabad (Irak), Khorasan, Kurdistan, Karadagh, Yezd, Kerman, and among the nomad tribes of southern Persia. From the two first-mentioned localities, where a British firm has been established for many years, great quantities, valued in some years at 100,000, find their way to European and American markets, while rugs to the value of 30,000 per annum are exported from the Persian Gulf ports. Of the second kind, galim (used in Europe for curtains, hangings, and chair-covers), considerable quantities are exported from Shushter and Kurdistan. The value of the carpets exported during the year I9061907 was close upon 900,000, Turkey taking 613,300, Russia 196,700, United States 40,600, Great Britain 20,700, Egypt 18,500 and India 5400. Shawls are manufactured in Kerman and Meshed, and form an article of export, principally to Turkey. Woollen fabrics are manufactured in many districts, but are not exported in any great quantity. Coarse cotton stuffs, chiefly of the kind called Kerbaz, used in their natural color, or dyed blue with indigo, are manufactured in all districts but not exported; cottons, called Kalamkar, which are made in Manchester and block-printed in colors at Isfahan and Kumishah, find their way to foreign markets, principally Russian. Of silk fabrics manufactured in Persia, principally in Khorasan, Kashan and Yezd, about 100,000 worth per annum is exported to Turkey, Russia and India. In the environs of Kashan and in Fars, chiefly at Maimand, much rose-water is made, and a considerable quantity of it is exported by way of Bushire to India and Java. Many attempts have been made to start manufactures, supported by foreign capital and conducted by foreigners, but nearly all have resulted in loss. In 1879 the Persian government was induced to spend 30,000 on the erection of a gas factory in Teheran, but work was soon stopped for want of good coal. A few years later a Persian bought the factory and plant for 10,000, and made them over in 1891 to the Compagnie gnrale pour lclairage et le hauffage en Perse, which after bringing out much additional plant, and wasting much capital in trying for some years in vain to make good and cheap gas out of bad and dear coal, closed the factory. In 1891 another Belgian company, Socit anonyme des verreries nationales de Perse, opened a glass factory in Teherr~, but the difficulty of obtaining the raw material cheaply and in large quantities was too ereat to make it a paving concern~ and the factory had to be closed. A third Belgian company, Socit anonyme pour Ia fabrication du sucre en Perse, with a large capital, then came to Persia, and began making beetroot sugar in the winter of 1895. But, like the gas and glass companies, it found the cost of the raw material and the incidental expenses too great, and ceased its operations in 1899. In 1890 a Russian company started a match factory near Teheran with an initial outlay, it is said, of about 20,000, but could not successfully compete with Austrian and Swedish matches and ceased operations very soon. A Persian gentleman erected a cotton-spinning factory at Teheran in 1894 with expensive machinery; it turned out some excellent yarn but could not compete in price with imported yarns.

Agricultural Products.Wheat, barley and rice are grown in all districts, the two former up to considerable altitudes (8000 ft.), the last wherever the water supply is abundant, and in inner Persia generally along rivers; and all three are largely exported. The most important rice-growing districts which produce more than they require for local consumption and supply other districts, or export great quantities, are Astarabad, Mazandaran, Gilan, Veramin, (near Teheran). Lenjan (near Isfahan), and some localities in Fars and Azerbaijan. Peas, beans, lentils, gram, maize, millet, are also universally cultivated, and exported, from the Persian Gulf ports to India and the Arabian coast. The export of rice amounted to 52,200 tons in I9o6t9o7, and was valued at 472,550. The Persian fruit is excellent and abundant, and large quantities, principally dried and called khushkbar (dry fruit), as quinces, peaches, apricots, plums (of several kinds), raisins, figs, almonds, pistachios, walnuts and dates (the last only from the south), as well as oranges (only from the Caspian provinces), are exported. The fruit exported during1906-1907had a value of 1,019,000. Nothing is being done to improve the vine, and the Persian wines, until recently of world-wide reputation, are yearly getting thinner and poorer. The phylloxera has done much damage. The naturalist S. G. Gmelin, who explored the southern shores of the Caspian in 1771, observed that the wines of Gilan were, made from the wild grape. Cotton is largely grown, principally in the central districts and Khorasan, and some qualities are excellent and command high prices in the European markets; 18,400 tons of raw cotton, valued at 838,787, were exported to Russia in I 906f 907. Good hemp grows wild in Mazandaran. Tobacco of two kinds, one the tumbaku (Nicoliana persica, Lindl.), for water pipes, the other the tutun (Nicoliana ruslica, L.), for ordinary pipes and cigarettes, is much cultivated. The tumbaku for export is chiefly produced in the central districts round about Isfahan and near Kashan, while the tumbaku of Shiraz, Fessa, and Darab in Fars, considered the best in Persia, is not much appreciated abroad. Tutun is cultivated in Azerbaijan, near Urmia and other places near the Turkish frontier, in Kurdistan, and, since 1875, in the district of Resht,in Gilan. About 1885 the quantity of tobacco exported amounted to between 4000 and 5000 tons. In1906-1907only 1820 tons, valued at 42,000, were exported. The cultivation of poppy for opium greatly increased after 1880, and it was estimated in 1900 that the annual produce of opium amounted to over 1000 tons, of which about two-fifths was consumed and smoked in the country. The principal opium-producing districts are those of Shiraz, Isfahan, Yezd, Kerman, Khorasan, Burujird and Kermnshh. While the quantity consumed in the country is now probably the same, the quantity exported is much less: 239 tons, valued at 237,270 in 1906-1907. The value of the silk produced in Persia in the sixties was f,000,ooo per annum, and decreased in consequence of silk-worm disease to 30,000, in 1890. The quantity produced has since then steadily increased and its yearly value is estimated at half a million. Cocoons and raw silk valued at 316,140 were exported in 1906-1907. Of oil-yielding plants the castor-oil plant, sesame, linseed and olive are cultivated, the last only in a small district south of and near Resht. Very little oil is exported. The potato, not yet a staple article of food, tomatoes, celery, cauliflower, artichokes and other vegetables are now niuch more grown than formerly, chiefly in consequence of the great influx of Europeans, who are the principal consumers.

Among the valuable vegetable products forming articles of export are various gums and dyes, the most important being gum tragacanth, which exudes from the astragalus plant in the hilly region from Kurdistan in the north-west to Kermn in the south-east. Other gums are gum-ammoniac, asafetida, galbanum, sagapanum, sarcocolla and opoponax. In 1906-1907, 3310 tons of various gums of a value of 300,000 were exported. Of dye-stuffs there are produced henna (Lawsonia iijermis) principally grown at Khabis near Kermn, woad and madder; a small quantity of indigo is grown near Dizfu and Shushter. The export of dyes in1906-1907was, 985 tons, valued at 32,326.

Horses, mules and donkeys, formerly exported in great numbers, are at present not very abundant, and their prices have risen much since 1880. Some nomad tribes who owned many brood mares, and yearly sold hundreds of horses, now hardly possess sufficient animals for their own requirements. The scarcity of animals, as well as the dearness of fodder, is one of the causes of the dearness of transport, and freights have risen on the most frequented roads from 3d. per ton-mile in 1880 to iod., and even 13d., per ton-mile.

The prices of staple articles of food rose steadily from 1880 and reached a maximum in 1900 and 1901, as will be seen from the following table: Average Price, April Price, June Price, 1880.1900.1908.

s. d. s. d. s. d.

Wheat,perkharvar. - 22 6 102 0 32 0

(649 th)

Rice ,, 56 3 64 0 64 0

Bread, ordinary, per mann (61/8 Ib) - - 36o 9.60 3.84

Meat,mutton(permann) I 2.40 2 9~6o I 5~28

Cheese ,, 162480 I 0

Clarified butter ,, 2349.60 5 480

Milk 4.50 9fio 7.68

Eggs, per 100. - I 6 ~ 7.20 3 2~40

Forests and Timber.Timber from the forests of Mazandaran and Gilan has been a valuable article of export for many years, and since about 1870 large quantities of boxwood have also been exported thence; in some years the value of the timber and boxwood exported has exceeded 50,000. This value represented about 200,000 box trees and quite as many others. Much timber is also used for charcoal-burning, and occasionally large parts of forest are burned by the people in order to obtain clearings for the cultivation of rice. The destruction of the forests by timbercutters and charcoal-burners has been allowed to go on unchecked, no plantations have been laid out, and nothing has been done for forest conservation. Indiscriminate cutting has occasionally been confined within certain bounds, but such restrictions were generally either of short duration or made for the convenience and profit of local governors. The oak forests of Kurdistan, Luristan and the Bakhtiari district are also being rapidly thinned. A small step in the right direction was made in 1900 by engaging the services of an official of the Prussian forest department, but unfortunately, beyond sending him to inspect the Mazandaran forests belonging to the Crown, and employing him to lay out a small plantation in the Jajrud valley, east of Teheran, nothing was done. The monopoly for cutting and exporting the timber of the Mazandaran forests is leased to European firms, principally for box and oak. Boxwood has become scarce. There are many kinds of good timber-yielding trees, the best known being alder (Alnus glutinosa, Wild., A. barbata, A. cordifolia, Ten.), ash (Fraxinus excelsior, L.), beech (Fagus sylvatica), elm (Ulmus campestris, U. effusa, - U. pedunculata), wych-elm (Ulmus montana), hornbeam (Carpsnus betulus, L.), juniper (Juniperus excelsa, J. communis, J. sabina), maple (Acer insigne, Boiss., A. campestre, A. pseudo-piatanus, L.), oak (Quercus ballota, Q- castaneaefolia, Q. sessilifiora, Q. pedunculata), walnut, nettle tree (Celtis australis, L.), Siberian elm (Zelkova crenata, Spach), and various kinds of poplar. Pipe-sticks, from the wild cherry tree, are exported to Turkey. -

Fisheries.Fish is a staple food along the shores of the Persian Gulf, but the Crown derives no revenue from fisheries there. The fisheries of the Caspian littoral are leased to a Russian firm (since 1868), and most of the fish goes to Russia (31,120 tOns, value 556,125, 10 1906-1907). The fish principally caught are sturgeon, giving caviare, sheat fish or silure, salmon, carp, bream and perch.

Minerals and Mining.Persia possesses considerable mineral riches, but the absence of cheap and easy means of transport, and the scarcity of fuel and water which prevails almost everywhere, make any exploitation on a remunerative scale impossible, and the attempts which have been made to work mines with European capital and under European superintendence have been financially unsuccessful. Deposits of rich ores of copper, lead, iron, manganese, zinc, nickel, cobalt, &c., abound. A few mines are worked by natives in a primitive, systemless manner, and without any great outlay of capital. There are turquoise mines near Nishapur (for description of mines, manner of working, &c., see A. HoutumSchindler, Report on the Turquoise Mines in Khorasan, F. 0. Reports, 1884, and Die Gegend zwischen Sabzwar und Meschhed, Jahrbuch k. k. geol. R. A. Wien, vol. xxxvi.; also E. Tielze, Verhandi. k. k. geol. R. A., 1884, p. 93); several copper mines in Khorasan, Samnan, Azerbaijan and Kerman; some of lead, two considerably argentiferous, in Khorasan, Tudarvar (near Samnan), Anguran, Afshar (both west of Zenjan), and Kerman; two of iron at Mesula in Gilan and Nur in Mazandaran; two of orpiment in Afshar and near Urmia; one of cobalt at Kamsar (near Kashan); one of alum in Tarom (near Kazvin); and a number of coal in the Lar district, north-east of Teheran, and at Hiv and Abyek, north-west of Teheran. There are also many quarries of rock-salt, gypsum, lime and some of marble, alabaster, soapstone, &c. The annual revenue of ~he government from the leases, rents and royalties of mines does not amount to more than 15,000, and about 6000 of this amount is derived from the turquoise mines near Nishapur. As the rentf and royalties, excepting those on the turquoise mines, amount to about one-fifth of the net proceeds, it may be estimated that th value of the annual output does not exceed 50,000, while thi intrinsic value of the ores, particularly those of lead, iron, cohali and nickel, which have not yet been touched can be estimated al millions. There are also some very rich coal seams in eastern Persia, far away on the fringe of the desert, and under existing conditions quite valueless. The richest deposits of nickel, cobalt and antimony ores are also situated in localities where there is little water and the nearest useful fuel some hundred miles away. Auriferous alluvial strata have been discovered in various localities, but everywhere the scarcity of water has been a bar to their being exploited with profit. A rich naphtha-bearing zone stretches from the Luristan hills near Kermnshgh down to the Persian Gulf. Competent engineers and specialists have declared that borings in the Bakhtiari hills, west of Shushter, would give excellent results, but the difficult hilly country and the total absence of roads, as well as the antipathy of the inhabitants of the district, would make the transport and establishment of the necessary plant a most difficult matter. A British syndicate has been boring at several places in the zone since 1903.

Commerce.The principal centres of commerce are Tabriz, Teheran, Resht, Meshed and Yezd; the principal, ports Bander Abbasi, Lingah, Bushire and Muhamrah on the Persian Gulf, and Astara, Enzeli, Meshed i Sar and Bander i Gez on the Caspian.

Until 1899 all the customs were farmed out (1898-1899 for 300,000),, but in March of that year the farm system was abolished in the two provinces of Azerbaijan and Kermgnshh, and, the experiment there proving successful, in all other provinces in the following year. At the same time a uniform duty of 5% ad valorem was established. In October 1901 a treaty fixing a tariff and reserving the most favored nation treatment for the countries already enjoying it was concluded between Persia and Russia. It was ratified in December 1902 and came into force on the i4th of February 1903. The commercial treaty with Great Britain, concluded in 4857, provided for the most favored nation treatment, but nevertheless a new treaty under which the duties levied on British imports would be the same as on Russian imports was made with Great Britain a few days before the new tariff came into force and was ratified in May.

For the value of imports and exports previous to 1901 the oni statistics available were the figures given in consular reports, whic were not always correct. In 1897 it was estimated that the value of the imports from arid exports to Great Britain, including India, amounted to 3,250,000. About a quarter of this trade passed over the western frontier of Persia, while three-quarters passed through the Persian Gulf ports. The value of the trade between Russia and Persia was then about 3,500,000. Since 1901 detailed statistics have been published by the customs department, and according to them the values of the imports and exports in thousands of pounds sterling for the six yeaa-s1901-1907were as follows:

Imports. Exports. Total.

1901-1902 5429 2738 8,167

1902f 903 4970 3388 8,358

1903-1904 7000 4632 11,632

1904-1905 5832 4132 9,964

1905-1906 6441 4886 11,327

1906-1907 7982 6544 14,526

The imports and exports during the year1906-1907(total value 14,526,234) were distributed as follows (values in thousands sterling) :

Russia 8292 U.S. America.. 69

Great Britain.. 3128 Italy 65

Turkey 1335 Egypt 41

France 700 Netherlands.. 37

Austria 277 Belgium. .. 24

Afghanistan.. - 203 Switzerland.. 22

Germany. .. 182 Sweden 8

China 142 Other countries.. I


While the value of the trade between Great Britain and Persia in1906-1907was almost the same as in 1897, that of the trade with Russia had increased from 31/2 millions to 83/4 or i37%. The average yearly value of the trade between Great Britain and Persia during the six years was 2,952,185 (imports 2,435,016, exports 517,169); between Russia and Persia 6,475,866 (imports 3,350,072, exports 3,125,794). The average values of the trade with other countries were: France 666,000, Austria 246,000, Germany 124,000, Italy 79,ooo,United States of America 52,000,Netherlands ao,000.

The principal imports into Persia in approximate order of value are cottons, sugar, tea, woollens, cotton yarn, petroleum, stuffs of wool and cotton mixed, wool, hardware, ironmongery, matches, iron and steel, dyes, rice, spices and glass-wdre. The principal exports are fruits (dried and fresh), carpets, cotton, fish, rice, gums, wool, opium, silk cocoons, skins, live animals, silks, cottons, wheat, barley, drugs and tobacco.

Shipping and Navigation.Shipping under the Persian flag is restricted to vessels belonging to the Persian Gulf ports. Some of the larger craft, which are called baglah, and vary from 50 to 300 tons, carry merchandise to and from Bombay, the Malabal Coast, Zanzibar, &C.; while the smaller vessels, called Oagarah, and mostly under 20 tons, are employed in the coasting trade and the pearl-fisheries on the Arabian coast. It is estimated that the four principal ports and the many smaller ones (as Mashur, Hindian, Zaidin, Bander, Dilam, Rig, Kongan, Taheri, Kishm, Hormuz, &c.) possess at least 100 baglahs and several hundred bagarahs, besides a large number of small boats. The following figures from the commercial statistics published by the Persian Customs Department show the total shipping at the four principal Persian Gulf ports, Bushire, Bander Lingah, Bander Abbasi and Muhamrah during the years 1904-1907.


Tons. Tons. Tons.

British .. 671,386 827,539 826,594

Persian.. - 36,797 25,069 6,425

Russian -. - 24,121 29,182 40,616

Arabian.. - 22,487 I 6,749 7,932

Turkish.. 3,176 3,877 5,005

French. - 2,901 570

German.. - 52,935

Total. - 760,868 902,986 939,507

The British shipping amounted to 89.2% of the total shipping at the four ports during the years 1904-1907. There was no German shipping in the gulf before 1906, but in the first year of its appearance (1906-1907), its tonnage at the gulf ports was almost as much as that of all other nations with the exception of Great Britain.

The shipping of1906-1907was distributed among the four ports as follows: Bushire. .. 354,798 tons. Bander Abbasi. 245,746 tons. Bander Lingah 155,720 ,, Muhamrah.. 183,243

Bander Lingah being the port where most of the pearls obtained on the Arabian coast of the gulf are brought to and exported from, has more native shipping (all sailing vessels) than the other ports.

All the shipping on the Caspian is under the Russian flagi and no returns of the arrivals and departures of vessels at the Persian ports were published before 1906. According to the statistics of the customs department the shipping of the Persian ports amounted in1906-1907to 650,727 tons. The shipping at the principal Persian ports on the Caspian in the year1906-1907was:

Astara 137,935 tons; Enzeli 292,132 tons; Meshed i Sar 90,799 tons; Bander-i-Gez 56,135 tons. Two or three flat-bottomed sailing vessels navigate the lake of Urmia in north-western Persia, carrying merchandise, principally agricultural produce, from the western and south-western shores to the eastern for the supply of Tabriz. The navigation is a state monopoly, leased out for 250 per annum.

Coinage, Weights and Measures.The monetary unit is the kran, a silver coin, formerly weighing 28 nakhods (88 grains), then reduced to 26 nakhods (77 grains), and now weighing only 24 nakhods (71 grains) or somewhat less. Before the new coinage came into use (1877) the proportion of pure silver was from 92 to 9~%; subsequently the proportion was for some time 90%; now it is about 894%. In consequence of this depreciation of the coinage and the fall in the price of silver, partly also in consequence of exchange transactions by banks, the value of the kran has since 1895 rarely been more than 4.8od., or half what it was in 1874, and fell to less than 4d. in 1905. In 1874 the kran was worth a franc; in June 1908 the exchange for a Li bill on London was 50 krans which gives the value of 1 kran as 4~d. Taking this value of the kran, the values of the various nickel and silver coins in circulation work out as:

Nickel Coins. Silver Coins.

Shahi = 2 pul -. 0.24d. Five shahis = 3/4 kran - I~2od.

Two shahis = 4 pul. o.48d. Ten shahis = 4 kran. 2.40d.

One kran = 20 shahis =

40 pul. ... 480d.

Two krans. ... ~6od In 1899 from 80 to 83 copper shahis (weighing about # Ib) were being given for one silver kran. This was owing to the depreciation of the copper coir~age from 1896 onwards, consequent upon there being an excess of coinage due to the excessive quantities formerly put in circulation from the mint. Accordingly the government in 1900 replaced the copper by a nickel coinage (face value of nickel coin in circulation end of 1907, 4,000,000 bans). Accounts are By article v. of the Treaty of Gulistan of 1813, confirmed by article viii. of the Treaty of Turkmanchai of 1828, it was declared that Russia alone should have the right of maintaining vessels of war on the Caspian, and that no other Power should fly the military flag on that sea; and by a crecision of the council of the Russian Empire, published on the 24th of November 1869, the establishment of companies for the navigation of the Caspian, except by Russian subjects, and the purchase of shares of such companies by foreigners were prohibited. (State Papers, vol. lxiii. 925.)

kept in dinars, formerly a gold piece, now an imaginary coin Tdvl of a kran. Ten thousand dinars are equal to one tornan (a word meaning ten thousand), or 10 krans silver, and 50 dinars are one shahi.

Gold coins are: 3/4, 3/4, I, 2, 5, and 10 toman pieces, but they are not in circulation as current money because of their ever-varying value in silver krans, which depends upon the exchange on London.

The unit of weight is the miskal (7f grains), subdivided into 24 nakhods (2.96 grains), a nakhod being further subdivided into 4 gandum (7k grains). Larger weights, again, are the sir (i6 miskals)

and the abbasi, wakkeh, or kervankeh (5 sir). Most articles are bought and sold by a weight called batman, or man, of which there are several kinds, the principal being: Man-i-Tabriz=8 abbasis = 640 miskals = 6-49 lb Man-i-Noh abbasi=9 abbasis = 720 ,, = 730

Man-i-Kohneh (the old man) = 1000 ,, = 10.14

Man-i-Shah= 2 Tabriz mans = 1280 ,, = 12.98 ,,

Man-i-Rey 4 ,, ,, = 2560 ,, = 25.96

Man-i-Bander abbasi = 840 ,, = 8-52

Man-i-Hashemi=i6 mans of 720 ,, = 116.80 Corn, straw, coal, &c., are sold by kharvar = 100 Tabriz mans =649 lb.

The unit of measure is the zar or gez, of which, as in the case of the man, there are several variants. 40.95 in. is the most common length for the zar, but in Azerbaijan the length is 44.09 in. Long distances are calculated in farsakhs, a farsakh being equal to 6000 zar. Probably the zar in this measure =4095 in., which makes the farsakh 3.87 m., but the other length of the zar is sometimes used, when the farsakh becomes 4.17 m. Areas are measured in jeribs of from 1000 to Io66 square zar of 40.95 in., the surface unit thus being from 1294 to 1379 sq. yds.

Constitution and Government.Up to the year 1906 the government of Persia was an absolute monarchy, and resembled in its principal features that of the Ottoman Empire, with the exception, however, that the monarch was not the religious head of the community. The powers of the Shah (Shahanshah,2 or king of kings) over his subjects and their property were absolute, but only in so far as they were not opposed to the shar, or divine law, which consists of the doctrines of the Mahommedan religion, as laid down in the Koran, the oral commentaries and sayings of the Prophet, and the interpretations by his successors and the high priesthood. In 1905, however, the people began. to demand judicial reforms, and in 1906 cried out for representative institutions and a constitution. By a rescript dated the 5th of August Muzaffar-ud-DIn Shah gave his assent to the formation of a national council (Majlis I shora i mliii), to be composed of the representatives of the various classes:

princes, clergy, members of the Kajar family and tribechiefs and nobles, landowners, agriculturists, merchants and tradesmen. By an ordinance of the 10th of September the number of members was fixed at 162 (60 for Teheran, 102 for the provinces) to be raised to 200 if necessary, and elections were held soon after. Electors must be males and Persian subjects of not less than 25 years of age and of good repute. Landowners must possess land of at least 1000 tomans (~2oo) in value, merchants and tradesmen must have a fixed and well-known place of business or shop with an annual value of not less than the average values in the localities where they are established. Soldiers and persons convicted of any criminal offence are not entitled to vote. The qualifications for membership are knowledge of the Persian language and ability to read and write it and good repute in the constituency. No person can be elected who is an alien, is under the age of 30 years or over the age of 70 years, is in the employ of the government, is in the active service of the army or navy, has been convicted of any criminal offence, or is a bankrupt.

On the 7th of October the national council, or as many members of it as could be got together, was welcomed by the shah and elected a president. This was considered as the inauguration and formal opening of parliament. An ordinance signed We see this title in its old Persian form, Khshayathiya Khshayathiy, in the cuneiform inscriptions; as Bao-iMwr Bao-nX&ip on the coins of the Arsacides, and as the Pahlavi Malkan MaTha on the coins and in the inscriptions of the Sassanians. With the Mahommedan conquest of Persia and the fall of the Sassanians the title was abolished; it was in use for a short time during the ioth Century, having been granted to Shah Ismail Samani by the Caliph Motadid A.D, 900; it appeared again on coins of Nadir Shah, 1736-1747, and was assumed by the present dynasty, the Kajars, in 1799.

by Muzaffar-ud-Din Shah, Mahommed Ali Mirza (his successor) and the grand vizir, on the 3oth of December 1906, deals with the rescript of the 5th of August, states the powers and duties of the national council and makes provision for the regulation of its general procedure by the council itself. The members have immunity from prosecution except with the knowledge of the national council. The publicity of their proceedings except under conditions accepted by the council is secured. Ministers, or their delegates may appear and speak in the national council and are responsible to that body, which also has special control of financial affairs and internal administration. Its sanction is required for all territorial changes, for the alienation of state property, for the granting of concessions, for the contracting of loans, for the construction of roads and railways, for the ratification of treaties, &c. There was to be a senate of 60 members of whom 3d were to be appointed to represent the shah and 30 to be elected on behalf of the national council, 15 of each class being from Teheran and 15 from the provinces (the senate, however, was not immediately formed).

By a rescript dated February 2, 1907, Mahommed Ali Shah confirmed the ordinance of the 3oth of December, and on the 8th of October 1907 he signed the final revised constitution, and took the oath which it prescribes on the 12th of November in the presence of the national council.

In accordance with the constitution the shah must belong to the Shiah faith, and his successor must be his eldest son, or next male in succession, whose mother was a Kajar princess. The shahs civil list amounts to 500,000 tomans (~ioo,ooo).

The executive government is carried on under a cabinet composed of seven or eight vizirs (ministers), of whom one, besides holding a portfolio, is vizir azam, prime minister. The vizirs are the ministers of the interior, foreign affairs, war, justice, finance, commerce, education, public works.

Until 1906 the shah was assisted in the task of government by the sadr azam (grand vizir), a number of vizirs, ministers or heads of departments somewhat on European lines, and a grand council of state, composed of some ministers and other members nominated by the shah himself as occasion required. Many of the ministers would have been considered in Europe merely as chiefs of departments of a ministry, as, for instance, the minister for Crown buildings, that for Crown domains, the minister of ceremonies, those for arsenals, army accounts, &c.; also an accumulation of several offices without any connection between their functions, in the hands of a single person, was frequently a characteristic departure from the European model. The ministers were not responsible to the Crown in a way that ministers of a European government are: they rarely took any initiative, and generally referred their affairs to the grand vizir or to the shah for final decision.

There were twenty-seven vizirs (ministers), but only some of them were consulted on affairs of state. The departments that had a vizir at their head were the following: court, ceremonies, shahs secretarial department, interior, correspondence between court and governors, revenue accounts and budget, finance, treasury, outstanding accounts, foreign affairs, war, army accounts, military stores, arsenals, justice, commerce, mines and industries, agriculture and Crown domains, Crown buildings, public works, public instruction, telegraphs, posts, mint, religious endowments and pensions, customs, press. In addition to these twenty-seven vizirs with portfolios, there were some titulary vizirs at court, like Vizir i Huzur i Humayun (minister of the imperial presence), Vilir i makhsus (extraordinary minister), &c., and a number in the provinces assisting the governors in the same way as ,the grand vizir assists the shah. Most of these ministers were abolished under the new constitution, and the heads of subsidiary departments are entitled mudir or rais, and are placed under the responsible ministers.

ReligionAbout 9,000,000 of the population are Mahommedans of the Shiah faith, and 800,000 or 900,000, principally Kurds in north-western Persia, are said to belong to the other great branch of Islam, the Sunni, which differs from the former in religious doctrine and historical belief, and is the state religion of the Turkish Empire and other Mahommedan countries. Other religions are represented in Persia by about 80,000 to 90,000 Christians (Armenians, Nestorians, Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholics, Protestants), 36,000 Jews, and 9000 Zoroastrians.

Society in Persia, being based almost exclusively on religious law, is much as it was in Biblical times among the Jews, with this difference, however, that there exists no sacerdotal caste. In Persia any person capable of reading the Koran and interpreting its laws may act as a priest (mullali), and as soon as such a priest becomes known for his just interpretation of the s/1ar and his superior knowledge of the traditions and articles of faith, he becomes a muftahid, literally meaning one who strives (to acquire knowledge), and is a chief priest. The mullahs are referred to in questions concerning religious law, hold religious assemblies, preach in mosques, teach in colleges, and are appointed by the government as judges, head-preachers, &c. Thus the dignitaries, whose character seems to us specially a religious one, are in reality doctors, or expounders and interpreters of the law, and officiating ministers charged with the ordinary accomplishment of certain ceremonies, which every other Mussulman, true believer, has an equal right to fulfil. Formerly there were only four or five mujtahids in Persia, now there are many, sometimes several in one cityTeheran, for instance, has ten; but there are only a few whose decisions are accepted as final and without appeal. The highest authority of all is vested in the muftahid who resides at Kerbela, or Nejef, near Bagdad, and is considered by many S/ziites as the vicegerent of the Prophet and representative of the imam. The shah and the government have no voice whatever in the matter of appointing mullahs or mujta/zids, but frequently appoint s/zeilths-ul-islam and cadis, and occasionally chief priests of mosques that receive important subsidies out of government funds. The chief priest of the principal mosque of a city, the masfid i jami, is called imam juma, and he, or a representative appointed by him, reads the kljutba, Friday oration, and also preaches. The reader of the khutba is also called khatib. The leader of the prayers in a mosque is the pishnamaz, and the crier to prayers is the muazzin. Many priests are appointed guardians of shrines and tombs of members of the Prophets family (imains and imamzadeiis) and are responsible for the proper administration of the property and funds with which the establishments are endowed. The guardian of a shrine is called mutavali, or, if the shrine is an important one with much property and many attendants, mutavali-bashi, and is not necessarily an ecclesiastic, for instance, the guardianship of the great shrine of Imam Reza in Meshed is generally given to a high court functionary or minister as a reward for long services to the state. In the precincts of a great shrine a malefactor finds a safe refuge from his pursuers and is lodged and fed, and from the security of his retreat he can arrange the ransom which is to purchase his immunity when he comes out.

Formerly all cases, civil and criminal, were referred to the clergy, and until the 17th century the clergy were subordinate to a kind of chief pontiff, named sadr-us-sodur, who possessed a very extended jurisdiction, nominated the judges, and managed all the religious endowments of the mosques, colleges, shrines, &c. Shah Safi (1629-1642), in order to diminish the influence of the clergy, appointed two such pontiffs, one for the court and nobility the other for the people. Nadir Shah (1736-1747) abolished these offices altogether, and seized most of the endowments of the ecclesiastical establishments in order to pay his troops, and, the lands appropriated by him not having been restored, the clergy have never regained the power they once possessed. Many members of the clergy, particularly those of the higher ranks, have very liberal ideas and are in favor of progress and reforms so long as they are not against the shar, or divine law; but, unfortunately, they form the minority. -

The Armenians of Persia, in so far as regards their ecclesiastical state, are divided into the two dioceses of Azerbaijan and Isfahan, and, since the late troubles in Turkey, which caused many to take refuge in Persia, are said to number over 50,000. About three-fifths of this number belong to the diocese of Azerbaijan, with a bishop at Tabriz, and reside in the cities of Tabriz, KhoI, Selmas, Urmia and Maragha, and in about thirty villages close to the north-western frontier; the other two-fifths, under the diocese of Isfahan, with a bishop in Julfa, reside in Teheran, Hamadan, Julfa, Shiraz, Bushire, Resht, Enzeli and other towns, and in some villages in the districts of Chahar Mahal, Feridan, Barbarud, Kamareh, Kazaz, Kharakan, &c. Many Persian Armenians are engaged in trade and commerce, and some of their merchants dispose of much capital, but the bulk live on the proceeds of agriculture and are poor.

The Nestorians in Persia, all living in cities and villages close to the Turkish frontier, numbered about 25,000 to 30,000 but many of them, some say half, together with two or three bishops, recently went over to the Greek Orthodox (Russian) Church, in consequence of the unsatisfactory protection afforded them by their patriarch, who resides in Mosul. These latter are now cared for by an archimandrite of Russian nationality and some Russian priests.

The Greek Orthodox Catholics are represented by Russians, who reside in northern Persia; they have a church at the Russian legation in Teheran, and another at the Russian consulate in Tabriz.

The Roman Catholics in Persia, Europeans and natives (mostly Armenians), number about three or four thousand, and have churches in Teheran, Julfa and Azerbaijan, served by members of the French Lazarist Mission. They also have some orphanages, schools and medical dispensaries, under the care of sisters of charity of St Vincent de Paul.

The Protestants, Europeans and natives (converted Armenians and Nestorians), number about 6500. The religious missions ministering to their spiritual welfare are: (1) The board of foreign missions of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, which has six establishments in Persia: Urmia since 1835, Teheran since 1872, Tabriz since 1873, Hamadan since 1880, Resht since r902 and Kazvin since 1903. The establishments of Tabriz and Urmia form the Western Persia Mission, those of Teheran, Hamadan, Resht and Kazvin the Eastern Persia Mission. The former mission has 24 churches, ii 8 schools, 2 hospitals and 4 dispensaries; the latter has 4 churches, I, schools, 2 hospitals and 4 dispensaries. (2) The Church Missionary Society, established in Persia since 1869. In June 1908 it had 4 places of worship (Julfa, Yezd, Kerman, Shiraz), 5 schools (Julfa, Isfahan, Yezd, Kerman and Shiraz). There are also hospitals and dispensaries for men and women at Julfa, Isfahan, Yezd and Kerman. The hospitals at Julfa and Isfahan have accommodation for 100 patients each, and are sometimes full to overflowing; the dispensaries are generally overcrowded. The establishment of the Church Missionary Society is under the care of a bishop, who resides at Julfa and is under the bishop of London.

