The Training of the Iranian Nobility: By Khosro: Aryanism:

December 9, 2017

The training of the Iranian nobility was arduous. As a youth, the Iranian was schooled-in companies of fifty-in running, swimming, horse grooming, tilling the land, tending the cattle, making various handicrafts, and getting accustomed to standing at watch; he would be trained in the arts of the chase (both afoot and on horseback), archery, throwing the spear and javelin, and of sustaining forced marches in unfriendly climate [60]. At twenty he started his military profession [61] which lasted till the age of fifty [62] as a foot soldier or a rider. The elitist groups were trained for both tasks. Thus, Darius says proudly: “Trained am I both with hands and with feet. As a horseman I am a good horseman. As a bowman I am a good bowman both afoot and on horseback. As a spearman I am a good spearman both afoot and on horseback” [63]. The foot soldier carried a short sword (acinaces), a spear with wooden shaft and metal head and butt, a quiver full of arrows of reed with bronze or iron heads, and a bow about one meter long with ends formed in animals’ heads, and a case which combined the bow-case and quiver-holder [64]. A symbol of kingship and the Iranian national arm, the bow was held in the hand of the King of Kings on his tomb and coins. Battle-axe was also used, especially by North Iranians [65]. For protection, the infantryman relied on his wicker shield (made of sticks evidently threaded through a wet sheet of leather capable of stopping arrows [66]). The shield was either small and crescent-shaped or large and rectangular; the latter could be planted in the ground allowing the archer to discharge his arrows from behind it [67]. Some guards carried the large “figure-of-eight” -shaped shield known as the Boeotian, while the Gandharans carried round shields not dissimilar to those of Greek hoplites [68]. Some Iranians wore metal helmets, but only the Egyptians and the Mesopotamian contingents wore armour for body protection [69]. The elite infantry had variegated costumes: either the fluted hat, short cape over a shirt, pleated skirt and strapped shoes of the Elamite court dress, or the conical felt hat, tight-fitting tunic and trousers and boots of the Median cavalry suit. One division of the infantry comprised “one thousand spearmen, the noblest and bravest of the Persians” who formed a special royal guard; their spears had golden apples as butts from which they were called the Apple-bearers [70]. As a prince, Darius served in this guard of spearmen under Cambyses [71]. Their commander was the hazārapati of the empire, who, as the officer next to the emperor, possessed vast political power [72]. All members of this guard fell at Plataea defending their position [73]. One corps of the spāda consisted of ten thousand elite Iranian foot soldiers, the so-called “Immortal Guard,” whose “number was at no time either greater or less than 10,000″[74]. These had variegated costumes [75] and acted as the Imperial Guards [76]. “Of these one thousand carried spears with golden pomegranate at the lower end instead of spikes; and these encircled the other nine thousand, who bore on their spears pomegranates of silver” [77].

The cavalry had been instrumental in conquering subject lands, and it retained its importance to the last days of the Achaemenid empire. The horseman was equipped more or less like the foot soldier; but he carried two javelins, one for throwing and one for fending-at least this was the case in Xenophon’s time[78]. Some wore metal helmets and padded linen corselets covered with metal scales [79]. A Babylonian document dated to the second year of Darius II lists the requirements of a horseman as follows: a horse along with its girdle (?) and bridle, a helmet, a cuirass of iron, a bronze shield, 120 arrows, a mace of iron, and two iron spears [80]. There were also units of camel-borne troops, and some riding chariots and scythed-chariots, but these were very seldom effective against massed infantry. At Gaugamela 15 elephants were also present but their action is not recorded [81]. Various divisions bore particular standards (Herodotus 9.59), but the imperial banner was a golden eagle with outstretched wings borne on a spear at the side of the commander-in-chief of the army [82].

