Afsharid dynasty

The Afsharid dynasty was an Iranian dynasty that originated from the Afshar tribe in Iran's north-eastern province of Khorasan, ruling Iran in the mid-eighteenth century. The dynasty was founded in 1736 by the brilliant military commander Nader Shah, who deposed the last member of the Safavid dynasty and proclaimed himself as of the Shah of Iran. During Nader's reign, Iran reached its greatest extent since the Sasanian Empire. At its height it controlled modern-day Iran, Georgia, Azerbaijan Republic, parts of the North Caucasus, Bahrain, Turkmenistan and Pakistan, parts of Iraq, United Arab Emirates and Oman. After his death, most of his empire was divided between the Zands, Durranis and the Caucasian khanates, while Afsharid rule was confined to a small local state in Khorasan; the Afsharid dynasty was overthrown by Mohammad Khan Qajar in 1796, who would establish a new native Iranian empire and restore Iranian suzerainty over several of the aforementioned regions. The dynasty was named after the Turcoman Afshar tribe from Khorasan in north-east Iran, to which Nader belonged.

The Afshars had migrated from Turkestan to Azerbaijan in the 13th century. In the early 17th century, Shah Abbas the Great moved many Afshars from Azerbaijan to Khorasan to defend the north-eastern borders of his state against the Uzbeks, after which the Afshars became native to those regions. Nader belonged to the Qereqlu branch of the Afshars. Nader Shah was born into a humble semi-nomadic family from the Afshar tribe of Khorasan, where he became a local warlord, his path to power began when the Ghilzai Mir Mahmud Hotaki overthrew the weakened and disintegrated Safavid shah Sultan Husayn in 1722. At the same time and Russian forces seized Iranian land. Russia took swaths of Iran's Caucasian territories in the North Caucasus and Transcaucasia, as well as mainland northern Iran, by the Russo-Persian War, while the neighbouring Ottomans invaded from the west. By the 1724 Treaty of Constantinople, they agreed to divide the conquered areas between themselves. On the other side of the theatre, Nader joined forces with Sultan Husayn's son Tahmasp II and led the resistance against the Ghilzai Afghans, driving their leader Ashraf Khan out of the capital in 1729 and establishing Tahmasp on the throne.

Nader fought to regain the lands lost to the Ottomans and Russians and to restore Iranian hegemony in Iran. While he was away in the east fighting the Ghilzais, Tahmasp allowed the Ottomans to retake territory in the west. Nader, had Tahmasp deposed in favour of his baby son Abbas III in 1732. Four years after he had recaptured most of the lost Persian lands, Nader felt confident enough to have himself proclaimed shah in his own right at a ceremony on the Moghan Plain. Nader subsequently made the Russians cede the taken territories taken in 1722–23 through the Treaty of Resht of 1732 and the Treaty of Ganja of 1735. Back in control of the integral northern territories, with a new Russo-Iranian alliance against the common Ottoman enemy, he continued the Ottoman–Persian War; the Ottoman armies were expelled from western Iran and the rest of the Caucasus, the resultant 1736 Treaty of Constantinople forced the Ottomans to confirm Iranian suzerainty over the Caucasus and recognised Nader as the new Iranian shah.

Tahmasp and the Qajar leader Fath Ali Khan contacted Nader and asked him to join their cause and drive the Ghilzai Afghans out of Khorasan. He thus became a figure of national importance; when Nader discovered that Fath Ali Khan was corresponding with Malek Mahmud and revealed this to the shah, Tahmasp executed him and made Nader the chief of his army instead. Nader subsequently took on the title Tahmasp Qoli. In late 1726, Nader recaptured Mashhad. Nader chose not to march directly on Isfahan. First, in May 1729, he defeated the Abdali Afghans near Herat. Many of the Abdali Afghans subsequently joined his army; the new shah of the Ghilzai Afghans, decided to move against Nader but in September 1729, Nader defeated him at the Battle of Damghan and again decisively in November at Murchakhort, banishing the Afghans from Persian soil forever. Ashraf fled and Nader entered Isfahan, handing it over to Tahmasp in December and plundering the city to pay his army. Tahmasp made Nader governor over many eastern provinces, including his native Khorasan, married him to his sister.