(3) The Anglican mission, which was established by Dr Benson, archbishop of Canterbury, and has its work among the Nestorians in Azerbaijan. (4) The London Society for promoting Christianity among the Jews, which was established at Teheran in 1876, and at Isfahan and Hamadan in 1889. It has in Teheran a church and a school, at Isfahan a school and at Hamadan a small school.

(5) The British and Foreign Bible Society has been represented at Isfahan since 1879.

The Jews in Persia number about 36,000, and are found in nearly all cities of the country, but communities with synagogues and priests exist only in the larger cities like Teheran, Isfahan, Yezd, Shiraz, Hamadan, &c.

The Zoroastrians, commonly called gabrs, numbering about 9000, reside principally in the cities and villages of Yezd and Kerman, and only three or four hundred live in Teheran, Kashan, Isfahan and Shiraz, some engaged in trade and commerce, but most of them employed in agricultural work and gardening. Their interests are attended to by a delegate who is appointed by the Bombay Parsis and resides at Teheran.

The non-Mussulman Persian subjects, particularly those in the provinces, were formerly much persecuted, but since 1873, when Nasru d-Dfn Shah returned to Persia from his first journey to Europe they have been treated more liberally. In cities where many nonM ussulinan subjects, reside a special official is appointed to protect them; and the ministry of justice has a special section to look after them and see that they are protected against fanaticism and injustice.

Instruction.-Primary schools, maktab (where Persian and a little Arabic, sufficient for reading the Koran, and sometimes also a little arithmetic, are taught to boys between the ages of seven and twelve), are very numerous. These schools are private establishments, and are under no supervision whatever. The payment for tuition varies from fourpence or fivepence to tenpence a month for each child. Colleges, madrasah (where young men are instructed, fed, and frequently also lodged gratuitously), exist in nearly every town. Most of them are attached to mosques, and the teachers are members of the clergy, and receive fixed salaries out of the college funds. The students are instructed in Arabic and Persian literature, religion, interpretation of the Koran, Mussulman law, logic, rhetoric, philosophy and other subjects necessary for admittance to the clergy, for doctors of law, &c., while modern sciences are neglected. Families who have means and do not desire their children to become members of the clergy, employ private tutors, and several have latterly obtained the services of English and French professors to educate their children, while others send their boys to school in England, France, Germany and Russia. At the beginning of Nnlrud-Din Shahs reign, a public school on the lines of a French lyce was opened in Teheran, principally with the object of educating officers for the army, but also of introducing a knowledge of Western. science and languages, and a ministry of public instruction was created at the same time. Military and civilian teachers were obtained from Europe, and the state granted a large sum of money for the support of the establishment. The tuition is gratuitous, and the pupils are clothed and partly fed at government expense. Some years later a similar school, but on a much smaller scale, was opened in Tabriz. After a time the an.n.ual grant for the support of these two schools was reduced, and during the years1890-1908amounted to only 5000. The average number of pupils was about 250, and until the beginning of 1899 these two schools were the only establishments under the supervision. of the minister of public instruction. Soon afVcr his accession in 1896 Muzaffar-ud-DIn Shah expressed a desire that something more should be done for public instruction, and in the following year a number of Persian notables formed a committee and opened some schools in Teheran and other places in the beginning of 1898. A year later the new schools, until then private establishments, were placed under the minister of public instruction. The new schools at Teheran have from 1000 to 1400 pupils.

A German school with an annual grant of 2400 from Persia and qf 1000 from Germany was opened at Teheran in 1907. There is also established a French school under the auspices of the Alliance Francaise. Much has been and is being done for education by the Armenians and the Protestant and Roman Catholic missions in Persia, and a large percentage of the pupils is composed of Mussulmans. The Alliance Israelite has opened a school in Teheran. In 1907 the American Protestant mission had 129 schools with 3423 pupils, the English Protestant missions had 5 schools with 425 pupils, the Roman Catholic mission (Lazaristes) had 3 schools with 400 pupils, and the Armenians had 4 schools and 646 pupils. All these schools are supported by voluntary subscriptions and ,donations, and instruct both boys and girls.

Arsny.Persia had no regular army until 1807, when some regiments of regular infantry (sarbaz) were embodied and drilled by the first French military mission to Persia under General Gardane. Since then seven other military missions (two British, two French, two Austrian, and one Russian) have come to Persia at the request of the Persian government, and many officers and non-commissioned officers, and even. civilians, of various nationalities, have been engaged as army instructors. The last serious attempt to reorganize the Persian army was made in 1879, when the second Austrian mission formed the Austrian corps of seven new battalions of 8oo men each. These new battalions were disbanded in 1882. The Russian mission of 1879 has been the most successful, and the so-called Cossack brigade which it formed has always been commanded by Russian officers. The brigade has a strength of about 1800 men and costs 50,000 per annum. The total annual expenditure for the army amounts to about a third of the total revenues of the government.

According to statistics published for 1905 the Persian army has an effective force of about 91,000 men, but the number of men actually serving with the colors does not exceed 35,000:

Artillery 5309

Irregular cavalry 14,957

Infantry, 79 battalions of 4001000 men each.. 63,865

Cossack brigade, artillery, horse and foot. .. 1800

Road and frontier guards, horse and foot. .. 5403

Total 91,334

NavyThe Persian government possesses nine steamers. One is the Nasru d-Din, an old yacht of about 120 tons, presented in the seventies by the emperor of, Russia, and stationed at Enzeli, the port of Resht. The others, all employed in the customs service in the Persian Gulf, are the following:

The Persepolis, built 1884, 600 tons, 450 h.p., with three 71/8 cm. and one 81/8 cm. Krupp. The Susa, built 1884, 36 tons, with one Krupp. An old Belgian yacht Selika, purchased 1903 and renamed Muzafferi, with two Hotchkiss guns. Five launches built in the Royal Indian Marine Docks, Bombay, in 1905, at a cost of 6o,ooo rupees each, of about 8o tons.

Justice.By the theory of a Mahommedan state there should be no other courts of justice except those established for the administration of the shar, the divine or written law, but in Persia there is another judicature, which is called urf and represents the customary or known and unwritten law. Justice, therefore, is administered by the shah and his representatives according to on~ law and by the clergy according to another, but the decisions of the former must not be opposed to the fundamental doctrines of Islam. The shahs representatives for the administration of justice are the governors and other officers already mentioned. The officials charged with the administration of justice according to the shar are judges, called sheik/i-ui-islam and kazi (had/i, kadi or cadi of Arabs and Turks), members of the clergy appointed by the government and receiving a fixed salary, but some cities are without regular appointed judges and the title of cadi is almost obsolete; decisions according to the .char are given by all members of the clergy, ranging from ignorant mullahs of little villages and cantons to learned mujiahids of the great cities. If the parties to the suit are dissatisfied with the judgment, they may appeal to a priest who stands higher in public estimation, or one of the parties may induce a higher authority by bribery to quash the judgment of the first. Unfortunately, many members of the clergy are corrupt, but the mujtahids, as a rule are honest and entirely trustworthy. The functions of the representatives of the s/ar are now limited to civil cases, while all criminal cases are referred to the urf, which, however, also takes cognizahce of civil disputes, should the parties desire it.

In criminal cases the dispensation of justice is always summary, and, when the offence is small, the whole procedure, including the examination of witnesses and criminal, as well as the decision and the punishment, a bastinado, is a matter of some minutes. For commercial cases, not paying a bill in time, bankruptcies, &c., a kind of jurisdiction is exercised by the minister of commerce, or a board of merchants, but the decisions of the minister, or those of the board, are rarely final. In Teheran the board of merchants is presided over by the malik ut tujjar, King of Merchants, in the provincial cities by a person called malik amin, and mum of merchants.

After his second journey to Europe in 1878 Nasrud-Din Shah desired to organize a police for the whole of Persia on the European system, but only a small body of police, in the capital and its immediate neighborhood, was created in 1879. Its strength is 60 mounted policemen and 190 foot, with II superior and 40 subaltern officers.

There is also a Tribunal of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, presided over at Teheran by an official of the foreign office, and in the provincial cities by the karguzars, agents, of that department. The functions of this tribunal are to inquire into and judge differences and suits between Persian subjects and foreigners, and it is stipulated in the treaty of Turkmanchai, which is the basis of all existing treaties between Persia and other countries, that such differences and suits shall only be examined and judgment given in the presence of the dragoman of the mission or consulate (of the foreign subject), and that, once judicially concluded, such suits shall not give cause to a second inquiry. If, however, circumstances should be of a nature to require a second inquiry, it shall not take place without previous notice given to the minister, or the charg daffaires, or the consul, and in this case the business shall only be proceeded with at the supreme chancery of the shah at Tabriz or Teheran, likewise in the presence of a dragoman of the mission, or ,of the consulate. (Article vii.)

A foreign subject implicated in a criminal suit cannot be pursued or molested in any way unless there exist full proofs of his having taken part in the crime imputed to him, and should he be duly convicted of the crime, he is handed over to his legation, which either sends him back to his own country to undergo the punishment established by law, or, according to more recent usage, punishes him in Persia by fine, imprisonment, &c. In this respect the powers of the foreign representatives in Persia, now numbering ten (Great Britain, Russia, France, Turkey, Austria-Hungary, Germany, United States of America, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands) vary considerably, some having the power of condemning a criminal to death, while others cannot do more than fine and imprison for short periods. Suits, civil and criminal, between foreign subjects are altogether out of Persian jurisdiction, and are judged by the representatives of the foreign powers accredited to Persia.

In 1889, after Nasru d-Din Shahs return from his third visit to Europe, the council of state was instructed to compile a code of law for the regulation of justice. A beginning was made by ordering the translation of the Code Napoleon, the Indian Mahommedan code, and the Code Napoleon as modified for Algeria; but nothing further was done.

Finance.The fixed revenues of Persia are derived from (I) regular taxation (snaliat) composed of taxes on lands, flocks, herds shopkeepers, artisans and trade; (2) revenues from Crown lands~ (3) customs; (4) rents and leases of state monopolies. There is also a kind of irregular revenue derived from public requisitions presents, fines, confiscations, &c., nowadays not producing much, The land tax, which varies according to localities, is paid in money and kind, and should amount on an average to about 25% of the yield of the soil. The taxation on flocks and herds exists either as a supplementary method of land taxation, or as a contribution of a certain sum per animal, and the tax on shopkeepers, artisans and trades sometimes takes the form of a poll-tax, sometimes that of an impost on the profits of the trades. The revenue from Crown lands consists of a certain proportion of the produce, and also varies much according to localities. Until March 1899 all the customs were farmed out, but since then they have been organized on European principles, with the help of Belgian officials. By treaties with Russia and Great Britain, concluded in 1901 and 1903 respectively, the 5% duty fixed by the Turkmanchai treaty was abolished, and an equitable tariff was established. The revenues from rents and leases of state monopolies are derived from posts, telegraphs, mines, mint, forests, banks, fisheries, factories, &c., and amount to about 110,000 per annum.

The total revenue of Persia, from all sources, amounted in 1876 to 58,700,000 krans, in 1884 to 50,800,000, in~189o to 60,000,000; and in I 9071908 to about 80,000,000 krans. This would seem to show a steady increase, but when we consider that the value of the kran in 1876 was nearly 8i~I d., and has fallen in consequence of the great depreciation of silver to only 4~ d., the total revenue really decreased from 1,950,000 in 1876 to 1,600,000 in 1907 I 908. Out of the actual total revenue 500,000 is represented by customs and 110,000 by rents and leases of state monopolies, leaving 990,000 for maliat and revenues of Crown lands. In 1876 the two latter items amounted to about 1,600,000, while the two former were only 350,000 instead of 610,000 in 1907 1908. While the prices in krans of agricultural produce, and hence the profits of the landowners and the wages and profits of artisans and tradesmen, were in1907-1908more than double what they were in 1876, the maliat, the backbone of the revenue, has hardly increased at all, being 50,000,000 krans (~1,ooo,ooo) against 43,200,000 krans (~1,6oo,ooo) in 1876, and showing a decrease of over 37% in sterling money. A new assessment of the maliat, based upon the present value of the produce of lands and actual profits of artisans and tradesmen, has frequently been spoken of, and government, aided by a strong minister of the interior and an able minister of finance, ought to have no difficulty in raising the maliat to its proper level and the total revenues of the country to about two millions sterling.

Until 1888 the yearly expenditure was less than the yearly income, but subsequently the revenues were not sufficient to cover the expenditure, and many payments fell in arrear in spite of emptying the treasury of its reserve and contracting numerous loans.

In May 1892 the Persian government concluded a contract with the Imperial Bank of Persia, established by British royal charter in 1889, for a loan of 500,000 at 6%, repayable in the course of forty years, and guaranteed by the customs of Fars and the Persian Gulf ports. The produce of this loan served for the payment of an indemnity to the Imperial Tobacco Corporation, which began in 1890 and had to cease its operations in January 1892. In January 1900 the Persian government, in order to pay the arrears and start afresh with a clear balance-sheet, contracted a loan through the Banque des Prts de Perse, a Russian institution connected with the Russian state bank, and established in 1890. This loan was for 223/4 million roubles (~2,4oo,ooo) at 5% interest, guaranteed by all the Persian customs with the exception of those of Fars and the Persian Gulf ports, and repayable in the course of seventy-five years. In the contract, which was signed at St Petersburg at the end of January 1900, the Persian government undertook to redeem all its former foreign obligations (the 1892 loan) out of the proceeds of the new loan, and not to contract any other foreign loan before the redemption of the new loan without the consent of the Russian bank. The loan was at 861/8, less 11/8 for commission and charges, the Persian government thus receiving 85% of the nominal capital, or 2,040,000. The bonds enjoy the full guarantee of the Russian government. The yearly charge for interest and amortization, about 124,000, is to be paid in two half-yearly instalments, and in the event of default the Russian bank will have the right to exercise effective control of the customs with a maximum number of twenty-five European employ/s. When the contract for the new loan was concluded, the liabilities of the Persian government for the balance of the 1892 loan (about 435,000), temporary loans from various banks, arrears of pays and salaries, and other debts, amounted to over 1,500,000, SO that not much margin was left. The shahs visit to Europe in the same year cost the exchequer about 180,000. In March 1902 the Russian bank agreed to grant a further loan of 10 million roubles on the same conditions as those of the first loan, and the whole amount was paid by the end of the year, but another visit of the shah to Europe and reckless expenditure at home made the position worse than before. After November, 1903 the expenditure was reduced, and the new customs tariff which, came into force on the 14th of February 1903 increased the revenue by nearly 200,000 per annum; it was thought that the expenditure would not exceed the receipts, even if the shah undertook a third voyage in Europe (which he did in 1905). However, in November 1907, when the national assembly or council demanded a budget and made inquiries as to the financial position, it was found that the expenditure foz some years past had been half a million sterling per annum in excess of the receipts and that considerable sums were owing to banks and commercial firms who had lent money. Most of the money borrowed is at 12 to 15% interest.

Banking.It was only in 1888 that a European bank (the New Oriental Bank Corporation, Limited) established itself in Persia and modern ideas of banking were introduced into the country. Until then the banking was done by the natiye money-changers (sarrafs) and some merchantsforeign and nativewho occasionally undertook special outside transactions. In 1889 the shah granted a concession to Baron Julius de Reuter for the formation of a state bank with the exclusive right of issuing bank-notes not exceeding 8oo,000 without special assent of the Persian governmenton the basis of the local currency, the silver kran. With the title of The Imperial Bank of Persia the bank was formed in the autumn of the same year, and incorporated by royal charter granted by Queen Victoria and dated the 2nd of September 1889. The authorized capital was four millions sterling, but the bank started with a capital of one million, and began its business in Persia in October 1889. In April 1890 it took over thePersian business of the New Oriental Bank Corporation, soon afterwards opened branches and agencies at the principal towns, and issued notes in the same year. During the first two years the bank remitted the greater part of its capital to Persia at the then prevailing exchange, and received for every pound sterling 32 t0 34 krans; but in consequence of the great fall in silver in I893 and 1894, the exchange rose to 50 krans per pound sterling and more, and the banks capital employed in Persia being reduced in value by more than one-thirdIO0 krans, which at the beginning represented 3 then being worth only 2 or lessthe original capital of one million sterling was reduced to 650,000 in December 1894. The bank has made steady progress in spite of innumerable difficulties, and paid a fair dividend to its shareholders. In his paper on Banking in Persia (Journal of the Instit~ute of Bankers, 1891), Mr Joseph Rabino pointed out the great difficulties which make the easy distribution of fundsthat is, the providing them when and where requireda matter of impossibility in Persia, and gives this fact as the reason why the Imperial Bank of Persia has local issues of notes, payable at the issuing branches only, for, in a country like Persia, where movements of specie are so costly, slow and difficult as to become impracticable except on a small scale, the danger of issuing notes payable at more than one place is obvious On the 20th of September 1907 the value of the notes in circulation was 395,000, and the bank held 550,000 deposits in Persia.

In 1889 the shah also granted a concession to Jaques de Poliakov of St Petersburg for the establishment of a loan bank, or, as the original concession said, mont-de-pit, with exclusive rights of holding public auctions. A company was formed in the same year and started business at Teheran in 1890 as the Banque des Prts de Perse. After confining its operations for some years to ordinary pawnbroking, without profits, it obtained the aid of the Russian State Bank, acquired large premises in Teheran, made advances to the Persian government (since 1898), and in January 1900 and March 1902 financed the loans of 2,400,000 and 1,000,000 to Persia. It has branches at Tabriz, Resht, Mesheol and other places.

Various Armenian firms, one with branches at many places in Persia and Russia, also do banking business, while various European firms at Tabriz, Teheran, Isfahan, Shiraz and Bushire, facilitate remittances between Europe and Persia.

The chief business of the native sarrafs (money-changers, bankers; &c.) is to discount bills at high rates, hardly ever less than 12%, and remit money from place to place in Persia for a commission amounting to from I to 5, or even 6% on each transaction; and in spite of the European banks giving lower rates of discount and remitting money at par, the majority of the people and mercantile classes still deal with the natives. For advances with good security a native sarraf charges at least 12% interest per annum; ac the security diminishes in value the rate of interest increases, and transactions at 10% a month, or more than 120% per annum, are not infrequent. A Persian who obtains an advance of money at less than 12% considers that he gets money for nothing.

(A. H.-S.)


A.A ncient, to the Fall of the Sassanid Dynasty.

I. The NamePersia, in the strict significance of the word, denotes the country inhabited by the people designated as Persians, i.e. the district known in antiquity as Persis, the modern Fars. Custom, however, has extended the name to the whole Iranian plateau; and it is in this sense that the term Persia is here employed.

II. Ancient Ethnograp/iy.In historical times we find the major portion of Iran occupied by peoples of Indo-European origin, terming themselves Aryans (Arya; Zend, Airya) and their language Aryanso in the inscriptions of Dariusthe same name, which is used by the consanguineous tribes of India who were their nearest relations. The whole country is designated Ariana (Zend, Airyana) the land Descent of the Aryans the original of the Middle-Persian of the Eran and the modern Iran; the Greek geo- 1rau1ma~ui~, graphers Eratosthenes and Strabo were in error when they limited the name to the eastern districts of Iran. Thus the name of Iranians is understood to comprehend all these people of Aryan nationality.

Besides the Iranians, numerous tribes of alien origin were found in Iran. In Baluchistan, even yet, we find side by side with the eponymous Iranian inhabitants, who il T~b only penetrated thither a few centuries ago, the ~ es ethnologically and philologically distinct race of the Brahui, who are probably connected with the Dravidians of India. In them we may trace the original population of these districts; and to the same original population may be assigned the tribes here settled in antiquity: the Paricanii and Gedrosii (Gadrosii), and the Myci (Herod. IIi. 93, vii. 68; the Maka of Darius, the modern Mekran), to whom the name Aethiopiansis also occasionally applied (Herod. iii. 94, vii. 70). In Media the Greek geographers mention a people of Anariacae (Strabo Xl. 508, 514; Pliny, Nat. Hist. Vi. 48; Ptolem. Vi. 25; in Polyb. V. 44.9, Av~ap6.KaL), i.e. Non-Aryans. To these the Tapuri, Amardi, Caspii, and especially the Cadusii or Gelaesituated in Ghilan on the Caspianprobably belonged. Presumably they were also related to the tribes of Armenia and the Caucasus. In the chains of Zagros we find, in Babylonian and Assyrian times, no trace of Iranians; but partly Semitic peoplesthe Gutaeans, Lulubaeans, &c.partly tribes that we can refer to no known ethnological group, e.g. the Cossaei (see below), and in Elymais or Susiana the Elymaeans (Elamites).

That the Iranians must have come from the East to their later home, is sufficiently proved by their close relationship to the Indians, in conjunction with whom they pre- frani8fls viously formed a single people, bearing the name and Aryan Arya. Their residence must have lain chiefly in Indi.Vis.

the great steppe which stretches north of the Black Sea and the Caspian., through South Russia, to Turan (Turkestan) and the Oxus and Jaxartes. For here we continually discover traces of Iranian nationality. The names and words of the Scythians (Scoloti) in South Russia, which Herodotus has preserved, are for the most part perfectly transparent Iranian formations, identified by Zeuss and MUllenhoff; among them are many proper names in Arfis(Apto--) and aspa (horsecuriror; Zend, aspa). The predatory tribes of Turan (e.g. the Massagetae) seem to have belonged to the same stock. These tribes are distinguished by the Iranian peasants as Daha (Gr. ~&u), enemies, robbers; by the Persians as Sacae; and by the Greeks generally as Scythians.

From the region of the steppes the Aryans must have penetrated into the cultivable land of Eastern Iran: thence one part spread over the district of the Indus, then on again to the Ganges; another moved westward to Zagros and the borders of the Semitic world.

The date of this migration cannot yet be determined with certainty. We know only that the Aryans of India already occupied the Punjab in the Vedic era, C. I600 B-C. J-e,iod On the other hand, about the same period a number of the of names, undoubtedly Iranian, made their appear- 1~an1an ance in Western Asia, (cf. Edward Meyer, Zur Migration. ltesten Geschichte der Iranier, in Zeitsc/zrift fr vergleichende Sprachforschung, 1907). In the cuneiform letters from Tell el-Amarna in Egypt (1400 B.C.), we find among the princelings of Syria and Palestine names like Artamanya, Arzawiya, Shuwardata, a name terminating in -warzana, &c.; while the kings of Mitanni on the Euphrates are Artatama, Shutarna, Artashumara, and Dushratt anames too numerous and too genuinely Iranian to allow of the hypothesis of coincidence. Later still, in the Assyrian inscriptions we occasionally meet with Iranian names borne by North-Syrian princese.g. Kundaspi and Kustaspi (= Hystaspis). Their subjects, on the contrary, speak absolutely different tongues: for the attempts to explain the languages of the Cossaeans, Mitannians, and Arzapians as Indo-European (Iranian) have ended in failure (cf. Blomfield in the American Journal of Philology, xxv. p. I sqq.).

It appears, then, that towards the middle of the second millennium before Christ, the Iranians made a great forward movement to the West, and that certain of their princesat first, probably in the role of mercenary leadersreached Mesopotamia and Syria and there founded principalities of their own., much as did the Germans under the Roman Empire, the Normans. Turks, &c. With this we may probably connect the well-known:

fact that it was about this very period (1700 B.C. approximately) that the horse made its appearance in Babylonia, Egypt and Greece, where for centuries subsequently its use was confined to war and the war-chariot. Before this it was as foreign. to the Babylonians, even in the time of Khammurabi, as to the Egyptians under the XIIth Dynasty. On the other hand, it had been familiar to the Aryans from time immemorial: indeed they have always been peculiarly a people of riders. Thus it is quite conceivable that they brought it with them into Western Asia: and the quarter from which it came is sufficiently indicated by the fact that the Babylonians write the word horse with a group of signs denoting ass of the East.

Of the Assyrian kings, Shalmaneser (Salmanassar) II. was the first to take the field against the Medes in 836 B.C., and from that period onwards they are frequently mentioned in the Assyrian annals. Sargon penetrated farthest, receiving in 715 nc. the tribute of numerous Median town-princes. He gives a list of their names, twenty-three of which are preserved either wholly or in part, and almost all are unmistakably Iranian; as is also the case with those preserved by Esar-haddon (Assarhaddon) and elsewhere.

The Medes, then, were an Iranian nation, already occupying in the 9th century B.C. their later home in the centre of the Median highland. On the other hand, among their neighbors in Zagros and the northcorresponding to the Anariacae (Non-Aryans) of the GreeksIranian names are at best isolated phenomena. With other Iranian tribes the Assyrians never came in contact: for the oft-repeated assertion, that the Parsua, so prominent in their annals, were the Persians or the Parthians, is quite untenable. The Parsua of the Assyrians are located south of Lake Urmia, and can hardly have been Iranians.

None the less, the Assyrian statements with regard to the Medes demonstrate that the Iranians must have reached the west of Iran before 900 B.C. It is probable that at this period the Persians also were domiciled in their later home, even though we have no direct evidence to adduce. If this reasoning is correct, the Iranian immigration must be assigned to the first half of the second pre-Christian millennium.

The Aryans of Iran are divided into numerous tribes; these, again, being subdivided into minor tribes and clans. The Trii,es principal, according to the inscriptions of Darius of the which closely agree with Herodotusare the Iranians. following, several of them being also enumerated in the Avesta: i, The Medes (Mada) in the north-west (see MEDIA).

2. The Persians (Parsa) in the south (see PERSIS). To these belong the Carmanians and the Utians (Yutiya), who are mentioned expressly by Darius as inhabiting a district in Persis (Beh. III. 40).

3. The Hyrcanians (Varkdna in Darius, Zend Vehrkna) on the eastern corner of the Caspian, in the fertile district of Astarabad.

4. The Parthians (Parthyaei; Pers. Parthava) in Khorasan (see PARTHIA).

5. The Arians (~Apeioi, Pers. Haraiva), in the vicinity of the river Anus (Heri-rud), which derived its name from them. This name, which survives in the modern Herat, has of course no connection with that ,of the Aryans.

6. The Drangians (Zarankcf in Darius, Sarangians in Herod. jli. 93, if~, vii. 67), situated south of the Arians, in the north-west of Afghanistan (Arachosia) by the western affluents of Lake Hamun, and extending to the present Seistan.

7. Arachotians (Pens. Harauvati), in the district of the Helmand and its tributaries, round Kandahar. They are mentioned in the lists of Darius, also by the Greeks after Alexander. In Herodotus their place is taken by the Pactyans, whose name survives to the present day in the word Pushtu, with which the Afghans denote their language (Herod. iii. 102, iv. 44, vii. 67, 85). Probably it was the old tribal name; Arachosia being the local designation. The Thamanaeans, who appear in Herodotus (iii. 93, 117), must be classed with them.

8. The Bactrians (Pers. Bakhtri), on the, northern declivity of the Hindu Kush, as far as the Oxus. Their capital was Bactra, the modern Balkh (see BAcrRIA).

9. The Sogdians (Pers. Sugudu), in the mountainous district between the Oxus and Jaxartes.

10. The Chorasmians (Khwarizmians, Pers. Uvarazmiya), in the great oasis of Khiva, which still bears the name Khwarizm. They stretched far into the midst of the nomadic tribes.

II. The Margians (Pens. Margu), on the river Margus (Murghab); chiefly inhabiting the oasis of Merv, which has preserved their name. Darius mentions the district of Margu but, like Herodotus, omits them from his list of peoples; so that ethnographically they are perhaps to be assigned to the Arians.

12. The Sagartians (Pens. Asagarta); according to Herodotus (vii. 85), a nomadic tribe of horsemen; speaking, as he expressly declares, the Persian language. Hence he describes them (i. 125) as a subordinate nomad clan of the Persians. They, with the Drangians, Utians and Myci, formed a single satrapy (Henod. iii. 93). Ptolemy (vi. 2, 6) speaks of Sagartians in the Eastern Zagros in Media.

13. We have already touched on the nomadic peoples (DAa, Dahans) of Iranian nationality, who occupied the steppes of Tunkestan as far as the Sanmatians and Scytliians of South Russia. That these were conscious of their Aryan origin is proved by the names Ariantas and Ariapeithes borne by Scythian (Scolot) kings (Herod, iv. 76, 87). Still they were never counted as a portion of Iran or the Iranians. To the settled peasantry, these nomads of the steppe were always the enemy (dana, daha, i~iiaL, Dahae). Side by side with this name we find Turn and Turanian a designation applied both by the later Persians and by modern writers to this region. The origin of the word is obscure, derived perhaps from an obsolete tribal name. It has no c000exion whatever with the much later Turks, who penetrated thither in the 6th century after Christ. Though found neither in the inscriptions of Darius nor in the Greek authors, the name Turan must nevertheless be of great antiquity; for not merely is it repeatedly found in the Avesta, under the form Tura, but it occurs already in a hymn, which, without doubt, originates from Zoroaster himself, and in which the Turanian Fryana and his descendants are commemorated as faithful adherents of the prophet (Yasna, 46, 62).

The dividing line between Iranian and Indian is drawn by the Hindu Kush and the Soliman mountains of the Indus district. The valley of the Kabul (Cophen) is already occupied by Indian tribes, especially the Gan.darians; and the Satagydae (Pers. Thatagu) there resident were presumably also of Indian stock. The non-Aryan population of Iran itself has been discussed above. Of its other neighbors, we must here mention the Sacae, a warlike equestrian people in the mountains of the pamir plateau and northward; who are probably of Mongol origin. Herodotus relates that the Persians distinguished all the Scythians i.e. all the northern nomadsas Sacae; and this statement is confirmed by the inscriptions of Darius. The Babylonians employ the name Gimiri (i.e. Cimmerians) in the same sense.

III. Civilization and Religion of the Iranians.In the period when the ancestors of Indian and Iranian alike still formed a single nationthat of the Aryansthey developed A

a very marked character, which can still be distinctly Rn. traced, not only in their language, but also in their religion and in. many views common to both peoples. A great number of godsAsura, Mithras, the Dragon-slayer Verethraghna (the Indra of the Indians), the Water-shoot Apam napat (the lightning), & from this era. So, too, fire-worship, especially of the sacrificial flame; the preparation of the intoxicating soma, which fills man with divine strength and uplifts him to the gods; the injunction to good thoughts and good works, imposed on the pious by Veda and Avesta alike: the belief in an unwavering order (rta)a law controlling gods and men and dominating them all; yet with this, a belief in the power of magical formulae (mantra), exclamations and prayers, to whose compulsion not merely demons (the evil spirits of deception druh) but even the gods (daeva) must submit; and, lastly, the institution of a priesthood of fire-kindlers (athravan), who are at once the repositories of all sacral traditions and the mediators in all intercourse between earth and heaven. The transition, moreover, to settled life and agriculture belongs to the Aryan period; and to it may be traced the peculiar sancitity of the cow in India and Persia. For the cow is the animal which voluntarily yields nourishment to man and aids him in his daily labors, and on it depends the industry of the peasant as contrasted with the wild desert brigand to whom the cow is unknown.

Very numerous are the legends common to both nations. These, in part, are rooted in the primeval Indo-European days, though their ultimate form dates only from the Aryan epoch. Foremost among them is the myth relating the battle of a sungod (Ind. Trita, generally replaced by Indra, Iran. Tliraetona) against a fearful serpent (Ind. Ahi, Iran. Azhi; known moreover as Vr~ra): also, the legend of Yama, the first man, son of Vivasvant, who, after a long and blessed life in the happy years of the beginning, was seized by death and now rules in the kingdom of the departed. Then come a host of other tales of old-world heroes; as the Glorious One (Ind. Sushrava, Pers. Husrava, Chosrau or Chosroes), or the Son who goes on a journey to seek his father, and, unknown, meets his end at his hands.

These legends have lived and flourished in Iran at every period of its history; and neither the religion of Zoroaster, nor yet Islam, has availed to suppress them. Zoroastrianismat The Iranian. .

saga. least in that form in which it became the dominant creed of the Iranianslegitimized not only the old gods, but the old heroes also; and transformed them into pious helpers and servants of Ahuramazda; while the creator of the great national epic of Persia, Firdousi (A.D. 9351020), displayed astonishing skill in combining the ancient tradition with Islam. Through his poem, this tradition is perfectly familiar to every Persian at the present day; and the primitive features of tales, whose origin must be dated 4000 years ago, are still preserved with fidelity. This tenacity of the Saga stands in the sharpest contrast with the fact that the historical memory of the Persian is extremely defective. Even the glories of the Achaemenid Empire faded rapidly, and all but completely, from recollection; so also the conquest of Alexander, and the Hellenistic and Parthian eras. In Firdousi, the legendary princes are followed, almost without a break, by Ardashir, the founder of the Sassanid dynasty: the intervening episode of Darius and Alexander is not drawn from native tradition, but borrowed from Greek literature (the Alexander-romance of the Pseudo-Callisthenes) in precisely the same way as among the nations of the Christian East in the middle ages.i Needless to say, however, this long period saw the Saga much recast and expanded. Many new charactersSiyawush, Rustam, &c.have swelled the original list: among them is King Gushtasp (Vishtaspa), the patron of Zoroaster, who was known from the poems of the prophet and is placed at the close of the legendary age. The old gods and mythical figures reappear as heroes and kings, and their battles are fought no longer in heaven but upon earth, where they are localized for the most part in the east of Iran. In other words, the war of the gods has degenerated to the war between Iranian civilization and the Turanians. Only the evil serpent Azhi Dahaka (Azhdahak) is domiciled by the Avesta in Babylon (Bawri) and depicted on the model of Babylonian gods and demons: he is a king in human form with a serpent growing from either shoulder and feeding on the brains of men. In these traits are engrained the general conditions of history and culture, under which the Iranians lived: on the one hand, the contrast between Iranian and Turanian; on the other, the dominating position of Babylon, which influenced most strongly the civilization and religion of Iran. It is idle, however, to read definite historical events intc such traits, or to attempt, with some scholars, to convert them into history itself. We cannot deduce from them a conquest of Iran from Babylon: for the Babylonians never set foot in Iran and even the Assyrians merely conquered the western portior of Media. Nor yet can we make the favorite assumption 01 a great empire in Bactria. On the contrary, it is historically evident that before the Achaemenids there were in Bactria only small local principalities of which Vishtaspas was one:

and it is possible that the primeval empire of the Saga is only a reflection of the Achaemenid and Sassanid empires of reality, whose existence legend dates back to the beginning of the world, simply because legend is pervaded by the assumption that the conditions obtaining in the present are the natural conditions, and, as such, valid for all time.

