For most of their history, the leading Gondopharid kings held Taxila as their residence, but during their last few years of existence the capital shifted between Kabul and Peshawar. Gondophares I originally seems to have been a ruler of Seistan in what is today eastern Iran, around 20–10 BCE, he made conquests in the former Indo-Scythian kingdom, perhaps after the death of the important ruler Azes. Gondophares became the ruler of areas comprising Arachosia, Sindh and the Kabul valley and these smaller dynasts included the Apracarajas themselves, and Indo-Scythian satraps such as Zeionises and Rajuvula, as well as anonymous Scythians who struck imitations of Azes coins. The Ksaharatas held sway in Gujarat, perhaps just outside Gondophares dominions, after the death of Gondophares I, the empire started to fragment. The name or title Gondophares was adapted by Sarpedones, who become Gondophares II and was son of the first Gondophares. Even though he claimed to be the ruler, Sarpedones’ rule was shaky and he issued a fragmented coinage in Sind, eastern Punjab.
The most important successor was Abdagases, Gondophares’ nephew, who ruled in Punjab, after a short reign, Sarpedones seems to have been succeeded by Orthagnes, who became Gondophares III Gadana. Orthagnes ruled mostly in Seistan and Arachosia, with Abdagases further east, during the first decades AD, after 20 AD, a king named Sases, a nephew of the Apracaraja ruler Aspavarma, took over Abdagases’ territories and became Gondophares IV Sases. According to Senior, this is the Gondophares referred to in the Takht-i-Bahi inscription, the last king Pacores only ruled in Seistan and Kandahar. The city of Taxila is thought to have been a capital of the Indo-Parthians, large strata were excavated by Sir John Marshall with a quantity of Parthian-style artifacts. The nearby temple of Jandial is usually interpreted as a Zoroastrian fire temple from the period of the Indo-Parthians, if the account is even historical, Saint Thomas may have encountered one of the kings who bore the same title. The Greek philosopher Apollonius of Tyana is related by Philostratus in Life of Apollonius Tyana to have visited India, the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea is a surviving 1st century guide to the routes commonly being used for navigating the Arabian Sea.
Before it there lies a small island, and inland behind it is the metropolis of Scythia, Minnagara, it is subject to Parthian princes who are constantly driving each other out. Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, Chap 38 An inscription from Takht-i-Bahi bears two dates, one in the regnal year 26 of the Maharaja Guduvhara, and the year 103 of an unknown era and they are thought to have retained Zoroastrianism, being of Iranian extraction themselves. This Iranian mythological system was inherited from them by the Kushans who ruled from the Peshawar-Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa region of Pakistan, on their coins and in the art of Gandhara, Indo-Parthians are depicted with short crossover jackets and large baggy trousers, possibly supplemented by chap-like over-trousers. Their jackets are adorned with rows of decorative rings or medals and their hair is usually bushy and contained with a headband, a practise largely adopted by the Parthians from the 1st century CE. Individuals in Indo-Parthian attire are sometimes shown as actors in Buddhist devotional scenes and these archaeological researches provided a quantity of Hellenistic artifacts combined with elements of Buddhist worship.
Some other temples, such as nearby Jandial may have used as a Zoroastrian fire temple
Prehistory of Iran
These sites fall between one million years ago to 200,000 years ago. Mousterian Stone tools made by Neanderthal man have found in various parts of the country. In 1949 a Neanderthal radius was discovered by CS Coon in Bisitun Cave, the end of the Palaeolithic, called “Epipalaeolithic”, is in a period of about 7000 years from c.18,000 to 11,000 BC. In those days groups of hunter-gatherers were mostly living in the caves of the Zagros Mountains, compared to earlier groups of game hunters, a tendency towards increasing the number of the kinds of plants and animals, which were collected and hunted, can be observed. Not only smaller vertebrates were hunted but pistachios and wild fruit were collected, consuming snails and smaller aquatic animals like crabs is new. Almost nothing is known about the 2500 years which followed the Epipalaeolithic after 11,000 BC, only when discovering the place of Asiab in the Kermanshah area we are in better known periods. Asiab was a camp of hunter-gatherers, only seasonally inhabited.
