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Birth of the Persian Empire by Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis
Ancient Persia: A Concise History of the Achaemenid Empire, 550-330 BCE
Matt Waters - 2013
522-486 BCE), held sway over territory stretching from the Indus River Valley to southeastern Europe and from the western Himalayas to northeast Africa. In this book, Matt Waters gives a detailed historical overview of the Achaemenid period while considering the manifold interpretive problems historians face in constructing and understanding its history. This book offers a Persian perspective even when relying on Greek textual sources and archaeological evidence. Waters situates the story of the Achaemenid Persians in the context of their predecessors in the mid-first millennium BCE and through their successors after the Macedonian conquest, constructing a compelling narrative of how the empire retained its vitality for more than two hundred years (c. 550-330 BCE) and left a massive imprint on Middle Eastern as well as Greek and European history.
The Sword of Persia: Nader Shah, from Tribal Warrior to Conquering Tyrant
Michael Axworthy - 2006
But suspicion and avarice led him to persecute the Persian people as savagely as any foreign conqueror had done. This book recreates the story of a remarkable, ruthless man, and includes much new research which will prove indispensable to historians and students.
From Cyrus to Alexander: A History of the Persian Empire
Pierre Briant - 1996
the Persian people--who were previously practically unknown in the annals of history--emerged from their base in southern Iran (Fars) and engaged in a monumental adventure that, under the leadership of Cyrus the Great and his successors, culminated in the creation of an immense Empire that stretched from central Asia to Upper Egypt, from the Indus to the Danube. The Persian (or Achaemenid, named for its reigning dynasty) Empire assimilated an astonishing diversity of lands, peoples, languages, and cultures. This conquest of Near Eastern lands completely altered the history of the world: for the first time, a monolithic State as vast as the future Roman Empire arose, expanded, and matured in the course of more than two centuries (530-330) and endured until the death of Alexander the Great (323), who from a geopolitical perspective was "the last of the Achaemenids." Even today, the remains of the Empire-the terraces, palaces, reliefs, paintings, and enameled bricks of Pasargadae, Persepolis, and Susa; the impressive royal tombs of Naqsh-i Rustam; the monumental statue of Darius the Great-serve to remind visitors of the power and unprecedented luxury of the Great Kings and their loyal courtiers (the "Faithful Ones").Though long eclipsed and overshadowed by the towering prestige of the "ancient Orient" and "eternal Greece," Achaemenid history has emerged into fresh light during the last two decades. Freed from the tattered rags of "Oriental decadence" and "Asiatic stagnation," research has also benefited from a continually growing number of discoveries that have provided important new evidence-including texts, as well as archaeological, numismatic, and iconographic artifacts.The evidence that this book assembles is voluminous and diverse: the citations of ancient documents and of the archaeological evidence permit the reader to follow the author in his role as a historian who, across space and time, attempts to understand how such an Empire emerged, developed, and faded. Though firmly grounded in the evidence, the author's discussions do not avoid persistent questions and regularly engages divergent interpretations and alternative hypotheses. This book is without precedent or equivalent, and also offers an exhaustive bibliography and thorough indexes.The French publication of this magisterial work in 1996 was acclaimed in newspapers and literary journals. Now Histoire de l'Empire Perse: De Cyrus a Alexandre is translated in its entirety in a revised edition, with the author himself reviewing the translation, correcting the original edition, and adding new documentation.Pierre Briant, Chaire Histoire et civilisation du monde ach�menide et de l'empire d'Alexandre, Coll�ge de France, is a specialist in the history of the Near East during the era of the Persian Empire and the conquests of Alexander. He is the author of numerous books.Peter T. Daniels, the translator, is an independent scholar, editor, and translator who studied at Cornell University and the University of Chicago. He lives and works in New York City.
Warriors Of The Steppe: Military History Of Central Asia, 500 B.C. To 1700 A.D.
