The Persians are an Iranian ethnic group that make up over half the population of Iran. They share a common cultural system and are native speakers of the Persian language, as well as related languages; the ancient Persians were a nomadic branch of the ancient Iranian population that entered the territory of modern-day Iran by the early 10th century BC. Together with their compatriot allies, they established and ruled some of the world's most powerful empires, well-recognized for their massive cultural and social influence covering much of the territory and population of the ancient world. Throughout history, the Persians have contributed to various forms of art and science, own one of the world's most prominent literatures. In contemporary terminology, people of Persian heritage native to present-day Afghanistan and Uzbekistan are referred to as Tajiks, whereas those in the eastern Caucasus, albeit assimilated, are referred to as Tats; however the terms Tajik and Persian were synonymous and were used interchangeably, many of the most influential Persian figures hailed from outside Iran's present-day borders to the northeast in Central Asia and Afghanistan and to a lesser extent to the northwest in the Caucasus proper.
In historical contexts in English, "Persians" may be defined more loosely to cover all subjects of the ancient Persian polities, regardless of ethnic background. The English term Persian derives from Latin Persia, itself deriving from Greek Persís, a Hellenized form of Old Persian Pārsa. In the Bible, it is given as Parás —sometimes Paras uMadai —within the books of Esther, Daniel and Nehemya. A Greek folk etymology connected the name to a legendary character in Greek mythology. Herodotus recounts this story, devising a foreign son, from whom the Persians took the name; the Persians themselves knew the story, as Xerxes I tried to use it to suborn the Argives during his invasion of Greece, but failed to do so. Although Persis was one of the provinces of ancient Iran, varieties of this term were adopted through Greek sources and used as an official name for all of Iran for many years. Thus, in the Western world, the term Persian came to refer to all inhabitants of the country; some medieval and early modern Islamic sources used cognates of the term Persian to refer to various Iranian peoples, including the speakers of the Khwarezmian language, the Mazanderani language, the Old Azeri language.
10th-century Iraqi historian Al-Masudi refers to Pahlavi and Azari as dialects of the Persian language. In 1333, medieval Moroccan traveler and scholar Ibn Battuta referred to the people of Kabul as a specific sub-tribe of Persians. Lady Mary Sheil, in her observation of Iran during the Qajar era, describes Persians and Leks to identify themselves as "descendants of the ancient Persians". On March 21, 1935, the former king of Iran, Reza Shah of the Pahlavi dynasty, issued a decree asking the international community to use the term Iran, the native name of the country, in formal correspondence. However, the term Persian is still used to designate the predominant population of the Iranian peoples living in the Iranian cultural continent; the earliest known written record attributed to the Persians is from the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, an Assyrian inscription from the mid-9th century BC, found at Nimrud. The inscription mentions Parsua as a tribal chiefdom in modern-day western Iran; the ancient Persians were a nomadic branch of the Iranian population that, in the early 10th century BC, settled to the northwest of modern-day Iran.
They were dominated by the Assyrians for much of the first three centuries after arriving in the region. However, they played a major role in the downfall of the Neo-Assyrian Empire; the Medes, another branch of this population, founded the unified empire of Media as the region's dominant cultural and political power in c. 625 BC. Meanwhile, the Persian dynasty of the Achaemenids formed a vassal state to the central Median power. In c. 552 BC, the Achaemenids began a revolution which led to the conquest of the empire by Cyrus II in c. 550 BC. They spread their influence to the rest of what is called the Iranian Plateau, assimilated with the non-Iranian indigenous groups of the region, including the Elamites and the Mannaeans. At its greatest extent, the Achaemenid Empire stretched from parts of Eastern Europe in the west, to the Indus Valley in the east, making it the largest empire the world had yet seen; the Achaemenids developed the infrastructure to support their growing influence, including the creation of Pasargadae and the opulent city of Persepolis.