Besides the fact that wild goats and sheep were hunted, great numbers of shells were found. Some nearby and more constantly occupied settlements in the Zagros date from a time after Asiab. Still the material culture of Tappeh Ganj Dareh and Tappeh Abdul Hosein does not include any pottery, thus this period is often called “aceramic Neolithic”. This is true for the oldest levels of Tappeh Guran, located in Luristan, as well as for the sites of Ali Kosh and Chogha Sefid in the plain of Deh Luran, flocks of sheep and herds of goats were kept for the first time. We do not definitely know if in those days there was any cultivation of cereals, tools for harvesting and for making cereal products are there, but remnants of burned grain are extremely rare. In the eighth millennium BC, agricultural communities such as Chogha Bonut started to form in western Iran, around about the same time the earliest known clay vessels and modeled human and animal terracotta figurines were produced at Ganj Dareh and Teppe Sarab, in western Iran.
The south-western part of Iran was part of the Fertile Crescent, some of the oldest agricultural ground has been discovered in Susa. Iranian Chalcolithic could be divided into three parts, early Chalcolithic refer to occupations falling into the fifth millennium b. c. Middle Chalcolithic includes three successive phases dated to the fourth millennium B. C. E Late Chalcolithic indicates pre-Bronze Age occupations dating to the first half of the third millennium B. C. E. Prehistoric Asia Bernbeck, R. Iran in the Neolithic, in T. Stöllner, R. Slotta and A. Vatandoust Persiens
The Lullubi or Lulubi were a group of Pre-Iranian tribes during the 3rd millennium BC, from a region known as Lulubum, now the Sharazor plain of the Zagros Mountains of modern Iraqi Kurdistan. Frayne identified their city Lulubuna or Luluban with the regions modern Kurdish town of Halabja, sargons grandson Naram Sin defeated the Lullubi and their king Satuni, and had his famous victory stele made in commemoration. After the Akkadian Empire fell to the Gutians, the Lullubians rebelled against the Gutian king Erridupizir, in the following millennium BC, the term Lullubi or Lullu seems to have become a generic Babylonian/Assyrian term for highlander, while the original region of Lullubi was known as Zamua. However, the land of Lullubi makes a reappearance in the late 12th century BC, neo-Assyrian kings of the following centuries recorded campaigns and conquests in the area of Lullubum / Zamua. They were said to have had 19 walled cities in their land, as well as a supply of horses, metals and wine.
Local chiefs or governors of the Zamua region continued to be mentioned down to the end of Esarhaddons reign, thomas Bois opined that the Lullubi may have been the ancestors of the modern Kurds. Anobanini rock relief Zamua Ancient Azerbaijani tribes Cambridge Ancient History Sar-e Pol-e Zahab Lullubi
The Proto-Elamite period is the time from ca.3400 BC to 2500 BC. In archaeological terms this corresponds to the late Banesh period, the Proto-Elamite script is an Early Bronze Age writing system briefly in use before the introduction of Elamite cuneiform. During the period 8000–3700 BC, the Fertile Crescent witnessed the spread of small settlements supported by agricultural surplus, geometric tokens emerged to be used to manage stewardship of this surplus. The earliest tokens now known are those two sites in the Zagros region of Iran, Tepe Asiab and Ganj-i-Dareh Tepe. The Mesopotamian civilization emerged during the period 3700–2900 BC amid the development of innovations such as the plough, sailing boats. Clay tablets with pictographic characters appeared in period to record commercial transactions performed by the temples. The most important Proto-Elamite sites are Susa and Anshan, another important site is Tepe Sialk, where the only remaining Proto-Elamite ziggurat is still seen. Texts in the undeciphered Proto-Elamite script found in Susa are dated to this period, but because their script is yet to be deciphered, this theory remains uncertain.
