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An Historical Geography of Iran

An Historical Geography of Iran

Copyright Date: 1984
Pages: 308
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  • Book Info
    An Historical Geography of Iran
    Book Description:

    This volume is a compendium of the rich archeological and literary evidence on the Iranian world in its larger sense, comprising part of what is now Soviet Central Asia and Afghanistan as well as Iran proper.

    Originally published in 1984.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5322-9
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. MAPS
    (pp. None)
    (pp. ix-2)
    C. E. Bosworth

    No historian of the eastern Islamic world is unfamiliar with the works of Vasilii Vladimirovich Bartol’d (1869-1930), or Wilhelm Barthold, as his name was orginally rendered in the Germano-Russian milieu into which he was born. His magnum opus, the work based on his St. Petersburg doctoral thesis,Turkestan down to the Mongol Invasion, appeared in English in the Gibb Memorial Series in 1928, and with an extra, hitherto unpublished chapter, again in 1968. The late Professor V. and Mrs. T. Minorsky performed a valuable service in 1958-1962 by translating asFour Studies on the Hhtory of Central Asia(in fact,...

    (pp. 3-5)

    The purpose of this work is to present a brief survey of the geography of Iran, to dwell in greater detail on the sites that were at various historical periods the centers of life, and to determine, as far as possible, the degree of dependence of this life on geographical circumstances.

    “Iran” as a geographical term denotes an elevated plateau, bordering on the north and northeast the basins of the Caspian and Aral seas, and on the west, south, and southeast, the basin of the Indian ocean. The country is one of the so-called interior, landlocked basins, whose characteristic peculiarities...

  7. CHAPTER I Bactria, Balkh, and Ṭukhāristān
    (pp. 6-34)

    The earliest center of Iranian culture known to us, perhaps even the earliest center of Iranian governmental structure, was Baktra, modern Balkh, south of the Āmū Daryā.¹ This primeval civilization was doubtless at a much lower level than the civilization of the peoples living at that time around the Mediterranean sea and in the Euphrates-Tigris basin. Even later, when the eastern part of Iran entered into the framework of the Achaemenid empire founded by the Persians, the customs and habits of the Bactrians and Soghdians were sharply distinct from those of the inhabitants of the western half of the kingdom;...

  8. CHAPTER II Marw and the Course of the Murghāb
    (pp. 35-46)

    On the west, Gūzgān was bounded by the cultivated tract of the Murghāb and its affluents, the ancient Margiana. As the largest river in the whole area, the Murghāb flows much farther north than the neighboring streams, but a part of its course crosses a sand desert; elsewhere the cultivated zone astride it is only a narrow belt. For this reason the road between the two largest cities of Arab Khurāsān, Marw and Balkh, left Marw first in a southerly direction along the Murghāb toward the mountains, then proceeded along these mountains northeastward through Fāryāb (that is, Dawlatābād) and Shapūrgān.¹...

  9. CHAPTER III Harāt and the Course of the Harī Rūd
    (pp. 47-63)

    The Arab geographers do not give a detailed description of the roads connecting the valley of the Murghāb with that of the next substantial river, the Harī Rūd, where Harāt is located. The distance from Harāt northeastward to Marw al-Rūd was reckoned to be six days’ journey, that from Harāt northwestward to Sarakhs, five days’ journey. The country between Harāt and Marw al-Rūd was called Ganj Rustāq, and that between Harāt and Sarakhs, Bādghīs; this latter term later acquired a wider meaning and came to designate the whole northwestern part of present-day Afghanistan (even in the fifteenth century, Ḥāfiẓ-i Abrū...

  10. CHAPTER IV Sīstān, the Southern Part of Afghanistan and Balūchistān
    (pp. 64-86)

    We have seen that Harāt, even at a time when it lay off the northern trade route, was the center of commerce with Sīstān and the southern regions of Persia. A fire worshiper built a bridge across the Harī Rūd which, according to Maqdisī, had no equal in all of Khurāsān.¹ In Tīmūrid times, Isfizārī mentions the bridge by its present name, Pul-i Mālān; in English books, it appears as Pul-i-Malun, whereas Ferrier calls it Peul-Malane.² In the nineteenth century, the bridge was restored by Yār Muḥammad. Ferrier states that such a bridge would have been a wholly commonplace phenomenon...

  11. CHAPTER V Khurāsān
    (pp. 87-111)

    We have no information as to how and when the Aryans moved from the eastern to the western part of Iran. The Medes (Amada, later Madai) are mentioned for the first time in 835 b.c. in an inscription of the Assyrian king Shalmaneser II; it is not clear whether these Medes were Aryans from the outset, or whether Aryan conquerors had adopted the name of earlier occupants of the country.¹ Aryan proper names appear only with the inscriptions of Sargon (721-705 b.c.).² Furthermore, we do not know whether the Aryan migration occurred only along the northern route, that of the...

  12. CHAPTER VI Qūmis and Gurgān
    (pp. 112-120)

    One part of the principal road between the present-day settlements of ‘Abbāsābād [on the east] and Lāsgird [on the west] was included by the Arab geographers in the region of Qūmis, which appears, as Κωμισηνή, as early as the work of Isidore of Charax. In the tenth century, Qūmis came within the framework of the possessions of the Buwayhids who, however, paid part of the revenues from this region, as well as from the neighboring Ray—200,000 dinars in all—to the Sāmānids. Clearly, this political boundary was purely artificial and therefore underwent frequent modifications. At the time of the...