The empire extended as far as the limits of the Greek city states in modern-day mainland Greece, where the Persians and Athenians influenced each other in what is a reciprocal cultural exchange. Its legacy and impact on the kingdom of Macedon was notably huge for centuries after the withdrawal of the Persians from Europe following the Greco-Persian Wars; the empire collapsed in 330 BC following the conquests of Alexander the Great, but reemerged shortly after as the Parthian Empire. During the Achaemenid era, Persian colonists settled in Asia Minor. In Lydia, near Sardis, there was the Hyrcanian plain, according to Strabo, got its name from the Persian settlers that were moved from Hyrcania. Near Sardis, there was the plain of Cyrus, which further signified the presence of numerous Persian settlements in
Shams al-Dīn Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad ibn Abī Bakr al-Maqdisī, better known as al-Maqdisī or al-Muqaddasī, was a medieval Arab geographer, author of Aḥsan al-taqāsīm fī maʿrifat al-aqālīm, as well as author of the book, Description of Syria. He is one of the earliest known historical figures to self-identify as a Palestinian during his travels. Outside of his own work, there is little biographical information available about al-Maqdisi, he is neither found in the voluminous biographies of Ibn Khallikan nor were the aspects of his life mentioned in the works of his contemporaries. He was born in Jerusalem in ca. 946 and belonged to a middle class family whose roots in the city's environs dated from the period approximate to the 7th-century Muslim conquest. According to historian André Miquel, al-Maqdisi "was much attached to the Palestine of his birth and to the town whose name he bears". Al-Maqdisī or alternatively al-Muqaddasī was a nisba indicating that he was from "Bayt al-Maqdis" or "Bayt al-Muqaddas", the Muslim names for Jerusalem.
His paternal grandfather, Abu Bakr al-Banna, had been responsible for the construction of Acre's maritime fortifications under orders from Ahmad ibn Tulun, the autonomous Abbasid governor of Egypt and Syria. Al-Maqdisi's maternal grandfather, Abu Tayyib al-Shawwa, moved to Jerusalem from Biyar in Khurasan and was an architect; as can be inferred by his work and social background, al-Maqdisi was well-educated. Miquel asserts that al-Maqdisi's use of "rhymed prose poetry" is indicative of a strong knowledge in Arabic grammar and literature, his writings show that he possessed an early interest in Islamic jurisprudence, history and hadith. Al-Maqdisi made his first Hajj in 967. During this period, he became determined to devote himself to the study of geography. To acquire the necessary information, he undertook a series of journeys throughout the Islamic world visiting all of its lands with the exception of al-Andalus and Sistan; the known dates or date ranges of al-Maqdisi's travels include his journey to Aleppo sometime between 965 and 974, his second pilgrimage to Mecca in 678, a visit to Khurasan in 984 and his stay in Shiraz in 985 when he decided to compose his material.
The finished work was titled Aḥsan al-taqāsīm fi maʾarfat al-aqalīm. Though influenced by predecessors al-Jahiz, who introduced the "science of countries", Ibn al-Faqih, al-Maqdisi "surpassed" both "all to the advantage of what should be called a true geography", according to Miquel. Moreover, Miquel surmises that al-Maqdisi "was the first to have desired and conceived" true geography as an "original science", an assertion that al-Maqdisi himself makes in the preface of Aḥsan al-taqāsīm, he belonged to the school known as the "atlas of Islam", inaugurated by Abu Zayd al-Balkhi and developed by Istakhri and al-Maqdisi's contemporary Ibn Hawqal. Al-Balkhi's school exclusively dealt with the Islamic world, to which al-Maqdisi too devoted his studies. Al-Maqdisi refers to this world as al-mamlaka or al-Islām, a unique concept in which all of the lands of Islam constituted a single domain, he subdivided this domain into two parts: mamlakat mamlakat al-ʿAjam. The former consisted, from east to west, of the six provinces of Iraq, Arabia, Syria and the Maghreb, while the latter consisted of the eight provinces of the Mashriq, Kirman, Khuzistan, Jibal and Rihab.