The first cylinder seals come from the Proto-Elamite period, as well and it is uncertain whether the Proto-Elamite script was the direct predecessor of Linear Elamite. Both scripts remain largely undeciphered, and it is speculation to postulate a relationship between the two. A few Proto-Elamite signs seem either to be loans from the slightly older proto-cuneiform tablets of Mesopotamia, or perhaps more likely, to share a common origin. Proto-Elamite was used for a period around 3000 BC, whereas Linear Elamite is attested for a similarly brief period in the last quarter of the 3rd millennium BC. Proponents of an Elamo-Dravidian relationship have looked for similarities between the Proto-Elamite script and the Indus script, the Proto-Elamite writing system was used over a very large geographical area, stretching from Susa in the west, to Tepe Yahya in the east, and perhaps beyond. The known corpus of inscriptions consists of some 1600 tablets, the vast majority unearthed at Susa. The majority of the Tepe Sialk tablets are not proto-Elamite, strictly speaking, although Proto-Elamite remains undeciphered, the content of many texts is known.
This is possible because certain signs, and in particular a majority of the signs, are similar to the neighboring Mesopotamian writing system. In addition, a number of the signs are actual images of the objects they represent. However, the majority of the signs are entirely abstract
The Neo-Babylonian Empire, known as the Chaldean Empire, was a period of Mesopotamian history which began in 626 BC and ended in 539 BC. During the preceding three centuries, Babylonia had been ruled by their fellow Akkadian speakers and northern neighbours, Assyria, a year after the death of the last strong Assyrian ruler, Assurbanipal, in 627 BC, the Assyrian empire spiralled into a series of brutal civil wars. Babylonia rebelled under Nabopolassar, a member of the Chaldean tribe which had migrated from the Levant to south eastern Babylonia in the early 9th century BC. This period witnessed an improvement in economic life and agricultural production, and a great flourishing of architectural projects. The Neo-Babylonian period ended with the reign of Nabonidus in 539 BC, to the east, the Persians had been growing in strength, and eventually Cyrus the Great conquered the empire. Babylonia was subject to and dominated by Assyria during the Neo-Assyrian period, the Assyrians of Upper Mesopotamia had usually been able to pacify their southern relations through military might, installing puppet kings, or granting increased privileges.
Even though Aramaic had become the everyday tongue, Akkadian was retained as the language of administration, archaic expressions from 1500 years earlier were reintroduced in Akkadian inscriptions, along with words in the long-unspoken Sumerian language. Neo-Babylonian cuneiform script was modified to make it look like the old 3rd-millennium BC script of Akkad. Ancient artworks from the heyday of Babylonias imperial glory were treated with reverence and were painstakingly preserved. For example, when a statue of Sargon the Great was found during work, a temple was built for it. The story is told of how Nebuchadnezzar, in his efforts to restore the Temple at Sippar, had to make repeated excavations until he found the foundation deposit of Naram-Sin of Akkad, the discovery allowed him to rebuild the temple properly. Neo-Babylonians revived the ancient Sargonid practice of appointing a royal daughter to serve as priestess of the moon-god Sin, much more is known about Mesopotamian culture and economic life under the Neo-Babylonians than about the structure and mechanics of imperial administration.
