King of the Lands
King of the Lands interpreted as just King of Lands or the more boastful King of All Lands was a title of great prestige claimed by powerful monarchs in ancient Mesopotamia. Introduced during the Neo-Assyrian Empire, the term mātāti explicitly refers to foreign lands beyond the confines of Mesopotamia itself, suggesting that the Assyrian king had the right to govern foreign lands as well as his own; the title was introduced by the king Ashurnasirpal II in the variation šar mātāti šarhu, meaning "splendid" or "glorious king of lands". This title, the similar epithet of murtedu kališ mātāte were used by Ashurnasirpal's son and successor Shalmaneser III. Other than these two kings, the title is attested during the Neo-Assyrian period, only being used in connection to one other king, Ashurbanipal. After his conquest of Babylon in 539 BC, Cyrus the Great assumed several traditional Mesopotamian titles, among them šar mātāti. Cyrus and all succeeding kings of the Achaemenid Empire would use the similar title of King of Countries in their inscriptions.
Scribes in the city of Babylon translated this title into šar mātāti. Achaemenid kings who are explicitly attested with the Akkadian-language variant include Cyrus the Great, Cambyses II and Artaxerxes I; the title was assumed by rebels in Babylon during Achaemenid times. Šamaš-erība, who rebelled against the rule of Xerxes I, claimed to be the "King of Babylon and of the Lands". Following the collapse of the Achaemenid Empire the title is only rarely attested for some of the succeeding rulers of Mesopotamia, it occurs during the Seleucid period, with king Antiochus I claiming it alongside several other traditional Mesopotamian titles in the Antiochus cylinder, which describes how Antiochus rebuilt the Ezida Temple in the city of Borsippa. It is used only once during the Parthian Empire, claimed by king Phraates II. Ashurnasirpal II Shalmaneser III Ashurbanipal Cyrus the Great, claimed the title from 539 BC. Cambyses II Artaxerxes I All other Achaemenid kings used the equivalent title King of Countries.
Šamaš-erība – rebel in Babylon. Antiochus I Phraates II Johandi, Andreas. Mesopotamian Influences on the Old Persian Royal Ideology and the Religion: The Example of Achaemenid Royal Inscriptions. Kaitseväe Ühendatud Õppeasutused. Karlsson, Mattias. Relations of Power in Early Neo-Assyrian State Ideology. Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG. Karlsson, Mattias. "Assyrian Royal Titulary in Babylonia". Kosmin, Paul J.. The Land of the Elephant Kings. Harvard University Press. Shayegan, M. Rahim. Arsacids and Sasanians: Political Ideology in Post-Hellenistic and Late Antique Persia. Cambridge University Press. Waerzeggers, Caroline. Xerxes and Babylonia: The Cuneiform Evidence. Peeters Publishers
Achaemenes was the apical ancestor of the Achaemenid dynasty of rulers of Persia. Other than his role as apical ancestor, nothing is known of his life or actions, it is quite possible that Achaemenes was only the mythical ancestor of the Persian royal house, but if Achaemenes was an historical person, he would have lived around the end of the 8th century and the beginning of the 7th century BC. The name used in European languages derives from Old Persian Haxāmaniš, as found together with Elamite and Akkadian in the non-contemporaneous trilingual Behistun inscription of Darius I; the Old Persian proper name is traditionally derived from haxā- "friend" and manah "thinking power", yielding "having a friend's mind." A more recent interpretation reads haxā- as "follower", giving "characterized by a follower's spirit." The name is spelled هخامنش in Modern Persian. In the Behistun inscription, Darius I portrays Achaemenes as the father of Teispes, ancestor of Cyrus II and Darius I; the mid-5th century BC Histories of Herodotus has the same story, but fuses two parallel lines of descent from "Teispes son of Achaemenes".
Beyond such brief mentions of the name, nothing is known of the figure behind it, neither from indigenous sources nor from historiographic ones. It may be. Many scholars believe he was a ruler of Parsumash, a vassal state of the Median Empire, that from there he led armies against the Assyrian king Sennacherib in 681 BC, it may be that the Behistun inscription's claim of descent from Achaemenes was an invention of Darius I, in order to justify the latter's seizure of the throne. Cyrus II does not mention Achaemenes at all in the detailed genealogy given in the Cyrus cylinder. While the patronym haxāmanišiya—"of Achaemenes"—does appear in an inscription at Pasargadae attributed to Cyrus II, this inscription may have been written on the order of Darius I after Cyrus' death; as such, Achaemenes could be a retrograde creation of Darius the Great, made in order to legitimize a dynastic relationship to Cyrus the Great. Darius had much to gain in having an ancestor shared by Cyrus and himself, may have felt the need for a stronger connection than that provided by his subsequent marriage to Cyrus' daughter Atossa.
