Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Iranian Horses

Horse (Equus Caballus)
Asb (in farsi)

This article on Iranian Horses Is from Iranzoo and breeds of livestock.

Horses In Pre-Islamic Persia

In Iran, skeletal remains of a native breed of small size, have been discovered in prehistoric sites: in a cave at Behistun (Bisotun), 48 km east of Kermanshah and in Tamtama, a mountainous area west of lake Urmia, in Tel-i Iblis, south-central Iran, and in Godin Tepe, central Zagros. This breed has tentatively been cosidered as the origin of the "Caspian miniature horse" now occasionally found in Mazandaran.

In Iran, we have late second-millennium archeological evidence from "Marlik" (objects made of horse teeth) and early first-millennium skeletal remains from "Gian", "Tepe Sialk", "Coga Zanbil", and "Susa". It is from this period that large quantities of "Lurisatn Bronzes" have been discovered, and among them are many harness bits and bridle pieces as well as items for decorating horses heads and chests, of the types which are depicted on Assyrian palace reliefs.

Bronze and iron harness and bridle pieces have been discovered at Median sites, also Assyrian annals record and reliefs depict campaigns in Media and Median tribute consisting primarily of horses. Especially praised were the horses of "Nishaya" > Nesa, south of Hamadan. Median levels at Nusheh-Jan near Hamadan have produced remains of horses of varied sizes, from miniature horses that stood 1.05-1.10m to horses standing over 1.50m at the witheres and variation from light to heavy types.

Horses in Persian Literature

From the dawn of history the Iranians have celebrated the horse in their art and in their literature. The importance of horses in the life of the Iranians assured them of a special place in Persian literature. Numerous poets have left poems in praise of or, occasionally ridicule of horses, sometimes with interesting observation about good and bad points in a horse. Iranian traditions abound with stories of famous horses and their significant roles in heroic and historical events: Rakhsh (the famous horse of the Hero Rostam), Shabrang (the horse of Siavosh), the stallion of Dariush, "Pasacas" so untamable a horse that only Cyrus the Younger could bring him under the saddle, "Shabdiz' the horse of Khosrow II Parviz (the king loved the courser so deeply that he had vowed to deprive of life whoever brought him the news of its death and so when it died, no one dared to reveal it to the king, and Barbad, the chief musician and minstrel, devised a trick and averted the king's wrath).

Some Persian sources such as "Ghabus-nameh" and "Nouruz-Nameh" have special chapters on horses, their colors and breeds.

Horses were also offered to gods, and the Aban Yasht celebrates many Iranian kings and heroes who sacrificed one hundred horses, one thousand oxen, and ten thousand sheep to "Anahita" asking her for special boons. An Avestan passage records that an excellent horse was worth eight pregnant cows. The qualities of a good horse were: swiftness, fleetness, endurance, and sharp eyesight. Of colors, white was the most praised, then came dun, redbrown, dark brown, and black. Strict rules were prescribed by the Avesta concerning the breeding, grooming, training, and feeding of horses and guardin them from diseases and harm.

Tazi (Persian-Arab)(Asil) Horse

It is said that origin of Arab horse is Persia. In Iran we call this breed az Asil, Tazi or Arab Horse. As we said before in the page of Tazi dogs, the word Tazi in farsi has 2 different means: (Arab and Galloping), and it's sure that what we mean about these 2 animals is a dog or a horse that gallops. But in the world and specialy in Western countries people call this breed az Arab Horse.

This Horse Arab is known as the most beautiful and famous horse in the world which in actually it is the father of all oriental or hot- blooded horses. Asil Horse divides to some strains that the most important of them are: Kehilan, Hamdani, Saglavi, Obyan, and Hadban.

It comes in various colors Like: Bay, grey and white. Primary Uses of Asil Horses are: Cross-breeding and Riding. The center of Iranian Arabs in Iran, is Kerman, Khouzestan and some Tribes in southwest of this country.

Caspian Horse

Caspian Horse, a riding pony from Iran. The history of the breed goes back to 3000 B.C. when it was domesticated by the ancient peoples of Mesopotamia. It was thought to have become extinct in the 10th century, but was discovered in the Alborz mountains and on the shore of the Caspian Sea in 1965. It is extremely small but very horse like. Caspian's resemble Arabian horses and may be a very old version of the original strain of oriental horse.

