This section is dedicated to all the brave Persian women that were wisely running the country for thousands of years. In Persia, women enjoyed a level of gender equality unmatched even to this day! Female emperors ruled over the many dynasties of the Persian Empire. Many ancient Persian cities and states were ruled by women and had their army totally under control of female commanders. The significant role of women in Ancient Persia both horrified and fascinated the ancient Greek and Roman male-dominated societies. Women in Persia were very honored and revered, they often had important positions in the Courthouse, Ministries, Military, State and Treasury Department, and other official administrations. Women were treated like Goddesses esteemed as mothers of creation before the imposition of the dark, backward, and pernicious Abrahamic ideologies (Judaism, Christianity, and especially Islam) after the barbaric Arab invasion upon Persia which destroyed our style of Humane Federalism, Bill of Rights, Equalism, Freedom of speech and Freedom of religion and replaced those factors with central brutal government, prejudice and slavery. Recent works on the role of women in ancient Persia show great participation by women in all facets of life, indicating not only their autonomy and independence, but the existence of an equal social system which accepted the authority and independence of women. The fortification tablets at the Ruins of Persepolis also reveals that men and women were represented in identical professions and that they received equal payments as skilled laborers and that gender was not a criterion at all (unlike our modern world). New mothers and pregnant women even received wages far above those of their male co-workers as gratitude. There is much evidence that the principles of Zoroastrianism lay the core foundation to the first Declaration of Human Rights in the Persian Empire set by Cyrus the Great since the rulers of Persia were Zoroastrians and relatively liberal and progressive.

It is essential for Women to know and understand their glorious history of the past, because without it, they will not be able to plant their place in the future. Our so called civilized modern world still has a long way to go in terms of gender equality. Freedom & Equality does not come free and no one will ever deliver it to us in a silver platter. We must build relationships that are unimpeded by gender-based distinctions and discrimination.

  Famous Historical Persian Queens, ministers, Generals and Admirals The Mothers of Persia

Most scholars today agree that women internationally step by step became second rate citizens and lost all their power, autonomy, independence, rights and consistently assigned a passive role in the society as soon as Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and especially Islam) became widespread. The gendering of those religions is oppressively male . The creator in Genesis is presented as an Old Male Sovereign Outsider who relate to the world by way of command. It is a male story of power, a story of hierarchical command and control. Religious discrimination against women is still alive and thriving! The texts of the Torah, Bible and Quran preach discrimination against women, degradation and subjugation of women, and even violence against women! They teach that women are not only inferior, but also must obey men, because “God” tells us that men are their masters (justifying all manner of religion-justified nastiness directed against them). In other words, the texts of these so-called “holy books” systematically ensure a second-class status for women . (Mothers of Creation, who make up a little over half of the world’s population).

  Click here to read more about Religious discrimination against women.

  B.C.E. = Before the Common/Current/Christian Era  |  C.E. = Common Era (Current Era).

  These historical events below are arranged in chronological, or date order: (oldest to newest)

584 B.C.E. - Mandana was a Median princess, daughter of the mighty King Astyages and later, the Queen consort of Cambyses of Anshan and mother of Cyrus the Great, (ruler of Persia’s Achaemenid Dynasty and the writer of the first declaration of human rights in the globe, named: Cyrus Cylinder).

Queen Mandana is a central character in legends describing the birth of Cyrus the great. According to ancient greek historian Herodotus, after the birth of Cyrus the Great, King Astyages had a strange dream that his “Magi” (Court Magician) interpreted as a sign that his grandson would eventually overthrow him. He then ordered his steward Harpagus to kill the infant. Harpagus, morally unable to kill a newborn hid the child, who was none other than Cyrus himself (Cyrus the Great) with a shepherd named Mitridates. Cyrus grew up without knowing that he came from a Royal Bloodline. According to this legend, Cyrus would eventually defy his grandfather, King Astyages, leading to a great war between them; as the dream had forecast. There are references to Mandana’s death as 559 B.C.E. in the history books. King Darius the Great named his daughter “Mandana“ after her.

The nameMandanameans: “Eternal.” in Persian
Mandana - Mother of Cyrus the Great

The Declaration of Human Rights written by Cyrus the Great has been hailed as the first charter of human rights, predating the Magna Carta by nearly two millenniums (~1700 years) and in 1971 the United Nations was published translation of it in all the official U.N. languages. It is now kept in the British Museum and it is no exaggeration to say that it is one of the most precious historical records of the world. Also a replica of the Cyrus Charter of Human Rights is kept at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

  King of the Kings: Emperor Cyrus the Great of Persia

Cyrus the Great in Babylonia

559 B.C.E. - Amitis Shahbanu was a Median princess, daughter of Astiak Shah of Mad (The Median King). Princess Amitis became the wife of Cyrus the Great and the Queen of Media and the Queen of the Persian Achaemenid Empire after the historical battle of Pasargadae (where Cyrus became the king of both kingdoms). Emperor Cyrus eventually supplanted and absorbed the United-Median Kingdom in the massive Achaemenid Persian World Empire. Cyrus deeply respected the culture, language and religion of subdued nations and considered all nations equal in terms of their rights. The nameAmitismeans: “Wise friend.”

Amitis - Shahbanu Wife of Cyrus the Great

  Emperor Cyrus the Great with his Queen, Empress Amitis Shahbanu Emperor Cyrus the Great and Empress Amitis

550 B.C.E. - Pantea Arteshbod was one of the all time greatest Persian commanders during the reign of Cyrus the Great (559 - 529 B.C.E.). She was the wife of General Aryasb (Achaemenid Arteshbod). She played an important role in keeping law & order in Babylonia after the conquest of the Neo-Babylonian Empire in 547 B.C.E. by Cyrus the Great. Commander Pantea truly was an important and sensitive military commander whose presence on the ancient battlefield made a difference to the outcome of the battle and played a part in building up the tapestry of ancient military Achievement. Pantea and General Aryasb were the commanders of the elite force of Persian soldiers who performed the dual roles of both Imperial Guard and standing army during the Persian Empire’s expansion. They formed the elite core of the Persian army in times of war and the royal guard in times of peace in Persian Achaemenid Empire. In Persian lore, Pantea was the most beautiful and toughest woman in all of Asia and kept her face covered during battle to prevent men from falling in love with her (view image). The namePanteameans: “Strong and immortal.” in Persian and “all the gods” or “all the flowers” in Greek.

The elite force were known as “The Immortals” because they were kept constantly at a strength of exactly 10,000 men, every killed or seriously wounded member was immediately replaced. To insure loyalty, the original members of this “immortal” fighting machine were Persians by bloodline and trained from early childhood (age 7+). Not everyone could become one of the 10,000 since the training was very rigorous and hard both physically and psychologically. They also followed a strict adherence to the religion of the prophet Zarathustra and his teachings in order to respect and value life. “The Immortals” were mainly used during the last stages of each battle as reinforcement by the order of the King of Kings to shock the enemies strategically.

