Persian people

Persian people

Overview
The Persian people are part of the Iranian peoples
Iranian peoples
The Iranian peoples are an Indo-European ethnic-linguistic group, consisting of the speakers of Iranian languages, a major branch of the Indo-European language family, as such forming a branch of Indo-European-speaking peoples...

 who speak the modern Persian language
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 (Farsi) and closely akin Iranian
Iranian peoples
The Iranian peoples are an Indo-European ethnic-linguistic group, consisting of the speakers of Iranian languages, a major branch of the Indo-European language family, as such forming a branch of Indo-European-speaking peoples...

 dialects and languages. The origin of the ethnic Iranian/Persian peoples are traced to the Ancient Iranian peoples
Ancient Iranian peoples
Iranian peoples first appear in Assyrian records in the 9th century BCE. In Classical Antiquity they were found primarily in Scythia and Persia...

, who were part of the ancient Indo-Iranians
Indo-Iranians
Indo-Iranian peoples are a linguistic group consisting of the Indo-Aryan, Iranian, Dardic and Nuristani peoples; that is, speakers of Indo-Iranian languages, a major branch of the Indo-European language family....

 and themselves part of the greater Indo-European
Indo-European
Indo-European may refer to:* Indo-European languages** Aryan race, a 19th century and early 20th century term for those peoples who are the native speakers of Indo-European languages...

 linguistic family. The synonymous usage of Iranian and Persian has persisted over the centuries although some modern Western sources use Iranic/Iranian as a wider term that includes the term Persian as well as related Iranian languages and ethnic groups.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Persian people'
Start a new discussion about 'Persian people'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
The Persian people are part of the Iranian peoples
Iranian peoples
The Iranian peoples are an Indo-European ethnic-linguistic group, consisting of the speakers of Iranian languages, a major branch of the Indo-European language family, as such forming a branch of Indo-European-speaking peoples...

 who speak the modern Persian language
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 (Farsi) and closely akin Iranian
Iranian peoples
The Iranian peoples are an Indo-European ethnic-linguistic group, consisting of the speakers of Iranian languages, a major branch of the Indo-European language family, as such forming a branch of Indo-European-speaking peoples...

 dialects and languages. The origin of the ethnic Iranian/Persian peoples are traced to the Ancient Iranian peoples
Ancient Iranian peoples
Iranian peoples first appear in Assyrian records in the 9th century BCE. In Classical Antiquity they were found primarily in Scythia and Persia...

, who were part of the ancient Indo-Iranians
Indo-Iranians
Indo-Iranian peoples are a linguistic group consisting of the Indo-Aryan, Iranian, Dardic and Nuristani peoples; that is, speakers of Indo-Iranian languages, a major branch of the Indo-European language family....

 and themselves part of the greater Indo-European
Indo-European
Indo-European may refer to:* Indo-European languages** Aryan race, a 19th century and early 20th century term for those peoples who are the native speakers of Indo-European languages...

 linguistic family. The synonymous usage of Iranian and Persian has persisted over the centuries although some modern Western sources use Iranic/Iranian as a wider term that includes the term Persian as well as related Iranian languages and ethnic groups. However, these terms have been used both synonymously as well as in a complementary fashion since ancient times; as the Ancient Iranian peoples such as the Old Persians, Medes
Medes
The MedesThe Medes...

, Bactrians
Bactrians
The Bactrians were the inhabitants of Bactria.Several important trade routes from India and China passed through Bactria and, as early as the Bronze Age, this had allowed the accumulation of vast amounts of wealth by the mostly nomadic population. The first proto-urban civilization in the area...

, Parthians and Avesta peoples considered themselves to be part of the greater Iranian ethnic stock.

The term Persian translates to "from or of Persis" which is a region north of the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

 located in Pars, Iran. It was from this region that Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus II of Persia , commonly known as Cyrus the Great, also known as Cyrus the Elder, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much...

 the founder of the Achaemenid empire
Achaemenid Empire
The Achaemenid Empire , sometimes known as First Persian Empire and/or Persian Empire, was founded in the 6th century BCE by Cyrus the Great who overthrew the Median confederation...

, united all other Iranian empires (such as the Medes
Medes
The MedesThe Medes...

 and the Elamites), and expanded the Persian cultural and social influences by incorporating the Babylonian empire, and the Lydian empire. Although not the first Iranian empire, the Achaemenid empire is the first Persian empire well recognized by Greek and Persian historians for its massive cultural, military and social influences going as far as Athens, Egypt, and Libya.

Besides modern Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

/Persia, ethnic Persians are also found in Central Asia (Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, Tajikistan
Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

, Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

) and are usually called "Tajiks" and "Farsiwans". Other closely related Iranian languages and dialects to modern Persian (Pārsi-ye Dari is one of the varieties of Persian/Iranian but due to its widespread usage as the most common Iranian language, it became synonymous with Persian), which derive from Western Middle Iranian languages
Middle Iranian languages
Middle Iranian may refer to any of a group of the Indo-European Iranian languages spoken between the 4th century BC and the 9th century AD:Western:*Parthian *Middle Persian Eastern:*Bactrian*Aryan*Sogdian*Khwarezmian...

, such as the Luri, Gilaki, Mazandarani
Mazandarani
Mazandarani may refer to :* Mazandarani people, Mazandaranis, Tabarian people* Mazandarani language, A language spoken mainly in South Caspian region* Morteza Sadouqi Mazandarani, Iranian grand ayatollah...

, Talyshi, Tat-Persian and other closely akin Iranian languages
Iranian languages
The Iranian languages form a subfamily of the Indo-Iranian languages which in turn is a subgroup of Indo-European language family. They have been and are spoken by Iranian peoples....

 have been mentioned as part of the Persian/Irani continuum. Some names such as "Tat", "Tajik", "Sart" and "'Ajam" have also been used by foreigners or Persians in reference to Iranians/Persians. The term Parsi, Tajik, Irani, and Tat have been used interchangeably for Persian and Iranian speakers of Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 during the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 including the Safavid
Safavid dynasty
The Safavid dynasty was one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Iran. They ruled one of the greatest Persian empires since the Muslim conquest of Persia and established the Twelver school of Shi'a Islam as the official religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning...

 and the Qajar
Qajar dynasty
The Qajar dynasty was an Iranian royal family of Turkic descent who ruled Persia from 1785 to 1925....

 era. The Persians of Central Asia who inhabit Tajikistan
Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

 and parts of Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 and Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

 are also called Tajiks while the term Tajik is contemporaneously used for Iranian
Iranian peoples
The Iranian peoples are an Indo-European ethnic-linguistic group, consisting of the speakers of Iranian languages, a major branch of the Indo-European language family, as such forming a branch of Indo-European-speaking peoples...

 people who speak Pamiri languages.

While a categorization of a 'Persian' ethnic group persists in the West, Persians have generally been a pan-national group often comprising regional people who often refer to themselves as 'Persians' and have also often used the term "Iranian" (in the ethnic-cultural sense). As a pan-national group, defining Persians as an ethnic group, at least in terms used in the West, is not inclusive since the ethnonym "Persian" includes several Iranian people including the speakers of Modern Persian. Some scholars, classify the speakers of Persian language as a single ethnic unit (the ‘Persians’) and exclude those Iranians who speak dialects of Persian, or other Iranian dialects closely related to Persian; however this approach to ethnicity in Iran is erroneous, since the designation Iranian (Irani) as an ethnic term has been used by all these ethnic group in Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, including the "Persians" irrespective of their origin, language and religion.

Terminology


The term Persia was adopted by all western languages through the Greeks and was used as an official name for Iran by the West until 1935. Due to that label, all Iranians were considered Persian. Also, many others who embraced the Persian language and culture are also often referred to as Persian as a part of the Persian civilization (culturally and/or linguistically).

Ancient history and origin




The origin of the ethnic Iranian peoples
Iranian peoples
The Iranian peoples are an Indo-European ethnic-linguistic group, consisting of the speakers of Iranian languages, a major branch of the Indo-European language family, as such forming a branch of Indo-European-speaking peoples...

/Persian peoples are traced to the Ancient Iranian peoples
Ancient Iranian peoples
Iranian peoples first appear in Assyrian records in the 9th century BCE. In Classical Antiquity they were found primarily in Scythia and Persia...

, who were part of the ancient Indo-Iranians
Indo-Iranians
Indo-Iranian peoples are a linguistic group consisting of the Indo-Aryan, Iranian, Dardic and Nuristani peoples; that is, speakers of Indo-Iranian languages, a major branch of the Indo-European language family....

 and themselves part of the greater Indo-European
Indo-European
Indo-European may refer to:* Indo-European languages** Aryan race, a 19th century and early 20th century term for those peoples who are the native speakers of Indo-European languages...

 linguistic family. The Ancient Iranian peoples
Ancient Iranian peoples
Iranian peoples first appear in Assyrian records in the 9th century BCE. In Classical Antiquity they were found primarily in Scythia and Persia...

 arrived in parts of Iranian plateau
Iranian plateau
The Iranian plateau, or Iranic plateau, is a geological formation in Southwest Asia. It is the part of the Eurasian Plate wedged between the Arabian and Indian plates, situated between the Zagros mountains to the west, the Caspian Sea and the Kopet Dag to the north, the Hormuz Strait and Persian...

 around 2000-1500 BCE Important Iranian tribes such as Old Persians, Medes
Medes
The MedesThe Medes...

, Parthians, Bactrians
Bactrians
The Bactrians were the inhabitants of Bactria.Several important trade routes from India and China passed through Bactria and, as early as the Bronze Age, this had allowed the accumulation of vast amounts of wealth by the mostly nomadic population. The first proto-urban civilization in the area...

, Scythians, and the Avesta people used the name Arya (Iranian), which was a collective definition, denoting peoples who were aware of belonging to the one ethnic stock, speaking a common language, and mainly sharing a religious tradition that centered on the worship of Ahura Mazda
Ahura Mazda
Ahura Mazdā is the Avestan name for a divinity of the Old Iranian religion who was proclaimed the uncreated God by Zoroaster, the founder of Zoroastrianism...

.

The Old Persians, who were one of these ethnic Iranian groups, were originally nomad
Nomad
Nomadic people , commonly known as itinerants in modern-day contexts, are communities of people who move from one place to another, rather than settling permanently in one location. There are an estimated 30-40 million nomads in the world. Many cultures have traditionally been nomadic, but...

ic, pastoral people in the western Iranian plateau and by 850 BCE were calling themselves the Parsa and their constantly shifting territory Parsua for the most part localized around Persis (Pars), bounded on the west by Tigris river and on the south by Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

. The first known written record of the term Persian is from Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

n inscriptions of the 9th century BCE, which mention both Parsuash and Parsua
Parsua
Parsua was an ancient land located between Zamua and Ellipi, in central Zagros to the southwest of Sanandaj, Iran . The name Parsua is from old Iranian *Parsava and presumably meant border, borderland. Parsua was distinct from Parsumash located further southeast in what is today known as Fars...

. These cognate words were taken from old Iranian Parsava and presumably meant border, borderland and were geographical designations for Iranian populations. Nonetheless, Parsua and Parsuash, were two different geographical locations, the latter referring to southwestern Iran, known in Old Persian
Old Persian language
The Old Persian language is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages . Old Persian appears primarily in the inscriptions, clay tablets, and seals of the Achaemenid era...

 as Pârsa (Modern Fars). The Greeks (who tended earlier to use names related to "Median") began in the 5th century to use adjectives such as Perses, Persica or Persis for Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus II of Persia , commonly known as Cyrus the Great, also known as Cyrus the Elder, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much...

's empire, which is where the word Persian in English comes from. In the later parts of the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

, where this kingdom is frequently mentioned (Books of Esther
Esther
Esther , born Hadassah, is the eponymous heroine of the Biblical Book of Esther.According to the Bible, she was a Jewish queen of the Persian king Ahasuerus...