It is clear that for southern Mesopotamia, the Neo-Babylonian period was a renaissance, large tracts of land were opened to cultivation. Peace and imperial power made available to expand the irrigation systems. The Babylonian countryside was dominated by large estates, which were given to government officials as a form of pay, the estates were usually managed by local entrepreneurs, who took a cut of the profits. Rural folk were bound to these estates, providing both labour and rents to their landowners, urban life flourished under the Neo-Babylonians. Cities had local autonomy and received privileges from the kings. Centered on their temples, the cities had their own law courts, free laborers like craftsmen enjoyed high status and a sort of guild system came into existence, which gave them collective bargaining power
The Samanid Empire, known as the Samanid dynasty, Samanid Emirate, or simply Samanids, was a Sunni Iranian empire, ruling from 819 to 999. The Samanid state was founded by four brothers, Ahmad, Yahya, in 892, Ismail ibn Ahmad united the Samanid state under one ruler, thus effectively putting an end to the feudal system used by the Samanids. It was under him that the Samanids became independent of Abbasid authority, the Samanid Empire is part of the Iranian Intermezzo, which saw the creation of a Persianate culture and identity that brought Iranian speech and traditions into the fold of the Islamic world. This would lead to the formation of the Turko-Persian culture, the Samanids promoted the arts, giving rise to the advancement of science and literature, and thus attracted scholars such as Rudaki and Avicenna. While under Samanid control, Bukhara was a rival to Baghdad in its glory, scholars note that the Samanids revived Persian more than the Buyids and the Saffarids, while continuing to patronize Arabic to a smaller degree.
In a famous edict, Samanid authorities declared that here, in region, the language is Persian. The eponymous ancestor of the Samanid dynasty was Saman Khuda, a Persian noble who belonged to a dehqan family, the latter is more probable since the earliest appearance of the Samanid family appears to be in Khorasan rather than Transoxiana. Originally a Zoroastrian, Saman Khuda converted to Islam during the governorship of Asad ibn Abdallah al-Qasri in Khorasan and this marked the beginning of the Samanid dynasty. He was defeated at a battle near Pushang in 857, and fled to Nishapur, the Tahirids thereafter assumed direct control over Herat. In 839/40, Nuh seized Isfijab from the nomadic pagan Turks living in the steppe and he thereafter had a wall constructed around the city to protect it from their attacks. He died in 841/2—his two brothers Yahya and Ahmad, were appointed as the joint rulers of the city by the Tahirid governor of Khorasan. After Yahyas death in 855, Ahmad took control over Shash and he died in 864/5, his son Nasr I received Farghana and Samarkand, while his other son Yaqub received Shash.
Nasr I used this opportunity to strengthen his authority by sending his brother Ismail to Bukhara, when Ismail reached the city, he was warmly received by its inhabitants, who saw him as one who could restore order. Although the Bukhar Khudahs continued to rule in Bukhara for a few more years. After not so long, disagreement over where tax money should be distributed, started a conflict between the brothers, Ismail was eventually victorious in the dynastic struggle, and took control of the Samanid state. However, Nasr had been the one who had invested with Transoxiana. Because of this, Ismail continued to recognize his brother as well, but Nasr was completely powerless and he thereafter forced the Abbasid caliph to recognize him as the ruler of those territories, which they did. In the spring of 900, he clashed with Ismail near Balkh, Ismail thereafter sent him Baghdad, where he was executed
The actual power of the monarch may vary from purely symbolic, to partial and restricted, to completely autocratic. Traditionally and in most cases, the monarchs post is inherited and lasts until death or abdication, occasionally this might create a situation of rival claimants whose legitimacy is subject to effective election. Finally, there have been cases where the term of a reign is either fixed in years or continues until certain goals are achieved. Thus there are widely divergent structures and traditions defining monarchy, Monarchy was the most common form of government until the 19th century, but it is no longer prevalent. Currently,47 sovereign nations in the world have monarchs acting as heads of state,19 of which are Commonwealth realms that recognise Queen Elizabeth II as their head of state. The monarchs of Cambodia and Malaysia reign, the word monarch comes from the Greek language word μονάρχης, monárkhēs which referred to a single, at least nominally absolute ruler. In current usage the word usually refers to a traditional system of hereditary rule.