  Arteshbod Pantea - Commander of the Persian “Immortal” Army Arteshbod Pantea - Immortal Army Commander

  Reconstruction of Persepolis: The royal ceremonial capital of the Persian Empire Art - Reconstruction of Persepolis 1

  Reconstruction of Persepolis: Main Stairways to Terrace and Gates of Persepolis Art - Reconstruction of Persepolis 2

  Video: Gordafarid, one of the heroines in the “Shahnameh:” Epic of Kings

545 B.C.E. - Cassandane Shahbanu was an Achaemenid Persian noblewoman, she became the wife of Cyrus the Great several years after his first beloved wife Queen Amitis past away. Cassandane was the sister of Otanes and daughter of Pharnaspes. She bore four children: Cambyses II (who succeeded his father and conquered Egypt), Smerdis (Bardiya) who also reigned as the king of Persia for a short time, a daughter named Atusa. Princess Atusa later played an important role in Achaemenid royal family, as she married Darius the Great. According to Herodotus, Cyrus loved his Queen Cassandane dearly and, when she died, ordered all the subjects of his empire to observe “a great mourning.” Cyrus never recovered from the grief of losing her and stayed inactive for the next decade until his death. Behind every great man there's a great woman and vice versa! There is a report in the chronicle of Nabonidus that, when “the king’s wife died,” there was public mourning in Persia along with all the twenty-five nations that were part of the empire lasting for several months. Queen Cassandane was buried in the tower called Zendaan-e Solaymaan at Pasargadae Persia. The nameCassandanemeans: “Creation of Glory.” in Persian and “She who entangles men” in Greek. (Alternative spellings are: “Κασσανδάνης”, later evolved to “Cassandra”.)

Cassandane - Shahbanu Wife of Cyrus the Great

  Pasargadae - The Palace of Peace and the Tomb of Cyrus the Great of Persia Art - Reconstruction of Persepolis - Tomb of Cyrus the Great - Pasargadae

  Reconstruction of Persepolis, the royal ceremonial capital of the Persian Empire Art - Reconstruction of Persepolis 6

530 B.C.E. - Mahruyeh Shahbanu was the Queen of the Persian Achaemenid Empire and the wife of King Cambysis (Kambujiye) the Second. The location of Cambyses and Mahruyehs tomb is uncertain and has been debated for a long time. Some think that they were buried in Pasargadae. Moreover, the unfinished stone platform known as Takht-e Rustam has long been seen by archaeologists as a possible location for their tombs, based on the similarity of its design and dimensions with those of the tomb of Cyrus in Pasargadae. The nameMahruyehmeans: “Pretty face.”

Shahbanu Mahruyeh

  Reconstruction of Persepolis: The East Portal of the Apadana Palace of Darius the Great Art - Apadana - East Portal

525 B.C.E. - Lieutenant Artunis was the Commander of the Achaemenid Persian Army and the daughter of Artebaz, Sepahbod (Lieutenant General) during the reign of Darius the Great. She was a mighty brave woman. The nameArtunismeans: “True and faithful.”

  Lieutenant Artunis discussing battle strategy with one of her female soldiers Lieutenant Artunis of Darius

  The largest and most complex building in Persepolis was the Audience Hall Art - Apadana - Audience Hall interior

522 B.C.E. - Atusa Shahbanu was the Queen of the Persian Achaemenid Empire, wife of the mighty Persian Achaemenid King Darius the Great (522-486 B.C.E.), daughter of Cyrus the Great and Queen Cassandane, a half-sister of Cambyses II and the mother of Xerxes the Great (Kheshayar Shah). Ancient Greek historians of the era remarks that the formidable Atusa “had all the power”. Atusa, had a great authority in the Achaemenid royal house and her marriage with Darius I is suggested to be because of her power and influence and also the fact that she was a direct descendent of Cyrus the Great. When her mother Cassandane died all the nations of the Persian empire observed a great mourning that lasted for months. Atusa was the director of palace affairs. She had a saying in deciding who would be send on military missions. She made sure that “Xerxes” became the successor of Emperor “Darius the Great” and not his eldest son “Artobazanes”. The invention of old Persian script is attributed to her. According to the legends Atusa also had a very strong women’s intuition and sixth sense which the King strongly admired and followed. Atusa is well mentioned in the Persepolis Fortification Tablets, an administrative archive from Persepolis. She was very wealthy with her own administration and massive personal army. Darius the Great followed in the footsteps of Cyrus the Great, and respected the culture, language and religion of subdued nations and considered all nations equal in terms of their rights. The nameAtusameans: “Beautiful body.” (Alternative spellings are: Atoosa, Atousa, or Atossa.)

Click here to read the Testament of Darius the Great to his son and successor Emperor Xerxes the Great (Kheshayar Shah).

  Emperor Darius the Great (Darius I) with his mighty Queen, Atusa Shahbanu Atusa Shahbanu - Wife of Darius the Great

  Emperor Darius the Great in Persepolis entrance of Gateway of All Nations Art - Darius the Great in Persepolis

520 B.C.E. - Phaidyme Shahbanu was an Achaemenid Queen and the daughter of the Persian noble Otanes, one of the seven conspirators who helped Darius the Great to assume the throne. She was the wife of king Smerdis (Bardya) who was allegedly killed and replaced with a false pretender to the throne (real name: Gaumata). According to the Greek Historians she was the first to realize there is something wrong. In bed she feels for the absent ears of her husband while he is making love to her in the dark; and so begins the legendary story about the overthrow of the “Magi” (court magian) who pretends to be the king by the seven aristocrats. The namePhaidyme is a Hellenized form of an unidentified Old Persian name. (Alternative spellings: Greek: Φαιδύμη.)

Phaidyme Shahbanu - Wife of King Smerdis

  Reconstruction of Persepolis: Tachara palace: Private palace of Darius the Great Art - Reconstruction of Persepolis 5

488 B.C.E. - Irdabama was a highly Successful Historical Business Woman. She was a major formidable landowner and controlled a huge workforce. She ran her own wine and grain business at the time of Xerxes the Great. The fortification tablets at Persepolis contain information about her wealth, workshops and hundreds of workers of both sexes. She had her own seal which meant great prestige and power. Irdabama proved that possession of enormous property, wealth and good social standing was not limited to Royal women and that everything was possible with hard work and determination. Her non-Royal ranks with considerable estate, influence and autonomy. She is also well mentioned in international history books. Irdabama was just one of the many successful and powerful business women in the ancient Persian World. Most of them had the power to use their own seals and letterheads indicating not only their autonomy and independence, but the existence of an equal social system which accepted the authority and independence of women. (This section is mainly dedicated to Persian Queens and Warriors, but we just wanted to mention one ancient historical business woman).

Worth to mention is that over a half millennium after Irdabama, in Europe, Roman women were not allowed to own their very own business and land. They were not allowed even to make suggestions. Also, women belonging to wealthy families didn’t work. Work was reserved thus for slaves and for the lower classes according to Roman and Greek historians. In the ancient Greece, women were considered to be inferior species. And the situation became worse each century as Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) became widespread.

The nameIrdabama is a Hellenized form of an unidentified Old Persian name.

Irdabama - Historical Achaemenid Business Woman

  History of Wine making through the Ancient World of Persia Art - History of Wine

486 B.C.E. - Amestris Shahbanu was the beautiful daughter of Otanes (A Persian nobleman mentioned in the Histories of Herodotus as a defender of the idea of democracy.) and the early wife of Emperor Xerxes the Great (prior to Esther), mother of King Artaxerxes and Queen of Persia. She was also an Achaemenid military Commander and her mother was a Arteshbod General of the Imperial Army. Amestris was known to have been poorly regarded by ancient Greek historians. She had the reputation to be more bloodthirsty than any Persian king had ever been against those who broke the law in order to set a precedent for the importance of the rule of law in the empire. Queen Amestris was a great and very strict law-giver. Worth to mention is that after her death King Darius II of Persia named his daughter Amestris after her in the year 413 B.C.E. The nameAmestrismeans: “Friend, companion.” (Comes from Old Persian “Amāstrī” with the meaning “Strong woman”, Alternative spellings in Greek: “Άμηστρις”.)