, Daniel
Daniel
Daniel is the protagonist in the Book of Daniel of the Hebrew Bible. In the narrative, when Daniel was a young man, he was taken into Babylonian captivity where he was educated in Chaldean thought. However, he never converted to Neo-Babylonian ways...

, Ezra
Ezra
Ezra , also called Ezra the Scribe and Ezra the Priest in the Book of Ezra. According to the Hebrew Bible he returned from the Babylonian exile and reintroduced the Torah in Jerusalem...

 and Nehemya), it is called "Paras" (Hebrew פרס), or sometimes "Paras ve Madai" (פרס ומדי) i.e. "Persia and Media
Medes
The MedesThe Medes...

". As the Old Persians gained power, they developed the infrastructure to support their growing influence including creation of a capital named Pasargadae
Pasargadae
Pasargadae , the capital of Cyrus the Great and also his last resting place, was a city in ancient Persia, and is today an archaeological site and one of Iran's UNESCO World Heritage Sites.-History:...

, and an opulent city named Persepolis
Persepolis
Perspolis was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire . Persepolis is situated northeast of the modern city of Shiraz in the Fars Province of modern Iran. In contemporary Persian, the site is known as Takht-e Jamshid...

. Starting around 550 BCE, from the region of Persis in southern Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, encompassing the present Fars province, the ancient Persians
Achaemenid Empire
The Achaemenid Empire , sometimes known as First Persian Empire and/or Persian Empire, was founded in the 6th century BCE by Cyrus the Great who overthrew the Median confederation...

 spread their language
Old Persian language
The Old Persian language is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages . Old Persian appears primarily in the inscriptions, clay tablets, and seals of the Achaemenid era...

 and culture to other parts of the Iranian plateau
Iranian plateau
The Iranian plateau, or Iranic plateau, is a geological formation in Southwest Asia. It is the part of the Eurasian Plate wedged between the Arabian and Indian plates, situated between the Zagros mountains to the west, the Caspian Sea and the Kopet Dag to the north, the Hormuz Strait and Persian...

 and assimilated and intermingled with local Iranic
Iranian peoples
The Iranian peoples are an Indo-European ethnic-linguistic group, consisting of the speakers of Iranian languages, a major branch of the Indo-European language family, as such forming a branch of Indo-European-speaking peoples...

 and indigenous non-Iranic groups including the Elam
Elam
Elam was an ancient civilization located in what is now southwest Iran. Elam was centered in the far west and the southwest of modern-day Iran, stretching from the lowlands of Khuzestan and Ilam Province, as well as a small part of southern Iraq...

ites over time. Persians also interacted with other ancient civilizations in Europe and Africa. The first Persian empire extended as far as the limits of the Greek city states, where Persians and Athenians influenced each other in what is essentially a reciprocal cultural exchange.

At the same time, the Old Persians were part of the wider Ariya (Iranian nation); Darius and Xerxes boast of belonging to a stock which they call “Iranian”: they proclaim themselves "Iranian" and "of Iranian stock," ariya and ariya čiça respectively, in inscriptions in which the Iranian countries come first in a list that is arranged in a new hierarchical and ethno-geographical order. Until the Parthian era, Iranian identity had an ethnic, linguistic, and religious value, however it did not yet have a political import. The Parthian language
Parthian language
The Parthian language, also known as Arsacid Pahlavi and Pahlavanik, is a now-extinct ancient Northwestern Iranian language spoken in Parthia, a region of northeastern ancient Persia during the rule of the Parthian empire....

, an important Iranian language, was spoken by the Parthians and is mutually intelligble with the Middle Persian language became an official language of the Parthian empire
Parthian Empire
The Parthian Empire , also known as the Arsacid Empire , was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Persia...

. The Parthian language
Parthian language
The Parthian language, also known as Arsacid Pahlavi and Pahlavanik, is a now-extinct ancient Northwestern Iranian language spoken in Parthia, a region of northeastern ancient Persia during the rule of the Parthian empire....

 had an important influence in the modern Persian language as well as other Iranian languages. In the 1st century BCE, Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

 (c. 64 BCE–24 CE) would note a relationship between the various Iranian peoples and their languages: "[From] beyond the Indus [...] Ariana
Greater Iran
Greater Iran refers to the regions that have significant Iranian cultural influence. It roughly corresponds to the territory on the Iranian plateau and its bordering plains, stretching from Iraq, the Caucasus, and Turkey in the west to the Indus River in the east...

 is extended so as to include some part of Persia
Pars
Pars may refer to:* Fārs Province, modern Persian language name for Pars Province, central Iranian kingdom of the ancient Persian empire* Pars News Agency and Pars Agency, names of the national Iranian news agency prior to the Iranian Revolution in 1979...

, Media
Medes
The MedesThe Medes...

, and the north of Bactria
Bactria
Bactria and also appears in the Zend Avesta as Bukhdi. It is the ancient name of a historical region located between south of the Amu Darya and west of the Indus River...

 and Sogdiana
Sogdiana
Sogdiana or Sogdia was the ancient civilization of an Iranian people and a province of the Achaemenid Empire, eighteenth in the list on the Behistun Inscription of Darius the Great . Sogdiana is "listed" as the second of the "good lands and countries" that Ahura Mazda created...

; for these nations speak nearly the same language." (Geography
Geographica (Strabo)
The Geographica , or Geography, is a 17-volume encyclopedia of geographical knowledge written in Greek by Strabo, an educated citizen of the Roman empire of Greek descent. Work can have begun on it no earlier than 20 BC...

, 15.2.1-15.2.8) He mentions the Cyrtians, the plausible ancestors of the modern Kurds
Kurdish people
The Kurdish people, or Kurds , are an Iranian people native to the Middle East, mostly inhabiting a region known as Kurdistan, which includes adjacent parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey...

 as one of the Persian tribes. Cyrtians, the generally accepted progenitors of the Kurds and Lurs
Lurs
Lurs are an Iranic people living mainly in south-western Iran. Their population is estimated at above two million. They occupy Lorestan, Bakhtiari, and Kuh-Gilu-Boir Ahmed. "....

 might already have been significantly scattered in the Zagros from Persis into Media.

During Sassanian Iran, a national culture, fully aware of being "Iranian" took shape and was partially motivated by the restoration and the revival of the wisdom of the “sages of old,” dānāgān pēšēnīgān. Other aspects of this national culture included the glorification of a great heroic past and an archaizing spirit. Throughout the period, the pre-Islamic Iranian identity reached its height in every spect: political, religious, cultural and even linguistic. In terms of linguistic, Middle Persian
Middle Persian
Middle Persian , indigenously known as "Pârsig" sometimes referred to as Pahlavi or Pehlevi, is the Middle Iranian language/ethnolect of Southwestern Iran that during Sassanid times became a prestige dialect and so came to be spoken in other regions as well. Middle Persian is classified as a...

, which is the immediate ancestor of Modern Persian and variety of other Iranian dialects, became the official language of the empire and was greatly diffused amongst Iranians. The intermingling of Persians, Medes, Parthians, Bactrians
Bactrians
The Bactrians were the inhabitants of Bactria.Several important trade routes from India and China passed through Bactria and, as early as the Bronze Age, this had allowed the accumulation of vast amounts of wealth by the mostly nomadic population. The first proto-urban civilization in the area...

 and indigenous people of Iran, including the Elam
Elam
Elam was an ancient civilization located in what is now southwest Iran. Elam was centered in the far west and the southwest of modern-day Iran, stretching from the lowlands of Khuzestan and Ilam Province, as well as a small part of southern Iraq...

ites gained more ground and a homogeneous Iranian identity was created to the extent that all were just called Iranians/Persians irrespective of clannish affiliations and regional linguistic or dialectical alterities. The Elamite language may have survived as late as the early Islamic period. Ibn al-Nadim
Ibn al-Nadim
Abu'l-Faraj Muhammad bin Is'hāq al-Nadim , whose father was known as al-Warrāq was a Shia Muslim scholar and bibliographer. Some scholars regard him as a Persian, but this is not certain. He is famous as the author of the Kitāb al-Fihrist...

 among other medieval historians, for instance, wrote that "The Iranian languages are Fahlavi (Pahlavi), Dari, Khuzi, Persian and Suryani", and Ibn Moqaffa
Abdullah Ibn al-Muqaffa
Abū-Muhammad Abd-Allāh Rūzbeh ibn Dādūya/Dādōē , known as Ibn al-Muqaffaʿ , Ibn Muqaffa/Ebn-e Moghaffa , or Rūzbeh pūr-e Dādūya , was a Persian thinker and a Zoroastrian convert to Islam.-Biography:...

 noted that Khuzi was the unofficial language of the royalty of Persia, "Khuz" being the corrupted name for Elam. However the Elamite identity might have vanished already. Furthermore, the process of incomers' assimilation which had been started with the Greeks, continued in the face of Arab
Islamic conquest of Persia
The Muslim conquest of Persia led to the end of the Sassanid Empire in 644, the fall of Sassanid dynasty in 651 and the eventual decline of the Zoroastrian religion in Persia...

, Mongol
Ilkhanate
The Ilkhanate, also spelled Il-khanate , was a Mongol khanate established in Azerbaijan and Persia in the 13th century, considered a part of the Mongol Empire...

 and Turkic
Ghaznavid Empire
The Ghaznavids were a Persianate Muslim dynasty of Turkic slave origin which existed from 975 to 1187 and ruled much of Persia, Transoxania, and the northern parts of the Indian subcontinent. The Ghaznavid state was centered in Ghazni, a city in modern-day Afghanistan...

 invasions and proceeded right up to Islamic times.

Islamic era


The term Persian continued to refer to various Iranic
Ancient Iranian peoples
Iranian peoples first appear in Assyrian records in the 9th century BCE. In Classical Antiquity they were found primarily in Scythia and Persia...

 people including speakers of Chorasmian Language
Khwarezmian language
Khwarezmian, also known as Khwarazmian or Chorasmian, is the name of an extinct East Iranian language closely related to Sogdian. The language was spoken in the area of Khwarezm , centered in the lower Amu Darya south of the Aral Sea .Our knowledge of Khwarezmian is...

, old Tabari language, Old Azari language
, Laki
Laki language
Laki is a Northwestern Iranian language. Although it is usually grouped with Southern Kurdish dialects, Ethnologue classifies it as a fourth subgroup of Kurdish....

 and Kurdish
Kurdish language
Kurdish is a dialect continuum spoken by the Kurds in western Asia. It is part of the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian group of Indo-European languages....

 speakers.

The Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 historian
Historian
A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. If the individual is...

 Abu al-Hasan Ali ibn al-Husayn Al-Masudi
Al-Masudi
Abu al-Hasan Ali ibn al-Husayn ibn Ali al-Mas'udi , was an Arab historian and geographer, known as the "Herodotus of the Arabs." Al-Masudi was one of the first to combine history and scientific geography in a large-scale work, Muruj adh-dhahab...

 (896-956) also refers to various Persian dialects and the speakers of these various Persian dialects as Persian. While considering modern Persian (Dari) to be one of these dialects, he also mentions Pahlavi
Pahlavi scripts
Pahlavi or Pahlevi denotes a particular and exclusively written form of various Middle Iranian languages. The essential characteristics of Pahlavi are*the use of a specific Aramaic-derived script, the Pahlavi script;...

 and Old Azari, as well as other Persian languages. Al-Masudi states:

Modern era


The name "Persia" was the "official" name of Iran in the Western world before 1935, but Persian people inside their country since the Sassanid
Sassanid Empire
The Sassanid Empire , known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr and Ērān in Middle Persian and resulting in the New Persian terms Iranshahr and Iran , was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from 224 to 651...

 period (226–651 CE) have called it "Iran".Accordingly the term "Persian" was used in the Western world as the people inhabiting Iran; for instance, Ramsay MacDonald
Ramsay MacDonald
James Ramsay MacDonald, PC, FRS was a British politician who was the first ever Labour Prime Minister, leading a minority government for two terms....

