Table of Contents


    S. Okazaki

    a prominent merchant and scholar of Isfahan (fl. ca. 1818-1896/97).


    M. A. Dandamayev

    Greek form of an Old Iranian proper name.


    M. Ayoub

    40th day after ʿĀšūrāʾ. A day of mourning, preferably at the shrine of Imam Ḥosayn, Arbaʿīn forms part of a cycle of days commemorating the burial of the imam and his companions.


    G. Widengren

    name of a Mesopotamian province in the Sasanian empire.


    J. F. Hansman

    capital of an ancient northern Mesopotamian province located between the two Zab rivers.  


    E. P. Elwell-Sutton

    British orientalist (1905-1969).


    M. Tardieu

    the assumed author of a Christian polemic against the Manicheans composed before 348 CE.


    Multiple Authors

    The history of archeological research in Iran may be divided into two periods, before and after the Second World War. The early period can in turn be subdivided into a first phase of mainly French activity (ca. 1884-1931), and a second phase in which archeology in Iran became a multinational affair (1931-40). The modern period can be subdivided into what might best be called the “quiet phase” (1940-57) and the “explosive phase” (1958-78).

  • ARCHEOLOGY i. Pre-Median

    T. C. Young

    As early as the 17th century, a number of European travelers reported with surprise on the remarkable ancient monuments to be seen throughout the countryside. The first scientific and scholarly attempt to deal with one such monument, however, was Rawlinson’s recording of the Bīsotūn (Behistun) inscription (1836-41). 

  • ARCHEOLOGY ii. Median and Achaemenid

    D. Stronach

    The family of ceramics represented in the Median levels at Tepe Nush-i Jan seems to be associated with the moment that the Medes consolidated their power in the vicinity of Hamadān in the second half of the 7th century B.C. Four separate wares are recognized.

    This Article Has Images/Tables.

    K. Schippmann

    Very few monuments from the Seleucid period have been discovered in Iran, and probably none from the time of Alexander the Great.

  • ARCHEOLOGY iv. Sasanian

    D. Huff

    Archeological field work has played a comparatively smaller part in forming the image of Sasanian history and culture than the large number of preserved monuments, buildings, and rock reliefs, collections of coins and objects of art.

  • ARCHEOLOGY v. Pre-Islamic Central Asia

    V. M. Masson

    In 1969 a special council on the problems of Central-Asian and Kazakh archeology was formed. Archeological remains of almost all the major epochs have now been uncovered, numerous compilations have been published, and materials have been obtained that describe comprehensively the ancient civilizations of Central Asia of the pre-Islamic period.

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  • ARCHEOLOGY vi. Islamic Iran

    R. Hillenbrand

    From the outset Islamic archeology in Iran was overshadowed by the numerous and splendid sites of earlier periods, and archeological investigation of Islamic sites began appreciably later in the Iranian world than in western Islam and in the Indian subcontinent.

  • ARCHEOLOGY vii. Islamic Central Asia

    G. A. Pugachenkova and E. V. Rtveladze

    The study of the archeology of the Islamic period was initiated in Central Asia in the late 19th century by Turkestan amateurs and St. Petersburg scholars, and has been carried on with growing intensity since Soviet times. 


    M. N. Pogrebova

    Since the 1960s and 1970s several scores of archeological expeditions of the Azerbaijanian Academy of Sciences have worked in the republic. The Academy publishes the series “Material’naya kul’tura Azerbaĭdzhana” (Material culture of Azerbaijan), “Pamyatniki material’noĭ kul’tury Azerbaĭdzhana” (Monuments of Azerbaijan’s material culture), and “Arkheologicheskie i etnograficheskie izyskaniya v Azerbaĭdzhane” (Archeological and ethnographic studies in Azerbaijan), as well as the journal Azerbaĭdzhanskaya arkheologiya (Azerbaijanian archeology).

    This Article Has Images/Tables.

    Multiple Authors

    This series of articles covers architecture in Iran from ancient times to the Pahlavi period. 

  • ARCHITECTURE i. Seleucid Period

    T. S. Kawami

    The Seleucid architecture of Iran encompasses the buildings constructed during the period of Greek power from 330 B.C. through the 2nd century B.C. 

  • ARCHITECTURE ii. Parthian Period

    E. J. Keall

    It seems impossible to use the Iranian homeland of the Parthians as the basis for the definition of Parthian architecture. 

  • ARCHITECTURE iii. Sasanian Period

    D. Huff

    A great number of čahār-ṭāq ruins, surveyed all over Iran and most frequent in Fārs and Kermān, are regarded as fire temples. Nearly all of them were closed to the outside by blocking walls in their bays or the surrounding vaulted corridors.

    This Article Has Images/Tables.
  • ARCHITECTURE iv. Central Asian

    G. A. Pugachenkova

    Architecture in Central Asia dates back to the late Neolithic period (6th-5th millennia B.C.).