  Emperor Xerxes the Great (Kheshayar Shah) with his early wife Amestris Shahbanu Amestris with Xerxes the Great

  Gateway to all Nations and the entrance into the ancient city of Persepolis Art - Reconstruction of Persepolis 3

485 B.C.E. - Grand Admiral Artemisia: became the ruler of Halicarnassius (A Greek City-State and a colony of Persian Empire). She ruled under the overlordship of the Persian Emperor Xerxes I (Kheshayar Shah). She was the legendary Grand Admiral and leader of the Persian Navy, She was Xerxes’ great love. A great powerful, independent and intelligent woman who won many battles during the Achaemnid Dynasty Era. The Greeks had been carrying out terrorist attacks on Persian holdings for years. They had attacked Persian cities, set fire to Persian temples, disrupted key trade routes, and pirated merchant ships crossing the Bosphorus. They incited rebellions inside Persian provinces, but perhaps most abhorrent to the Persians was the ease by which the Greeks broke their treaties and betrayed Persia’s trust. Rather than resort to violence Persia tried to keep the Greeks in check by financially supporting Greek politicians who were “pro-Persian,” But what finally triggered Persia’s wrath was an act rarely mentioned in the West, though well documented, even by Herodotus (Father of History). In 498 B.C.E, Athens carried out a terrorist attack on Sardis, a major Persian city. The Athenians, set fire to the “outlying parts” of Sardis trapping most of its population “in a ring of fire”, literally killing hundred thousands of innocent civilians.

When the Persian King Xerxes went to war against Greece in 480 B.C.E, Artemisia led her powerful ships and helped Xerxes defeat the Greeks in the beginning phases of naval battle of Salamis. Ancient Greek historian Herodotus writes, apparently quite embarassed: It seems to me a marvel that she - a woman - should have taken part in the campaign against Greece. The Athenians resented women in arms, says Herodotus. The Greeks offered a reward of 10,000 drachmas for capturing Artemisia’s head, but no one succeeded in winning the prize. Understand that back then Persia was the sole superpower of the globe and Greece consisted of tens of separated and scattered city-states, each played their own tunes and they were busy fighting each other all the time. Some of these city-states were pro Persia, some were anti Persia, some were neutral and some were even parts of Persia as protectorates! Admiral Artemisia became a living legend and a role model for all the women in the Empire and the known civilized World. The nameArtemisiameans: “The great speaker of truth.”

  Grand Admiral Artemisia and Emperor Xerxes the Great Grand Admiral Artemisia with Xerxes the Great
  Emperor Xerxes the Great commanding the Persian Navy at the Battle of Salamis Art - Emperor Xerxes and the Persian Navy

During the Greco-Persian Wars, the Greek city-states were never a threat to the Persian heartland. It is important to note that Persia did not want to conquer Greece, the empire was already over stretched spanning three continents and over twenty-five nations. Many Ionian Greeks were already parts of Persia as protectorates and Persians respected Greek philosophers and had many of them in their employ. Also the Greek city-states were constantly busy fighting each other all the time and the Persian Kings saw that region as very unstable and left them alone. Persia mainly only attacked Greece as response to terrorist attacks on Persian holdings (Similar to what USA did after 9/11). After the Persian victory at the Battle of Thermopylae, Athens was abandoned and King Xerxes decided to burn some of the Government Headquarters and Palaces to the ground as revenge and warning for all the previous Greek terrorist attacks on Persian holdings and civilian population. Xerxes later rebuilt some of the dammaged civilian areas of the city and sent a message to the Athenian citizens and told them that they could return to their homes, which they did. Soonafter Xerxes left Greece for good. That shows how humane the Persian empire was and how much they respected civilians, despite the fact that the Athenians wiped out the entire Persian city of Sardis and all its civilian population.

...History is unfourtunatley always written by the victors and the usual Greek anachronism often corrupts historical facts about Persia.

Art - Battle of Thermopylae

What Persia did not achieve through war, it obtained through diplomacy.

Conspiracy against history - The forgotten Chapter: The Battle of Thermopylae was of course written by the classical Greek author, Herodotus. His book, “The Histories” became part of Western folklore only recently. It wasn't until about 1850 that America embraced Herodotus as the leading authority on Persian history. Before 1850, however, the West had a very favorable and true impression of the humane Federal Persian Empire. That's because the West's main source for Persian history was the Bible and the Cyropaedia in which both glorified the monarchy of Cyrus The Great and the humane nature of the Persian Empire. In the wake of two bloody revolutions fought by America and France to liberate themselves from their own monarchies, a major campaign began, around the mid 19th century, to promote democracy throughout the rest of Europe, and Herodotus was the perfect propaganda tool and was quickly ushered in as the “Father of History”. Around 1850, his “Battle of Thermopylae” came to symbolize the West's struggle for democracy against the powerful forces of Persia's monarchy. The story is easy to buy into: 300 brave Spartan barbarians saved Western democracy from 3 million evil Persians! But aside from the fanciful numbers, this whimsical tale has far graver consequences than a mere bias account of history. The “Battle of Thermopylae” has been the single most powerful wedge, which has divided East and West for over 2 millennia. In a time when East and West should be reconciling their differences, along comes the movie “300” to drive that wedge even deeper. The Spartans were extremely cruel men who annually killed for sport! And declared war on the defenseless Helots (Greek slaves) that lived around them. The entire civilized ancient world viewed them as bloodthirsty barbarians and nothing else. Herodotus is accepted blindly by virtually all Western demographics. Yet we know that slavery was an integral cornerstone of Greek society. In monarchic Persia, however, women enjoyed a level of gender equality unmatched even to this day, and slavery was not practiced. The fact is, Persia's monarchy was more free than Athens' “democracy”, all because of Persia's Bill of Human Rights.

480 B.C.E. - Artemisia’s Love Story with Xerxes the Great: Grand Admiral Artemisia was sexy, strong, built, a typical athletic woman with beauty and culture. She made an oath to get Xerxes, the Great King of Persia. She was nuts about him. There was something about Xerxes that drove her crazy! Xerxes was a great military mind himself. Xerxes was also a great flirt, a playboy, Ladies’ man, and a very arrogant aristocrat.. Capturing his heart was a great task to do for Artemisia. To win Xerxes’ heart she had to impress him militaristically! Xerxes had seen it all, he had women throwing themselves at him from all parts of his empire from Chinese border in the East and Aristocrats from Ariana and Bakhtar Satrapies, all the way to Greek colonies of Persian Empire in the West and Europe to the Northern borders of Africa, Egypt in south! She eventually impressed Xerxes by her brave Navy campaigns and bravery in battlefield. She gave naval support to Xerxes and Mardoniuses forces. She fought in the battle like a man. she showed military genius and ingenuity. She impressed the hell out of Xerxes. By doing this, she for sure captured his heart and definitely accomplished getting a high position in Persian government. Xerxes had never seen a woman quite like her! Artemisia became Xerxes’ lover, actually his greatest love until that day!

Yet Xerxes never married her, funny how Xerxes later ended up marrying Esther his Jewish Princess! Yes, no matter how much this great love affair between Xerxes and Artemisia dragged on, yet they never got married! It was diny for Esther to come along in the years ahead and to steal Xerxes’ heart again! Grand Admiral Artemisia wanted a very high position and command in Persian CourtHouse to establish her absolute power and authority in the Persian Achaemenid Court. Well, Persian Empire being the only Super Power in the known world back then, she wanted to be an important part of it! Artemisia saw life as a large battlefield!