Turkaman Horse

Akhal-Teke Horse, a rare riding horse from Turkmenistan (evolved by the Teke and turkman tribes in oases, of Southern Turkmenia and also Turkman-sahra ), east of the Caspian Sea and north of Iran. This breed is one of the oldest horse breeds, almost for 3000 years. Although the Akhal-Teke and related types of horse have provided a base for the horse breeds of Asia and Europe, this breed is all that remains of the original fountainhead of horse breeds. An ideal horse for the desert, it is also known for its phenomenal powers of endurance. The breed became a modern legend in 1935 when several Turkamans completed an 84 day, 4128 km trip from Ashkhabad, Turkmenistan, to Moscow, Russia. This incredible journey, which included 966 km of desert with minimal rations of feed and water, has never been equaled.

The Akhal-Teke stands about 157.5 cm high at the withers (the high part of the back, located between the shoulder blades). Its long, narrow, tube like body has the fine, strong build typical of desert horses. The legs and back are long, and the withers are high. The long, slender neck is carried unusually high, joining the body at a 45 degree angle&emdash;a distinguishing characteristic of this breed. Large eyes and wide nostrils give the fine boned face a bold expression. Large ears are set wide apart

It has a distinctive metallic, golden sheen overlaying a fine haired coat that can be colored dun (yellowish or bluish), bay (reddish), gray, or black. Its mane and tail are silky but sparse. It is ridden, raced, and used for show jumping, dressage (guiding a horse through a series of complex maneuvers with slight movements of the hands, legs, and weight of the rider), and competitive long-distance riding.

Turkaman breed has 3 many strains: Akhal-Teke: it is a pure turkman horse. Yamout: shorter and stronger. Chenaran: it is a hybrid of a Turkman and an Arab .

Dareshouri (Shirazi) Horse

It is a resistant horse and in some extent similar to Arabs and Kurds. This breed is usually kept in center of Iran (Fars).

Baluchi Horse

The Baluchi horse is found in parts of Baluchistan and Sind Provinces and districts of Bahawalpur, Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzaffargarh and Multan in Punjab Province. The color varies from bay, chestnut or gray. They are used for pleasure riding, tent pegging and for pulling 'tongas'. They are medium sized with a fine head, long neck, pointed ear tips touching each other, and the legs are fine and strong. In Pakistan, most of the horses are light in build and larger than ponies. Reminiscent of the Kathiawari of India, the Baluchi has very turned-in ears. Reports have stated that the Baluchi horse is related to the West African Barb through horses of Mali known as Beledougou, or Banamba.

Kurdish Horse

It is another small horse breed of Iran (with a high about 150 cm or lower). A strong and resistant horse ideal for mountainous roads. This horse is an ancient breed with a long history in Iran. There is three strains of this breed: Jaff, Afshari and Sanjabi.

The Jaf colors are mosetly: Bay, brown, chestnut, grey and it's Primary Uses if for Saddle

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The location of the Carvings is called Naghsh-e Rostam. Rostam is the name of Persian Legend. The Carving of "Horse, King and God" is tied in this location with the "Ancient Myth of Rostam". Here I explore this coincidence. --Siamak D. Ahi


.... A Place Called "Naghsh-e Rostam"

Naghsh-e Rostam means the Image of Rostam. Rostam himself is being considered the most popular legend in Iranian culture. Some believe that The great work of Ferdowsi, the Shahnameh (book of kings) made Rostam eternal.

The oldest drawing of Naghsh-e Rostam from 19th century by European traveller.

Rostam plays a central role in Iranian or Persian Identity.
Whether the name "Naghsh-e Rostam" comes from this mythical figure described in "Shah-nameh", or existed independent from "Shah-nameh" has not been a subject of research. Ferdowsi himself lived about 1500 years after the the first carvings of Nagheh-e Rostam

Rostam and Shahr-e Soukhteh (Burnt City)
Rostam myth must be older than Ferdowsi and Sasanid or Achaemenid time. Rostam’s root in Zabol can refer to a more ancient civilization. Particularly in the last 20 years the finding in Shahr-e Sookhteh easily proves the existence of a well developed civilization near Zabol.