The Greek writers of antiquity preserve several legends surrounding the figure: The late 4th-century BC Alcibiades of Plato portrays Achaemenes as the hero-founder of the Persái in the same way that the Greeks are descended from Heracles, that both Achaemenes and Hercules were sons of Perseus, son of Zeus. This is assumed to be an identification of Achaemenes with Perses who in Greek mythology was imagined to be the ancestor of the "Persians". Another version of the tale makes Achaemenes yet another founder-hero of legend; the 3rd-century Aelianus has Achaemenes being bred by an eagle. Achaemenid family tree
Persepolis was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire. It is situated 60 km northeast of the city of Shiraz in Iran; the earliest remains of Persepolis date back to 515 BCE. It exemplifies the Achaemenid style of architecture. UNESCO declared the ruins of Persepolis a World Heritage Site in 1979; the English word Persepolis is derived from Greek Persépolis, a compound of Pérsēs and pólis, meaning "the Persian city" or "the city of the Persians". To the ancient Persians, the city was known as Pārsa, the word for the region of Persia. An inscription left by Sasanian prince Shapur Sakanshah, the son of Hormizd II, refers to the site as Sad-stūn, meaning "Hundred Pillars"; because medieval Persians attributed the site to Jamshid, an Iranian mythological king, it has been referred to as Takht-e-Jamshid meaning "Throne of Jamshid". Another name given to the site in the medieval period was Čehel Menār meaning "Forty Minarets". Persepolis is near the small river Pulvar; the site includes a 125,000 square meter terrace artificially constructed and cut out of a mountain, with its east side leaning on Rahmat Mountain.
The other three sides are formed by retaining walls, which vary in height with the slope of the ground. Rising from 5–13 metres on the west side was a double stair. From there, it slopes to the top. To create the level terrace, depressions were filled with soil and heavy rocks, which were joined together with metal clips. Archaeological evidence shows that the earliest remains of Persepolis date back to 515 BC. André Godard, the French archaeologist who excavated Persepolis in the early 1930s, believed that it was Cyrus the Great who chose the site of Persepolis, but that it was Darius I who built the terrace and the palaces. Inscriptions on these buildings support the belief. With Darius I, the scepter passed to a new branch of the royal house. Persepolis became the capital of Persia proper during his reign. However, the city's location in a remote and mountainous region made it an inconvenient residence for the rulers of the empire; the country's true capitals were Susa and Ecbatana. This may be why the Greeks were not acquainted with the city until Alexander the Great took and plundered it.
Darius I's construction of Persepolis were carried out parallel to those of the Palace of Susa. According to Gene R. Garthwaite, the Susa Palace served as Darius' model for Persepolis. Darius I ordered the construction of the Apadana and the Council Hall, as well as the main imperial Treasury and its surroundings; these were completed during the reign of his son, Xerxes I. Further construction of the buildings on the terrace continued until the downfall of the Achaemenid Empire. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, the Greek historian Ctesias mentioned that Darius I's grave was in a cliff face that could be reached with an apparatus of ropes. Around 519 BC, construction of a broad stairway was begun; the stairway was planned to be the main entrance to the terrace 20 metres above the ground. The dual stairway, known as the Persepolitan Stairway, was built symmetrically on the western side of the Great Wall; the 111 steps measured 6.9 metres wide, with treads of 31 centimetres and rises of 10 centimetres.
The steps were believed to have been constructed to allow for nobles and royalty to ascend by horseback. New theories, suggest that the shallow risers allowed visiting dignitaries to maintain a regal appearance while ascending; the top of the stairways led to a small yard in the north-eastern side of the terrace, opposite the Gate of All Nations. Grey limestone was the main building material used at Persepolis. After natural rock had been leveled and the depressions filled in, the terrace was prepared. Major tunnels for sewage were dug underground through the rock. A large elevated water storage tank was carved at the eastern foot of the mountain. Professor Olmstead suggested the cistern was constructed at the same time that construction of the towers began; the uneven plan of the terrace, including the foundation, acted like a castle, whose angled walls enabled its defenders to target any section of the external front. Diodorus Siculus writes that Persepolis had three walls with ramparts, which all had towers to provide a protected space for the defense personnel.
