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 languages related to Persian; the ancient Persians were an ancient Iranian people who migrated to the region of Persis, corresponding to the modern province of Fars in southwestern Iran, by the ninth 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, Persians have contributed to art and science. Persian literature is one of the world's most prominent literary traditions. In contemporary terminology, people of Persian heritage native to present-day Afghanistan and Uzbekistan are referred to as Tajiks, whereas those in the Caucasus, albeit assimilated, are referred to as Tats; however the terms Tajik and Tat were used as synonymous and interchangeable with Persian.

Many 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 term Persian, meaning "from Persia", derives from Latin Persia, itself deriving from Greek Persís, a Hellenized form of Old Persian Pārsa, which evolves into Fārs in modern Persian. In the Bible in the books of Daniel, Esther and Nehemya, it is given as Parás. 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 only one of the provinces of ancient Iran, varieties of this term were adopted through Greek sources and used as an exonym for all of the Persian Empire for many years.

Thus in the Western world, the names Persia and Persian came to refer to all of Iran and its subjects. Some medieval and early modern Islamic sources used cognates of the term Persian to refer to various Iranian peoples and languages, including the speakers of Khwarazmian and Old Azeri. 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 the Persians. Lady Mary Sheil, in her observation of Iran during the Qajar era, states that the Kurds and the Leks would consider themselves as belonging to the race of the "old Persians". On 21 March 1935, 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.

Persia is first attested in Assyrian sources from the third millennium BC in the Old Assyrian form Parahše, designating a region belonging to the Sumerians. The name of this region was adopted by a nomadic ancient Iranian people who migrated to the region in the west and southwest of Lake Urmia becoming known as "the Persians"; the ninth-century BC Neo-Assyrian inscription of the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, found at Nimrud, gives it in the Late Assyrian forms Parsua and Parsumaš as a region and a people located in the Zagros Mountains, the latter having migrated southward and transferred the name of the region with them to what would become Persis, and, considered to be the earliest attestation to the ancient Persian people. The ancient Persians 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 group of ancient Iranian people, unified the region under an empire centered in Media, which would become the region's leading cultural and political power of the time by 612 BC.

Meanwhile, under the dynasty of the Achaemenids, the Persians formed a vassal state to the central Median power. In 552 BC, the Achaemenid Persians revolted against the Median monarchy, leading to the victory of Cyrus the Great over the throne in 550 BC; the Persians spread their influence to the rest of what is considered to be 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 establishment of the cities of Pasargadae and 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

The David Grisman Quintet (album)

The David Grisman Quintet is the eponymous debut album by the David Grisman Quintet, recorded in 1976 and released in 1977. The instruments pictured on the cover are David's 1927 Gibson F-5 Mandolin, Darol's 1856 Guisepe Marconcine "Ferrara" Violin, Tony's 1935 Martin D-28 Guitar, Todd's 1924 Loar Gibson F-5 Mandolin, on loan, Bill's 1875 Czech Flatback Bass. All songs by David Grisman unless otherwise noted. "E. M. D." – 2:37 "Swing 51" – 4:25 "Opus 57" – 2:56 "Blue Midnite" – 3:40 "Pneumonia" – 4:31 "Fish Scale" – 7:30 "Richochet" – 2:05 "Dawg's Rag" – 9:04added on CD "Minor Swing" – 2:59 "16-16" - 5:35 David Grisman – mandolin, vocals Tony Rice – guitar, vocals Darol Angerfiddle, violectra, vocals Bill Amatneek – bass Todd Phillips – mandolinProduction notes: David Grisman – producer Bill Wolf – engineer Bob Shumaker – mixing Ted Sharpe – design Robert Schleifer - photography

2017–18 British and Irish Cup

The 2017–18 British and Irish Cup is the ninth and final season of the annual rugby union competition for second tier, semi-professional clubs from Britain and Ireland. Munster A are the defending champions having won the 2016–17 final against Jersey Reds 29–28 at Irish Independent Park, Cork on 21 April 2017; the format of the competition is similar to last season with Scottish clubs not competing. For the third consecutive season the four Welsh teams are the reserve sides of the teams competing in the Pro14 competition instead of clubs from the Welsh Premier Division; the competition format is a pool stage followed by a knockout stage. The pool stage consists of five pools of four teams playing home and away matches; the top side in each pool, plus the three best runners-up, progress to the knockout stage. The eight quarter-finalists are ranked, with top four teams having home advantage; the four winning quarter-finalists progress to the semi-final draw. Most of the matches are played on the same weekends as the European Champions Cup and European Challenge Cup.

First round matches begin on 13 October 2017 and the final will be held in April 2018. The allocation of teams is as follows: – twelve clubs from RFU Championship – four Irish provinces represented by'A' teams – four Welsh regions represented by Premiership Select teams. Denotes the team has qualified for the quarter-finals as the pool winners denotes team has at least qualified for the quarter-finals as one of the three highest-scoring second-place teams Game postponed due to bad weather. Game to be rescheduled for 9 March 2018. Game rescheduled from 10 December 2017. Game postponed due to unplayable pitch caused by bad weather. Game to be rescheduled for 3 February 2018. Game rescheduled from 20 January 2018; the eight qualifiers are seeded according to performance in the pool stage. The four top seeds hosted the quarter-finals against the lower seeds, in a 1 v 8, 2 v 7, 3 v 6 and 4 v 5 format. However, if two teams qualify from the same group they can not be drawn together; therefore Leinster A cannot be drawn against Doncaster Knights.

Teams are ranked by: 1 – competition points 2 – where competition points are equal, greatest number of wins 3 – where the number of wins are equal, aggregate points difference 4 – where the aggregate points difference are equal, greatest number of points scored Points scorers includes tries as well as conversions and drop goals. Appearance figures include coming on as substitutes. England Rugby