Depending on the held by the monarch, a monarchy may be known as a kingdom, duchy, grand duchy, tsardom, sultanate, khaganate. The form of societal hierarchy known as chiefdom or tribal kingship is prehistoric, the Greek term monarchia is classical, used by Herodotus. The monarch in classical antiquity is often identified as king, the Chinese and Nepalese monarchs continued to be considered living Gods into the modern period. Since antiquity, monarchy has contrasted with forms of democracy, where power is wielded by assemblies of free citizens. In antiquity, monarchies were abolished in favour of such assemblies in Rome, much of 19th century politics was characterised by the division between anti-monarchist Radicalism and monarchist Conservativism. Many countries abolished the monarchy in the 20th century and became republics, advocacy of republics is called republicanism, while advocacy of monarchies is called monarchism. In the modern era, monarchies are more prevalent in small states than in large ones, most monarchs, both historically and in the modern day, have been born and brought up within a royal family, the centre of the royal household and court.
Growing up in a family, future monarchs are often trained for the responsibilities of expected future rule. Different systems of succession have been used, such as proximity of blood and agnatic seniority. While most monarchs have been male, many female monarchs have reigned in history, rule may be hereditary in practice without being considered a monarchy, such as that of family dictatorships or political families in many democracies. The principal advantage of hereditary monarchy is the continuity of leadership
The Rashidun Caliphate was the Islamic caliphate in the earliest period of Islam, comprising the first five caliphs—the Rightly Guided or Rashidun caliphs. It was founded after Muhammads death in 632 CE, after Muhammads death in 632 CE, the Medinan Ansar debated which of them should succeed him in running the affairs of the Muslims while Muhammads household was busy with his burial. Umar and Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah pledged their loyalty to Abu Bakr, with the Ansar, Abu Bakr thus became the first Khalīfatu Rasūli l-Lāh successor of the Messenger of God, or caliph, and embarked on campaigns to propagate Islam. First he would have to subdue the Arabian tribes which had claimed that although they pledged allegiance to Muhammad and accepted Islam, as a caliph, Abu Bakr was not a monarch and never claimed such a title, nor did any of his three successors. Rather, their election and leadership were based upon merit, as for the fifth Caliph, ‘Alis son Al-Hasan, as a son of Fatimah, he was a grandson of Muhammad.
Furthermore, according to other hadiths in Sunan Abu Dawood and Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, towards the end times, Abu Bakr, the oldest companion of Muhammad, was caliph for only 2 years before he died. When Muhammad died, Abu Bakr and Umar, his two companions, were in the Saqifah meeting to select his successor while the family of Muhammad was busy with his funeral, controversy among the Muslims emerged about whom to name as Caliph. There was disagreement between the Meccan followers of Muhammad who had emigrated with him in 622 and the Medinans who had become followers, the Ansar, considering themselves being the hosts and loyal companions of Muhammad, nominated Sad bin Ubadah as their candidate for the Caliphate. In the end, Muhammads closest friend, Abu Bakr, was named the khalifa or Successor of Muhammad, a new circumstance had formed a new, untried political formation, the caliphate. Troubles emerged soon after Muhammads death, threatening the unity and stability of the new community, Apostasy spread to every tribe in the Arabian Peninsula with the exception of the people in Mecca and Medina, the Banu Thaqif in Taif and the Bani Abdul Qais of Oman.