The first wall was 7 metres tall, the second, 14 metres and the third wall, which covered all four sides, was 27 metres in height, though no presence of the wall exists in modern times. The function of Persepolis remains rather unclear, it was not one of the largest cities in Persia, let alone the rest of the empire, but appears to have been a grand ceremonial complex, only occupied seasonally. Until recent challenges, most archaeologists held that it was used for celebrating Nowruz, the Persian New Year, held at the spring equinox, still an important annual festivity in modern Iran; the Iranian nobility and the tributary parts of the empire came to present gifts to the king, as represented in the stairway reliefs. After invading Achaemenid Persia in 330 BC, Alexander the Great sent the main force of his army to Persepolis by the Royal Road, he stormed a pass through modern-day Zagros Mountains. There Ariobarzanes of Persis ambushed Alexander the Great's army, inflicting heavy casualties. After being held off for 30 days, Alexander t
Artaxerxes I of Persia
Artaxerxes I was the sixth King of Kings of the Achaemenid Empire, from 465-424 BC. He was the third son of Xerxes I, he may have been the "Artasyrus" mentioned by Herodotus as being a satrap of the royal satrapy of Bactria. In Greek sources he is surnamed "long-handed" because his right hand was longer than his left. Artaxerxes was born in the reign of his grandfather Darius I, to the emperor's son and heir, Xerxes I. In 465 BC, Xerxes I was murdered by Artabanus, the commander of the royal bodyguard and the most powerful official in the Persian court, with the help of a eunuch, Aspamitres. Greek historians give contradicting accounts of events. According to Ctesias, Artabanus accused the Crown Prince Darius, Xerxes's eldest son, of the murder and persuaded Artaxerxes, to avenge the patricide by killing Darius, but according to Aristotle, Artabanus killed Darius first and killed Xerxes. After Artaxerxes discovered the murder, he killed his sons. Artaxerxes had to face a revolt in Egypt in 460–454 BC led by Inaros II, the son of a Libyan prince named Psamtik descended from the Twenty-sixth Dynasty of Egypt.
In 460 BC, Inaros II revolted against the Persians with the help of his Athenian allies, defeated the Persian army commanded by satrap Akheimenes. The Persians retreated to Memphis, the Athenians were defeated in 454 BC, by the Persian army led by Megabyzus, after a two-year siege. Inaros carried away to Susa. After the Achaemenid Empire had been defeated at the Battle of the Eurymedon, military action between Greece and Persia was at a standstill; when Artaxerxes I took power, he introduced a new Persian strategy of weakening the Athenians by funding their enemies in Greece. This indirectly caused the Athenians to move the treasury of the Delian League from the island of Delos to the Athenian acropolis; this funding practice prompted renewed fighting in 450 BC, where the Greeks attacked at the Battle of Cyprus. After Cimon's failure to attain much in this expedition, the Peace of Callias was agreed among Athens and Persia in 449 BC. Artaxerxes I offered asylum to Themistocles, his father Xerxes's greatest enemy for his victory at the Battle of Salamis, after Themistocles was ostracized from Athens.
Artaxerxes I gave him Magnesia and Lampsacus to maintain him in bread and wine. In addition, Artaxerxes I gave him Skepsis to provide him with clothes, he gave him Percote with bedding for his house. Themistocles would go on to learn and adopt Persian customs, Persian language, traditions. Artaxerxes is described in the Bible as having commissioned Ezra, a kohen and scribe, by means of a letter of decree, to take charge of the ecclesiastical and civil affairs of the Jewish nation. Ezra thereby left Babylon in the first month of the seventh year of Artaxerxes' reign, at the head of a company of Jews that included priests and Levites, they arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month of the seventh year according to the Hebrew calendar. The rebuilding of the Jewish community in Jerusalem had begun under Cyrus the Great, who had permitted Jews held captive in Babylon to return to Jerusalem and rebuild Solomon's Temple. A number of Jews returned to Jerusalem in 538 BC, the foundation of this "Second Temple" was laid in 536 BC, in the second year of their return.