  Grand Admiral Artemisia and her legendary white horse and Golden Sword Artemisia - Grand Admiral Artemisia

  Reconstruction of Persepolis: Private Residence of the King of Kings Art - Reconstruction of Persepolis 8

478 B.C.E. - Esther (born “Hadassah”) was the wife of King Xerxes the Great and Persia’s first Jewish queen and heroine of the Biblical Book of Esther which is named after her and recounts how a Persian king helped protect the Israelite nation from annihilation. In many ways, Esther’s story reads like a “Cinderella tale”. Many modern scholars are concerned over Esther’s historical accuracy since it is hard to distinguish authentic history from fiction in biblical texts. According to the Biblical Book of Esther King Xerxes of Persia held a one hundred and eighty-day feast in Susa to display the vast wealth of his empire to the world and the splendour and glory of his majesty. When the king’s heart was “merry with wine,” the king ordered his seven chamberlains to summon Queen Vashti to come before him and his guests wearing her royal crown, in order to display her beauty. She refused to come since the Susa feast had lasted for nearly six months and she did not want to embarrass herself in front of all the drunken royal guests all over again, thus she left the palace at night. Furious at her refusal, the King asked his wise men and the seven princes of Persia for advice, they advised the King to search for a new queen. The King followed this advice and banished the rebellious Queen Vashti and then began searching for a new queen by means of a large-scale nationwide beauty & talent contest.

Beautiful young women were gathered to the palace from every province. Esther was advanced for this role by Mordecai, her adoptive father and guardian. For 12 months each woman underwent beauty treatments and Educational Importance of Royal Manners and Etiquettes in the Harem. They were then given anything they wanted or wished for to take with them from the Harem to the King’s palace. Most women chose luxurious colourful dresses, wore heavy makeup and carried as much gold and diamond jewellery as they could carry in order to catch the Kings Eyes and attention. When it was time for Esther to go to the king’s palace, she chose the simplest white dress she could find, wore minimum makeup and jewellery. Xerxes liked Esther more than he did any of the other young and beautiful women. None of them pleased him as much as she did, and right away he fell in love with her natural beauty, simplicity, sincerity and intellect and crowned her to be his wife and queen. In honor of Esther he gave a big dinner for his leaders and officials. Then he declared a holiday everywhere in his vast kingdom along with all the twenty-five countries that were part of his empire and gave expensive gifts to everyone. Both Esther and her adoptive father Mordecai became favourites in the Persian court. The nameEsther comes from the Persian word: “star”.

  Shahbanu Esther Welcomed by Emperor Xerxes the Great Xerxes the Great with Queen Esther

  Xerxes the Great with Shahbanu Queen Esther under the Lion in the Palace Art - Xerxes the Great with Shahbanu Esther

423 B.C.E. - Pari Satis (Parysatis) was the half-sister of Xerxes II, Queen of the Persian Achaemenid Empire and the wife of King Darius the Second. She was also a General (Arteshbod) and took full command of the Imperial Army when her husband died in battle. Whilst King Artaxerxes II wanted to eliminate his brother for betraying him, Parysatis interfered succesfully and restored order and peace with her own army. (Persian queens had large private estates and personal armies). What she could not achieve through war, she obtained through diplomacy. Historians know very little about Darius II’s reign but it does seem that he was quite dependent on his wife Parysatis according to the Greek Historians. In the background you can see the engraving of Darius the Great on the wall. The nameParimeans: “Angel-like.”

Pari Satis - Wife of Darius II

  Imperial Army’s hall of honour Ports (also called “Hundred-Columns Palace) in Persepolis Art - Reconstruction of Persepolis 7

381 B.C.E. - Sissy Cambis was the Empress of Persia and the Mother of Darius the Third, she was a remarkable Achaemenid woman who fought, resisted and did not surrender to Alexander the Macedonian Tyrant. She was captured by Alexander after the battle of Issus in 333 B.C.E, along with her beautiful daughter Princess Estatira. Alexander was very much found of her and had a crush on her according to the Greek Historians! The nameSissymeans: “Fortunate.”

In January 334 B.C.E, The king of Macedonia: Alexander, Invaded Persia after his victory over the Persian army and reached Persepolis, the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. Alexander was an admirer of Persian Kings and especially Cyrus the Great. He conquered Persia but the Persian culture conquered him. He married with the Persian Kings: Darius III daughter: Princess Roxana and ordered all his generals and 10,000 of his soldiers to follow suit in a mass Persian wedding. Alexander tried to emulate the Persian court customs and attempted to create a new culture, a mixture of both Persian and Hellenistic.

Sissy Cambis - Queen of Persia and the Mother of Darius III

Alexander and his Army also plundered Persia, he ordered the execution of many Persians, allowed his troops to indulge themselves in plunder and rape and, in a drunken rage, set torch and destroyed Persepolis, the magnificent palace complex of the kings in revenge for all the Persian-Greek wars many centuries before and also because he was not yet the sole ruler of the Persian Empire, and it was too dangerous to leave the enormous treasures behind, where his enemies could recapture them. When Alexander conquered the Persians, he burned many of the grand buildings and libraries in Persepolis and destroyed or stole many of its royal treasures. The ancient painting below is showing Alexander’s troops burning and looting the palaces in Persepolis.

  Alexander at the Tomb of Cyrus the Great in Pasargadae, Persepolis Alexander at the Tomb of Cyrus the Great

336 B.C.E. - Princess Estatira (Stateira) was the daughter of Darius the Third and Sissy Cambis. Estatira had the rank of: Achaemenid Sepahbod (Lieutenant General). She was captured by Alexander after the battle of Issus in 333 B.C.E, along with her mother Sissy Cambis. After their capture, the Persian women joined Alexander’s baggage train for around two years. After Alexander’s return from India he married Stateira. The Greek sources mention that following Alexander’s death, his favourate wife Roxane from the kingdom of Bactria (modern Afghanistan) lured Stateira and her sister to her, and had the two princesses killed and thrown into a well, Roxane was pregnant and was determined that her son should be the undisputed heir of Alexander. The nameEstatira (Stateira)means: “Creation of the stars.”

Estatira Sepahbod - Daughter of Darius III

  Reconstruction of Apadana Palace - The audience hall in Persepolis Art - Reconstruction of Persepolis 1

334 B.C.E. - Youtab Aryobarzan was the Commander of Achaemenid Army, sister of the legendary Persian Hero, General Aryobarzan, she stood side by side to her brother and fought the Greeks and Macedonians to death during the invasion of Alexander. The nameYoutabmeans: “Unique.”

Youtab Aryobarzan

  Reconstruction of Persepolis: The Grand Entry: Dual entrance to the Palace Art - The Grand Entry - Persepolitan stairway

326 B.C.E. - Princess Roxana was daughter of King Darius III, Shahanshah of The Persian Empire! She married the King of Macedonia: Alexander when he professed his love for her in the fortress around 327 B.C.E. Roxana bravely accompanied him on his campaign in India in 326 B.C.E. She bore him a posthumous son called Alexander IV Aegus, after Alexander’s sudden death at Babylon. Roxana and her son became victims of the political intrigues of the collapse of the Alexandrian Empire. Roxana and her son were protected by Alexander’s mother, Olympias, in Macedon, but her assassination in 316 B.C.E. allowed Cassander to seek kingship. Since Alexander IV Aegus was the legitimate heir to the Alexandrian empire, Cassander ordered him and Roxana assassinated around 309 B.C.E. This is a factual based portrait and the historically accurate Roxanna. The nameRoxanameans: “The dawn and luminous beauty.” (in both Persian and Bactrian).