Nader pursued and defeated Ashraf, murdered by his own followers. In 1738, Nader Shah destroyed the last Hotaki seat of power, at Kandahar, he built a new city nearby, which he named "Naderabad". In the spring of 1735, Nader attacked Persia's archrival, the Ottomans, regained most of the territory lost during the recent chaos. At the same time, the Abdali Afghans rebelled and besieged Mashhad, forcing Nader to suspend his campaign and save his brother, Ebrahim, it took Nader fourteen months to crush this uprising. Relations between Nader and the Shah had declined as the latter grew alarmed by his general's military successes. While Nader was absent in the east, Tahmasp tried to assert himself by launching a campaign to recapture Yerevan, he ended up losing all of Nader's recent gains to the Ottomans, signed a treaty ceding Georgia and Armenia in exchange for Tabriz. Nader, saw that the moment had come to depose Tahmasp, he denounced the treaty. In Isfahan, Nader got Tahmasp drunk showed him to the courtiers asking if a man in such a state was fit to rule.

In 1732 he forced Tahmasp to abdicate in favour of the Shah's baby son, Abbas III, to whom Nader became regent. Nade

Frank Richards (author)

Frank Richards a.k.a. Francis Philip Woodruff DCM, MM was author. Born in Monmouthshire, he was orphaned at the age of nine, was brought up by his aunt and uncle in the Blaina area of the South Wales Valleys in industrial Monmouthshire; the uncle, his mother's twin brother, surnamed Richards, adopted Frank who changed his surname. During the 1890s Frank Richards worked as coal miner and joined Royal Welch Fusiliers in 1901, serving in the British Empire forces in British India under the British Raj and Burma from 1902 to 1909, after which he transferred to the reserves, he is best known as the author of one of the most acclaimed memoirs of the Great War to be written by a ranker, Old Soldiers Never Die. Richards, an orphan, was brought up by his aunt and uncle in Blaina, where, in the 1890s, he worked as a coal miner, he joined the Royal Welch Fusiliers in April 1901 and served in India and Burma from 1902-09 when, having completed eight years with the colours, he transferred to the Army Reserve for the remaining four years of his twelve year enlistment.

He extended his reserve service for a further four years in 1912. A reservist soldier when war broke out in August 1914, working as a timber assistant, Richards rejoined the 2nd Battalion Royal Welch Fusiliers, in which he remained for the duration of the war, it was while drinking in the bar of the Castle Hotel at Blaina that he heard the news of the outbreak of war. Remarkably, Richards saw action in all of the major British campaigns on the Western Front without suffering any notable injury. Unable to return to the coal mines following the war because of a physical injury, Richards was obliged to earn his living from numerous temporary jobs. Fifteen years after the close of the Great War, Richards published in 1933 his classic account of the war from the standpoint of the regular soldier, it differs in many ways from memoirs written by officers who joined the army to serve in the war, has been called "a brilliant insight into the life of a soldier in the early stages of the twentieth century".

Old Soldiers Never Die was written with the unaccredited assistance of fellow Royal Welch Fusilier Robert Graves, who advised on grammar and punctuation. It has never been out of print since. Graves and Siegfried Sassoon, another Royal Welch Fusilier, both receive approving mentions in the book, as do other officers. Richards followed up Old Soldiers with another successful memoir, this time of his service in India, Old Soldier Sahib, in 1936. Richards, who at no point rose above the rank of private during the war, refusing any offer of promotion, was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal and Military Medal, he was interviewed by the BBC for their classic multi-part documentary of the conflict, The Great War, in 1954. He married late in life, to Mary James, having one daughter, Margaret. Frank Richards, who continued to correspond with Robert Graves, died in 1961 at the age of 78. In 1933, he published his memoir Old Soldiers Never Die—with the help of Robert Graves—about his time on the Western Front, where he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal and Military Medal.