Aḥsan al-taqāsīm gives a systematic account of all the regions al-Maqdisi had visited. He devoted a section of his book to Bilad al-Sham with a particular focus on Palestine. In contrast to travelers to Palestine, such as Arculf, Nasir Khusraw and others, who were pilgrims, al-Maqdisi gave detailed insights into the region's population, way of life and climate, he paid special attention to Jerusalem, detailing its layout, streets, public structures and landmarks the Haram ash-Sharif and the latter's Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque. He described the city's people and customs, focusing on its Muslims, but its Christian and Jewish communities, whose significant presence he lamented. Al-Maqdisi gave extensive overviews of Ramla and Tiberias, the capitals of the Palestine and Jordan districts, respectively. To a lesser extent, he described Acre, Bayt Jibrin, Caesarea and Aila. In his descriptions of the aforementioned cities, al-Maqdisi noted their prosperity and stability and gave a general impression of Palestine as densely populated and wealthy, with numerous localities.
Guy Le Strange comments on al-Maqdisi's work: His description of Palestine, of Jerusalem, his native city, is one of the best parts of the work. All that he wrote is the fruit of his own observation, his descriptions of the manners and customs of the various countries, bear the stamp of a shrewd and observant mind, fortified by profound knowledge of both books and men. Hafit abounds in palm trees. Dibba and Julfar, both in the direction of the Hajar, are close to the sea... Tuwwam has been dominated by a branch of the Q
Istakhr was an ancient city located in southern Iran, in Fars province, five kilometers north of Persepolis. It was a prosperous city under the Sasanian Empire and served as its capital from 224 to 226 CE. Istakhr first appears in history as an Achaemenid city, it gained its importance not only from its close association with Persepolis: it commanded the western end of an ancient caravan-route that ran from the Indus Valley via Kandahar and Drangiana to Persia. The city temporarily became the capital of the Sasanian Empire during the reign of Ardashir I before the capital was moved to Ctesiphon, in Mesopotamia. During the Sasanian period the royal treasury of the empire, known as ganj ī šāhīgān, is said to have been in Istakhr. In 915–916, al-Masudi himself saw in a house at Istakhr owned by a Persian noble, "the large and fine manuscript" of a work copied in 731 from original documents in the royal treasury; the city was conquered by Muslim Arabs in 649 CE. Two years in 651 CE, the residents of Istakhr revolted.
After the suppression of the revolt, 40,000 civilians were massacred in Istakhr by the victorious Arab forces as a reprisal for rebelling. In 659 CE, caliph Ali sent Ziyad ibn Abi Sufyan to suppress a Persian rebellion in Istakhr. Ziyad stayed on as governor. For a while, Abdallah ibn Mu'awiya established himself at Istakhr from where he ruled for a few years over Fars and other parts of Persia, including Ahvaz, Jibal and Kerman from 744 to 748 until fleeing to Khurasan from the advancing Umayyad forces. During the last years of the reign of the Buyid ruler Abu Kalijar, the hatred of his vizier, Dhu'l-Sa'adat, towards the dehqan of Istakhr made him send a group of soldiers under the Qutlumish, who sacked Istakhr, turning the city into a small village with no more than a hundred settlers, thus bringing its history to an end. Hill, John E.. Through the Jade Gate to Rome: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later Han Dynasty, First to Second Centuries CE. BookSurge. ISBN 978-1-4392-2134-1. Bivar, A. D. H..
"EṢṬAḴR". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. VIII, Fasc. 6. Pp. 643–646. Daryaee, Touraj; the Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press. Pp. 1–432. ISBN 0-19-987575-8. History & Archaeology of Istakhr
Ahmad ibn Fadlan
Ibn Fadlan was a 10th-century Arab Muslim traveler, famous for his account of his travels as a member of an embassy of the Abbasid Caliph of Baghdad to the king of the Volga Bulgars, known as his Risala. His account is most notable for providing a detailed description of the Volga Vikings, including an eyewitness account of a ship burial. Ahmad ibn Fadlan was described as an Arab in contemporaneous sources. However, the Encyclopedia of Islam and Richard N. Frye add that nothing can be said with certainty about his origin, his ethnicity, his education, or the dates of his birth and death. Primary sources documents and historical texts reveal that Ahmad Ibn Fadlan was a “faqih”, an expert in Islamic jurisprudence and faith, in the court of the Abbasid Caliph Al-Muqtadir, it appears certain from his writing that prior to his departure on his historic mission, he had been serving for some time in the court of al-Muqtadir. Other than the fact that he was both a traveler and a theologian in service of the Abbasid Caliphate, little is known about Ahmad Ibn Fadlan prior to 921 and his self-reported travels.