Closely connected as are the Mythology and Religion of Indian and Iranian, no less clearly marked is the fundamental difference of intellectual and moral standpoint, Diff~ne~ which has led the two nations into opposite paths between the of history and culture. The tendency to religious Iranian and thought and to a speculative philosophy, compre- R

hending the world as a whole, is shared by both and e ZOfl~

is doubtless an inheritance from the Aryan period. But with the Indians this speculation leads to the complete abolition of all barriers between God and man, to a mystic pantheism, and to absorption in the universal Ego, in contrast with which the world becomes an unsubstantial phantasm and sinks into nothingness. For the Iranian, on the contrary, practical life, the real world, and with them the moral commandment, fill the foreground. The new gods created by Iran are ethical powers; those of India, abstractions of worship (brahman) or of philosophy (atman). These fundamental features of Iranian sentiment encounter us not only in the doctrine of Zoroaster and the confessions of Darius, but also in that magnificent product of the Persia of Islamthe Sufi mysticism. This is pantheistic, like the Brahman philosophy. But the pantheism of the Persian is always positive, affirming the world and life, taking joy in them, and seeking its ideal in union with a creative god: the pantheism of the Indian is negativedenying world and life, and descrying its ideal in the cessation of existence.

This contrast in intellectual and religious life must have developed very early. Probably, in the remote past violent religious disputes and feuds broke out: for otherwise it is almost inexplicable that the old Indo-~European word, which in India, also, denotes the godsdevashould be applied by the Iranians to the malignant demons or devils (daeva; mod. die); while they denote the gods by the name bhaga. Conversely the Asuras, whose name in Iran is the title of the supreme god (ahura, aura), have in India degenerated to evil spirits. It is of great importance that among the Slavonic peoples the same word bogu distinguishes the deity; since this points to ancient cultural influences on which we have yet no more precise information. Otherwise, the name is only found among the Phrygians, who, according to Hesychius, called the Heaven-god (Zeus) Bagaeus; there, however, it may have been borrowed from the Persians. We possess no other evidence for these events; the only document we possess for the history of Iranian religion is the sacred writing, containing the doctrines of the prophet whc gave that religion a new form. This is the Avesta, the Bible of the modern Parsee, which comprises the revelation of Zoroaster.

As to the home and time of Zoroaster, the Parsee tradition yields us no sort of information which could possibly be of historical service. Its contents, even if they go back to lost parts of the Avesta, are merely a late patch- oroas Cf work, based on the legendary tradition and devoid of historica foundation. The attempts of West (Pa/ilavi Texts Translated vol. v.) to turn to historical account the statements of tb Bundahish and other Parsee books, which date Zoroaster al 258 years before Alexander, are, in the present writers opinion a complete failure. Jackson (Zoroaster, the Prophet of Ancien Iran, 1901) sides with West. The Greek theory, which relegates Zoroaster to the mists of antiquity, or even to the perioc of the fabulous Ninus and Semiramis, is equally valueless Even the statement that he came from the north-west of Medif (the later Atropatene), and his mother from Rai (Rhagae) in eastern Media, must be considered as problematic in the extreme Our only trustworthy information is to be gleaned from his OWl testimony and from the history of his religion. And here wi may take it as certain that the scene of his activity was laid ir the east of Iran, in Bactria and its neighboring regions. The contrast there existing between peasant and nomad is of vital consequence for the whole position of his creed. Among the adherents whom he gained was numbered, as already mentioned, a Turanian, one Fryana and his household. The west of Iran is scarcely ever regarded in the Avesta, while the districts and rivers of the east are often named. The language, even, is markedly different from the Persian; and the fire-priests are not styled Magians as in Persiathe word indeed never occurs in the Avesta, except in a single late passagebut athravan, identical with the at/tarvan of India (~riJpafoL, fire-kindlers, in Strabo xv. 733). Thus it cannot be doubted that the king Vishtaspa, who received Zoroasters doctrine and protected him, must have ruled in eastern Iran: though strangely enough scholars can still be found to identify him with the homonymous Persian Hystaspes, the father of Darius. The possibility that Zoroaster himself was not a native of East Iran,but had immigrated thither (from Rhagae?), is of course always to be considered; and this theory has been used to explain the phenomenon that the Gathas, of his own composition, are written in a different dialect from the rest of the Avesta. On this hypothesis, the former would be his mother-tongue: the latter the speech of eastern Iran.

This district is again indicated as the starting-point of Zoroastrianism, by the fact that dead bodies are not embalmed and then interred, as was usual, for instance, in Persia, but cast out to the dogs and birds (cf. Herod. i. 140), a practice, as is well known, strictly enjoined in the Avesta, ruthlessly executed under the Sassanids, and followed to the present day by the Parsees. The motive of this, indeed, is to be found in the sanctity of Earth, which must not be polluted by a corpse; but its origin is evidently to be traced in a barbaric custom of ni~madic or semi-nomadic tribes who leave the dead to lie on the steppe; and we know from Greek sources that this custom was widely diffused among the tribes of eastern Iran.

The next clue towards determining the period of Zoroaster is, that Darius I. and all his successors, as proved by their inscriptions and by Greek testimony, were zealous adherents of the pure word of Zoroastrianism; which consequently must already have been accepted in the west of Iran. That Cyrus too owned allegiance to the creed, cannot be doubted by an unprejudiced mind, although in the dearth of contemporary monuments we possess no proof at first hand. The Assyrian inscriptions demonstrate, however, that Zoroasters teaching was dominant in Media two centuries before Cyrus. For in the list of Median princes, to which we have already referred, are two bearing the name of Mazdakaevidently after the god Mazda. Now this name was the invention of Zoroaster himself; and he who names himself after Mazda thereby makes a confe~sion of faith in the religion of Zoroaster whose followers, as we know, termed themselves Mazdayasna, worshippers of Mazda.

Thus, if the doctrine of Zoroaster predominated in Media in 714 B.C., obviously his appearance in the role of prophet must have been much earlier. A more definite date cannot be deduced from the evidence at our disposal, but his era may safely be placed as far back as 1000 B.C.

The religion which Zoroaster preached was the creation of. a single man, who, having pondered long and deeply the problems of existence and the world, propounded the solution he found as a divine revelation. Naturally he starts from the old views, and is indebted to them for many of his tenets and ideas; but out of this material he builds a uniform system which bears throughout the impress of his own intellect. In this world, two groups of powers confront each other in a truceless war, the powers of Good, of Light, of creative Strength, of Life and of Truth, and the powers of Evil, of Darkness, Destruction, Death and Deceit. In the van of the first stands the Holy Spirit (spenta ,nainyu) or the Great Wisdom Mazdao. His helpers and vassals are the six powers of Good Thought (vohu man, ~uav6i), of Right Order (as/ta, Ind. rta, Pers. aria, lawfulness), of the Excellent Kingdom (khshathra vairya), of Holy Character (spenla armaiti), of Health (haurvatat), arid of Immortality (ameretat). These are comprised under the general title of ,undying holy ones (ames/ta spenta, amshaspand);

I_f .,_~ ~

The powers of evil are in all points the oppositeof the good; at their head being the Evil Spirit (angra ma-inyu, Ahriman). These evil demons are identical with the old gods of the popular faiththe devas (div)while Mazdao bears the name Ahura, above discussed; whence A.hurarnazda (Ormuzd).

From this it will be manifest that the figures of Zoroasters religion are purely abstracrions; the concrete gods of vulgar belief being set aside. All those who do not belong to the devils (devas), might be recognized as inferior servants of Ahuramazda: chief among them being the Sun-god Mithras (see MITHRAS); the goddess of vegetation and fertility, especially of the Oxus-stream, Anhita Ardvzsura (Anailis); and the Dragon-slayer Verethraghna (Gr. Artagnes), with the god of the intoxicating Haoma (the Indian Soma). In the religion of the people, these divinities always survived; and the popularity of Mithras is evinced by the numerous Aryan proper names thence derived (Mithradates, &c.). The educated community who had embraced the pure doctrine in its completeness scarcely recognized them, and the inscriptions of Darius ignore them. Only once he speaks of the gods of the clans, and once of the other gods which there are. Not till the time of Artaxerxes II. were Mithra and Anaitis received into the official religion of the Persian kings. But they always played a leading part in the propaganda of the Persian cults in the West.

Only one element in the old Aryan belief was preserved by Zoroaster in all its sanctity: that of Firethe purest manifestation of Ahuramazda and the powers of Good. Thus fire-altars were every. where erected; and, to the prophet also, the Fire-kindlers (al/lravan) were the ministers and priests of the true religion and the intermediaries between God and man; at last in the popular mind, Zoroastrianism was identified with Fire-worship pure and simple, inadequate though the term in reality is, as a description of its essentials.

Midway in this opposition of the powers of Good and Evil, man is placed. He has to choose on which side he will stand: he is called to serve the powers of Good: his duty lies in speaking the truth and combating the lie. And this is fulfilled when he obeys the commands of law and the true order; when he tends his cattle and fields, in contrast with the lawless and predatory nomad (Dahae); when he wars on all harmful and evil creatures, and on the devilworshippers; when he keeps free from pollution the pure creations of Ahuramazdauire foremost, but also earth and water; and, above all, when he practises the Good and True in thought, word and work. And as his deeds are, so shall be his fate and his future lot on the Day of Judgment; when he must cross the Bridge Cinvat, which, according to his works, will either guide him to the Paradise of Ahuramazda or precipitate him to the Hell of Ahriman. Obviously, it was through this preaching of a judgment to come and a direct moral responsibility of the individual man, that, like Mahomet among the Arabs, Zoroaster and his disciples gained their adherents and exercised their greatest influence.

In this creed of Zoroastrianism three important points are especially to be emphasized: for on them depend its peculiar characteristics and historical significance :

I. The abstractions which it preaches are not products of metaphysical speculation, as in India, but rather the ethical forces which dominate human life. They impose a duty upon man, and enjoin on him a positive line of actiona definite activity in the world. And this world he is not to eschew, like the Brahman and the Buddhist, but to work in it, enjoying existence and life to the full. Thus a mans birthday is counted the highest festival (Herod. i. 133); and thus the joie de vivre, rich banquets and car ousals are not rejected by the Persian as godless and worldly, but are even prescribed by his religion. To create offspring and people the world with servants of Ahuramazda is the duty of every true believer.i 2. This religion grew up in the midst of a settled peasant population, whose mode oflife and views it regards as the natural disposition of things. Consequently, it is at once a product of, and a main factor in civilization; and is thereby sharply differentiated from the Israelite religion, with whose moral precepts it otherwise coincides so frequently.

3. The preaching of Zoroaster is directed to each individual man, and requires of him that he shall choose his position with regard to the fundamental problems of life and religion. Thus, even though it arose from national views, in its esseiice it is not national (as, for instance, the Israelite creed), but individualistic, and at the same time universal. From the first, it aims at propaganda; and the nationality of the convert is a matter of indifference. So Zoroaster himself converted the Turanian Fryana with his kindred (sec above); and the same tendency to proselytize alien peoples survived in his religion. Zoroastrianism, in fact, is the first creed to work by missions or to lay claim to universality of acceptance. It was, however, only natural that its adherents should be won, first and chiefly, among the countrymen of the prophet, and its further success in gaining over all the Iranian tribes gave it a national stamp. So the Susan translation of Darius Behistun inscrrption TThese ideas are strongly exposed in a polemic against the Christians contained in an official edict of the Persian creed to the Armenians by Mihr Narseh, the vizier of Yazdegerd IT. (about ~ ~sr~,s,l h~, the. A,~s,, h;st,-,r;,~n, P1~zhi~

terms Ahuramazda the god of the Aryans. Thus the creed became a powerful factor in the development of an united Iranian nationality, That a. religion, which lays its chief stress upon moral precepts, may readily develop into casuistry and external formalism, with an. infinity of minute prescriptions, injunctions on purity and the like, is well known. In the Avesta all these recur ad nauseam, so much so that the primitive spirit of the religion is stifled beneath them, as the doctrine of the ancient prophets was stifled in Judaism and the Talmud. The Sassanid Empire, indeed, is completely dominated by this formalism and ritualism; but the earlier testimony of Darius in his inscriptions and the statements in Herodotus enable us still to recognize the original healthy life of a religion capable of awakening the enthusiastic devotion of the inner man. Its formal character naturally germinated in the priesthood (Herod. i. 140; cf. Strabo xv. 733, &c.). The priests diligently practise all the precepts of their rituale.g. the extermination of noxious animals, and the exposure of corpses to the dogs and birds, that earth may not be polluted by their presence. They have advice for every contingency in life, and can say with precision when a man has been defiled, and how he may be cleansed again; they possess an endless stock of formulae for prayer, and of sentences which serve for l~rotection against evil spirits and may be turned to purposes of magic.

How the doctrine overspread the whole of Iran, we do not know. In the West, among the Medes and Persians, the guardianship Th and ministry of Zoroastrianism is vested in an exclusive e priesthoodthe Magians. Whence this nameunknown Magians. as already mentioned, to the Avestatook its rise, we have no knowledge. Herodotus (i. 101) includes the Magians in his list of Median tribes; and it is probable that they and their teaching reached the Persians from Media. At all events, they play here not merely the role of the Fire-kindlers (aihravan) in the Avesta, but are become an hereditary sacerdotal caste, acting an important part in the stateadvisers and spiritual guides to the king, and so forth. With them the ritualism and magical character, above mentioned, are fully developed. In the narrations of Herodotus, they interpret dreams and predict the future; and in Greece, from the time of Herodotus and Sophocles (Oed. Tyr. 387) onward, the word Magian connotes a magician-priest.

See further, ZOROASTER and works there quoted.

IV. Beginnings of History.A connected chain of historical ev~idence begins with the time when under Shalmaneser (SalAssyrian manassar II.), the Assyrians in 836 B.C. began for Conquest the first time to penetrate farther into the mounof Media. tains of the east; and there, in addition to several non-Iranian peoples, subdued a few Median tribes. These wars were continued under successive kings, till the Assyrian power in these regions attained its zenith under Sargon (q.1.), who (715 B.C.) led into exile the Median chief Dayuku (see DElocEs), a vassal of the Minni (Mannaeans), with all his family, and subjected the princes of Media as far as the mountain of Bikni (Elburz) and the border of the great desert. At that time twenty-eight Median town-lords paid tribute to Nineveh; two years later, (713 B.C.) no fewer than forty-six. Sargons successors, down to Assur-bani-pal (668626 B.C.), maintained and even augmented their suzerainty, over Media, in spite of repeated attempts to throw off the yoke in conjunction with the Mannaeans, the Saparda, the Cimmerianswho had penetrated into the Armenian mountainsand others. Not till the last years of Assur-bani-pal, on which the extant Assyrian annals are silent, can an independent Median Empire have arisen.

As to the history of this empire, we have an ancient account in Herodotus, which, with a large admixture of the legendary The still contains numerous historical elements, and a Median completely fanciful account from Ctesias, preserved ~mp!re. in Diodorus (ii. 32 sqq.) and much used by latei writers. In the latter Nineveh is destroyed by the Mede Arbaces and the Babylonian Belesys about 880 B.C., a period when thi Assyrians were just beginning to lay the foundations of their power. Arbaces is then followed by a long list of Median kings all of them fabulous. On the other hand, according to Herodotu~ the Medes revolt from Assyria about 710 B.C., that is to say at the exact time when they were subdued by Sargon. Deioce~ founds the monarchy; his son Phraortes begins the work o~ conquest; and his son Cyaxares is first overwhelmed by th Scythians, then captures Nineveh, and raises Media ~to a greal power. A little supplementary information may be gleanec from the inscriptions of King Nabonidus of Babylon (.5539

and from a few allLsions in the Old Testament. Of the Median Empire itself we do not possess a single monument. Consequently its history still 1ies in complete obscurity (cf. MEDIA; DElocEs; PHRAORTES; CYAXARES).

The beginnings of the Median monarchy can scarcely go farther back than 640 B.C. To all appearance, the insurrection against Assyria must have prcceeded from the desert tribe of the Manda, mentioned by Sargon: for Nabonidus invariably describes the Median kings as kings of the Manda. According to the account of Herodotus, the dynasty was derived from Deioces, the captive of Sargon, whose descendants may have found refuge in the desert. The first historical king would seem to have been Phraortes, who probably succeeded in subduing the small local princes of Media and in rendering himself independent of Assyria. Further development was arrested by the Scythian invasion described by Herodotus. We know from Zephaniah and Jeremiah that these northern barbarians, in 626 B.C., overran and harried Syria and Palestine (ci. CYAXARES; JEws). With these inroads of the Cimmerians and Scythians (see ScYTIIIA), we must doubtless connect the great ethnographical revolution in the north of anterior Asia; the Indo-European Armenians (Haik), displacing the old Alaro.. dians (Urartu, Ararat), in the country which has since borne their name; and the entry of the Cappadociansfirst mentioned in the Persian periodinto the east of Asia Minor. The Scythian invasion evidently contributed largely to the enfeeblement of the Assyrian Empire: for in the same year the Chaldaen Nabopolassar founded the New-Babylonian empire; and in 606 B.C. Cyaxares captured and destroyed Nifieveh and the other Assyrian cities. Syria and the south he abandoned to Nabopolassar and his son Nebuchadrezzar; while, on the other hand, Assyria proper, east of the Tigris, the north of Mesopotamia with the town of Harran (Carrlwe) and the mountains of Armenia were annexed by the Medes. Cappadocia also fell before Cyaxares; in a war with the Lydian Empire the decisive battle was broken off by the celebrated eclipse of the sun on the, 28th of May 585 B.C., foretold by Thales (Herod. i. 74). After this a peace was arranged by Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon and Syennesis of Cilicia, recognizing the Halys as the borderline. To the east, the Median Empire extended far over Iran, even the Persians owning its sway. Ecbatana became the capital.

Of the states which arose out of the shattered Assyrian Empire (Media, Babylon, Egypt, Cilicia and Lydia), Media was by far the strongest. In Babylon the kings feared, and the exiled Jews hoped, an attack from the Medes (cf. Isa. xiii., xiv., xxi.; Jer. 1., Ii.); and Nebuchadrezzar sought by every means great fortifications, canals and so forthto secure his empire against the menace from the north. He succeeded in maintaining the status quo practically unimpaired, additional security being found in intermarriage between the two dynasties. In this state of equilibrium the great powers of Anterior Asia remained during the first half of the 6th century.

V. The Persian Empire of the Achaemenids.The balance, however, was disturbed in 553 B.C., when the Persian Cyrus, king of Anshan in Elam (Susiana), revolted against Conques~ his suzerain Astyages, the son of Cyaxares, and o, Cynis three years later defeated him at Pasargadae ~i and Shortly afterwards Astyages was taken prisoner, Cambyses, Ecbatana reduced, and the Median Empire replaced by thi Persian. The Persian tribes were welded by Cyrus into a singh nation, and now became the foremost people in the world (se PERSIS and CYRUS). At first Nabonidus of Babylon hailec the fall of the Medes with delight and utilized the opportunit) by occupying Harran (Carrhae). But before long he recognizec the danger threatened from that quarter. Cyrus and hi~ Persians paid little heed to the treaties which the Median kink had concluded with the other powers; and the result was I great coalition against him, embracing Nabonidus of Babylon Amasis of Egypt, Croesus of Lydia, and the Spartans, whosi highly efficient army seemed to the Oriental states of great value In the spiing of 546 B.C., Croesus opened the attack. Cyrtt flung himself upon him, beat him at Pteria in Cappadocia and pursued him to Lydia. A second victory followed on the banks of the Pactolus; by the autumn of 546 Sardis had already fallen and the Persian power advanced at a bound to the Mediterranean. In the course of the next few years the Greek littoral towns were reduced, as also the Carians and Lycians. The king of Cilicia (Syennesis) voluntarily acknowledged the Persian suzerainty. In 539 Nabonidus was defeated and Babylon occupied, while, with the Chaldean Empire, Syria and Palestine also became Persian (see JEws). The east of Iran was further subdued, and, after Cyrus met his end (528 B.C.) in a war against the eastern Nomads (Dahae, Massagetae), his son Cambyses conquered Egypt (525 B.C.). Cyprus and the Greek islands on the coast of Asia Minor also submitted, Samos being taken by Darius. On the other hand, an expedition by Cambyses against the Ethiopian kingdom of Napata and Meroe came to grief in Nubia. The usurpation of Smerdis (522521 nc.) and his death at the hands of Darius was the signal for numerous insurrections in Babylon, Susiana, Persis, Media, Armenia and many of the Eastern provinces. But, within two years (521519), they were all crushed by Darius and his generals.

The causes of this astonishing success, which, in the brief space of a single generation, raised a previously obscure and secluded tribe to the mastery of the whole Orient, can only be Arms and partially discerned from the evidence at our disposal.

rmour. The decisive factor was of course their military superiority. The chief weapon of the Persians, as of all Iranians, was the bow, which accordingly the king himself holds in his portraits, e.g. on the Behistun rock and the coins (darics). In addition to the bow, the Persians carried short lances and short daggers. But it was not by these weapons, nor by~ hand to hand fighting, that the Persian victories were won. I hey overwhelmed their enemy under a hail of arrows, and never allowed him to come to close quarters. While the infantry kneeled to shoot, the cavalry swarmed round the hostile squadrons, threw their lines into confusion, and completed their discomfiture by a vigorous pursuit. In a charge the infantry also might employ lance and dagger; but the essential point was that the archers should be mobile and their use of the bow unhampered.

Consequently, only a few distinguished warriors wore shirts of mail. For purposes of defence the rank and file merely carried a light hide-covered shield; which the infantry, in shooting, planted before them as a sort of barrier against the enemys missiles. Thus the Persian army was lost, if heavy-armed hoplites succeeded in gaining their lines. In spite of all their bravery, they succumbed to the Greek phalanx, when once the generalship of a Miltiades or a Pausanias had brought matters to a hand to hand conflict; and it was with justice that the GrecksAeschylus, for instance viewed their battles against the Persian as a contest between spear and bow. None the less, till Marathon the Persians were successful in discomfiting every enemy before he could close, whether that enemy consisted of similarly accoutred bowmen (as the Medes), of cavalry armed with the lance (as the Lydians), or of heavily armoured warriors (as the Babylonians, Egyptians and Greeks).

To all this should be added the superiority of their leaders; Cyrus especially must have been an exceedingly able general. Obviously, also, he must have understood the art of organizing his people and arousing the feeling of nationality and the courage of self-sacrifice. In his time the Persians were a strong manly peasantry, domiciled in a healthy climate and habituated to all hardshipsa point repeatedly emphasized, in the tales preserved by Herodotus, as the cause of their successes (eg. Herod. ix. 122). Herodotus, however, also records (i. 135) that the Persians were of all mankind the readiest to adopt foreign customs, good or bad, a sentence which is equally applicable to the Romans, and which in the case of both nations goes far to explain, not merely their successes, but also the character of their empires.

The fundamental features of the imperial organization must have been due to Cyrus himself. Darius followed in his steps Organiz.8- and completed the vast structure. His role, indeed, don of was peculiarly that of supplementing and perfecting Darius. the work of his great predecessor. The organization of the empire is planned throughout on broad, free lines; there is nothing mean and timorous in it. The great god Ahuramazda, whom king and people alike acknowledge, has given them dominion over this earth afar, over many peoples and tongues; and the consciousness is strong in them that they are masters of the world. Thus their sovereign styles himself the king of kings and the king of the lands that is to say, of the whole civilized world. For the provinces remaining tinsubdued on the extreme frontiers to the west, the north and the east are in their view almost negligible quantities. And far removed as the Persians are from disavowing their proud sense of nationality (a Persian, the son of a Persian, an Aryan of Aryan stock says Darius of himself in the inscription on his tomb) yet equally vivid is the feeling that they rule the whole civilized world, that their task is to reduce it to unity, and that by the will of Ahuramazda they are pledged to govern it aright.

This is most clearly seen in the treatment of the subject races. In contrast with the Assyrians and the Romans the Persians invariably conducted their wars with great ~ bJ~ humanity. The vanquished kings were honorably !~~tions. dealt with, the enemys towns were spared, except when grave offences and insurrections, as at Miletus and Athens, rendered punishment imperative; and their inhabitants were treated with mildness. Like Cyrus, all his successors welcomed members of the conquered nationalities to their service, employed them as administrators or generals and made them grants of land: and this not only in the case of Medes, but also of Armenians, Lydians, Jews and Greeks. The whole population of the empire was alike bound to military service. The subject-contingents stood side by side with the native Persian troops; and the garrisonsin Egypt, for instance were composed of the most varied nationalities.

Among the subject races the Medes particularly stood high in favor. Darius in his inscriptions always names them immediately after the Persians. They were the predecessors of the Persians in the empire and the more civilized people. Their institutions, court ceremonial and dress were all adopted by the Achaemenids. Thus the tribal distinctions began to recede, and the ground was prepared for that amalgamation of the Iranians into a single, uniform nation, which under the Sassanids was completely perfectedat least for west of Iran.

The lions share, indeed, falls to the dominant race itself. The inhabitants of Persis properfrom which the eastern tribes of Carmanians, Utians, &c., were excluded and Th formed into a separate satrapypay no taxes. ~ Instead, they bring the best of their possessions (e.g. a particularly fine fruit) as a gift to their king on festival days; peasants meeting him on his excursions do the same (Plut. Artax. 4.5; Dinon ap. Aelian. var. hist. i. 3,; Xen. Cyr. viii. 5, 21.7, 1). In recompense for this, he distributes on his return rich presents to every Persian man and womanthe women of Pasargadae, who are members of Cyruss tribe, each receiving a piece of gold (Nic. Dam. fr. 66. Plut. Alex. 69). In relation to his Persians, he is always the peoples king. At his accession he is consecrated in the temple of a warrior-goddess (Anaitis?) at Pasargadae, and partakes of the simple meal of the old peasant daysa mess of figs, terebinths and sour milk (Plut. Artax. 3). The Persians swear allegiance to him and pray to Ahuramazda for his life and the welfare of the people, while he vows to protect them against every attack, and to judge and govern them as did his fathers before him (Herod. i. 132; Xen. Cyr. xviii. 5, 25, 27). For helpers he has at his side the law-bearers (databara Dan. iii. 2, and in Babyl. documents; cf. Herod. iii. 31, v. 25, vii. 194; Esther i. 13, &c.). Thesethe Persian judgesare nominated by the king for life, and generally bequeath their office to their Sons. The royal decision is based on consultation with the great ones of his people: and such is the case with his officials and governors everywhere (cf. the Book of Ezra).

Every Persian able to bear arms is bound to serve the king the great landowners on horseback, the commonalty on foot. The noble and well-to-do, who need not till their fields in person, are pledged to appear at court as frequently as possible. Their children are brought up in company with the princes at the gates of the king, instructed in the handling of arms, in riding and hunting, and introduced to the service of the state and the knowledge of the law, as well as the commandments of religion. Then such as prove their worth are called to high office and rewarded, generally with grants of land.

The highest rank was held by the descendants of the six great families, whose heads stood by Darius at the killing of the Magian. The Greeks class them and the king together., under the name of the seven Persians. These enjoyed the right of entering the presence unannounced, and possessed princely estates in the provinces. Besides these, however, numbers of other Persians were despatched to the provinces, settled there, and endowed with lands. There existed, in fact, under the Achaemenids a strong colonizing movement, diffused through the whole empire; traces of this policy occur more especially in Armenia, Cappadocia and ,Lycia, but also in the rest of Asia Minor, and not rarely in Syria and Egypt. These colonists formed the nucleus of the provincial military levy, and were a tower of strength to the Persian dominion. They composed, moreover, the Persian council, and vice-regal household of the Satraps, exactly as the Persians of the home-country composed that of the king.

Though the world-empire of Persia was thus deeply impressed by a national character, care was nevertheless exercised that the general duties and interests of the subject races should receive due consideration. We find their representatives, ~iide by side with the Persians, occupying every sort of position in the regal and vice-regal courts. They take their part in the councils of the satraps, precisely as they do in military service (cf. the evidence of Ezra); and they, too, are rewarded by bounties and estates. To wield a peaceful authority over all the subjects of the empire, to reward merit, and to punish transgressionsuch is the highest task of king and officials.

On his native soil Cyrus built himself a town, with a palace and a tomb, in the district of Pasargadae (now the ruins of Murghab). This Darius replaced by a new capital, ~feiwes deeper in the centre of the country, which bore the ~name Persian (Pdrsa), the Persepolis (q.v.) of the later Greeks. But the district of Persis was too remote to be the administrative centre of a world-empire. The natural centre lay, rather, in the ancient fertile tract on the lower Tigris and Euphrates. The actual capital of the empire was therefore Susa, where Darius I. and Artaxerxes 11. erected their magnificent palaces. The winter months the kings chiefly spent in Babylon: the hot summer, in the cooler situation of Ecbatana, where Darius and Xerxes built a residence on Mt Elvend, south of the city. From a palace of Artaxerxes II. in Ecbatana itself, the fragments of a few inscribed columns (now in the possession. of Mr Lindo Myers and published by Evetts in the Zeitschr. f. Ass yr. V.) have been preserved. To Persis and Persepolis the kings paid only occasional visits especially at their coronations.

Within the empire, the two great civilized states incorporated by Cyrus and Cambyses, Babylon and Egypt, occupied a position of their own. After his defeat of Nabonidus, Cyrus ~ proclaimed himself King of Babel; and the same title was born by Cambyses, Smerdis and Darius. So, in Egypt, Cambyses adopted in full the titles of the Pharaohs. In this we may trace a desire to conciliate the native population, with the object of maintaining the fiction that the old state still continued. Darius went still farther. He encouraged the efforts of the Egyptian priesthood in every way, built temples, and enacted new laws in contin.uance of the old order. In Babylon his procedure was presumably similar, though here we possess no local evidence. But he lived to see that his policy had missed its goal. In 486 B.C. Egypt revolted and was only reduced by Xerxes in 484. It was this, probably, that induced him in 484 to renounce his title of king of Babel, and to remove from its temple the golden statue of Bel-Marduk (Merodach), whose hands the king was bound to clasp on the first day of each year. This proceeding led to two insurrections in Babylon (probably in 484 and 479 n.c.), which were speedily repressed. After that the kingship of Babel was definitely abolished. In Egypt the Persian kings still retained the style of the Pharaohs; but we hear no more of concessions to the priesthood or to the old institutions, and, apart from the great ouis of el-Kharga, no more temples were erected (see EGYPT:


At the head of the count and the imperial administration stands the commandant of the body-guardthe ten thousand Immortals, often depicted in the sculptures of The Vizier Persepolis with lances surmounted by golden apples. and other This grandee, whom the Greeks termed Chiliarch, OfficISJs. corresponds to the modern vizier. In addition to him, we find seven councillors (Ezra vii. 14; cf. Esther i. 14). Among the other officials, the Eye of the King is frequently mentioned. To him was entrusted the control of the whole empire and the superintendence of all officials.

The orders of the court were issued in a very simple form of the cuneiform script, probably invented by the Medes. This comprised 36 signs, almost all of which denote single sounds. In the royal inscriptions, a translation into Susan (Elam- OffiCial itic) and Babylonian was always appended to theat~ Persian text. In Egypt one in hieroglyphics was added, as in the inscriptions of the Suez canal; in the Grecian provinces, another in Greek (e.g. the inscription of Darius on the Bosporus, Herod. iv. 37, cf. iv. 91). The cuneiform script could only be written on stone or clay. Thus there has been discovered in Babylon a copy of the Behistun (qv.) inscription preserved on a block of dolerite (Weissbach, Babylonische Miscellen. p. 24). For administrative purposes, however, it would seem that this inconvenient material was not employed; its place being taken by skins (ut,Okpai, parchment), the use of which was adopted from the western peoples of the empire. On these were further written the journals and records kept at the court (of. Diod. ii. 22, 32; Ezra iv. 13, V. 17, Vi. 2~ Esther vi. I, ii. 23). With such materials the cuneiform script could not be used; instead, the Persian language was written in, Aramaic characters, a method which later led to the so-called Pahlavi, i.e. Parthian script. This mode of writing was obviOusly alone employed in the state-services since Darius I.; and so may be explained the fact that, under ,the Achaemenids, the Persian language rapidly declined, and, in the inscriptions of Artaxerxes III., only appears in an extremely neglected guise (see CUNEIFORM INscRIPTIONs, ALPHABET).

