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If there is anything positive that can come of the Hakha fiasco, it is that Iranians need to revisit their ancient Iranian history so that they are not manipulated by pseudo-historical ideas. Iranians are inheritors of one of the richest civilizations in the World. Yet most Iranians, including myself, up to a few years ago possess an outstandingly infinitesimal knowledge of our ancient Iranian history.

At the same time the majority of Iranians only keep up with the political world. No wonder why some of us might have fallen for traps laid by pseudo-historians like Mr. Hakha amongst many others with their mumbo-jumbo flimflam hogwash hocus-pocus pseudo-history.

Pre-Islamic Iranian history is perhaps amongst the least understood by Iranians. Our pre-Islamic History constitutes one of the greatest millenniums mankind has ever witnessed. Hegel in his Philosophy of History asserts: “The principle of development begins with the history of Persia. This therefore constitute strictly the beginning of World-History; for the grand interest of Sprit in History, is to attain an unlimited immanence of subjectivity-by an absolute antithesis to attain complete harmony.”

Many of us have come across terminologies like Elamites, Mitanni, Scythians, Achaemenids, Indo-Iranians, Medes, Cyrus the Great, Darius the Great, Parthians, Parthian Shot, Zoroastrianism and Sassanids and have no idea what the heck they are talking about.

The Parthians who were an Iranian tribe regained Iran's independence from the Greeks, and ruled from 247 B.C. to 228 A.D. A famous battle tactic employed by them is the 'Parthian Shot', which is mentioned many times in Western Literature. The Parthian horsemen feigned flight, and then turned on their mounts to shoot at their pursuing enemies (photo above).

For example did you know that historians to this date are debating the ascension of Darius the Great to the most powerful throne of that time? Did you know that the Parthians used a Zoroastrian calendar? Did you know that Iranian Scythians at one time roamed the area between Ukraine and Central Asia?

In order to understand our society and ourselves better and indeed have clearer and more illustrious view of the future, we are obliged to learn about our past. In order not to fall in the traps of the Hakha-type movements we are again obliged to learn our history; more importantly, a nation is its history.

Luckily a great deal of work based on many historical books, stones, engravings and artifacts have left us with a fairly decent picture of our pre-Islamic history. Here I will outline some essential books and Internet links on Iranian history for further research and study.

Some essential books on Iranian history:

1. Iran in the Ancient East, Ernst E. Herzfeld (1. Vol)

2. Ancient Persia and Iranian Civilization; Clement Huart (1. Vol)

3. The Heritage of Persia; Richard Frye (1. vol)

4. From Cyrus to Alexander, The History of Persian Empire; Pierre Briant (2. Vols)

5. Sasanian Iran; A. Christian San; (1. Vol)

6. The Medes; Diakonov; (1. Vol)

7. The culture & social Inistitution of Ancient Iran; Mohammad A. Dandaneav & Vladimir G. Lukonin; (1. Vol)

8. Elamites; Ezatollah Negahban (1. Vol)

9. Iranian Heritage; J. R. Arberry (1. Vol)

10. A Survey of Persian Art: From Prehistoric Times to the Present; E. Pope (16 Vols)

11. The Dawn and Twilight of Zoroastrianism; R. C. Zehner (1. Vol)

12. Zoroastrians: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices; Mary Boyce (1. Vol)

13. The History of the Persian Empire; A. T. Olmstead (1. Vol)

14. Ancient Persia; Josef Wiesehofer (1. Vol)

A few amongst the many of the good resources on the internet:

1. Iranica-L discussion group: This is a non-political and non-religious list-serv that is free for anyone to join and is operated by some of the greatest experts in Iranian History. It is definitely worth taking advantage of such rare opportunities to know our Iranian History better. The Discussions are very organized and currently the ascension of Darius the Great to the Achaemenid throne is the hot topic for discussion. Here is the Description from their website:Description:

Iranica-L is a Forum Devoted to Discussing All Aspects of the History of Iran from the Earliest Times to the Advent of Islam, covering the Pre-Median epoch, the Median and the Achaemenid Empires, the Period of Iran's Occupation under Alexander III of Macedon, Diadochi, and the Seleucids, the Kingdom of Persis, the Parthian and the Sasanian Empires, the Elamite and Characenean Kingdoms, etc. These include such topics as the Political History, Numismatics, Archaeology, Art, Ethnology, Religion, Epigraphy, Philology and related issues. Discussion of current political and religious affairs are not permitted on this List.

The above image illustrates the trilingual monument of Darius I the Great (522-486 B.C.) at Behistun (the ancient Bagastâna, “place of the gods”), near Hamadan, Iran, celebrating his victories after 19 battles during 522-520 B.C. with the attendant capture of 9 usurpers. Darius ascended the Achaemenid throne after the death of Cambyses II (529-522 B.C.), son and successor of Cyrus II the Great (559-529 B.C.). But he had to eliminate a number of pretenders and rebels in “one and the same year” (in fact 1 “year”, 1 month and 12 days) at the outset of his reign.

2. Encyclopedia Iranica

4. All about the Parthian empire

5. Dedicated to the History and Culture of the Sasanian Dynasty

6. Achaemenid Royal Inscriptions

7. Iranian Cultural Heritage News Agency

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