Erik Hildinger - 1997
(Timur Lenk would leave piles of severed heads in his conquered cities; another tribe sent nine sacks of ears to their khan.) Less studied is the remarkable effectiveness of their battle techniques: For two thousand years, these horse-archer armies were an unstoppable force to sedentary peoples, be they Romans, Crusaders, Chinese, or medieval. Erik Hildinger introduces the most important of these raiders as well as a host of other tribes and examines in detail their tactics, strategies, and weaponry—a form of highly mobile and defensive warfare that even armies of today can learn from.
In God's Path: The Arab Conquests and the Creation of an Islamic Empire
Robert G. Hoyland - 2014
Their armies threatened states as far flung as the Franks in Western Europe and the Tang Empire in China. The conquered territory was larger than the Roman Empire at its greatest expansion, and it was claimed for the Arabs in roughly half the time. How this collection of Arabian tribes was able to engulf so many empires, states, and armies in such a short period has perplexed historians for centuries. Most accounts of the Arab invasions have been based almost solely on the early Muslim sources, which were composed centuries later to illustrate the divinely chosen status of the Arabs. Robert Hoyland's groundbreaking new history assimilates not only the rich biographical information of the early Muslim sources but also the many non-Arabic sources, contemporaneous or near- contemporaneous with the conquests.In God's Path begins with a broad picture of the Late Antique world prior to the Prophet's arrival, a world dominated by two superpowers: Byzantium and Sasanian Persia. In between these empires, emerged a distinct Arabian identity, which helped forge the inhabitants of western Arabia into a formidable fighting force. The Arabs are the principal actors in this drama yet, as Hoyland shows, the peoples along the edges of Byzantium and Persia--the Khazars, Bulgars, Avars, and Turks--all played critical roles in the remaking of the old world order. The new faith propagated by Muhammad and his successors made it possible for many of the conquered peoples to join the Arabs in creating the first Islamic Empire. Well-paced, comprehensive, and eminently readable, In God's Path presents a sweeping narrative of a transformational period in world history.
In the Shadow of the Sword: The Birth of Islam and the Rise of the Global Arab Empire
Tom Holland - 2012
No less significant than the collapse of the Roman Republic or the Persian invasion of Greece, the evolution of the Arab empire is one of the supreme narratives of ancient history, a story dazzlingly rich in drama, character, and achievement. Just like the Romans, the Arabs came from nowhere to carve out a stupefyingly vast dominion—except that they achieved their conquests not over the course of centuries as the Romans did but in a matter of decades. Just like the Greeks during the Persian wars, they overcame seemingly insuperable odds to emerge triumphant against the greatest empire of the day—not by standing on the defensive, however, but by hurling themselves against all who lay in their path.
The Throne of Adulis: Red Sea Wars on the Eve of Islam
Glen W. Bowersock - 2013
The Jewish kingdom, composed of ethnic Arabs who had converted to Judaism more than a century before, had launched a bloody pogrom against Christians in the region. The ruler of Ethiopia, who claimed descent from the union of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba and even was rumored to possess an object no less venerable than the Ark of the Covenant, aspired both to protect the persecuted Christians and to restore Ethiopian control in the Arabian Peninsula. Though little known today, this was an international war that involved both the Byzantine Empire, who had established Christian churches in Ethiopia beginning in the fourth century, and the Sasanian Empire in Persia, who supported the Jews in a proxy war with Byzantium. Our knowledge of these events derives mostly from an inscribed throne at the Ethiopian port of Adulis seen and meticulously described by a Christian merchant known as Cosmos in the sixth century. Trying to decipher and understand this monument takes us directly into religious conflicts that occupied the nations on both sides of the Red Sea in late antiquity. Using the writings of Cosmas and archaeological evidence from the period, historian G. W. Bowersock offers a narrative account of this fascinating but overlooked chapter in pre-Islamic Arabian history. The extraordinary story told in Throneof Adulis provides an important and much neglected background for the rise of Islam as well as the collapse of the Persian Empire before the Byzantines.