 (1866–1937), the Prime-Minister of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, and the British ambassador
Ambassador
An ambassador is the highest ranking diplomat who represents a nation and is usually accredited to a foreign sovereign or government, or to an international organization....

 in Iran, Percy Loraine, used Persian and Persian people to talk about the Iranian people and government. On 21 March 1935, the ruler of the country, Reza Shah Pahlavi, issued a decree asking foreign delegates to use the term Iran in formal correspondence. From then on "Iranian" and "Persian" was applied interchangeably to the population of Iran
Demographics of Iran
Iran's population increased dramatically during the later half of the 20th century, reaching about 75 million by 2011. In recent years, however, Iran's birth rate has dropped significantly. Studies project that Iran's rate of population growth will continue to slow until it stabilizes above 100...

. It is still historically being used to designate predominant population of the Iranian people living in Iranian cultural continent.

Sub-groups


Persians can be found in Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

, Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

, the Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

, Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

, Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, Tajikistan
Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

, Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

 and Northern Pakistan. Like the Persians of Iran (Western Persians), the Tajiks (Eastern Persians) are descendants of various Iranian peoples, including Persians from Iran, as well as numerous invaders. Tajiks and Farsiwan have a particular affinity with Persians in neighboring Khorasan due to historical interaction some stemming from the Islamic period. Scholars also include Iranian language speakers such as Talysh
Talysh
Talysh may refer to:*Talysh people*Talysh language*Talysh Khanate*Talysh-Mughan Autonomous Republic - a self-declared autonomy, which existed briefly in the south of Azerbaijan in 1993*Talysh Mountains*Talış, Agsu, Azerbaijan*Talış, Hajigabul, Azerbaijan...

, Gilak, Lurs
Lurs
Lurs are an Iranic people living mainly in south-western Iran. Their population is estimated at above two million. They occupy Lorestan, Bakhtiari, and Kuh-Gilu-Boir Ahmed. "....

, Mazandaranis and speakers of Central Iranian languages in Iran under the term Persian. Specifically, the Lurs speak an Archaic Persian language.

Other smaller groups include the Qizilbash of Afghanistan and Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 who are related to the Farsiwan and Azerbaijanis
Azerbaijani people
The Azerbaijanis are a Turkic-speaking people living mainly in northwestern Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan, as well as in the neighbourhood states, Georgia, Russia and formerly Armenia. Commonly referred to as Azeris or Azerbaijani Turks , they also live in a wider area from the Caucasus to...

. In the Caucasus, the Tats
Tats
Tats are an Iranian people, presently living within Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Russia ....

 are concentrated in Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n Dagestan
Dagestan
The Republic of Dagestan is a federal subject of Russia, located in the North Caucasus region. Its capital and the largest city is Makhachkala, located at the center of Dagestan on the Caspian Sea...

 and their origins are traced to Sassanid merchants who settled in the region. Parsis, a Zoroastrian sect of western India centered around Gujarat and Mumbai
Mumbai
Mumbai , formerly known as Bombay in English, is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the most populous city in India, and the fourth most populous city in the world, with a total metropolitan area population of approximately 20.5 million...

 and also found in southern Pakistan, while the Parsees, are also largely descended from Persian Zoroastrians. The Iranis, another small community in western South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

, are descended from more recent Persian Zoroastrian immigrants. In addition, the Hazara and Aimaq
Aimak
Aymāq , also transliterated as Aimak or Aimaq, are a collection of Persian-speaking nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes. They are found throughout the north and northwest highlands of Afghanistan, immediately to the north of Herat, and in the Khorasan Province of Iran...

 of Afghanistan are ethnic groups of partial Persianized
Persianization
Persianization or Persianisation is a sociological process of cultural change in which something non-Persian becomes Persianate. It is a specific form of cultural assimilation that often includes linguistic assimilation...

 Mongol
Mongols
Mongols ) are a Central-East Asian ethnic group that lives mainly in the countries of Mongolia, China, and Russia. In China, ethnic Mongols can be found mainly in the central north region of China such as Inner Mongolia...

 and Turkic
Turkic peoples
The Turkic peoples are peoples residing in northern, central and western Asia, southern Siberia and northwestern China and parts of eastern Europe. They speak languages belonging to the Turkic language family. They share, to varying degrees, certain cultural traits and historical backgrounds...

 origin.

History



The Persians are believed to be descendents of the Indo-Iranian
Indo-Iranians
Indo-Iranian peoples are a linguistic group consisting of the Indo-Aryan, Iranian, Dardic and Nuristani peoples; that is, speakers of Indo-Iranian languages, a major branch of the Indo-European language family....

 (Indo-Europeans
Proto-Indo-Europeans
The Proto-Indo-Europeans were the speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language , a reconstructed prehistoric language of Eurasia.Knowledge of them comes chiefly from the linguistic reconstruction, along with material evidence from archaeology and archaeogenetics...

) tribes that began migrating from Central Asia into what is now Iran in the second millennium BCE The Persian language
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 and other Iranian tongues
Iranian languages
The Iranian languages form a subfamily of the Indo-Iranian languages which in turn is a subgroup of Indo-European language family. They have been and are spoken by Iranian peoples....

 emerged as these Indo-Iranian tribes split up into two major groups, the Persians and the Medes
Medes
The MedesThe Medes...

, and intermarried with minority peoples indigenous
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 to the Iranian plateau
Iranian plateau
The Iranian plateau, or Iranic plateau, is a geological formation in Southwest Asia. It is the part of the Eurasian Plate wedged between the Arabian and Indian plates, situated between the Zagros mountains to the west, the Caspian Sea and the Kopet Dag to the north, the Hormuz Strait and Persian...

 such as the Elam
Elam
Elam was an ancient civilization located in what is now southwest Iran. Elam was centered in the far west and the southwest of modern-day Iran, stretching from the lowlands of Khuzestan and Ilam Province, as well as a small part of southern Iraq...

ites. The first mention of the Persians dates to the 9th century BCE, when they appear as the Parsu in Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

n sources, as a people living at the southeastern shores of Lake Urmia
Lake Urmia
Lake Urmia , ancient name: Lake Matiene) is a salt lake in northwestern Iran, near Iran's border with Turkey. The lake is between the Iranian provinces of East Azerbaijan and West Azerbaijan, west of the southern portion of the similarly shaped Caspian Sea...

.

The ancient Persians from the province of Pars became the rulers of a large empire under the Achaemenid dynasty (Hakhamaneshiyan) in the 6th century BCE, reuniting with the tribes and other provinces of the ancient Iranian plateau and forming the Persian Empire. Over the centuries Persia was ruled by various dynasties; some of them were ethnic Iranians including the Achaemenids, Parthians (Ashkanian), Sassanids (Sassanian), Buwayhid
Buwayhid
The Buyid dynasty, also known as the Buyid Empire or the Buyids , also known as Buwaihids, Buyahids, or Buyyids, were a Shī‘ah Persian dynasty that originated from Daylaman in Gilan...

s and Samanid
Samanid
The Samani dynasty , also known as the Samanid Empire, or simply Samanids was a Persian state and empire in Central Asia and Greater Iran, named after its founder Saman Khuda, who converted to Sunni Islam despite being from Zoroastrian theocratic nobility...

s, and some of them were not, such as the Seleucids
Seleucid dynasty
The Seleucid dynasty or the Seleucidae was a Greek Macedonian royal family, founded by Seleucus I Nicator , which ruled the Seleucid Kingdom centered in the Near East and regions of the Asian part of the earlier Achaemenid Persian Empire during the Hellenistic period.-History:Seleucus was an...

, Ummayyads, Abbasid
Abbasid
The Abbasid Caliphate or, more simply, the Abbasids , was the third of the Islamic caliphates. It was ruled by the Abbasid dynasty of caliphs, who built their capital in Baghdad after overthrowing the Umayyad caliphate from all but the al-Andalus region....

s, and Seljuk Turks.

The founding dynasty of the empire, the Achaemenids, and later the Sassanids, were from the southern region of Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, Pars. The latter Parthia
Parthia
Parthia is a region of north-eastern Iran, best known for having been the political and cultural base of the Arsacid dynasty, rulers of the Parthian Empire....

n dynasty arose from the north. However, according to archaeological evidence found in modern day Iran in the form of cuneiform
Cuneiform
Cuneiform can refer to:*Cuneiform script, an ancient writing system originating in Mesopotamia in the 4th millennium BC*Cuneiform , three bones in the human foot*Cuneiform Records, a music record label...

s that go back to the Achaemenid era, it is evident that the native name of Parsa (Persia) had been applied to Iran from its birth.

Language


The Persian language is one of the world's oldest languages still in use today, and is known to have one of the most powerful literary traditions, with formidable Persian poets like Ferdowsi
Ferdowsi
Ferdowsi was a highly revered Persian poet. He was the author of the Shahnameh, the national epic of Iran and related societies.The Shahnameh was originally composed by Ferdowsi for the princes of the Samanid dynasty, who were responsible for a revival of Persian cultural traditions after the...

, Hafiz, Khayyam
Khayyam
Omar Khayyam was a Persian poet, mathematician, philosopher and astronomer.Omar Khayyam or Khayyam or may also refer to:* Khayyam, Iran* Mohammed Zahur Khayyam , commonly credited as 'Khayaam', Indian music composer...

, Attar, Saadi
Saadi (poet)
Abū-Muḥammad Muṣliḥ al-Dīn bin Abdallāh Shīrāzī better known by his pen-name as Saʿdī or, simply, Saadi, was one of the major Persian poets of the medieval period. He is not only famous in Persian-speaking countries, but he has also been quoted in western sources...

, Nizami, Roudaki, Rumi and Sanai
Sanai
Hakim Abul-Majd Majdūd ibn Ādam Sanā'ī Ghaznavi was a Afghan Sufi poet who lived in Ghazna, in what is now Afghanistan between the 11th century and the 12th century. Some people spell his name as Sanayee. He died around 1131.-Life:...

. By native speakers as well as in Urdu, Bengali, Turkish, Arabic and other neighboring languages, it is called Fārsī, and additionally Dari
Dari (Afghanistan)
Dari or Fārsī-ye Darī in historical terms refers to the Persian court language of the Sassanids. In contemporary usage, the term refers to the dialects of modern Persian language spoken in Afghanistan, and hence known as Afghan Persian in some Western sources. It is the term officially recognized...

or Tajiki
Tajik language
Tajik, Tajik Persian, or Tajiki, is a variety of modern Persian spoken in Central Asia. Historically Tajiks called their language zabani farsī , meaning Persian language in English; the term zabani tajikī, or Tajik language, was introduced in the 20th century by the Soviets...

in the eastern parts of Greater Iran
Greater Iran
Greater Iran refers to the regions that have significant Iranian cultural influence. It roughly corresponds to the territory on the Iranian plateau and its bordering plains, stretching from Iraq, the Caucasus, and Turkey in the west to the Indus River in the east...

.

"Persian" has historically referred to some Iranian languages
Iranian languages
The Iranian languages form a subfamily of the Indo-Iranian languages which in turn is a subgroup of Indo-European language family. They have been and are spoken by Iranian peoples....

, however what today is referred to as the Persian language is part of the Western group of the Iranian languages branch of the Indo-European
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

 language family. Today, speakers of the western dialect of Persian form the majority in Iran. The eastern dialect, also called Dari or Tajiki, forms majorities in Tajikistan
Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

, and Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, and a large minority in Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

. Smaller groups of Persian-speakers are found in Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

, Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, western China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 (Xinjiang
Xinjiang
Xinjiang is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. It is the largest Chinese administrative division and spans over 1.6 million km2...

), as well as in the UAE, Bahrain
Bahrain
' , officially the Kingdom of Bahrain , is a small island state near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family. The population in 2010 stood at 1,214,705, including 235,108 non-nationals. Formerly an emirate, Bahrain was declared a kingdom in 2002.Bahrain is...

, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

, Oman
Oman
Oman , officially called the Sultanate of Oman , is an Arab state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the...

 and Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

.