Apart from the standing army, the rest of the levies were recruited when the need arose, and it took a long time, sometimes years, to muster a grand army. There were many Iranian garrisons in important centres of the empire, and satraps and governors also had their guards and local levies, but these could not be depleted to form an army on short notice because the danger of revolt was always present. Tribal troops, especially from East Iran, were more readily available. Levies were summoned to a recruiting station (*handaisa[83]) where they were marshaled and reviewed. Campaigns usually started in early spring [84]. Provisions were stored at various magazines along the route of the army, and were also brought with it in baggage-trains [85]. Royal and religious emblems accompanied the centre of the army where the commander had his position: the eagle standard and the holy fire in portable fire-holders attended by Magi chanting hymns, and the sacred chariots of Miθra, Ahura Mazda and others[86]. Mounted scouts were sent in advance to watch the enemy’s movements [87]. There was also an excellent system of communication: couriers on the royal road changed horses at short intervals and speedily conveyed their messages to their destinations [88]; also by their light and mirror signals the King of Kings in Susā and Ecbātanā received the news from the whole empire-it is claimed-on the same day [89]. Fire signals communicating the news from towers and heights were widely used with good results [90]. Fortified gates were set up in narrow passes leading into various provinces not only for custom checks but also for stopping the advance of an enemy [91]. The Iranians disliked night marches and did not attack at night; their daily marches were, however, in slow pace because of the heavy baggage-train which often comprised litters for conveying the wives and concubines of the commanders [92]. When night fell, they encamped in a flat area, and if they were approaching the enemy, they dug a ditch and set up ramps of sand-bags around it [93]. Rivers were forded by using rafts, boat-bridges, or inflated skins or simply by riding across on horses


Where does India’s Fighter Pilots Stand in Comparison with USA’s? – DefenceLover

December 8, 2017

Polo Game:By Arad

December 8, 2017

After years of lobbying, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will finally recognize the team sport of Polo (Chogan) and the Persian string instrument Kamancheh as part of Iran’s intangible cultural heritage.


Parsi Kings: In Iraq: Arad

December 8, 2017

Arsacid #PARSI Kings in Hatra in today “Iraq”.


Forum: Shahname: Khosro

December 8, 2017


(or Ferôd), son of Sîâvakhš and half brother of Kay Khosrow. His mother is Jarîra (according to the Š; Tabarî mentions Borzâfarîd as her name), the eldest daughter, or the sister (Mojmal, ed. Bahâr, p. 29), of Pîrân, the commander-in-chief of Afrâsîâb’s (q.v.) army. In his first campaign against Afrâsîâb to avenge the murder of Sîâvakhš, Kay Khosrow instructs Tôs, his commander-in-chief, not to take the route crossing Forûd’s territory of De‘-e Kalât (Kalâ Dez or Dez-e Forûd in the area of Sarakhs according to Bundahišn 9.38) in order to avoid a clash between the army and Forûd. Tôs, however, ignoring the king’s instruction and the advice of his officers, leads the army toward Kalât. Forûd, on the advice of his mother, decides to join the Iranian army in avenging the murder of his father. Forûd knows none of the Iranians, so he takes along with him a hero called Tokhúâr, who is to point out to Forûd the paladins in the Iranian army. Tôs, seeing two men watching the movements of the army from the peak of the mountain, becomes suspicious and sends Bahrâm, son of Gôdarz (qq.v.), to kill or capture them. Forûd reveals his identity to Bahrâm, who returns to the army with the news. Tôs interprets Bahrâm’s action as an act of insubordination and a sign of the enmity of the Gôdarz family. Thereupon, he sends his son-in-law, Rêvnîz, to accomplish the mission. Forûd, who sees that, contrary to the previous arrangement with Bahrâm, a different person is approaching, considers it as an act of treachery and a direct personal affront. He therefore kills Rêvnîz and then Zarasp, the son of Tôs. Thereupon Tôs resolves to take the field himself to avenge the murder of his son and son-in-law. Forûd, unwilling to disrupt the campaign and the original plan of the Iranian army, refrains from killing Tôs but shoots down his horse. Humiliated and on foot, Tôs returns to the camp under a barrage of laughter and ridicule from the ladies of the fortress who had been watching from the parapet. Deeply affected, the Iranian heroes take this as an insult to their honor and the prestige of their army. Gêv (q.v.), Gôdarz’s son, considers Forûd’s action less tolerable than the rashness of Tôs and sets off to face Forûd. He, too, suffers the same fate and withdraws on foot amid an onslaught of ridicule and derision by the women. Even his own son, Bê‘an/Bî‘an (q.v.), taunts him with bitter words. After his father hits him with a whip, Bê‘an vows to destroy Forûd and sets off in the company of his uncle, Rohhâm. Forûd, unable to withstand the joint attack of the two, withdraws to the fortress wounded and dies moments later. His mother slaughters Forûd’s horses, sets the castle on fire, and kills herself beside her son. The ladies of the castle also kill themselves by jumping from the walls as desired by the dying Forûd so that they may not fall captive to the enemy (Š, ed. Khaleghi, II, pp. 296-97, 321, III, pp. 27-59; Tabarî, I, pp. 605-6; Ebn Balkhî, p. 44).