After a period of strife, the temple was completed in the sixth year of Darius, 516 BC. In Artaxerxes' twentieth year, the king's cup-bearer was a friend of the king as in that year Artaxerxes inquired after Nehemiah's sadness. Nehemiah related to him the plight of the Jewish people and that the city of Jerusalem was undefended; the king sent Nehemiah to Jerusalem with letters of safe passage to the governors in Trans-Euphrates, to Asaph, keeper of the royal forests, to make beams for the citadel by the Temple and to rebuild the city walls. Roger Williams, a 17th-century Christian minister and founder of Rhode Island, interpreted several passages in the Old and New Testament to support limiting government interference in religious matters. Williams published The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution for Cause of Conscience, arguing for a separation of church and state based on biblical reasoning. Williams believed that Israel was a unique covenant kingdom and not an appropriate model for New Testament Christians who believed that the Old Testament covenant had been fulfilled.
Therefore, the more informative Old Testament examples of civil government were "good" non-covenant kings such as Artaxerxes, who tolerated the Jews and did not insist that they follow his state religion. According to a paper published in 2011, the discrepancy in Artaxerxes’ limb lengths may have arisen as a result of the inherited disease neurofibromatosis. By queen Damaspia Xerxes IIBy Alogyne of Babylon SogdianusBy Cosmartidene of Babylon Darius II ArsitesBy Andia of Babylon Bogapaeus Parysatis, wife of Darius II OchusBy another unknown wife An unnamed daughter, wife of Hieramenes, mother of Autoboesaces and MitraeusBy various wives Eleven other children Artoxares Ezra–Nehemiah List of biblical figures identified in extra-biblical sources Encyclopedia Iranica ARTAXERXES Encyclopedia Iranica ARTAXERXES I a son of Xerxes I and Amestris
Satraps were the governors of the provinces of the ancient Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as in the Sasanian Empire and the Hellenistic empires. The satrap served as viceroy to the king, though with considerable autonomy; the word "satrap" is often used metaphorically in modern literature to refer to world leaders or governors who are influenced by larger world superpowers or hegemonies and act as their surrogates. The word satrap is derived via Latin satrapes from Greek satrápēs, itself borrowed from an Old Iranian *xšaθra-pā/ă-. In Old Persian, the native language of the Achaemenids, it is recorded as xšaçapāvan; the Median form is reconstructed as *xšaθrapāwan-. It is cognate with Sanskrit kṣatrapa. In the Parthian and Middle Persian, it is recorded in the forms šasab, respectively. In modern Persian the descendant of xšaθrapāvan is shahrbān, but the components have undergone semantic shift so the word now means "town keeper". Although the first large-scale use of satrapies, or provinces, originates from the inception of the Achaemenid Empire under Cyrus the Great, beginning at around 530 BCE, provincial organization originated during the Median era from at least 648 BCE.
Up to the time of the conquest of Media by Cyrus the Great, emperors ruled the lands they conquered through client kings and governors. The main difference was that in Persian culture the concept of kingship was indivisible from divinity: divine authority validated the divine right of kings; the twenty-six satraps established by Cyrus were never kings, but viceroys ruling in the king's name, although in political reality many took advantage of any opportunity to carve themselves an independent power base. Darius the Great gave the satrapies a definitive organization, increased their number to thirty-six, fixed their annual tribute; the satrap was in charge of the land that he owned as an administrator, found himself surrounded by an all-but-royal court. He was responsible for the safety of the roads, had to put down brigands and rebels, he was assisted by a council of Persians, to which provincials were admitted and, controlled by a royal secretary and emissaries of the king the "eye of the king", who made an annual inspection and exercised permanent control.
There were further checks on the power of each satrap: besides his secretarial scribe, his chief financial official and the general in charge of the regular army of his province and of the fortresses were independent of him and periodically ported directly to the shah, in person. The satrap was allowed to have troops in his own service; the great satrapies were divided into smaller districts, the governors of which were called satraps and called hyparchs. The distribution of the great satrapies was changed and two of them were given to the same man; as the provinces were the result of consecutive conquests, both primary and sub-satrapies were defined by former states and/or ethno-religious identity. One of the keys to the Achaemenid success was their open attitude to the culture and religion of the conquered people, so the Persian culture was the one most affected as the Great King endeavoured to meld elements from all his subjects into a new imperial style at his capital, Persepolis. Whenever central authority in the empire weakened, the satrap enjoyed practical independence as it became customary to appoint him as general-in-chief of the army district, contrary to the original rule.