Side by side with the Persian, the Aramaic, which had long been widely diffused as ~ ~eech of commerce, enjoyed currency in all the western hail of the empire as a second dominant language. Thus all deeds, enactments and records designed for these provinces were furnished with an official Aramaic version (Ezra iv. 7). Numerous documents in this tongue, dating from the Persian period, have been discovered in Egypt (cf. Sayce and Cowley, Araman Papyri discovered at Assuan I906), and the coins minted by the satraps and generals usually bear an Aramaic inscription. (So, also, a lion-weight from Abydos, in the British Museum.) The Demotic in Egypt was employed in private documents alone. Only in the Hellenic provinces of the empire Greek replaced Aramaic (cf. the letter to Pausanias in Thuc. i. 120; an edict to Gadatas in Magnesia, Cousin et Deschamps, Bulletin de corresp. hellenique xii. 530, Dittenberger, Sylloge 2~ SO, also, on co,ins)a clear proof that the Persians had already begun to recognize the independent and important position of Greek civilization.i Darius I. divided the Persian Empire into twenty great provinces, satrapies, with a guardian of the country (khshal/zrapavan; see SATRAP) at the head of each. A list is Tb preserved in Herodotus (iii. 89 sqq.); but the boundaries were frequently changed. Each satrapy was again subdivided into several minor governorships. The satrap is the head of the whole administration of his province. He levies the taxes, controls the legal procedure, is responsible for the security of roads and property, and superintends the subordinate districts. The heads of the great military centres of the empire and the commandants of the royal fortresses are outside his jurisdiction: yet the satraps are entitled to a body of troops of their own, a privilege which they used to the full, especially in later periods. The satrap is held in his position as a subjec.t by the controlling machinery of the empire, especially the Eye of the King; by the council of Persians in his province with whom he is bound to debate all matters of importance; and by the army: while in the hands of the messengers (Pers. rnfuar. or &ryapota Babylonian word: see ANGAIUA) the government despatches travel swifter than the crane along the great imperial highways, which are all provided with regular postal stations (cf. the description of the route from Susa to Sardis in Herod. v. 52).

Within the satrapies the subject races~ and communities occupied a tolerably independent position; for instance, the Subject Jews, under their elders and priests, who were even Conimuii- able to convene a popular assembly in Jerusalem ties. (cf. the Books of Ezra and Nehemiab). Obviously~ also, they enjoyed, as a rule, the privilege of deciding law-suits among themselves; their general situation being similar to that of the Christian nationalities under the Ottomans, or to that of many tribes in the Russian Empire at the present day. The pressure of despotism was manifest, not so much in that the king and his officials consistently interfered in individual cases, but that they did so on isolated and arbitrary occasions, and then swept aside the privileges of the subject, who was impotent to resist.

For the rest, the subject population falls into a number of distinct groups. In the desert (as among the Arabian and Turanian nomads), in wild and sequestered mountains (as in Zagros in north Media, and Mysia, Pisidia, Paphlagonia and Bithynia in Asia Minor), and also in many Iranian tribes, the old tribal constitution, with the chieftain as its head, was left intact even under the imperial suzerainty. The great majority of the civilized provinces were subdivided into local administrative districts governed by officials of the king and his satraps. These the Greeks named ~Ovi~, peoples. Within these, again, there might lie large town settlements whose internal affairs were controlled by the elders or the officials of the community: as, for instance, Babylon, Jerusalem, the Egyptian cities, Tarsus, Sardis and others. On the same footing were the spiritual principalities, with their great temple-property; as Bambyce in Syria, the two Comanas in Cappadocia, and so forth. Besides these, however, vast districts were either converted into royal domains ~rctp~&io-ot) with great parks and hunting grounds under royal supervision, or else bestowed by the king on Persians or deserving members of the subject-races (the benefactors) as their personal property. Many of these estates formed respectable principalities: e.g. those of the house of Otanes in Cappadocia, of Hydarnes in Armenia, Pharnabazus in Phrygia, Demaratus in Teuthrania, Themistocles in Magnesia and Lampsacus. They were absolute private property, handed down from father to son for centuries, and in the Hellenistic period not rarely became independent kingdoms. These potentates were styled by the Greeks 6uvlurrat or povap~oL.

The last class, quite distinct from all these organizations, was formed by the city-states (irXets) with an independent Th Cli constitutionwhether a monarchy (as in Phoenicia), svites.~ an. aristocracy (as inLycia),or a republic with council and popular assembly (as in the Greek towns). The essential point was that they enjoyed a separate legalized organization (autonomy). This was only to be seen in the extreme western provinces of the empire among the Phoenicians, Greeks and Lycians, whose cities were essentially distinct from those of the east; which, indeed, to Greek eyes, were only great villages (acwuoirhXeis). It is readily intelligible that their character should have proved practically incomprehensible to the Persians, with whom they came into perpetual collision. These sought, as a rule, to cope with the difficulty by transferring the government to individual persons who enjoyed their confidence: the tyrants of the Greek towns. Mardonius, alone, after his suppression of the Ionic revoltwhich had originated with these very tyrantsmade an attempt to govern them by the assistance of the democracy (492 B.C.).

The provinces of the Persian Empire differed as materially in economy as in organization. In the extreme west, a money currency in its most highly developed formthat of coinage minted by the state, or an autonomous communityhad developed since the 7th century among the Lydians and Greeks. In the main portion, however, of the Oriental worldEgypt, and Finance. Syria, Phoenicia and Babyloniathe old mode o~ commerce was still in vogue, conducted by means of gold and silver bars, weighed at each transaction. Indeed, a money currency only began to make headway in these districts in the 4th century B.C. In the eastern provinces, on the other hand, the primitive method Of exchange by barter still held the field. Only in the auriferous and civilized frontier districts of India (the Punjab) did a system of coinage find early acceptance. There Persian and Attic money was widely distributed, and imitations of it struck, in the fifth and fourth pre-Christian centuries.

Thus the empire was compelled to grapple with all these varied conditions and to reconcile them as best it might. At the court, natural economy was still the rule. The officials and Oriental troops received payment in kind. They were fed by the table of the king, from which 15,000 men daily drew their sustenance (cf. Heraclides of Cyme in Athen. iv. 145 B, &c.) and were rewarded by gifts and assignments of land. The Greek mercenaries, on the contrary, had to be paid in currency; nor could the satrapsof the west dispense with hard cash. The king, again, needed the precious metals, not merely for bounties and rewards, but for important enterprises in which money payment was imperative. Consequently, the royal revenues and taxes were paid partly in the precious metals, partly in natural producehorses and cattle, grain, clothing and its materials, furniture and all articles of industry (cf. Theopomp. fr. 124, 125, &c.). The satraps, also, in addition to money payments, levied contributions for theit table, at which the officials ate (Nehem. v. 14).

The precious metals brought in by the tribute were collected in the great, treasure-houses at Susa, Persepolis, Pasargadae and Ecbatana, where gigantic masses of silver and, more Money and especially, of gold, were stored in bullion or partially Coinage.

wrought into vessels (Herod. iii. 96; Strabo xv. 731, 735; Arrian iii. 16, &c); exactly as is the case to-day in the shahs treasure-chamber (Curzon, Persia, ii. 484). It is also observable that the conjunction of payments in kind and money taxes still exists. The province of Khorasan, for instance, with some half million inhabitants, paid in 1885 ~I54,0oo in gold, and in addition natural produce to the value of f43,ooo (Curzon, op. cit. i. 181, ii. 380). When the king required money he minted as much as was necessary. A reform in the coinage was effected by Darius, who struck the Daric (Pers. Zariq, i.e. piece of gold; the word has nothing to do with the name of Darius), a gold piece of 130 grains (value about 23s.); this being equivalent to 20 silver pieces (Median shekels, at-yXoi) of 86.5 grains (value according to the then fate of silverI33/4 silver to I goldabout is. 2d.). The coining of gold was the exclusive prerogative of the king; silver could be coined by the satraps, generals, independent communities and dynasts.

The extent of the Persian Empire was, in essentials, defined by the great conquests of Cyrus and Cambyses. Darius was no more a conquistador than Augustus. Rather, ~ eriai the task he set himself was to round off the empire. ~ and secure its borders: and for this purpose in Asia Minor and Armenia lie subdued the mountain-tribes and advanced the frontier as far as the Caucasus; Colchis alone remaining an independent kingdom under the imperial suzerainty. So, too, he annexed the Indus valley and the auriferous hill-country of Kafiristan and Cashmir (KiwlrLoL or :~(&(rlretpot, Herod. iii. 93, vii. 67, 86; Steph. Byz.), as well as the Dardae in Dardistan on. the Indus (Ctesias, Ind. fr. 12.70, &c.). From this point he directed several campaigns against the Amyrgian Sacae, on the Pamir Plateau and northwards, whom he enumerates in his list of subject races, and whose mounted archers formed a main division of the armies despatched against the Greeks. It was obviously an attempt to take the nomads of the Turanian steppe in the rear and to reduce them to quiescence, which led to his unfortunate expedition against the Scythians of the Russian steppes (c. 512 B.C.; cf. DARIUS).

Side by side, however, with these wars, we can read, even in the scanty tradition at our disposal, a consistent effort to further the great civilizing mission imposed on the empire. In the district of Herat, Darius established a great water-basin, designed to facilitate the cultivation of the steppe (Herod. ~ 117). He had the course of the Indus explored by the Carfan captain Scylax (q.v.) of Caryanda, who then navigated the Indian Ocean back to Suez (Herod. iv. 44) and wrote an account of his voyage in Greek. The desire to create a direct communication between the seclusion of Persis and the commerce of the world is evident in his foundation of several harbours, described by Nearchus, on the Persian coast. But this design is still more patent in his completion of a great canal, already begun by Necho, from the Nile to Suez, along which several monuments of Darius have been preserved. Thus it was possible, as says the remnant of an hieroglyphic inscription there discovered, for ships to sail direct from the Nile to Persia, over Saba. In the time of Herodotus the canal was in constant use (ii. 158, iv. 39): afterwards, when Egypt regained her independence, it decayed, till restored by the second Ptolemy. Even the circumnavigation of Africa was attempted under Xerxes (Herod. iv. 43).

It has already been mentioned, that, in his efforts to concifiate the Egyptians, Darius placed his chief reliance on the priesthood: and the same tendency runs throughout the imperial policy toward the conquered races. Thus Cyrus himself gave the exiled Jews in Babylon permission to return and rebuildJerusalem. Darius allowed the restoration of the Temple; and Artaxerxes I., by the protection accorded to Ezra and Nehemiah, made the foundation of Judaism possible (see JEws: ~ 19 sqq.). Analogously in an edict, of which a later copy is preserved in an inscription (see above), Darius commands Gadatas, the governor of a domain (irap6.~urot) in Magnesia on the Maeander, to observe scrupulously the privileges of the Apollo-sanctuary. With all the Greek oracleseven those in the mother-country the Persians were on the best of terms. And since these might reasonably expect an enormous extension of their influence from the establishment of a Persian dominion, we find them all zealously medizing during the expedition of Xer~es.

For the development of the Asiatic religions, the Persian Empire was of prime importance. The definite erection of a single, Vast, world-empire cost them their original connection with ReIlgIoa. the state, and compelled them in future to address themselves, not to the community at large, but to individuals, to promise, not political success nor the independence of the people, but the welfare of the man. Thus they became at onceuniversal and capable of extension by propaganda; and, with this, of entering into keen competition one with the other. These traits are most clearly marked in Judaism; but, after the Achaemenid period, they are common to all Oriental creeds, though our information as to most is scanty in the extreme, In this competition of religions that of Iran played a most spirited part. The Persian kingsnone more so than Darius, whose religious convictions are enshrined in his inscriptions and, with the kings, their people, were ardent professors of the pure doctrine of Zoroaster; and the Persians settled in the provinces diffused his creed throughout the whole empire. Thus a strong Persian propagandism arose especially in Armenia and Cappadocia, where the religion took deep root among the people, but also in Lydia and Lycia. In the process, however, important modifications were introduced. In contrast with Judaism, Zoroastrianism did not enter the lists against all gods save its own, but found no difficulty in recognizing them as subordinate powershelpers and servants of Ahuramazda. Consequently, the foreign creeds often reacted upon the Persian. In Cappadocia, Aramaic inscriptions have been discovered (1900), in which the indigenous god, there termed Bel the king, recognizes the Mazdayasnian Religion (Din Mazdayasnish)i.e. the religion of Ahuramazda personified as a womanas his sister and wife (Lidzbarski, Ephem. f. semit. Epigr. 1.59 sqq.).

The gorgeous cult of the gods of civilization (especially of Babylon), with their host of temples, images and festivals, exercised a corresponding influence on the mother-country. Moreover, the unadulterated doctrine of Zoroaster could no more become a permanent popular religion than can Christianity. For the masses can make little of abstractions and an omnipotent, omnipresent deity; they need concrete divine powers, standing nearer to themselves and their lot. Thus the old figures of the Aryan folk-religion return to the foreground, there to be amalgamated with the Babylonian divinities. The goddess of springs and streams (of the Oxus in particular) and of all fertilityA rdvisura Anahsla, Ana-ilis is endowed with the form of the Babylonian Ishtar and Belit. She is now depicted as a beautiful and strong woman, with prominent breasts, a golden crown of stars and golden raiment. She is worshipped as the goddess of generation and all sexual life (cf. Herod. 1.131, where the names of Mithras and Anaitis are interchanged); and religious prostitution is transferred to her service (Strabo xi. 532, xii. 559). At her side stands the sun-god Mithras, who is represented as a young and victorious hero. Both deities occupy the very first rank in the popular creed; while to the theologian they are the most potent of the good powersMithras being the herald and propagator of the service of Light and the mediator betwixt man and Ahuramazda, who ~now fades more into the backrround. Thus, in the subseduent neriod, the Persian religion appears purely as the religion of Mithras. The festival of Mithras is the chief festival of the empire, at which the king drinks and is drunken, and dances the national dance (Ctes. fr. 55; Duris fr. 13). This development culminated under Artaxerxes II., who, according to Berossus (fr. 16 eli. Clem. Alex. prot. i. 5, 65), first erected statues to Anaitis in Persepolis, Ecbatana, Bactria, Susa, Babylon, Damascus and Sardis. The truth of this account is proved by the fact that Artaxerxes II. and Artaxerxes III. are the only Achaemenids who, in their inscriptions, invoke Anaitis and Mithra side by side with Ahuramazda. Other gods, who come into prominence, are the dragon-slayer Verethraghna (Artagnes) and the Good Thought (Vohumano, Omanos); and even the Sacaean festival is adopted from Babylon (Berossus Jr. 3; Ctes., Jr. 16; Strabo xi. 512, &c.). The chief centres of the Persian cults in the west were the district of Acilisene in Armenia (Strabo xi. 532, &c.), the town of Zela in Cappadocia (Strabo xii. 559), and several cities in Lydia.

The position of the Persian monarchy as a world-empire is characteristically emphasized in the buildings of Darius and Xerxes in Persepolis and Susa. The peculiarly national basis, Are, still recognizable in Cyruss architecture at Pasargadae, recedes into insignificance. The royal edifices and sculptures are dependent, mainly, on Babylonian models, but, at the same time, we can trace in them the, influence of Greece, Egypt and Asia Minor; the last in the rock-sepulchres. All these elements are combined into an organic unity, which achieved the greatest creations that Oriental architecture has found possible. Nevertheless, the result is not a national art, but the art of a world-empire; and it is obvious that foreign craftsmen must have been active in the royal services among them, the Greek sculptor Telephanes of Phocaea (Pliny xxxiv. 68). So, with the collapse of the empire, the imperial art vanishes also: and when, some 500 years later, a new art arose under the Sassanids, whose achievements stand to those of Achaemenid art in much the same relation as the achievements of the two dynasties to each other, we discover only isolated reminiscences of its predecessor.

For the organization and character of the Persian Empire, see Barnabas Brisson, De regio Persarum principatu libri iii. (1590);

Heeren, Ideen ber Politik, Handel und Verkehr der alten Welt, i.

G. Rawlinson, History of Herodotus, ii. 555 sqq.; Five Eastern Monarc/ties, iii.; Eduard Meyer, Geschichte des Altertunts, iii. On the Satrapies, cf. Krumbholz, De Asiae minoris satrapiis persicis (1883). See also MITERAS.

3. History of the Achaemenian Empire.The history of the Persian Empire was often written by the Greeks. The most ,ancient work preserved is that of Herodotus (q.v.), who supplies rich and valuable materials for the period ending in 479 B.C. These materials are drawn partly from sound tradition, partly from original knowledgeas in the account of the satrapies and their distribution, the royal highway, the nations in Xerxes army and their equipment. They also contain much that is admittedly fabulous: for instance, the stories of Cyrus and Croesus, the conquest of Babylon, &c. Forty years later (c. 390 B.C.), the physician Ctesias of Cnidus, who for 17 years (414398 B.C.) remained in the service of the Great King, composed a great work on the Persian history, known to us from an extract in Photius and numerous fragments. Ctesias (q.v.) possesses a more precise acquaintance with Persian views and institutions than Herodotus; and, where he deals with matters that came under his own cognisance, he gives much useful information. For the early period, on the other hand, he only proves how rapidly the tradition had degenerated since Herodotus; and here his narrations can only be utilized in isolated cases, and that with the greatest caution. Of more value was the great work of Dinon of Colophon (c. 340), which we know from numerous excellent fragments; and on the same level may be placed a few statements from Heraclides of Cynie, which afford specially important evidence on Persian institutions. To these 1nust be added the testimony of the other Greek historians (Thucydides, Ephorus, Theopompus, &c., with the histories of Alexander), and, before all~ that of Xenophon in the Anabasis and Hellenica. The Gyro paedia is a didactic romance, written with a view to Greek institutions and rarely preserving genuine information on the Persian Empire. Of Oriental sources, only the contemporary books of Ezra and Nehemiah are of much importance:

also, a few statements in the much later Esther romance. Berossuss history of Babylon contained much valuable and trustworthy information, but next to nothing has survived. That the native tradition almost entirely forgot the Achaemenid Empire, has been mentionedabove. For a more detailed account of these sources see separate articles on HERODOTUS, &c.; EZRA and NEHEMIAH.

Of modern accounts see especially Th. Noldeke,Aufsatze ZU?

persfschen Geschfchte (1887). The works of Marquart, Untersuchungen zur Geschichte von Eran (2 pts., I896I905), abound ir daring theories and must be used with caution. On the chronology, cf. Eduard Meyer, Forschungen zur alien Geschichte, ii.

The external history of the empire is treated under the List of the individual kings (see also history Sections oi kings, articles GREECE; EGYPT; &c.). The order is a~

follows: Cvaus (558528); conquered the Medes in 550; king of Babylor from 538.

CAMBYSES (528521).

SMERDIS (521).

DARIUS I. (52 1485).

XERXES I. (485465).

ARTAXERXES I. (465425).

(XERXES II. and Secydianus or Sogdianus, 425424.)

DARIUS II. Nothus (424404).

ARTAXERXES II. (404359).

ARTAXERXE5 III. Ochus (359338).

ARSES (338336).

DARIUS III. (336330).

The chronology is exactly verified by the Ptolemaic canon, bI numerous Babylonian and a few Egyptian documents, and by thi evidence of the Greeks. The present article gives only a brie, conspectus of the main events in the history of the empire.

Though, unlike Cyrus and Cambyses, Darius made no new expeditions of conquest, yet a great empire, which is not bounded The wars by another equally great, but touches on many small against tribes and independent communities, is inevitably Greece. driven to expansion. We have already seen that the attempt of Darius to control the predatory nomads in the nortI~ led to his expedition against the Scythians; this, again, led tc the incorporation of Thrace and Macedonia, whose king Perdiccm submitted. And since a great portion of the Mediterranear coast-line belonged to the empire, further complications resulted automatically. In contrast with the Greeks Carthage took the part of Persia. Darius, indeed, numbers the cityunder the name of Karkaamong his dominions: as also the Maxyam (Maciya) on the Syrtes (Andreas, Verhandl. d. xiii. oriental. Congresses, Hamburg, 1902, p. 97). But, above all, the Greek cities with their endless feuds and violent internal factions, were incessant in their appeals for intervention. Nevertheless, Darius left European Greece to itself, till the support accorded to the ronian and Carian insurgents by Athens and Eretria (499 B.C.) made war inevitable. But not only the expeditions of Mardonius (492) and Datis (490), but even the carefully prepared campaign of Xerxes, in conjunction with Carthage completely failed (48o479). On the fields of Marathon and Plataea, the Persian archers succumbed to the Greek phalarn of hoplites; but the actual decision was effected by Themistocles who had meanwhile created the Athenian fleet which at Salamis proved its superiority over the Perso-Phoenician armada, anc thus precluded beforehand the success of the land-forces.

The wreck of Xerxes expedition is the turning-point in the history of the Persian Empire. The superiority of the Greek~ was so pronounced that the Persians never found courage ti repeat their attack. On the contrary, in 466 B.C. their arm~ and fleet were again defeated by Cimon on the Eurymedon, th~ sequel being that the Greek provinces on the Asiatic coast, witF all the Thracian possessions, were lost. In itself, indeed, this loss was of no great significance to such a vast empire; and th at tempts of Athens to annex Cyprus and conquer the Nile valley, in alliance with the revolted Egyptians, ended in failure Athens, in fact, had not sufficient strength to undertake a seriou~ invasion of the empire or an extensive scheme of conquest. Her struggles with the other Hellenic states constrained her, b) the peace of Callias (448), definitely to renounce the Persiar war; to abandon Cyprus and Egypt to the king;and to conteni herself with his promisenot that he would surrender the littora towns, but that he would abstain from an armed attack upor them. The really decisive point was, rather, that the disaster:

of Salamis and Plataea definitely shattered the offensive powe of the empire; that the centre of gravity in the worlds history had shifted from Susa and Babylon to the Aegean Sea; and that the Persians were conscious that in spite of all their courage they were henceforward in the presence of an enemy, superior in arms as well as in intellect, whom they could not hope to subdue by their own strength.

Thus the great empire was reduced to immobility and stagnationa process which was assisted by the deteriorating influences of civilization and world-dominion upon the character Internal of the ruling race. True, the Persians continued State of the to produce brave and honorable men. But the Empire.

influences of the harem, the eunuchs, and similar Rebellions. court officials, made appalling progress, and men of energy began to find the temptations of power stronger than their patriotism and devotion to the king. Thus the satraps aspired to independence, not merely owing to unjust treatment, but also to avarice or favorable conditions. As early as 465 B.C., Xerxes was assassinated by his powerful vizier (chiliarch) Artabanus, who attempted to seize the reins of empire in fact, if not in name. A similar instance may be found in Bagoas, after the murder of Artaxerxes III. (338 B.C.). To these factors must be added the degeneration of the royal line-a degeneration inevitable in Oriental states. Kings like Xerxes and more especially Artaxerxes I. and Artaxerxes II., so far from being gloomy despots, were good-natured potentates, but weak, capricious and readily accessible to personal influences. The only really brutal tyrants were Darius II., who was completely dominated by his bloodthirsty wife Parysatis, and Artaxerxes III. who, though he shed rivers of blood and all but exterminated his whole family, was successful in once more uniting the empire, which under the feeble sway of his father had been threatened with dissolution.

The upshot of these conditions was, that the empire never again undertook an important enterprise, but neglected more and more its great civilizing mission. In considering, however, the subsequent disorders and wars, it must be borne in mind that they affected only individual portions of the empire, and only on isolated occasions involved more extensive areas in long and serious strife. To most of the provinces the Achaemenid dominion was synonymous with two centuries of peace and order. Naturally, however, the wild tribes of the mountains and deserts, who could be curbed only by strict imperial control, asserted their independence and harassed the neighboring provinces. Among thes~e tribes were the Carduchians in Zagros the Cossaeans and Uxians in the interior of Elam, the Cadusians and other non-Aryan tribes in northern Media, the Pisidians, Isaurians and Lycaonians in the Taurus, and the Mysians in Olympus. All efforts to restore order in these districts were fruitless; and when the kings removed their court to Ecbatana they were actually obliged to purchase a free passage from the mountain tribes (Strabo Xl. 524; Arrian iii. 7, 1). The kings (e.g. Artaxerxes II.) repeatedly took the field in great force against the Cadusians, but unsuccessfully. When, in 400 B.C., Xenophon marched with the mercenaries of Cyrus, from the Tigris to the Black Sea, the authority of the king was nonexistent north of Armenia, and the tribes of the Pontic moun~ tains, with the Greek cities on the coast, were completely inde~ pendent. In Paphlagonia, the native dynasts founded a powerful though short-lived kingdom, and the chieftains of the Bithynians were absolutely their own masters. The frontier provinces of India were also lost. Egypt, which had already revolted under Libyan princes in the years 486484, and agair with Athenian help in 460454, finally asserted its independence in 404. Henceforward the native dynasties repelled every attack, till they succumbed once more before Artaxerxes III~ and Mentor of Rhodes.

In the other civilized countries, indeed, the old passion foi freedom had been completely obliterated; and after the days of Darius I.apart from the Greek, Lycian and Phoeniciar townsnot a single people in all these provinces dreamed 01 shaking off the foreign dominion. All the more clearly, then was the inner weakness of the empire revealed by the revolts of the satraps. These were facilitated by the customquite contrary to the original imperial organizationwhich entrusted the provincial military commands to the satraps, who began to receive great masses of Greek mercenaries into their service. Under Artaxerxes I. and Darius II., these insurrections were still rare. But when the revolt of the younger Cyrus against his brother (401 B.C.) had demonstrated the surprising ease and rapidity with which a courageous army could penetrate into the heart of the empirewhen the whole force of that empire had proved powerless, not only to prevent some 12,000 Greek troops, completely surrounded, cut off from their communications, and deprived through treachery of their leaders, from escaping to the coast, but even to make a serious attack on themthen, indeed, the imperial impotence became manifest. After that, revolts of the satraps in Asia Minor and Syria were of everyday occurrence, and the task of suppressing them wasP complicated by the foreign wars which the empire had to sustain against Greece and Egypt.

At this very period, however, the foreign policy of the empire gained a brilliant success. The collapse of the Athenian power Later Wars before Syracuse (413 B.C.) induced Darius II. to with the order his satraps Tissaphernes and Pharriabazus, Greets, in Asia Minor, to collect the tribute overdue from Peace Of the Greek cities. In alliance with Sparta (see Antaloldas. PELOPONNESIAN WAR), Persia intervened in the conflict against Athens, and it was Persian gold that made it possible for Lysander to complete her overthrow (404 B.C.). True, war with Sparta followed immediately, over the division of the spoils, and the campaigns of the Spartan generals in Asia Minor (399395) were all the more dangerous as they gave occasion to numerous rebellions. But Persia joined the Greek league against Sparta, and in 394 Pharnabazus and Conon annihilated the Lacedaemonian fleet at Cnidus. Thus the Spartan power of offence was crippled; and the upshot of the long-protracted war was that Sparta ruefully returned to the Persian alliance, and by the Peace of Antalcidas, concluded with the king in 387 B.C., not only renounced all claims to the Asiatic possessions, but officially proclaimed the Persian suzerainty over Greece. Ninety years after Salamis and Plataea, the goal for which Xerxes had striven was actually attained, and the kings will was law in Greece. In the following decades, no Hellenic state ventured to violate the kings peace, and all the feuds that followed centred round the efforts of the combatantsSparta, Thebes, Athens a1~d Argosto draw the royal powers to their side (see GREECE: Ancient History).

But, for these successes, the empire had to thank the internecine strife of its Greek opponents, rather than its own strength. Its feebleness, when thrown on its own resources, is evident from the fact that, during the next years, it failed both to reconquer Egypt and to suppress completely King Evagoras of Salamis in Cyprus. The satrap revolts, moreover, assumed more and more formidable proportions, and the Greek states began once more to tamper with them. Thus the reign of Artaxerxes II. ended, in 359 n.c., with a complete dissolution of the imperial authority in the west. His successor, Artaxerxes Ochus, succeeded yet again in restoring the empire in its full extent. In 355 B.C., he spoke the fatal word, which, a seeondor rather a thirdtime, demolished the essentially unsound power of Athens. In 34~ he reduced Egypt, and his generals Mentor and Memnon, with his vizier Bagoas (q.v.), crushed once and for all the resistance in Asia Minor. At his death in 338, imfnediately before the final catastrophe, the empire to all appearances was more powerful and more firmly established than it had been since the days of Xerxes.

These successes, however, were won only by means Of Greek armies and Greek generals. And simultaneously the Greek pmgi~~g,~ civilizationdiffused by mercenaries, traders, artists, of Greek prostitutes and slaves,advanced in ever greater Influence, force. In Asia Minor and Phoenicia we can clearly trace the progress of Hellenism, especially by the coinage. The stamp is cut by Greek hands and the Greek tongue pre. dominates more and more in the inscription. We can see that :the victory of Greek civilization had long been prepared on every side. But the vital point is that the absolute superiority of the Hellene was recognized as incontestable on both hands. The Persian sought to protect himself against danger, by employing Greeks in the national service and turning Greek policy to the interests of the empire. In. the Greek world itself the disgrace that a people, called to universal dominion and capable of wielding it, should be dependent on the mandate of an impotent Asiatic monarchy, was keenly felt by all who were not yet absorbed in the rivalry of city with city. The spokesman of this national sentiment was Isocrates; hut numerous other writers gave expression to it, notably, the historian Callisthenes of Olynthus. Union between Greeks, voluntary or compulsory, and an offensive war against Persia, was the programme they propounded.

Nor was the time for its fulfilment far distant. The new power which now rose, to the first rank, created by Philip of Macedon, bad no engrained tendency inimical to the Persian. RI f Empire. Its immediate programme was rather Mcedon. Macedonian expansion, at the expense of Thrace and Illyria, and the subjection of the Balkan Peninsula. But, in its efforts to extend its power over the Greek states, it was bound to make use of the tendencies which aimed at the unification of Greece for the struggle against Persia: and this ideal demand it dared not reject.

Thus the conflict became inevitable. In 340, Artaxerxes TIl. and his satraps supported the Greek towns in ThracePerinthus and Byzantiumagainst Macedonian aggression; in 338 h~ concluded an alliance with Demosthenes. When Philip, after the victory of Chaeronea, had founded the league of Corinth (337) embracing the whole of Greece, he accepted the national programme, and in 336 despatched his army to Asia Minor. ,That he never entertained the thought of conquering the whole Persian Empire is certain. Presumably, his ambitions would have been satisfied with the liberation of the Greek cities, and, perhaps, the subjection of Asia Minor as far as the Taurus. With this his dominion would have attained much the same compass as later under Lysimachus; farther than. this the boldest hopes of Isocrates never went.

But Philips assassination in 336 fundamentally altered the situation. In the person of his son, the throne was occupied by a soldier and stateiman of genius, saturated with Greek culture and Greek thought, and intolerant of every goal but the highest. To conquer the whole world for Hellenic civilization by the aid of Macedonian spears, and to reduce the whole earth to unity, was the task that this heir of Heracles and Achilles saw before him. This idea of universal conquest was with him a conception much stronger developed than that which had inspired the Achaemenid rulers, and he entered on the project with full consciousness in the strictest sense of the phrase. In ,fact, if we are to understand Alexander aright, it is fatal to forget that he was overtaken by death, not at the end of his career, but at the beginning, at the age of thirty-three.

VI. The Macedonian Dominion.How Alexander conquered Persia, and how he framed his world-empire,i cannot be related here. The essential fact, however, is that after the victory of Gaugamela (Oct. I, 331 B.C.) and, still more completely, after the assassination of Darius avenged according to the Persian laws, on the perpetrators Alexander regarded hiI~ise1f as the legitimate head of the Persian Empire, and therefore adopted the dress and ceremonial of the Persian kings.

With the capture of the capitals, the Persian war was at an end, and the atonement for the expedition of Xerxes was completea truth symbolically expressed in the burning of the palace at Persepolis. Now began the world-conquest. For an universal empire, however, the forces of Macedonia and Greece were insufficient; the monarch of a world-empire could not be bound by the limitations imposed on the tribal king of Macedon or the general of a league of Hellenic republics. He must stand as See ALEXANDER THE GREAT; MAcEDONIAN EMPIRE; I-IgLLENISM (for later results)~

an autocrat, above them and above the law, realizing the theoretical doctrines of Plato and Aristotle, as the true king, who is a god among men, bound no more than Zeus by a law, because himself he is the law. Thus the divine kingship of Alexander derives in,direct line, not from the Oriental polities which (Egypt apart) know nothing of royal apotheosisbut from these Hellenic theories of the state. Henceforward it becomes the form of every absolute monarchy in a civilized land, being formally mitigated only in Christian states by the assumption that the king is not God, but king by the grace of God. The expedition of 332 B.C. to the shrine of Ammon was a preliminary to this procedure, which, in 324, was sealed by his official elevation to divine rank in all the republics of Greece. To this corresponds the fact that, instead of acting on the doctrines of Aristotle and Callisthenes, - and treating the Macedonians and Greeks as masters, the Asiatics as servants, Alexander had impartial recourse to the powers of all his subjects and strove to amalgamate them. In the Persians particularly he sought a second pillar for his world-empire. Therefore, as early as 330 B.C., he drafted 30,000 young Persians, educated them in Greek customs, and trained them to war on the Macedonian model. The Indian campaign showed that his Macedonian troops were in fact inadequate to the conquest of the world, and in the summer of 326 they compelled him to turn back from the banks of the Hyphasis. On his return to Persia,, he consummated at Susa (Feb. 324 B.C.) the union of Persian and Macedonian by the great marriage-feast, at which all his superior officers, with some 10,000 more Macedonians, were wedded to Persian wives. The Macedonian veterans were then disbanded, and the Persians taken into his army. Simultaneously, at the Olympian festival of 324, the command was issued to all the cities of Greece to recognize him as god and to receive the exiles home.1 In 323 B.C. the preparations for the circumnavigation and subjection of Arabia were complete: the next enterprise being the conquest of the West, and the battle for Hellenic culture against Carthage and the Italian tribes. At that point Alexander died in Babylon on the I3th of June 323 B.C.

Alexander left no heir. Consequently, his death not only ended the scheme of universal conquest, but led to an immediate The Macedonian reaction. The army, which was con- Kingdoms sidered as the representative of the people, took oithe over the government under the direction of its Diadochi. generals. The Persian wives were practically all discarded and the Persian satraps removedat least from all important provinces. But the attempt to maintain the empire in its unity proved impracticable; and almost immediately there began the embittered war, waged for several decades by the generals (diadochi), for the inheritance of the great king.2 It was soon obvious that the eastern rulers, at all events, could not dispense with the native element. Peucestas, the governor of Persis, there played the role of Alexander and won the Persians completely to his side; for which he was dismissed by Antigonus in 315 (Diod. xix. 48). A similar position was attained by Seleucusthe only one of the diadochi, who had not divorced his Persian wife, Apamain Babylonia, which he governed from 319 to 316 and regained in the autumn of 312. While Antigonus, who, since 315,. had striven to win the kingdom of Alexander for himselfwas detained by the war with his rivals in the west, Seleucus, with Babylon as his headquarters, conquered the whole of Iran as far as the Indus. In northern Media alone, which lay outside the main scene of operations and had only been partially subject to the later Achaemenids, the Persian satrap Atropates, appointed by Alexander, maintained his independence and bequeathed his province to his successors. His name is borne by north Media to the present dayAtropatene, modern Azerbaijan or Adherbeijan (see MEDIA). So, too, in Armenia the Persian dynasty of the The discussion of these events by Hogarth The Deification of Alexander the Great, in the English Hisiorical Review, ii. ~i887), i~ quite unsatisfactory.


