English Podcast

Episode 3: From Pre-History to History

— This is episode three, out after some mishaps… Download/Stream it from here

— As usual, subscribe via Feedburner here, and you can always look for it on the iTunes and other podcast directories (Podbay?).

— I promised a list of terms and names I was using, so here they are.

Chalcolithic = the so-called “copper” age, or the coper-stone period

Elam = The civilisation I talked about the most, and will continue talking about for the next episode

Tepe Sialk = Archaeological site in central-northern part of the plateau

Tepe Hissar= Archaeological site on the northeast of the Iranian Plateau

Shahr-e Sukhte = the Burnt City, site on the east side of the plateau, by the Helmand River

Sargon of Agade = the first king of the Empire of Agade/Akkad (2332 BCE).

Gutians and Lulubians = mountain tribes/confederations to the north of Elam

Jiroft = archaeological side on the central eastern part of the plateau

Naram-Sin= Grandson of Sargon

Ur-Namma (2112-2095) = the founder of the Third Dynasty of Ur

Puzur Inshushinak = contemporary of Ur-Namma, king of Awan, the first Elamite ever mentioned

Shimashki= the dominant city of Elam after 2004 BC

Sukkalmah=the title of the “governor” of Elam under Larsa’s dominance; later the most powerful rulers in the region

Gungunum of Larsa (1932-1906) = the founder of the dynasty of Larsa

And here is a map (note that Malyan is Anshan!)


Episode 2: Geography

Episode 2 is released… download or stream it from here

Of course, you can subscribe from here too!

Here is the map for the episode

Topographic Map

Topographic Map of Central and West Asia

Introducing the Podcast

This is the first home of the History of Iran Podcast. The idea is to eventually house the podcast and this associated weblog at a domain name of its own. However, at this point I think it will be a good idea to tell you a bit about what is coming up.

The point of the podcast is to give a certain amount of freedom to both the podcaster and the listeners. There are so many more things one can say in a podcast, and it is so much easier to do so as well. In a podcast, I can also invite a guest expert to help is with some episodes, and I can also try to answer your questions every now and then. In fact, I think I will include a question and answer episode every now and then, just to achieve this.

I thought it will be good to tell you what the first few episodes will be about. As you can see, I am not going to give you a usual, dynastic based history of Iran (you know, Achaemenids to the present deal!). I am going to keep the dynastic framework as a useful way of organising the narrative, but I am also going to stop at certain points and explain and elaborate on certain points. So, do expect episodes dedicated to a specific point, to a subject of interested, or to a matter of historiography or sources. I will also add episodes on subjects that might come up out of your questions and other discussions. That is the beauty of podcasting: I can add to the episodes, and of course, you are free to skip over what does not interest you! If you don’t like something, wait a little, and something interesting will come up!

Now, here are the episodes as I see them:

Episode 0: the Pilot Episode: Why ‘the History of Iran’?

— in this episode, we will discuss why I am doing a history podcast at all, why a history of Iran, and why Iran? Why not Persia? What is Iran anyway, and what is Persia? You know, all the pesky issues!

Episode 1: the Mesopotamian Prelude

— this will be a quick survey of the Old and Middle periods of the history of Mesopotamia. I believe that the history of Iran really only makes sense in the context of Mesopotamian history. I cannot go through all of that though, so I am only going to bring the story down to about the year 1000 BC.

Episode 2: Peoples and Polities of the Iranian Plateau

— I am here defining a bit of the natural and topological history of Iran, and I will talk about the evidence we have of the people who lived on the Iranian Plateau. Hopefully this will give us some sort of anchor for the future episodes.

Episode 3: Indo-Europeans, Indo-Iranians, and Iranians: Why is this all so confusing?

— this would be the episode to talk about all the ‘Arian/Aryan’ myth you have always heard about! What is that? I will talk about the Indo-European homeland theory, Indo-Iranians and their language family, and where all this fits in history, or does it?

Episode 4: The End of the Mesopotamian World Order

— this episode is about all the ‘neos’: Neo-Elamites, Neo-Assyrians, and the Neo-Babylonians. It will talk about a possible shift, a little bit of political and social change in a world that already had thousands of years of civilisation

Episode 5: Cyrus of Anshan and his Empire

— this is what people have been waiting for, the story of the founding father! Well, prepare to be surprised.

Episode 6: Successors of the Cyrus and the Achaemenids

— here we continue the political history, and how the dynasty of Cyrus became the Achaemenid Dynasty

Episode 7: A Matter of Sources

— in this episode, I am going to take a pause from political history and talk about sources. This will have a lot about what kind of sources we have, and I will elaborate on the issue of inscriptions, cylinders, and other sort of sources that are unconventional to the writing of history

Episode 8: Darius and His Empire

— I think the greatest contribution of the Achaemenid Empire to world history is their administration. So, we shall discuss that here!

Episode 9: Religion from Mesopotamia to the Achaemenids

— I think we have a very exaggerated idea of religion, and tend to be very anachronistic about it. I am going to make another pause and talk about how religion was conceived of in this world. I will probably bring a friend or an expert to help me with this one.

Episode 10: Xerxes? What kind of name is that?

— No, he was not the creator of the Xerox machine, and his name (or its Greek version), is rather unusual. I will talk about who he is, what he did, and if we should only remember him for not managing to conquer Greece… oh wait, he did!