Shahr-e Soukhteh, is called the ancient regional capital for a millennium.
It is located in Sistan Baluchestan province , 55 kms to the south of Zabol. Shahr-e Soukhteh was the capital of the region for more than 1000 years (3200-2100 BC).

If Rostam Myth is not older than this civilization, then we can assume its created in during this cvilization and is at least 5000 years old. Some 2500 years older than Sasanid and Achaemenid.

This fact alone is enough to believe that the name of this place and these rocks, "Naghsh-e Rostam" could be "Older" than the Empires like Achaemenid and Sasanid...!



Use of Rostam as Name

Rotam is used as a name for men in Iran, Afghanistan and many middle eastern and central asian countries

Rostam is used in many combinations like: Rostam-ali , Rostam-nezhad , Rostam-zadeh , Rostam-shah , Rostam-pour..

It is still easy to find a village called "Rostam-abad". In a search for Rostam, I came up with a list and links to places like: Takht-e Rostam, Rostam-kalateh,
Bakhsh-e Rostam, Rostam-kala, Khoresh-Rostam and so on.

Rostam, also referred to commanders in North Iranian Languages. (kaveh Farokh, Sassanian Elite Cavalry, AD 224-642 AD


List of places like castle or village and tribe with the name Rostam:

Rostam-abad in Kerman, Zarand, in Tehran
Takht-e Rostam in Shahriar, in Varamin
Rostam-kalateh, in Gorgan
Bakhsh-e Rostam in Char-Mahal va Bakhtiari
Rostam-kala Gilan
Khoresh-Rostam, Ardebil
Rostam; one Tireh in Mamasani Iel (tribe) in Fars
Rostam-abad Varamin
Rostam-khani Village, Lorestan lorestan_ozae_tabiee.htm
Rostam-akhori (Asb-akhori)
Ghal’e Rostam
Poshtkooh--e Rostam 34367 Mamasani, dehestan

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Caspian Horse

Rediscovery of the Caspian Horse

Louise Firouz, the American who rediscovered them, wrote in 1968:

"We are still searching for them: diminutive .... Arab looking creatures with big bold eyes, prominent jaws and high-set tails which so distinguish their larger cousins. It has been a losing battle as the already pitifully small numbers are further decimated each year by famine, disease and lack of care, until now we must accept the sad fact that the survivors must number no more than 30."

Mrs. Firouz was writing of her concern that an ancient, pure breed of horse, the forerunner of most hot bloods, until then thought to be extinct, was in fact, on the very brink of extinction. Through neglect, ignorance, and the vicissitudes of the 13 centuries returned to the wild, this ancient breed's honored place in history had been almost irretrievably lost. Only at the last minute and by pure chance, were the existence, beauty, and rarity of this regal horse rediscovered.

In 1957, Louise Laylin, an American born Cornell graduate, married fellow student Narcy Firouz, an aristocrat linked to the former Shah of Iran. She returned with him to his native country of Iran. Subsequently, she and her husband established the Norouzabad Equestrian Center for children of families living in the country's capital of Tehran.

One of the difficulties she faced, that of providing appropriate mounts for some of the smaller riders, proved a catalyst for her pursuit of what were rumored to be very small horses in the remote villages above the Caspian Sea. Because hot-blooded stallions were the only mounts available for Tehran's young riders, Mrs. Firouz wanted to provide smaller, more even-tempered equines. Her work would soon result in the rediscovery and preservation of an ancient breed, that she dubbed The Caspian Horse

1965 Expedition

In 1965, with a small expedition of female companions, Louise discovered small horses in the mountainous regions south of the Caspian Sea, centered near the town of Amol. At first glance, they appeared somewhat rough from lack of nourishment, and were covered with ticks and parasites. However, upon closer inspection, these horses showed distinctive characteristics similar to the Arabian horse such as large protruding eyes, a prominent jaw, large nostrils, a dished head and a high set tail. This first trip rescued 3 horses, which were dubbed Caspians, for the vicinity in which they were found. The former owners of these often misused and over-worked horses had no idea of the breed's near extinction.