Religion



The Persian civilization spawned three major religions: Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of prophet Zoroaster and was formerly among the world's largest religions. It was probably founded some time before the 6th century BCE in Greater Iran.In Zoroastrianism, the Creator Ahura Mazda is all good, and no evil...

, Manichaeism
Manichaeism
Manichaeism in Modern Persian Āyin e Māni; ) was one of the major Iranian Gnostic religions, originating in Sassanid Persia.Although most of the original writings of the founding prophet Mani have been lost, numerous translations and fragmentary texts have survived...

, which heavily influenced Saint Augustine before he turned to Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, and the Bahá'í Faith
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

. Another religion that arose from ancient Iran is Mazdak
Mazdak
Mazdak was a proto-socialist Persian reformer and religious activist who gained influence under the reign of the Sassanian Shahanshah Kavadh I...

ism, which has been dubbed the first communistic ideology. Both Mazdakism and Manichaeism were sub-branches of Zoroastrianism that is said to be the first monotheistic religion.

Sunni was the dominant form of Islam in most of Iran until rise of Safavid Empire. There were however some exceptions to this general domination of the Sunni creed which emerged in the form of the Zaydīs
Zaidiyyah
Zaidiyya, or Zaidism is a Shi'a Muslim school of thought named after Zayd ibn ʻAlī, the grandson of Husayn ibn ʻAlī. Followers of the Zaydi Islamic jurisprudence are called Zaydi Shi'a...

 of Tabaristan, the Buwayhid
Buwayhid
The Buyid dynasty, also known as the Buyid Empire or the Buyids , also known as Buwaihids, Buyahids, or Buyyids, were a Shī‘ah Persian dynasty that originated from Daylaman in Gilan...

, the rule of Sultan Muhammad Khudabandah (1304-1316 CE), the Hashashin and the Sarbedaran. Nevertheless, apart from this domination there existed, firstly, throughout these nine centuries, Shia inclinations among many Sunnis of this land and, secondly, all three surviving branches of Shi'a Islam, Twelver, Ismaili
Ismaili
' is a branch of Shia Islam. It is the second largest branch of Shia Islam, after the Twelvers...

, as well as Zaidiyyah had prevalence in some parts of Iran. During this period, Shia in Iran were nourished from Kufa
Kufa
Kufa is a city in Iraq, about south of Baghdad, and northeast of Najaf. It is located on the banks of the Euphrates River. The estimated population in 2003 was 110,000....

, Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

 and later from Najaf
Najaf
Najaf is a city in Iraq about 160 km south of Baghdad. Its estimated population in 2008 is 560,000 people. It is the capital of Najaf Governorate...

 and Hillah. Shiism were dominant sect in Tabaristan, Qom
Qom
Qom is a city in Iran. It lies by road southwest of Tehran and is the capital of Qom Province. At the 2006 census, its population was 957,496, in 241,827 families. It is situated on the banks of the Qom River....

, Kashan
Kashan
Kashan is a city in and the capital of Kashan County, in the province of Isfahan, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 248,789, in 67,464 families....

, Avaj
Avaj
Avaj is a city in and capital of Avaj District, in Buin Zahra County, Qazvin Province, Iran. At the 2006 census its population was 3,695, in 1,042 families....

 and Sabzevar
Sabzevar
Sabzevar is a city in, and the capital of Sabzevar County, in Razavi Khorasan Province in northeastern Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 208,172, in 57,024 families.It is approximately 220 kilometres west of Mashhad, the provincial capital...

. In many other areas the population of Shia and Sunni was mixed. In recent centuries Ismailis have also largely been an Indo-Iranian community.

Many scholars and scientists in Persia who lived before the Safavid era such as Ferdowsi
Ferdowsi
Ferdowsi was a highly revered Persian poet. He was the author of the Shahnameh, the national epic of Iran and related societies.The Shahnameh was originally composed by Ferdowsi for the princes of the Samanid dynasty, who were responsible for a revival of Persian cultural traditions after the...

, Jābir ibn Hayyān, Al-Farabi
Al-Farabi
' known in the West as Alpharabius , was a scientist and philosopher of the Islamic world...

 and Nasīr al-Dīn al-Tūsī
Nasir al-Din al-Tusi
Khawaja Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad ibn Ḥasan Ṭūsī , better known as Naṣīr al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī , was a Persian polymath and prolific writer: an astronomer, biologist, chemist, mathematician, philosopher, physician, physicist, scientist, theologian and Marja Taqleed...

, were Shi'a Muslims, as was most of Iran's elite, while other renowned Sunni Muslim scientists, scholars and personaliries were Persian or had Persian descent, including Abu Dawood, Hakim al-Nishaburi
Hakim al-Nishaburi
Abu Abd-Allah Muhammad ibn Abd-Allah al-Hakim al-Nishaburi , and also known as Ibn Al-Baiyi.) was a Sunni scholar and the leading traditionist of his age, frequently referred to as the "Imam of the Muhaddithin" or the "Muhaddith of Khorasan."-Biography:Al-Hakim, who hailed from Nishapur, had vast...

, Al-Tabarani
Al-Tabarani
Abu al-Qasim Sulaiman ibn Ahmad ibn Al-Tabarani was born sometime in 260 AH and lived until 360 AH . He narrated numerous aḥadīth.-Students:...

, Ghazali, Imam Bukhari, Tirmidhi, Al-Nasa'i
Al-Nasa'i
Al-Nasā'ī , full name Aḥmad ibn Shu`ayb ibn Alī ibn Sīnān Abū `Abd ar-Raḥmān al-Nasā'ī, was a noted collector of hadith , and wrote one of the six canonical hadith collections recognized by Sunni Muslims, Sunan al-Sughra, or "Al-Mujtaba", which he selected from his "As-Sunan al-Kubra"...

 and Fakhr al-Din al-Razi
Fakhr al-Din al-Razi
Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Umar ibn al-Husayn al-Taymi al-Bakri al-Tabaristani Fakhr al-Din al-Razi , most commonly known as Fakhruddin Razi was a well-known Persian Sunni Muslim theologian and philosopher....

, amongst many others. Abu Hanifa, the founder of the Sunni Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence is also widely accepted of Persian ancestry.

The first officially Shia empire, the Safavid dynasty
Safavid dynasty
The Safavid dynasty was one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Iran. They ruled one of the greatest Persian empires since the Muslim conquest of Persia and established the Twelver school of Shi'a Islam as the official religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning...

 in Iran, advocated the Twelver faith, made Twelver law the law of the land, and supported Twelver scholarship. For this, Twelver ulama "crafted a new theory of government" which held that while "not truly legitimate", the Safavid monarchy would be "blessed as the most desirable form of government during the period of waiting" for the twelfth imam
Muhammad al-Mahdi
Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥasan al-Mahdī is believed by Twelver Shī‘a Muslims to be the Mahdī, an ultimate savior of humankind and the final Imām of the Twelve Imams...

.

Today, most Persians are Twelver Shia succeeded by Hanafi
Hanafi
The Hanafi school is one of the four Madhhab in jurisprudence within Sunni Islam. The Hanafi madhhab is named after the Persian scholar Abu Hanifa an-Nu‘man ibn Thābit , a Tabi‘i whose legal views were preserved primarily by his two most important disciples, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad al-Shaybani...

 Sunni Muslims
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

. There is also a sizeable number of Shafi`i Sunni Muslims in southern Iran and amongst Kurds. Small Ismaili Shia minorities also exist in scattered pockets. Some communities practice Shi'a Sufism
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

. There are also smaller communities of Zoroastrians, Christians, Jews
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

, and Bahá'ís. Bahá'ís are the largest non-Muslim religious minority in Iran. There exists Persians who are atheist
Atheism
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities...

 and agnostic
Agnosticism
Agnosticism is the view that the truth value of certain claims—especially claims about the existence or non-existence of any deity, but also other religious and metaphysical claims—is unknown or unknowable....

.

Culture


Culture by one definition is the collective programming of the human mind that distinguishes the members of one human group from those of another. Persian culture therefore reflects the collective mindset of the Persian people throughout time, whether Persian is meant in an ethnic sense or a culturally inclusive pan-ethnic sense. From the early inhabitants of Persis, to the Achaemenid, Parthian, and Sassanid Empires, to the neighbouring Greek city states, to the Caliphate
Caliphate
The term caliphate, "dominion of a caliph " , refers to the first system of government established in Islam and represented the political unity of the Muslim Ummah...

 and the Islamic world, all the way to the modern day Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 and such far places as those found in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

, and Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, Persian culture, has been either recognized, incorporated, adopted, or celebrated.
The unique aspect of Persian culture is its geo-political context and its intricate relationship with the ever changing Persian political arena once as dominant as the Achaemenids streching from India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 in east to Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

 in west, and now limited to Iran streching from Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, and Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 in the east to Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 and Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 in the west. It is this ever changing reach within the Iranian plateau
Iranian plateau
The Iranian plateau, or Iranic plateau, is a geological formation in Southwest Asia. It is the part of the Eurasian Plate wedged between the Arabian and Indian plates, situated between the Zagros mountains to the west, the Caspian Sea and the Kopet Dag to the north, the Hormuz Strait and Persian...

 that brought Persians face to face with Babylonians, Greeks, Egyptians
Egyptians
Egyptians are nation an ethnic group made up of Mediterranean North Africans, the indigenous people of Egypt.Egyptian identity is closely tied to geography. The population of Egypt is concentrated in the lower Nile Valley, the small strip of cultivable land stretching from the First Cataract to...

, Scythians, Arabs, Turks, Mughals, Hindus, North Africans
Ancient Libya
The Latin name Libya referred to the region west of the Nile Valley, generally corresponding to modern Northwest Africa. Climate changes affected the locations of the settlements....

, and even the Chinese
Chinese people
The term Chinese people may refer to any of the following:*People with Han Chinese ethnicity ....

, allowing them to influence these populations with their cultural norms all the while being influenced by them in what can best be described as a "reciprocal cultural receptivity".

Some recpirocal cultural exchange was achieved through commerce and foreign relations, some through vicotry or defeat through military conquests, and some as a function of geopolitical proximity with neighbouring states. Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus II of Persia , commonly known as Cyrus the Great, also known as Cyrus the Elder, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much...

, and his son Cambyses II would bring Persians face to face with the Elamites, Babylonians, Hittite
Hittites
The Hittites were a Bronze Age people of Anatolia.They established a kingdom centered at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia c. the 18th century BC. The Hittite empire reached its height c...

s, Lydian
Lydian
Lydian may refer to:* Lydian language, an ancient Anatolian language* Lydian script* Lydian mode, one of the modes derived from ancient Greek music* Lydian , a decorative typeface* Lydia, an ancient kingdom in western Anatolia...

s, Egyptians, and Libyans through conquest, and Greeks and Scythians through border contact whether in form of military conflicts, employment, or even political and military cooperation. From a chronological perspective, and also weighing political and social forces accordingly, Persian cutlure can be divided into pre-Islamic era with major contact with the Western powers of the time, the Macedonians/Greeks, and the later Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 and the post-Islamic era, with major contact with emerging Eastern powers such as Arabs, Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 Turks, and Mughals and in recent years imperalist powers such as the Russians, and the British empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

. The Achaemenids, Parthians, and Sassanids would represent the Persian cultural globe in the pre-Islamic era while an array of emerging Persian empires namely the Safavids, Samanids, Qajar, Pahlavi and countless others would represent the post-Islamic era.

Persian cultural contributions include artistic (Persian rugs, Persian artworks and crafts, miniature paintings
Persian miniature
A Persian miniature is a small painting on paper, whether a book illustration or a separate work of art intended to be kept in an album of such works called a muraqqa. The techniques are broadly comparable to the Western and Byzantine traditions of miniatures in illuminated manuscripts...

, calligraphy
Persian calligraphy
Persian Calligraphy is the calligraphy of Persian writing system. It has been one of the most revered arts throughout Persian history. It is considered to be one of the most eye catching and fascinating manifestations of Persian culture.-History:...