According to Bal´amî (ed. Bahâr, I, p. 603), Tôs had no intention to fight Forûd, but it was Forûd who was belligerent from the outset. Kay Khosrow’s instruction that the army should avoid the route by Kalât also suggests that Forûd was expected to be hostile. Bal´amî’s report may reflect the idea of a dispute between the two brothers over the question of succession to the throne, to which Forûd, as the elder brother, could have had a legitimate claim. Age alone, however, cannot always be the deciding factor, since other considerations such as religion, nationality, and the status of the mother’s family are also significant (cf. Herodotus, 5.2-3). Forûd’s mother is the daughter of Pîrân, whereas Kay Khosrow is the son of Farangîs, Afrâsîâb’s daughter, which makes Kay Khosrow outrank Forûd on the mother’s side.

The suicide or killing of women lest they fall into the hands of the enemy has historical parallels. The Parthian king Phraates IV killed all his concubines before fleeing to Scythia from the forces of Tridates II (Gutschmid, p. 103).

The legend of Forûd is one of the most dramatic episodes in the Š. The poet’s skillful depiction of characters greatly enhances the dramatic effect of the story, which develops around the main theme of a conflict resulting in repeated clashes of heroic honor. At first the reader’s heart goes out to Forûd, whose honorable intention is to join his brother’s army, while Tôs, with his arrogant rejection of Forûd’s extended hand of friendship, seems to be the villain. But, as the story develops and Tôs becomes the subject of constant humiliation, the original antipathy towards him turns into sympathy, creating a kind of balance of legitimacy on both sides of the conflict, thereby bringing the story to a dramatic climax.

Zal: Shahname: By Khosro

December 8, 2017


(also called Dastân, Zar, and Zâl-e Zar), legendary prince of Sistân, father of Rostam, and a leading paladin of the Iranian traditional history.

His story is given in the Shâh-nâma (partially retold in prose by Yarshater, 1959, pp. 83-9, 93-133), so closely paralleled in Tha’âlebi’s Gh(pp. 68-10, 114, 119-22, 127-9, 138-41, 143 ff., 355-57, 379 ff., 383-88) as to suggest a common source, the Shah-nâma-ye Abu Mansáuri. Sâm, lord of Sistân and the chief paladin of Iran, had no child. A woman of his harem gave birth to a beautiful boy whose “hair was all white.” Sâm was ashamed, likening the infant to a child of “de@v” or “Ahriman” (Shâh-nâma, ed. Khaleghi, I, pp. 164, v. 45, p. 166, vv. 63, 65; all references are to this edition and volume unless given otherwise), and he abandoned it on the Alborz Mountain, but the fabulous bird, Simorgh, which nested there, nursed the boy, and he grew to become a dashingly handsome young man endowed with great physical power and a brilliant mind, whom travelers saw and admired (I, pp.167-68). One night Sâm dreamt that a mounted warrior rode in from India and informed him that he had a grown-up son. Sâm consulted wise men, but they all blamed him for having destroyed his God-given child. Again he dreamt that from the mountain of India there appeared an army led by a youth flanked by a Zoroastrian priest (mo@bad) and an advisor, and that these companions condemned his act: “If you needed a bird as the nurse for your son, what use of this royal and heroic state? If white hair is a cause of shame, what say you of your own white hair and beard?” Profoundly ashamed, Sâm went to the Alborz, besought God for forgiveness, and discovered his son: “a figure worthy of royal crown and throne, with side and arms of a lion, Sun-like face, heroic heart, sword-seeking hands, deep black eyes and lashes, coralloid lips and (red-)blood face (I, pp. 169-73, vv. 104-49). The youth was unwilling at first to leave Simorgh, but the bird assured him of a glorious future, and gave him samples of his feather, which contained God-given fortune (farr), to use when in peril: “put one of my feathers onto fire, at once shall you behold my farr” (I, pp. 171-72). The boy, now called Dastân (cf. Yarshater, 1983, pp. 432, 453), Zâl, or Zar, (on zar “old,” see Bailey, Dictionary, p. 346) or Zâl-e zar, came with Sâm to Sistân and was clothed in a paladin’s garb (pahlavâni qabây).