Hydarnids held its ground; and to these must be added, in the east of Asia Minor, the kingdoms of Pontus and Cappadocia, founded c. 301, by the Persians Mithradates I. and Ariarathes I. These states were fragments of the Achaemenid Empire, which had safely transferred themselves to the Heilenistic state-system.

The annexation of Iran by Seleucus Nicator led to a war for the countries on the Indian frontier; his opponent being Sandracottus or Chandragupta Maurya, the founder Seleucus I. of the great Indian Empire of Maurya (Palimbothra). Nicator, and The result was that Seleucus abandoned to the ~~tbochi~i~ I. Indian king, not merely the Indian provinces, but even the frontier districts west of the Indus (Strabo xv. 689724), receiving as compensation 500 elephants, with other presents (Appian, Syr. 55; Justin XV. 4; Plut. Alex. 62; Athen. i. 18 D.). His next expedition was to the west to assist Lysimachus, Ptolemy and Cassandr in the overthrow of Antigonus.

The battle of Ipsus, in 301, gave him Syria and the east of Asia Minor; and from then ,he resided at the Syrian town of Antiochia on the Orontes. Shortly afterwards he handed over the provinces east of the Euphrates to his son Antiochus, who, in the following years, till 282, exercised in the East a very energetic and beneficial activity, which continued the work of his father and gave the new empire and the Oriental Hellenistic civilization their form. In order to protect his conquests Alexander had founded several cities in Bactria, Sogdiana and India, in which he settled his veterans. On his death, these revolted and endeavoured to return to Greece, but were attacked and cut to pieces by Pithon (Diod. xviii. 7). Of G,~ek the other Greek towns in Asia scarcely any were Towns in founded by Alexander himself, though the plan ~

adopted by his successors of securing their dominions by building Greek cities may perhaps be due to him (cf. Polyb. x. 27). Most of these new cities were based on older settlements; but the essential point is, that they were peopled by Greek and Macedonian colonists, and enjoyed civic independence with laws, officials, councils and assemblies of their own, in other words, an autonomous communal constitution, under the suzerainty of the empire. A portion, moreover, of the surrounding land was assigned to them. Thus a great number of the country districtsthe ~O~i~ above mentionedwere transformed into municipal corporations, and thereby withdrawn from the immediate government of the king and his officials (satraps or strategi), though still subject to their control, except in the cases where they received unconditional freedom and so ranked as confederates. The native population of these villages and rural districts, at first, had no civic rights, but were governed by the foreign settlers. Soon, however, the two elements began to coalesce; in the Seleucid Empire, the process seems generally to have been both rapid and complete. Thus the cities became the main factors in the diffusion of Hellenism, the Greek language and the Greek civilization over all Asia as far as the Indus. At the same time they were the centres of commerce and industrial life: and this, in conjunction with the royal favor, and the privileges accorded them, continually drew new settiers (especially Jews), and many of them developed into great and flourishing towns (see further under HELLENISM).

Shortly after his conquest of Babylonia, Seleucus had founded a new capital, Seleucia, on the Tigris: his intention being at once to displace the ancient Babylon from its former central position, and to replace it by a Greek city. This was followed by a series of other foundations in Mesopotamia, Babylonia and Susiana (EIam). Media, says Polybius (x. 27), was encircled by a sequence of Greek towns, designed as a barrier against the barbarians. Among those mentioned are: Rbagae (Rai), which Seleucus metamorphosed into a Hellenic city, Europus, Laodicea, Apamea and Heraclea (Strabo xi. 52g. Plin. vi. 43: cf. MEDIA). To these must be added Achaea in Parthia, and, farther to the east, Alexandria Anon in Aria. the modern Herat: also Antiochia Margiana (Strabo Xi. 514, 516 Pun. 46, 93), floW Merv, and many others. Further, Alexandria in Aradrosia, near, Kandahar, and the towns founded by Alexander on the Hindu-Kush and in Sogdiana.

Thus an active Hellenic life soon arose in the East; and Greek settlers must have come in numbers and founded new cities, which afterwards formed the basis of the Graeco-Bactrian kingdom. Antiochuss general Demodamaa crossed the Jaxartes and set up an altar to the Didymaean Apollo (Pun. vi. 49). Another general, Patrocles, took up the investigation of the Caspian, already begun by Alexander. In contrast with the better knowledge of an older period, he came to the conclusion that the Caspian was connected with the ocean, and that it was possible to reach India on ship-board by that route (Strabo ii. 74, Xl. 518; Plin. vi. 38). A project of Seleucus to connect the Caspian with the Sea of Azov by means of a canal is mentioned by Pliny (vi. 31). To Patrocles is due the information that an active commerce in Indian wares was carried on with the shores of the Black Sea, via the Caspian (Strabo Xl. 509).

While Hellenism was thus gaining a firm footing in all the East, thenative population remained absolutely passive. Apart The Persian from the rude mountain tribes, no national resisReligion tance was dreamed of for centuries. The Iranians under quietly accepted the foreign yoke, and the higher Greek Rule, classes adopted the external forms of the alien civilization (cf. the dedication of a Bactrian, Hyspasines, son of Mithroaxes, in the inventory of the temple of Apollo in Delos, Dittenberger, Sylloge, 588, 1.109) even though they were unable to renounce their innate characteristics. Eratosthenes, for instance, speaks (ap. Strabo i. 66) in high terms of the Iranians (Ariani), ranking them (as well as the Indians, Romans and Carthaginians) on a level with the Greeks, as regards their capacity for adopting city civilization. The later Parsee tradition contends that Alexander burned the sacred books of Zoroaster, the Avesta, and that only a few fragments were saved and afterwards reconstructed by the Arsacids and Sassanids. This is absolutely unhistorical. The Persian religion was never attacked by the Macedonians and Greeks. Under their dominion, on the contrary, it expanded with great vigour, not only in the west (Armenia, north Syria and Asia Minor, where it was the official religion of the kings of Pontus and Cappadocia), but also in the east, in the countries of the Indian frontier. That the popular godsMithras, Anaitis, &c.~ had come to the forefront has already been mentioned. This propagandism, however, was void of all national character, and ran on precisely the same lines as the propagandism of the Syrian, Jewish and Egyptian cults. Only in Persia itself, so far as we can judge from a few scanty traces, the national character of the religion seems to have survived among the people side by side with the memory of their old imperial position.

In 282 B.C. Seleucus took the field against Lysimachus, and annexed his dominions in Asia Minor and Thrace. In 281 he was assassinated in crossing to Europe and his son Independent Kingdoms Antlochus I. was left supreme over the whole empire.

In Bactria From that time onward the Seleucid Empire was and never at rest. Its gigantic extent, from the Aegean Parthia, to the Indus, everywhere offered points of attack to the enemy. The Lagidae, especially, with their much more compact and effective empire, employed every means to weaken their Asiatic rivals; and auxiliaries were found in the minor states on the frontierAtropatene, Armenia, Cappadocia, Pontus and Bithynia. the Galatians, Pergamum, Rhodes and other Greek states. Moreover, the promotion of Greek civilization and city life had created numerous local centres, with separate interests and centrifugal tendencies, struggling to attain complete independence, and perpetually forcing new concessions from the empire. Thus the Seleucid kings, courageous as many of them were, were always battling for existence (see SELETJCID


These disturbances severely affected the borders of Iran. While the Seleucid Empire, under Antiochus II. Theos (264247), was being harried by Ptolemy II. Philadelphus, and the kings attention was wholly engaged in the defence of the western provinces, the Greeks revolted in Bactria, under their governor Diodotus (qv.). Obviously, it was principally the need of protection against the nomadic tribes which led to the foundation of an independent kingdom; and Diodotus soon attained considerable power over the provinces north of the Hindu-Kush. In other provinces, too, insurrection broke out (Strabo xi. 575, Justin xli. 4); and Arsaces, a chief of the Parni or Aparnian Iranian nomad tribe (therefore often called Dahan Scythians), inhabiting the steppe east of the Caspianmade himself master of the district of Parthia (q.v.) in 248 B.C. He and his brother Tiridates were the founders of the Parthian kingdom, which, however, was confined within very modest limits during the following decades. Seleucus II. Callinicus (247226) successfully encountered Arsaces (or Tiridates), and even expelled him (c. 238); but new risings recalled Seleucus to Syria, and Arsaces was enabled to return to Parthia.

Greater success a~tended Antiochus III., the Great (222187). At the beginning of his reign. (220) he subdued, with the help of his minister Hermias, an insurrection of the Antiochus satrap Molon of Media, who had assumed the royal Il., the title and was supported by his brother Alexander, Great.

satrap Of Persis (Polyb. v. 40 sqq.). He further seized the opportunity of extorting an advantageous peace from King Artabazanes of Atropatene, who had considerably extended his power (Polyb. v. 55). After waging an unsuccessful war with Ptolemy IV. for the conquest of Coele-Syria, but suppressing the revolt of Achaeus in Asia Minor, and recovering the former provinces of the empire in that quarter, Antiochus led a great expedition into the East, designing to restore the imperial authority in its full extent. He first removed (211) the Armenian king Xerxes by treachery (Polyb. Viii. 25; John of Antioth, Jr. 53), and appointed two governors, Artaxias and Zariadris, in his place (Strabo Xi. 531). During the next year he reduced the affairs of Media to order (Polyb. X. 27); he then conducted a successful campaign. against Arsaces of Parthia (209), and against Euthydemus of Bactria (208206), who had overthrown the dynasty of Diodotus (Polyb. X. 28 sqq., 48 sqq., Xi. 34; Justin xli. 5). In spite of his successes he concluded peace with both kingdoms, rightly considering that it would be impossible to retain these remote frontier provinces permanently. He next renewed his old friendship with the Indian king Sophagasenus (Subhagasena), and received from him I5o elephants (206 B.C.). Through Arachosia and Drangiane, in the valley of the Etymander (Helmand), he marched to Carmania and Persis (Polyb. Xi. 34). Both here and in Babylonia he re-established the imperial authority, and in 205 undertook a voyage from the mouth of the Tigris, through the Arabian gulf to the flourishing mercantile town of Gerrha in Arabia (now Bahrein) (Polyb. Xiii. 9).

Shortly afterwards, however, his successful campaign against Ptolemy V. Epiphanes led to a war with Rome in which the power of the Seleucid Empire was shattered (190 B.C.), Decayofthe Asia Minor lost, and the king compelled to pay a Seleucid heavy contribution to Rome for a long term of years. ~mP1re.

In order to raise money he plundered a wealthy temple of Bel in Elam, but was killed by the inhabitants, 187 BC. (Diod. XxYlil. 3, xxix. 15; Strabo Xvi. 744; Justin XXXII. 2~ S. Jerome (Hieronymus) on Dan. xi. 19; Euseb. Chron. i. 253). The consequence of this enfeeblement of the empire was that the governors of Armenia asserted their independence. Artaxias founded the kingdom of Great Armenia; Zariadris, that of Sophene on the Euphrates and the sources of the Tigris (Strabo xi. 531). In other districts, also, rebellions occurred; and in the east, Euthydemus and his successors (Demetrius, Eucratidas, &c.) began the conquest of the Indus region and the Iranian borderland (Arachosia, Aria).


But the energetic Seleucids fought desperately against their fate. Antiochus IV. Epiphanes (176163) restored once more the Eastern dominion, defeated Artaxias of Armenia (Appian, Syr. 45; Diod. xxxi. 17a; S. Jerome on Dan. xi. 40), restored several towns in Babylonia and subdued the Elymaeans. His attempt, however, to plunder the sanctuary of Anaitis failed (Polyb. xxxi. Ii; cf, Maccab. i. 6, ii. 1, I3~ App. Syr. 66). Persis, also, and Media were still subject to him. But after his death at Tabae in Persis (163 B.C.; cf. Polyb. xxxi. Ii; Maccab. i. 6, ii. 9; Jos. Ant. Jud. xii. 9, I), the Romans took advantage of the dynastic broils to destroy the Seleucid Empire. They reduced its army and fleet, and favored every rebellion: among others, that of the Jews. In spite of all, Demetrius I. Soter (161I 50) succeeded in suppressing (159) a revolt of Timarchus of Miletus, governor of Babylon, who had occupied Media, assumed the title of great king, and had been recognized by the Romans (Appian, Syr. 4547; Trogus, Prol. 34; Diod. XXXi. 27 A: cf. the coins of Timarchus) .i \~JJ The Parthian Empire of the Arsacids.Meanwhile, in the east, the Arsacids had begun their expansion. Phraates I.

(c. 175170) subdued the Mardians in Elburz. His brother Mithradates I. (c. 170138) had to sustain a difficult war with Eucratides of Bactria, but eventually succeeded in wresting Mit hra- from him a few districts on the Turanian frontier. dates 1. and Indeed, he penetrated as far as, and farther than, the Phraates ~ Indus (Diod. xxxiii. 18; Oros. v. 4, 16). In the west he conquered Media, and thence subdued Babylonia. He further reduced the Elymaeans, sacked their temple in the mountains, and captured the Greek city of Seleucia on the Hedyphon (Strabo Xvi. 744; Justin xli. 6). The Seleucids, meanwhile, were harassed by aggravated disorders and insurrections. Nevertheless, in 140, Demetrius II. Nicator took the field in order to save the east, but was defeated and captured. Shortly afterwards Mithradates I. died. His son Phraates II. (c. 138127) was attacked in 130 by Antiochus VII. Sidetes, the brother of Demetrius II., on which the Parthian king released the latter. Antiochus pressed successfully on, and once more recovered Babylonia, but in 129 was defeated in Media and fell in a desperate struggle. With this battle the Seleucid dominion over the countries east of the Euphrates was definitely lost. The Babylonian towns, especially Seleucia (q.v.), were handed over by Phraates to his favorite, the Hyrcanian Himerus, who punished them severely for their resistance.

During these wars great changes had taken place in eastern Iran. In 159 Mongolian tribes, whom the Chinese call Yue-chi Mithra- and the Greeks Scythians, forced their way into dates ii. and Sogdiana, and, in 139, conquered Bactria (Strabo his Suc- Xi. 57I~ Justin xlii. 1; Trog. Prol. 41; see BAcT1tIA). cessors. From Bactria they tried to advance farther into Iran and India. Entering into an alliance with Antiochus VIL, they assailed the Parthian Empire. Phraates II. marched to encounter him, but was himself defeated and slain, and his country ravaged far and wide. His successor Artabanus I. (c. 127124), the uncle of Phraates, also fell in battle against the Tocharians, the principal Scythian tribe (Justin xlii. I, 2~ Jos. Ant. Jr. 66); but his son Mithradates II., surnamed The Great (c. 12488), defeated the Scythians and restored for a while the power of the Arsacids. He also defeated Artavasdes, the king of Great Armenia; his son Tigranes, a hostage in the hands of the Parthians, was only redeemed by the cession of 70 valleys (Strabo Xi. 532). When Tigranes attempted to seize Cappadocia, and the Roman praetor P. Cornelius Sulla advanced against him, Mithradates in 92 B.C. concluded the first treaty between Parthia and Rome (Plut. Sulla, V.; Liv. epit. 70). The dynastic troubles of the Seleucids in Syria gave him an opportunity for successful intervention (Jos. Ant. Jud. Xiii. 13, 4; 14, 3). Shortly afterwards he died; and, with his death, the Arsacid power collapsed for the second time. The possession of the western provinces and the dominant position in western Asia passed to the Armenian Tigranes (qv.), who wrested from the Parthians Mesopotamia and the suzerainty of Atropatene, Gordyene, Adiabene, Osroene. Simultaneously began a new and severe conflict with the Scythians. Parthian coins, probably dating from this period (Wroth, Catal. of the Coins of Parthia, 1903, p. xxx. and p. 40), mention victorious campaigns of Parthian kings and a conquest of the provinces of Aria, Margiane and (?) Traxiane (cf. Strabo Xi. 505). But how For the whole of this period see further ANTIGONUS; ANTIOCHUS I.IV.; SELEUCID DYNASTY; HELLENISM.

confused the situation was is shown by the fact that in 76 B.C. the octogenarian king Sanatruces was seated on the Parthian throne by the Scythian tribe of the Sacaraucians (ci. Strabo xi. 511; Trog. Prol. 42). The names of his predecessors are not known to us. Obviously this period was marked by continual dynastic feuds (cf. Trog. Prol. 42: ut varia complurium regum in Parthia successione imperium accepit Orodes qui Crassum delevit). Not till Sanatruces successor Phraates III. (7057) do we find the kingdom again in a settled state.

A fact of decisive significance was that the Romans now began to advance against Tigranes. In vain Mithradates of Pontus and Tigranes turned to the Parthian king, the latter Confilets even proffering restitution of the conquered frontier with the provinces. Phraates, though rightly distrusting Ronians. Rome, nevertheless concluded a treaty with Lucullus (69 B.C.) and with Pompey, aBd even supported the latter in his campaign against Tigranes in 66. But after the victory it was manifest that the Roman general did not consider himself bound by the Parthian treaty. When Tigranes had submitted, Pompey received him into favor and extended the Roman supremacy over the vassal states of Gordyene and Osroene; though he had allured the Parthian king with the prospect of the recovery of his old possessions as far as the Euphrates. Phraates complained, and simultaneously attacked Tigranes, now a Roman vassal (64 n.c.). But when Pompey refused reparation Phraates recognized that he was too weak to begin the struggle with Rome, and contented himself with forming an alliance with Tigranes, in hopes that the future would bring an opportunity for his revenge (Dio Cass. xxxvi. ~, 5; xxxvii. 5 sqq.; Plut. Luc. ~o; Pomp. 33, 38; cf. Sallusts letter of Mithradates to Arsaces).

Although Phraates III. had not succeeded in regaining the full power of his predecessors, he felt again assuming the title king of kingswbich Pompey declined to acknowledge and even in proclaiming himself as god (Phlegon, Jr. 12 ap. Phot. cod. 97; and on part of his coins), but in 57 B.C. the god was assassinated by his sons Orodes and Mithradates.

The Parthian Empire, as founded by the conquests of Mithradates I. and restored, once by Mithradates II. and again by Phraates III., was, to all exterior appearance, a conOrganizatinuation of the Achaemenid dominion. Thus the tion.

Arsacids now began to assume the old title king of kings (the s/iahanshah of modern Persia),though previously their coins, as a rule, had borne only the legend great king. The official version, preserved by Arrian. in his Parthica (ap. Phot. cod. 58: see PARTH1A), derives the line of these chieftains of the Parnian nomads from Artaxerxes II. In reality, however, the Parthian Empire was totally different from its predecessor, both externally and internally. It was anything rather than a worldempire. The countries west of the Euphrates never owned its dominion, and even of Iran itself not one half was subject to the Arsacids. There were indeed vassal states on every hand, but the actual possessions of the kingsthe provinces governed by their satrapsconsisted of a rather narrow strip of land, stretching from the Euphrates and north Babylonia through southern Media and Parthia as far as Arachosia (north-west Afghanistan), and following the course of the great trade-route which from time immemorial had carried the traffic between the west of Asia and India. We still possess a description of this route by Isidore of Charax, probably dating from the Augustan period (in C. MUller, Geographi graeci minores, vol. i.), in which is contained a list of the 18 imperial provinces, known also to Pliny (vi. I 12; ci. 41). Isidore, indeed, enumerates nineteen.; but, of these, Scastene formed no part of the Parthian Empire,, as has been shown by von Gutschmid.

The lower provinces (i.e. the districts west of Parthia) are:

(I) Mesopotamia, with northern Babylonia, from the Euphrates bridge at Zeugma to Seleucia on the Tigris; (2) Apolloniatis, the I~vine~s plain east of the Tigris, with Artemita; (3) Chalonitis, the hill-country of Zagros; (4) Western Media; (5) Cambadene, with Bagistana (Behistun)the mountainous portions of Media; (6) Upper Media, with Echatana; (7) Rhagiane or Eastern Media. Then with the Caspian Gatesthe pass between Elburz and the central desert, through which lay the route from west Iran to east Iranthe upper provinces begin; (8) Choarene and (9)

Comisene, the districts on the verge of the desert; (10) Hyrcania; (II) Astabene, with the royal town Asaac on the Attruck (see PARTHIA);

(12) Parthyene with Parthaunisa, where the sepulchres of the kings were laid; (13) Apavarcticene (flow Abiward, with the capital Kelat); (14) Margiane (Merv); (i 5) Aria (Herat); (16) Anauon, the southern portion of Aria; (17) Zarangiane, the country of the Drangians, on the lake of Hamun; (18) Arachosia, on the Etymander (Helmand), called by the Parthians White India, extending as far as Alexandropolis (Kandahar), the frontier city of the Parthian Empire.

On the lower Etymander, the Sacae had established themselves obviously on the inroad of the Scythian tribesand after them the country was named Sacastene (now Sejistan, Seistan). Through it lay the route to Kandahar; and for this reason the district is described by Isidore, though it formed no part of the Parthian Empire.

Round these provinces lay a ring of numerous minor states, which as a rule were dependent on the Arsacids. They might, v al however, partially transfer their allegiance on the rise ~ of a new power (e.g. Tigranes in Armenia) or a Roman es. invasion. Thus it is not without justice that the Arsacid period is described, in the later Persian and Arabian tradition, as the period of the kings of the part-kingdoms among which the Ashkanians (i.e. the Arsacids, from Ashak, the later pronunciation of the name Arshak Arsaces) had won the first place. This tradition, however, is nebulous in the extreme; the whole list of kings, which it gives, is totally unhistorical; only the names of one Balash (=Vologaeses) and of the last Ardewan (=Artabanus) having been preserved. The period, from the death of Alexander to the Sassanid Ardashir I., is put by the Persian tradition at 266 years; which was afterwards corrected, after Syro-Grecian evidence, to 523 years. The actual number is 548 years (i.e. 323 s.c. to A.D. 226). The statements of the Armenian historians as to this period are also absolutely worthless.

The ten most important of the vassal states were: ~1~ The kingdom of Osroene (q.v.) in the north-~east of Mesopotamia, with Edessa as capital, founded about 130 B.C. by the chieftain of an Ai-abian tribe, the Orrhoej, which established itself there.

2. To this must be added the numerous Arabian tribes of the Mesopotamian d~ert, under their chiefs, among whom one Alchaudonius comes into prominence in the period of Tigranes and Crassus. Their settlement in Mesopotamia was encouraged by Tigranes, according to Plutarch (Luc. 21) and Pliny (vi. 542). In later times the Arabic town Atra in an oasis on the west of the Tigris, governed by its own kings, gained special importance.

3 and 4. To the east of the Tigris lay two kingdoms: Gotdyene (or Cordyene), the country of the Carduchians (now Bohtan), a wild, mountainous district south of Armenia; and Adiabene (Hadyab), the ancient Assyria, on either side of the Zab (Lycus).

5. On the farther side of Zagros, adjoining Adiabene on the east, was the kingdom of Atropatene in north Media, now often simply called Media (q.v.).

While the power of Armenia was at its height under Tigranes (8669 B.C.) all these states owned his rule. After the victories of Pompey, however, the Romans claimed the suzerainty, so that, during the next decades and the expeditions of Crassus and Antony, they oscillated between Rome and Parthia, though their inclination was generally to the latter. For they were all Orientals and, consciously or unconsciously, representatives of a reaction against that Hellenism which had become the heritage of Rome. At the same time the loose organization of the Parthian Empire, afforded them a greater measure of independence than they could hope to enjoy under Roman suzerainty.

6. In the south of Babylonia, in the district of Mesene (the modern Maisan), after the fall of Antiochus Sidetes (129 s.c.), an Arabian prince, Hyspaosines or Spasines (in a cuneiform inscription of 127, on a clay tablet dated after this year, he is called Aspasine) founded a kingdom which existed till the rise of the Sassanian Empire. Its capital was a city (mod. Mohammerah), first founded by Alexander on an artificial hill by the junction of the Eulaeus (Karun) with the Tigris, and peopled by his veterans. The town, which was originally named Alexandria and then rebuilt by Antiochus I. as Antiochia, was now refortified with dikes by Spasines, and christened Spasinu Charax (the wall of Spasines), or simply Charax (Plin. vi. 138 seq.). In the following centuries it was the main mercantile centre on the Tigns estuary.

The kingdom of Mesene, also called Characene, is known to us from occasional references in various authors, especially Lucian (Macrobii, i6),as well as from numerous coins, dated by the Seleucian era, which allow us to frame a fairly complete list of the kings. The Arabian dynasty speedily assimilated itself to the native population; and most of the kings bear Babylonianin a few cases, Parthiannames. The official language was Greek, till, on the destruction of Seleucia (A.n. 164), it was replaced on the coinage by Aramaic. Another Babylonian dynast must have See Saint-Martin, Recherches sur la Mshne et la Characne (1838); Reinaud, Membires sur le royaume de la Mshne (1861); E. Babelon, Numism. et chronol. des dynastes de Ia Chracne, in Journ. internat. darchol. numism. vol. i. (1898).

been Hadadnadinaches (c. 100 B.C.), who built in Tello the fortified palace which has been excavated by de Sarzec.

7. East of the Tigris lay the kingdom of Elymais (Elam), to which belonged Susa and its modern representative Ahwaz, farther down on the Eulaeus. The Elymaeans, who had already offered a repeated resistance to the Seleucids, were subdued by Mithradates I., as we have mentioned above; but they remained a separate state, which often rebelled against the Arsacids (Strabo xvi. 744; cf. Plut. Pomp. 36; Tac. Ann. vi. 50). Of the kings who apparently belonged to a Parthian dynasty, several bearing the name Cammascires are known to us from coins dated 8i and 71 B.C. One of these is designated by Lucian (Macrobu, I 6) king of the Parthians; while the coinage of another, Orodes, displays Aramaic script (Allotte de la Fuye, Rev. num., 4me srie, t. vi. p. 92 sqq., 1902). The kingdom, which is seldom mentioned, survived till Ardashir I. In its neighborhood Strabo mentions the minor dynasties of the Sagapenians and Silacenians (xvi. 745). The Uxians, moreover, with the Cossaeans and other mountain tribes, maintained their independence exactly as under the later Achaemenids (Strabo xvi. 744; Plin. vi. 133).

8. The district of Persis, also, became independent soon after the time of Antiochus IV., and was ruled by its own kings, who perpetuated the Achaemenian traditions, and on their coinswhich bear the Persian language in Aramaic characters, i.e. the so-called Pahlaviappear as zealous adherents of Zoroastrianism and the Fire-cult (see Paasfs). They were forced, however, to ackOowledge the suzerainty of Parthia, to which they stood in the same position as the Persians of Cyrus and his forefathers to the Median Empire (cf Strabo xv. 728, 733, 736; Lucian, Macrob. 15). In later times, before the foundation of the Sassanid dominion, Penis was disintegrated into numerous small local states. Even in Carmania we find independent kings, one of whom gave his name to a town Vologesocerta (Balashkert).

9. The east of IranBactria with Sogdiana, Eastern Arachosia and Gedrosiawas never subject to the Arsacids. Here the Graeco-Bactrian and Graeco-Indian kingdoms held their own, till, in 139 B.C., they succumbed before the invading Mongolian and Scythian tribes (see BACTRIA and works quoted there). But in the Indus district the Greek kings held their ground for an appreciably longer period and, for a while, widely extended their power (see MENANDER OF INDIA). Among the kings then following, only known to us from their coins, there appears a dynasty with Iranian and sometimes peculiarly Parthian names which seems to have reigned in the Punjab and Arachosia. Its best-known representative, Gondophares or Hyndopherres, to whom legend makes the apostle Thomas write, reigned over Arachosia and the Indus district about A.D. 20. Further, about A.D. 70, the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea mentions that the great commercial town of ,Minnagar in the Indus Delta was under Parthian kings, who spent their time in expelling one another. Here, then, it would seem there existed a Parthian dynasty, which probably went back to the conquests of Mithradates I. (cf. Vincent A. Smith, The ,Indo-Parthian Dynasties from about 520 B.C. to A.D. 100, in the Zeitschr. der deutschen morgenl. Gesellsch. 60, 1906). Naturally, such a dynasty would not long have recognized the suzerainty of the Arsacids. It succumbed to the Indo-Scythian Empire of the Kushana, who had obtained the sovereignty of Bactria as early as about A.D. 50, and thence pressed onward into India. In the period of the Periplus (c. A.D. 70) the Scythians were already settled in the Indus valley (pp. 38, 41, 48), their dominion re-sching its zenith under Kanishka (c. A.D. 123153).

This empire of the Kushana merits special mention here, on account of its peculiar religious attitude, which we may gather from the coins of its kings, particularly those of Kanishka and his successor Huvishka, on which an alphabet adapted from the Greek is employed (cf. Aurel Stein, Zoroastrian Deities on Indo-Scythian Coins, in The Babylonian and Oriental Record, vol. i., 1887). Kanishka, as is well known, had embraced Buddhism, and many of his coins bear the image and name of Buddha. Iranian divinities, however, predominate on his currency: Mithras (Mihro or Hel-ios); the Moon Mah (also Selene); Athro, the Fire; Orthragno (Verethragna); Pliarro =Farna (hvarna), the majesty of kingship; Teiro =Tir (Tistrya the archer); Nana (Nanaia); and others. Here, then, we have a perfect example of syncretism; as in the Mithras cult in Armenia, Asia Minor, and still further in the Roman Empire. Buddhism and Zoroastrianism have been wedded in the state religion, and, in characteristic rndian fashion, are on the best of terms with one another, precisely as, in the Chinese Empire at the present day, we find the most varied religions, side by side, and on an equal footing.

10. Originally a part of the Turanian steppe belonged to the Arsacids; it was the starting-point of their power. Soon, however, the nomads (Dahae) gained their independence, and, as we have seen, repeatedly attacked and devastated the Parthian Empire in conjunction with the Tocharians and other tribes of Sacae and Scythians. In the subsequent period, again, we shall frequently meet them.

It may appear surprising that the Arsacids made no attempt to incorporate the minor states in the empire and create a great and united dominion, such as existed under the Achaemenids and was afterwards restored by the Sassanids. This tact is the clearest symptom of the inner weakness of Character of their empire and of the small power wielded by the the Parthian king of kings. In contrast alike with its predeEmpire. cessors and its successors, the Arsacid dominion was peculiarly a chance formationa state which had come into existence through fortuitous external circumstances, and had no firm foundation within itself, or any intrinsic raison dtre.

Three elements, of widely different kinds, contributed to its origin and defined its character. It was sprung from a predatory nomad tribe (the Parnian Dahae, Scythians) which had established itself in Khorasan (Parthia), on the borders of civilization, and thence gradually annexed further districts as the political situation or the weakness of its neighbors allowed. Consequently, these nomads were the main pillar of the empire, and from them were obviously derived the great magnates, with their huge estates and hosts of serfs, who composed the imperial council, led the armies, governed the provinces and made and unmade the kings (Strabo xi. 515; J ustin xli. 2; the former terming them atryyveZ1, kinsmen of the king, the latter, probuli). Of these great families that of Surenas held the privilege of setting the diadem on the head of the new king (Plut. Crass. 21; Tac. Ann. vi. 42).

The military organization, moreover, was wholly nomadic in character. The nucleus of the army was formed of armoured horsemen, excellently practised for long-distance fighting with bow and javelin, but totally unable to venture on a hand-to-hand conflict, their tactics being rather to swarm round the enemys squadrons and overwhelm them under a hail of missiles. When attacked they broke up, as it seemed, in hasty and complete flight, and having thus led the hostile army to break its formation, they themselves rapidly reformed and renewed the assault. How difficult it was for infantry to hold their own against these mounted squadrons was demonstrated by the Roman campaigns, especially in broad plains like those of Mesopotamia. In winter, however, the Parthians were powerless to wage war, as the moisture of the atmosphere relaxed their bows. The infantry, in contrast with its earlier status under the Persians, was wholly neglected. On the other hand, every magnate put into the field as many mounted warriors as possible, chiefly servants and bought slaves, who, like the Janissaries and Mamelukes, were trained exclusively for war. Thus Surenas, in 53 nc., is said to have put at the kings disposal 1000 mailed horsemen and, in all, 10,000 men, including the train, which also comprised his attendants and harem (Plut. Crass. 21; description of the military organization; Dio Cass. 40, I5~ Justin xli. 2). In the army of 50,000 mounted men which took the field against Mark Antony there were, says Justin, only 400 freemen.

How vital was the nomadic element rn the Parthian Empire is obvious from the fact that, in civil wars, the deposed kings conThe Iranian sistently took refuge among the Dahae or Scythians ~ and were restored by them. But, in Parthia, these pu a Ofl. nomads were amalgamated with the native peasantry, and, with their religion, had adopted their dress and manners. Even the kings, after the first two or three, wear their hair and beard long, in the Iranian fashion, whereas their predecessors are beardless. Although the Arsacids are strangers to any deep religious interest (in contrast to the Achaemenids and Sassanids), they acknowledge the Persian gods and the leading tenets of Zoroastrianism. They erect fire-altars, and even obey the command to abandon all corpses to the dogs and fowls (Justin xli. 3). The union, moreover, recommended by that creed, between brother and sisterand even son and motheroccurs among them. Consequently, beside the council of the nobility, there is a second council of Magians and wise men (Strabo xi. 515).

