By Michael Axworthy
Iran is a land of contradictions.
It is an Islamic republic, yet one during which purely 1.4 percentage of the inhabitants attend Friday prayers. Iran's non secular tradition encompasses the main censorious and dogmatic Shi'a Muslim clerics on this planet, but its poetry insistently dwells at the joys of existence: wine, good looks, intercourse. Iranian girls are topic to at least one of the main restrictive costume codes within the Islamic global, yet make up approximately 60 percentage of the scholar inhabitants of the nation's universities.
In A historical past of Iran, acclaimed historian Michael Axworthy chronicles the wealthy heritage of this advanced kingdom from the Achaemenid Empire of 6th century B.C. to the present-day Islamic Republic. In enticing prose, this revised variation explains the army, political, non secular, and cultural forces that experience formed one of many oldest carrying on with civilizations on this planet, bringing us up smooth occasions.
Concluding with an evaluation of the monstrous alterations the kingdom has gone through because the revolution in 1979, together with a detailed examine Iran's ongoing makes an attempt to develop into a nuclear energy, A background of Iran bargains common readers a vital advisor to knowing this risky kingdom, that is once more on the heart of the world's awareness.
Read or Download A History of Iran: Empire of the Mind (Revised & Updated Edition) PDF
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Extra resources for A History of Iran: Empire of the Mind (Revised & Updated Edition)
The Seleucid kings pursued the easternizing policy of Alexander. They established Greek military and trading colonies in the east and used Iranian manpower in their armies, but their political attention was on the west—particularly on their rivalry with the other major eastern Macedonian/Greek dynasty, that of the Ptolemies in Egypt. In the east, outlying satrapies like Sogdiana and Bactria gradually became independent princedoms, the latter creating an enduring culture in what is now northern Afghanistan, fusing eastern and Greek cultures under Greek successor dynasties.
If the story was a fabrication, Darius was certainly brazen in the presentation of his case. In the Bisitun inscriptions, the rebel leaders are called liar kings, and Darius, appealing to religious feeling and Mazdaean beliefs about arta and druj, declares, [. ] you, whosoever shall be king hereafter, be on your guard very much against Falsehood. The man who shall be a follower of Falsehood—punish him severely . . qxp_Layout 1 3/7/16 9:36 AM Page 19 Origins 19 and, [. ] Ahura Mazda brought me aid and the other gods who are, because I was not disloyal, I was no follower of Falsehood, I was no evil-doer, neither I nor my family, I acted according to righteousness, neither to the powerless nor to the powerful, did I do wrong .
Perhaps the view of the Greeks also was better explained in terms of a simple resentment or jealousy that the Persians, rather than the Greeks, were running such a large part of the known world. 19 The Greeks were also an imperialistic or at least a colonizing culture of pioneering Indo-European origin. Perhaps the hostility between the Persians and the Greeks had as much to do with similarity as with difference. But in contrast to the Persians, the Greeks were not a single, unified power. They were composed of a multiplicity of rival city-states, and their influence was maritime rather than land-based.