Skip to comments.Robert Spencer Asks: Did Muhammad Exist?
Posted on 04/23/2012 4:47:09 AM PDT by SJackson
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Herodotus is just one (Greek) source and his documentation while correct to some degree, is not complete. Therefore, his account has its limitations as well.
For example, he, along with other Greek historians, referred to Iran as Persis (referring only to one province of today’s Iran called Pars or Parsa in persian, hence Persia as we know it in English), to Takht_e Jamshid as Persepolis, and basically provided their own interpretations from a Greek (in another words a foreign point of view), about the Achaemenid Dynasty, not prior to that, as far as I know.
I’ve read Herodotus as well (not fully), but frankly I don’t think he was too familiar with history of Iran or should say Aryans before Cyrus - at least not intimately. Herodotus seems to be a fair bit confused about Aryan religions and in fact Zoroastrianism too. This is regardless of admiring Cyrus. I’ve read that Alexander the Macedonian was also a great admirer of Cyrus.
Also, Sumerians, Babylonians and Assyrians (the latter 2 were semitic tribes), mostly focus on Iraq (& Mesopotamia) and west of today’s of Iraq, not east. The Aryan land was to the east, and that’s where its history or prehistory began. From countries such as today’s Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Afghanistan. The Aryans only settled in today’s Iran or the Iranian plateau later on. Tajikistan is particularly significant.
The name Iran (derivative of Airyan or Airyana) is very old & has always been known to most Iranians or Aryans. However, Ariyana refers to the Greater Iran, as it was at the time i.e. Land of Aryans.
The reason, I think, Aryan history or prehistory is not well recorded by “others” before Cyrus the Great, or the Median Empire, and before that the Proto-Elamite period, is because Cyrus through his conquests actually put the “Persian Empire” on the map, so to speak. His conquests west of Iran also brought “Aryan” and by extesion Median & Persian influences elsewhere, particularly post-Babylonian conquest, and when he freed the Jews from Babylonian captivity.
There is abundant linguistic evidence, including documents, archaeological (e.g. in Kermanshah & Hamadan in Iran), historical (especially for valorize traditional Iranian history), historical weather, and so on.. Shah-Nameh and the Avesta (incl. the Gathas) & other Zoroastrian scriptures are just a few main documents. Not sure why it isn’t mentioned in the Bible, but may be because the Avesta is much older than the Bible and deals *specifically* with the Aryan traditions & history.
I acknowledge that in parts that prehistory or history is mixed with some mythology. As previously mentioned, even Ferdowsi’s work stipulates that. Then again, one can argue that even Adam & Eve or Moses parting the red sea are closer to myth than strictly ‘history’.
The webpage in post #82 has numerous other links within the post, and I think explains matters quite well, together with relevant maps.
You’re quite right that King Solomon (aka Suleiman in the Quaran) has been mentioned a few times in the Quran. Then again the Quran and Islam were both very much influenced by Jewish and Hebrew traditions, and of course relatively speaking are newcomers. Eleutheria5 and I had a discussion about this in another thread recently. In Islamic tradition Solomon (or Suleiman) is very Islamicized. That’s how moslems accept him - http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2850322/posts?page=57#57
A strategy is as good as its delivery. Actually, I don't think it was Waterloo that brought the end of Napoleon. It was his strategic mistake of invading Russia, which demoralized and weakened him & his army. Waterloo - that pesky English Channel :-)) was just the icing on the cake.
again, you’ve taught me something! I did not know about the Japanese-Soviet battles (looked it up now), though I thought I knew something about WWII. thanks
Those unfamiliar with Ferdowsi's aims & circumstances, may note that he wrote the Shah-Nameh very much under duress. He labored for some 30 years just to complete the Shah-Nameh - finally, without any personal reward, recognition, or fame, while he was alive.
Prior to his work, Arabic was enforced on Iranians (Persians) for 2 centuries, as the official language in & of Iran. Any one caught speaking their native tongue "Persian" (or its various dialects), had his/her tongue, literally, severed by Arab-Moslem rulers.
Shah-Nameh was, eventually, accepted. The main purposes being to revive the Persian language & have it officially reinstated, were achieved.
Thereafter, his work set the scene for understanding the lost Persian (Aryan) history, legends, culture, and traditions of Iran & Aryans in the Greater Iran. The Tajiks adore him too.
I can comfortably say that most, even poorer Iranians & "Aryans" can still recite verses from the Shah-Nameh & actually understand it. -- The same can not be said about the Quran, or as many have in recent years been calling the Quran in Iran i.e. "Taazi-Nameh" meaning the "Arab-Book".
Below are his own original words written in the 10th century AD, taking a futuristic view of his work for future generations, as part of his legacy.
His words in Persian are more meaningful, and eloquent (in rhythmic poetic verse) than the (rough) English translation - somewhat "lost in translation", but there you have it. Those who can read Persian, may appreciate it more....
بناهاى آباد گردد خراب
ز باران و از تابش آفتاب
پى افكندم از نظم كاخي بلند
كه از باد و باران نيابد گزند
از آن پس نميرم كه من زندهام
كه تخم سخن را پراكندهام
هر آنكس كه دارد هش و راى و دين
پس از مرگ بر من كند آفرين
Buildings of the city suffer deterioration
From the raindrop and the ray of sunlight.
I founded a great palace of verse [The Shahnameh]
That is impervious to the wind and the rain
I shall not die, these seeds [of discourse] Ive sown will save
My name and reputation from the grave,
And men of sense and wisdom will proclaim,
When I have gone, my praises and my fame.
Iranians (and their Aryans forefathers) - in general - had & still do some nasty habits. Nothing to do with Ferdowsi..
My point, as always is, while Zoroastrianism, through its core teachings, has tipped the balance towards the “Good”, and tried to subdue the negative characteristics in them, Islam & Arabs (through their culture & practices, over the centuries) did the overall opposite.
Interestingly, there is a saying even today in Iran, by moslem Iranians that: “Zoroastrian (Iranians) are better moslem than we are”. Obviously a compliment.
They mean, Zoroastrians hold & exercise values & behaviors that are “good Islamic values”.
But, since most moslem Iranian are unable, because of misleading teachings since Islamization & Arabization of Iran, to make a distinction between what is Islamic/Arab and what is their core Zoroastrian identity (and I mean regarding themselves, internally within Iran), that “cultural” differentiation, in many parts, still exists.
Nonetheless, most moslem-Iranians note the difference between Zoroastrians and moslem Iranians, especially regarding their behavioral/value differences.
Do Persian-Americans have Persian culture/history schools for their children—on the idea of a sunday school, a couple of hours on the weekend? Persian Americans could be a great inspiration for reviving the Persian identity which could spread into Iran itself. It is all about the cultural identity as the Muslims well know since they do everything in their power to squash every vestige of the original culture and history of their captive nations.
I think Persian-Americans do. But since I don’t live in the US, am not exactly sure. Only know that a Persian-American friend, who was born in the US, told me that he went to one on the east coast (maybe around NY), and in fact that’s where he learned how to read and write Persian.