), linguistic (Persian literature
Persian literature
Persian literature spans two-and-a-half millennia, though much of the pre-Islamic material has been lost. Its sources have been within historical Persia including present-day Iran as well as regions of Central Asia where the Persian language has historically been the national language...

 and poetry), Societal (Architectural influences, customs & clothing, Gardening
Persian Gardens
The tradition and style in the garden design of Persian gardens has influenced the design of gardens from Andalusia to India and beyond. The gardens of the Alhambra show the influence of Persian Garden philosophy and style in a Moorish Palace scale from the era of Al-Andalus in Spain...

, music
Persian music
Persian traditional music is the traditional and indigenous music of Iran: mūsīqī, the science and art of music, and moosiqi, the sound and performance of music .-Origins:Archeological evidence reveals musical instruments that were...

, social norms and standards), culinary, political and ceremonial (Nowruz
Nowruz
Nowrūz is the name of the Iranian New Year in Iranian calendars and the corresponding traditional celebrations. Nowruz is also widely referred to as the Persian New Year....

 festivity, Chaharshanbe Suri
Chaharshanbe Suri
The last Wednesday of the Iranian year known as Chahar Shanbeh Soori , the eve of which is marked by special customs and rituals, most notably jumping over fire...

 festival) contributions.
History

The Persian culture and its influence during the Achaemenid
Achaemenid Empire
The Achaemenid Empire , sometimes known as First Persian Empire and/or Persian Empire, was founded in the 6th century BCE by Cyrus the Great who overthrew the Median confederation...

 Persian empire has been traditionally described by a "center-periphery" model. Center-Periphery model is a model of cultural influence composed of a dominant center with greater power and economic resources and often some form of overt control and a subordinate periphery; in this cultural model, the periphery strives to incorporate prestige via adoptation of cultural and value systems of the center, a process termed "emulation" while the center is an engine for generation of new cultural standards. The cultural interaction between the Achaemenid center and the periphery was through a system of states, called the "satrapy." The influence of the Persian center was such that places such as Anatolia, Lydia, and the Lykian dynasty completely adopted the Persian culture acting as a full periphery to the central influence. The Greeks also were influenced by the Persians, since originally they were a logical next step in the cultural expansion of the Achaemenids, and in fact such places as Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

, and Ionia
Ionia
Ionia is an ancient region of central coastal Anatolia in present-day Turkey, the region nearest İzmir, which was historically Smyrna. It consisted of the northernmost territories of the Ionian League of Greek settlements...

 were for a considerable time within the sphere of Persian cultural influences.

As Greeks gained power, Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

 developed into a central power in its own right and developed its own cultural periphery and inevitably came to clash with the Persians. The contact was most prominent through the Ionian coast, where the periphery regions of both entities overlaped in what can be thought of as an "interaction zone" between Persian and Greek influecnes. The interaction between Greeks and Persians however is not entirely a center-periphery model with inevitable clashes, but is in fact a "reciprocal cultural interaction" in which Persians were influenced by the Greek culture and its architectural, philosophical elements, while the Greeks were influenced by the Persian culture and its socio-political, artistic, and ceremonial elements.

Exchange between ancient Persians and their neighbours must have been diverse including such areas as sciences, art, philosophy, architecture, cuisine, governance, marriage, military technology, clothing, and symbols of elitism. For instance, the use of parasol fan or flywhisk-bearing was a marker of status in Persia, and this was adopted by the Greeks, mainly women, who depicted their aristocratic status by the use of fans, whereas use of statues as a symbol of power and wealth by the Greek men influenced the Persian monarchs' use of statue in their relief
Relief
Relief is a sculptural technique. The term relief is from the Latin verb levo, to raise. To create a sculpture in relief is thus to give the impression that the sculpted material has been raised above the background plane...

es for depiction of wealth and power.
Traditions



One of the most well known cultural traditions dating back to the Achaemenid era is the tradition of Nowruz
Nowruz
Nowrūz is the name of the Iranian New Year in Iranian calendars and the corresponding traditional celebrations. Nowruz is also widely referred to as the Persian New Year....

 or the celebration of the new year by the Achaemenids. Nowruz has Zoroastrian roots, but has since the time of Islam been mostly striped of its Zoroastrian references. Nowruz is recognized by UNESCO as an "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity."

Nowruz first appeared in Persian records in the 2nd century CE, but its origin traces back to the Achaemenid era where satraps (or governors) from different nations under the control of the Persian king would bring gifts to honor the king on the first day of the spring. The word Nowruz in New Persian is composed of "Now" which means new and "rous" which means day to translate into "new day." Its Old Persian word "navarYznah" is composed of "nava" meaning new and "rYzanh" meaning day or daylight to also indicate a new day or a new light.

Parthians and Sassanids



Parthians and the Sassanids would also interact with the Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 culturally as well as come into contact with them through their cultural periphery. Persian culture would be best represented by the achievements of the Parthians and Sassanids both through their royal customs and their social hierarchy. Territorial disputes and battles between Sassanid Empire and the Roman and later Byzantine empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

s would shape the landspace of Middleast, North Africa, and the Mediterrania. Byzantine invasion of the Sassanids and subsequent defeat of Khusrau II is a defining moment for the Sasanids, as it destabilized the royal structure, leading to inability to mount an effective defence against the Arab invasion of Persia.

Post-Islamic Persian Culture

"Through the long centuries of Islamic history, one of the major foci of Islamic civilization and especially art has been Persia…Persian art, at once deeply Persian and Islamic, represents a culmination of Islamic art and one of its indisputable peaks.”
_Seyyed Hossein Nasr


The influence of the Persian people, and Persian culture in the post-Islamic world can hardly be exaggerated. From influences in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 and Asia, to those in Arabia, Persian presence has left a lasting impression. Examples of Persian influecne are far too many to mention here but are mostly cultural, linguistic, scientific, and social. For instance the presence of vast amount of Persian literature produced in India after Islam, led to the eventual creation and modernization of the language of Urdu
Urdu
Urdu is a register of the Hindustani language that is identified with Muslims in South Asia. It belongs to the Indo-European family. Urdu is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan. It is also widely spoken in some regions of India, where it is one of the 22 scheduled languages and an...

. Similarly, Persian influences, carried by the Islamic wave of conquest, went as far east as Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, where Indonesians took on adopting Persian names and customs. Scientific advances led by Persia are various but include some of the Islamic figures such as Avicenna
Avicenna
Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn Sīnā , commonly known as Ibn Sīnā or by his Latinized name Avicenna, was a Persian polymath, who wrote almost 450 treatises on a wide range of subjects, of which around 240 have survived...

, whose work on Medicine was utilized in Europe for hundreds of years.

Persian influence in Islam can be viewed from a pre and post-Islamic perspective. In the era prior to the invasion of Persia by the Arab army, the Sassanids played a key political role in Arabia and in fate of Islam; In 575 CE Sassanid Persians actually protected the Arabian city of Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

 from invasion by a neighbouring Christian Kingdom at the request of the southern tribes of Arabia from then Persian emperor Khosrau I
Khosrau I
Khosrau I , also known as Anushiravan the Just or Anushirawan the Just Khosrau I (also called Chosroes I in classical sources, most commonly known in Persian as Anushirvan or Anushirwan, Persian: انوشيروان meaning the immortal soul), also known as Anushiravan the Just or Anushirawan the Just...

. In response Khosrau came south to Arabia with both foot-soldiers and a fleet of ships preventing Christianity from spreading easterward into Arabia, and Mecca and protecting the Islamic prophet Muhammad who was at the time a six year boy in the Quraysh tribe. There are a few scholars who consider that Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of prophet Zoroaster and was formerly among the world's largest religions. It was probably founded some time before the 6th century BCE in Greater Iran.In Zoroastrianism, the Creator Ahura Mazda is all good, and no evil...

, "began the whole Western or Judaeo-Christian-Muslim concept of progressive time." If this assumption is true, then role of Persian influence is that much more significant. Additionally, Persia became an important center for dissemination of Islam, as newly converted Persians, adopted Islam as their own and spread it to the periphery of the Persian empire.

Persia also had a great influence on the Mughals, as they utilized Persians as advisors. Mughals were also influenced by Persians in architecture, military, gardening, politics, and social cutoms. It is important to note that along with their great influence that Persians had on the Arabs, Turks, Mugals, and Indians, they were also influenced by them in return, however, the Persian influence stemming from the earlier achievements of the Sassanids, and the Achaemenids and the grand scale of their geo-political influence, made Persian influence during the Islamic era, a recognizable one.

Arts



The artistic heritage of Persia is eclectic and includes major contributions from both east and west. Persian art borrowed heavily from the indigenous Elam
Elam
Elam was an ancient civilization located in what is now southwest Iran. Elam was centered in the far west and the southwest of modern-day Iran, stretching from the lowlands of Khuzestan and Ilam Province, as well as a small part of southern Iraq...

ite civilization and Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

 and later from Hellenism
Hellenistic civilization
Hellenistic civilization represents the zenith of Greek influence in the ancient world from 323 BCE to about 146 BCE...

 (as can be seen with statues from the Greek period). In addition, due to Persia's somewhat central location, it has served as a fusion point between eastern and western arts and architecture as Greco-Roman influence was often fused with ideas and techniques from India and China. When talking of the creative Persian arts one has to include a geographic area that actually extends into Central Asia, the Caucasus, Asia Minor, and Iraq as well as modern Iran. This vast geographic region has been pivotal in the development of the Persian arts as a whole. Persian art includes painting
Painting
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

, calligraphy
Persian calligraphy
Persian Calligraphy is the calligraphy of Persian writing system. It has been one of the most revered arts throughout Persian history. It is considered to be one of the most eye catching and fascinating manifestations of Persian culture.-History:...

, miniature
Persian miniature
A Persian miniature is a small painting on paper, whether a book illustration or a separate work of art intended to be kept in an album of such works called a muraqqa. The techniques are broadly comparable to the Western and Byzantine traditions of miniatures in illuminated manuscripts...

-painting, illustrated manuscripts, glasswork, lacquer
Lacquer
In a general sense, lacquer is a somewhat imprecise term for a clear or coloured varnish that dries by solvent evaporation and often a curing process as well that produces a hard, durable finish, in any sheen level from ultra matte to high gloss and that can be further polished as required...

 work, a unique and native form of marquetry
Marquetry
Marquetry is the art and craft of applying pieces of veneer to a structure to form decorative patterns, designs or pictures. The technique may be applied to case furniture or even seat furniture, to decorative small objects with smooth, veneerable surfaces or to freestanding pictorial panels...

 called "Khatam
Khatam
Khatam is a Persian version of marquetry, art forms made by decorating the surface of wooden articles with delicate pieces of wood, bone and metal precisely-cut geometrical shapes. Khatam is also the capital of Khatam County in Iran. Khatam kari is the art of crafting a Khatam...

 work," metal work, pottery
Pottery
Pottery is the material from which the potteryware is made, of which major types include earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. The place where such wares are made is also called a pottery . Pottery also refers to the art or craft of the potter or the manufacture of pottery...

, textile and fabric design, and modern arts.

Architecture



Architecture is one of the areas where Persians have made outstanding contributions. The most prominent ancient examples some of which are still extant today, are the work of the Achaemenids hailing from Persis. The quintessential feature of Persian Achaemenid architecture was its eclectic nature with elements of Median
Median
In probability theory and statistics, a median is described as the numerical value separating the higher half of a sample, a population, or a probability distribution, from the lower half. The median of a finite list of numbers can be found by arranging all the observations from lowest value to...

, Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

n, and Asiatic Greek all incorporated. Achaemenid architectural
Achaemenid architecture
Achaemenid Persian architecture refers to the architectural achievements of the Achaemenid Persians manifesting in construction of spectacular cities used for governance and inhabitation , temples made for worship and social gatherings , and mausoleums erected in honor of fallen kings...

 heritage, beginning with the expansion of the empire around 550 BCE, was a period of artistic growth that left an extraordinary architectural legacy ranging from Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus II of Persia , commonly known as Cyrus the Great, also known as Cyrus the Elder, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much...