"When his office became hereditary, the threat to the central authority could not be ignored". Rebellions of satraps became frequent from the middle of the 5th century BCE. Darius I struggled with widespread rebellions in the satrapies, under Artaxerxes II the greater parts of Asia Minor and Syria were in open rebellion; the last great rebellions were put down by Artaxerxes III. The satrapic administration and title were retained—even for Greco-Macedonian incumbents—by Alexander the Great, who conquered the Achaemenid Empire, by his successors, the Diadochi who carved it up in the Seleucid Empire, where the satrap was designated as strategos, they would be replaced by conquering empires the Parthians. In the Parthian Empire, the king's power rested on the support of noble families who ruled large estates, supplied soldiers and tribute to the king. City-states within the empire enjoyed a degree of self-government, paid tribute to the king. Administration of the Sassanid Empire was more centralized than that of the Parthian Empire.
Shahrabs ruled both the city and the surroundi
Concubinage is an interpersonal and sexual relationship in which the couple are not or cannot be married. The inability to marry may be due to multiple factors such as differences in social rank status, an existing marriage, religious or professional prohibitions, or a lack of recognition by appropriate authorities; the woman or man in such a relationship is referred to as a concubine. In Judaism, a concubine is a marital companion of inferior status to a wife. A concubine among polygamous peoples is a secondary wife of inferior rank; the prevalence of concubinage and the status of rights and expectations of a concubine have varied among cultures, as have the rights of children of a concubine. Whatever the status and rights of the concubine, they were always inferior to those of the wife and neither she nor her children had rights of inheritance. Concubinage was entered into voluntarily as it provided a measure of economic security for the woman. Involuntary or servile concubinage sometimes involved sexual slavery of one member of the relationship the woman.
Sexual relations outside marriage were not uncommon among royalty and nobility, the woman in such relationships was described as a mistress. The children of such relationships were counted as illegitimate and were barred from inheriting the father's title or estates in the absence of legitimate heirs. While forms of long-term sexual relationships and co-habitation short of marriage have become common in the Western world, these are not described as concubinage; the terms concubinage and concubine are used today when referring to non-marital partnerships of earlier eras. In modern usage, a non-marital domestic relationship is referred to as co-habitation, the woman in such a relationship is referred to as a girlfriend, fiancée, lover or life partner. Concubinage was popular before the early 20th century all over East Asia; the main function of concubinage was producing additional heirs, as well as bringing males pleasure. Children of concubines had lower rights in account to inheritance, regulated by the Dishu system.
In China, successful men had concubines until the practice was outlawed when the Communist Party of China came to power in 1949. The standard Chinese term translated as "concubine" was qiè 妾, a term, used since ancient times, which means "concubine. Concubinage resembled marriage in that concubines were recognized sexual partners of a man and were expected to bear children for him. Unofficial concubines are of lower status, their children are considered illegitimate; the English term concubine is used for what the Chinese refer to as pínfēi, or "consorts of emperors", an official position carrying a high rank. In premodern China it was illegal and disreputable for a man to have more than one wife at a time, but it was acceptable to have concubines. In the earliest records a man could have as many concubines. From the Eastern Han period onward, the number of concubines a man could have was limited by law; the higher rank and the more noble identity a man possessed, the more concubines he was permitted to have.
A concubine's treatment and situation was variable and was influenced by the social status of the male to whom she was attached, as well as the attitude of his wife. In the Book of Rites chapter on "The Pattern of the Family" it says, “If there were betrothal rites, she became a wife. Wives brought a dowry to a relationship. A concubinage relationship could be entered into without the ceremonies used in marriages, neither remarriage nor a return to her natal home in widowhood were allowed to a concubine; the position of the concubine was inferior to that of the wife. Although a concubine could produce heirs, her children would be inferior in social status to a wife's children, although they were of higher status than illegitimate children; the child of a concubine had to show filial duty to two women, their biological mother and their legal mother—the wife of their father. After the death of a concubine, her sons would make an offering to her, but these offerings were not continued by the concubine's grandsons, who only made offerings to their grandfather’s wife.
There are early records of concubines being buried alive with their masters to "keep them company in the afterlife". Until the Song dynasty, it was considered a serious breach of social ethics to promote a concubine to a wife. During the Qing dynasty, the status of concubines improved, it became permissible to promote a concubine to wife, if the original wife had died and the concubine was the mother of the only surviving sons. Moreover, the prohibition against forcing a widow to remarry was extended to widowed concubines. During this period tablets for concubine-mothers seem to have been more placed in family ancestral altars, genealogies of some lineages listed concubine-mothers. Imperial concubines, kept by emperors in the Forbidden City, had different ranks and were traditionally guarded by eunuchs to ensure that they could not be impregnated by anyone but the emperor. In Ming China there was an official system to select concubines for the emperor; the age of the candidates ranged from 14 to 16.
