Reviewing the Historical Period of Achaemenid in a Talk with Rowshan Zamir
Achaemenid’s Decline or a Decline in the Historical Sources
24 Sep 2011 13:46
The scholar on the ancient Iran history says about the historical period of Achaemenid: coincidence with the ruling of Artaxerxes I, Herodotus brought his history book series entitled: “Tavarikh” i.e. Chronicles; to an end. Since then, the researchers did not deal with histories which are of avail as equal as that of Herodotus, rather with the works which are indeed qualitatively and quantitatively weak, and drive Iran’s issues to the margins.
IBNA: Herodotus, the ancient Greek famous historian was born about 480 to 490 BC, in the city called: Halicarnassus, Caria (current Bodrum, Turkey) located in the southwestern Anatolia, and died between the years: 425 to 430, better to say : (484-ca. 425 BCE). His race went back to “Dorics”, relating to the Dorians or to the Doris in ancient central Greece, one of the last races who reached the Greece mainland. Later, He proceeds to long trips to write his history.
He seems to be the first Western traveler who saw the today Middle East nearby. The researches of Herodotus included the history of the territories where traveled to, but his main goal was to narrate the wars occurred between Iran and Greece from the beginning time of Persian Empire up to the time of Xerxes. The book of Herodotus called “Tavarikh” is a significant source to recognize the events of the ancient time particularly the Median and Achaemenid histories, however there is somehow a room for doubt about the accuracy and realism in historiography of Herodotus and many of the previous writers as well as todays’ researchers accuse him of tale-telling, over-narration and predilection in history writing.
Regarding the Achaemenid vicissitudinous era and based on historian scholars point of view Bahram Rowshan Zamir, the researcher on ancient Iran history said to IBNA: Some of the researchers divide the Achaemenid history in to two parts and say that the Achaemenid kings were powerful men from the beginning up to the killing of Xerxes, but then suffered stagnation and weakness, so after the failure from Alexander they were abolished.
He added: That why the Achaemenid period is divided in to two parts, the first period from 550 BC up to 465 BC and the second period from 465BC up to 330 BC. But it cannot be accurately found that where is the classification rooted in? And why the Achaemenid’s government should be considered primarily in two periods?
He also reminded: in 465 BC, there also occurs no anomalous or wonderful incidence in political, religious or cultural respect that lead us to divide the following years from the first period. Except that in 404 BC, Egypt was separated from Iran, but in 585 BC again was considered as a part of Achaemenid territory. This event is not also so important and notable that cause to separate the two periods of Achaemenid rule.
Rowshan Zamir continued: when archaeology developed as a science, the theory of the researchers about Achaemenid centralism was thoroughly altered; they found that Achaemenid’s government was by no means centralist, but it had a tense centrifugal inclination vice versa, and was not so totalitarian that took all its extended territory- from along the Mediterranean to the Indus -under its control step by step. Let alone that the Western researchers have considered this centrifugal tendency as the sign of Achaemenid weakness and have said that they had no effect on the culture and art of their time.
This ancient Iran history scholar then said: Pierre Briant knows such an understanding from the Achaemenid’s centrifugal policy incorrect and says: those who have such an finding of Achaemenid’s government are indeed unable to recognize the Iranian and non-Iranian cultural features in the Achaemenid’s time, thus attribute every works they found out of Iran to the non-Iranians. While actually, it is impossible to identify a boundary between Iranian and non-Iranian works.
He added: “Heleen Sancisi, the Dutch researcher of Achaemenid, writes in an article on the "Achaemenid History” that what we call “Achaemenid’s decline” and consider as the reason for separating the first part from the second part, is not actually the Achaemenid’s decline, but it is indeed a decline in historic resources.
She writes: coincidence with the ruling of Artaxerxes I, Herodotus brought his history book to an end. Since then, the researchers did not deal with histories which are of avail as equal as that of Herodotus, but with the works which are qualitatively and quantitatively weak and drive Iran’s issues to the margins.
Rowshan Zamir added: in the second period, historians such as "Xenophon", “Tucidide (Thucydides) “and” Ketzias " write their own histories, paying more attention to the Greece civil wars than the events occurred within Achaemenid Empire. Thus, we have limited knowledge about the crucial times from Artaxerxes 1st up to Achaemenid Artaxerxes III.
The scholar of ancient Iranian history and culture, said: Tucidide (Thucydides) has written a book called “History of the Peloponnesian War “an account of the Peloponnesian War in Ancient Greece which has nothing to do with Iran. ”Xenophon," has also three books, his first book called “Anabasis” (from Greek ana = "upward", bainein = "go") is about the Greeks expedition to Iran in which he pays attention to the characteristics of the Greeks. His other book called “Cyrusica” (Kuroshnamegh” i.e. "Letters on Cyrus,) is not about his own time instead it says something about the life of Cyrus the Great. The third book, called “Hellenica" is not about Iran at all.
He added: a book called "Persica" (Parsnamegh) has also been attributed to Ketzias which although has been ruined, but parts of it are recited in the works of others. This book is a very weak work in which Ketzias talked about the Achaemenian kings marital strife rather than the political issues of his time. In fact, he confused the courtier challenges with true history writing.
Rowshan Zamir noted: Ketzias claim that he had a close friendship with the Achaemenid court and had been aware of the secrets and had access to state archives, is unclear how much is true. However, “Sancisi” believes that none of these must be judged as the signs indicating the Achaemenid government decline; rather they show the decline in the historical sources of Achaemenid second period.