's solemn tomb in Pasargadae
Pasargadae
Pasargadae , the capital of Cyrus the Great and also his last resting place, was a city in ancient Persia, and is today an archaeological site and one of Iran's UNESCO World Heritage Sites.-History:...

 to the splendid structures of the opulent city of Persepolis
Persepolis
Perspolis was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire . Persepolis is situated northeast of the modern city of Shiraz in the Fars Province of modern Iran. In contemporary Persian, the site is known as Takht-e Jamshid...

, and such historical sites as Naqsh-e Rustam
Naqsh-e Rustam
Naqsh-e Rustam also referred to as Necropolis is an archaeological site located about 12 km northwest of Persepolis, in Fars province, Iran. Naqsh-e Rustam lies a few hundred meters from Naqsh-e Rajab....

.

With the advent of the second Persian Empire
Sassanid Empire
The Sassanid Empire , known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr and Ērān in Middle Persian and resulting in the New Persian terms Iranshahr and Iran , was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from 224 to 651...

, the Sassanid dynasty (224-624 CE), revived Achaemenid tradition by construction of temples dedicated to fire, and monumental palaces. During the Sassanid Persian Era, multiple architectural projects took place some of which are still existing including Palace of Ardashir
Palace of Ardashir
Castle of Ardeshir e Babakan , also known as the Atash-kadeh آتشکده, is a castle located on the slopes of the mountain on which Ghal'eh Dokhtar is situated on. Built in AD 224 by Ardashir I of the Sassanian Empire, it is located two kilometres north of the ancient city of Gor, i.e...

, and Sarvestan Palace
Sarvestan Palace
The Sassanid Palace at Sarvestan is a Sassanid-era building in the Iranian province of Sarvestan, some 90 km southeast from the city of Shiraz. The palace was built in the 5th century AD, and was either a gubernatorial residence or a Zoroastrian fire temple.-History:The Sarvestan Palace was built...

 in Sarvestan
Sarvestan
Sarvestan + estan; also Romanized as Sarvestān and Sarvistān) is a city in and the capital of Sarvestan County, Fars Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 16,846, in 4,094 families....

 to name a few. Certain ancient architectural sites have existed to date and some have even been in use till recent times; one such example is the Arg-é Bam
Arg-é Bam
The Arg-é Bam was the largest adobe building in the world, located in Bam, a city in the Kermān Province of southeastern Iran. It is listed by UNESCO as part of the World Heritage Site "Bam and its Cultural Landscape". This enormous citadel on the Silk Road was built before 500 BC and remained in...

 a massive structure at 1940000 square feet (180,231.9 m²) constructed on the Silk road
Silk Road
The Silk Road or Silk Route refers to a historical network of interlinking trade routes across the Afro-Eurasian landmass that connected East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean and European world, as well as parts of North and East Africa...

, in Bam
Bam, Iran
Bam is a city in and the capital of Bam County, Kerman Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 73,823, in 19,572 families.The modern Iranian city of Bam surrounds the Bam citadel. Before the 2003 earthquake the official population count of the city was roughly 43,000. There are...

 around 500 BCE and was in use till 1850 CE Bam is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Ancient examples can be seen throughout Persia and its territories, while in modern times monuments such as the Tomb of Omar Khayyam
Omar Khayyám
Omar Khayyám was aPersian polymath: philosopher, mathematician, astronomer and poet. He also wrote treatises on mechanics, geography, mineralogy, music, climatology and theology....

 in Nishapur
Nishapur
Nishapur or Nishabur , is a city in the Razavi Khorasan province in northeastern Iran, situated in a fertile plain at the foot of the Binalud Mountains, near the regional capital of Mashhad...

 are displays of the varied traditions in Persia that have progressed through time. Various cities in Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 are historical displays of a distinctive Persian style that can be seen in the Kharaghan twin towers of Qazvin province
Qazvin Province
The Qazvin Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It is in the north-west of the country, and its center is the city of Qazvin. The province was created in 1993 out of part of Tehran Province and includes 20 cities: Qazvin, Takestan, Abyek, Buin-Zahra, Eqhbalieh, Mohammadieh, Alvand,...

, the Shah Mosque
Shah Mosque
Imam Mosque, is a mosque in Isfahan, Iran standing in south side of Naghsh-i Jahan Square.Built during the Safavid period, it is an excellent example of Islamic architecture of Iran, and regarded as one of the masterpieces of Persian Architecture. The Shah Mosque of Esfahan is one of the...

 found in Isfahan, tomb of Baba Taher
Baba Taher
Baba Tahir, was an 11th century poet in Persian literature and mystic.-Biography:Baba Tahir is known as one of the most revered and respectable early poets in Iranian literature. Most of his life is clouded in mystery. He was born and lived in Hamadan, the capital city of the Hamedan Province in...

 in Hamedan and countless other works. Persian architecture streams the vast area of the Persian empires and is also seen throughout Central Asia as with the Bibi Khanum Mosque in Samarkand
Samarkand
Although a Persian-speaking region, it was not united politically with Iran most of the times between the disintegration of the Seleucid Empire and the Arab conquest . In the 6th century it was within the domain of the Turkic kingdom of the Göktürks.At the start of the 8th century Samarkand came...

 as well as Samanids mausoleum in Bukhara
Bukhara
Bukhara , from the Soghdian βuxārak , is the capital of the Bukhara Province of Uzbekistan. The nation's fifth-largest city, it has a population of 263,400 . The region around Bukhara has been inhabited for at least five millennia, and the city has existed for half that time...

 and the Minaret of Jam
Minaret of Jam
The Minaret of Jam is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in western Afghanistan. It is located in the Shahrak District, Ghor Province, by the Hari River. The 65-metre high minaret, surrounded by mountains that reach up to 2400m, was built in the 1190s, entirely of baked-bricks...

 in western Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

. Islamic architecture was founded on the bases established by the Persians. Persian techniques can also be clearly seen in the structures of the Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal is a white Marble mausoleum located in Agra, India. It was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal...

 at Agra and the Blue Mosque
Sultan Ahmed Mosque
The Sultan Ahmed Mosque is a historical mosque in Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey and the capital of the Ottoman Empire . The mosque is popularly known as the Blue Mosque for the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior....

 in Istanbul.

Modern contemporary architectural projects by Persians include the mausoleum of Ferdowsi
Ferdowsi
Ferdowsi was a highly revered Persian poet. He was the author of the Shahnameh, the national epic of Iran and related societies.The Shahnameh was originally composed by Ferdowsi for the princes of the Samanid dynasty, who were responsible for a revival of Persian cultural traditions after the...

 in Tus erected by Reza Shah
Reza Shah
Rezā Shāh, also known as Rezā Shāh Pahlavi and Rezā Shāh Kabir , , was the Shah of the Imperial State of Iran from December 15, 1925, until he was forced to abdicate by the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran on September 16, 1941.In 1925, Reza Shah overthrew Ahmad Shah Qajar, the last Shah of the Qajar...

, King Memorial Tower
Azadi Tower
The Azadi Tower , previously known as the Shahyād Āryāmehr , is the symbol of Tehran, the capital of Iran, and marks the entrance to the city.-Construction:...

 (Azadi Tower) erected in 1971 in Tehran
Tehran
Tehran , sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With an estimated population of 8,429,807; it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, one of the largest cities in Western Asia, and is the world's 19th largest city.In the 20th century, Tehran was subject to...

 by a Persian architect, projects such as the Dariush Grand Hotel
Dariush Grand Hotel
The Dariush Grand Hotel is a 168-room, $125 million, five star hotel located on the eastern part of Kish Island in the Persian Gulf.-Establishment:...

, a hundred and twenty five million dollar hotel complex created in the Achaemenid architectural
Achaemenid architecture
Achaemenid Persian architecture refers to the architectural achievements of the Achaemenid Persians manifesting in construction of spectacular cities used for governance and inhabitation , temples made for worship and social gatherings , and mausoleums erected in honor of fallen kings...

 style, located in the island of Kish
Kish
-Geography:*Kish Island, an Iranian island and a city in the Persian Gulf*Kish, Iran, a city on Kish Island*Kish District, an administrative subdivision of Iran*Kish Rural District, an administrative subdivision of Iran...

, in Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

, and Milad Tower, Iran's tallest telecommunication tower, and world's fourth tallest tower (as of 2008), standing 435 meters high, hosting a rotating restaurant, TV and radio stations as well as traffic control centers, to name a few.

Cinema


Persian culture can be defined through its films, as Persian cinema
Cinema of Iran
The cinema of Iran is a flourishing film industry with a long history. Many popular commercial films are annually made in Iran, and Iranian art films win praise around the world....

 has attained a substantial amount of international and critical acclaim through such films as Children of Heaven
Children of Heaven
Children of Heaven is a 1997 Iranian adventure comedy-drama film written and directed by Majid Majidi. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1998...

and Taste of Cherry
Taste of Cherry
Taste of Cherry is a 1997 film by the Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami. It is a minimalist film about a man who drives through a city suburb looking for someone who can carry out the task to bury him after he has died.-Plot:...

, which give both insights into the current state of Persian culture and profound depictions of the general human condition.

Gardens




"The Great King [Cyrus the Great]...in all the districts he resides in and visits, takes care that there are 'paradises' as they [Persians] call them, full of the good and beautiful things that the soil will produce"
_Xenophon, The Oeconomicus, 339 B.C.E.


On the plains of Marvdasht
Marvdasht
Marvdasht is a city in and the capital of Marvdasht County, Fars Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 123,858, in 29,134 families.- Historical background :Marvdasht is as ancient of the history of Iran and the vast Persian empire...

, east of the Zagros mountains still exist today, remains of the earliest historically recorded gardens. These remains are associated with remnants of the structures that once surrounded them, including white columns that still remain to date. These gardens were created by the Achaemenids
Achaemenid Empire
The Achaemenid Empire , sometimes known as First Persian Empire and/or Persian Empire, was founded in the 6th century BCE by Cyrus the Great who overthrew the Median confederation...

 at the time of Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus II of Persia , commonly known as Cyrus the Great, also known as Cyrus the Elder, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much...

. For the early Persian monarchs, gardens assumed an important place in their cultural lives.

Persian gardens utilized the Achaemenid knowledge of water technologies as they utilized aqueduct
Aqueduct
An aqueduct is a water supply or navigable channel constructed to convey water. In modern engineering, the term is used for any system of pipes, ditches, canals, tunnels, and other structures used for this purpose....

s, earliest historically recorded gravity-fed water rills, and basins arranged in a geometric system. The enclosure of this symmetrically arranged planting and irrigation, by an infrastructure such as a building or a palace created the impression of "paradise." When the Sparta
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

n general Lysander
Lysander
Lysander was a Spartan general who commanded the Spartan fleet in the Hellespont which defeated the Athenians at Aegospotami in 405 BC...

 reported back to Xenophon
Xenophon
Xenophon , son of Gryllus, of the deme Erchia of Athens, also known as Xenophon of Athens, was a Greek historian, soldier, mercenary, philosopher and a contemporary and admirer of Socrates...

, he described how Persians have created Paradeisos (paradises) where they collected all manners of plants specially fruit trees, and exotic animals they encountered on their military campaigns. Xenophon would translate the Old Persian term Pairidaeza (a combination of pairi meaning "around" and daeza meaning "wall") into the Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 term Paradeisos.

Cyrus the Great's quadripartite garden plan, incorporated architectural elements, as well as planting, water rills, and shade-giving pavilions, producing the background to all later garden developments in Persia. These Persian gardens had a reach far greater than their immediate civilazation and were vital in the development of spiritual Muslim gardens, and the Indian gardens of the Mughal empire
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 as they have been influential in the gardens of Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 Europe and the Western civilization.