In some cases, entire tribes apostatised, others merely withheld zakat, the alms tax, without formally challenging Islam. Many tribal leaders made claims to prophethood, some made it during the lifetime of Muhammad, the news of his death reached Medina shortly after the death of Muhammad. The apostasy of al-Yamama was led by another supposed prophet, many tribes claimed that they had submitted to Muhammad and that with Muhammads death, their allegiance was ended. Caliph Abu Bakr insisted that they had not just submitted to a leader, the result of this situation was the Ridda wars. Abu Bakr planned his strategy accordingly and he divided the Muslim army into several corps. The strongest corps, and the force of the Muslims, was the corps of Khalid ibn al-Walid. This corps was used to fight the most powerful of the rebel forces, other corps were given areas of secondary importance in which to bring the less dangerous apostate tribes to submission. After a series of successful campaigns Khalid ibn Walid defeated Musaylimah in the Battle of Yamama, the Campaign on the Apostasy was fought and completed during the eleventh year of the Hijri
The Scythian languages belonged to the Eastern branch of the Iranian languages. Ancient Greek historians spoke of Scythians who lived north of the Black Sea, Persians used the term Saka, for approximately the same people who lived further east. Although the ancients did not clearly distinguish the two terms, modern scholars usually use Saka to refer to Iranian-speaking tribes who inhabited the central steppe, the Chinese used the term Sai, for Sakas who had moved into the Tarim Basin. Assyrian sources speak of Iskuzai or Askuzai south of the Caucasus who were probably Scythians, the relationships between the peoples living in these widely separated regions remains unclear. Their westernmost territories during the Iron Age were known to classical Greek sources as Scythia, the Scythians were among the earliest peoples to master mounted warfare. In the 8th century BC they possibly raided Zhou China, soon after they expanded westwards and dislodged the Cimmerians from power on the Pontic Steppe.
Based in what is modern-day Ukraine, Southern European Russia, and Crimea, the Scythians established and controlled a vast trade network connecting Greece, Persia and China, perhaps contributing to the contemporary flourishing of those civilizations. Settled metalworkers made portable decorative objects for the Scythians and these objects survive mainly in metal, forming a distinctive Scythian art. In the 7th century BC the Scythians crossed the Caucasus and frequently raided the Middle East along with the Cimmerians, around 650–630 BC, Scythians briefly dominated the Medes of the western Iranian Plateau, stretching their power all the way to the borders of Egypt. After losing control over Media the Scythians continued intervening in Middle Eastern affairs, the Scythians subsequently engaged in frequent conflicts with the Achaemenid Empire. The western Scythians suffered a defeat against Macedonia in the 4th century BC, and were subsequently gradually conquered by the Sarmatians. In Eastern Europe, by the early Medieval Ages, the Scythians, Scythians kept herds of horses and sheep, lived in tent-covered wagons, and fought with bows and arrows on horseback.
They developed a culture characterized by opulent tombs, fine metalwork. Sulimirski views the Histories of Herodotus as the most important literary source relating to ancient Scyths, Herodotus provides a depiction that can be related to the results of archaeological research, but apparently knew little of the eastern part of Scythia. He did say that the ancient Persians called all the Scyths Σάκαι and their principal tribe, the Royal Scyths, ruled the vast lands occupied by the nation as a whole, calling themselves Σκώλοτοι. The restored Scythian name is *Skuda, which among the Pontic or Royal Scythians became *Skula, in which the d has been regularly replaced by an l. Saka, on the hand, Szemerényi relates to an Iranian verbal root, sak-, go, roam. The name does appear somewhat further east than the Achaemenid Empire, whether they adopted the Achaemenid name, or Saka came to be an endonym, it is not clear
In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or Medieval Period lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance, the Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history, classical antiquity, the medieval period, and the modern period. The medieval period is subdivided into the Early, High. Population decline, counterurbanisation and movement of peoples, the large-scale movements of the Migration Period, including various Germanic peoples, formed new kingdoms in what remained of the Western Roman Empire. In the seventh century, North Africa and the Middle East—once part of the Byzantine Empire—came under the rule of the Umayyad Caliphate, although there were substantial changes in society and political structures, the break with classical antiquity was not complete. The still-sizeable Byzantine Empire survived in the east and remained a major power, the empires law code, the Corpus Juris Civilis or Code of Justinian, was rediscovered in Northern Italy in 1070 and became widely admired in the Middle Ages.
