Episode 1.2

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Episode 1.2 – The Geography and History of Iranshahr

In this episode I will go through the major geographical features of Iranshahr and discuss their relationship with Iran’s history. In addition, I’ll provide a very brief background of what’s happened in Iranshahr between the time of Cyrus the Great and the rise of Ardashir I.

Maps:

All maps are obtained from Google Maps and are copyrighted by Google.

Map of West Asia showing the mountains and the deserts.

Approximate region where Iranshahr was located during the Sasanian Era.


Approximate location of the Zagros and Alborz Mountains.


Location of modern day Shiraz and Ahvaz.


Greater Khorasan and the Oxus River.


Here’s a list of person/place/thing names of relevance to this episode:

In the order as they appear in the Episode:

In alphabetical order

Tashkent: The capital city of Uzbekistan.

Abbasid Caliphs: Based in Baghdad, they headed the Islamic world until the Mongol invasion in 1258 CE.

Karachi: The largest city and a major port in Pakistan.

Achaemenid Empire: The first major empire in West Asia, founded by Cyrus the Great in the 6th century BCE.

Alborz Mountains: A mountain range in northern Iran.

Adurpadegan, Adurbadegan, or Azurbadegan: Ancient names of Azerbaijan.

Zagros Mountains: A mountain range in western Iran.

Ahvaz: The modern administrative center of the Khuzestan Province in southwestern Iran. During the Sasanian times it was called Gondi Shapur.

Pontic and Taurus Ranges: Mountain ranges on the northern and southern edges, respectively, of Asia Minor.

Akkad: Center of the eponymous Akkadian civilization.

Asia Minor: Home of the modern day Turkey, also called Anatolia.

Alborz Mountains: A mountain range in northern Iran.

Cyrus the Great: The founder of the Achaemenid Dynasty, the man credited with putting forth the concept of Iran as a distinct political entity.

Anshan: The birthplace of Cyrus the Great.

Achaemenid Empire: The first major empire in West Asia, founded by Cyrus the Great in the 6th century BCE.

Antiochus VII Sidetes: The final Seleucid emperor.

Anshan: The birthplace of Cyrus the Great.

Ardavan (Artabanus, Artawan) IV: The last Arsacid king, who lost to Ardashir in battle.

Ahvaz: The modern administrative center of the Khuzestan Province in southwestern Iran. During the Sasanian times it was called Gondi Shapur.

Arg, Dezh: Castle.

Masjid Soleyman: Literally “Solomon’s Mosque.” The birthplace of Iran’s oil industry, and the birthplace of yours truly.

Arsaces: The 1st Arsacid king, member of the Parni family of Parthia.

Aryo Barzan: Commander of the Achaemenid forces that faced off against Alexander the Great.

Arvandrood (Shat-al Arab): Is formed by the confluence of the Tigris and the Euphrates. It is a part of the southwestern border between Iran and Iraq.

Frahad II: An Arsacid shahan shah.

Aryo Barzan: Commander of the Achaemenid forces that faced off against Alexander the Great.

Antiochus VII Sidetes: The final Seleucid emperor.

Asia Minor: Home of the modern day Turkey, also called Anatolia.

Pasargadae: Base of power of Cyrus the Great.

Babylon: Center of the Babylonian civilization.

Persepolis: Site of Darius the Great’s palace.

Balkh: Ancient city center of Bactria, in modern northern Afghanistan, near Mazar-i-Sharif.

Istakhr: Center of the Pars Kingdom at the dawn of the Sasanian Era.

Cambyses: The 2nd Achaemenid emperor, son of Cyrus the Great.

Kerman: An ancient kingdom and city, and modern day province, east of Pars.

Ctesiphon: Center of the Arsacid and Sasanian dynasties.

Arg, Dezh: Castle.

Cyrus the Great: The founder of the Achaemenid Dynasty, the man credited with putting forth the concept of Iran as a distinct political entity.

Cambyses: The 2nd Achaemenid emperor, son of Cyrus the Great.

Darius I the Great: The 3rd Achaemenid emperor. Darius was not in the family of Cyrus and took power in a military coup. During his reign Iranshahr reached the greatest territorial extent in its history.

Darius I the Great: The 3rd Achaemenid emperor. Darius was not in the family of Cyrus and took power in a military coup. During his reign Iranshahr reached the greatest territorial extent in its history.

Darius III: The last Achaemenid emperor who lost to Alexander the Great in 331 BCE.

Darius III: The last Achaemenid emperor who lost to Alexander the Great in 331 BCE.

Diadochi: The group of Alexander’s generals who sought to control his empire after his death.

Diadochi: The group of Alexander’s generals who sought to control his empire after his death.

Frahad II: An Arsacid shahan shah.

Ptolemy I Soter: Alexander’s general who won the governance of Egypt.

Gorgan (Hyrcania; Jorjan): A city in Khorasan.

Seleucus I Nicator: Alexander’s general who won the governance of Mesopotamia and founded the Seleucid Empire.

Guzhir: The last Shah of Pars before the rise of the family of Sasan.

Susa Weddings: Alexander arranged for himself and 80 of his top officers to marry women in the family of Darius III, including his daughters and sisters, in order to unify his empire. It didn’t work.

Istakhr: Center of the Pars Kingdom at the dawn of the Sasanian Era.

Karoon: The only navigable Iranian river that flows through Khuzestan and pours into Arvandrood.

Karachi: The largest city and a major port in Pakistan.

Arvandrood (Shat-al Arab): Is formed by the confluence of the Tigris and the Euphrates. It is a part of the southwestern border between Iran and Iraq.

