Persian people

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Persians
Regions with significant populations
Flag of Iran.svg  Iran 49,312,834 (61–65% of the total population) [1] [2]
Languages
Persian, and closely related languages.
Religion
Predominantly Shia Islam Minority: Irreligion, Christianity, the Bahá'í faith, Sunni Islam, Sufism, and Zoroastrianism.
Related ethnic groups
Other Iranian peoples.

The Persians are an Iranian ethnic group that make up over half the population of Iran. [3] [2] They share a common cultural system and are native speakers of the Persian language, [4] [5] [6] as well as closely related languages. [7]

Iranian peoples diverse Indo-European ethno-linguistic group

The Iranian peoples, or the Iranic peoples, are a diverse Indo-European ethno-linguistic group that comprise the speakers of the Iranian languages.

Ethnic group socially defined category of people who identify with each other

An ethnic group or an ethnicity, is a category of people who identify with each other based on similarities such as common ancestry, language, history, society, culture or nation. Ethnicity is usually an inherited status based on the society in which one lives. Membership of an ethnic group tends to be defined by a shared cultural heritage, ancestry, origin myth, history, homeland, language or dialect, symbolic systems such as religion, mythology and ritual, cuisine, dressing style, art or physical appearance.

Cultural system

A cultural system, is the interaction of different elements in culture. While a cultural system is very different from a social system, sometimes both systems together are referred to as the sociocultural system.

Contents

The ancient Persians were a nomadic branch of the ancient Iranian population that entered the territory of modern-day Iran by the early 10th century BC. [8] [9] Together with their compatriot allies, they established and ruled some of the world's most powerful empires, [10] [11] well-recognized for their massive cultural, political, and social influence covering much of the territory and population of the ancient world. [12] [13] [14] Throughout history, the Persians have contributed greatly to various forms of art and science, [15] [16] [17] and own one of the world's most prominent literatures. [18]

Persian art

Persian art or Iranian art has one of the richest art heritages in world history and has been strong in many media including architecture, painting, weaving, pottery, calligraphy, metalworking and sculpture. At different times, influences from the art of neighbouring civilizations have been very important, and latterly Persian art gave and received major influences as part of the wider styles of Islamic art. This article covers the art of Persia up to 1925, and the end of the Qajar dynasty; for later art see Iranian modern and contemporary art, and for traditional crafts see arts of Iran. Rock art in Iran is its most ancient surviving art. Iranian architecture is covered at that article.

Persian literature

Persian literature comprises oral compositions and written texts in the Persian language and it is one of the world's oldest literatures. It spans over two-and-a-half millennia. Its sources have been within Greater Iran including present-day Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Caucasus, and Turkey, regions of Central Asia and South Asia where the Persian language has historically been either the native or official language. For instance, Rumi, one of best-loved Persian poets born in Balkh or Vakhsh, wrote in Persian and lived in Konya, then the capital of the Seljuks in Anatolia. The Ghaznavids conquered large territories in Central and South Asia and adopted Persian as their court language. There is thus Persian literature from Iran, Afghanistan, Mesopotamia, Azerbaijan, the wider Caucasus, Turkey, western parts of Pakistan, India, Tajikistan and other parts of Central Asia. Not all Persian literature is written in Persian, as some consider works written by ethnic Persians in other languages, such as Greek and Arabic, to be included. At the same time, not all literature written in Persian is written by ethnic Persians or Iranians, as Turkic, Caucasian, and Indic poets and writers have also used the Persian language in the environment of Persianate cultures.

In contemporary terminology, people of Persian heritage native specifically to present-day Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan are referred to as Tajiks , whereas those in the eastern Caucasus (primarily the present-day Republic of Azerbaijan), albeit heavily assimilated, are referred to as Tats . [19] [20] However, historically, the terms Tajik, Tat, and Persian were synonymous and were used interchangeably, [19] and many of the most influential Persian figures hailed from outside Iran's present-day borders to the northeast in Central Asia and Afghanistan and to a lesser extent to the northwest in the Caucasus proper. [21] [22] In historical contexts, especially in English, "Persians" may be defined more loosely to cover all subjects of the ancient Persian polities, regardless of ethnic background.