Roxanna Achaemenid Princess

  Alexander and the Greek Seleucids Burning & Plundering Persepolis in Persia Alexander Burning and Plundering Persepolis in Persia

323 B.C.E. - Alexander past away. Although a masterful general, he lacked administrative skills. Shortly after his death, his empire was divided among his contesting generals. An important legacy of his conquest of Persia was the introduction of the Persian imperial practices into the West. Many of these practices particularly those relating to state administration and the rule of law were later adopted by the Roman Empire.


247 B.C.E. - 87 years after the invasion, the Iranians gradually defeated the invaders. The Parthians (Ashkanian), a tribal kingdom from northeastern Persia of the coastal areas broke the Macedonian dynasty, gradually defeated the Greek Seleucids and consolidated their control over all of Persia and they remained true to the spirit and culture of Persia, and did their best to make positive contributions.

The Greco-Persian wars and Alexander’s victories proved that light-armed troops could not stop heavy, well-trained, and brilliantly led infantry of the type of hoplites or phalanx. These could only be encountered with even more heavily armed and highly professional cavalry causing disorder in the massed ranks and then attacking them on vulnerable points with bowshots capable of piercing armour and lances effective against shields. This lesson went home with the Parthians who in ousting the Seleucids from Persia formed their own professional armies and taking into consideration of what was needed against their enemies. Their victory over the Romans in 53 B.C.E. elevated the Parthian Empire into a superpower of their era.

  Parthian Commander - The Legendary General Surena Parthian Commander - The Legendary General Surena

The Amazons - One of the areas that have received the least amount of attention by international scholarship is the role of women warriors of ancient Persia. The role of ancient Persian female warriors can be traced back several millenniums. The women warriors, known as “Amazons” by the ancient Greeks, were typical of such fighters who prevailed in Iran’s north (modern Gilan, Mazandaran, Gorgan) and northwest (modern Azarbaijan in Iran) as early as the 5th century B.C.E. or earlier. There have been numerous finds in the gravesites of ancient North-Iranic warriors known as the Scythians (Saka in Persian) and their Sarmatian (or Ard-Alan) successors. The ancient burial mounds have often yielded the remains of women warriors who were buried alongside their swords, shields and other war equipments. These burial mounds have been discovered in various forms fall the way into the Caucasus and Iran (to the north and northwest).

  The Achaemenid Unit of Persian Female Warriors. The Commander is in front Persian Achaemenid Commander

  A reconstruction of the north-Iranian Saka or Scythians in battle. Persian Scythian Warriors

The Central-Asian steppe has been the home of iranic nomad tribes for millenniums. The earliest mention of the iranic Scythians is in Assyrian records dating to the reign of Sargon II (prior to 713 B.C.E.). The Scythians were diverse groups of militaristic Iranic pastoralists and their language belongs to the Iranian group (Eastern Iranian language family). The current province of “Sistan” in today’s Iran is historically known as “Sakestan” which means “The land of Saks” (Birthplace of the Scythians). continue »

  Nomadic and sedentary (Imperial) Iranic Peoples in 6th century B.C.E. Iranic Eastern and Western Peoples Map

213 C.E. - Sura was one of the Greatest Heroines of Persian History, A strategical and Military Genius during the Parthian dynasty. She was the daughter of Ardavan the Fifth, the last King of the Parthian Empire (Ashkanid Empire). She is mentioned in the history books as her father’s right hand. Sura had the rank of: Ashkanid’s General, Sepahbod (Lieutenant General). Although she was not as tactical in the battlefield as the legendary General Surena (who was her role model), she was a great respected Lieutenant General on her own. Her main tactics was to not charge into the enemy line before weakening and exhausting them first. She was unfortunate to live during the decline of the Parthian empire due to centuries of Roman-attacks, major internal revolts and instability. She had a grudge against King Aradeshir because on 225 C.E. Ardeshir (Son of Babak) went to a great war against her father (Ardavan V) and killed him in the war. All she experienced during her short life-span was war, death and misery. Her soldiers were the only friends that she ever had. May her great spirit rest in peace. The nameSurameans: “Flower face.”

Sura - General of Ashkanid Empire

  Parthian Elite Cataphracts known as the “Ashkanian Savaran” (247 B.C.E. - 224 C.E.) Parthian Elite Cataphracts

241 C.E. - Azadokht Shahbanu was the Queen of the Persian Sassanid Empire and the wise wife of Shapour the Great who established Jondi Shahpur university, a major center of higher learning. Azadokht was not a military woman but she was very skilled with her sword. Persia were constantly in war with the Roman Empire for many centuries and the Roman army had never seen women soldiers in war fighting so bravely and brutally next to male soldiers and valiantly defending their homeland until the last drop of blood was shed... During the Sassanid dynasty many of the Persian soldiers captured by Romans were women who were fighting along with the men. Rome was a brutal empire with her economy based on slavery, POWs and built on blood. The Great King Shahpur of Persia invaded Roman Empire territory and took Emperor Valerian and the entire Roman army prisoner as a lesson to never attack Persia again! He was victorious over three Roman emperors: Valerianus, Gordianus III and Philip. This in turn forced the Romans to quickly negotiating peace with the Sassanid Persians and they started to pay heavy taxes each time they approached near Sassanid territory in order to avoid unnecessary conflicts.

* Roman emperors always said that in order to Rule the World and acquiring new lands and control over the Silk Road you have to conquer Persia first (known to the ancient world as “The wealthiest empire under the sun”). The Romans also wrongly believed that two superpowers could never coexist peacefully and therefore their main goal was to conquer and destroy Persia but they never succeeded despite of centuries of wars and instead lost many wars that weakened their own empire and in the end left both empires very vulnerable against internal revolts and outside threat. The Romans tried to re-write history by calling great civilized and historical nations that they invaded and colonised (Greece, Egypt etc.) along with the entire Non-Roman world for “Barbarians” when in fact it was the other way around. Persians and Greeks viewed the Romans as the true bloodthirsty Barbarians of their era. continue »

The nameAzadokhtmeans: “Free girl.”

Azadokht - Shahbanu and Wife of King Shahpur

The ancient Painting below is showing the Surrender of Roms Emperor Valerian and Roman Senator to Shapour King of Persia (on horse-top). Emperor Valerian kneels and begs for mercy from King Shahpur of Persia while the Female Persian cavalry officer (left) is guarding along with nobleman of the Suren clan (with tall “beaked” hat). continue »

  King Shahpur I, invaded Roman Empire territory and took Emperor Valerian prisoner Shahpur taking Roms Emperor Valerian Prisoner

  Sassanid Persian Elite Warriors vs. the chanceless Roman Army (Battle of Samarra) Sassanid Elite Army Force

379 C.E. - Zenon from Crete of Persia, was the Court Dancer of King Ardeshir II, she is mentioned in the history books as “the apple of the King’s eye”. Dancing appeared in the Persian Mystic court dances. The only survivor in Persian dance in its existing condition, which has survived throughout the centuries. Dancing was an advanced, protected art form during many dynasties of the Persian Empire. Greek texts, detailed descriptions for different forms of Persian dancing, fire dance, sword dance even horse dance (dancing while horseback). The nameZenonmeans: “God-like.”

Zenon Court Dancer of Ardeshir Shah

The Persian exotic dancing traditions has still survived to the present day of Iran and the most beautiful women in Persia are devoted to the profession of dancing; the transparency of their shift, which is the only covering they use to conceal their persons, the exquisite symmetry of their forms, their apparent agitation, and the licentiousness of their verses, are so many incentives to a passion which requires more philosophy than the Persians possess to restrain. In the 1950’s and 60’s, Persian classical dance began a revival but the decline in the monarchy in 1979 was paralleled by a decline in the support and status of dancers. Classical Persian dance today continues to evolve in private, combining strength, flexibility, musicality, and art, into what could be considered the epitome of classical Persian dance.