Again, they perpetuate the traditions of the Achaemenid Empire. The Arsacids assume the title king of kings and derive their line from Artaxerxes II. Further, the royal apotheosis, so common among them and recurring under the Sassanids, is probably not so much of Greek origin as a development of Iranian views. For at the side of the great god Ahuramazda there stands a host of subordinate divine beings who execute his willamong these the deified heroes of legend, to whose circle the king is now admitted, since on him Ahuramazda has bestowed victory and might.

This gradual Iranianization of the Parthian Empire is shown by the fact that the subsequent Iranian traditions, and Firdousi in particular, apply the name of the Parthian magnates (Pahiavan) to the glorious heroes of the legendary epoch. Consequently, also, the language and writing of the Parthian period, which are retained under the Sassanids, received the name Pahksvi, i.e. Parthian. The script was derived from the Aramaic.

But to these Oriental elements must be added that of Hellenism, the dominant world-culture which had penetrated into Parthia Relation and Media. It was indispensable to every state which towarcia hoped to play some part in the world and was iiot so ifelienisn,. utterly secluded as Persis and Atropatene; and the Arsacids entertained the less thought of opposition as they were destitute of an independent national basis. All their external institutions were borrowed from the Seleucid Empire:

their coinage with its Greek inscriptions and nomenclature; their Attic standard of currency; and, doubtless, a great part of their administration also. In the towns Greek merchants were everywhere settled; Mithradates I. even followed the precedent of the Seleucids in building a new city, Arsacia, which replaced the ancient Rhagae (Rai, Europus~ in Media. The further the Arsacids expanded the deeper they penetrated into the province of Hellenism; the first Mithradates himself assumed, after his great conquests, the title of Phithellen, the protector of Hellenism, which was retained by almost all his successors. Then follow the surnames Epiphanes the revealed god, Dicaeus the just, Euergetes the benefactor, all of them essentially Greek in their reference, and also regularly borne by all the kings. After the conquest of the Euphrates and Tigris provinces it was imperative that the royal residence should be fixed there. But as no one ventured to transfer the royal household and the army, with its hordes of wild horsemen, to the Greek town of Seleucia, and thus disorganize its commerce, the Arsacids set up their abode in the great village of Ctesiphon, on the left bank of the Tigris, opposite to Seleucia, which accordingly retained its free Hellenic constitution (see CmsIPnoN and SELEUcIA). So, also, Orodes I. spoke good Greek, and Greek tragedies were staged at his court (Plut. Crass. 33).

In spite of this, however, the rise of the Arsacid Empire marks the beginning of a reaction against Hellenismnot, indeed, a conscious or official reaction, but a reaction which was Reaction all the more effective because it depended on the impetus against of circumstances working with all the power of a natural ilelienism. force. The essential point is that the East is completely divorced from the Mediterranean and the Hellenic world, that it can derive no fresh powers from that quarter, and that, consequently, the influence of the Oriental elements must steadily increase. This process can be most clearly traced on the coinsalmost the sole:

memorials that the Parthian Empire has left. From reign to reign the portraits grow poorer and more stereotyped, and the inscriptions more neglected, till it becomes obvious that the engraver himself no longer understood Greek but copied mechanically the signs before his eyes, as is the case with the contemporary Indo-Scythian coinage, and also in Mesene. Indeed, after Vologaeses I. (5177), the Aramaic script is occasionally employed. The political opposition to the western empires, the Seleucids first, then the Romans, precipitated this development. Naturally enough the Greek cities beheld a liberator in every army that marched from the West, and were ever ready to cast in their lot with sucha disposition for which the subsequent penalty was not lacking. The Parthian magnates, on the other hand, with the army, would have little to do with Greek culture and Greek modes of life, which they contemptuously regarded as effeminate and unmanly. Moreover, they required of their rulers that they should live in the fashion of their country, practise arms and the chase, and appear as Oriental sultans, not as Grecian kings.

These tendencies taken together explain the radical weakness of the Parthian Empire. It was easy enough to collect a great army and achieve a great victory; it was absolutely impossible to hold the army together for any longer period, or to conduct a regular campaign. The Parthians proved incapable of creating a firm, united organization, such as the Achaemenids before them, and the Sassanids after them gave to their empire. The kings themselves were toys in the hands of the magnates and the army who, tenaciously as they clung to the anointed dynasty of the Arsacids, were utterly indifferent to the person of the individual Arsacid. Every moment they were ready to overthrow the reigning monarch and to seat another on his throne. The kings, for their part, sought protection in craft, treachery and cruelty, and only succeeded in aggravating the situation. More especially they saw an enemy in every prince, and the worst of enemies in their own sons. Sanguinary crimes were thus of everyday occurrence in the royal household; and frequently it was merely a matter of chance whether the father anticipated the son, or the son the father. The conditions were the same as obtained subsequently under the Mahommedan Caliphate and the empire of the Ottomans. The internal history of the Parthian dominion is an unbroken sequence of civil war and dynastic strife.

For the literature dealing with the Parthian Empire and numismatics, see PARTHIA, under which heading will be found a complete list of the kings, so far as we are able to reconstitute them.

These conditions elucidate the fact that the Parthian Empire, though founded on annexation and perpetually menaced by hostile arms in both the East and the West, yet Later Illsnever took a strong offensive after the days of tory- of the Mithradates II. It was bound to protect itself ArSSCId against Scythian aggression in the East and Empire.

Roman aggression in the West. To maintain, Or regain, the suzerainty over Mesopotamia and the vassal states of that region, as also over Atropatene and Armenia, was its most imperative task. Yet it always remained on the defensive and even so was lacking in energy. Whenever it made an effort to enforce its claims, it retreated so soon as it was confronted by a resolute foe.

Thus the wars between Parthia and Rome proceeded, not from the Parthiansdeeply injured though they were by the W~ With encroachments of Pompeybut from Rome herself. Crassus and Rome had been obliged, reluctantly enough, to enter Antonius. upon the inheritance of Alexander the Great; and, since the time of Pompey, had definitely subjected to hes dominion the Hellenistic countries as far as the Euphrates. Thus the task now faced them of annexing the remainder of the Macedonian Empire, the whole East from the Euphrates to the Indus, and of thereby saving Greek civilization (cf. Plut. Comp. Nic. et Crass. 4). The aristocratic republic quailed before such an enterprise, though Lucullus, at the height of his successes, entertained the thought (Plut. Luc. 30). But the ambitious men, whose goal was to erect their own sovereignty on the ruins of the republic, took up the project. With this objective M. Licinius rassus, the triumvir, ill 54 B.C., took the aggressive against Parthia, the occasion being favorable owing to the dynastic troubles between Orodes I., the son of Phraates .111., and his brother Mithradates III. Crassus fell on the field of Carrhae (June 9, 53 B.C.). With this Mesopotamia was regained by the Parthians, and King Artavasdes of Armenia now entered their alliance. But, apart from the ravaging of Syria (51 B.C.) by Pacorus the son of Orodes, the threatened attack on the Roman Empire was carried into effect neither then nor during the civil wars of Caesar and Pompey. At the time of his assassination Caesar was intent on resuming the expedition of Crassus. The Parthians formed a league with Brutus and Cassius, as previously with Pompey, but gave them no support, until in 40 B.C. a Parthian army, led by Pacorus and the republican general Labienus, harried Syria and Asia Minor. But it was easily repulsed by Ventidius Bassus, the lieutenant of Mark Antony. Pacorus himsell fell on the 9th of June 38 B.C. at Gindarus in northern Syria. Antony then attacked the Parthians in 36 B.C., and penetrated through Armenia into Atropatene, but was defeated by Phraates IV.who in 37 B.C. had murdered his father Orodes 1.and compelled to retreat with heavy losses. The continuation of the war was frustrated by the conflict with Octavian. Armenia alone was again subdued in 34 B.C. by Antony, who treacherously captured and executed King Artavasdes.

Roman opinion universally expected that Augustus would take up the work of his predecessors, annihilate the Parthian dominion, and subdue the East as far as the Policy of Augustus. Indians, Scythians and Seres (cf. Horace and the other Augustan poets). ~But Augustus disappointed these expectations. His whole policy and the needs of the newly organized Roman Empire demanded peace. His efforts were devoted to reaching a modus vivendi, by which the authority of Rome and her mosLvital claims might be peacefully vindicated. This the weakness of Parthia enabled him to effect without much difficulty. His endeavours were seconded by the revolt of Tiridates II., before whom Phraates IV. was compelled to flee (32 B.C.), till restored by the Scythians. Augustus lent nc support to Tiridates in his second march on Ctesiphon (26 B.C.), but Phraates was all the more inclined on that account tc stand on good terms with him. Consequently in 20 B.C., h restored the standards captured in the victories over Crassus and Antony, and recognized the Roman suzerainty over Osroeni and Armenia. In return, the Parthian dominion in Babylonif and the other vassal states was left undisputed.

Thus it was due not to the successes and strength of the Par thians but entirely to the principles of Roman policy as defined b) Augustus that their empire appears as a second great independeni power, side by side with Rome. The precedence of the Caesars indeed, was always admitted by the Arsacids; and- Phraates IV soon entered into a state of dependency on Rome by sendinl (9 B.C.) four of his sons as hostages to Augustusa convenien method of obviating the danger threatened in their person without ,the necessity of killing them. In 4 B.C., however Phraates was assassinated by his favorite wife Musa and her son Phraates V. In the subsequent broils a Parthian faction obtained the release of one of the princes interned in Rome as Vonones I. (A.D. 8). He failed, however, to maintain his position for long. He was a stranger to the Parthian. customs, and the feeling of shame at dependency on. the foreigner was too strong. So the rival faction brought out another .Arsacid, resident among the Scythian nomads, Artabanus II., who easily expelled Vononesonly to create a host of enemies by his brutal cruelty, and to call forth fresh disorders.

Similar proceedings were frequently repeated in the period following. In the intervals the Parthians made several attempts to reassert their dominion over Armenia and there install an Arsacid prince; but on each occasion ~oZases I. they retreated without giving fiattle so soon as the Romans prepared for war. Only the dynasty of Atropatene was finally deposed and the country placed under an Arsacid ruler. Actual war with Rome broke out under Vologaeses I. (5177), who made his brother Tiridates king of Armenia. After protracted hostilities, in which the Roman army was commanded by Cn. Domitius Corbulo, a peace was concluded in A.D. 63, confirming the Roman suzerainty over Armenia but recognizing Tiridates as king (see CoRnuLo). Tiridates himself visited Rome and was there invested with the diadem by Nero (AD. 66). After that Armenia continued under the rule of an Arsacid dynasty.

These successes of Vologaeses were counterbalanced by serious losses in the East. He was hampered in an energetic campaign against Rome by attacks of the Dahae and Sacae. Hyrcania, also, revolted and asserted its independence under a separate line of kings. A little later, the Alans, a great Iranian tribe in the south of Russiathe ancestors of the present-day Ossetsbroke for the first time through the Caucasian passes, and ravaged Media and Armeniaan incursion which they often repeated in the following centuries. -

On the other side, the reign of Vologaeses I. is characterized by a great advance in the Oriental reaction against Hellenism. The line of Arsacids which came to the throne in the person of Artabanus II. (AD. 10) stands in open opposition to the old kings with their leanings to Rome and, at least external, tinge of HellenJsm. The new rgime obviously laid much more stress on the Oriental character of their state, though Philostratus, in his life of Apollonius of Tyana(who visited the Parthian court), states that Vardanes I. (A.D. 4045), the rival king to the brutal Gotarzes (A.D. 4051), was a cultivated man (Vii. Ap. i. 22, 28, 31 sqq.); and Vologaeses I. is distinguished by the excellent relations which subsisted all his life between himself and his brothers Pacorus and Tiridates, the kings of Media and Armenia. But the coins of Vologaeses I. are quite barbarous, and for the first time on some of them appear the initials of the name of the king in Aramaic letters by the side of the Greek legend. The Hellenism of Seleucia was now attacked with greater determination. For seven years (AD. 3 743) the city maintained itself in open rebellion (Tac. Ann. xi. 8 seq.), till at last it surrendered to Vardanes, who in consequence enlarged Ctesiphon, which was afterwards fortified by Pacorus (A.D. 78105:

v. Ammian. 23, 6, 23). In the neighborhood of the same town Vologaeses I. founded a city Vologesocerta (Balashkert), to which he attempted to transplant the population to Seleucia (Plin. vi. 122: cf. Th. NOldeke in Zeitschr. d. deutsch. morgeni. Gesellschaft, xxviii., 100). Another of his foundations was Vologesias (the Arabian Ullaish), situated near Hira on the Euphrates, south of Babylon, which did appreciable damage to the commerce of Seleucia and is often. mentioned in inscriptions as the destination of the Palmyrene caravans. -

After Vologaeses I. follows a period of great disturbances. The literary tradition, indeed, deserts us almost entirely, but the coins .and isolated literary references prove that during the years A.D. 77 to 147, two kings, and sometimes three or more were often reigning concurrently (Vologaeses II. 7779, and 111147; Pacorus 78c. 105; Osroes 106129; Mithradates V

129147: also Artabanus III. 8081; Mithradates IV. and hb son Sanatruces II. 115; and Parthamaspates 116117). Obviously the empire can never have been at peace during these years, a fact which materially assisted the aggressive campaigns Wars with of Trajan (1I31I7). Trajan resuscitated the Traian and old project of Crassus and Caesar, by which the P4arcus empire of Alexander as far as India was to be won Aure IUS. for Western civilization. In pursuance of this plan he reduced Armenia, Mesopotamia and Babylonia to the position of imperial provinces. On his death, however, Hadrian immediately reverted to the Augustan policy and restored the conquests. Simultaneously there arose in the East the powerful Indo-Scythian empire of the Kushana, which doubtless limited still further the Parthian possessions in eastern Iran.

An era of quiet seems to have returned with Vologaeses III. (147191), and we hear no more of rival kings. With the Roman Empire a profound peace had reigned since Hadrian (117), which was first disturbed by the attack of Marcus Aurelius and Aelius Verus in 162. This war, which broke out on the question of Armenia and Osroene, proved of decisive significance for the future development of the East, for, in its course, Seleucia was destroyed by the Romans under Avidius Cassius (164). The downfall of the great Greek city sealed the fate of Hellenism in the countries east of the Euphrates. Henceforward Greek culture practically vanishes and gives place to Aramaic; it is significant that in future the kings of Mesene stamped their coinage with Aramaic legends. This Aramaic victory was powerfully aided by the ever-increasing progress of Christianity, which soon created, as is well known, an Aramaic literature Christianity. of which the language was the dialect of Edessa, a city in which the last king of Osroene, Abgar IX. (179 214), had been converted to the faith. After that Greek culture and Greek literature were only accessible to the Orientals in an Aramaic dress. Vologaeses III. is probably also the king Valgash, who, according to a native tradition, preserved in the Dinkart, began a collection of the sacred writings of Zoroasterthe origin of the Avesta which has come down to us. This would show how the national Iranian element in the Parthian Empire was continually gathering strength.

The Roman war was closed in 165 by a peace which ceded north-west Mesopotamia to Rome. Similar conflicts took place in 195202 between Vologaeses IV. (191209) and Septimius Severus, and again in 216217 between Artabanus IV. (209226) and Caracalla. They failed, however, to affect materially the position of the two empires.

VIII. The Sassanian Empire.T hat the Arsacid Empire should have endured some 350 years after its foundation by ,4rdashirl. Mithradates I. and Phraates II., was a result, not of internal strength, but of chance working in its external development. It might equally well have so existed for centuries more. But under Artabanus IV. the catastrophe came. In his days there arose in Persisprecisely as Cyrus had arisen under Astyages the Medea great personality. Ardashir (Artaxerxes) I., son of Papak (Babek), the descendant of Sasan, was the sovereign of one of the small states into which Persis had gradually fallen. His father Papak had taken possession of the district of Istakhr, which had replaced the old Persepolis, long a mass of ruins. Thence Ardashir I., who reigned from about A.D. 212, subdued the neighboring potentatesdisposing of his own brothers among the rest. This proceeding quickly led to war with his suzerain Artabanus IV. The conflict was protracted through several years, and the Parthians were worsted in three battles. The last of these witnessed the fall of Artabanus (A.D. 226), though a Parthian king, Artavasdesperhaps a son of Artabanus IV.who is only known to us from his own coins, appears to have retained a portion of the empire for some time longer. The members of the Arsacid line who fell into the hands of the victor were put to death; a number of the princes found refuge in Armenia where the Arsacid dynasty maintained itself till A.D. 429. The remainder of the vassal statesCarmania, Susiana, Mesenc were ended by Ardashir; and the autonomous desert fortress of Hatra in Mesopotamia was destroyed by his son Shapur (Sapor) I., according to the Persian and Arabian traditions, which, in this point, are deserving of credence. The victorious Ardashir then took possession of the palace of Ctesiphon and assumed the title King of the kings of the Iranians (/3cunXia fS cWLX&JP Aprav~s).

The new empire founded by Ardashir 1.the Sassanian, or Neo-Persian Empireis essentially different from that of his Arsacid predecessors. It is, rather, a continua- Sassanian tion of the Achaemenid traditions which were still Wars with alive on their native soil. Consequently the national Rowe.

impetusalready clearly revealed in the title of the new sovereignagain becomes strikingly manifest. The Sassanian Empire, in fact, is once more a national Persian or Iranian Empire. The religious element is, of course, inseparable from the national, and Ardashir, like all the dynasts of Persis, was an ardent devotee of the Zoroastrian doctrine, and closely connected with the priesthood. In his royal style he assumed the designation Mazdayasnian (Mcusiwval), and the firecult was everywhere vigorously disseminated. Simultaneously the old claims to world dominion made their reappearance. After the defeat of Artabanus, Ardashir, as heir of the Achaemenids, formulated his pretensions to the dominion of western Asia (Dio. -Cass. 80, 3; Herodian Vi. 2, 4; Zonar. xii. I 5~ similarly under Shapur II.: Ammian. Marc. xvii. 5, 5). He attacked Armenia, though without permanent success (cf. von Gutschmid in Zeitschr. d. d. morgeni. Ges. xxxi. 47, on the fabulous Armenian account of these wars), and despatched his armies against Roman Mesopotamia. They strayed as far as Syria and Cappadocia. The inner decay of the Roman Empire, and the widespread tendency of its troops to mutiny and usurpation, favored his enterprise. Nevertheless, the armies of Alexander Severus, supported by the king of Armenia, succeeded in repelling the Persians, though the Romans sustained severe losses (231 233). Towards the end of his reign Ardashir resumed the attack; while his son Shapur I. (241272) reduced Nisibis and Carrhae and penetrated into Syria, but was defeated by Shap~I. Gordian III. at Resaena (243). Soon afterwards, however, the Roman Empire seemed to collapse utterly. The Goths defeated Decius (251) and harried the Balkan Peninsula and Asia Minor, while insurrections broke out everywhere and the legions created one Caesar after the other. Then Shapur resumed the war, subdued Armenia and plundered Antioch. The emperor Valerian, who marched to encounter him, was overthrown at Edessa and taken prisoner (260). The Persian armies advanced into Cappadocia; but here Ballista or Balista (d. C. 264) beat them back, and Odenathus (Odainath), prince of Palmyra, rose in their rear, defeated Shapur, captured his harem, and twice forced his way to Ctesiphon (263265). Shapur was in no position to repair the defeat, or even to hold Armenia; so that the Sassanid power failed to pass the bounds of the Arsacid Empire. Nevertheless Shapur I., in contrast to his father, assumed the title King of the kings of the Iranians and non-Iranians (/3ainXeis f3a~ltX&op Apiae&,e ical Avaptavh; shah an shah Iran we Aniran), thus emphasizing his claim to world dominion. His successors retained the designation, little as it corresponded to the facts, for the single non-Iranian land governed by the Sassanids was, as under the Parthians, the district of the Tigris and Euphrates as far as the Mesopotamian desert; western and northern Mesopotamia remained Roman.

The Sassanid ruler is the representative of the Kingly Majesty, derived from Ormuzd, which appears in the Avesla as the angel Kavaem Hvareno, the royal glory, and, according to legend, once beamed in the Iranian kings, unattainable to all but those of royal blood. A picture, which frequently Ofl recurs in the rock-reliefs of Ardashir I. and Shapur 1., represents the king and the god Ormuzd both on horseback, the latter in the act of handing to his companion the ring of sovereignty. Thus it is explicable that all the Sassanids, as many of the Arsacids before them, include the designation of god in their formal style. From this developed (as already under the Arsacids) that strict principle of legitimacy which is still vigorous in Firdousi It applies, however, to the whole royal house, precisely as in the Ottoman Empire of to-day. The person of the individual ruler is, on the other hand, a matter of indifference. He can readily be removed and replaced by another; but no usurper who was not of the legitimate blood can hope to become the genuine king. Therefore the native tradition carries the Sassanid line back to the Achaemenids and, still further, to the kings of the legendary period.

Officially the king is all-powerful, and his will, which is guided by God and bound up in His law, unfettered. Thus, externally, he is surrounded by all the splendour of sovereignty; on his head he wears a great and resplendent crown, with a high circular centrepiece; he is clothed in gold and jewels; round him is a brilliant court, composed of his submissive servants. He sits in dazzling state on his throne in Ctesiphon. All who approach fling themselves to the ground, life and death depend on his nod. Among his people he is accounted the fairest, strongest and wisest man of the empire; and from him is required the practice of all piety and virtue, as well as skill in the chaseand in armsespecially the bow. Ardashir I., moreover, and his successors endeavoured to establish the validity of the royal will by absorbing the vassal states and instituting a firmer organization. Nevertheless they failed to attain the complete independence and power of the Achacmenids. Not strong enough to break up the nobility, with its great estates, they were forced to utilize its services and still further to promote its interests; while their dependence on its good-will and assistance led inevitably to incessant gifts of money, lands and men. This state of affairs had also prevailed under the later Achaemenids, and had materially contributed to the disintegration of the empire and the numerous insurrections of the satraps. But the older Achaemenids held an entirely different pQsition; and hardly a single Sassanid enjoyed even that degree of power which was still retained by the later Achaemenids. It was of fundamental importance that the Sassanian Empire could not make good its claim to world dominion; and, in spite of the title of its kings, it always remained essentially the kingdom of Iranor rather west Iran, together with the districts on the Tigris and Euphrates. This fact, again, is most closely connected with its military and administrative organization. The external and internal conditions of the empire are in mutual reaction upon one another. The empire, which in extent did not exceed that of the Arsacids with its vassal states, was protected on the east and west by the great Mlii deserts of central Iran and Mesopotamia. For the A hlee- defence of these provinces the mounted archers, who formed the basis of the army, possessed adequate strength; and though the Scythian nomads from the east, or the Romans from the west, might occasionally penetrate deep into the country, they never succeeded in maintaining their position. But the power of the mo-Persian Empire was not great enough for further conquests, though its army was capable and animated by a far stronger national feeling than that of the Parthians. It still consisted, however, of levies from the retinue of the magnates led by their territorial lords; and, although these troops would stream in at the beginning of a war, they could not be kept permanently together. For, on the one hand, they were actuated by the most varied personal interests and antipathies, not all of which the king could satisfy; on the other hapd he could not, owing to the natural character and organization of his dominions, maintain and pay a large army for any length of time. Thus the great hosts soon melted away, and a war, begun successfully, ended ingloriously, and often disastrously. Under such circumstances an elaborate tactical organization employing different species of arms, or the execution of a comprehensive plan of campaign, was out of the question. The successes of the Sassanids in the east were gained in the later period of their dominion; and the Roman armies, in spite of decay in discipline and military spirit, still remained their tactical and strategical superiors. A great victory might be woneven an emperor might be captured, like Valerianbut immediately afterwards successes, such as those gained against Shapur I. (who was certainly an able general) by Ballista and Odenathus of Palmyra, or the later victories of Carus, J ulian and others, demonstrated how far the Persians were from being on an equality with the Romans. That Babylonia permanently remained a Sassanian province was due merely to the geographical conditions and to the political situation of the Roman Empire, not to the strength of the Persians.

Among the magnates six great housesseven, if we include the royal housewere still regarded as the foremost, precisely a~

under the Achaemenids, and from these were drawn The the generals, crown officials and governors (cf. Procop.

No Y~ Pers. i. 6, 13 sqq.). In the last of these positions we frequently find princes of the blood, who then bear the royal title (shah). Some of these houseswhose origin the legends derive froni King Gushtasp (i.e. Vishtaspa), the protector of Zoroaster (Marquart, Zeitschr. d. d. inorgeni. Ges. xlix. 635 sqq.), already existed undei the Arsacids, e.g. the Suren (Surenas, vide supra, p. 798) and Karen (Carenes, Tac. Ann. xii. 12 sqq.), who had obviously embraced th cause of the victorious dynasty at the correct moment and so retained their position. The name Pahlavan, moreover, which denoted the Parthian magnates, passed over into the new empire. Below these there was an inferior nobility, the dikhans (. village-lords and the knights (aswar); who, as among the Parthians, tool th~ felrl in heavy scalp-armo,ir To an even e-reat-er extent thar under the Arsacids the empire was subdivided into a host of small provinces, at the head of each being a Marzban (boundary-lord, lord of the marches). These were again comprised in four great districts. With each of these local potentates the king could deal with as scant consideration as he pleased, always provided that he had the power or understood the art of making himself feared. But to break through the system or replace it by another was impossible. In fact he was compelled to proceed with great caution whenever he wished to elevate a favorite of humbler origin to an office which custom reserved for the nobility. Thus it is all the more worthy of recognition that the Sassanian Empire was a fairly orderly empire, with an excellent legal administration, and that the later sovereigns did their utmost to repress the encroachments of the nobility, to protect the commonalty, and, above all, to carry out a just system of taxation.

Side by side with the nobles ranked the spiritual chiefs, now a far more powerful body than under the Arsacids. Every larger district had its upper Magian (Magu pat, mobed, i.e.

Lord of the Magians). At their head was the Religious supreme Mobed, resident in Rhagae (Rai), who was re- Developgarded as the successor of Zoroaster. In the new empire, men.

of which the king and people were alike zealous professors of the true faith, their influence was extraordinarily strong (cf. Agathias ii. 26)comparable to the influence of the priesthood in later Egypt, and especially in Byzantium and medieval Christendom. As has already been indicated, it was in their religious attitudes that the essential difference lay between the Sassanid Empire and the older Iranian states. But, in details, the fluctuations were so manifold that it is necessary at this point to enter more fully into the histor of Persian religion (cf. especially H. Gelzer, Eznik u. d. Eutwicke. ,des pers. Religions-systems, in the Zeitschr. f. armen. Philol. i. 149 sqq.).

The Persian religion, as we have seen, spread more and more widely after the Achaemenian period. In the Indo-Scythian Empire the Persian gods were zealously worshipped; in Armenia the old national religion was almost entirely banished by the Persian cults (Gelzer, Zur armen. Gotterlehre, in Ber. d. sdchs. Gesch.

d. Wissensch., 1895); in Cappadocia, North Syria and the west of Asia Minor, the Persian gods were everywhere adored side by side with the native deities. It was in the third century that the cult of Mithras, with its mysteries and a theology evolved from Zoroastrianism, attained the widest diffusion in all Latin-speaking provinces of the Roman dominion; and it even seemed for a while as though the Sot invictus Mithras, highly favored by the Caesars, would become the official deity-in-chief of the empire. But in all these cults the Persian gods are perfectly tolerant of other native or foreign divinities; vigorous as was their propagandism, it was yet equally far removed from an attack on other creeds. Thus this Parseeism always bears a syncretic character; and the supreme god of Zoroastrian theory, Ahuramazda (i.e. Zeus or Jupiter), in practice yields place to his attendant deities, who work in the world and are able to lead the believer, who has been initiated and keeps the commandments of purity, to salvation.

But, meanwhile, in its Iranian home and especially in Persis, the religion of Zoroaster lived a quiet life, undisturbed by the proceedings of the outside world. Here the poems of the prophet and fragments of ancient religious literature survived, understood by the Magians and rendered accessible to the faithful laity by versions in the modern dialect (Pahlavi). Here the opposition between the good spirit of light and the demons of evilbetween Ormuzd and Ahrimans till remained the principal dogma of the creed; while all other gods and angels, however estimable their aid, were but subordinate servants of Ormuzd, whose highest manifestation on earth was not the sun-god Mithras, but the holy fire guarded by his priests. Here all the prescriptions of puritypartly connected with national customs, and impossible of execution abroad were diligently observed; and even the injunction not to pollute earth with corpses, but to cast out the dead to vulture and dog, was obeyed in its full force. At the same time Ahuramazda preserved his character as a national god, who bestowed on hi~ worshippers victory and world dominion. In the sculptures of the Sassanids, as also in Armenian traditions, he appears on horse. back as a war-god. Here, again, the theology was further developed, and an attempt made to annul the old dualism by envisaging both Ormuzd and Ahriman as emanations of an original principle of infinite time (Zervan), a doctrine which long enjoyed official validity under the Sassanids till, in the reign of Chosroes I., the sect of Zervanites was pronounced heretical.i But, above all, the ritual and the doctrine of purity were elaborated and expanded, and there was evolved a complete and detailed system of casuistry, dealing with all things allowed and forbidden, the forms of pollution and the expiation for each, &c., which, in its arid and spiritles1 monotony vividly recalls the similar prescriptions in the Pentateuch. The consequences of this development were that orthodoxy and literal obedience to all priestly injunctions now assumed an impor. tance far greater than previously; henceforward, the great commandment of Zoroastrianism, as of Judaism, is to combat the heresie1

i It may be observed that this innovation was also known tc the Mithras-cult of the West. wh~re Zervan aooears as abw.

of the heathen, a movement which had already had an energetic representative in the prophet himself. Heathenish cults and forbidden manners and customs are a pollution to the land and a deep insult to the true God. Therefore the duty of the believer is to combat and destroy the unbeliever and the heretic. In short, the tolerance of the Achaemenids and the indifference of the Arsacids are now replaced by intolerance and religious persecution.

Such were the views in which Ardashir I. grew up, and in their energetic prosecution he found a potent instrument for the building up of his empire. It has previously been mentioned that Vologaeses III. had already begun a collection of the holy writings; and the task was resumed under Ardashir. At his order the orthodox doctrines and texts were compiled by the high priest Jansar; all divergent theories were prohibited and their adherents proscribed. Thus arose the Avesta, the sacred book of the Parsees. Above all, the sacred book of laws, the Vendidad, breathes throughout the spirit of the Sassanian period, in its intolerance, its casuistry degenerating into absurdity, and its soulless monotony. Subscription to the restored orthodox doctrine was to the Iranian a matter of course. The schismatics Ardashir imprisoned for a year; if, at its expiration, they still refused to listen to reason, and remained stiff-necked, they were executed. It is even related that, in his zeal for uniformity of creed, Ardashir wished to extinguish the holy fires in the great cities of the empire and the Parthian vassal states, with the exception of that which burned in the residence of the dynasty. This plan he was unable to execute. In Armenia, also, Ardashir and Shapur, during the period of their occupation, sought to introduce the orthodox religion, destroyed the heathen imageseven those of the Iranian gods which were here considered heathenand turned the shrines into fire-altars (Gelzer, Ber. sacks. Ges. p. 135, i895). Shapur I., who appears to have, had a broader outlook, added to the religious writings a collection of scientific treatises on medicine, asticonomy, mathematics, philosophy, zoology, &c., partly from Indian and Greek sources.

This religious development was most strongly influenced by the fact that, meanwhile, a powerful opponent of Zoroastrianism had arisen with an equally zealous propagandism and an Relation equal exclusiveness and intolerance. More especially 10 - in the countries of the Tigris and Euphrates, now alto- au 1). gether Aramaic, Christianity had everywhere gained a firm footing.i But its missionary enterprise stretched over the whole of Iran, and even farther. The time was come when, in the western and eastern worlds alike, the religious question was for large masses of people the most important question in life, and the diffusion of their own creed and the suppression of all others the highest and holiest of tasks. The man who thinks thus knows no compromise, and so Zoroastrianism and Christianity confronted each other as mortal enemies. Still the old idea that every religion contained a portion of the truth, and that it was possible to borrow something from one and amalgamate it with another, had not yet lost all its power. From such a conception arose the teaching of Mani or Manes. For Manichaeism is an attempt to weld the doctrine of the Gospel and the doctrine of Zoroaster Manlchae- into a uniform system, though naturally not without lam, an admixture of other elements, principally Babylonian and Gnostic. Mani, perhaps a Persian from Babylonia, is said to have made his first appearance as a teacher on the coronation day of Shapur I. At all events he found numerous adherents, both at court and among the magnates of the empire. The king even inclined to him, till in a great disputation the Magians gained the predominance. None the less Mani found means to diffuse his creed far and wide over the whole empire. Even the heir to the throne, Hormizd I. (reigned 272273), was favorably disposed to him; but Shapurs younger son, Bahram I. (273276), yielded to sacerdotal pressure, and Mani was executed. After that Manichaeism was persecuted and extirpated in Iran. Yet it maintained itself not merely in the west, where its head resided at Babylonpropagating thence far into the Roman Empirebut also in the east, in Khorasan and beyond the bounds of the Sassanian dominion. There the seat of its pontiff was at Samarkand; thence it penetrated into Central Atia, where, buried in the desert sands which entomb the cities of eastern Turkestan, numerous fragments of the works of Mani and his disciples, in the Persian language (Pahlavi) and Syrian script, and in an East Iranian dialect, called Sogdian, which was used by the Manichaeans of Central Asia, have been discovered (K. Muller, Handschriftenreste in Estrangelo-.schrift aus Turfan, in Chinesisch-Turkestan, in Abh. d. bert. Akad., 1904); among them translations of texts of the New Testament (K. Muller, Berichie der Bert., 1907, p. 260 seq.). In these texts God the Father is identified with the Zervan of Zarathustrism, the devil with Ahriman. The further religious development of the Sassanid Empire will be touched upon later.

i For the propagation and history of the Christians in the Sassanid Empire, cf. Labort, Le Christian-isme dans lempire perse sous Ia dynastte sassanide (1904); Harnack, Die Mission und Ausbreitunt des Chrestenthums in den ersten drei Jahrhunderten, 2. Aufi. (1906)

Bd. II. p. 121 seq.; Chabot, Synodicon orientate (1902) (a collection 01

the acts of the Nestorian synods held under the rule of the Sassanids)

Like the Arsacids the kings resided in Ctesiphon, where, out of the vast palace built by Chosroes I., a portion at least of the great hall is still erect. On the ruins of Seleucia, on the opposite bank of the Tigris, Ardashir I. built the city Architecture of Veh-Ardashir (good is Ardashir), to which the later andActs.

kings added new towns, or rather new quarters. In Susiana Shapur I. built the great city of Gondev-Shapur, which succeeded the ancient capital of the Persian Empire. At the same time the mother-country again gained importance; especially the capital of Persis, lstakhr, which had replaced the former Persepolis (now the ruins of Hajji-abad). Farther in the south-east, Ardashir I. built Gur (now Firuzabad), under the name of Ardashir-khurre (the glory of Ardashir). At these places and in Sarwistan, near Shiraz and elsewhere, lie ruins of the Sassanid palaces, which in their design go back ,to the Achaemenid architecture, blending with it, however, Graeco-Syrian elements and serving in their turn as models for the structures of the Caliphs (see ARcHITECTURE:

Sassanian). After its long quiescence under the Arsacids native art underwent a general renaissance, which, though not aspiring to the Achaemenian creations, was still of no small importance. Of the Sassanian rock-sculptures some have already been mentioned; besides these, numerous engraved signet-stones have been preserved. The metal-work, carpets and fabrics of this period enjoyed a high reputation; they were widely distributed and even influenced western art.