Afghanistan A landlocked south-central Asian country

Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in South and Central Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan in the south and east; Iran in the west; Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan in the north; and in the far northeast, China. Its territory covers 652,000 square kilometers (252,000 sq mi) and much of it is covered by the Hindu Kush mountain range, which experiences very cold winters. The north consists of fertile plains, whilst the south-west consists of deserts where temperatures can get very hot in summers. Kabul serves as the capital and its largest city.

Tajikistan Landlocked republic in Central Asia

Tajikistan, officially the Republic of Tajikistan, is a mountainous, landlocked country in Central Asia with an area of 143,100 km2 (55,300 sq mi) and an estimated population of 8.7 million people as of 2016. It is bordered by Afghanistan to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east. The traditional homelands of the Tajik people include present-day Tajikistan as well as parts of Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan Landlocked Republic in Central Asia

Uzbekistan, officially also the Republic of Uzbekistan, is a landlocked country in Central Asia. The sovereign state is a secular, unitary constitutional republic, comprising 12 provinces, one autonomous republic, and a capital city. Uzbekistan is bordered by five landlocked countries: Kazakhstan to the north; Kyrgyzstan to the northeast; Tajikistan to the southeast; Afghanistan to the south; and Turkmenistan to the southwest. Along with Liechtenstein, it is one of the world's only two doubly landlocked countries.

Ethnonym

Etymology

The English term Persian derives from Latin Persia, itself deriving from Greek Persís ( Περσίς ), [23] a Hellenized form of Old Persian Pārsa ( 𐎱𐎠𐎼𐎿 ). [24] In the Bible, it is given as Parás (Hebrew : פָּרָס )—sometimes Paras uMadai (פרס ומדי; "Persia and Media")—within the books of Esther, Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemya.

English language West Germanic language

English is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England and eventually became a global lingua franca. Named after the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes that migrated to the area of Great Britain that would later take their name, England, both names ultimately deriving from the Anglia peninsula in the Baltic Sea. It is closely related to Frisian and Low Saxon, and its vocabulary has been significantly influenced by other Germanic languages, particularly Norse, and to a greater extent Latin and French.

Latin Indo-European language of the Italic family

Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets, and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.

Greek language language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

A Greek folk etymology connected the name to Perseus, a legendary character in Greek mythology. Herodotus recounts this story, [25] devising a foreign son, Perses, from whom the Persians took the name. Apparently, the Persians themselves knew the story, [26] as Xerxes I tried to use it to suborn the Argives during his invasion of Greece, but ultimately failed to do so.

Perseus Ancient Greek hero and founder of Mycenae

In Greek mythology, Perseus is the legendary founder of Mycenae and of the Perseid dynasty, who, alongside Cadmus and Bellerophon, was the greatest Greek hero and slayer of monsters before the days of Heracles. He beheaded the Gorgon Medusa for Polydectes and saved Andromeda from the sea monster Cetus. He was the son of Zeus and the mortal Danaë, as well as the half-brother and great-grandfather of Heracles.

Greek mythology body of myths originally told by the ancient Greeks

Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the ancient Greeks. These stories concern the origin and the nature of the world, the lives and activities of deities, heroes, and mythological creatures, and the origins and significance of the ancient Greeks' own cult and ritual practices. Modern scholars study the myths in an attempt to shed light on the religious and political institutions of ancient Greece and its civilization, and to gain understanding of the nature of myth-making itself.

Herodotus ancient Greek historian, often considered as the first historian

Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus in the Persian Empire. He is known for having written the book The Histories, a detailed record of his "inquiry" on the origins of the Greco-Persian Wars. He is widely considered to have been the first writer to have treated historical subjects using a method of systematic investigation—specifically, by collecting his materials and then critically arranging them into a historiographic narrative. On account of this, he is often referred to as "The Father of History", a title first conferred on him by the first-century BC Roman orator Cicero.

History of usage

Although Persis was originally one of the provinces of ancient Iran, [27] varieties of this term (e.g. Persia) were adopted through Greek sources and used as an official name for all of Iran for many years. [28] Thus, in the Western world, the term Persian came to refer to all inhabitants of the country. [28]

Persis Region

Persis, better known as Persia, or "Persia proper", is a region located to to the southwest of modern Iran. The Persians are thought to have initially migrated either from Central Asia or, more probably, from the north through the Caucasus. They would then have migrated to the current region of Persis in the early 1st millenium BC. The country name Persia was derived directly from the Old Persian Parsa.

Greater Iran Cultural region

Greater Iran is a term used to refer to the regions of the Caucasus, West Asia, Central Asia, and parts of South Asia that have significant Iranian cultural influence due to having been either long historically ruled by the various imperial dynasties of Persian Empire, having considerable aspects of Persian culture due to extensive contact with the various imperial dynasties of Iran, or are simply nowadays still inhabited by a significant amount of Iranic peoples who patronize their respective cultures. It roughly corresponds to the territory on the Iranian plateau and its bordering plains. The Encyclopædia Iranica uses the term Iranian Cultural Continent for this region.

Western world Countries that identify themselves with an originally European—since the Cold War, US American—shared culture

The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various nations depending on the context, most often including at least part of Europe, Australasia, and the Americas, with the status of Latin America in dispute. There are many accepted definitions, all closely interrelated. The Western world is also known as the Occident, in contrast to the Orient, or Eastern world.

Some medieval and early modern Islamic sources also used cognates of the term Persian to refer to various Iranian peoples, including the speakers of the Khwarezmian language, [29] the Mazanderani language, [30] and the Old Azeri language. [31] 10th-century Iraqi historian Al-Masudi refers to Pahlavi, Dari and Azari as dialects of the Persian language. [32] In 1333, medieval Moroccan traveler and scholar Ibn Battuta referred to the people of Kabul as a specific sub-tribe of Persians. [33] Lady Mary (Leonora Woulfe) Sheil, in her observation of Iran during the Qajar era, describes Persians, Kurds, and Leks to identify themselves as "descendants of the ancient Persians".[20]

On March 21, 1935, the former king of Iran, Reza Shah of the Pahlavi dynasty, issued a decree asking the international community to use the term Iran, the native name of the country, in formal correspondence. However, the term Persian is still historically used to designate the predominant population of the Iranian peoples living in the Iranian cultural continent. [34] [35] [36] [37]

History

The earliest known written record attributed to the Persians is from the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, an Assyrian inscription from the mid-9th century BC, [38] [39] found at Nimrud. The inscription mentions Parsua (presumed to mean "border" or "borderland") [40] as a tribal chiefdom (860–600 BC) in modern-day western Iran. [41] [42]

Costumes of an ancient Persian nobleman and soldiers. Ancient Persian costumes.jpg
Costumes of an ancient Persian nobleman and soldiers.
Ancient Persian and Greek soldiers as depicted on a color reconstruction of the 4th-century BC Alexander Sarcophagus. NAMABG-Colored Alexander Sarcophagus 1.JPG
Ancient Persian and Greek soldiers as depicted on a color reconstruction of the 4th-century BC Alexander Sarcophagus.

The ancient Persians were a nomadic branch of the Iranian population that, in the early 10th century BC, settled to the northwest of modern-day Iran. [8] [9] [43] [44] They were initially dominated by the Assyrians for much of the first three centuries after arriving in the region. However, they played a major role in the downfall of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. [45] [46] The Medes, another branch of this population, founded the unified empire of Media as the region's dominant cultural and political power in c. 625 BC. [10] Meanwhile, the Persian dynasty of the Achaemenids formed a vassal state to the central Median power. In c. 552 BC, the Achaemenids began a revolution which eventually led to the conquest of the empire by Cyrus II in c. 550 BC. They spread their influence to the rest of what is called the Iranian Plateau, and assimilated with the non-Iranian indigenous groups of the region, including the Elamites and the Mannaeans. [47] [48] [49]

Map of the Achaemenid Empire at its greatest extent. Achaemenid Empire (flat map).svg
Map of the Achaemenid Empire at its greatest extent.

At its greatest extent, the Achaemenid Empire stretched from parts of Eastern Europe in the west, to the Indus Valley in the east, making it the largest empire the world had yet seen. [11] The Achaemenids developed the infrastructure to support their growing influence, including the creation of Pasargadae and the opulent city of Persepolis. [50] The empire extended as far as the limits of the Greek city states in modern-day mainland Greece, where the Persians and Athenians influenced each other in what is essentially a reciprocal cultural exchange. [51] Its legacy and impact on the kingdom of Macedon was also notably huge, [13] even for centuries after the withdrawal of the Persians from Europe following the Greco-Persian Wars. [13] The empire collapsed in 330 BC following the conquests of Alexander the Great, but reemerged shortly after as the Parthian Empire.

During the Achaemenid era, Persian colonists settled in Asia Minor. [52] In Lydia (the most important Achaemenid satrapy), near Sardis, there was the Hyrcanian plain, which, according to Strabo, got its name from the Persian settlers that were moved from Hyrcania. [53] Similarly near Sardis, there was the plain of Cyrus, which further signified the presence of numerous Persian settlements in the area. [54] In all these centuries, Lydia and Pontus were reportedly the chief centers for the worship of the Persian gods in Asia Minor. [54] According to Pausanias, as late as the second century AD, one could witness rituals which resembled the Persian fire ceremony at the towns of Hyrocaesareia and Hypaepa. [54] Mithridates III of Cius, a Persian nobleman and part of the Persian ruling elite of the town of Cius, founded the Kingdom of Pontus in his later life, in northern Asia Minor. [55] [56] At the peak of its power, under the infamous Mithridates VI the Great, the Kingdom of Pontus also controlled Colchis, Cappadocia, Bithynia, the Greek colonies of the Tauric Chersonesos, and for a brief time the Roman province of Asia. After a long struggle with Rome in the Mithridatic Wars, Pontus was defeated; part of it was incorporated into the Roman Republic as the province Bithynia and Pontus, and the eastern half survived as a client kingdom.

Following the Macedonian conquests, the Persian colonists in Cappadocia and the rest of Asia Minor were cut off from their co-religionists in Iran proper, but they continued to practice the Zoroastrian faith of their forefathers. [57] Strabo, who observed them in the Cappadocian Kingdom in the first century BC, records (XV.3.15) that these "fire kindlers" possessed many "holy places of the Persian Gods", as well as fire temples. [57] Strabo, who wrote during the time of Augustus (r. 63 BC-14 AD), almost three hundred years after the fall of the Achaemenid Persian Empire, records only traces of Persians in western Asia Minor; however, he considered Cappadocia "almost a living part of Persia". [58]

Until the Parthian era, the Iranian identity had an ethnic, linguistic, and religious value. However, it did not yet have a political import. [59] Parthian, a mutually intelligible language with Middle Persian, [60] became an official language of the Parthian Empire. It had influences on Persian, [61] [62] [63] as well as a major influence on the neighboring Armenian language.

A bas-relief at Naqsh-e Rustam, depicting the victory of Sasanian ruler Shapur I over Roman ruler Valerian and Philip the Arab. Victory of Shapur I over Valerian.jpg
A bas-relief at Naqsh-e Rustam, depicting the victory of Sasanian ruler Shapur I over Roman ruler Valerian and Philip the Arab.

By the time of the Sassanian Empire, a national culture which was fully aware of being Iranian took shape, partially motivated by restoration and revival of the wisdom of "the old sages" (Middle Persian : dānāgān pēšēnīgān). [59] Other aspects of this national culture included the glorification of a great heroic past and an archaizing spirit. [59] Throughout the period, the Iranian identity reached its height in every aspect. [59] Middle Persian, which is the immediate ancestor of Modern Persian and a variety of other Iranian dialects, [61] [64] [65] became the official language of the empire [66] and was greatly diffused among Iranians. [59]

The Parthians and the Sasanians would also extensively interact with the Romans culturally. The Roman–Persian wars and the Byzantine–Sasanian wars would shape the landscape of Western Asia, Europe, the Caucasus, North Africa, and the Mediterranean Basin for centuries. For a period of over 400 years, the neighboring Byzantines and Sasanians were recognized as the two leading powers in the world. [67] [68] [69] Cappadocia in Late Antiquity, now well into the Roman era, still retained a significant Iranian character; Stephen Mitchell notes in the Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity: "Many inhabitants of Cappadocia were of Persian descent and Iranian fire worship is attested as late as 465". [70]

The intermingling of Persians, Medes, Parthians, Bactrians, and indigenous "pre-Iranian" people of Iran (including the Elamites) gained more ground, and a homogeneous Iranian identity was created to the extent that all were just called Iranians, irrespective of clannish affiliations and regional linguistic or dialectal alterities. Furthermore, the process of incomers' assimilation which had been started with the Greeks, continued in the face of Arab, Mongol, and Turkic invasions and proceeded right up to Islamic times. [47] [71]

Anthropology

In modern-day Iran, Persians make up the majority of the population. [3] They speak the western varieties of modern Persian, [72] which also serves as the country's official language. [73]

Persian language

The Persian language and its various varieties are part of the western group of the Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. Modern Persian is classified as a continuation of Middle Persian, the official religious and literary language of the Sasanian Empire, itself a continuation of Old Persian, which was spoken by the time of the Achaemenid Empire. [74] [75] [76]

Old Persian is one of the oldest Indo-European languages attested in original texts. [77] Examples of Old Persian have been found in present-day Iran, Armenia, Romania (Gherla), [78] [79] Iraq, Turkey, and Egypt. [80] [81] The oldest attested text written in Old Persian is from the Behistun Inscription. [82]

There are several ethnic groups and communities which are either ethnically or linguistically related to the Persian people, living predominantly in Iran, and also within Afghanistan, the Caucasus, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates. [83]

The Lurish people, living primarily in the western regions of Iran, are an ethnic Iranian people often associated with Persians and Kurds. [84] They speak various dialects of the Lurish language, which are closely related to the Middle Persian language. [85] [86]

Concentrated in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia (Dagestan), the Caucasian Tat people are another ethnic Iranian people whose mother tongue—the Tat language—is considered a variant of the Persian language. Their origin is traced to the merchants who settled in the region by the time of the Sasanian Empire. [87]

The Hazaras, making up the third largest ethnic group in Afghanistan, [88] [89] [90] are a Persian-speaking people speaking a variety of Persian called Hazaragi, [91] [92] which is more precisely a part of the Dari dialect continuum (one of the two main languages of Afghanistan), [93] and is mutually intelligible with Dari. [94]

The Aimaqs are a semi-nomadic Persian-speaking people found mostly in western Afghanistan. [95] They mainly speak a variety of Persian called Aimaq, which is close to the Khorasani and Dari varieties. [96]

Culture

From the early inhabitants of Persis, to the Achaemenid, Parthian, and Sasanian empires, to the neighboring Greek city states, [97] the kingdom of Macedon, [13] the caliphates and the Islamic world, [98] [16] all the way to modern-day Iran and Western Europe, and such far places as those found in India, [99] Asia, [17] and Indonesia, Persian culture has been either recognized, incorporated, adopted, or celebrated. [98] [100] This is due mainly to geopolitical conditions, and its intricate relationship with the ever-changing political arena once as dominant as the Achaemenid Empire.

Art

The artistic heritage of the Persians is eclectic, and includes major contributions from both the east and the west. Persian art borrowed heavily from the indigenous Elamite civilization and Mesopotamia, and later from the Hellenistic civilization. In addition, due to the central location of Greater Iran, it has served as a fusion point between eastern and western traditions.

Persians have contributed in various forms of art, including carpet-waving, calligraphy, miniature-painting, illustrated manuscripts, glasswork, lacquer-work, khatam (a native form of marquetry), metalwork, pottery, mosaic, and textile design. [15]

Literature

The Persian language is known to have one of the world's oldest literatures, [18] with prominent medieval poets such as Ferdowsi (author of Šāhnāme , Greater Iran's national epic), Rudaki, Rumi, Hafez Shirazi, Saadi Shirazi, Nizami Ganjavi, Omar Khayyam, and Attar of Nishapur.

Not all Persian literature is written in Persian, as some consider works written by Persians in other languages—such as Arabic and Greek—to be included. At the same time, not all literature written in Persian is written by ethnic Persians or Iranians, as Turkic, Caucasian, and Indic poets and writers have also used the Persian language in the environment of Persianate cultures.

Prominent writers such as Sadegh Hedayat, Forough Farrokhzad, Ahmad Shamlou, Simin Daneshvar, Mehdi Akhavan-Sales and Parvin E'tesami have also had major contributions to contemporary Persian literature.

Architecture

The most prominent examples of ancient Persian architecture are the work of the Achaemenids hailing from Persis. The quintessential feature of Achaemenid architecture was its eclectic nature, with elements from Median architecture, Assyrian architecture, and Asiatic Greek architecture all incorporated. [101] Achaemenid architectural heritage, beginning with the expansion of the empire around 550 BC, was a period of artistic growth that left a legacy ranging from Cyrus the Great's solemn tomb at Pasargadae to the structures at Persepolis, and such historical sites as Naqsh-e Rustam. [102]

During the Sasanian era, multiple architectural projects took place, some of which are still existing, including the Palace of Ardeshir, the Sarvestan Palace, the castle fortifications in Derbent (located in North Caucasus, now part of Russia), and the reliefs at Taq Bostan. The Bam Citadel, a massive structure at 1,940,000 square feet (180,000 m2) constructed on the Silk Road in Bam, is from around the 5th century BC. [103]

Modern contemporary architectural projects influenced by the ancient Achaemenid architecture include the Tomb of Ferdowsi erected under the reign of Reza Shah in Tus, the Azadi Tower erected in 1971 at a square in Tehran, and the Dariush Grand Hotel located on Kish Island in the Persian Gulf.

Gardens

Xenophon, in his Oeconomicus , [104] states:

"The Great King [Cyrus II]...in all the districts he resides in and visits, takes care that there are paradeisos ("paradise", from Avestan pairidaēza) as they [Persians] call them, full of the good and beautiful things that the soil produce."

For the Achaemenid monarchs, gardens assumed an important place. [104] Persian gardens utilized the Achaemenid knowledge of water technologies, [105] as they utilized aqueducts, earliest 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". [106] Parthians and Sasanians later added their own modifications to the original Achaemenid design. [104] Later on, the quadripartite design ( čārbāq ) of Persian gardens was reinterpreted within the Muslim world.

Today, examples of these traditional gardens can be seen in such places as the Tomb of Hafez, Golshan Garden, Qavam House, Eram Garden, Shazdeh Garden, Fin Garden, Tabatabaei House, and the Borujerdis House.

Music

Dancers and musical instrument players depicted on a Sasanian silver bowl from the 5th-7th century AD. Dancers and musicians on a Sasanian bowl.jpg
Dancers and musical instrument players depicted on a Sasanian silver bowl from the 5th-7th century AD.

According to the accounts reported by Xenophon, a great number of singers were present at the Achaemenid court. However, little information is available from the music of that era. The music scene of the Sasanian Empire has a more available and detailed documentation than the earlier periods, and is especially more evident within the context of Zoroastrian musical rituals. [107] In general, Sasanian music was influential, and was later adopted in the subsequent eras. [108]

Iranian music, as a whole, utilizes a variety of musical instruments that are unique to the region, and has remarkably evolved since the ancient and medieval times. In traditional Sasanian music, the octave was divided into seventeen tones. By the end of the 13th century, Iranian music also maintained a twelve interval octave, which resembled the western counterparts. [109]

Traditional instruments used in Iranian music include the bowed spike-fiddle kamanche, the goblet drum tonbak, the end-blown flute ney, the large frame drum daf, the hammered dulcimer santur, and the four long-necked lutes tar, dotar, setar, and tanbur. The European string instrument violin is also used, with an alternative tuning preferred by Iranian musicians.

Carpets

Carpet weaving is an essential part of the Persian culture, [110] and Persian rugs are said to be one of the most detailed hand-made works of art.

Achaemenid rug and carpet artistry is well recognized. Xenophon describes the carpet production in the city of Sardis, stating that the locals take pride in their carpet production. A special mention of Persian carpets is also made by Athenaeus of Naucratis in his Deipnosophistae , as he describes a "delightfully embroidered" Persian carpet with "preposterous shapes of griffins". [111]

The Pazyryk carpet—a Scythian pile-carpet dating back to the 4th century BC, which is regarded the world's oldest existing carpet—depicts elements of Assyrian and Achaemenid design, including stylistic references to the stone slab designs found in Persian royal buildings. [111]

Observances

One of the most renowned traditions observed by the Persians is the festival of Nowruz. Considered the national New Year of the Iranian peoples, the festival of Nowruz has its roots in ancient Iranian traditions, and has been recognized within UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists. [112]

Other traditional celebrations such as Charshanbe Suri, Sizde be Dar, and the Night of Yalda are also widely observed by the Persian people.

Related Research Articles

Persian language Western Iranian language

Persian, also known by its endonym Farsi, is one of the Western Iranian languages within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and some other regions which historically were Persianate societies and considered part of Greater Iran. It is written right to left in the Persian alphabet, a modified variant of the Arabic script, which itself evolved from the Aramaic alphabet.

Darī or Dari Persian or synonymously Farsi is a variation of the Persian language spoken in Afghanistan. Dari is the term officially recognized and promoted since 1964 by the Afghan government for the Persian language, hence, it is also known as Afghan Persian in many Western sources. This has resulted in a naming dispute. Many Persian speakers in Afghanistan prefer and use the name "Farsi" and say the term Dari has been forced on them by the dominant Pashtun ethnic group as an attempt to distance Afghans from their cultural, linguistic, and historical ties to the Persian-speaking world, which includes Iran, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Medes ancient Iranian civilization

The Medes were an ancient Iranian people who spoke the Median language and who inhabited an area known as Media between western and northern Iran. Under the Neo-Assyrian Empire, late 9th to early 7th centuries BC, the region of Media was bounded by the Zagros Mountains to its west, to its south by the Garrin Mountain in Lorestan Province, to its northwest by the Qaflankuh Mountains in Zanjan Province, and to its east by the Dasht-e Kavir desert. Its neighbors were the kingdoms of Gizilbunda and Mannea in the northwest, and Ellipi and Elam in the south.

Saka historic ethnic group

Saka, Śaka, Shaka or Saca(Persian: oldSakā,mod. ساکا; Sanskrit: Śaka; Ancient Greek: Σάκαι, Sákai; Latin: Sacae; Chinese: 塞, old *Sək, mod. Sāi) were a group of nomadic Iranian peoples who historically inhabited the northern and eastern Eurasian Steppe and the Tarim Basin.

Mithridates I of Parthia Parthian king

Mithridates I, also known as Mithridates I the Great, was king of the Parthian Empire from 171 BC to 132 BC. During his reign, Parthia was transformed from a small kingdom into a major political power in the Ancient East as a result of his conquests. Due to his accomplishments, he has been compared to Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Mithridates I died in 132 BC, and was succeeded by his son Phraates II.

Greater Khorasan historical region of Persia

Khorasan, sometimes called Greater Khorasan, is a historical region lying in northeast of Greater Persia, including part of Central Asia and Afghanistan. The name simply means "East, Orient" and loosely includes the territory of the Sasanian Empire north-east of Persia proper. Early Islamic usage often regarded everywhere east of so-called Jibal or what was subsequently termed 'Iraq Ajami', as being included in a vast and loosely-defined region of Khorasan, which might even extend to the Indus Valley and Sindh. During the Islamic period, Khorasan along with Persian Iraq were two important territories. The boundary between these two was the region surrounding the cities of Gurgan and Qumis. In particular, the Ghaznavids, Seljuqs and Timurids divided their empires into Iraqi and Khorasani regions.

Iranian languages language family

The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages in the Indo-European language family that are spoken natively by the Iranian peoples.

Media (region) region of Iran

Media is a region of north-western Iran, best known for having been the political and cultural base of the Medes. During the Achaemenid period, it comprised present-day Azarbaijan, Iranian Kurdistan and western Tabaristan. As a satrapy under Achaemenid rule, it would eventually encompass a wider region, stretching to southern Dagestan in the north. However, after the wars of Alexander the Great, the northern parts were separated due to the Partition of Babylon and became known as Atropatene, while the remaining region became known as Lesser Media.

Drangiana satrapy of the Achaemenid Empire

Drangiana or Zarangiana (Greek: Δραγγιανή, Drangianē; also attested in Old Western Iranian as 𐏀𐎼𐎣, Zraka or Zranka, was a historical region and administrative division of the Achaemenid Empire. This region comprises territory around Hamun Lake, wetlands in endorheic Sistan Basin on the Iran-Afghan border, and its primary watershed Helmand river in what is nowadays southwestern region of Afghanistan.

Aria (region)

Aria is an Achaemenid region centered on the city of Herat in present-day western Afghanistan. In classical sources, Aria has been several times confused with the greater region of ancient Ariana, of which Aria formed a part.

Sistan historical and geographical region in present-day Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan

Sīstān, known in ancient times as Sakastan, is a historical and geographical region in present-day eastern Iran and southern Afghanistan.

Asōristān a satrapy of Parthian and Sasanian empires

Asōristān was the name of the Sasanian province of Babylonia from 226 to 637.

Achaemenid Assyria

Athura, also called Assyria Babylonia, was a geographical area within the Achaemenid Empire in Upper Mesopotamia from 539 to 330 BC as a military protectorate state. Although sometimes regarded as a satrapy,

Ganzak

Ganzak, is an ancient town founded in northwestern Iran. The city stood somewhere south of Lake Urmia, and it has been postulated that the Persian nobleman Atropates chose the city as his capital. The exact location, according to Minorsky, Schippmann, and Boyce, is identified as being near Leylan, Malekan County in the Miandoab plain.

Parthia region of north-eastern Iran

Parthia is a historical region located in north-eastern Iran. It was conquered and subjugated by the empire of the Medes during the 7th century BC, was incorporated into the subsequent Achaemenid Empire under Cyrus the Great in the 6th century BC, and formed part of the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire following the 4th-century-BC conquests of Alexander the Great. The region later served as the political and cultural base of the Eastern-Iranian Parni people and Arsacid dynasty, rulers of the Parthian Empire. The Sasanian Empire, the last state of pre-Islamic Persia, also held the region and maintained the Seven Parthian clans as part of their feudal aristocracy.

Ariana District

Ariana, the Latinized form of the Ancient Greek Ἀρ(ε)ιανή Ar(e)ianē, was a general geographical term used by some Greek and Roman authors of the ancient period for a district of wide extent between Central Asia and the Indus River, comprising the eastern provinces of the Achaemenid Empire that covered the whole of modern-day Afghanistan, as well as the easternmost part of Iran and up to the Indus River in Pakistan.

Persian Empire ancient empire, comprising many dynasties

The Persian Empire refers to any of a series of imperial dynasties that were centred in Persia/Iran from the 6th century BC Achaemenid Empire era to the 20th century AD in the Qajar dynasty era.

Frataraka

Frataraka is an ancient Persian title, interpreted variously as “leader, governor, forerunner”. It is an epithet or title of a series of rulers in Persis from 3rd to mid 2nd century BC at the time of the Seleucid Empire, prior to the Parthian conquest of West Asia and Iran. Studies of frataraka coins are important to historians of this period.

References

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  4. Beck, Lois (2014). Nomads in Postrevolutionary Iran: The Qashqa'i in an Era of Change. Routledge. p. xxii. ISBN   978-1317743866. (...) an ethnic Persian; adheres to cultural systems connected with other ethnic Persians
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  20. Ostler, Nicholas (2010). The Last Lingua Franca: English Until the Return of Babel. Penguin UK. pp. 1–352. ISBN   978-0141922218. Tat was known to have been used at different times to designate Crimean Goths, Greeks and sedentary peoples generally, but its primary reference came to be the Persians within the Turkic domains. (...) Tat is nowadays specialized to refer to special groups with Iranian languages in the west of the Caspian Sea.
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  29. For example, Abu Rayhan Biruni, a native speaker of the Eastern Iranian language Khwarezmian mentions in his Āthār al-bāqiyah ʻan al-qurūn al-xāliyah that "the people of Khwarizm, they are a branch of the Persian tree." See Abu Rahyan Biruni, "Athar al-Baqqiya 'an al-Qurun al-Xaliyyah" ("Vestiges of the past: chronology of ancient nations"), Tehran, Miras-e-Maktub, 2001. Original Arabic of the quote: "و أما أهل خوارزم، و إن کانوا غصنا ً من دوحة الفُرس"(pg 56)
  30. The language used in the ancient Marzbānnāma was, in the words of the 13th-century historian Sa'ad ad-Din Warawini, "the language of Ṭabaristan and old, original Persian (fārsī-yi ḳadīm-i bāstān)" See Kramers, J.H. "Marzban-nāma." Encyclopaedia of Islam. Ed: P. Bearman, Th. Bianqui,, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2007. Brill Online. November 18, 2007 <http://www.brillonline.nl/subscriber/entry?entry=islam_SIM-4990>
  31. The language of Tabriz, being an Iranian language during the time of Qatran Tabrizi, was not the standard Khurasani Parsi-ye Dari. Qatran Tabrizi(11th century) has an interesting couplet mentioning this fact: Mohammad-Amin Riahi. “Molehaazi darbaareyeh Zabaan-I Kohan Azerbaijan”(Some comments on the ancient language of Azerbaijan), ‘Itilia’at Siyasi Magazine, volume 181–182.
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