Ibn Fadlan was sent from Baghdad in 921 to serve as the secretary to an ambassador from the Abbasid Caliph al-Muqtadir to the iltäbär of the Volga Bulgaria, Almış. On 21 June 921, a diplomatic party led by Susan al-Rassi, a eunuch in the caliph's court, left Baghdad; the purpose of their mission was to explain Islamic law to the converted Bulgar peoples living on the eastern bank of the Volga River in what is now Russia. Additionally, the embassy was sent in response to a request by the king of the Volga Bulgars to help them against their enemies, the Khazars. Ibn Fadlan served as the group's religious advisor and lead counselor for Islamic religious doctrine and law. Ahmad Ibn Fadlan and the diplomatic party utilized established caravan routes toward Bukhara, now part of Uzbekistan, but instead of following that route all the way to the east, they turned northward in what is now northeastern Iran. Leaving the city of Gurgan near the Caspian Sea, they crossed lands belonging to a variety of Turkic peoples, notably the Khazar Khaganate, Oghuz Turks on the east coast of the Caspian, the Pechenegs on the Ural River, the Bashkirs in what is now central Russia, but the largest portion of his account is dedicated to the Rus, i.e. the Varangians on the Volga trade route.
All told, the delegation covered some 4000 kilometers. Ibn Fadlan's envoy reached the Volga Bulgar capital on 12 May 922; when they arrived, Ibn Fadlan read aloud a letter from the caliph to the Bulgar Khan, presented him with gifts from the caliphate. At the meeting with the Bulgar ruler, Ibn Fadlan delivered the caliph's letter, but was criticized for not bringing with him the promised money from the caliph to build a fortress as defense against enemies of the Bulgars. For a long time, only an incomplete version of the account was known, transmitted as quotations in the geographical dictionary of Yāqūt, published in 1823 by Christian Martin Frähn. Only in 1923 was a manuscript discovered by Zeki Validi Togan in the Astane Quds Museum, Iran; the manuscript, Razawi Library MS 5229, consists of 420 pages. Besides other geographical treatises, it contains a fuller version of Ibn Fadlan's text. Additional passages not preserved in MS 5229 are quoted in the work of the 16th century Persian geographer Amīn Rāzī called Haft Iqlīm.
Neither source seems to record Ibn Fadlān's complete report. Yāqūt offers excerpts, several times claims that Ibn Fadlān recounted his return to Bagdad, but does not quote such material. Meanwhile, the text in Razawi Library MS 5229 breaks off part way through describing the Khazars. One noteworthy aspect of the Volga Bulgars that Ibn Fadlan focused on was their religion and the institution of Islam in these territories; the Bulgar king had invited religious instruction as a gesture of homage to the Abbasids in exchange for financial and military support, Ibn Fadlan's mission as a faqih was one of proselytization as well as diplomacy. For example, Ibn Fadlan details in his encounter that the Volga Bulgar Khan commits an error in his prayer exhortations by repeating the prayer twice. One scholar calls it an “illuminating episode” in the text where Ibn Fadlan expresses his great anger and disgust over the fact that the Khan and the Volga Bulgars in general are practicing some form of imperfect and doctrinally unsound Islam.
In general, Ibn Fadlan recognized and judged the peoples of central Eurasia he encountered by the possession and practice of Islam, along with their efforts put forth to utilize and foster Islamic faith and social practice in their respective society. Many of the peoples and societies to Ibn Fadlan were "like asses gone astray, they have no religious bonds with God, nor do they have recourse to reason". A substantial portion of Ibn Fadlan's account is dedicated to the description of a people he called the Rūs or Rūsiyyah. Western scholarship has assumed that he was describing Volga Vikings, the North Germanic tribes travelling the Volga trade route, though the identification of the people Ibn Fadlān describes is uncertain; the Rūs appear as traders. They are described as having bodie
The Persian Gulf is a mediterranean sea in Western Asia. The body of water is an extension of the Indian Ocean through the Strait of Hormuz and lies between Iran to the northeast and the Arabian Peninsula to the southwest; the Shatt al-Arab river delta forms the northwest shoreline. The body of water is and internationally known as the "Persian Gulf"; some Arab governments refer to it as the "Arabian Gulf" or "The Gulf", but neither term is recognized internationally. The name "Gulf of Iran" is used by the International Hydrographic Organization; the Persian Gulf was a battlefield of the 1980–1988 Iran–Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers. It is the namesake of the 1991 Gulf War, the air- and land-based conflict that followed Iraq's invasion of Kuwait; the gulf has many fishing grounds, extensive reefs, abundant pearl oysters, but its ecology has been damaged by industrialization and oil spills. The Persian Gulf resides in the Persian Gulf Basin, of Cenozoic origin and related to the subduction of the Arabian Plate under the Zagros Mountains.