In the intellectual life and literature of the Sassanid era the main characteristic is the complete disappearance of Hellenism and the Greek language. Ardashir I. and Shapur I. still appended Greek translations to some of their inscrip- Literature. tions; but all of later date are drawn up in Pahlavi alone. The coins invariably bear a Pahlavi legendon the obverse the kings head with his name and title; on the reverse, a fire-altar (generally with the ascription fire of Ardashir, Shapur, &c,, .e. the fire of the royal palace), and the name of the place of coinage, usually abbreviated. The real missionaries of culture in the empire were the Aramaeans (Syrians), who were connected with the West by their Christianity, and in their translations diffused Greek literature through the Orient. But there also developed a rather extensive Pahlavi literature, not limited to religious subjects, but containing works in belles letires, modernizations of the old Iranian sagas and native traditions, e.g. the surviving fabulous history of Ardashir I., ethical tales, &c., with translations of foreign literature, principally Indian,one instance being the celebrated book of tales Kalilah and Thmnah (see SYRIAC LITERATURE), dating from Chosroes I., in whose reign chess also was introduced from India.

,AuTHoieITfBs.Side by side with the accounts of Roman and Greek authors stands the indigenous tradition ~thich, especially for the later years of the empire, is generally trustworthy. It goes back to a native work, the Khudai nama (book of lords), compiled under Chosres I. and continued to Yazdegerd III. Its narrations are principally preserved in Tabari, though there combined with numerous ,Arabian traditions; also in the poetical adaptation of Firdousi. To these may be added Syrian accounts, particularly in the martyrologies, which have been excellently treated by G. Hoffmann, Auszuge aus syrischen Akten persischer Martyrer (1880); also the statements of the Armenian historians.

The fundamental work on Sassanian history is Theodor Nldekes Gesch. der Perser u. Araber zur Zeit der Sassaniden, ans der arabischen Chronik des Tabari (1879, trans. with notes and excursuses chiefly on the chronology and organization of the empire). On this is based Nldekes Aufsatze zur pers. Gesch. (1887; containing a history of the Sassanian Empire, pp. 86 sqq). The only other works requiring mention are: G. Rawlinson, The Seventh Great Oriental Monarchy (1876), and F. Justis sketch in the Grundriss der iranischen Philologie, vol. ii. (1904). For the geography and numerous details of administration: J. Marquart, Eranshahr (Abli. d. gotting. Ges. d. W-issensck., 1901). For the numismatology the works of A. D. Mordtmann are of prime importance, especially his articles in the Zeitschr. d. d. morgenl. Ges. (1879), xxxii. 113 sqq. and xxxiv, I sqq. (1880), where the inscriptions of the individual kings are also enumerated. Also Nldeke, ibid. xxxi. 147 sqq. (1877). Fm facsimiles of coins the principal work is J. de Bartholomaei, Collectio,i de monna-ies sassanides (2nd ed., St Petersburg, I875)~ For the inscriptions: Edward Thomas, Earl1 Sassanian Inscriptions, Journ. R. A. Soc. vol. ii. (1868); West, Pahlavi Literature in the Grundriss d. iran. Philol. vol. ii. For the monuments: Flandin and Coste, Voyage en Perse (1851); Stolze, Persepolis (1882); Fr. Sarre, Iran. Felsreliefs a. d. Z. der Achaeuneniden und Sassaniden (1908).

In foreign policy the problems under the Sassanid kings i List of kings (after Noldeke, Tabari, p. 435).

Ardashir I., 226241. Ardashjr II., 379383.

Shapur I., 241272. Shapur III., 383388.

Hormizd I., 272273. Bahram IV., 388399.

Bahram 1., 273276. Yazdegerd I., 399420.

Bahram II., 276293. Bahram V., Gor. 420438.

Bahram III., 293. Yazdegerd II., 438457.

Narseh (Narses), 293302. Hormizd III., 457459.

Hormizd II., 302310. Peroz, 457484.

Shanur II.. ~IO~7O. Balash. a8azi88.

remained as of old, the defence and, when possible, the expansion of the eastern and western frontiers. In the first two centuries of the Sassanid Empire we hear practically nothing of ~he of its relations with the East. Only occasional Sassanla,ii notices show that the inroads of the Oriental nomads Empire. had not ceased, and that the extent of the empire had by no means exceeded the bounds of the Parthian dominion Sacastene (Seistan) and western. Afghanistan. Far to the east, on both sides of the Indus, the Kushana Empire was still in existence, though it was already hastening to decay, and about A.D. 320 was displaced from its position in India by the Gupta dynasty. In the west the old conflict for Osroene and northern Mesopotamia (now Roman provinces), with the fortresses of Edessa, Carrhae and Nisibis, still smouldered. Armenia the Sassanids were all the more eager to regain, since there the Arsacid dynasty still survived and turned for protection to Rome, with whom, in consequence, new wars perpetually broke out. In the reign of Bahram II. (276293), the emperor Carus, burning to avenge the disaster of Valerian, penetrated into Mesopotamia without meeting opposition, and reduced Coche (near Seleucia) and Ctesiphon; but his sudden death, inil December of 283, precluded further success, and the Roman army returned home. Bahram, however, was unable to effect anything, as his brother Hormizd was in arms, supported by the Sacae and other tribes. (Mamertin, Panegyr. Maximin. ~. 10; Geneilil. Maximin. 5, 17.) He chose, consequently, to buy peace with Diocletian by means of presents. Some years later his uncle and successor, Narses, after subduing his rival Bahram III., occupied Armenia and defeated the emperor Galerius at Callinicum (296). But in the following year he sustained a severe reverse in Armenia, in which he lost his war-chest and harem. He then concluded a peace, by the terms of which Armenia remained under Roman suzerainty, and the steppes of northern Mesopotamia, with Singara and the hill-country on the left bank of the Tigris as far as Gordyene, were ceded to the victor (Amnaian. Marc. xxv. 7, 9; Petr. Patr. Jr. 13, 4; Rufus brev. 25). In return Narses regained his household. This peace, ratified in 297 and completely expelling the Sassanids from the disputed districts, lasted for forty years.

For the rest, practically nothing is known of the history of the first six successors of Shapur I. After the death of J-Iormizd II. (3023 10), the son of Narses, the magnates imprisoned or put to death his adult sons, one of whom, Hormisdas, later escaped to the Romans, who used him as a pretender in their wars. Shapur II., a posthumous child of the late king, was then raised to the throne, a proof that the great magnates held the sovereignty in their own hands and attempted to order matters at their own pleasure. Shapur, however, when he came to manhood proved himself an independent and energetic ruler.

Meanwhile the Roman Empire bad become Christian, the sequel of which was that the Syro-Christian population of Shaper !~. Mesopotamia and Babyloniaeven more than the rsccution Hellenic cities in former timesgravitated to the of the west and looked to Rome for deliverance from the Christians. infidel yoke. On similar grounds Christianity, as opposed to the Mazdaism enforced officially by the Sassanids, became predominant in Armenia. Between these two great creeds the old Armenian religion was unable to hold its own; as early as AD. 294 King Tiridates was converted by Gregory the Illuminator and adopted the Christian faith. For this very reason the Sassanid Empire was the more constrained to champion Zoroastrianism. It was under Shapur II. that the compilation of the Avesta was completed and the state orthodoxy perfected by the chief mobed, Aturpad. All heresy was proscribed by the Kavadh I., 488531. (Bahram VI., Cobin, Bistam 590

(Djamasp, 496498). 596.)

Chosroes (Khosrau) I., Anushir- Kavadh II., Sheroe, 628.

van, 531579. Ardashir IlL, 628630.

Hormizd IV., 579590. (Shahrbaraz, 630.)

Chosroes II., Parve,, 590628. (Boran and others, 630632.)

Yazdegerd III., 632651.

On most of these kings there are separate articles.

state, defection from the true faith pronounced a capital crime, and the persecution of the heterodoxparticularly the Christiansbegan (cf. Sachall, Die rechtlichen Verhaltnisse der Christen in Sassanidenreich, in M-itteilungen des Seminars fr orientaliscize Sprachen fr Berlin, Bd. X., Abt. 2, 1907). Thus the duel between the two great empires now becomes simultaneously a duel between the two religions.

In such a position of affairs a fresh war with Rome was inevitable.1 It was begun by Shapur in A.D. 337, the year that saw the death ofConstantine the Great. The conflict centred round the Mesopotamian fortresses; Shpur thrice besieged Nisibis without success, but reduced several others, as Amida (359) and Singara (360), and transplanted great masses of inhabitants into Susiana. The emperor Constantius conducted the war feebly and was consistently beaten in the field. But, in spite of all, Shapur found it impossible to penetrate deeper into the Roman territory. He was hampered by the attack of nomadic tribes in the east, among whom the Chionites now begin to be mentioned. Year after year he took the field against them (353358), till finally he compelled them to support him with auxiliaries (Ammian. Marc. 14, 3; 16, 9; 17, 5; 18, 4, 6). With this war is evidently connected the foundation of the great town New-Shapur (Nishapur) in Khorasan.

By the resolution of Julian (363) to begin an energetic attack on the Persian Empire, the conflict, after the lapse of a quarter of a century, assumed a new phase. Julian pressed forward to Ctesiphon but succumbed to a wound; and his successor Jovian soon found himself in such straits, that he could only extricate himself and his army by a disgraceful peace at the close of 363, which ceded the possessions on the Tigris and the great fortress of Nisibis, and pledged Rome to abandon Armenia and her Arsacid protg, Arsaces III., to the Persian.

Shapur endeavoured to occupy Armenia and introduce the Zoroastrian orthodoxy. He captured Arsaces III. by treachery and compelled him to commit suicide; but the Armenian magnates proved refractory, placed Arsaces son Pap on the throne, and found secret support among the Romans. This all but led to a new war; but in 374 Valens sacrificed Pap and ,had him killed in Tarsus. The subsequent invasions of the Goths, in battle with whom Valens fell at Adrianople (375), definitely precluded Roman intervention; and the end of the Armenian troubles was that (c. 390) Bahram IV. and Theodosius the Great concluded a treaty which abandoned the extreme west of Armenia to the Romans and confirmed the remainder in the Persian possession. Thus peace and friendship could at last exist with Rome; and in 408 Yazdegerd I. contracted an alliance with Theodosius II. In Armenia the Persians Conquest of immediately removed the last kings of the house of Armenia.

Arsaces (430), and thenceforward the main portion of the country remained a Persian province under the control of a marzban, though the Armenian nobles still made repeated attempts at insurrection. The introduction of Zoroastrianism was abandoned; Christianity was already far too deeply rooted. But the sequel to the Roman sacrifice of Armenian interests was that the Armenian Christians now seceded from the orthodoxy of Rome and Constantinople, and organized themselves into an independent national church. This church was due, before all, to the efforts of the Catholicos Sahak (39o439), whose colleague Mesrob, by his translation of the Bible, laid the foundations of an Armenian literature (see ARMENIAN CHURCH).

In the interior of the Sassanian Empire the old troubles broke out anew on the death of Shapur II. (379). At first the magnates raised his aged brother Ardashir II. to the throne, then in 383 deposed him and enthroned Shapurs son as Shapur III. In 388, however, he was assassinated, Yazdegerdl. as was also his brother, Bahram IV., in 399. But the son of the latter, Yazdegerd I. (399420), was an energetic and intelligent sovereign, who held the magnates within bounds and severely chastised their attempts at encroachment. He even sought to emancipate himself from the Magian Church, put an end to the persecutions, and allowed the Persian Christians an individual organization. in the Persian tradition he is consequently known as the sinner. In the end he was probably assassinated. So great was the bitterness against him that the magnates would admit none of his sons to the throne. One of them, however, Bahram V., found an auxiliary in the Arab chief Mondhir, who had founded a principality in Hira, west of the lower Euphrates; and, as he pledged himB~ram ~ self to govern otherwise than his father, he received general recognition. This pledge he redeemed, and he is, in consequence, the darling of Persian tradition, which bestows on him the title of Gor (the wild ass), and is eloquent on his adventures in the chase and in love. This reversal of policy led to a Christian persecution and a new war with Rome. Bahram, however, was worsted; and in the peace of 422 Persia agreed to allow the Christians free exercise of their religion in the empire, while the same privilege was accorded to Zoroastrianism by Rome. Under his son, Yazdegerd II. (438457), who once more revived the persecutions of the Christians and the Jews, a short conflict with Rome again ensued (441): while at the same time war prevailed in the east against the remnants of the Kushan Empire and the tribe of Kidarites, also named Runs.

Here a new foe soon arose in the shape of the Ephthalites (Haitab), also known as the White Runs, a barbaric tribe The Bphtha- which shortly after A.D. 450 raided Bactria and terlitesor minated the Kushana dominion (Procop. Pers. ~. 3). White liuiis. These Ephthalite attacks harassed and weakened the Sassanids, exactly as the Tocharians had harassed and weakened the Arsacids after Phraates II. Peroz (457484) fell in battle against them; his treasures and family were captured and the country devastated far and near. His brother Balash (484488), being unable to repel them, was deposed and blinded, and the crown was bestowed on Kavadh I. (488531), the son of Peroz. As the external and internal distress still continued he was dethroned and imprisoned, but took refuge among the Ephthalites and was restored in 499 by their assistancelike Kavadhi so many Arsacids by the arms of the Dahae and Sacae. To these struggles obviously must be attributed mainly the fact that in the whole of this period no Roman war broke out. But, at the same time, the religious duel had lost in intensity, since, among the Persian Christians, the Nestorian doctrine was now dominant. Peroz had already favored the diffusion of Nestorianism, and in 483 it was officially adopted by a synod, after which it remained the Christian Church of the Persian Empire, its head being the patriarch of SeleuciaCtesiphon.

Kavadh proved himself a vigorous ruler. On his return he restored order in the interior. In 502 be attacked the Th M Romans and captured and destroyed Amida (mod.

~ Diarbekr), but was compelled to ratify a peace owing to an inroad of the Huns. Toward the close of his reign (527) he resumed the war, defeating Belisarius at Callinicum (531), with the zealous support of the wild Arab Mondhir II. of Hira. On his death his son Chosroes I. concluded a peace with Justinian (532), pledging the Romans to an annual subsidy for the maintenance of the Caucasus fortresses. In his home policy Kavadh is reminiscent of Yazdegerd I. Like him he had little inclination to the orthodox church, and favored Mazdak, the founder of a communistic sect which had made headway among the people and might be used as a weapon against the nobles, of whom Mazdak demanded that they should cut down their luxury and distribute their superfluous wealth. Another feature of his programme was the community of wives. The crown-prince, Chosroes, was, on the other band, wholly orthodox; and, towards the close of his fathers reign, in conjunction with the chief Magian, he carried through a sacrifice of the Mazdakites, who were butchered in a great massacre (528). Chosroes I. (53 1579), surnamed Anushirvan (the blessed), then restored the orthodox doctrine in ~ full, publishing his decision in a religious edict.

At the same time he produced the official exposition of the Avesla, an exegetical translation in the popular tongue (Pahlavi), and declared its contents binding. Defection from Zoroastrianism was punished with death, and therefore also the proselytizing of the Christians, though the Syrian martyrologies prove that the kings frequently ignored these proceedings so long as it was at all possible to do so.

Chosroes I. was one of the most illustrious sovereigns of the Sassanian Empire. From him dates a new and equitable adjustment of the imperial taxation, which was later adopted by the Arabs. His reputation as an enlightened ruler stood so high that when Justinian, in 529, closed the school of Athens, the last Neoplatonists bent their steps to him in hopes of finding in him the true philosopher-king. Their disillusionment, indeed, was speedy and complete, and their gratitude was great, when, by the conditions of the armistice of 549, he allowed their return. From 540 onward he conducted a great war against Justinian (527565), which, though interrupted by several armistices, lasted till the fifty years peace of 562. The net result, indeed, was merely to restore the status quo; but during the campaign Chosroes sacked Antioch and transplanted the population to a new quarter of Ctesiphon (540). He also extended his power to the Black Sea and the Caucasus; on the other hand, a siege of Edessa failed (544). A second war broke out in 577, chiefly on the question of Armenia and the Caucasus territory. In this Chosroes ravaged Cappadocia in 575; but the campaign in Mesopotamia was unsuccessful. In the interval between these two struggles (570) he despatched assistance to the Arabs of Yemen, who had been assailed and subdued by the Abyssinian Christians; after which period Yemen remained nominally under Persian suzerainty till it.s fate was sealed by the conquests of Mabomet and Islam.

Meanwhile, about A.D. 560, a new nation had sprung up in the East, the Turks. Chosroes concluded an alliance with them against the Ephthalites and so conquered Bactria south of the Oxus, with its capital Balkh. ~

Thus this province, which, since the insurrection the Turks. of Diodotus in 250 B.C., had undergone enlirely Sassanid different vicissitudes from the rest of Iran, was ~ o~ once more united to an Iranian Empire, and the Sassanid dominions, for the first time, passed the frontiers of the Arsacids. This, however, was the limit of their expansion. Neither the territories north of the Oxus, nor eastern Afghanistan and the Indus provinces, were ever subject to them. That the alliance with the Turks should soon change to hostility .and mutual attack was inevitable from the nature of the case; in the second Roman war the Turkish Khan was leagued with Rome.

Chosroes bequeathed this war to his son Hormizd IV. (579 590), who, in spite of repeated negotiations, failed to re-establish peace. Hormizd had not the ability to retain the authority of his father, and he further affronted the Magian priesthood by declining to proceed against the Christians and by requiring that, in his empire, both religions should dwell together in peace. Eventually he succumbed to a conspiracy of his magnates, at whose head stood the general Bahram Cobin, who had defeated the Turks, but afterwards was beaten by the Romans. Hormizds son, Chosroes II., was set up against his father and forced to acquiesce in his execution. But immediately new risings broke out, in which Bahram Cobinthough not of the royal lineattempted to secure the crown, while simultaneously a Prince Chosre~sII Bistam entered the lists. Chosroes fled to the Romans and the emperor Maurice undertook his restoration at the head of a great army. The people flocked to his standard; Bahram Cobin was routed (591) and fled to the Turks, who slew him, and Chosroes once more ascended the throne of Ctesiphon; Bistam held out in Media till 596. Maurice made no attempt to turn the opportunity to Roman advantage, and in the peace then concluded he even abandoned Nisibis to the Persians.

Chosroes II. (590628) is distinguished by the surname of Parvez (the conqueror), though, in point of fact, he was immeasurably inferior to a powerful sovereign like his grandfather, or even to a competent general. He lived, however, to witness unparalleled vicissitudes of fortune. The assassination of Maurice in 602 impelled him to a war of revenge against Rome, in the course of which his armiesin 6o8 and, again, in 615 and 626penetrated as far as Chalcedon opposite Constantinople, ravaged Syria, reduced Antioch (611), Damascus (613), and Jerusalem (614), and carried off the holy cross to Ctesiphon; in 619 Egypt was occupied. Meanwhile, the Roman Empire was at the lowest ebb. The great emperor Htaclius, who assumed the crown in 610, took years to create the nucleus of a new military power. This done, however, he took the field in 623, ani- repaid the Persians with interest. Their armies were everywhere defeated. In 624 he penetrated into Atropatene (Azerbaijan), and there destroyed the great fife-temple; in 627 he advanced into the Tigris provinces. Chosroes attempted no resistance, but fled from his residence at Dastagerd to Ctesiphon. These proceedings, in conjunction with the avarice and licence of the king, led to revolution. Chosroes was deposed and slain by his son Kavadh II. (628); but the parricide died in a few months and absolute chaos resulted. A whole list of kings and pretendersamong them the General Shahrbaraz and Boran, a daughter of Chosroesfollowed rapidly on one another; till finally the magnates united and, in 632, elevated a child to the throne, Yazdegerd III., grandson of Chosroes. In the intervalpresumably during the reign of Queen Boran peace was concluded with Heraclius, the old frontier being apparently restored. The cross had already been given back to f he emperor.

Thus the hundred years struggle between Rome and Persia, which had begun in 527 with the atack of the first Kavadh Th A b on Justinian, had run its fruitless course, utterly Co,nqist. enfeebling both empires and consuming their powers.

So it was that room was given to a new enemy who now arose between either state and either religionthe Arabs and Islam. In the same year that saw the corOnation of Yazdegerd 111.the beginning of 633the first Arab squadrons made their entry into Persian territory. After several encounters there ensued (637) the battle of Kadisiya (Qadisiya, Cadesia), fought on one of the Euphrates canals, where the fate of the Sassanian Empire was decided. A little previously, in the August of 636, Syria had fallen in a battle on the Yarmuk (Hieromax), and in 639 the Arabs penetrated into Egypt. The field of Kadisiya lald Ctesiphon, with all its treasures, at the mercy of the victor. The king fled to Media, where his generals attempted to organize the resistance; but the battle of Nehavend (?641) decided matters there. Yazdegerd sought refuge in one province after the other, till, at last, in 651, he was assassinated in Merv (see CALIPHATE: A, I).

Thus ended the empire of the Sassanids, no less precipitately and ingloriously than that of the Achaernenids. By 650 the Arabs had occupied every province to Balkh and the Oxus. Only in tho secluded districts of northern Media (Tabaristan), the generals of the house of Karen (Spahpat, Ispehbed) maintained themselves for a century as vassals of the caliphs exactly as Atropates and his dynasty had done before them.

The fall of the empire sealed the fate of its religion. The Moslems officially tolerated the Zoroastrian creed, though occasional persecutions were not lacking. But little by little it vanished from Iran, with the exception of a few remnants (chiefly in the oasis of Yezd), the faithful finding a refuge in India at Bombay. These Parsees have preserved but a small part of the sacred writings; but to-day they still number their years by the era which begins on the 16th of June A.D. 632, with the accession of Yazdegerd III., the last king of their faith and the last lawful sovereign of Iran, on whom rested the god-given Royal Glory of Ormuzd.

AUTiI0RITIEs.Besides the works on special periodsquoted above, the following general works should be consulted: Spiegel, Eranische Aitertunishunde (3 vols., 1876 sqq); W. Geiger and Ernst Kuhn, Grundriss der iranischen Philologie herczusg., vOl. ii. (Literature, History and Civilization, 1896 sqq.); G. Rawlinson, The Five Great Monarchies, The Sixth Monarchy, The Seventh Monarchy. Further the mutually supplementary work of Th. Ndldeke, Aufsatze zur persischen ceschichte (1887, Medes, Persians and Sassanids), and ,i. v. Gutschmid, Geschichte Irans von Alexander d. Gr. bis runs Unfr~rgang der Arsaciden (1888). A valuable work of reference is 1? T.~-,: ~ ~ ~ enr~

The most important works on the monuments are: Flandin et Coste, Voyage en Perse (6 vols., 1840 sqq.); Texier, LArmnie, La Perse, ella Mesopotamie (2 vols., 1842); Stolze, Persepolis (2 vols., 1882); Sarre, Iranische Felsreliefs (1908).

For works on the external history of Persia see those quoted under articles on Persian kings; also RoME; GREEcE; EGYPT; SviuA;&c. (ED.M.)

B. Transition Period: from the Fall of the Sassanid Dynasty to 1/re Death of Timur (1405).

With the final defeat of the Sassanids under Yazdegerd III. at the battles of Kadisiya (Kadessia) (637) and Nehavend (641):

Persia ceased to exist as a single political unit. The Al!

country passed under a succession of alien rulers Ru~.s. who cared nothing for its ancient institutions or its religion. For about 150 years it was governed, first from Medina and afterwards from Bagdad, by officers of the Mahommedan caliphs whose principal aim it was to destroy the old nationality by the suppression of its religion. The success of this policy was, however, only apparent, especially in Iran, the inhabitants of which adopted Islam only in the most superficial manner, and it was from Persia that the blow fell which destroyed the Omayyad caliphate and set up the Abbasids in its place (see CALIPHATE). Even before this event adventurers and dissatisfied Moslem officers had utilized the slumbering hostility of the Persian peoples to aid them in attacks on the caliphs (e.g. Ziyad, son of Abu Sofian, in the reign of Moawiya I.), and the policy of eastern expansion brought the Arab armies perpetually into the Persian provinces.

In the reign of Merwan I. the Persians (who were mostly Shiites) under a Moslem officer named Mokhtar (Mukhtar), whom they regarded as their mahdi, vainly attempted to assert, their independence in Kuf a, but were soon defeated. This rising was followed by many more (see CALIPHATE: B) in which the caliphs were generally successful, and Abdaimalik (d. 705) considerably strengthened the Moslem power by instituting a thorough system of Moslem coins and enforcing Arabic, as the official language throughout the empire. In the succeeding reign Persia was further subdued by the great conqueror Qoteiba (Qotaiba) b. Moshim, the Arabic governor of Khorasan. Omar II., however, extended to non-Arabic Moslems immunity from all taxes except the zakat (poor-rate), with the result that a large number of Persians, who still smarted under their defeat, under Mokhtar, embraced Islam and drifted into the towns to form a nucleus of sedition under the Shiite preachers. In the reign of Yazid II. (720724) serious risings took place in Khorasan, andin spite of the wise administration of his successor Hisham (d. 743), the disorder continued to spread, fanned by the Abbasids and the Shiite preachers. Ultimately in the reign of Merwan II.the non-Arabic Moslems found a leader in AbuMoslim, a maula (client) of Persian origin and a henchman of Ibrahim b. Mahommed b. Ali, the Shiite imam, who raised a great army, drove the caliphs general Nasr b. Sayyar into headlong flight,, and finally expelled Merwan. Thus the Abbasids became masters of Persia and also of the Arab Empire. They had gained their success largely by the aid of the Persians, who began, thenceforward to recover their lost sense of nationality; according to the Spanish author Ibn. Hazm the Abbasids were a Persian dynasty which destroyed the old tribal system of the Arabs and ruled despotically as Chosroes had done. At the same time the Khorasanians bad fought for the old Alid family, not for the Abbasids, and with the murder of Abu Moslim discontent again began to grow among the Shiites. In the reign of Harun al-Rashid disturbances broke out in Khorasan which, were temporarily appeased by a visit from Harun himself. Immediately afterwards Rafi b. Laith, grandson of the Omayyad general Nasr b. Sayyar, revolted in Samarkand, and Harun on his way to attack him died at Tus (809). Haruns sons Amin and Mamun quarrelled over the succession; Amin became caliph, but Mamun by the aid of Tahir b. IJosain Dhu l-Yami11ain (the man with two right hands) and others succeeded in deposing and killirtg him. Tahir ultimately (820) i~eceived the ctntrnrnnrahin nf Vhnr~can wIlprc, lip ~, s,~,,l,-l;~ sct~hrich;na a practically independent Moslem dynasty (the Tahirids)i which ruled until about 873 in nominal obedience to Bagdad. From 825 to about 898 a similar dynasty, the Dulafidsi or Dolafids reigned nominally as governors under the caliphs till they were put down by Motadid. In the reign of the caliph Motasim a serious revolt of Persian Mazdakite sectaries (the Khorrami) in alliance with Byzantium was with difficulty suppressed, as also a rising of Tabaristan under an hereditary chief Maziyar who was secretly supported by the Turkish mercenaries (e.g., Af shin) whom the caliph had invited to his court. To another Turk, Itakh, the caliph Wathiq gave a titular authority over all the eastern provinces. In the reign of the tenth caliph Motawakkil the Tahirids fell before Yakub b. Laith al-Saffar, who with the approbation of the caliph founded a dynasty, the Saffarid (q.v.), in Seistan.

It is convenient at this point to mention several other minor dynasties founded by nominal governors in various parts of Mi Persia and its borderland. From 879 to about 930 Dynasties, the Sajids ruled in. Azerbaijan, while in Tabaristan an Alid dynasty (the Zaidites) was independent from 864 to 928, when it fell before the Samanids. Subsequently descendants of this house ruled in Dailam and Gilan.. Throughout this period the caliphate was falling completely under the power of the Turkish officers. Mohtadi, the fourteenth Abbasid caliph, endeavoured vainly to replace them by Persians (the Abna). His successor Motamid was attacked by the Saffarid Yakub who however was compelled to flee (see CALIPHATE: C, Is). Yakubs brother Amr (reigned 878900) received the vacant position, but was taken prisoner by Ismail b. Ahmad, the Samanid, and the Saffarids were henceforward a merely nomiSamanids. nal dynasty under the Samanids (9001229). The Samanids (qz.) were the first really important nonArabic Persian dynasty since the fall of Yazdegerd III. They held sway over most of Persia and Transoxiana, and under their rule scholarship and the arts flourished exceedingly in spite of numerous civil wars. Ultimately they fell before the Ghaznevid dynasty of Sabuktagin.

In the reign of Motadid (CALIPHATE: C, 16) who, as we have seen, put down the Dolafids, and also checked the Sajids of Azerbaijan in their designs on Syria and Egypt, the Kharijites of Mesopotamia were put down by the aid of the Hamdanites of Mosul, who were to become an important dynasty (see below). Subsequently the caliphate, which had temporarily recovered some of its authority, resumed its downward course, and the great families of Persia once again asserted themselves. In the reign of Qahir (d. 934), a new dynasty arose in Persia, that Buyids. of the Buyids (Buwayhids). This family was descended from one Abu Shaja Buya, who claimed to be of the old Sassanian house and had become a chieftain in Dailam. He had successively fought for the Samanids and the Ziyarids,3 a dynasty of Jorjan, and his son Imad addaula (ed-dowleh, originally Abu 1 Uasan Au) received from Mardawij of the latter house the governorship of Karaj; his second son Rokn addaula (Abu All Uasan) subsequently held Rai and Isfahan, while the third, Moizz addaula (Abu 1 Ilosain Ahmad) secured KermAn, Ahvaz and even Bagdad.

The reign of the caliph Mottaqi (CALIPHATE: C, 21) was a period of perpetual strife between the Dailamites, the Turks and the Hamdanid Nasir addaula of Mosul. In the next reign Moizz addaula took Bagdad (94~) and was recognized by the caliph Mostakfi as sultan4 and amir al-Omara. It was at this I Abu Dolaf Qasim b. Idris-Ijli (825); Abdalaziz (842); Dolal (873); Ahmad (878); Omar 893898).

The Ziyarid dynasty was founded by Mardawij b. Ziyar (928935). His successors were Zahir addaula (ud-daula, ed-dowleh) Abu Mansur Washmagir (935967), Bistun (967976), Shams al Maali Qabus (97&1o12), Falak al Maali Manushahr (1012-1029), Anushirw~n (1029-1042). They were Alyite in religion. They were of progressively less importance under the Samanids, and were ultimately expelled by the Ghaznevids.

This is denied by S. Lane Poole, who points out that they did not use the title on their coins.

time that the three brothers took the titles Imad, Rukn (Rokn), and Moizz addaula. The authority of the family was absolute. though they paid outward respect to the caliphs. Moizz addaula repelled an attack of the Hamdanids of Mosul. The Buyids, and especially Adod addaula (Azud-ed-Dowleh, and similar forms), ruled Bagdad wisely and improved the city by great public works such as the great dike, still known as the Bend Amir on the Kur (Cyrus) near Persepolis. Their sway extended from the Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea (CALIPHATE: C, 24). Ultimately, however, the Buyid dynasty grew weaker under the quarrels of its members and fell an easy prey to the Ghaznevids. In the meantime (999) the Samanids fell before the Ilek-Khans of Turkestan, to the great advantage of the Ghaznevid princes.

For these and other minor dynasties such as the Hsanwayhids of Kurdistan (c. 9591015) and the Kakwayhids of Kurdistan (1007-1051), see Stockvis, Manuel dhistoire, 1.113 sqq. (Leiden, 1888).