  13. CHAPTER VII Ray and Hamadān
    (pp. 121-132)

    The western limit of Qūmis was considered to be the station Ra’s al-Kalb, in the low mountain spurs to the west of Lāsgird; this place was separated from the fertile district of Khuwār¹ (the Χόαϱα of Ptolemy and Χοαϱηνή of Isidore of Charax)² by a salt desert in which the village of Dih-i Namak or Diz-i Namak, the Qaṣr al-Milḥ of the Arabs, is located. The chief settlement of the district of Khuwār now bears the Turkish name Qïshlaq (“winter quarters”).³ Travelers describe the guard towers and walls that until recently served as protection from incursions by the Turkomans; one...

  14. CHAPTER VIII Qūhistān, Kirmān, and Makrān
    (pp. 133-147)

    The settlement of the southern part of Iran by the Aryans took place, most probably, independently of the movement of the Medes described above. The Iranians of the southern regions are subsumed by Herodotus (I, 125), in distinction from the Medes, under the common name Πέϱσαι, Persai; among the Persai are also reckoned the Δηϱονσιαῖοι and Γεϱμάνιοι, from whom the southeastern regions Gedrosia (now Makrān) and Kirmān received their names. This movement also probably proceeded from east to west. These Aryans became separated from the northern branch of the Iranians, perhaps in Khurāsān. They occupied Sīstān, where the tribe mentioned...

  15. CHAPTER IX Fārs
    (pp. 148-168)

    After Kirmān, the Aryans must have occupied Fārs, a region that, as the name suggests, became the focal point of the Persian nation. Here the representatives of the southern branch of the Iranians achieved political unity and created a strong state. Later, when the Persian kings transferred their residence to richer regions, Fārs did not lose its significance for them; this is testified even today by the ruins of the buildings erected here by the Achaemenids and Sāsānids. From Fārs originated not only the founders of the Persian state in the sixth century b.c., but also the dynasty that in...

  16. CHAPTER X Iṣfahān, Kāshān, and Qum
    (pp. 169-179)

    The center of Fārs is connected by several roads with the large towns of northern Persia. In the Middle Ages, the road from Shīrāz to Iṣfahān did not pass through Iṣṭakhr, as it does now; the shorter route through the town of Māyīn was considered the main road. This road joined, it would seem, the present-day one near the town of Yazdīkhwāst, situated on a cliff in the middle of a valley; this town, despite its ancient name, is not mentioned in the tenth-century itineraries. It is the fourteenth-century itinerary by Ḥamd Allāh Mustawfī Qazwīnī that mentions the chief towns...

  17. CHAPTER XI Luristān and Khūzistān
    (pp. 180-194)

    Immediately west of Iṣfahān begins a series of parallel mountain chains that constitute the western limit of the Iranian plateau. The Arab geographers mention two roads from Hamadān to Iṣfahān, both of which passed through the town of Burūjird and which bifurcated ten farsakhs to the south of this town, near Karaj, which no longer exists;¹ the eastern route passed through Jurbadhqān, present-day Gulpāyagān.² In addition, a road from Hamadān southward to Khūzistān is mentioned; it goes through Nihāwand and Gondēshāpūr, which today is a ruined site to the southeast of Dizfūl. Finally there is mention, in the fourteenth century,...

  18. CHAPTER XII Kurdistān and Mesopotamia
    (pp. 195-206)

    Both the road from Media through Hamadān and that from Fārs and Khūzistān through Susa led to Mesopotamia, the center of the most ancient civilization in Asia. The road from Hamadān to Baghdad always had great importance. In Arab times, it was part of the principal trade route from western to eastern Asia, because of which it is described by the Arab geographers in especially great detail; the most detailed description is in the work of Ibn Rusta.¹ From Hamadān, the road crossed the mountain range of Alwand, called Arwand by the Arabs and Orontes by the Greeks, and came...

  19. CHAPTER XIII The Mountains North of Hamadān
    (pp. 207-213)

    The Arab geographers also included in the province of al-Jibāl, which comprised Ray, Iṣfahān, Hamadān, and other cities, the mountains to the north of Hamadān up to the border of Azerbaijan. The main component of the population there was constituted, then as now, by Kurds; the region between Kirmānshāhān and Azerbaijan bears today the name of Ardalān; its chief city is Sinna, or, more exactly, Senna [Modern Sanandaj].aIn the nineteenth century, the Kurdishwālīof this city was still in fact independent of the Persian government; only in the reign of Nāṣir al-Dīn Shāh, who sent as governor to...

  20. CHAPTER XIV Azerbaijan and Armenia
    (pp. 214-229)

    Azerbaijan or more exactly Ādharbāyjān, constituted in antiquity the northwestern part of Media; it acquired an importance of its own only after the death of Alexander of Macedonia, when the Persian Atropates, sent by Alexander in 328 b.c. as a satrap to Media, asserted himself there. Atropates succeeded in establishing a modest kingdom that received his name (Atropatene in Greek, Atrpatakan in Armenian, whence Azerbaijan); this small state is noteworthy as the first manifestation of the reaction of the Iranian element against the Greek conquest and against the irruption of Greek civilization. The capital of the region, Γάζα or Γάζαϰα...

  21. CHAPTER XV Gīlān and Māzandarān
    (pp. 230-242)

    The region along the southern coast of the Caspian sea differs radically, in nature and climate, from all the other regions of Iran. Gīlān and Māzandarān, which occupy the narrow belt between the mountains and the sea, suffer not from lack, but from excess of moisture. A multitude of rivers flow from the mountains; most form at their estuaries the so-calledmurdābs, lagoons with stagnant water that emit exhalations of decomposition and are separated by shoals from the sea. There is not a single navigable river on this whole littoral, a feature remarked upon even by the tenth-century geographers.¹ South...

    (pp. 243-266)
  23. INDEX
    (pp. 267-285)
  24. Back Matter
    (pp. 286-286)