Virtues, character and body condition were the selection criteria. Despite the limitations imposed on Chinese concubines, there are several examples in history
Iran called Persia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2, it is the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, to the west by Turkey and Iraq; the country's central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the country's capital and largest city, as well as its leading economic and cultural center. Iran is home to one of the world's oldest civilizations, beginning with the formation of the Elamite kingdoms in the fourth millennium BCE, it was first unified by the Iranian Medes in the seventh century BCE, reaching its greatest territorial size in the sixth century BCE, when Cyrus the Great founded the Achaemenid Empire, which stretched from Eastern Europe to the Indus Valley, becoming one of the largest empires in history.
The Iranian realm fell to Alexander the Great in the fourth century BCE and was divided into several Hellenistic states. An Iranian rebellion culminated in the establishment of the Parthian Empire, succeeded in the third century CE by the Sasanian Empire, a leading world power for the next four centuries. Arab Muslims conquered the empire in the seventh century CE; the Islamization of Iran led to the decline of Zoroastrianism, by the country's dominant religion, Iran's major contributions to art and science spread within the Muslim rule during the Islamic Golden Age. After two centuries, a period of various native Muslim dynasties began, which were conquered by the Seljuq Turks and the Ilkhanate Mongols; the rise of the Safavids in the 15th century led to the reestablishment of a unified Iranian state and national identity, with the country's conversion to Shia Islam marking a turning point in Iranian and Muslim history. Under Nader Shah, Iran was one of the most powerful states in the 18th century, though by the 19th century, a series of conflicts with the Russian Empire led to significant territorial losses.
The Iranian Constitutional Revolution in the early 20th century led to the establishment of a constitutional monarchy and the country's first legislature. A 1953 coup instigated by the United Kingdom and the United States resulted in greater autocracy and growing Western political influence. Subsequent widespread dissatisfaction and unrest against the monarchy led to the 1979 Revolution and the establishment of an Islamic republic, a political system that includes elements of a parliamentary democracy vetted and supervised by a theocracy governed by an autocratic "Supreme Leader". During the 1980s, the country was engaged in a war with Iraq, which lasted for eight years and resulted in a high number of casualties and economic losses for both sides; the sovereign state of Iran is a founding member of the UN, ECO, NAM, OIC, OPEC. It is a major regional and middle power, its large reserves of fossil fuels – which include the world's largest natural gas supply and the fourth largest proven oil reserves – exert considerable influence in international energy security and the world economy.
The country's rich cultural legacy is reflected in part by its 22 UNESCO World Heritage sites, the third largest number in Asia and 11th largest in the world. Iran is a multicultural country comprising numerous ethnic and linguistic groups, the largest being Persians, Azeris and Lurs. Organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have criticized Iran's women's rights record; the term Iran derives directly from Middle Persian Ērān, first attested in a third-century inscription at Rustam Relief, with the accompanying Parthian inscription using the term Aryān, in reference to the Iranians. The Middle Iranian ērān and aryān are oblique plural forms of gentilic nouns ēr- and ary-, both deriving from Proto-Iranian *arya-, recognized as a derivative of Proto-Indo-European *ar-yo-, meaning "one who assembles". In the Iranian languages, the gentilic is attested as a self-identifier, included in ancient inscriptions and the literature of the Avesta, remains in other Iranian ethnic names Alan and Iron.
Iran has been referred to as Persia by the West, due to the writings of Greek historians who referred to all of Iran as Persís, meaning "land of the Persians", while Persis itself was one of the provinces of ancient Iran, today defined as Fars. As the most extensive interaction the Ancient Greeks had with any outsider was with the Persians, the term persisted long after the Greco-Persian Wars. In 1935, Reza Shah requested the international community to refer to the country by its native name, effective March 22 that year; as The New York Times explained at the time, "At the suggestion of the Persian Legation in Berlin, the Tehran government, on the Persian New Year, March 21, 1935, substituted Iran for Persia as the official name of the country." Opposition to the name change led to the reversal of the decision, Professor Ehsan Yarshater, editor of Encyclopædia Iranica, propagated a move to use Persia and Iran interchangeably. Today, both Iran and Persia are used in cultural contexts, while Iran remains irreplaceab