The Persian classical dance is not a dead art, frozen in time and endlessly repeated, but one that is both rich in heritage, and capable of adapting and incorporating elements from outside its tradition...

Persian Classical Exotic Dancing traditions

383 C.E. - Princess Aspas was a Commander of the Persian Sassanid police force and a daughter of Emperor Ardeshir the Second (The tenth Sassanid King of Persia). The nameAspasmeans: “Guard of strength.”

Persian Partisan Knight

  A Silver-Armored Sassanid City Guard (Police) Cavalry at Ctesiphon (Sassanid Capital) Sassanid Heavy Armored Cavalry at Ctesiphon

The Persian Sassanid High Command often channeled invading forces into “kill zones” and destoryed them by deploying Heavily Armored Savaran units (Elite cavalry). The right figure is a female warrior who is a local governess (Paygospanan-Banu).

Sassanid Savaran - Counterattacking

488 C.E. - Princess Parin was a Persian Sassanid politician, daughter of Qobad, Counselor of the Persian Courthouse, extremely intelligent and confident female politician. The nameParinmeans: “Same as an angel.”

Princess Parin Sassanid

531 C.E. - Zand Shahbanu was the Queen of Persia and the mighty Wife of King Khosrow Anushirvan: ruled 531–579 C.E. (The most illustrious of the Sassanid Rulers) and the niece of General Bahram Chubin. The last holdout of Sassanid Persia was in the east, and it is to this little studied part of the world that scholars need next to approach, for it seems certain that the small states of Central Asia, too, were part of the ancient Persian world, and their role in bringing Persian influences to China and to Russia should not be forgotten. The nameZandmeans: “Precious.”

Zand the Wife of Khosrow Anushirvan

590 C.E. - Shirin Shahbanu was the Queen of the Persian Sassanid Empire and the wife of King Khosrow Parviz 590-628 C.E. whose military exploits extended the empire to its furthest extent and conquered much Byzantine empire territory. Shirin was a christian princess who eventually consents to marry King Khosrow after several romantic and heroic episodes, including his rescue of her from a lion. Their historical love story has been further romanticized by Persian scholars. During his reign, King Khosrow Parviz built several magnificent palaces in the Kermanshah Province (west of Iran) and named them after his queen, Shirin; hence the city got its name from there and is now called “Qasr-e Shirin”, literary meaning “Palace of Shirin”. The nameShirinmeans: “Sense of sweetness.”

Shahbanu Shirin Sassanid

629 C.E. - Empress Purandokht was the twenty-sixth Sassanid monarch of Persia, reigning from 629 to 631. She was the older sister of Azarmidokht, older daughter of Khosrow Parviz. When Purandokht ascended to the throne after the murder of the general Shahrbaraz, who killed her nephew Ardashir III, she attempted to bring stability to the empire. This stability was brought about by a peace treaty with the Byzantine Empire, the revitalization of the empire through the implementation of justice, reconstruction of the infrastructure, lowering of taxes, and minting coins. She was largely unsuccessful in her attempts to restore the power of the central authority which was weakened considerably by civil wars, and resigned. The namePuran-dokhtmeans: “Beautiful-girl.”

Empress Purandokht Sassanid

632 C.E. - Empress Azarmidokht was the daughter of King Khosrow Parviz. She was the twenty-seventh Sassanid Monarch of Persia and she ruled the empire after her sister Purandokht during the Sassanid Dynasty era. The nameAzarmidokhtmeans: “Youthful girl.”

Sassanid Consecutive Female Monarch Rulers

633 C.E. - Turandokht was the beautiful Princess of Persia during the Sassanid dynasty era and the daughter of King Khosrow Parviz, sister of Azarmidokht and Purandokht. The legend and fairy tale of Princess Turandokht (Turandot) is very famous in Europe and it was taken from the Persian collection of stories called: The Book of One Thousand and One Nights (Hezar o-yek shab), she became an icon of nobility and stature. The Europeans changed the nationalities of the historical characters but other than that everything else is intact and true to the original. Turan is the ancient Persian name for Central Asia which used to be part of the Persian Empire. The original Turanians are the Tuirya Iranian people of the Avesta age (1737 B.C.E.). The nameTurandokhtmeans: “Turanian girl.” (Turan’s Daughter) with “dokht” being a contraction for “Dokhtar” in Persian (meaning “Daughter”).

Turandokht Sassanid

635 C.E. - Apranik was a Persian Sassanid High Ranking Commander of Army and the daughter of Piran (the great General of King Yazdgird III) and she fought gracefully, as a resistance commander, fighting against Arabo-Oppressors. Apranik was more like a TomBoy! Since childhood, she loved military. She was her Father’s Right hand, and the amazing Nationalistic Feelings that she developed during her teenage years led her to become a military person. Like her father Apranik decided to become a professional soldier and she climbed the steps of progress, one by one and after her complete education, she managed to rise from a petty officer, to a full commander of the Persian Army. Apranik was a tireless inspiration for her troops in defense of their nation against outside aggressors. The Arab Bandits attacked Persia’s south borders at the worst time possible, the continuous centuries of war with the Roman Empire had weakened the Persian Empire economically, militaristically, & spiritually and cost many lives and the last Sassanid king Yazdegard was not paying any attention to the rise of Islam and the invading barbaric arabs in the south at that time.

Apranik fully took the command of a major battalion of the Persian Army directly after the full-scale invasion and occupation by Arab armies and she led her devoted warriors against the Arab oppressors even after the loss of the Persian Empire and Sassanid Dynasty. As she got wiser, she found out that “Organized Warfare” with the Arabs or “The Desert Rats” as she refered to them, who invade and hide, and then reinforce and invade again, does not work; therefore, she started a campaign of a treacherous battle against the occupiers. For years to come, Apranik, first fought an official war and later on when all hopes were destroyed, Apranik, started her Hit and Run Rebellious Campaign until death. Apranik’s Dedicated Commando Warfare were legendary and relentless. Her white horse has always been a famous symbol of freedom and still is til this day. The nameApranikmeans: “Daughter of elder.”

  Legendary Commander Apranik of the Persian Sassanid Army Commander Apranik of Sassanid

  Commander Apranik of Sassanid Army in Battle against the invaders Commander Apranik of Sassanid - In Battle

... Apranik and her Ranks, never surrendered, they have fought an on going bloody battle to the bitter ends. Apranik became a symbol for the “Persian Resistance & Freedom”. Her braveries were so known, that she became the talk of the “Persian Resistance” and Persians created an expression for her! Every time a female soldier would have shown bravery among the resistance, other soldiers would smile and call her: “Apranik”. Apranik’s famous words and policy were: “No retreat, no surrender”. Apranik acted as a battery charger for resistances spirit and chose to fight with her soldiers, until the bitter end, she chose to be cut to pieces by the Arab Sword, than to become a slave-whore in the Arab Bed... and eventually Apranik became a legend. The Legend of Apranik, is still living in every female freedom fighter of Persia’s heart. May her great spirit rest in peace. Apranik Daughter of renowned general Piran or as they used to call her “Apranik of Piran’s” will always be in the “Persian Resistance Hall of Fame”. This is what the Persian women were made of!

