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Iran's Zoroastrians remember Arab conquest of Persia
AP ^ | 6/18/07 | AP

Posted on 06/18/2007 12:56:35 PM PDT by freedom44

CHAK CHAK, Iran (AP) - Dressed in white to symbolize purity, a priest recited from the Zoroastrian holy book at a shrine as members of this ancient pre-Islamic religion marked what they see as one of the most bitter events in Iran's history: the 7th century Arab conquest of Persia.

The Arab invasion changed history for Persia, the ancient name for non-Arab Iran: Islam was imposed as the new religion, replacing Zoroastrianism, whose followers were dispersed.

Thousands of Zoroastrians from Iran's small remaining community and from India, the United States and other countries gathered at this mountain shrine this week for five days of ceremonies that ended Monday, commemorating the event.

Priest Goshtasb Belivani addressed the gathering, standing at the tall bronze doors of the shrine, built into a cliff-side cave where a heroine of the faith, Nikbanou, is said to have fled from the Arab assault. «We have all gathered at this sacred place to pray Ahura Mazda,» he said, using the Zoroastrians' name for God. «We are also here to remember Nikbanou and what happened to our ancestors by the Arab invaders.

Belivani spoke to the crowd in modern Farsi, before reciting the verses from the Avesta, the faith's holy book, in an ancient version of the language.

According to legend, Nikbanou, the youngest daughter of the last king of the Persian empire, took shelter in the mountain and prayed to Ahura Mazda for help from the attackers. Miraculously, the mountain opened up and gave her protection.

Near the shrine, a slowly dripping spring emerges from the mountain, giving the site its name _ «Chak Chak» means «drip drip» in Persian. The legend says the spring is the mountain shedding tears in remembrance of Nikbanou. An immense tree stands nearby, said to have grown from Nikbanou's cane.

The legends regretting the invasion that brought Islam to this country highlight the unusual status of Zoroastrians in today's Iran ruled by an Islamic government headed by clerics.

Since coming to power in the 1979 revolution, the Islamic Republic has tolerated the sect, giving it official status and guaranteeing a Zoroastrian seat in parliament. It also allows its members to practice their rites. For example, while the law forbids mixed dancing, Zoroastrian men and women are permitted to dance together and play music as part of their worship in special places like temples or covered buildings.

Still, the Zoroastrian community's numbers have dwindled to around 50,000, down from 300,000 in the 1970s, with many emigrating to the U.S.

Human rights reports say Zoroastrians like members of Iran's small Jewish and Christian minorities suffer some discrimination, kept out of some jobs. But many Zoroastrians left simply because of the general restrictions on all Iranian society imposed by the Islamic government.

Still, Zoroastrian traditions remain embedded in Iran, where the population of 70 million overwhelmingly Shiite Muslim take deep pride in their pre-Islamic civilization.

Every year, Iranians of all religions mark Chahar-Shanbe Suri, or the Wednesday feast, part of celebrations for the Persian New Year, in March. During the rites, Iranians light bonfires in the streets and jump over them and dance, hoping to put failures behind them and the rite has persisted despite attempts by the ruling clerics to discourage it as un-Islamic.

Zoroastrians are not a big population in Iran but our rituals remain widely respected not only in Iran but other parts of the world, said chief Zoroastrian priest Ardeshir Khorshidian.

At Chak Chak also known by the name Pir-e Sabz, 550 kilometers southeast of the capital Tehran the pilgrims crowded into pavilions set up at the base of the mountain, below the shrine in the cliff. Families sitting on rugs had picnics, while children danced and their parents attended prayers in the shrine.

For many Zoroastrians, summer begins with a pilgrimage to Pir-e-Sabz, said Pedram Soroushpour. This event is a symbol of Zoroastrians remaining loyal to their manners and rituals.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: godsgravesglyphs; iran; persia; zoroastrianism
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1 posted on 06/18/2007 12:56:39 PM PDT by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn; Cyrus the Great; Prince of Persia; nuconvert; Stefania; FARS; SolidWood; statered; ...

Restarting the Iran ping. On or off ping list.
2 posted on 06/18/2007 12:57:13 PM PDT by freedom44
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To: blam; SunkenCiv

GGG


3 posted on 06/18/2007 12:58:28 PM PDT by freedom44
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To: freedom44
Good read!