The quadripartite (New Persian term: Chahar bagh
Charbagh
Charbagh is a Persian-style garden layout. The quadrilateral garden is divided by walkways or flowing water into four smaller parts...

) design would be reinterpreted by the Muslim Arabs after their 7th century conquest of Persia, in creation of their gardens. Arab rulers cultivated Persian techniques to create gardens of Persian design including such examples as Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

, and Kashgar
Kashgar
Kashgar or Kashi is an oasis city with approximately 350,000 residents in the western part of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. Kashgar is the administrative centre of Kashgar Prefecture which has an area of 162,000 km² and a population of approximately...

. This quadripartite design was still the dominant design in 14th century during the time of Timur
Timur
Timur , historically known as Tamerlane in English , was a 14th-century conqueror of West, South and Central Asia, and the founder of the Timurid dynasty in Central Asia, and great-great-grandfather of Babur, the founder of the Mughal Dynasty, which survived as the Mughal Empire in India until...

, the Mughal emperor. In 17th century, the Anglo
Anglo
Anglo is a prefix indicating a relation to the Angles, England or the English people, as in the terms Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-American, Anglo-Celtic, Anglo-African and Anglo-Indian. It is often used alone, somewhat loosely, to refer to people of British Isles descent in The Americas, Australia and...

-French
French people
The French are a nation that share a common French culture and speak the French language as a mother tongue. Historically, the French population are descended from peoples of Celtic, Latin and Germanic origin, and are today a mixture of several ethnic groups...

 jeweler Sir John Chardin, describes the Persian garden in his, "Voyages en Perse" where he stresses the quadripartite structure of the gardens. Chardin also stresses that unlike westerners, Persians do not walk much in the gardens as they often use it for a period of time, often seated, and then retire.

Parthians and Sassanids would later add their own modifications to the original Achaemenid design. They would create specially recessed, platforms, often connected to the main building with an open porticoes overlooking the garden, while providing a cool, shaded area in which to sit or loiter. This structure came to be known as "ayvans" or "ivan" in Old Persian. Persian gardens are also immortalized in the One Thousand and One Nights
The Book of One Thousand and One Nights
One Thousand and One Nights is a collection of Middle Eastern and South Asian stories and folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age...

 and the works of Omar Khayyam
Omar Khayyám
Omar Khayyám was aPersian polymath: philosopher, mathematician, astronomer and poet. He also wrote treatises on mechanics, geography, mineralogy, music, climatology and theology....

.

Today some of the best examples of the traditional Persian gardens can be seen in such places as the Borujerdis House, and the Tabataba'i House
Khaneh Tabatabaei ha
Khaneh Tabatabaei-ha or "The Tabatabaeis' House" is a historic house in Kashan, Iran.The house was built in early 1880s for the affluent Tabatabaei family....

, as well as such gardens as "Bagh-e Mostoufi" near the village of Vanak
Vanak
Vanak is a neighbourhood in the northern part of Tehran, capital of Iran and there is a square and a street named after it. The word Vanak means "Small Tree" in Persian....

, Tehran
Tehran
Tehran , sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With an estimated population of 8,429,807; it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, one of the largest cities in Western Asia, and is the world's 19th largest city.In the 20th century, Tehran was subject to...

, "Bagh-e Shahzadeh" in Mahan
Mahan, Iran
Mahan is a city in and capital of Mahan District, in Kerman County, Kerman Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 16,787, in 4,138 families....

, "Bagh-e Golshan" or "Karim Khan
Karim Khan
Karim Khan Zand, , , was a ruler of Iran, and the founder of the Zand Dynasty.He was born to a family of the Zand tribe of Lur or Lak deportees...

's beautiful garden" in Tabas
Tabas
Tabas is a city in and capital of Tabas County, Yazd Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 30,681, in 7,962 families.Tabas is located in central Iran, 950 kilometers southeast of Tehran, in Yazd Province. Formerly it was part of the Khorasan province. It is a desert city with...

, "Qavam House
Qavam House
Qavam House is a traditional and historical house in Shiraz, Iran.It was built in the mid-to-late 19th century by Mirza Ibrahim Khan. The Qavam family were merchants originally from Qazvin...

" or "Naranjestan-e Ghavam" in Shiraz
Shiraz
Shiraz may refer to:* Shiraz, Iran, a city in Iran* Shiraz County, an administrative subdivision of Iran* Vosketap, Armenia, formerly called ShirazPeople:* Hovhannes Shiraz, Armenian poet* Ara Shiraz, Armenian sculptor...

, "Bagh-e Fin" outside of Kashan
Kashan
Kashan is a city in and the capital of Kashan County, in the province of Isfahan, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 248,789, in 67,464 families....

, Hafiz's tomb garden in Shiraz, and the Eram Garden
Eram Garden
Eram Garden |Bāgh]] of Eram") is a historic Persian garden in Shiraz, Iran. Eram is the Persianized version of the Arabic word "Iram" meaning heaven in the Muslim's book of Koran. Eram Garden therefore is so called for its beauties and aesthetic attractions resembling "heaven." This garden is...

 or "Bagh-e Eram" in Fars.

Music




The music of Persia goes back to the days of Barbad
Barbad
Barbad or Barbad the Jahromi was a Persian musician of the Sassanid era, who lived during the rule of Khosrau II, 590 to 628..- Etymology :...

 in the royal Sassanid courts, and even earlier. Sassanid music
Sassanid music
Sassanid music refers to the golden age of Persian music that occurred under the reign of the Sassanid dynasty.Persian classical music dates to the sixth century BC; during the time of the Achaemenid Empire , music played an important role in prayer and in royal and national events...

 was influential and was later adopted by the Abbasids. In traditional Sassanid music, the octave
Octave
In music, an octave is the interval between one musical pitch and another with half or double its frequency. The octave relationship is a natural phenomenon that has been referred to as the "basic miracle of music", the use of which is "common in most musical systems"...

 is divided into seventeen tones, while by the end of 13th century some music from Persia also maintained a twelve interval octave, which resembled the western counterpart. In terms of comparison between the basic style of the Persian music, employment of smaller intervals, and the transition from one key to another by progressions that are minute compared to their European counterparts, is what gives Persian music its unique quality. The different keys or modes that result from this small interval system are written in circles. Also in the music of Persia only spaces are taken into account, and they have a value and are called "Kah" or place; thus "Yek-Kah" signifies first space, "Dow-Kah" second space and so forth. Persian spaces are also assigned color assignments, with first space green, second rose-colored and following spaces having their own assigned coloring system.

Unlike European music, Persian music has no notes. Their music is composed of modes or harmonious phrases, which take their name from persons or places and which serve as stereotypical models for the production of the imagination of the composers. These models are either fundamental to the number four, or derived eight in number or compounded, which vary to infinity. Each musical mode has its special use. For instance, the "Zenkeleh" mode is the most melodious, the "Ecchac" appropriate for war and love, "Rast" unique for when Shahnameh
Shahnameh
The Shahnameh or Shah-nama is a long epic poem written by the Persian poet Ferdowsi between c.977 and 1010 AD and is the national epic of Iran and related societies...

 is sung, and the "Buzurg" and "Rahavi" modes for funerals. Originally, there were no more than seven modes in the Persian music but Saadi
Saadi (poet)
Abū-Muḥammad Muṣliḥ al-Dīn bin Abdallāh Shīrāzī better known by his pen-name as Saʿdī or, simply, Saadi, was one of the major Persian poets of the medieval period. He is not only famous in Persian-speaking countries, but he has also been quoted in western sources...

, an intellectual poet and musician, extended it to twelve.

Persian music utilizes a variety of musical instruments that are unique to the region, and the time period in which they are utilized often constantly being modified or reinvented. During Sassanid era, Chang
Chang (instrument)
The chang is an Iranian harp. It was very popular and used widely during the times of ancient Persia, especially during the Sassanid Dynasty where it was often played in the shahs' court....

, a musical instrument utilizing five strings under tension was used as a royal musical tool.

Persian music has evolved since its ancient and medieval times and is now almost indistinguishable from the modern music of Europe and America, owing to a modernization of the musical process as well as an ever present globalization trend. This has led to such genre as Persian rap for instance. Persian music is also affected by restrictions locally on performance of certain genres which has led to its development at times overseas in Europe and America.

Rugs



Persia was in many sense the first permanent home of carpet weaving, and while robbed of much of her political power, and only a shadow of her former self, still holds up to the ideals of textile art, well worth a comprehensive study. World's oldest existing carpet, Pazyryk carpet, a pile-carpet dating back to 400-300 BCE discovered in 1949, depicts clear elements of Assyrian and Achaemenid design, including stylistic references to stone slab designs found in the palaces of the Persian empire. This has made many scholar consider it to be woven, and made in the Persian Achaemenid empire
Achaemenid Empire
The Achaemenid Empire , sometimes known as First Persian Empire and/or Persian Empire, was founded in the 6th century BCE by Cyrus the Great who overthrew the Median confederation...

.

Rug and carpet artistry is well recognized in Persia, as Xenophon
Xenophon
Xenophon , son of Gryllus, of the deme Erchia of Athens, also known as Xenophon of Athens, was a Greek historian, soldier, mercenary, philosopher and a contemporary and admirer of Socrates...

 describes carpet production in the city of Sardis, then a province of the Achaemenid empire, stating that the locals take pride in their carpet production. Special mention of Persian carpets are made by Athenaeus of Naucratis (around 200 CE) in his Deipnosophists when he describes a "delightfully embroidered Persian carpet, having some Persian figures, and preposterous shapes of Persian griffin
Griffin
The griffin, griffon, or gryphon is a legendary creature with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle...

s, and such like beasts" incorporated in its design.

When the Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 emperor Heraclius
Heraclius
Heraclius was Byzantine Emperor from 610 to 641.He was responsible for introducing Greek as the empire's official language. His rise to power began in 608, when he and his father, Heraclius the Elder, the exarch of Africa, successfully led a revolt against the unpopular usurper Phocas.Heraclius'...

 pillaged the palace of Khusrau II of the Sassanid Persia
Sassanid Empire
The Sassanid Empire , known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr and Ērān in Middle Persian and resulting in the New Persian terms Iranshahr and Iran , was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from 224 to 651...

, he found various luxurious textiles including carpets that were embroidered with needles, most likely a pile carpet. A 7th century Sassanid stone carving at Taq-i-Bustan depics a fabric draped over the side of the boat, most likely a pile carpet. One of the most famous Sassanid era, Persian rugs was a carpet known as "Spring of Kusrau" depicting a pleasure garden, worked with gold, and silver, and emobroidered with jewels and colored stones. Unfortunately, this carpet did not survive the Arab invasion as the Arabs cut it up distributing it among themselves as spoils after they sacked the capital of Ctesiphon
Ctesiphon
Ctesiphon, the imperial capital of the Parthian Arsacids and of the Persian Sassanids, was one of the great cities of ancient Mesopotamia.The ruins of the city are located on the east bank of the Tigris, across the river from the Hellenistic city of Seleucia...

 in 642 CE

Islamic geographers record Mazandaran, one of the provinces of Persia as important carpet weaving center in third to 9th century, while in fourth and 10th century Bukhara
Bukhara
Bukhara , from the Soghdian βuxārak , is the capital of the Bukhara Province of Uzbekistan. The nation's fifth-largest city, it has a population of 263,400 . The region around Bukhara has been inhabited for at least five millennia, and the city has existed for half that time...

, as well as Khuzistan and Pars in southern Persia are also cited as notable production centers.

Many foreigners and foreign scholars have described their accounts of Persian carpets. Ruy González de Clavijo a Castilian
Kingdom of Castile
Kingdom of Castile was one of the medieval kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula. It emerged as a political autonomous entity in the 9th century. It was called County of Castile and was held in vassalage from the Kingdom of León. Its name comes from the host of castles constructed in the region...

 traveller, (around 1400 CE) described the wonderful textile work he observed in Samarqand, court of Timur
Timur
Timur , historically known as Tamerlane in English , was a 14th-century conqueror of West, South and Central Asia, and the founder of the Timurid dynasty in Central Asia, and great-great-grandfather of Babur, the founder of the Mughal Dynasty, which survived as the Mughal Empire in India until...

 remarking that everywhere was covered with carpetry and reed matting.