Between July 1965 and August 1968, Mrs. Firouz conducted a careful survey to determine the approximate number and range of the surviving Caspian horses. On the basis of this survey, it was estimated that there were approximately 50 small horses with definite Caspian characteristics along the entire southern coast of the Caspian Sea. The major concentration of these horses (approximately 30) occupied a 2,000 square mile triangle between Amol, Babol and Kiakola in the Elburz Mountains. The remaining 20 horses were so scattered it was impossible for the survey to consider them as completely pure.

Of the horses found, 7 mares, and 6 stallions were purchased to form the foundation stock for a breeding center established by Mrs. Firouz in Norouzabad, Iran. As a purely private venture, this first breeding center was financially difficult to maintain.

In 1970, the Royal Horse Society (RHS) was formed under the patronage of the Crown Prince, HIH Prince Reza Pahlavi. The primary aim of the RHS was to preserve and improve Iran's native breeds. The RHS purchased the foundation Caspians, by then numbering 23, but allowed them to be maintained in Norouzabad until 1974, at which time the RHS took over complete management of the herd.

Surviing War and Revolution

Due to the pressing military situation caused by the Iran-Iraq War, and her interest in keeping the breed alive, between 1971 and 1976, Mrs. Firouz exported 9 stallions and 17 mares representing 19 different Caspian bloodlines from Iran to Europe. These 26 horses constitute the European Foundation Herd. This wise decision ensured the survival of the Caspian horse outside of Iran.

With Iran's many recent political upheavals, the overthrow of the Shah, the Islamic Revolution, bombing during the protracted Iran-Iraq War and the ever-present threat of famine, together with the Caspian's close association with royalty, the Caspian's survival there remains precarious.

Louise Firouz' discovery was ever in the balance between political honoraria as a national treasure, and the threat of political seizure as wartime food. After Mrs. Firouz' breeding successes in the 1960's and early '70's, the Iran-Iraq War placed a heavy burden on her endeavors.

The Royal Horse Society of Iran completely took over the Norouzbad herd in 1974. A second private herd was started in 1975, consisting of 20 mares and 3 stallions from feral stock found along the Caspian coast. The breeding center was established by Mrs. Firouz; this time, in northeastern Iran at Gara Tepe Sheikh.

In 1977, this second private breeding center was ordered to close its doors as the RHS declared a ban on all Caspian exports. The RHS collected all Caspians remaining in Iran to breed selectively in a "national stud" to conform to a specific standard of the breed. Forced by the government to surrender all but one Caspian horse, Mrs. Firouz' founding stock was effectively wiped out. Due to the complex political climate, most of the RHS horses were lost, primarily through auction sales of the nationalized horses to Turkoman and Kazakh tribes who used the purchases as pack animals and for meat!

After the war was over, Mrs. Firouz once again completely redeveloped a third breeding center to save the Caspian from extinction in Iran. The 1992 International Caspian Stud Book listed 38 registered Iranian Caspians. Mrs. Firouz obtained most of these horses through either expeditions to the Caspian seacoast to capture more feral horses; purchases from Revolutionary Guards repatriating stolen or seized horses after the Iran-Iraq War, or through breeding.

Undaunted, by political pressure, Mrs. Firouz was able to ship 3 stallions and 4 mares to Europe via the Azeri-American war zone where bandits attacked and robbed the convoy, on across Russia to Belarus, and then to the United Kingdom. These horses which left Iran in July of 1993, reached the United Kingdom in February of 1994. This shipment will sustain and enhance the gene pool and healthy breeding of the Caspian horse established in Europe and the United States.

By 1992, there were still only 112 breeding mares and 30 stallions in Europe. Fortunately, according to the studies completed by Dr. Gus Cothran, the measure of genetic variation among the world-wide Caspian horse population was near the average for U.S. domestic breeds.

Mr. Firouz passed away in May 1994. Due to estate settlement, and the financial losses Mrs. Firouz incurred in the shipment of the last 7 Caspians out of Iran into England she was unable to continue her breeding program in Iran. The remainder of Mrs. Firouz’s Caspian horses were sold to the Ministry of Jehad. The fate of the Caspian remaining in Iran was once again in jeopardy.