  A Gentler side of Commander Apranik of the Persian Sassanid Army Commander Apranik of Sassanid - Gentler side

639 C.E. - Negan was a freedom Fighter Leader, A Guerrilla Commander during Sassanid dynasty era and after the Arabo-Occupation, one of the major resistance fighters of Persia against the Arab Invasion. Negan was not a military woman, nor a woman of nobility, yet she had a heart full of love for Persia. Her heart was pounding for the Mother Land. she had decided to pick up the sword and lead a band of resistance fighters against the Arabo-Animals who invaded The Civilized World and Mother Persia. She died in battle a year after the invasion. The nameNeganmeans: “Good destiny.”

Negan - Sassanids Guerrilla Commander

751 C.E. - Azad Deylami was a Guerrilla Commander and a partisan leader from Caspian Sea shores in north of Iran, who fought bravely for many years with her band of freedom fighters against the Arab Oppressors, during the Occupation era. Azad was from Daylam (Today’s State of Gilan in Iran). Daylam had a history of rebellion. Until this day, State of Gilan has been the mother and the home for many of the Revolutionaries and freedom fighters of Iran. Azad-e Daylami (Azad of Daylam) was one of the very first brave daughters of this region. She became one of the most famous freedom fighters of the region and a symbol of Persian Resistance against the Forced Religion and Government of Islam. The nameAzadmeans: “Free.”

Azad Deylami - Partisan leader from North of Iran

795 - 838 C.E. - Banu was the Wife of Babak Khoramdin (Persian Legendary Freedom Fighter), she fought side by side to her husband Babak. Banu & Babak Khoramdin are considered as one of the most heroic freedom fighters of Persia who initiated the Khoramdinan movement. It was a freedom fighting movement aimed to overthrow the Tazi Arab Caliph occupiers and at the time rulers of Persia. After the occupation of Persia by the Arab Hounds, Banu and Babak worked as revolutionary resistance fighters leading the Persian Resistance Militia. The famous female commando and revolutionary Banu, was a lioness. The central area of activity for Banu was Atropatgan state of Persia. Now this woman was amazing! She was the better half of Babak Khoramdin (Legendary Freedom Fighter). Banu was a temperamental Woman and a very skilled archer, she grew up with her bow and arrows! She was Babak’s partner in life and death, in war and peace. Banu was a symbol of Pure Persian Pride! Banu and Babak fought the Arab Occupation for years. One of the most dramatic periods in the history of Persia was set under Babak & Banu’s leadership between 816-837 C.E. During these most crucial years, they not only fought against the Caliphate, but also against Tazi Arab barbaric behaviors and customs.

Eventually, Banu and Babak and their warriors were forced to leave “The Castle of Babak” (Ghaleye Babak) after 23 years of constant successful campaigns that killed over 500,000 invading Arabs and Babak’s mighty army (Red-Shirts) was never once defeated. According to historians of the era; For every Persian that died 10 Arabs followed them to the grave! They were eventually betrayed by one of their own officers and were handed over to the Abbasid Caliph. They lived and they died as Proud Persians until the last drop of blood was shed.

The nameBanumeans: “Lady.” (Alternative spellings: “Bānu Xorramdin”)

Banu Khoramdin

  Banu’s husband: Babak Khoramdin, The Persian Hero (798-838 C.E.) Babak Khoramdin - Irans National Hero

  Click Here to see a summary video clip in Persian about Babak’s life and History.

The Fall of the Empire - Rostam Farrokhzad was the Governor of the Persian Army during the Sassanid Dynasty under King Yazdegerd III. He captured “Ctesiphon” (The New Sassanid Capital) and he defeated the Roman Army several times. He added Armenia and Mesopotamia to the Persian Empire. A large Arab army had united against Persia (battle of Nehavand). The last Sassanid king Yazdegerd doubted they could do anything because their invasions always failed in the past. A long and brutal war against the savage Arab invaders started in the south borders of Persia at the worst time possible, the continuous 700 years of war with the Roman Empire had weakened the Persian Empire economically, militaristically, & spiritually and cost many lives and the last Sassanid king Yazdegard was not paying any attention to the rise of Islam and the invading arabs in the south at that time. Last but not least “The Persian Traitors” & Infidels who always betrayed Iran & spied for Rome or Arabs. Persian Traitors were many low lives who sold Iran by the pound, & they are still doing it as of now!

The head of Persian forces & the Grand General in charge of the defence “Rostam Farrokhzad” figured what the Bloodthirsty Arabs were fighting for... for their hunger, and their new God “Allah” and his so-called Holy War against the civilized World. (Arabs believed that they could rape & plunder the population and take anyone’s land, since God said that it was all theirs to take, and if they would die during the holy-war they would go directly to heaven and meet their 72 virgins). It was not possible for the Persians to fight an official war against the rebellious Jihadist Arabs who deliberately targeted un-armed civilians to spread fear and terror among the population. For the first time Rostam, “The Mighty Lion of Persia” as they called him... felt outnumbered and could finally see the End.. They thought the Sassanid Empire would last for thousands of years. Rostam stood in the front of his horse giving his last speech telling his army if he falls, he will take as many savage Arabs as he can. “Let this last day be the worse for them...” The persian borders falls, but the resistance from the people makes it more bloody though they were not armed, Resistance was led by a mighty woman named Apranik.

  Governor Rostam Farrokhzad - Mighty Sassanid Army General and Warrior Rostam Farrokhzad

  Click Here to read the Historical letter of Yazdgird III to the Arab Calif Omar.

Banner - The Brutal Arab Era

639 C.E. - After successfully defending itself against the Roman Byzantine Empires for centuries, the Persian Empire was swiftly vanquished by arabs (brutal nomadic tribesmen) armed with a newly acquired faith, Islam. There were four Sassanid kings in four years, and because there was no real authority, the Arabs were able to defeat the Persians, who were still Zoroastrians.

The history of Persians after the Arab conquest can be summarized in three words: oppression, misery and massacre. The Arabs invaded Persia not only for its reputed wealth, but to bring into the faith new converts and to impose Islam as the new state religion. They were religious zealots who believed that “in a religious war if one kills or is killed, one’s place in heaven is secure”. To impose the new religion, the old culture and creed had to be destroyed. Therefore first they targeted the libraries, universities and schools. Only few examples reflect the enormity of the calamity that befell upon Persia at 630 C.E. To conquer Persia and force Islam, the Arab invaders resorted to many inhumane actions including massacre, mass enslavement of men, women and children, and imposition of heavy taxes on those who did not convert.

The Looting of Persepolis

641 C.E. - When the Arab commander Saad ibn-e Abi Vaghas faced the huge Persian library of Ctesiphon (capital city), he wrote to Omar (Calif/Ruler of Arab Muslims): what should be done about the books?. Omar replied that the “blasphemous” books are not needed, as for us only Koran is sufficient. Thus, the huge library was destroyed and the books or the product of the generations of Persian scientists and scholars were burned in fire or thrown into the Euphrates. Later by the order of another Arab ruler (Ghotaibeh ibn-e Moslem) in Khwarezmia, those Persians who were literate with all the historians, writers and Mobeds were massacred and their books burned so that after one generation the people were illiterate. Other libraries in Ray and Khorassan received the same treatment and the famous international University of Gondishapour declined and eventually abandoned, and its library and books vanished. Only few books survived, because the Persian scholars quickly translated them into Arabic in order to save them.

It was a tremendous loss. Our knowledge would be richer and, potentially, our path from the ancient world to the modern world would have been shorter and easier, had some of these works survived.