Persian carpets also acted as vessels for art, design, and literature to be disseminated. One such example is the 16th century, "Ardabil Carpet" containing an inscription from the 14th century Persian poet, Hafiz:
I have no refuge in the world other than thy threshold
There is no place of protection for my head other than this porchway
The work of the slave of the holy place Maqsud Kashani in the year 946 (1540 C.E.)


German architect and art enthusiast, Gottfried Semper
Gottfried Semper
Gottfried Semper was a German architect, art critic, and professor of architecture, who designed and built the Semper Opera House in Dresden between 1838 and 1841. In 1849 he took part in the May Uprising in Dresden and was put on the government's wanted list. Semper fled first to Zürich and later...

 called rugs "the original means of separating space". Rug weaving was thus developed by ancient civilizations as a basis of architecture. Persian rugs are said to be the most detailed hand-made works of art. Also known as the "status rugs", Persian rugs are very important in Persian culture. Interworking of fibers to produce cloth was known in Iran as early as the 5th millennium BCE

When the famous Greek commander Themistocles
Themistocles
Themistocles ; c. 524–459 BC, was an Athenian politician and a general. He was one of a new breed of politicians who rose to prominence in the early years of the Athenian democracy, along with his great rival Aristides...

 was asking for asylum from Persia, the “Persian carpet” was mentioned in his speech:
In general Persian rugs are classified based on their region of production including Feraghan (Kashan
Kashan
Kashan is a city in and the capital of Kashan County, in the province of Isfahan, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 248,789, in 67,464 families....

), Hamedan, Herat
Herat
Herāt is the capital of Herat province in Afghanistan. It is the third largest city of Afghanistan, with a population of about 397,456 as of 2006. It is situated in the valley of the Hari River, which flows from the mountains of central Afghanistan to the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan...

 (Afghani
Afghan rug
An Afghan rug is a type of handwoven floor-covering textile traditionally made in Afghanistan. Many of the Afghan rugs are also woven by Afghan refugees who reside in Pakistan and Iran. In any case, Afghan rugs are genuine, often charming — and usually phenomenally inexpensive...

), Herez
Heriz rug
Heriz rugs are Persian rugs from the area of Heris, East Azerbaijan in northwest Iran, northeast of Tabriz. Such rugs are produced in the village of the same name in the slopes of Mount Sabalan. Heriz carpets are extremely durable and hard-wearing and they can last for generations...

 (Azeri), Isfahan, Kerman
Kerman
- Geological characteristics :For the Iranian paleontologists, Kerman has always been considered a fossil paradise. Finding new dinosaur footprints in 2005 has now revealed new hopes for paleontologists to better understand the history of this area.- Economy :...

 & Kermanshah
Kermanshah
Kermanshah is a city in and the capital of Kermanshah Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 784,602, in 198,117 families.The overwhelming majority of Kermanshahi people are Shi'a Muslims...

, Khorasan, Mashhad
Mashhad
Mashhad , is the second largest city in Iran and one of the holiest cities in the Shia Muslim world. It is also the only major Iranian city with an Arabic name. It is located east of Tehran, at the center of the Razavi Khorasan Province close to the borders of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. Its...

, Shiraz
Shiraz
Shiraz may refer to:* Shiraz, Iran, a city in Iran* Shiraz County, an administrative subdivision of Iran* Vosketap, Armenia, formerly called ShirazPeople:* Hovhannes Shiraz, Armenian poet* Ara Shiraz, Armenian sculptor...

, Senna
Sanandaj
Sanandaj , also Romanized as Senneh and Sinneh) is a city in and the capital of Kurdistan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 311,446, in 81,380 families....

, Saraband (southwest of Arak
Arak, Iran
-Industries:thumb|right|250px|wagon parsArak is one of the main industrial cities of Iran, possessing many plants for heavy industries especially for the metal and machinery industries, including:...

), Saruk (Markazi
Markazi Province
Markazi Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. The word markazi means central in Persian. Markazi lies in western Iran. Its capital is Arak. Its population is estimated at 1.35 million...

), Sultanabad
Arak, Iran
-Industries:thumb|right|250px|wagon parsArak is one of the main industrial cities of Iran, possessing many plants for heavy industries especially for the metal and machinery industries, including:...

, and Tabriz
Tabriz
Tabriz is the fourth largest city and one of the historical capitals of Iran and the capital of East Azerbaijan Province. Situated at an altitude of 1,350 meters at the junction of the Quri River and Aji River, it was the second largest city in Iran until the late 1960s, one of its former...

.

Statues


Persians' artistic expression can be seen as far back as the Achaemenid period as numerous statues depicting various important figures, usually of political significance as well as religious, such as the Immortals
Persian Immortals
The "Immortals" was the name given by Herodotus to an elite force of soldiers who fought for the Achaemenid Empire. This force performed the dual roles of both Imperial Guard and standing army during the Persian Empire's expansion and during the Greco-Persian Wars...

 (elite troops of the emperor) are indicative of the influence of Mesopotamia and ancient Babylon. What is perhaps most representative of a more indigenous artistic expression are Persian miniatures. Although the influence of Chinese art
Chinese art
Chinese art is visual art that, whether ancient or modern, originated in or is practiced in China or by Chinese artists or performers. Early so-called "stone age art" dates back to 10,000 BC, mostly consisting of simple pottery and sculptures. This early period was followed by a series of art...

 is apparent, local Persian artists used the art form in various ways including portraits that could be seen from the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 to the courts of the Safavids and Mughals.

Women



From the Achaemenid days, the Persian women have had great influence and presenece. One such Persian figure was Cassandane
Cassandane
Cassandane was an Achaemenian Persian noblewoman and the "dearly loved" wife of Cyrus the Great. She was a daughter of Pharnaspes. She bore four children for Cyrus the Great : Cambyses II who succeeded his father and conquered Egypt, Smerdis who also reigned as the king of Persia for a short...

, queen consort of Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus II of Persia , commonly known as Cyrus the Great, also known as Cyrus the Elder, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much...

 and mother of Cambyses II, Atossa
Atossa
Atossa was an Achaemenid queen and daughter of Cyrus the Great and his wife, Cassandane...

, and Bardiya
Bardiya
Bardiya was a son of Cyrus the Great and the younger brother of Cambyses II, both Persian kings. There are sharply divided views on his life, he may have ruled the Achaemenid Empire for a few months in 522 BCE, or he may have been impersonated by a magus called Gaumata. -Name and sources:The...

. Cyrus the Great had a special dearly love for Cassandane. Cassandane also loved Cyrus to the point that upon her death bed she is noted as having found it more bitter to leave Cyrus, than to depart her life. According to the chronicle of Nabonidus, when Cassandane died, all the nations of Cyrus's empire observed "a great mourning", and, particularly in Babylonia
Babylonia
Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

, there was probably even a public mourning lasting for six days (identified from 21–26 March 538 BC).

Atossa
Atossa
Atossa was an Achaemenid queen and daughter of Cyrus the Great and his wife, Cassandane...

 was the daughter of Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus II of Persia , commonly known as Cyrus the Great, also known as Cyrus the Elder, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much...

, and Cassandane
Cassandane
Cassandane was an Achaemenian Persian noblewoman and the "dearly loved" wife of Cyrus the Great. She was a daughter of Pharnaspes. She bore four children for Cyrus the Great : Cambyses II who succeeded his father and conquered Egypt, Smerdis who also reigned as the king of Persia for a short...

, and the queen consort of Darius the Great; she would play a critical role in solidifying Darius's legitamcy to the throne after the overthrow of the magus impersonator of Bardiya
Bardiya
Bardiya was a son of Cyrus the Great and the younger brother of Cambyses II, both Persian kings. There are sharply divided views on his life, he may have ruled the Achaemenid Empire for a few months in 522 BCE, or he may have been impersonated by a magus called Gaumata. -Name and sources:The...

. Achaemenids also allowed women high positions including military and royal positions, best exemplified by Artemisia I of Caria
Artemisia I of Caria
Artemisia I of Caria became the ruler, after the death of her husband, as a client of the Persians – who in the 5th century BC ruled as the overlords of Ionia....

, a Halicarnassian
Halicarnassus
Halicarnassus was an ancient Greek city at the site of modern Bodrum in Turkey. It was located in southwest Caria on a picturesque, advantageous site on the Ceramic Gulf. The city was famous for the tomb of Mausolus, the origin of the word mausoleum, built between 353 BC and 350 BC, and...

 who was an Achaemenid Navy admiral, serving Xerxes I of Persia.

During the Sassanid era, women also practiced power although in a limited scale. One such example was the Sassanid queen Borandukht who rose to power after death of her 7 years old nephew Ardashir III
Ardashir III
Ardashir III was the twenty-fourth Sassanid King of Persia from 628 to 630.He was a son of Kavadh II/Shiroes and "Anzoy the Roman". His mother was probably from the Byzantine Empire. He was raised to the throne as a boy of seven years, but was killed 18 months later by his general, Shahrbaraz .-...

 at the hands of a Sassanid general Shahrbaraz
Shahrbaraz
Shahrbaraz or Shahrwaraz was a general, with the rank of Eran Spahbod under Khosrau II . His name was Farrokhan, and Shahrbaraz was his title...

 who was himself killed by the Persian army. Borandukht would inherit Persia at its most unstable and disorganised hour; she would start to amend the situation by first making peace with Byzantine empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 and then attempting to amend the civil disturbances of the empire. She would however be murdered soon in the chaos only after a year of rule. It is this chaos that leads to election of Yazdegerd III and contributes to the subsequent Arab vicotries after their invasion of Persia.

Scheherazade
Scheherazade
Scheherazade , sometimes Scheherazadea, Persian transliteration Shahrazad or Shahrzād is a legendary Persian queen and the storyteller of One Thousand and One Nights.-Narration :...

, though fictional, is an important figure of female wit and intelligence, while the beauty of Mumtaz Mahal
Mumtaz Mahal
Mumtaz Mahal born as Arjumand Banu Begum was a Mughal Empress and chief consort of emperor Shah Jahan...

 inspired the building of the Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal is a white Marble mausoleum located in Agra, India. It was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal...

 itself and Táhirih
Táhirih
Táhirih or Qurratu'l-`Ayn are both titles of Fátimih Baraghání , an influential poet and theologian of the Bábí Faith in Iran. Her life, influence and execution made her a key figure of the religion...

, the poet, had a great influence on modern women's movements throughout the Middle East. Persian women have also achieved national and international recognition in such diverse areas as sciences, politics, and entertainment. Such individuals include Shirin Ebadi
Shirin Ebadi
Shirin Ebadi is an Iranian lawyer, a former judge and human rights activist and founder of Defenders of Human Rights Center in Iran. On 10 October 2003, Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her significant and pioneering efforts for democracy and human rights, especially women's,...

, the Persian lawyer and activist who won a Noble Peace Prize in 2003 for her efforts in human rights, as well as Iranian singer Googoosh
Googoosh
Faegheh Atashin also known by her stage name Googoosh is an Iranian singer and actress. She is known for her contributions to Iranian pop music, but also starred in a variety of movies from the 1950s to the 1970s. She achieved the pinnacle of her fame and success towards the end of the 1970s...

 who was a well known national singer in 1960s in Iran and abroad.

Although in ancient times, aristocratic females possessed numerous rights sometimes on par with men, Persian women did not attain greater parity until the 20th century. Universal suffrage was constitutionally approved for all women in January 26, 1963 under the Phalavi regime. Persian women can be seen working in a variety of areas such as politics, law enforcement, transportation industries, health industry, military, universities, and even in the Iranian parliament.

See also



External links