More recently, in 1999, aided by the visits into Iran and support of concerned individuals from Canada and the United States, Louise Firouz, at the age of 65, has started yet another Caspian breeding program on her remote farm at Gara Tepe Sheikh on the Turkoman Steppes next to the Turkmenistan border. During these recent treks in the spring of 1999, two foundation Caspian stallions and eight Caspian foundation mares were gathered to once again be rescued by Mrs. Firouz’ nurturing care.

Courageously overlooking her past, seemingly overwhelming losses, she is experiencing the renewed joy of watching the newborn Caspian foals thrive under her ever watchful eye.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Did Iranian Tame The Horse...?

Horse in
the religion of

Any stage of the Iranian history is associated with given religion. However the beginings of Persian Empire are covered by darkness, and a bit of Greece chronicles are the most important source of this times.

Because of that, informations about this period are full of imprecisions and doubts. In spite of that Greece sources aren't very numerous, there are several notes about animals. Besides of this, a lot of conclusions come when we analize the Achemenian art and we look at the bas-relief and sculptures of Persepolis.

The informations about some kind of animal are relatively often.

At the first place it is necessery to mention a horse. This animal is very strong associated with Iranian culture.

It is said that Iranians tamed a horse. The good horse was a synonym of wealth and the best friend of a warrior. In the cuneiform inscriptions we can find the mentions concerning a horse :

"Said Darius the King : This country, Persian, which Ahuramazda bestowed upon me, good, possessed of good horses, possessed of good men - by the favor of Ahuramazda and me, Darius the King, does not fear of any other."

The some of people's names are connected with Old Persian word asa or Median aspa. For example the name of Zarathushtra's father sounds Purushpa [It means from speckled horse ]. Besides it, people used to sacrifice a horse because it was the most blessed sacrifice. For example every year the Magian sacrificed one horse next to the King Cyrus tomb .

A horse participates in the legendary story about King Darius the Great, for its reason Darius became a king. This story was written by the Herodot : It was established that this man become a king who's horse first will neigh (horse sound: the long high-pitched sound that a horse makes) at dawn. By deceit Darius' horse neighted as the first.

The pictures show Caspian Horses
For more inormation on animals in Achemenian religion see:

Monday, August 22, 2005

Anahita, the Mother of Gods

What I was really looking for, was the "Importance of the Horse in Persian Culture". My interest started with a "Nagsh-e Rostam" carving, a site near Persepolis in central Iran (see the first posting on this Page). In one of the carvings "A Message From God is Being Given to Human Where the Messenger and the Man are Both on Horses" . There is no other Ancient Culture, in which horses are so present. From spiritual life, to becoming the scale in determining the hight and width of stairs of the Palace in Persepolis.

The role of horse in spiritual life of society, and in helping the survival of human race, is still a topic to be discovered.. .... But for me the problem is not that hard. I am not trying to discover the general role of horses. My focus is on the carvings of "Naghsh-e Rostam".... So, to give you a background, I introduce you to ANAHITA, the mother of gods whose symbol appears in the carving. The emphysis on some facts, sentences or pargraphs are not in original article and are mine --Siamak D. Ahi


The Cradle


Early Gods

By: M. Sâdeq Nazmi-Afshâr

Mutual love between mother and child is an instinct found in almost all living creatures, even the very primitive species.

This instinct is all the more prominent in human being, the most sophisticated of creatures, expanding to social dimensions. From this standpoint, mother, as a symbol of affection, fertility and creation, could be regarded as the first god men have worshiped.

It seems that the worship of mother started since the concept of family and being born from a common ancestor was formed. Among men, the concept of family in its social meaning dates back to the caved welling era, i.e. when the Neanderthals took refuge in caves as a result of the third Ice Age, where it emerged eventually as homo sapiens after undergoing an evolutionary period. During this time, some 30,000 years ago, man discovered fire, warming up his cave.

The number of caves and their internal space was limited and could host a limited number of men. Therefore, the concept of family bonds and bloods ties, which already existed as an instinct in other species, was intensified, eventually emerging as a social requirement.