However (as expected) AP can't get the facts straight: Persia, the ancient name for non-Arab Iran

Persia was the name the Greek, Romans and later other foreigners called the Country/Empire, referring to the people of the Fars province.

Iran (previously Aryanam), meaning "Land of the Aryans" has been the natives' name for their country since ancient times, long before Islam appeared.

1935 Reza Shah Pahlevi officialy made Iran the name to be used by natives and foreigners alike.

4 posted on 06/18/2007 1:05:55 PM PDT by SolidWood (Muslims: If they cant eat it or have sex with it they destroy it.)
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To: freedom44

I’ve seen speculation several places that the Magi who visited baby Jesus with gifts, (Matthew 2), were Zoroastrians.

Interesting religion.


5 posted on 06/18/2007 1:08:16 PM PDT by Enosh ()
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To: freedom44

bump


6 posted on 06/18/2007 1:09:25 PM PDT by lesser_satan (FRED THOMPSON '08)
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To: SolidWood
Iran (previously Aryanam), meaning "Land of the Aryans" has been the natives' name for their country since ancient times, long before Islam appeared.

Really? I didn't know that. How is this related to the apparently fictitious "Aryan race" that Hitler dreamed up?

7 posted on 06/18/2007 1:09:35 PM PDT by The Blitherer (What would a Free Man do?)
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To: freedom44
The heresy of Manicheaism originated from the blending of Zoroastrian and Christian theology. The heresy continues in various forms through this day.
8 posted on 06/18/2007 1:13:04 PM PDT by Huber (And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. - John 1:5)
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To: The Blitherer
The "Aryans", Hitler and other racists talked about, refer to 19th century race-theories of various European "scientists" who mis-used the name "Aryan" to make a distinction to "Semites" (Jews).

The "Aryans" of Hitler and Co., as you know where imagined to be blond, blue-eyed Nordics... total nonsense.

Aryan actually refers to a linguistic family, stemming from the Northern Caspian region, who settled what is today Iran, Afghanistan, India etc.

9 posted on 06/18/2007 1:15:45 PM PDT by SolidWood (Muslims: If they cant eat it or have sex with it they destroy it.)
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To: Enosh

“I’ve seen speculation several places that the Magi who visited baby Jesus with gifts, (Matthew 2), were Zoroastrians.”

I have as well. It is a long-standing belief.

Marco Polo claimed to have seen their graves in Persia.

The wise men were apparently monotheistic (since God directed them), from the East, and not Jewish, or at least not under the Law of Moses, so Zoroastrian is one of a few possible candidates.

I know nothing about zorastrian, other than it would apparently qualify as a Noahadic religion, and thus would be a valid relgion, pre-Christ.


10 posted on 06/18/2007 1:21:18 PM PDT by MeanWestTexan (Kol Hakavod Fred Thompson)
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To: SolidWood

Very interesting. I always knew Hitler’s idea of the Aryan race was bogus, but it would still be interesting to study the details of where the ideas came from.


11 posted on 06/18/2007 1:22:45 PM PDT by The Blitherer (What would a Free Man do?)
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To: The Blitherer
How is this related to the apparently fictitious "Aryan race" that Hitler dreamed up?

The real Aryans were not a race, but a group of tribes.

The structural resemblance between Persian and Hindi and Latin and Greek and German led to them being called "the Indo-Aryan languages" and, due to Hitler, they are now called the Indo-European languages.

The Aryan tribes were a group of Caucasian peoples that raided and conquered modern-day Iran, northern India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Their descendants are the Persians, Punjabis and Pushtun peoples.

These peoples have lighter skin and are generally taller and lankier than other regional ethnic groups, have a large number of green and blue-eyed individuals in their groups, and have a strong military tradition.

The racial nationalists of 1930s Europe saw these peoples as fellow members of their imagined master race - cousins of Europeans who could be used as a puppet master race for Asia.

The RSS in India was a neo-Nazi organization that agitated against British rule and for Hitler.

12 posted on 06/18/2007 1:25:58 PM PDT by wideawake ("Pearl Harbor is all America's fault, right, Mommy?" - Ron Paul, age 6, 12/7/1941)
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To: SolidWood

Yes, a good read! And thanks for the clarification on the correct naming of Aryanam ... Persia ... Iran!


