By Michael Axworthy
Iran is a land of contradictions.
It is an Islamic republic, yet one during which in basic terms 1.4 percentage of the inhabitants attend Friday prayers. Iran's spiritual tradition encompasses the main censorious and dogmatic Shi'a Muslim clerics on this planet, but its poetry insistently dwells at the joys of lifestyles: wine, good looks, intercourse. Iranian girls are topic to 1 of the main restrictive costume codes within the Islamic global, yet make up approximately 60 percentage of the coed inhabitants of the nation's universities.
In A historical past of Iran, acclaimed historian Michael Axworthy chronicles the wealthy historical past of this advanced state 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, spiritual, and cultural forces that experience formed one of many oldest carrying on with civilizations on the earth, bringing us up smooth occasions.
Concluding with an overview of the mammoth adjustments the country has gone through because the revolution in 1979, together with an in depth examine Iran's ongoing makes an attempt to turn into a nuclear strength, A historical past of Iran bargains basic readers an important advisor to figuring out this risky country, that's once more on the middle of the world's awareness.
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Additional info for A History of Iran: Empire of the Mind (Revised & Updated Edition)
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. Although Darius established a standard gold coinage, and some payments were made in silver, much of the system operated by payments in kind. These were assessed, allocated, and receipted from the center. qxp_Layout 1 3/7/16 9:36 AM Page 22 22 A History of Iran were paid in fixed quantities of wine, grain, or animals; but even members of the royal family received payments in the same way.
It was really a series of revolts, affecting all but a few of the eastern provinces of the empire. qxp_Layout 1 3/7/16 9:36 AM Page 18 18 A History of Iran territory. Whatever the true nature of the rebellion and its origins, it was no simple palace coup, affecting only a few members of the elite. It was just the first of several religious revolutions, or attempted revolutions, in Iran’s history. And it was no pushover. Bisitun was chosen for Darius’s grand rock-carving because it was a high place, perhaps already associated with the sacred, close by where he and his companions had killed Gaumata/Bardiya.
But the history of human development is not linear. We should not regard the oral tradition of sophisticated cultures like that of Mazdaism as unreliable, flawed, or backward, something we have gone beyond. The Persians were not stupidly trying, with the wrong tools, to do something we can now, with the right tools, do incomparably better. They were doing something different, and they had evolved complex and subtle ways of doing it very well indeed, which our culture has forgotten. To try to grasp the reality of that, we have to step aside a little from our usual categories of thought—despite the apparent familiarity of concepts like angels, a Day of Judgment, heaven and hell, and moral choice.
A History of Iran: Empire of the Mind (Revised & Updated Edition) by Michael Axworthy