He always denied any element of bravery in his character saying that he was doing his job. His account of the Christmas Truce was the first to be published by a soldier, not an officer. In 1936, he published a second memoir, Old Soldier Sahib, covering his time in the British Army of India. Private Frank Richards aka "Big Dick" features in Captain J. C. Dunn's The War The Infantry Knew 1914-1919. Richards, Frank. Old Soldier Sahib. Uckfield: The Naval and Military Press Ltd. ISBN 978-1-84342-558-8. Richards, Frank. Old Soldiers Never Die. Uckfield: The Naval and Military Press Ltd. ISBN 978-1-84342-026-2. Works by Frank Richards at Faded Page Biography at Spoken account of Christmas Truce at Frank Richards on Lives of the First World War

Age of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer

Age of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer is the first expansion set for the MMORPG Age of Conan: Unchained. It was announced on August 2009 on by Funcom; the expansion features a new eastern theme. It was released on May 11, 2010; the expansion adds the mysterious eastern lands of Khitai to the game, a new zone for characters of levels 20-40 and four new high-level zones for level 80 characters, as well as new original music by Knut Avenstroup Haugen to convey the Asiatic atmosphere of the expansion regions. The expansion adds the Alternative Advancement system, a new tree of character perks or feats; the expansion is set in the lands of Khitai after the events of the short story The Tower of the Elephant when a young Conan killed the "Elephant God" Yag-Kosha out of mercy to free him from his suffering and captivity. Yag-Kosha had been imprisoned and tortured for many centuries by his greatest student and evil sorcerer Yara; this earned Conan the title of the "Godslayer". Yara was slain by a jewel known as the Heart of the Elephant.

Some time after when Conan became a king strange and terrible things started happening in the empire of Khitai. The player character must explore the dark roads of the Empire and walk the path of the Godslayer as they unravel a mature and deep storyline full of brutal conflict and political intrigue. Khitai is an ancient empire located in the east regions of the Hyborian continent, it is masters of the eastern world. Khitai has a sound leadership based in Paikang, Shu-Chen and Ruo-Chen. Khitai is forever at war with Kambuja to the south, whose god-kings vie with them for supremacy in the arcane mysteries of the Scarlet Circle. Khitai's borders are ill-defined; the Khitans themselves mark their western boundary at the Great Wall and the mountains upon which it is built. This mountain range runs north to the trackless, icy wastes, south to the Southern Sea. Khitai overall has an Asiatic feel; the contains the Jade Citadel, a level 80 raid instance. The Khitan race was added in the expansion. Khitan characters start play in Tortage and may choose the Assassin, Bear Shaman, Dark Templar, Herald of Xotli or Demonologist classes.

The Khitans are of medium height and with yellow skin. Many new instances were added with the expansion; the expansion expanded the raiding level in Age of Conan and added Tier 4. The most notable is the Jade Citadel, a level 80 raid instance where players can challenge the army of the emperor of Khitai himself; the expansion adds a number of new Khitai dungeons. More have been added since the expansion's release. Rise of the Godslayer introduces the new Factions mechanic; each player can choose their faction allegiances, as they rise in the ranks they are able to collect new rewards such as gear, mounts and other items. 12 new factions including the Scarlet Circle were added. Several new mounts were added to the game in the expansion; these are Vaaghasan Slaughter Steed and Hyrkanian Horse. Alternate Advancement is a system developed and introduced with the Rise of the Godslayer that characters to progress beyond the level cap; the system is available for use beginning at level 20, but is designed for use at level 80.

There are 3 types of AA: Mastery and Prowess. Mastery experience is gained by doing PVE, Prowess through PVP, Expertise can be used for either and is gained from pots for doing special tasks; the expansion was positively received by most critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics the game has received an average score of 83 based on 14 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews". IGN gave it 7.9/10. GameSpot rated it 8.5/10 saying "Despite a touch of monotony, Age of Conan's atmospheric first expansion is an absolute delight". Eurogamer gave it 8/10 and praised its environment details in their second review of the expansion; the first one was withdrawn since Eurogamer gave the expansion a bad review which led to criticism of the website by various people and video game critics. Eurogamer accepted it that they didn't give the original reviewer enough time and the original review was withdrawn