In the West, most kingdoms incorporated the few extant Roman institutions, monasteries were founded as campaigns to Christianise pagan Europe continued. The Franks, under the Carolingian dynasty, briefly established the Carolingian Empire during the 8th, the Crusades, first preached in 1095, were military attempts by Western European Christians to regain control of the Holy Land from Muslims. Kings became the heads of centralised nation states, reducing crime and violence, intellectual life was marked by scholasticism, a philosophy that emphasised joining faith to reason, and by the founding of universities. Controversy and the Western Schism within the Catholic Church paralleled the conflict, civil strife. Cultural and technological developments transformed European society, concluding the Late Middle Ages, the Middle Ages is one of the three major periods in the most enduring scheme for analysing European history, classical civilisation, or Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Modern Period.
Medieval writers divided history into periods such as the Six Ages or the Four Empires, when referring to their own times, they spoke of them as being modern. In the 1330s, the humanist and poet Petrarch referred to pre-Christian times as antiqua, leonardo Bruni was the first historian to use tripartite periodisation in his History of the Florentine People. Bruni and argued that Italy had recovered since Petrarchs time. The Middle Ages first appears in Latin in 1469 as media tempestas or middle season, in early usage, there were many variants, including medium aevum, or middle age, first recorded in 1604, and media saecula, or middle ages, first recorded in 1625. The alternative term medieval derives from medium aevum, tripartite periodisation became standard after the German 17th-century historian Christoph Cellarius divided history into three periods, Ancient and Modern. The most commonly given starting point for the Middle Ages is 476, for Europe as a whole,1500 is often considered to be the end of the Middle Ages, but there is no universally agreed upon end date.
English historians often use the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 to mark the end of the period
Iran, known as Persia, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a sovereign state in Western Asia. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2, it is the second-largest country in the Middle East, with 82.8 million inhabitants, Iran is the worlds 17th-most-populous country. It is the country with both a Caspian Sea and an Indian Ocean coastline. The countrys central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, Tehran is the countrys capital and largest city, as well as its leading economic and cultural center. Iran is the site of to one of the worlds oldest civilizations, the area was first unified by the Iranian Medes in 625 BC, who became the dominant cultural and political power in the region. The empire collapsed in 330 BC following the conquests of Alexander the Great, under the Sassanid Dynasty, Iran again became one of the leading powers in the world for the next four centuries. Beginning in 633 AD, Arabs conquered Iran and largely displaced the indigenous faiths of Manichaeism and Zoroastrianism by Islam, Iran became a major contributor to the Islamic Golden Age that followed, producing many influential scientists, scholars and thinkers.
During the 18th century, Iran reached its greatest territorial extent since the Sassanid Empire, through the late 18th and 19th centuries, a series of conflicts with Russia led to significant territorial losses and the erosion of sovereignty. Popular unrest culminated in the Persian Constitutional Revolution of 1906, which established a monarchy and the countrys first legislative body. Following a coup instigated by the U. K. Growing dissent against foreign influence and political repression led to the 1979 Revolution, Irans rich cultural legacy is reflected in part by its 21 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the third-largest number in Asia and 11th-largest in the world. Iran is a member of the UN, ECO, NAM, OIC. Its political system is based on the 1979 Constitution which combines elements of a democracy with a theocracy governed by Islamic jurists under the concept of a Supreme Leadership. A multicultural country comprising numerous ethnic and linguistic groups, most inhabitants are Shia Muslims, the largest ethnic groups in Iran are the Persians, Azeris and Lurs.
Historically, Iran has been referred to as Persia by the West, due mainly to the writings of Greek historians who called Iran Persis, meaning land of the Persians. As the most extensive interactions the Ancient Greeks had with any outsider was with the Persians, Persis was originally referred to a region settled by Persians in the west shore of Lake Urmia, in the 9th century BC. The settlement was shifted to the end of the Zagros Mountains. In 1935, Reza Shah requested the international community to refer to the country by its native name, opposition to the name change led to the reversal of the decision, and Professor Ehsan Yarshater, editor of Encyclopædia Iranica, propagated a move to use Persia and Iran interchangeably