The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia—and How It Died
Philip Jenkins - 2008
The Lost History of Christianity unveils a vast and forgotten network of the world's largest and most influential Christian churches that existed to the east of the Roman Empire. These churches and their leaders ruled the Middle East for centuries and became the chief administrators and academics in the new Muslim empire. The author recounts the shocking history of how these churches—those that had the closest link to Jesus and the early church—died.Jenkins takes a stand against current scholars who assert that variant, alternative Christianities disappeared in the fourth and fifth centuries on the heels of a newly formed hierarchy under Constantine, intent on crushing unorthodox views. In reality, Jenkins says, the largest churches in the world were the “heretics” who lost the orthodoxy battles. These so-called heretics were in fact the most influential Christian groups throughout Asia, and their influence lasted an additional one thousand years beyond their supposed demise.Jenkins offers a new lens through which to view our world today, including the current conflicts in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. Without this lost history, we lack an important element for understanding our collective religious past. By understanding the forgotten catastrophe that befell Christianity, we can appreciate the surprising new births that are occurring in our own time, once again making Christianity a true world religion.
Sasanian Persia: The Rise and Fall of an Empire
Touraj Daryaee - 2007
Using new sources, Touraj Daryaee provides a portrait of the empire's often negelcted social history, exploring the development of political and administrative institutions from foundation by Ardashir I to the last king, Yasdegerd III, and the attempts of his descendants to re-estabish a second state for almost a century after.
Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings
This prodigious narrative, composed by the poet Ferdowsi between the years 980 and 1010, tells the story of pre- Islamic Iran, beginning in the mythic time of Creation and continuing forward to the Arab invasion in the seventh century. As a window on the world, "Shahnameh" belongs in the company of such literary masterpieces as Dante's "Divine Comedy," the plays of Shakespeare, the epics of Homer- classics whose reach and range bring whole cultures into view. In its pages are unforgettable moments of national triumph and failure, human courage and cruelty, blissful love and bitter grief.In tracing the roots of Iran, "Shahnameh" initially draws on the depths of legend and then carries its story into historical times, when ancient Persia was swept into an expanding Islamic empire. Now Dick Davis, the greatest modern translator of Persian poetry, has revisited that poem, turning the finest stories of Ferdowsi's original into an elegant combination of prose and verse. For the first time in English, in the most complete form possible, readers can experience "Shahnameh" in the same way that Iranian storytellers have lovingly conveyed it in Persian for the past thousand years.
The Rise of the Seleukid Empire (323 - 223 BC): Seleukos I to Seleukos III
John D. Grainger - 2014
It was ruled for all that time by a succession of able kings, but broke down twice, before eventually succumbing to dynastic rivalries, and simultaneous external invasions and internal grasps for independence. The first king, Seleukos I, established a pattern of rule which was unusually friendly towards his subjects, and his policies promoted the steady growth of wealth and population in many areas which had been depopulated when he took them over. In particular the dynasty was active in founding cities from Asia Minor to Central Asia. Its work set the social and economic scene of the Middle East for many centuries to come. Yet these kings had to be warriors too as they defended their realm from jealous neighbors. John D Grainger's trilogy charts the rise and fall of this superpower of the ancient world.In the first volume, John D Grainger relates the remarkable twists of fortune and daring that saw Seleukos, an officer in an elite guard unit, emerge from the wars of the diadochi (Alexander's successors) in control of the largest and richest part of the empire of the late Alexander the Great. After his conquests and eventual murder, we then see how his successors continued his policies, including the repeated wars with the Ptolemaic rules of Egypt over control of Syria. The volume ends with the deep internal crisis and the wars of the brothers, which left only a single member of the dynasty alive in 223 BC.
Sons of the Conquerors
Hugh Pope - 2005
Pub the Date: May. 2005 Pages: 432 in Publisher by: Overlook Press. Of The of The definitive. World-encompassing account of the history and culture of the Turkish people by one of the world's most acclaimed experts. Hugh Pope has traveled the world to encounter and assimilate the many facets of this complex and fascinating ethnic group. distilling the essential qualities shared by all people of Turkish descent. Rich with stories and legends stretching back centuries - from the pre-Ottoman days of tribal militarism to the era of the Great Game and beyond - Sons of the Conquerors is a compellingly readable account of a profoundly neglected subject that ings readers into closer contact with a culture that has shaped history.