King Manuchehr heard the wonderful story and summoned Zâl to his court and recognized that he possessed the Royal Glory (farr-e kayân), the heart of the wise, and the courage of a lion” (I p. 175). The story of Simorgh and Zâl “spread throughout the world” (ibid., p. 176, v. 185), and court astronomers cast his horoscope and predicted that he would be a mighty and wise paladin. The king invested Sâm with “a throne of turquoise and crown of gold, a ruby signet-ring and golden girdle,” made him lord over “the whole of Kabul, Donbor, Mây and Hend, from Zâbolestân to the other side of Bost,” and entitled him the chief paladin (jahân pahlavân) (I, pp. 177-78). All these Sâm delegated to Zâl when they returned to Zâbolestân as he himself had to lead an expedition against the Gorgsârs and Mâzandarân. Zâl ruled with justice and became an avid learner and surpassed others in mastering astronomy, religion, and art of war (I, pp. 178-81). Zâl met and fell in love with Rudâba, daughter of Mehrâb, king of Kabul, and married her after overcoming many difficulties and proving his skills in horsemanship, archery, and other military traits as well as in explaining some (Zurvanite) riddles (Zaehner, pp. 242-44, 444-46) at the court of Manuchehr. Zâl and Rudâba begot two sons, Rostam and Zavâra. Later a slave girl from Kabul bore Zâl another son, Shaghâd (V, pp. 241-42).

The career of Zâl span the entire Kayanid period (Yarshater, 1983, pp., 373-74, 377, 389, 432). He served as a military commander under all kings, but usually in an advisory role, and was regarded as the last bastion of hope. He defeated two Turanian paladins who had attacked Mehrâb at Kabul, clashed with Afrâsiâb (q.v.) after the murder of Nowdòar, rejected Tus and Gostahm in favor of electing Zaw as the successor of Nowdòar, and sent Rostam to fetch Kay Qobâd from the Alborz mountain and offered him the crown, thereby establishing the Kayanid dynasty (I, pp. 309-14, 317-27, 338-44). He initially opposed Kay Khosrow’s nomination of Lohrâsp as heir to the throne and played host to Goætâsp for two years (Daqiqi, in Shâh-nâma V, pp. 171-72), tried to dissuade Rostam from fighting Esfandiâr (V, pp. 371-72), and when he saw his son severely wounded and his family threatened, he once more appealed to Simorgh for help. Guided by the bird, Rostam killed Esfandiâr, but he and Zavâra fell victim to Shaghâd’s treachery and were killed (V, pp. 396-422, 442-56). Bahman, son of Esfandiâr (qq.v.), then invaded Sistân, overthrew the house of Rostam, imprisoned Zâl, and took his treasures, but released him after his own uncle, Paæo@tan, intervened on his behalf (V, pp. 471-83). But Mas’udi of Marv, who had composed a versed Shâh-nâma early in the 10th century stated (apud Tha’âlebi, Ghorar, p. 388; cf. Tabari, I, p. 687 and Ma’udi, Moruj II, p. 127), that Bahman killed Zâl and slaughtered his family. Epic narratives other than the Shâh-nâma (e.g., Bahman-nâma, Farâmarz-nâma, Borzu-nâma (qq.v.) and Shahriâr-nâma; see GOÚDARZIÂN) ascribe to Zâl many heroic deeds, especially in wars with Afrâsiâb and Bahman. The Mojmal al-tawârikò (ed. Bahâr, p. 54) asserts that Zâl wrote several books on the history of the House of Bahman and maligned Goætâsp. The Târikò-e Sistân (ed. Bahâr, pp. 22-23) states that Zarang owed its name and prosperity to Zâl-e Zar, and according to the Bundahiæn (36.40; tr. Markwart, Provincial Capitals, p. 52), Sâm divided his realm between his six sons, giving Sistân and the region of south (Nimro@z) to the leading one, Dastân, Aparæahr to Aparnak, Rey to Khosrow, Patiæxwârgar to Mârgandag, Isfahan to Sparnag, and Aso@restân to Damnag.

