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Towers of Silence, Iran (delbars / Adobe Stock)

Achaemenid Religion: Lighting the Spirit of Ancient Persia

The Achaemenid Persian Empire is historically important for the Western world because of the influence of the Persian civilization on both the ancient Greeks and the ancient Jews. Because of this...
Painting of Zarathustra (Zoroaster) at a temple in Isfahan, Iran.

Who Was Zoroaster and How Did He Gain Religious Followers?

Zoroaster was a prophet of ancient Persia, whose teachings laid the foundation for the religion known as Zoroastrianism, which largely dominated the land of Iran until the arrival of Islam after the...
What Went Wrong? The Real Story of the Battle of Thermopylae

What Went Wrong? The Real Story of the Battle of Thermopylae

In 480 BC, an enormous Persian army under the chief command of Emperor Xerxes (son of Darius the Great) campaigned against Thessaly in central Greece. Mainly they fought against the southern mostly...
Xerxes

Xerxes The Great: The Powerful Persian King Whose Death Destroyed an Empire

Xerxes I, also known as Xerxes the Great, was a 5th century Achaemenid king of the Persian empire. He is best known for leading the massive invasion of Greece, marked by the battles of Thermopylae,...
Byzantium survived the Arab invasions by developing a new system of defense.

Adapting to Survive: How Byzantium Survived the Arab Invasions

The seventh century was a vital point in the history of the Byzantine army. Since the beginning of the century, territory in the Balkans had steadily been lost to Avars and Slavs . Byzantine forces...
Ashurbanipal: The Oldest Surviving Royal Library in the World with Over 30,000 Clay Tablets

Ashurbanipal: The Oldest Surviving Royal Library in the World with Over 30,000 Clay Tablets

The Royal Library of Ashurbanipal has sometimes been described as the ‘first library’ in the world, or the ‘oldest surviving royal library in the world’. The library was discovered by archaeologists...
The Secret Strategic Plans of Darius the Great

The Secret Strategic Plans of Darius the Great

To the north of the Persian Empire, around both sides of Caucasus Mountain, various Scythian (Palaeo-Slavian / Staroslavianskje) tribes lived. They were nomadic, i.e. not yet permanently settled in...
Faravahar, one of the best-known symbols of ancient Iran (Persia). Relief in Persepolis.

The Plurality of the Persian Empire: Part I – The Achaemenids to the Sassanians

The land of Persia (also known as Iran) has been the center of several important empires throughout history. Between the 6th and 4th centuries BC, this was the land from which the mighty Achaemenids...
Apadana Hall, 5th century BC carving of Persian and Median soldiers in traditional costume (Medians are wearing rounded hats and boots). The Magi were a group of immigrants from Media who followed the Zoroastrian faith.

The Slaughter Of The Magi: How Ancient Persia Made Genocide an Annual Holiday

Long before the Holocaust and the atrocities we see today, history has been littered with genocide. Time and time again, minority groups living in the midst of a culture that isn’t their own have...
Cataphracts: Armored Warriors and their Horses of War

Cataphracts: Armored Warriors and their Horses of War

By the 7 th and 8 th centuries B.C., the role of the chariot in battle was gradually being replaced by cavalry units in the Near East. Some were armed lightly and were used to harass the enemy from...
1893 Reconstruction of the Alexander Mosaic.

Remorseless Chronicles of Slaughter: Fatal First Contact Between Ancient Greece and the Tribes of India

Colonialism hasn’t changed much. More than 2000 years ago, when Alexander the Great conquered the Persia, he sent an ancient explorer named Nearchus to sail down the Indus River and map the lands...
Image from the Shahnameh of the Simurgh (benevolent Persian mythological creature) carrying Zal (held in her claws) to her nest.

Simurgh, the Mysterious Giant Healing Bird in Iranian Mythology

The image of the serpent is widely acknowledged in western culture to symbolize medicine. One of the most recognizable symbols for medicine today is the rod of Aesculapius with its entwined single...
This 14th-century Persian painting portrays a scene from the Kushnameh in what scholars believe could be the betrothal of prince Abtin (kneeling) and Silla princess Frarang (sitting). (Hanyang University Museum)

The 1,500-Year-Old Love Story Between a Persian Prince and a Korean Princess that Could Rewrite History

More than a thousand years before the first European explorer reached Korea’s shores, the Persian Empire was writing love stories about Korean princesses. It’s a little-known story that could change...
King Leonidas by David Baldo

After 300: The Posthumous Vengeance of King Leonidas of Sparta

Mythologically descended from the hero Herakles, the Agiad dynasty of ancient Sparta reigned alongside the Eurypontids almost since the beginning of the city-state. When war was on the borders of...
The medieval chess piece found in Norway in December 2017.

Richly Adorned Arabic Influenced Chess Piece Unearthed in Norway

Archaeologists from the Norwegian Institute of Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) have recently discovered a rare and richly decorated Arabic-inspired chess piece in Tønsberg. Arabic Inspired Chess...
Taq-e Bostan, famous rock relief monument of Sassanid Persia

Histories of the Sassanian Kings Rivalry with the Romans Are Set in Stone at the Taq-e Bostan Monument

Taq-e Bostan (known also as Taq va san) is an archaeological site located in Kermanshah, a western province in Iran. This region is best-known for its numerous monuments dating to the Sassanian...

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