Competition over dwelling in warm caves was a solid reason for primitive men not to admit non-related primitive men to their caves. Only family members with a common birth ties to a common ancestor were permitted to enter the caves. This ancestor could only be the mother, because at that time, sexual behavior among men was a natural and nonsocial one, only the strongest males in the cave being allowed to procreate, a behavior which is necessary to produce healthier offspring and is practiced among many species of animals and particularly mammals.

Therefore, cave-dwelling women could have several husbands during their fertility period, so that tracing family ties through males was impossible. Thus being attributed to a family tree leading back to the mother was the permit to live in the cave, which in turn translated into survival. This was adequate reason to turn the mother/child instinct into a sacred belief in a common ancestor.

Paleontology confirms the theory suggesting that the mother goddess was the first divinity to be worshiped. The earliest relics showing signs of religious beliefs among primitive tribes are statuettes of mother, depicting her in large buttocks and
breasts, signifying feminine characteristics, or girls arrived at puberty and ripe for marriage.
The elapsing of thousands of years has meant that modern science has not yet penetrated the depth of the secrets of mother goddesses in the early stone ages.

However, there exists a lot of information about the quality of the sanctity of mother goddesses in later historical periods, the oldest of which have been found in Susa, Iran.

The documents which have been found in the form of tens of mother goddess statuettes date back to early 4th millennium, BC. The number and the age of these statuettes gives good reason to suggest that the origin of mother goddess was the Iranian Plateau, whence the tradition of worshiping these goddesses have expanded throughout the world as a result of the migration of Aryans.

With the ending of the Ice Age and the shifting of men's habitat from caves to foothills and the discovery of agriculture the tradition of worshiping mother goddess was continued, with mother goddess surviving as the origin of fertility, the goddess of family, the goddess of procreation and later the goddess of agriculture and productivity.

In Susa, south of Iran, mother goddess was worshiped at least since early 4th millennium BC, with numerous statuettes of her found in the area. The tradition of worshiping the mother goddess spilled over to Mesopotamia, where it continued for thousands of years to come.

Iranian-origin Sumerians were skilled astronomers, attaching each of the gods to certain star or planets. The mother goddess was sometimes attributed to the moon and some times to Venus.

The reason behind this duality lies in the tradition of incest, which was not only allowed, but also sanctified in ancient Iran. According to this tradition which dates back to the cave dwelling period, the kings and noble men of Iran had to marry their close relatives, the offspring of such marriages enjoying priority to inherit the crown.

The same tradition was observed among the divinities, so much so that the ancient goddesses appear alternately as the mother, the sister or the wife of the masculine god, having different ranks.

That is why Anahita, the Iranian goddess, sometimes appears as mother earth and the goddess of fertility and birth, and sometimes as Venus, the goddess of music, love, jealousy and coquetry.

Nahid is alternately the wife, the sister or the mother of god. However, when she is the wife and mother of god, her symbol is the moon, and when she represents the goddess of love and music, the planet Venus. An Armenian myth says: "the devil knew that if the god had intercourse with his mother, the sun would be born, and if with his sister, the moon would be born." Sumerians were a seafaring people, their ships trafficking in the Mediterranean Sea.

Therefore, it is very likely that they promoted the worship of mother goddesses in the Mediterranean coats of Europe and North Africa. Or perhaps the goddess made its advent with the expansion of the Aryan race and its migration to India, Central Asia and central Europe.
In any case, historical evidences show that in the late 3rd millennium BC, worshiping mother goddesses was common in Iran, India, Central Asia, Mesopotamia, Syria, North Africa, and Europe.
An even more interesting point is the evidence found about the worshiping of such a goddess in South America, implying that probably Sumerian seamen had discovered the New Continent eons before Christopher Columbus. Evidence supporting this suggestion is a monolith stone called the Gate of the Sun in Tiahunaku.
According to the myth imprinted on the slab, a golden ship descended from the stars, carrying a women named Oriana. Her mission was to become the earth's grandmother, who returned to the stars after giving birth to 70 earthling children. The concepts of worshiping the sun and the moon and mother goddesses and the figures on the slab are all Persian and Sumerian concepts, making such a resemblance unlikely without any connection.
The oldest statuette of mother goddess found in Europe, in Austria, dates back to the 3rd millennium, BC. Another similar statuette found in Moravia shows a mother goddess holding her breasts up with her large hands. In Greece, too, the mother goddess was worshiped as a birth-giving goddess through the entire Neolithic period.

The close connection between the mother goddess and the moon, and worshiping her which has been found all over the world shows a correspondence between the lunar month and the menstruation period of women, i.e. 28 days.

This significant resemblance which basically indicates the passage of time in ancient times before the discovery of astronomy and invention of the clock has contributed to the relation between the two creatures, and that is one reason why women are described as the moon. In later historical periods, religions that in some way worshiped the mother goddess continued to use the lunar calender, in contrast with religions based on the worship of the sun.

The Iranian mother goddess was also worshiped in the east, including India. Anatolian mother goddesses too had many temples. According to a Roman historian, noble girls were asked to practice prostitution in such temples before getting married. This tradition which was current also among Venus worshipers of Egypt has its roots in the group marriages of the matriarchal eriod mentioned earlier. A statuette of Venus with a dolphin has been found in Tunisia.

The tradition of worshiping Venus was also widespread in ancient Arabia, where 360 gods and goddesses were adored. Venus's special day of the week is Friday and the form of this goddess is a cube, which is the sacred form for Arabs.

In addition to the very ancient relics found in Susa, Girschmann discovered a statuette of a mother goddess in the Gian mound near Nahavand in 1931. He relates the object to 2,500 years ago.

In the Chaghagavaneh mound near Eslam-abad Gharb, a 7-cm mother goddess statuette was found which dates back to 2,900 years ago. The figure is headless and naked, resting her hands on her stomach.

On bronze objects found in Lorestan, dating back to the first millennium BC, figures of mother goddesses are seen. These objects are usually copper or bronze clips, bearing a circular plate at the end, with the imprint of the head of the mother goddess. Also in the southern and western parts of Iran several examples of such objects with the figure of the mother goddess have been found. The most fascinating example is a clay statuette 18.13-cm high, decked with emerald earrings, bracelet and necklace. This goddess is fully comparable to the Anahita of later periods. The statuette is kept at the Philadelphia museum. In the Gorgan region of Iran, the oldest such relics have been found, dating back to 5,000 years ago.

On Achamenian coins, the head of Nahid is seen in a halo of light. Also in Achamenian scripture, mention is made of Anahita, alongside with two other gods, namely Ahuramazda and Mehr, and perhaps they could be regarded as mother and child, just as in Christianity, the trinity is made up of God, Virgin Mary and Jesus (sun) Christ. The fact that the words Mehr and sun both mean the sunlight reflects the connection between the two religions.
Worship of Anahita continued in the Sassanid period. In one of the tablets in Naqsh-e Rostam, near Persepolis, the Sassanid king is depicted receiving he kingdom ring from Nahid. On metal vessels of the Sassanid era too, hundred of Nahid figures can be seen.

After, the occupation of Iran by Moslem Arabs, the ritual of respecting woman and mother and the sanctity of Nahid continued in different forms. However, it became a secret creed, reflected in Iranian culture and literature, particularly in the sophist poetry. On the other hand, the indispensable bond between Nahid and music and love has found manifestations in Iranian sophism.

The relics of the mother goddess in Iran are numerous and diversified some of, which are located in remote mountains, indicating the secret nature of the ritual. Bridges in different parts of the country reflect the relation between Nahid and water.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

This Carving In Naghsh-e Rostam Started The Search For Horses In Iranian Culture

Four kilometers from northeast of Persepolis, there are some historical works belonging to Elamite, Achaemenid and Sassanid kings which are called Naghsh-e Rostam because of their grandeur and height.

On the top of the mountain there are four tombs which are believed to be those of, Xerxes, Darius I Artaxerexes and Darius II, the Achaemenid kings.

In the first relief which has been carved in the lower side of the mountain, Narssi, the son of Shapur I receives the royal ring from the symbol of Anahita. -

This is the "Only Place" where I could find a relation between "God and Human Both On Horses". This indicates a very special relation of "Man and Hourse" in a culture. --Siamak D. Ahi