The current flooding of the basin started 15,000 years ago due to rising sea levels of the Holocene glacial retreat. This inland sea of some 251,000 square kilometres is connected to the Gulf of Oman in the east by the Strait of Hormuz. In Iran this is called "Arvand Rood", where "Rood" means "river", its length is 989 kilometres, with Iran covering most of the northern coast and Saudi Arabia most of the southern coast. The Persian Gulf is about 56 km wide in the Strait of Hormuz; the waters are overall shallow, with a maximum depth of 90 metres and an average depth of 50 metres. Countries with a coastline on the Persian Gulf are: Iran. Various small islands lie within the Persian Gulf, some of which are the subject of territorial disputes between the states of the region; the International Hydrographic Organization defines the Persian Gulf's southern limit as "The Northwestern limit of Gulf of Oman". This limit is defined as "A line joining Ràs Limah on the coast of Arabia and Ràs al Kuh on the coast of Iran".
The gulf is connected to Indian Ocean through Strait of Hormuz. Writing the water balance budget for the Persian Gulf, the inputs are river discharges from Iran and Iraq, as well as precipitation over the sea, around 180mm/year in Qeshm Island; the evaporation of the sea is high, so that after considering river discharge and rain contributions, there is still a deficit of 416 cubic kilometers per year. This difference is supplied by currents at the Strait of Hormuz; the water from the Gulf has a higher salinity, therefore exits from the bottom of the Strait, while ocean water with less salinity flows in through the top. Another study revealed the following numbers for water exchanges for the Gulf: evaporation = -1.84m/year, precipitation = 0.08m/year, inflow from the Strait = 33.66m/year, outflow from the Strait = -32.11m/year, the balance is 0m/year. Data from different 3D computational fluid mechanics models with spatial resolution of 3 kilometers and depth each element equal to 1–10 meters are predominantly used in computer models.
The Persian Gulf and its coastal areas are the world's largest single source of crude oil, related industries dominate the region. Safaniya Oil Field, the world's largest offshore oilfield, is located in the Persian Gulf. Large gas finds have been made, with Qatar and Iran sharing a giant field across the territorial median line. Using this gas, Qatar has built up a substantial liquefied natural petrochemical industry. In 2002, the Persian Gulf nations of Bahrain, Iraq, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE produced about 25% of the world's oil, held nearly two-thirds of the world's crude oil reserves, about 35% of the world's natural gas reserves; the oil-rich countries that have a coastline on the Persian Gulf are referred to as the Persian Gulf States. Iraq's egress to the gulf is narrow and blockaded consisting of the marshy river delta of the Shatt al-Arab, which carries the waters of the Euphrates and the Tigris rivers, where the east bank is held by Iran. In 550 BC, the Achaemenid Empire established the first ancient empire in Persis, in the southwestern region of the Iranian plateau.
In the Greek sources, the body of water that bordered this province came to be known as the "Persian Gulf". During the years 550 to 330 BC, coinciding with the sovereignty of the Achaemenid Persian Empire over the Middle East area the whole part of the Persian Gulf and some parts of the Arabian Peninsula, the name of "Pars Sea" is found in the compiled written texts. In the travel account of Pythagoras, several chapters are related to description of his travels accompanied by the Achaemenid king Darius the Great, to Susa and Persepolis, the area is described. From among the writings of others in the same period, there is the inscription and engraving of Darius the Great, installed at junction of waters of Red Sea and the Nile river and the Rome river which belongs to t