Art - Barbaric Book Burning

646-660 C.E. - Mass massacre and conversion: By the order of the Arab commander “Yazid ibn-e Mohalleb” in Gorgan so many Persians were beheaded that their blood mixed with water would energize the millstone to produce as much as one day meal for him, as he had vowed and ordered the soldiers to cut off the tongue of anyone who dared to speak Persian. This is why in Arabic, Persians are called “Ajam”, meaning mute! The event of blood mill has been quoted by the generations of historians and Persian Zoroastrian families to this day, yet our books of history have been silent about it. In recent years however, disenchanted Persian scholars have been writing about the blood mills and in fact this event has been reported by our historians of the Islamic era. On the way to Mazandaran (northern Iran) the same commander ordered 12,000 Persian captives to be hanged at the two sides of the road so that the victorious Arab army pass through. Upon arrival, many more were massacred in that province and heavy tax (Jizya) was imposed on the survivors who did not convert.

One of the Umayyad Caliphs was quoted saying: “milk the Persians and once their milk dries, suck their blood.”

Blood Mill Massacre committed by the Arab conquerors

Some historians have estimated that a total of 400,000 Persian civilians were massacred. After the battle of Alis, the Arab commander (Khalid ibn-e Valid) ordered all the prisoners of war be decapitated so that a creek of blood flows. When the city of “Estakhr” in the south put up stiff resistance against the Arab invaders, 50,000 residents were slaughtered. One of the battles by the Arabs has been named, “Jelovla” (covered), because an estimated 100,000 bodies of the slain Persians covered the desert. It is reported that 130,000 Persian women and children were enslaved and sold in the Mecca and Medina markets and large amount of gold and silver plundered. One respected Persian scholar recently wrote, “Why so many had to die or suffer? Because one side was determined to impose his religion upon the other who could not understand”. The Arabs colonized, exploited, raped and despised the population. They even named the Persian converts “Mavali” or “liberated slaves”. Persian women became second rate citizens when the Arabs conquered Persia in a very brutal way, they lost all their rights and consistently assigned a passive role in the society. Many Persian women joined the resistance fighters against the barbaric Arab oppressors and fought to the end, they rather chose to be cut to pieces by the Arab Sword, than to become a slave or whore in the Arab Bed. Nevertheless history reflects the extent of atrocities committed by the Arab conquerors.

“Persians have developed a surprising ability to adapt, but only outwardly, superficially & when absolutely required. Persian culture is both very strong & resilient. Iran was neither truly Arabized nor Islamized.”

  Arab Taziz Raping and Killing Civilians in Persia and enslaving women and children Arab Taziz Raping and Killing Civilians in Persia

  Arabs Raping and Enslaving women and selling them in Mecca and Medina markets Arab Taziz Raping and Enslaving Women

Women actively took part in many of the future movements for freedom of Iran and repossession of their human rights from Arabs. Women were the most oppressed segment of Iranian society by the Arabs and they were a significant part of the many Revolutionary Movements of Iran including the Sanbad movement in Neyshabour of Khorasan (Northeast of Iran), Ostadsis’ movement in Sistan (Southeast of Iran), Moqanna’ and Sarbedaran movement in Khorasan (Northeast of Iran), and Babak Khoramdin’s movement in Azerbaijan (Northwest of Iran).

  Video: Gordafarid, one of the heroines in the “Shahnameh:” Epic of Kings Art - Legend of Gordafarid from Shahnameh

820 C.E. - Arab rule over Persia began to diminish. The Arabs ruled parts of Iran for some 80 years, before local Persian princes emerged in Sajestan and Khorassan. It was indeed the darkest chapter of Iran’s history and has been compared to a nightmare associated with the moans of widows and orphans, “a dark night of silence that was interrupted only by the hoot of owls and the harsh sound of thunder”. Finally the Arabs were driven out of Persia. Various local Persian monarchs rose to power: the Tahirids (821-873), Saffarids (867-903), Samanids (873-999), Ziyarids (928-1077) and Buyids (945-1055).

The lost ancient Persian language was restored and it soon blossomed into one of the most poetic languages of the world. The Samanids were the first to adopt Persian as the official language of their court. Once again, Persia became a world center for art, literature and science. It was renowned for the impulse that it gave to Iranian national sentiment and learning. All the cultural, scientific and philosophical advances of the so-called Islamic world came out of Iran, and were advanced by Iranian minds. And so these advances were not Islamic, but Persian.

“It’s about being who you were born to be... a Queen...” Art - Jewels of Persia

click here to read the entire timeline. A journey through time: 7000 B.C.E. to Present day. »

Persian Identity - Iran has never been an Arabic country and never will be! Iranian people have very strong ties to their history, culture and language, which are distinctively Persian. They are very proud of their rich heritage, strongly admire their former King of Kings, especially Cyrus the Great and his legacy of introducing human rights in a political setting of the first humane and equal Federal World Empire. Another reason for which Persians dislike being mistakenly identified as Arabs is because Arab Islamic army conquered Persia in a very brutal way and forced them to change their religion, and customs by the edge of a sword. When Arabs conquered Persia they destroyed our style of Humane Federalism, Equal Rights, Freedom of speech and Freedom of religion and replaced those factors with central brutal government, prejudice and slavery. But Persian culture and rich history conquered them! Persia is the only country which didn’t become an Arab country (like Egypt, Babylonia, Assyria, Phoenicia and all the other ancient countries conquered and destroyed by Arabs) and in spite of centuries of invasions and foreign rule by Greeks, Arabs, Turks, Mongols etc. Persia has retained its own strong identity.

For centuries Arabs has tried to destroy our culture, our language, science, poetry, literature, philosophy, religion, race, traditions, celebrations, music, arts and of course our Calendar. They never fully succeeded! Wake up Persia!

“Don’t forget our brave and mighty Lions and Lionesses!” Azadi Freedom 3

“A great civilization is not conquered from without until it destroys itself from within.”

The Future - Iran today stands at the crossroads of history and we live in remarkable times, and thanks to the tyranny of the islamic republic, we are now able to shed the Islamic past and move ahead into the future. A future without Islam, or any other organised religion. In this, we are far more fortunate than the rest of the world, for once this regime crumbles into dust, the tyranny of religion will never again raise it’s ugly head in our land, for we will never forget. Islam as an Arab ideology has been a disease for Iran and Iranians and the only people who have truly once and for all uprooted Islam from Iran are the Mullahs themselves in only three decades. In a way, we should be grateful to them for this remarkable achievment.

For us, there is no going back to the superstitions of the distant past. There is only the future, where Pan-Iranism, Atheism, Equalism, Democracy & Freedom awaits us... Today, there are an estimated 226 million Iranic people and Persian speakers worldwide.

For millenniums when invaders came to Persia, the Iranians never become the invaders; the invaders became Iranians. Their conquerors were said to have “gone Persian,” like Alexander, who, after laying waste to the vanquished Persia, adopted its cultural and administrative practices, took a Persian wife: Princess Roxana, and ordered thousands of his troops to do the same in a mass wedding. Persians seem particularly proud of their capacity to get along with others by assimilating compatible aspects of the invaders’ ways without surrendering their own; a cultural elasticity that is at the heart of their Persian identity.

“The Invaders Can’t Control What’s Inside Us”
Azadi Freedom 4

We would like to end by saying that we are certain that light will overcome darkness/fanaticism, and Persia, alike the legendary bird “Simorgh of Shahnameh”, will once again rise from her ashes and regain her rich history. Persia, has always been home to those who throughout history have fought for the idea of freedom and equality.

“May God (Ahura Mazda) always light your path and bless you with lessons to grow by!”

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