13 posted on 06/18/2007 1:27:32 PM PDT by Red_Devil 232 (VietVet - USMC All Ready On The Right? All Ready On The Left? All Ready On The Firing Line!)
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To: Huber
The heresy of Manicheaism

Heresy? I suppose its not heresy to the followers of this sect...I guess what I am saying is that it all depends what side of the street you live on....in America we have the right to believe whatever we want(at least until we are crammed full with enough Islamofascists, for those b@stards to take over.).

14 posted on 06/18/2007 1:29:20 PM PDT by Vaquero (" an armed society is a polite society" Heinlein "MOLON LABE!" Leonidas of Sparta)
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To: MeanWestTexan
"and thus would be a valid relgion, pre-Christ."

Exactly.

I've also seen claims that it is older than Judaism. Much older, in fact. Some say that this is it; the original, Zoroastrianism goes all the way back to Noah, Enoch, even Adam.

Neat!

15 posted on 06/18/2007 1:30:25 PM PDT by Enosh ()
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To: SolidWood

How ironic that both versions of Aryans ended up hating Jews.


16 posted on 06/18/2007 1:32:41 PM PDT by rintense (I'm 4 Thompson!)
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To: Enosh

It certainly could be older, in that God showed up on Mt. Sinia circa 1500BC.


17 posted on 06/18/2007 1:34:14 PM PDT by MeanWestTexan (Kol Hakavod Fred Thompson)
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To: rintense

bump.


18 posted on 06/18/2007 1:35:24 PM PDT by common denominator
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To: wideawake
These peoples have lighter skin and are generally taller and lankier than other regional ethnic groups, have a large number of green and blue-eyed individuals in their groups.

I'd be careful with this description. The occurence of blue eyes and occasionaly fair hair in Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan have largely their origins from the Greek/Macedonians under Alexander the Great, who conquered the Persian empire, and intermarried with Persians and Baktrians.

While Persians are lighter skinned than i.e. Arabs, and often have green eyes, they are dark haired since ancient times.

19 posted on 06/18/2007 1:36:01 PM PDT by SolidWood (Muslims: If they cant eat it or have sex with it they destroy it.)
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To: MeanWestTexan; Huber
Zoroastrianism, unlike Judaism, is a dualistic system in which two powers of either equal or almost equal strength vie for mastery over the world.

Some cultural anthropologists say that the Jewish concept of the yetzrim - the good and evil impulses in each person - is a cultural borrowing from Zoroastrianism during the Babylonian captivity, since there is evidence of Zoroastrian presence in Babylon.

I don't buy the theory.

Manichaeanism owes something to Zoroastrianism, but it involves an importation from the Greek mystery religions: the demiurge.

In Manichaeanism and in Marcionism, we have the notion imported from Zoroastrianism of an evil power vying against a nearly-matched or equally matched good power, and the evil power is identified with the Greek demiurge: the creator of the physical world, while the good power is the creator of the spiritual world.

In Manichaeanism and Marcionism the evil demiurge is the God of the Hebrew Scriptures.

20 posted on 06/18/2007 1:37:49 PM PDT by wideawake ("Pearl Harbor is all America's fault, right, Mommy?" - Ron Paul, age 6, 12/7/1941)
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To: SolidWood
Persia was the name the Greek, Romans and later other foreigners called the Country/Empire, referring to the people of the Fars province.

Iran (previously Aryanam), meaning "Land of the Aryans" has been the natives' name for their country since ancient times, long before Islam appeared.

Well that is something I had wondered about that you've explained. That Herodotus, he calls you something, the name sticks.

21 posted on 06/18/2007 1:41:14 PM PDT by Plutarch (Bush is a coward to the left and a tyrant to the right.)
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To: SolidWood
I'd be careful with this description.

I was, which is why I did not mention fair hair.

At the time of his conquests of these areas, Alexander's armies did not have a very large Greek contingent any more - his invasion of India was undertaken with a force consisting almost entirely of Asian-born troops.

Hence the carping about how he had "gone native" with his Persian dress, Asian troops, Bactrian wife, etc.

