I remember a few years ago, right about the same time 300 came out; I was obsessed with Persian history. It’s amazing. Just like every great civilization, it has a humble beginning, a rise toward world dominance and a steady decline. The Persians were arguably the first civilization that replaced killing and raping conquered lands, with exploiting people for their talents, traits and resources. I remember walking through Persepolis last time I visited Iran and noticing how much of what remained was influenced by Assyrians, Greeks, Egyptian and other civilization. Perhaps the same way much of United States is now a derivative of what people imported from the old world.
One of the downfall of being linked to a great ancient civilization, is the fact that it can suck you in. I know many Persians who associate with Cyrus and Darius as if they’re their uncles. They speak with such passion and dedication about Iran’s history, it borders creepy. I mean I can understand where they come from. For a society that doesn’t have much to offer now, it’s easy to find attraction toward a past that they can be proud of. But lets no forget that, it’s always unhealthy dedication and dogmatic perspective toward certain individuals that can lead to what Iran is today.
In many ways I view Iran’s history as “Erised Mirror” from the first Harry Potter. It shows many Iranians their deepest desires for Iran, but it offers nothing else. Many have spent countless hours dedicating their lives, idolizing a past that’s long gone,without spending time considering the truths of present.