  • ARCHITECTURE v. Islamic, pre-Safavid

    O. Grabar

    The beginnings of an Islamic architecture in Iran are still almost impossible to identify properly. Remaining monuments are few, most of them are very uncertainly dated, and literary information is scanty or difficult to interpret.

  • ARCHITECTURE vi. Safavid to Qajar Periods

    R. Hillenbrand

    Iranian architecture from the 16th to the 19th centuries is, not surprisingly, dominated by the Safavids. Though no accurate checklist has been drawn up, it is clear that within the present political borders of Iran several hundred buildings datable between 907/1502 and 1138/1725 survive.

  • ARCHITECTURE vii. Pahlavi, before World War II

    D. N. Wilber

    Two features of Reżā Shah’s efforts for the modernization of Iran were related to the architectural construction of the period. One was his reference to the country’s ancient history, which should inspire the present generation to achieve new glories. The other was his desire to adopt aspects of Western civilization in such a fashion that Iran would become equal to the West.

  • ARCHITECTURE viii. Pahlavi, after World War II

    N. Ardalān

    Between the close of World War II and the overthrow of the Pahlavi regime in 1979, an ancient and very traditional Iranian culture came fully into contact with contemporary developments, in particular, with the highly scientific and empirical world of the West.

  • ARCHIVES i. Turkish archives concerning Iran

    Osman G. Özgüdenli

    It is evident that the archive material of the Ottoman Empire was very well maintained, already from the early times. However, a number of older documents were destroyed by Timur (d. 1405) during his conquest of Bursa, then the capital of the Ottoman Empire, after the battle of Ankara in 1402.

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  • ARD


    (Pahlavi; Manichean Middle Persian ʾyrd). See AHRIŠWANG, AŠI


    P. O. Skjærvø

    Middle Persian name of the Avestan hymn dedicated to Aši.


    Ph. Gignoux

    “Wīrāz the just,”  principal character of the Zoroastrian Middle Persian text Ardā Wīrāz-nāmag.


    C. E. Bosworth, X. de Planhol, M. E. Weaver, M. Medley

    town and district in northeastern Azerbaijan.


    M. Beattie

    a name applied chiefly to a Persian carpet acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1893, which is significant for its outstanding quality of design and weaving and for the precise date it carries. A second, almost identical carpet is less well known; it was presented by the late J. Paul Getty to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1953.

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    W. Madelung

    known as MOQADDAS and MOḤAQQEQ ARDABĪLĪ, Imamite theologian and jurist of the early Safavid age. 



    See ARŽANG.


    C. E. Bosworth

    a small upland town of the ostān of Fārs.


    C. E. Bosworth

    a town of central Persia on the present Yazd-Ardestān-Kāšān road along the southern edge of the Dašt-e Kavīr, forty miles northwest of Yazd.


    D. MacEoin

    known as Ḥāǰǰī Amīn and Amīn-e Elāhī, one of the four Ayādī-e Amr Allāh appointed by Bahāʾallāh as leaders of the Bahaʾi movement in Iran.








    Dj. Khaleghi-Motlagh

    name of several figures in the Šāh-nāma.





    H. Gaube

    Sasanian and early Islamic district (ostān) formed in the early 7th century south of Baghdad and west of the Tigris. Its capital was Weh-Ardašīr (Ar. Bahrasīr).


    Multiple Authors

    (d. 242 CE), the founder of the Sasanian empire. 

  • ARDAŠĪR I i. History

    Joseph Wiesehöfer

    by 224 extended his sway over Persis and beyond into Elymais (Ḵūzestān) and Kermān, forcing to submission many local kings and vassals of the Parthians. The extent of his original realm cannot be determined precisely.

  • ARDAŠĪR I ii. Rock reliefs

    H. Luschey

    The first Sasanian ruler Ardašīr I established the Sasanian tradition of rock carving, which flourished until the reign of Šāpūr III and made an impressive resurgence under Ḵosrow II. Ardašīr’s rock reliefs differ markedly from the few preserved Parthian specimens (as do his coins) and foreshadow a new monumental form.

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    A. Sh. Shahbazi

    Sasanian king of kings, A.D. 379-83; he was deposed by the nobles in favor of Šāpūr III.


    A. Sh. Shahbazi

    Sasanian king (r. September, 628-29 April, 629). His father Šērōyē (Kawād II) murdered most of the Sasanian princes and died after only a brief reign.


    Ḥ. Maḥbūbī Ardakānī

    ROKN-AL-DAWLA, the ninth son of the crown prince ʿAbbās Mīrzā, b. ca.1805-06, d. 1866.


    A. Sh. Shahbazi

    a vassal king of the first Sasanian king of kings, Ardašīr I.


    C. E. Bosworth

    one of the five administrative divisions (kūra) of Fārs, in Sasanian and early Islamic times.


    A. Netzer

    a matnawī of six thousand couplets in Persian by Šāhīn Šīrāzī, a Jewish Persian poet of the 8th/14th century.