I don't buy into the theory that Alexander's Greek troops had a significant impact on the gene pool - there were many more of Alexander's troops stationed in Egypt than there were in India and Egyptians don't look like Punjabis.

22 posted on 06/18/2007 1:50:15 PM PDT by wideawake ("Pearl Harbor is all America's fault, right, Mommy?" - Ron Paul, age 6, 12/7/1941)
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To: freedom44

My gardener says Zorro means fox in mesican.


23 posted on 06/18/2007 1:50:21 PM PDT by borntoraisehogs (If we build it,they won't come)
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To: SolidWood

The Aryans that were the center of Nazi ideology were not “blond, blue-eyed” exclusively, or even primarily. You are thinking perhaps of Nordics, who were favorites; but even they had hair and eyes of various colors.

Nazi beliefs have been stereotyped by movies and other media. In the interests of historical accuracy, we should make an effort to get record straight.

The Nazi racial theorists did believe that various physical types and ethnic strains had different psychological characteristics. They lamented the scarcity of Nordics in Germany, and wished to promote and expand their numbers, a policy they call “Aufnordung.” We might roughly translate that as Nordic promotion. Nordics were thought to be adventurous, and with good leadership qualities. Official propaganda also had good things to say about other groups, which was only good politics, because many Germans are not Nordic.

Aryan is often called a linguistic term, equivalent to Indo-European. Just where the original Indo-Europeans originated is still a subject of debate. The Capsian area is favored by one theory; the Iranian Plateau by another. The Baltics is favorite, and North Germany and Poland have been suggested.


24 posted on 06/18/2007 1:58:08 PM PDT by docbnj
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To: wideawake
there were many more of Alexander's troops stationed in Egypt than there were in India and Egyptians don't look like Punjabis.

Following Alexanders demise, during the Diadoch and Roman time, the people (at least the upper class) certainly had a strong Greek influence. But anyway, todays Egyptians are to the vast majority descendants of the invading Arabs.

I don't buy into the theory that Alexander's Greek troops had a significant impact on the gene pool

I'm ambivalent on this. The Graeco-Baktrian Kingdom in the Punjab region, following Alexander, had an evidently greek culture. Artworks show European features. There had to be Greeks among them, at least at the top. Today, as you said, there are people with bright eyes, light complexion and fair hair. I won't totally rule out an influence by Greeks in the region.

However your position is being corrobated by the fact that the Mazanderani and Gilaki people (North-Iranians living at the south coast of the Caspian) who are natives and had little intercourse with other people, have lighter complexion, eyes and hair.

Prominent example of a Mazanderani is the Ali Larijani, the Iranian regime's nuke negotiator:

”image”

25 posted on 06/18/2007 2:06:44 PM PDT by SolidWood (Muslims: If they cant eat it or have sex with it they destroy it.)
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To: SolidWood
Prominent example of a Mazanderani is the Ali Larijani, the Iranian regime's nuke negotiator

Thanks for that tidbit. I had no idea.

26 posted on 06/18/2007 2:08:52 PM PDT by wideawake ("Pearl Harbor is all America's fault, right, Mommy?" - Ron Paul, age 6, 12/7/1941)
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To: Enosh

The Zoroastrians followed one of the most logical and civilized of Pre-Christian religions. They beleived life was a struggle between good and evil and held hope that the birth of Jesus would move the needle in the direction of good. This is the key reason the Persians kings were so anxious to visit the Christ child. This would be a logical step for the Modern Persians to get back to when he comes again, as he surely will.


27 posted on 06/18/2007 2:09:14 PM PDT by Vigilanteman (Are there any men left in Washington? Or are there only cowards? Ahmad Shah Massoud)
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To: docbnj

You are correct.
The point I was trying to make was a distinction between the Nazi “Aryan” and the historical Indo-Iranian Aryans.


28 posted on 06/18/2007 2:09:40 PM PDT by SolidWood (Muslims: If they cant eat it or have sex with it they destroy it.)
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To: Vigilanteman
Persians kings were so anxious to visit the Christ child. This would be a logical step for the Modern Persians to get back to when he comes again, as he surely will.

My wife (Persian), did exatly this, and has embraced Jesus Christ as her Lord.

