Mehregan and Mithra


Mehregan and Mithra
by Nabarz

To mark Mehregan the festival of Mithra, Mithras Reader: An Academic
and Religious Journal of Greek, Roman and Persian Studies, Volume  III is now out. Wishing everyone a happy Mehregan.

It contains several ground breaking papers on Persian History and Archaeological studies.  It covers new study of the Sassanian Fire Temple of Rivand in Sabzevar, Iran; The Zoroastrian Holyland of Haetumant in Iran; The Achaemenid Grand Strategy, Anahita Lady of Persia; to name some.

Full details at: // 

Table of


Biographies 8

Part 1:
Academic Papers 14

A Journey
to the Hypercosmic side of the Sun by Prof Ezio Albrile 15

and the Resurrection of a God: the Neo-Mithraic Communities by Dr. Israel
Campos 28

and the Natural Slave: The Athenian Relationship with India by Robert F.
Mullen, M.A. 35

The Dawn
of Religions in Afghanistan-Seistan-Gandhara and the Personal Seals of Gotama
Buddha and Zoroaster by Dr. Ranajit Pal 62

Dacia and
the cult of Mithras by Csaba T. Szabó 84

Sun Tzu
and the Achaemenid Grand Strategy by Sheda Vasseghi 98

Buddhism and Mithraism by Dr. Masato Tōjō 114

A New
Archaeological Research of the Sassanian Fire Temple of Rivand in Sabzevar, by
Hassan Hashemi Zarjabad, Farhang khademi Nadooshan, Seyed Mehdi Mousavi, Javad
Neyestani,  Syed Sadrudin Mosavi Jashni,
Barbara Kaim 144

Zoroastrian Holyland of Haetumant by Reza MehrAfarin, Seyyed Rasool Mousavi
Haji, and Javad Neyestani 180

Archaeological Evidence in Tarik Dareh (Dark Valley), in Hamadan, Iran, by
Masoud Rashidi Nejad and Amirhossein Salehi 196

Part 2:
Arts 203

Kephra by
Akashanath 204

Altars by Ana C Jones 210

Part 3:
Religious Articles, Poems, and Stories 212

Into The
Looking Glass Tragic Reflections of Life by Lesley Madytinou 213

in Olympus: The Enduring Connection between King Solomon and Greek Magic by
David Rankine 229

Hymn to Aphrodite translated by Harita Meenee 234

Athenian Festivals of Demeter by Melissa Gold 236

Lioness by Jane Raeburn 246

Lady of Persia by Payam Nabarz 256

Origin of
the Gathas of Asho Zarathustra by Farida Bamji 268

by Farida Bamji 272

A Prayer
for Initiation by Katherine Sutherland 274


Here is an excerpt from one of the papers:

Sun Tzu
and the Achaemenid Grand Strategy by Sheda Vasseghi 





Although between the rise and fall of the Achaemenid Persian
Empire (550-330 BCE) military
weapons, techniques, and recruitment evolved to meet the empire’s needs, the
key components of its military strategy remained intact.  Some of those
key components are interestingly echoed in The Art of War, a manual attributed to
Sun Tzu (5th c. BCE), a Chinese philosopher-general.  This paper will
examine notable similarities between the teachings in The Art of War
and the Achaemenid military warfare.    

Competition and the need for excellence are natural human
desires.  Competition and desire to excel bring progress to mankind. 
It is the fuel for human social evolution.  The reasons as to why a
group conquers another vary, but the end result is the same rendering the
catalyst insignificant.  In modern era, old fashioned territorial
conquests have been replaced with technological and scientific warfare as
nations compete for limited resources to gain the upper hand in economic
advantages which directly affect social advancement.  What is important is
how these conquests are made to minimize trauma and chaos while
establishing order as quickly as possible.  

            The Art of
 is a revered manual mastering strategy during
conflict.  Its lessons on how to remain victorious or survive at
best is timeless.  Its lessons are directed to leaders both in military
and civilian capacities, and to citizens, who should not underestimate the
importance of a strong and competent military for the survival of their

The Achaemenid
Persian Empire was the first world empire covering 23 nations spread across
approximately 3,000,000 square miles stretching from North Africa to Indus
Valley.[1]  This world empire was based on law and
order.  It was the first time tolerance
and benevolence towards different cultures was to be standard practice.  The Persians viewed military service as a supreme duty and were expected
to serve unconditionally.  Law and order
applied to everyone including military leaders and rulers.  This military strategy created the proper
conditions for relative peace across an immense territory and greater cultural
and economic exchanges.[2]

Figure 1: Achaemenid
Army in Plaza, Persepolis. © - K. Afhami & W. Gambke.


The Art of War covers military strategy and leadership.  Despite its age,
it is very applicable to modern day issues.  The central
theme in The Art of War teaches that it is most ideal to win
without fighting, and to gain the most by doing the least.  The Achaemenid military grand strategy
favored diplomacy over battle.  It is at
this point that an interesting connection is noted between The Art of
and the military strategy of the Achaemenids. 

The first known official diplomacy between Iranians and the
Chinese was around 121 BCE -- some
200 years after the fall of the Achaemenids.  But the Achaemenids’ needs
for more horses and pasture lands, and the expansion of China during the
Warring States Period (476-221 BCE),
led various Central Asian Iranian nomads to greater contact with the
Chinese.  Given the similarities between the essence of The Art of
and the grand strategy of the Achaemenid military warfare, a
question arises:  Was Sun Tzu familiar
with Achaemenid (Iranian) warfare?


Conflict Resolution Strategies


According to Sun Tzu, the most
important strategy is to win without fighting.  It is best to encourage a
people to surrender by political means and events rather than use of force.[3]


The Achaemenids preferred diplomacy and bribery to subject
people and gain the upper hand.  As a
general rule, the Achaemenids sent word in advance for a nation to voluntarily
submit and avoid conflict.  They often tried to gain influence from local
supporters to facilitate submission even before embarking on a campaign. 
In other words, the Achaemenid grand strategy was to gain the most by doing the
least with minimal bloodshed.....(continues in the journal)

[1] The British Museum 2005-06.  The
Forgotten Empire
Exhibition, London, UK, (//

[2] Dandamaev, M. A. et al. 2004.  The
Culture and Social Institutions of Ancient Iran
, Cambridge, UK:  Cambridge Univ. Press, p. 367.

[3] Sun
Tzu, 1988.  The Art of War, Thomas Cleary (transl.), Boston, MA: Shambhala
Publications, Inc., pp. 66-67. 




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