The centre of force in Persian politics now changes from west to east. Hitherto the ultimate power, at least nominally, had resided in the caliphate at Bagdad, and all the dynasties which have been noticed derived their authority formally from that source. With the rise of the Ghaznevids and later uhaznevtds the Seljuks, the Abbasid caliphate ceased to count as an independent power. As we have seen, the Ghaznevid armies in a brief space destroyed most of the native dynasties of Persia. The first of the house was Aiptagin, a Turkish slave of the Samanid Mansur I., who, having quarrelled with his master, took refuge in Afghanistan and founded a semi-independent authority. After his death three unimportant governors of his house held sway, but in 977 the power fell to another former slave, Sabuktagin, who was recognized by the Samanid Nith II. His son and successor Mahmud (qv.) was attacked by a brother, Ismail, and retired from Khorasan (of which he had been governor). The Samanids then fell under the power of the Tatar Ilkhans, but Mahmud returned, triumphed over both the Samanids and the Tatars, and assumed the independent title of sultan with authority over Khorasan, Transoxiana and parts of north-west India. Mahmud was a great conqueror, and wherever he went he replaced the existing religion by Mahommedanism. He is described as the patron (if a somewhat ungenerous one) of literature; it was under his auspices that Firdousi collected the ancient myths of Persia and produced the great epic Sha/inama (Book of the Kings). His descendants held a nominal rule till 1187, but in 1152 they lost all their extra-Indian territories to the Ghorids, and during the last thirty-five years reigned in diminished splendour at Lahore. Even before this time, however, the supremacy which they enjoyed under Mahmud in Persia had fallen into the hands of the Seljuks who, in the reign of Masud L, son seij~s. of Mahmud, conquered Khorasan. In 1037 Seljuk princes were recognized in Merv and Nishapur, and in the ensuing eighteen years the Seljuks conquered Balkh, Jorjan, Tabaristan, Klwarizm, Hamadan, Rai, Isfahan, and finally Bagdad (1055). The Abbasid caliphs, who still enjoyed a precarious and shadowy authority at the pleasure of Turkish viziers, gladly surrendered themselves to the protection of the Mahommedan Seljuks, who paid them all outward respect.

Thus for the first time since the Arab conquest of the Sassanian realm Persia was ruled by a single authority, which extended its conquests westward into Asia Minor, where it checked the rulers of Byzantium, and eastward to India and Central Asia. The history of this period is treated at length in the articles CALIPHATE: C, ~ 26 sqq.; and SELJUKS. A bare outline only is required here.

The first three Seljuk rulers were Toghrul Beg, Alp Arsian and Malik Shah. On the death of the last the empire was distracted by civil war between his sons Barkiyaroq, Mahommed arid Sinjar, with the result that, although the Seljuks of the direct line maintained nominal supremacy till the death of Sinjar (i15~), other branches of the family established themselves in various parts of the empireSyria, Rum (Asia Minor),

Kermn, and Irak with Kurdistan. Sinjar himself lost all his dominions except Khorasan in wars with the Karakitai. The sultans of Kerman were rarely independent in the full sense, but they enjoyed comparative peace and prosperity till the death of Toghrul Shah (1170), after which their power fell before the Ghuzz tribes; Kermn was finally captured in ii9~ by the Khwarizm shahs. Meanwhile an independent dynasty was formed about 1136 in Azerbaijan by the governors (atabegs) appointed by the Seljuks; this dynasty was overthrown by the Khwarizm shahs in 1225. Similar dynasties existed in Laristan and Fars.

The empire of the Seljuks was essentially military. Their authority over their own officers was so precarious that they preferred to entrust the command to Turkish slaves. These officers, however, were far from loyal to their lords. In every part of the empire they gradually superseded the Seljuk princes, and the minor dynasties above mentioned all owed their existence to the ambition of the Turkish regents or atabegs. The last ilnportant dynasty in Persia prior to the Mongol invasion was that of the Saigharids in Fars, founded by the descendants of a Turkish general Salaghar, who had formerly been a Turkoman leader and ultimately became chamberlain to Toghrul Beg. The first ruler was Sonkor b. Modud, who made himself independent in Fars in 1148. The fourth, Sad, became tributary to the Khwarizm shahs in ,i9~, and the fifth acknowledged allegiance to the Mongol Ogotai and received the title Kutbegh K han. His successors were vassals of the Mongols, and the last, the Princess Abish (d. 1287), was the wife of Hulagus son ~1angu Timur.

Before passing on to the Mongol conquerors of Persia it is necessary briefly to notice the shahs of Khwarizm, who have Khwarizm frequently been mentioned as overthrowing th~ininor dynasties which arose with the decay of the Stiljuks. These rulers were descended from Anushtajin, a Turkish slave of Ghazni, who became cupbearer to the Seijuk M alik Shah, and afterwards governor of Khwarizm (Khiva) in 1077. In 1138 the third of the line, Atsiz, revolted but was defeated and expelled by Sinjar. Shortly afterwards he returned, firmly established his power, and extended the Khwarizm Empire as far as Jand on the Sihun. The brief reigns of Il-Arslan arfd Sultan Shah Mahmud were succeeded by that of Tukush (1172-1199) and Ala ed-din Mahommedi (1199-1220). The former of these subdued Khorasan, Rai and Isfahan, while the latter brought practically all Persia under his sway, conquered Bokhara, Samarkand and Otrar, capital of the Karakitai, and had even made himself master of Ghazni when his career was stopped by the hordes of the Mongol Jenghiz Khan. In 1231 the last of his house, Jelal ud-din (Jalaluddin) Mangbarti, or Mango-berti, was banished, and thus the empire of the Kliwarizm shahs, which for a brief period had included practically all the lands conquered by the Seljuks, passed away.

Thus from the fall of the Samanidsto the invasion of the Mongols five or at most six important dynasties held sway over Persia, while some forty small dynasties enjoyed a measure of local autonomy. During the whole of this period the Abbasid caliphs had been nominally reigning throughout the Mahommedan world with their capital at Bagdad. But with hardly any exceptions they had been the merest puppets, now in the hands of Turkish ministers, now under the protection of practically independent dynasts. The real rulers of Persia during the years 8741231 were, as we have seen, the Samanids, the Buyids, the Ghaznevids, the Seljuks, the Salgharids and the Khwarizm shahs. We now come to a new period in Persian history, when the numerous, petty dynasties which succeeded the Seliuks were all swallowed up in the great Mongcl invasion.

In the later years of the 12th century the: Mongols began their westward march and, after the conquest of the ancient Mongols kingdom of the Kajakitai, reached the borders of the territory of the Khwarizm shahs, which was at once overwhelmed. Jenghiz Khan died in 1272, and the Mongol it was this prince who destroyed the Ghorid dynasty, which claimed descent from the legendary Persian monarch Zohak. Except for a brief period of submission to the Ghaznevids (1009-1099) they ruled at Ghor until 1215, when they were conquered after a fierce struggle.

Empire stretching from the Caspian to the Yellow Sea was divided up among his sons. Persia itself fell partly in the domain of Jagatai and partly in that of the Golden Horde. The actual governor of Persia was Tului or Tule, whose son Hulagu or Hulaku is the first who can be rightly regarded as the sovereign of Persia. His accession occurred in 1256, and henceforward Persia becomes after 600 years of spasmodic government a national unit. Hulagu at Once proceeded to destroy a number of nascent dynasties which endeavoured to establish themselves on the ruins of the Khwarizm Empire; about 1255 he destroyed the dynasty of the i by the capture of their stronghold of Alamut (Eagles Nest), and finally in 1258 captured Bagdad. The thirty-eighth and last Abbasid caliph, Mostasim, was brutally murdered, and thus the Mahommedan caliphate ceased to exist even as an emasculated pontificate. The Persian Empire under Hulagu and his descendants extended from the dominions of Jagatai on the north to that of the Egyptian dynasts on the south, and from the Byzantine Empire on the west to the confines of China. Its rulers paid a nominal homage to the Khakhan (Great Khan) in China, and officially recognized this dependence in their title of Ilkhan, i.e. provincial or dependent khan. From 1258 to 1335 the Ilkhans were not seriously challenged. Hulagu fixed his capital at Maragha (Meragha) in Azerbaijan,where he erected an observatory for Nasir ud-din Tusi, who at his request prepared the astronomical tables known as the Zidj-i-Ilkhani. He died in 1265 and was succeeded by his son Abagha or Abaka, who married the daughter of Michael Palaeologus, the Byzantine ruler. Abagha was a peaceful ruler and endeavoured by wise administration to give order and prosperity to a country torn asunder by a long period of intestine war and the Mongol invasion. He succeeded in repelling two attacks by other Mongolian princes of the house of Jenghiz Khan; otherwise his reign was uneventful. His brother Nikudar (originally Nicolas) Ahmad Khan succeeded him in 1281. This prince was converted to Islam, an event of great moment both to the internal peace and to the external relations of Persia. His persecution of the Christians led them into alliance with the Mongols, who detested Islam; the combined forces were too strong for Nikudar, who was murdered in 1284. The external results were of more importance. The Ilkhans, who had failed in their attempt to wrest Syria from the Mameluke rulers of Egypt, had subsequently endeavoured tO effect their object by inducing the European Powers to make a new crusade. The conversion of Nikudar put an end to this policy and Egypt was for some time free from Persian attack (see EGYPT: History). The Mongol leaders put on the throne a son of Abagha, by name Arghun. His reign was troubled. His first minister Shams ud-din was suspected of having poisoned Abagha, and was soon put to death. His successor, the amir Bogha, conspired against Arghun and was executed. Under the third minister (1289-1291), a Jewish doctor named Sad addaula (ed-Dowleh), religious troubles arose owing to his persecution. of the Mahommedans and his favoring the Christians. The financial administratizrn of Sad was prudent and successful, if somewhat severe, and the revenue benefited considerably under his care. But he committed the tactical error of appointing a disproportionate number of Jews and Christians as revenue officials, and thus made many enemies among the Mongol nobles, who had him assassinated in 1291 when Arghun was lying fatally ill. It is possible that it was Sads diplomacy which led Pope Nicholas, IV. to send a mission to Arghun with a view to a new crusade. The reign of Arghun was also disturbed by a rebellion of a grandson of Hulagu, Baidu Khan. Arghun died soon after the murder of Sad, and was succeeded by his brother Kaikhatu, or Gaykhatu, who was taken prisoner by Baidu Khan and killed (1295). Baidus reign was cut short in the same year by Arghuns son Ghazan Mahmud, whose reign (1295-1304) was a period of prosperity in war and administration. Ghazan ~ dynasty of the Assassins or Ismailites was founded in 1090 and extended its rule over much of western Persia and, Syria (for the rulers see Stockvis, op. cit. i. 131, and article AssAssIfc).

was a man of great ability. He established a permanent staff to deal with legal, financial and military affairs, put on a firm basis the monetary system and the system of weights and measures, and perfected the mounted postal service. Ghazan fought with success against Egypt (which country had already from 1293 to December 1294 been ruled by a Mongol usurper Kitboga), and even held Damascus for a few months. In 1303, however, his troops were defeated at Merj al-Saffar, and Mongol daims on Syria were definitely abandoned. It was even suggested that the titular Abbasid caliphs (who retained an empty title in Cairo under Mameluke protection, should be reinstated at Bagdad, but this proposal was not carried into effect. Ghazan is historically important, however, mainly as the first Mongol ruler who definitely adopted Islam with a large number of his subjects. He died in 1304, traditionally of anger at the Syrian fiasco, and was succeeded by his brother Ijijaitu (Oeljeitu). The chief events of his reign were a successful war against Tatar invaders and the substitution of the new city of Sultania as capital ror Tabriz, which had been Ghazans headquarters. lljaitu was a Shiite and even stamped his coins with the names of the twelve Shiite imams. He died in 1316, and was succeeded by Abu Said, his son. The prince, under whom a definite peace was made with Malik al-Nasir, the Mameluke ruler of Egypt, had great trouble with powerful viziers and generals which he accentuated by his passion for Bagdad-Khatun, wife of the amir Uosain and daughter of the amir Chupan. This lady he eventually married, with the result that Chupan headed a revolt of his tribe, the Selduz. Abu Said died of fever in 1335, and with him the first Mongol or Ilkhan dynasty of Persia practically came to an end. The real power was divided between Chupan and Uosain the Jelair (or Jalair), or the Ilkhanian, and their sons, known respectively as the Little Uasan (Ilasan Kuchuk) and the great Uasan (Uasan Buzurg). Two puppet kings, Arpa Khan, a descendant of Hulagus brother Arikbuhga, and Musa Khan, a descendant of Baidu, nominally reigned for a few months each. Then Uasan Kuchuk set up one Sati-beg, Abu Saids daughter, and wife successively of Chupan, Arfa Khan and one Suleiman, the last of whom was khan from 1339 to 1343; in the same time I~Iasan Buzurg set up successively Mahommed, Tugha-Timur and JahanTimur. A sixth nonentity, Nushirwan, was a Chupani nominee in 1344, after which time Ilasan Buzurg definitely installed himself as the first khan of the Jelairid or Ilkhanian-Jelairid dynasty.

Practically from the reign of Abu Said Persia was divided under five minor dynasties, (I) the Jelairids, (2) the Mozaffarids, MInor (3) the Sarbadarids (Serbedarians), (4) the Beni Dynasties. Kurt, arid (5) the Jubanians, all of which ultimately fell before the armies of Timur.

I. The Jelairid rulers were ~asan Buzurg (1336, strictly 1344 1356), Owais (1356-1374), llosain (1374-1382), Sultan Ahmad (1382-1410), Shah Walad (1410-1411). Their capital was Bagdad, and their dominion was increased under Ijasan. Owais added Azerbaijan, Tabriz, and even Mosul and Diarbekr. Uosain fought with the Mozaffarids of Shiraz and the Black Sheep Turkomans (Kara Kuyunli) of Armenia,with the latter of whom he ultimately entered into alliance. On his death Azerbaijan and Irak fell to his brother, Sultan Ahmad, while another brother Bayezid ruled for a few months in part of Kurdistan. It was about this time that Timur (q.v.) began his great career of conquest, under which the power of the various Persian dynasties collapsed. By 1393 he had conquered northern Persia and Armenia, Bagdad, Mesopotamia, Diarbekr and Van, and Ahmad fled to Egypt, where he was received by Barkuk (Barquq) the Mameluke sultan. Barkuk, who had already excited the enmity of Timur by slaying one of his envoys, espoused Ahmads cause, and restored him to Bagdad after Timurs return to his normal capital Samarkand. Timur retaliated and until his death Ahmad ruled only from time to time. In 1406 Ahmad was finally restored, but almost immediately entered upon a quarrel with Kara Vusuf, leader of the Black Sheep Turkomans (Kara Kuyunli), who defeated and killed him in 1410. His nephew Shah Walad reigned for a few months only and the throne was occupied by his widow Tandu, formerly wife of Barkuk, who ruled over Basra, Wasit and Shuster till 1416, paying allegiance to Shah Rukh, the second Timurid ruler. Walads sons Mahmud, Owais and Mahommed, and Uosain, grandson of Sultan Ahmad, successively occupied the throne. The last of these was killed by the Kara Kuyunli, who had established adynasty in. western Persia after Kara Yusufs victory in 1410.

2. The Mozaffarids, who ruled roughly from 1313 to 1399 in Fars, Kerman and Kurdistan, were descended from the Amir Mozaffar, or Muzaffar, who held a post as governor under the Ilkhan ruler. His son Mobariz ud-din Mahommed, who followed him in 1313, became governor in Fars under Abu Said, in Kerman in 1340, and subsequently made himself independent at Fars and Shiraz (1353) and in Isfahan. (1356). In 1357 he was deposed and blinded, and though restored was exiled again and died in. 1364. His descendants, except for Jelal ed-din (Jalaluddin) Shah Shuja, the patron of the poet Hafiz, were unimportant, and the dynasty was wiped out by Timur about 1392.

3. The Sarbadarids (so called from their motto Sar-ba-dar, Head to the Gibbet), descendants of Abd al-Razzak, who rebelled in Khorasan about 1337, enjoyed some measure of independence under twelve rulers till they also were destroyed by Timur (c. 1380).

4. The Beni Kurt (or Kart), who had governed in Khorasan from 1245, became independent in the early 1 4th century; they were abolished by Timur (c. 1383).

5. The Jubanians had some power in Azerbaijan from 1337 to 1355, when they were dethroned by the Kipchaks of the house of Jenghiz Khan.

The authority of Timur, which, as we have seen, was dominant throughout Persia from at least as early as 395 till his death in 1405, was never unchallenged. He passed from one victory to another, but the conquered districts were never really settled under his administration. Fresh risings of the defeated dynasties followed each new enterprise, and he had also to deal with the Mongol hordes whose territory marched with northerii Persia. His descendants were for a brief period the overlords of Persia, but after Shah Rukh (reigned 1409-1446) and Ala addaula (1~47), the so-called Timurid dynasty ceased to have any authority over Persia. There were Timurid governors of Fars under Shah Rukh, Pir Mahommed (1405-1409), Iskendar (140914,4), Ibrahim (1415-1434) and Abdallah (1434); in other parts of Persia many of the Timurid family held governorships of greater or less importance.

AurHoiuTIEs.The works relating to Persia will be found under articles on the maindynasties (CALIPHATE; SELJIJKS; MONGOLS) ,and the great rulers (JENGHIz KHAN; MAHMUD OF GHAZNI; TIMUR).

For general information and chronology see S. Lane Poole, Mohammedan Dynasties (London, 1894); Stockvis, Manuel dhjstoire, vol. i. (Leiden, 1888); Sir H. Howorth, History of the Mongols (1876-1888). (J. M. M.)

C.From the~ Death of Timur to the Fall of the Safawid Dynasty, 1405-1736.

Timur died in 1405, when in the seventieth year of his age and about to invade China. Besides exercising sovereignty over Transoxiana and those vast regions more or Th. Tin,,,less absorbed in. Asiatic Russia of the I9th century, rides and inclusive of the Caucasus, Astrakhan and the lower Voiga, and overrunning Mesopotamia, Syria, 4 .~

Asia Minor, Afghanistan and India, he had at this time left his indelible mark upon the chief cities and provinces of Persia. Khorasan and Mazandaran had submitted to him in 1381, Azerbaijan had shortly after followed their example, and Isfahan was seized in 1387. From Isfahan he passed on to Shiraz, and thence returned in triumph to his own capital of Samarkand. Five years later he subdued Mazandaran, and later still he was again at Shiraz, having effected the subjugation of Luristan and other provinces in the west. It may be said that from north to south, or from Astatabad to Hormuz, the whole country had been brought within his dominion.

The third son of Timur, Miran Shah, had ruled over part of Persia in his fathers lifetime; but he was said to be insane, and his incapacity for government had caused the loss of Bagdad and revolt in other provinces. His claim to succession had been put aside by Timur in favor of Pir Mahommed, the son of a deceased son, but KhaliI Shah, a son of the discarded prince, won the day. His waste of time and treasure upon a fascinating mistress named Shadu l-Mulk, the delight of the kingdom, soon brought about his deposition, and in 1408 he gave way to Shah Rukh, who, with the exception of Miran Shah, was the only surviving son of Timur. In fact the uncle and nephew changed placesthe one quitting his government of Khorasan to take possession of the Central-Asian throne, the other con~ senting to become governor of the vacated Persian province and abandon the cares of the empire at Samarkand. In 1409 Khalil Shah died; and the story goes that Shadu l-Mulk stabbed herself and was buried with her royal lover at Rai, one of the towns which his grandfather had partly destroyed.

Shah Rukh, the fourth son of Timur, reigned for thirty-eight years, and appears to have been a brave, generous, and enlightened monarch. He removed his capital from Samarkand to Herat, of which place he rebuilt the citadel, restoring and improving the town. Merv also profited from his atten.tion to its material interests. Sir John Malcolm speaks of the splendour of his court and of his encouragement of science and learning. He sent an embassy to China; and an English version of the travels to India of one of his emissaries, Abd ur-Razzak, is to be found in R. H. Majors India in the Fifteenth Century (London, Hakluyt Society, 1857). As regards his Persian possessions, he had some trouble in the north-west, where the Turkomans of Asia Minor, known as the Kara Kuyun,i or Black Sheep, led by Kara Yusuf2 and his sons Iskandar and Jahan Shah, had advanced upon Tabriz, the capital of Azerbaijan. On the death of the Shah Rukh in 1446 he was succeeded by his son Ulugh Bey, whose scientific tastes are demonstrated in the astronomical tables bearing his name, quoted by European writers when determining the latitude of places in Persia. He was, moreover, himself a poet and patron of literature, and built a college as well as an observatory at Samarkand. There is no evidence to show that he did much to consolidate his grandfathers conquests south of the Caspian. Ulugh Bey was put to death by his son Abd ul-Latif, who, six months later, was slain by his own soldiers. Babarnot the illustrious founder of the Mughal dynasty in India, but an elder member of the same housenext obtained possession of the sovereign power, and established himself in the government of Khorasan and the neighboring countries. He died after a short rule, from habitual intemperance. After him Abu Said, grandson of Miran Shah, and once governor of Fars, became a candidate for empire, and allied himself with the Uzbeg Tatars, seized Bokhara, entered Khorasan, and waged war upon the Turkoman tribe aforesaid, which, since the invasion of Azerbaijan, had, under Jahan Shah, overrun Irak, Fars and Kermgn, and pillaged Herat. But he was eventually taken prisoner by Uzun I~Iasan, and killed in 1468.

It is difficult to assign dates to a few events recorded in Persian history for the eighteen years following the death of Abd ulLatif; and, were it not for chance European missions, the same difficulty would be felt in dealing with the period after the death of Abu Said up to the accession of Ismail Sufi in 1499. Sultan Ahmad, eldest son of Abu Said, reigned in Bokhara; his brother, Ornar Sheikh, in Ferghana; but the son of the latter, the great Babar, was driven by the Uzbegs to Kabul and India. More to the purpose is it that Sultan IJosain Mirza, great-grandson of Omar Sheikh, son of Timur, reigned 10 in Herat from 1487 to 1506. He was a patron of learned men, among others of the historians Mirk hond and Khwadamir, and the p~ts Jami and Hatifi. But at no time could his control have extended over central and western Persia. The nearest approach to a sovereignty in those parts on the death of Abu Said is that of Uzun Ijasan, the leader of the Ak Kuyun, or White Sheep Turkomans, and conqueror of the Black Sheep, whose chief, Jahan Shah, he defeated and slew. Between the two tribes there had long been lJzun Ijasan a deadly feud. Both were composed of settlers in Asia ~Minor, the Black Sheep having consolidated their power at Van, the White at Diarbekr.

Sir John Malcolm states that at the death of Abu Said, Sultan Uosain Mirza made himself master of the empire, They were commonly called Kara Kuyun-lu and thern WhitE Sheep Turkomans Ak Kuyun-lu, the affix lu signifying possession, i.e. possession of a standard bearing the image of a black or white sheep.

According to Erskine, this chief killed Miran Shah, who& dwelling-place was Tabriz.

and, a little later, that Uzun IJasan, after he had made himself master of Persia, turned his arms in the direction of Turkey; but the reader is left to infer for himself what the real empire of IJosain Mirza, and what the limit of the Persia of Uzun Uasan. The second could not well be included in the first, because the Turkomans were in possession of the greater part of the Persian plateau, while the sultan was in Herat, to which Khorasan belonged. It may be assumed that an empire like that acquired by Timur could not long be maintained by his descendants in its integrity.

The Turkish adjective uzun, ~j~J,t long, applied to I-,Iasan, the Turkoman monarch of Persia (called also by the Arabs Uasanu t-Tawil), is precisely the qualifying Persian word J!j) used in the compound designation of Artaxerxes Longimanus; and Malcolm quotes the statement of a Venetian envoy in evidence that Uzun IJasan was a tall thin man, of a very open and engaging countenance. This reference, and a further notice in Markhams history, supply the clue to a store of valuable information made available by the publications of the Hakluyt Society. The narratives of Caterino Zeno, Barbaro and Contarini, envoys from Venice to the court of Uzun Tlasan, are in this respect especially interesting. Zeno was sent in 1471 to incite this warlike ruler against the Ottoman sultan, and succeeded in his mission. That the result was disastrous to the shah is not surprising, but the war seems to hold a comparatively unimportant place in the annals of Turkey.

Uzun Ilasan had married Despina (Gr. 1~r,roLva), daughter of the emperor of Trebizond, Cab Johannes of the house of the Comneni; and Zenos wife was niece to this Christian princess. The relationship naturally strengthened the envoys position at the court, and he was permitted to visit the queen in the name of the republic which he represented. Barbaro and Contarini met at Isfahan in 1474, and there paid their respects to the shah together. Kum and Tauris or Tabriz (then the capital) were also visited by the Italian envoys following in the royal suite; and the incidental notice of these cities, added to Contarinis formal statement that the extensive country of U~suncassan is bounded by the Ottoman Empire and by Caramania, and that Siras (Shiraz) is comprehended in it, proves that at least Azerbaijan, Irak, and the main part of the provinces to the south, inclusive of Fars, were within the dominions of the reigning monarch.

There is good reason to suppose that Jahan Shah, the Black Sheep Turkoman, before his defeat by Uzun IJasan, had set up the standard of royalty; and Zeno, at the outset of his travels, calls him king of Persia 1 in 1450. Chardin alludes to him in the same sense; but Ilasan the Long is a far more prominent figure, and has hardly received justice at the hands of the historian. Indeed, his identity seems to have been lost in the various modes of spelling his name adopted by the older chroniclers, who call him indiscriminately-4 Alymbeius, Asembeius, Asembec, Assimbeo, or Ussan Cassano. He is said to have earned the character of a wise and valiant monarch, to, have reigned eleven years, to have lived to the age of seventy, and, on his death in 1477 or (according to Krusinski and Zeno) J478, to have been succeeded on the throne of Persia by his son Yaqub. This prince, who had slain an elder brother, died by poison (1485), after a reign of seven years. The dose was offered to him by his wife, who had been unfaithful to him and sought to set her paramour on his throne.

Writers differ as to the succession to Yaqub. Zenos account is that a son named Allamur (called also, Alamut, Alvante, El-wand and Aiwung Bey) was the next king, who, Anaithy besides, Persia, possessed Diarbekr and part of greater Armenia near the Euphrates. On the other hand, Krusinski states that, Yaqub dying childless, his relati~ Julaver, one of the grandees of the kingdom, seized the throne, and held possession of it for three years. Baisingar, it is added, succeeded him in 1488 and reigned till 1490, when a young nobleman named Rustan (Rustam?) obtained the sovereign powe~ and exercised it for seven years. This account is confirmed by Angiolello, a traveller who followed his countrymen Barbaro and Contarini to Persia; and from the two authorities combined may be gathered the further narration of the murder of Rustam and usurpation of the throne by a certain Ahmad, whose death, under torture, six months afterwards, made way for Alamut, the young son of Uasan. These discrepancies can be reconciled on reference to yet another record bound up with the narratives of the four Italians aforesaid, and of much the same period. In the Travels of a Merchant in Persia the story of Yaqubs death is supplemented by the statement that the great lords, hearing of their kings decease, had quarrels among themselves, so that for five or six years all Persia was in a state of civil war, first one and then another of the nobles becoming sultans. At last a youth named Alamut, aged fourteen years, was raised to the throne, which he held till the succession of Sheikh Ismail. Who this young man was is not specified; but other writers call Alamut and his brother Murad the sons of Yaqub, as though the relationship were unquestionable.

Now little is known, save incidentally, of Julaver or Rustam; but Baisingar is the name of a nephew of Omar Sheikh, king of Ferghana and contemporary of Uzun Ilasan. There was no doubt much anarchy and confusion in the interval between the death of Yaqub and the restoration, for two years, of the dynasty of the White Sheep. But the tender age of Alamut would, even in civilized countries, have necessitated a regency; and it may be assumed that he was the next legitimate and more generally recognized sovereign. Markham, in designating this prince the last of his house, states that he was dethroned by the renowned founder of the Safawi dynasty. This event brings us to one of the most interesting periods of Persian history, any account of which must be defective without a prefatory sketch of Ismail Sufi.

The Sufi or Safawid (Safawi) Dynasty (149g1736).Sheikh Saifu d-Din Izhak lineally descended from Musa, the seventh Sb Ikh imamwas a resident at Ardebil (Ardabil) southS,,ffi,.d.DIfl.west of the Caspian, some time during the I4th century. It is said that his reputation for sanctity attracted the attention of Timur, who sought him out in his abode, and was so charmed by the visit that he released, at the holy mans request, a number of captives of Turkish origin, or Georgians, taken in the wars with Bayezid. The act ensured to the Sheikh the constant devotion and gratitude of these men a feeling which was loyally maintained by their descendants for the members of his family in successive generations.

His son Sadrud-Din and grandson Kwaja Ali (who visited Mecca and died at Jerusalem) retained the high reputation of their pious predecessor. Junaid, a grandson of the last, married a sister of Uzun I-~Iasan, and by her had a son named Sheikh Sb ikh Haidar, who married his cousin Martha, daughter Haldar. of lJzun Ijasan and Queen Despina. Three sons were the issue of this marriage, Sultan Ali, Ibrahim Mirza, and the youngest, Ism&il, the date of whose birth is put down as 1480 for reasons which will appear hereafter. So great was the influence of Sheikh Haidar, and so earnestly did he carry out the principles of conduct which had characterized his family for five generations, that his name has become, as it were, inseparable from the dynasty of his son Ismail; and the term Haidari (leonine) is applied by many persons to indicate generally the Safawids of Persia. The outcome of his teaching was a division of Mahommedanism vitally momentous to the world of Islam. The Persian mind was peculiarly adapted to receive the form of religion prepared for it by the philosophers of Ardebil. The doctrines presented were dreamy and mystic; they rejected the infallibility of human wisdom, and threw suspicion on the order and arrangement of human orthodoxy. There was free scope given for the indulgence of that political imagination which revels in revolution and chafes at prescriptive bondage. As Malcolm remarks, the very essence of Sufi-ism is poetry.

i According to Langls, the annotator of Chardin, his real designation was Abu l-Fath Izhak, the Sheikh Saifu l-Hakk wu d-Din or pure one of truth and religion.

Those authorities who maintain that Yaqub Shah left no son to succeed him consider valid the claim to the vacant throne of Sheikh Haidar Sufi. Purchas says that Yaqub himself, jealous of the multitude of Aidars disciples and the greatness of his fame, caused him to be secretly murthered; but Krusinski attributes the act to Rustam a few years later. Zeno, the anonymous merchant and Angiolello affirm that the devotee was defeated and killed in battlethe first making his conqueror to be Alamut, the second a general of Alamuts, and the third an officer sent by Rustam named Suleiman Bey. Malcolm, following the Zubdatu t-tawaribh, relates that Sheikh Haidar was vanquished and slain by the governor of Shirvan. The subsequent statement that his son, Sultan Ali, was seized, in company with two younger brothers, by Yaqub, one of the descendants of their grandfather Uzun }.iasan, who, jealous of the numerous disciples that resorted to Ardebil, confined them to the hill fort of Istakhr in Fars, seems to indicate a second interpretation of the passage just extracted from Purchas, and that there is confusion of persons and incident somewhere. One of the sons here alluded to was Ismail, whom Malcolm makes to have been only seven years of age when he fled to Gilan in 1492. Zeno states that he was then thirteen, which is much more probable,2 and the several data available for reference are in favor of this supposition.

The life of the young Sufi from this period to his assumption of royalty in 1499 was full of stirring adventure; and his career as Ismail I. was a brilliant one. According to IsmaiI Zeno, who seems to have carefully recorded the events of the time, he left his temporary home on an island of Lake Van before he was eighteen, and, passing into Karabakh,3 between the Aras and Kur, turned in a south-easterly direction into Gilan. Here he was enabled, through the assistance of a friend of his father, to raise a small force with which to take possession of Baku on the Caspian, and thence to march upon Shemakha in Shirvan, a town abandoned to him without a struggle. Hearing, however, that Alamut was advancing to meet him, he was compelled to seek new levies from among the Jengian Christians and others. At the head of 16,000 men, he thoroughly routed his opponents, and, having cleared the way before him, marched straight upon Tabriz, which at once surrendered. He was soon after proclaimed shah of Persia (1499), under the designation which marked the family school of thought.

Alamut had taken refuge at Diarbekr; but his brother Murad, at the head of an army strengthened by Turkish auxiliaries, was still in the field with the object of contesting the paternal crown. Ismail lost no time in moving against him, and won a new victory on the plains of Tabriz. Murad fled with a small remnant of his soldiers to Diarbekr, the rallying-point of the White Sheep Turkomans. Zeno states that in the following year Ismail entered upon a new campaign in Kurdistan and Asia Minor, but that he returned to Tabriz without accomplishing his object, having been harassed by the tactics of Ala ud-Daula, a beylerbey, or governor in Armenia and parts of Syria. Another writer says that he marched against Murad Khan in Irak-iAjami and Shiraz. This last account is extremely probable, and would show that the young Turkoman had wished to make one grand effort to save Isfahan and Shiraz (with Kazvin and the neighboring country), these being, after the capital Tabriz, the most important cities of Uzun ~iasans Persia. His men, however, apparently dismayed at the growing prestige of the enemy, did not support him, and he was defeated and probably slain. There is similar evidence of the death of Alamut, who, it is alleged, was treacherously handed over to be killed by the. shahs own hands.

Ismail returned again to Tabriz (1501) and caused great rejoicings to be made on account of his victory. In 1503 he had added to his conquests Bagdad, Mosul and Jezira on the Tigris. The next year he was called to the province of 1 Possibly Kara-dagh, as being the more direct road.

and the actual seizure of Herat, necessitating the recovery of that city and a march to Kandahar (1536); the temporary loss of Kandahar in the following year (1537), when the governor ceded it to Prince Kamran, son of Babar; the hospitable reception accorded to the Indian emperor Humayun (1543); the rebellion of the shahs brother next in age, Ilkhas, who, by his alliance with the sultan, brought on a war with Turkey (1548);i and finally a fresh expedition to Georgia, followed by a revengeful incursion which resulted in the enforced bondage of thousands of the inhabitants (1552).

Bayezid, a son of the Turkish emperor, rebelled, and his army was beaten in 1559 by the imperial troops at Konia in Asia Minor. He fled to Persia and took refuge War with Turkey. with Shah ~ahmasp, who pledged himself to give him a permanent asylum. Suleimans demand, however, for extradition or execution was too peremptory for refusal, and the prince was delivered up to the messengers sent