29 posted on 06/18/2007 2:11:29 PM PDT by SolidWood (Muslims: If they cant eat it or have sex with it they destroy it.)
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To: SolidWood; Vigilanteman

Hallelujah!


30 posted on 06/18/2007 2:16:50 PM PDT by Enosh ()
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To: wideawake

“Zoroastrianism, unlike Judaism, is a dualistic system in which two powers of either equal or almost equal strength vie for mastery over the world.

Some cultural anthropologists say that the Jewish concept of the yetzrim - the good and evil impulses in each person - is a cultural borrowing from Zoroastrianism during the Babylonian captivity, since there is evidence of Zoroastrian presence in Babylon.”

From the fall of Jerusalem to about 1000 AD, the largest population of Jews lived in Babylon. They were there certainly long enough to, as you say, borrow from Zoroastrianism. Strong evidence of their “borrowing” appears in the two sides of the Kabbalistic sephiroth.


31 posted on 06/18/2007 2:58:04 PM PDT by sasportas
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To: SolidWood
Egyptians are to the vast majority descendants of the invading Arabs.

Actually the Arabs were and are a minority in all so-called Arab lands except in Arabia. The Egyptians are native (Copts). They adopted the Arab language and Islam over centuries. Syria was still a Christian majority nation until the First Crusade. In fact the crusades backfired when the Latin west went on rampages against there Christian brethern in the near east. This drove lots of Christians to embrace Islam. It has been estimated that the whole Arab empire for the first hundred years was ruled by about 1% of the population (meaning Arab Muslims).

I personally think the US could exploit some of the latent nationalism in Iran and Egypt. Most Egyptians think of themselves as Egyptians first, Arabs second. The rest of the Arab world looks at them that way also. The US should be playing up the Persian aspect of the humilating loss to the Arabs. The Persians do not like the Arabs overall.

32 posted on 06/18/2007 3:50:36 PM PDT by fatez ("If you're going through Hell, keep going." Winston Churchill)
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To: fatez; SolidWood

Keep in mind I mean genetically “pure” Arabs are a minority in the so-called Arab lands. Culturally and lingulistically and religously, they are Arabs now.


33 posted on 06/18/2007 3:52:12 PM PDT by fatez ("If you're going through Hell, keep going." Winston Churchill)
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To: freedom44
By and large a good, positive, and accurate account of the Zoroastrians of Iran, and coming from AP that's a great achievements.

One becomes nostalgic for all those beautiful IRANIAN names. I wish our American friends here could understand how much sublime, pictorial, meaning, history and culure they carry behind them:

Nikbanau -- the lady of purest heart

Chak Chak -- drop by drop

Pir-e Sabz -- the GREEN Grand Elder/ The Ancient Pasture

Pedram and Goshtasb and Ahura Mazda!

Iranians yearn their past as they regret their present ever more.

Thank you for posting this. It brought a tear to my eyes.
34 posted on 06/18/2007 4:48:37 PM PDT by parisa
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To: fatez

Interesting.
I made some quick research and you are of course right about the Egyptian population. Didn’t know that.
I was under the impression that only the Coptic Christians were the remaining native Egyptians, while Muslim majority are of mixed Arab-Egyptian descent.


35 posted on 06/18/2007 10:09:36 PM PDT by SolidWood (Muslims: If they cant eat it or have sex with it they destroy it.)
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To: SolidWood

Your info is good. FYI the non-Arab or Pakistan spelling is Pahlavi not Pahlevi. Yes, nitpicking but not in a mean way.


36 posted on 06/18/2007 11:17:17 PM PDT by FARS
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To: SolidWood

Beg to differ on the connotation of “dark hair” etc. - while not generally blond, they acquired their dark side (so to speak) not their blue and green eyes from the Greeks whose Mediterranean darker skin and eyes “congtminated a very light skinned people with lots of blue eyes. For example the nomadic Bakhtiari tribes who avoided “pollution” have a huge number of blue eyed members.


37 posted on 06/18/2007 11:25:59 PM PDT by FARS
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To: parisa; All; 1035rep; 1curiousmind; 4woodenboats; 5Madman2; 68skylark; AdmSmith; airborne; ...