Karoon: The only navigable Iranian river that flows through Khuzestan and pours into Arvandrood.

Shat-al Arab: See Arvandrood.

Kerman: An ancient kingdom and city, and modern day province, east of Pars.

Akkad: Center of the eponymous Akkadian civilization.

Khorasan: The northeastern region of Iranshahr.

Babylon: Center of the Babylonian civilization.

Levant: the area between Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean.

Seleucia: Center of the Seleucid Empire.

Margrave (marzban): Governor of a border province.

Ctesiphon: Center of the Arsacid and Sasanian dynasties.

Mashhad: A modern day city in northeastern Iran, which was not in existence during the Sasanian Era. It is today the main administrative center of the Khorasan region, and a Shiite holy city.

Ummayid caliphs: Based in Damascus, they headed the Islamic world for its first 100 years. They were overthrown by the Abbasids.

Masjid Soleyman: Literally “Solomon’s Mosque.” The birthplace of Iran’s oil industry, and the birthplace of yours truly.

Abbasid Caliphs: Based in Baghdad, they headed the Islamic world until the Mongol invasion in 1258 CE.

Mesopotamia: Region between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, in modern Iraq.

Khorasan: The northeastern region of Iranshahr.

Mohammad Reza Shah: The 2nd and last monarch of the Pahlavi Dynasty and the last monarch of Iran, who was deposed in 1979.

Rayy: The ancient center of the Median kingdom, now a southern suburb of Tehran.

Mt. Damavand: At 5671 m, or 18605 ft, the tallest Asian peak west of the Himalayas.

Mt. Damavand: At 5671 m, or 18605 ft, the tallest Asian peak west of the Himalayas.

Neyshabur: A city in Khorasan.

Mashhad: A modern day city in northeastern Iran, which was not in existence during the Sasanian Era. It is today the main administrative center of the Khorasan region, and a Shiite holy city.

Oxus river: It flows from the Hindu Kush Mountains north through Turkmenistan to empty into the Aral Sea. It traditionally marks the northeastern border of Iranshahr throughout the ages.

Gorgan (Hyrcania; Jorjan): A city in Khorasan.

Pahlaw (Pahlav): Parthia

Neyshabur: A city in Khorasan.

Parni: The family of Arsaces, the 1st Arsacid king.

Samarkand, Tashkent, and Bukhara: Cities in Uzbekistan.

Parthians: A group of people who lived in the Khorasan region.

Balkh: Ancient city center of Bactria, in modern northern Afghanistan, near Mazar-i-Sharif.

Pasargadae: Base of power of Cyrus the Great.

Pahlaw (Pahlav): Parthia

Persepolis: Site of Darius the Great’s palace.

Levant: the area between Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean.

Pontic and Taurus Ranges: Mountain ranges on the northern and southern edges, respectively, of Asia Minor.

Mesopotamia: Region between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, in modern Iraq.

Ptolemy I Soter: Alexander’s general who won the governance of Egypt.

Reza Shah: The 1st monarch of the Pahlavi Dynasty, ascended the throne in 1921.

Rayy: The ancient center of the Median kingdom, now a southern suburb of Tehran.

Mohammad Reza Shah: The 2nd and last monarch of the Pahlavi Dynasty and the last monarch of Iran, who was deposed in 1979.

Reza Shah: The 1st monarch of the Pahlavi Dynasty, ascended the throne in 1921.

Oxus river: It flows from the Hindu Kush Mountains north through Turkmenistan to empty into the Aral Sea. It traditionally marks the northeastern border of Iranshahr throughout the ages.

Samarkand, Tashkent, and Bukhara: Cities in Uzbekistan.

Parthians: A group of people who lived in the Khorasan region.

Satrap (shahrban): Governor of an internal province.

Transoxiana: The steppes to the west of the Oxus River. A lot of troublesome people came at the Iranians from this region throughout the ages.

Seleucia: Center of the Seleucid Empire.

Arsaces: The 1st Arsacid king, member of the Parni family of Parthia.

Seleucus I Nicator: Alexander’s general who won the governance of Mesopotamia and founded the Seleucid Empire.

Parni: The family of Arsaces, the 1st Arsacid king.

Shat-al Arab: See Arvandrood.

Satrap (shahrban): Governor of an internal province.

Susa Weddings: Alexander arranged for himself and 80 of his top officers to marry women in the family of Darius III, including his daughters and sisters, in order to unify his empire. It didn’t work.

Margrave (marzban): Governor of a border province.

Tashkent: The capital city of Uzbekistan.

Ardavan (Artabanus, Artawan) IV: The last Arsacid king, who lost to Ardashir in battle.

Transoxiana: The steppes to the west of the Oxus River. A lot of troublesome people came at the Iranians from this region throughout the ages.

Vologoses (Balāsh) VI: Older brother of Ardavan IV and a pretender to the latter’s throne.

Ummayid caliphs: Based in Damascus, they headed the Islamic world for its first 100 years. They were overthrown by the Abbasids.

Adurpadegan, Adurbadegan, or Azurbadegan: Ancient names of Azerbaijan.

Vologoses (Balāsh) VI: Older brother of Ardavan IV and a pretender to the latter’s throne.

Guzhir: The last Shah of Pars before the rise of the family of Sasan.

Zagros Mountains: A mountain range in western Iran.

Zoroastrian: The predominant religion of Iranshahr, found by the prophet Zoroaster (Zarathushra/Zardosht).

Zoroastrian: The predominant religion of Iranshahr, found by the prophet Zoroaster (Zarathushra/Zardosht).

 

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