The origins of the stories about the House of Rostam go back to the Saka people (Yarshater, 1983, pp. 454-55), but there are reasons for connecting the names of these brothers with the names of the provinces of the Parthian Empire and seeing the fully developed accounts of the House of Rostam as reflections of an Arsacid family which ruled over Zarang (Old Pers. Zarannka, Gk. Drangiana, the old Sistân; Kent, Old Persian, p. 211) and was annihilated by Ardaæir I, the historical model of Ardaæir Bahman (Shahbazi, pp.158-59).

Unaware of the reports on Zâl’s death, some have considered him as the manifestation of eternity, connecting zâl/zar with Zurwan, god of Time (Wikander, pp. 324-26). It is more probable, however, that Zâl/Zar was named after the land Zarang (cf. Zar-bânu “Lady of Zar,” a daughter of Rostam: Irânæâh, pp. 210, 270-73; for an attempt to explain Dastân as a compound *dast-tanu “with a capable body” or as representing a family name “of the descendants of *Dast’,” see Skjœrvø, pp. 165-63).

Zâl’s personality has been the subject of much speculation. Shehâb-al-Din Sohrevardi explained him as a mystic figure (Parhâm, pp. 334-47, with literature). His white hair at birth would have been viewed as a sign of future greatness, similar to the case of Pâbak, father of Ardaæir, who was born with long hair (Tabari, I, 814), which his mother took as presaging future glory (Bal’ami, ed. Bahâr, pp. 875-76). The nursing by a mighty bird was another sign of unusual fame and achievement, analogous to the legend of the rearing of Achaemenes (q.v.) by an eagle (Aelianus, Nature of Animals 12.21, with Spiegel, II, p. 262; cf. Nöldeke, p. 4). These stories are common-place with the type of “the feared child,” whose lordly sire is warned by signs of the infant’s future greatness and tries to dispose of him but fails because the child is saved and reared by a miraculous beast and finally replaces the guilty potentate (Yarshater, 1991, pp. 67-68). That some revered Zâl as an extraordinary, wise and mystic personality is borne out by the fact that to this day the mystic order of Ahl-e Haqq (q.v.) in Kurdistan regard Simorgh, Zâl, and Rostam as the duns, the incarnation of the light of God. And the Malek Tâwusi tribes of northwestern Iran, Iraq and Syria also count Kâva, Zâl, Rostam, and Simorgh as the incarnations of Malek Tâwus, himself the highest manifestation of God on earth (see, with literature, Amir Mo’ezzi, p. 80).

Zoroastrian-Parsi Schools of Karachi: By Eduljee

December 8, 2017

Zoroastrian-Parsi Schools of Karachi

Parsi Virbaiji School Evolves to BVS School, Karachi, Sindh – 1875

(Those in the know, please share your information.)

The Parsi Virbaiji Soparivala School became Bai Virbaiji Soparivala Parsi Anglo-Vernacular School in 1875.

In 1877, Seth Shahpurji Hormusji Soparivala was awarded the Certificate of Loyalty by Queen Victoria for his exemplary services in education and social work.

In 1904, the construction of a new building (that stands today) was started at Victoria Road (now the Abdullah Haroon Road). The building was designed by Moses Somake. The school moved to the new premises in 1906.

After the partition of India in 1947, Mohammad Ali Jinnah asked the Parsees to open school admissions to the general public.

Image credit: Amistri at Wikipedia.q

Painting by Khodadad : By Eduljee

December 8, 2017

Painting by Khodadad Khan Zand, Qajar Iran, Dated 1856-57 CE

We feature this painting because of our continued interest with Iranian clothing and the continuation of a tradition that dates back more than two-thousand years. Please share anything you know about the painter or the subject.

Auctioned at Christie’s

Beautiful Tabriz: Arad!

December 8, 2017

Beautiful Tabriz #IRAN

Zoroastrians of Pakistan: By Eduljee

December 8, 2017

2c. Zoroastrians of Pakistan

Dossabhoy Merwanji Wadia Adaran (Gari Khata Agiary) – Oldest

Located at Ghadikhata, Pakistan Chowk, Karachi.

The fire was consecrated on Adar roj, Adar mah, 1239 AY May 28, 1869 (source:

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