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Ancient IranIraj Bashiri

Ancient Iran

Cosmology, Mythology, History (Second Edition)
By Iraj Bashiri

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-63189-220-2, 264 pages


Ancient Iran: Cosmology, Mythology, History presents Iran's pre-Islamic history within the context of both its complex cosmology and rich mythology. The book uses the concept of farr to show how authority, finding guidance in the cosmic realm, organized the lives of Iran's hero-saints in the mythic realm. It also discusses how historical monarchs organized their hierarchical societies according to the dictates of Ahura Mazda.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part examines cosmology, concentrating on Ahura Mazda. and the Ahuric order that emanates from him. The next section addresses mythology and describes how the rulership of hero-saints promoted the farr, culminating in the unique creed of Zoroaster. The final section tells the history of pre-Islamic Iran. It begins with a study of life on the plateau, moves on to the stages of empire, and focuses on the interactions thus far neglected between the early Achaemenids and ancient Egypt. It concludes with the rule of the Parthians and Sassanids.

Additionally, through a new interpretation of Firdowsi's Shahname, the volume shows how the prophet Zoroaster reorganized Mazdian cosmology to fit the ethical, philosophical, and sociological dynamics of Achaemenid and Sassanid Iran. The addition of a comprehensive account of the lives of the characters of the Shahname enhances the narrative.

The text provides cutting-edge scholarship for graduate students and scholarly insight for researchers. It is also appropriate for upper-level undergraduate students.

Iraj Bashiri Iraj Bashiri received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. He is a professor of history at the University of Minnesota, where he teaches Ancient Iran among other courses. His published works include The Ishraqi Philosophy of Jalal al-Din Rumi, The Fiction of Sadeq Hedayat, Prominent Tajik Figures of the Twentieth Century, Samanids and the Revival of the Civilization of Iranian Peoples, and Modern Iranian Philosophy: From Ibn Sina to Mulla Sadra Shirazi.

Dr. Bashiri's work, Impact of Egypt on Ancient Iran, offers a new view of the interaction between ancient Persia and Egypt, while his interpretation of Firdowsi's Shahname brings the mythical hero-saints of Iran to life. He is a recipient of the CLA Distinguished Teaching Award and is currently involved in research on the impact of Shi'ism on post-Safavid Iran.

Other Cognella titles by Iraj Bashiri: