By Michael Axworthy

Iran is a land of contradictions.

It is an Islamic republic, yet one within which merely 1.4 percentage of the inhabitants attend Friday prayers. Iran's non secular tradition encompasses the main censorious and dogmatic Shi'a Muslim clerics on this planet, but its poetry insistently dwells at the joys of existence: wine, attractiveness, intercourse. Iranian girls are topic to at least one of the main restrictive costume codes within the Islamic international, yet make up approximately 60 percentage of the scholar inhabitants of the nation's universities.

In A heritage of Iran, acclaimed historian Michael Axworthy chronicles the wealthy heritage of this advanced country from the Achaemenid Empire of 6th century B.C. to the present-day Islamic Republic. In attractive prose, this revised variation explains the army, political, non secular, and cultural forces that experience formed one of many oldest carrying on with civilizations on this planet, bringing us up sleek occasions.

Concluding with an evaluate of the vast alterations the kingdom has gone through because the revolution in 1979, together with a detailed examine Iran's ongoing makes an attempt to develop into a nuclear energy, A historical past of Iran bargains basic readers an important advisor to knowing this unstable country, that is once more on the heart of the world's awareness.

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Extra resources for A History of Iran: Empire of the Mind (Revised & Updated Edition)

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Another inscription in Darius’s words, from another site, reads, By the favor of Ahura Mazda I am of such a sort that I am a friend to right, I am not a friend to wrong. It is not my desire that the weak man should have wrong done to him by the mighty; nor is it my desire that the mighty man should have wrong done to him by the weak. What is right, that is my desire. I am not a friend to the man who is a lie-follower [. ] As a horseman I am a good horseman. As a bowman I am a good bowman both afoot and on horseback .

The certainties of religion, the principle of sublime justice that they underpinned, and the magnificent prestige of kingship—these were the bonds that held together this otherwise diffuse constellation of peoples, languages, and cultures. A complex empire was accepted as such, and was subjected to a controlling principle. The system established by Darius worked, proved resilient, and endured. Tablets discovered in excavations at Persepolis show the complexity and administrative sophistication of the system Darius established.

The Massagetae are interesting because they appear to have maintained some ancient Iranian customs that may shed light on the status of women in Persian society under the Achaemenids. There are signs in Herodotus (Book 1:216) that the Massagetae showed some features of a matrilineal, polyandrous society, in which women might have a number of spouses or sexual partners, but men only one. 13 Mazdaism certainly permitted a practice whereby an impotent man could give his wife temporarily to another in order to obtain a child; it also sanctioned the marriage of close relatives.

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