The Persians: Ancient, Mediaeval and Modern Iran
This authoritative and comprehensive history of Iran, written by Homa Katouzian, an acclaimed expert, covers the entire history of the area from the ancient Persian Empire to today’s Iranian state.Writing from an Iranian rather than a European perspective, Katouzian integrates the significant cultural and literary history of Iran with its political and social history. Some of the greatest poets of human history wrote in Persian—among them Rumi, Omar Khayyam, and Saadi—and Katouzian discusses and occasionally quotes their work. In his thoughtful analysis of Iranian society, Katouzian argues that the absolute and arbitrary power traditionally enjoyed by Persian/Iranian rulers has resulted in an unstable society where fear and short-term thinking dominate. A magisterial history, this book also serves as an excellent background to the role of Iran in the contemporary world.
The Fall of Heaven: The Pahlavis and the Final Days of Imperial Iran
Andrew Scott Cooper - 2016
He draws the turbulence of the post-war era during which the Shah survived assassination attempts and coup plots to build a modern, pro-Western state and launch Iran onto the world stage as one of the world's top five powers. Readers get the story of the Shah's political career alongside the story of his courtship and marriage to Farah Diba, who became a power in her own right, the beloved family they created, and an exclusive look at life inside the palace during the Iranian Revolution. Cooper's investigative account ultimately delivers the fall of the Pahlavi dynasty through the eyes of those who were there: leading Iranian revolutionaries; President Jimmy Carter and White House officials; US Ambassador William Sullivan and his staff in the American embassy in Tehran; American families caught up in the drama; even Empress Farah herself, and the rest of the Iranian Imperial family. Intimate and sweeping at once, The Fall of Heaven recreates in stunning detail the dramatic and final days of one of the world's most legendary ruling families, the unseating of which helped set the stage for the current state of the Middle East.
All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror
Stephen Kinzer - 2003
The victim was Mohammad Mossadegh, the democratically elected prime minister of Iran. Although the coup seemed a success at first, today it serves as a chilling lesson about the dangers of foreign intervention.In this book, veteran New York Times correspondent Stephen Kinzer gives the first full account of this fateful operation. His account is centered around an hour-by-hour reconstruction of the events of August 1953, and concludes with an assessment of the coup's "haunting and terrible legacy."Operation Ajax, as the plot was code-named, reshaped the history of Iran, the Middle East, and the world. It restored Mohammad Reza Shah to the Peacock Throne, allowing him to impose a tyranny that ultimately sparked the Islamic Revolution of 1979. The Islamic Revolution, in turn, inspired fundamentalists throughout the Muslim world, including the Taliban and terrorists who thrived under its protection."It is not far-fetched," Kinzer asserts in this book, "to draw a line from Operation Ajax through the Shah's repressive regime and the Islamic Revolution to the fireballs that engulfed the World Trade Center in New York."Drawing on research in the United States and Iran, and using material from a long-secret CIA report, Kinzer explains the background of the coup and tells how it was carried out. It is a cloak-and-dagger story of spies, saboteurs, and secret agents. There are accounts of bribes, staged riots, suitcases full of cash, and midnight meetings between the Shah and CIA agent Kermit Roosevelt, who was smuggled in and out of the royal palace under a blanket in the back seat of a car. Roosevelt,the grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt, was a real-life James Bond in an era when CIA agents operated mainly by their wits. After his first coup attempt failed, he organized a second attempt that succeeded three days later.The colorful cast of characters includes the terrified young Shah, who fled his country at the first sign of trouble; General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, father of the Gulf War commander and the radio voice of "Gang Busters," who flew to Tehran on a secret mission that helped set the coup in motion; and the fiery Prime Minister Mossadegh, who outraged the West by nationalizing the immensely profitable Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. The British, outraged by the seizure of their oil company, persuaded President Dwight Eisenhower that Mossadegh was leading Iran toward Communism. Eisenhower and Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Great Britain became the coup's main sponsors.Brimming with insights into Middle Eastern history and American foreign policy, this book is an eye-opening look at an event whose unintended consequences - Islamic revolution and violent anti-Americanism--have shaped the modern world. As the United States assumes an ever-widening role in the Middle East, it is essential reading.