The Zoroastrian primary triple tenet is a great way to live:

Good Thoughts (lead to ) Good Words (which combine into) Good Deeds. This is all any religion needs.

By contrast Islam is a personification of evil and Allah derives from a wooden idol in Mecca.

For a good sense of islam check out the article and link to a video on AntiMullah: NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED

http://noiri.blogspot.com/2007/06/gentle-stoning-of-islam.html


38 posted on 06/18/2007 11:37:44 PM PDT by FARS
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To: FARS
the non-Arab or Pakistan spelling is Pahlavi not Pahlevi.

You are of course right. Actually I always write Pahlavi, but I am currently reading an old german book on Reza Shah, and they call him (germanized) "Resa Schah Pahlewi" and so the e stuck in my mind.

39 posted on 06/19/2007 6:21:45 AM PDT by SolidWood (Muslims: If they cant eat it or have sex with it they destroy it.)
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To: SolidWood
Similar, I guess, to our term Caucasian to describe whites in the US. My Russian friend from Moscow said that Caucasians are Asian in appearance and are not like by white Russians, especially Western white Russians.
40 posted on 06/19/2007 6:25:57 AM PDT by nativist (Weigh into them!)
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To: FARS

Thanks for teh ping!


41 posted on 06/19/2007 7:04:01 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: wideawake

I have always wondered if Alexanders uncle, acting as ruler of Macedon in his absence, sent significant Macedonian reinforcements or whether he kept those troops home to dominate Greek & Balkan territories. There should be some indication you would think.

Either way, Alexander left signicant garrisons at strategic points along his route of march. One would think that the further East he got, the fewer actual Macedonian’s would populate those garrisons.


42 posted on 06/19/2007 7:24:52 AM PDT by Tallguy (Climate is what you plan for, weather is what you get.)
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To: SolidWood

I love this site (Free Republic). I have learned so much from my fellow freepers and on so many subjects (things that I would not be normally interested).

Thanx for your post.


43 posted on 06/19/2007 7:43:09 AM PDT by fatez ("If you're going through Hell, keep going." Winston Churchill)
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To: Tallguy

My thoughts echo yours on that point.


44 posted on 06/19/2007 7:56:15 AM PDT by wideawake ("Pearl Harbor is all America's fault, right, Mommy?" - Ron Paul, age 6, 12/7/1941)
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To: freedom44; blam; FairOpinion; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 1ofmanyfree; 24Karet; ...
Thanks freedom44.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list. Thanks.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on or off the
"Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list or GGG weekly digest
-- Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

45 posted on 06/19/2007 11:51:55 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Time heals all wounds, particularly when they're not yours. Profile updated June 15, 2007.)
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To: Tallguy

Alexander’s army was mostly Persians by the time he got to India. He was Persian by then too for most practical purposes. Don’t imagine he had much trouble with astrology since they did that where he came from too.


46 posted on 06/19/2007 11:56:59 AM PDT by RightWhale (Repeal the Treaty)
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To: wideawake; Huber; MeanWestTexan

Boy...I am impressed with the knowledge you guys have on the history of religion.


47 posted on 06/19/2007 12:56:06 PM PDT by Pharmboy ([She turned me into a] Newt! in '08)
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To: Pharmboy

You’re too kind.


48 posted on 06/19/2007 12:57:13 PM PDT by wideawake ("Pearl Harbor is all America's fault, right, Mommy?" - Ron Paul, age 6, 12/7/1941)
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To: SolidWood

My wife (Persian), did exatly this, and has embraced Jesus Christ as her Lord.


God Bless her!

One of my students - A former muslim Persian woman also embraced the Lord along with her children. Escaped from Iran.


49 posted on 06/19/2007 1:33:55 PM PDT by eleni121 ((+ En Touto Nika! By this sign conquer! + Constantine the Great)
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To: Enosh; wideawake; Huber; MeanWestTexan

The coming of a prophet under a shining star was a prediction of Zarthust (Zoroaster) in the Gantas of the Avesta. Also, the word “magi” comes from the religious scholars of Zoroastrianism. They were known to perform miracles also where the word “magic” comes from.

Which adds even more prevalence on the theory that the Magi were Zoroastrians.


50 posted on 06/19/2007 4:00:12 PM PDT by freedom44
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