Our country’s name “Iran” is taken from the word “Aryānām Xšaθra” (The territory of the Aryans) that is changed to Iranshahr overtime and then to Iran when the Sasani Empire were governing the country. Apparently, this name was used after the Aryans settled down in Iranian Plateau in the first millennium before Christ and is also used in Avesta, still the civilization of our country land goes back to a thousand years ago, when the Sumerians built the first cities of the world in Mesopotamia and the people from Elam did the same in Khuzestan; it was about 3200 years before Christ that they started to invent writing and scripts; therefore, when everybody on earth was living in the prehistory, the people from Elam and the Sumerians simultaneously made Iran enter the history by the invention of writing. After the Elam Empire, the Achaemenid made the biggest empire of the history that approximately included two third of the known world of that time. They established an incomparable government by applying great policies and providing the freedom of culture and religion for the countries concurred by Iran, they also developed the territorial roads and the sea lanes then created a dynamic economy. This empire was that big that even the Greek Empire called it the World Empire.
When the Parthian Empire and the Sasanian Empire ascended the throne in Iran, Iran was the only rival of the powerful Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire. In this era that lasted for a thousand years, Iran was known all around the world and was the place where various civilizations such as China, India, Europe and the north of Africa joined each other; Iran had also played the role of a pipeline through which the artistic and cultural masterpieces of Iran was transferred to the four main parts of the world. Now that the invaluable Sasani masterpieces are found in remote areas such as Japan, the north of Russia and Egypt long before 1500 years ago, is an evidence for this fact. When Islam appeared in Iran and the Iranians gradually accepted this religion, an international culture emerged that provided a great open way to blossom the science and technology world on one hand and knowledge and sagacity on the other hand. Razi, Farabi, Avicenna, Biruni and Khwarizmi are the scholars in the field of science and research, besides Ferdowsi, Attar, Nizami Ganjavi, Rumi, Saadi and Hafez are the great savants in the field of knowledge and literature. The artistic and cultural innovations and the dynamicity of the Iranian thought whether in the ancient or the Islamic era as well as their various impacts on the culture and other civilizations are awesome phenomena that are the keys to enter such old culture and teaching the sweet and complex Farsi language.
A Summary of The Iran’s History
While talking about Iran’s history, we should pay attention to the point that history means the races and the people who has lived within the political borders of Iran or the ones who know themselves Iranian in any ways that is related to Today Iran and the lands that Iranshahr included.
In fact, talking about Iran, we mostly mean the second definition above. This is the reason why, sometimes we assume that the starting date of Iran’s history is when the Aryans came to Iranian Plateau (Iran’s name is taken from these people’s name), but it does not mean that the Iranian Plateau was empty of the people who came to the territory before the Aryans. Before the Aryans entered the Iranian plateau, various ancient civilizations were blossomed in Iran that some faded away because of different elements and some stayed alive such as Shahr-e Sukhteh (in Sistan), the civilization of Elam (in the north of Khuzestan), the civilization of Jiroft (in Kerman), the civilization of Tepe Sialk (in Kashan), Urartu civilization (in Azerbaijan), Tepe Gian civilization (in Nahavand) and Kassian civilization (in today Lorestan).
Iran and the Aryans
Today, one theory that is acceptable more than any other theory is that the tribes that called themselves Aryans all came to the Iranian Plateau (not everyone agrees); when we study their myth and language we find that they were closely related to the Indians and before coming to Iran, they used to live with the Indians, yet both call themselves Aryans.
Categorizing Iran’s history
Usually, Iran’s history is divided into two eras “Iran before Islam” and “Iran after Islam”:
There are two various narrations of the Iran before Islam: one is the traditional narration that is based on the traditional histories such as Shahnameh that starts from Keyumars who was not only the king of Iran but also the king of the world and consists of the Pishdadian, Kianian, Ashkanian and Sasanian dynasties. This traditional narration is somehow a myth of Iran’s history and includes valuable anthropological and mythological information. Another narration is based on the foreign histories (including Greek, Armenian and Roman histories) as well as the certificates and archeological findings (containing the inscriptions and the coins) and is generally a modern and scientific narration. In this story, the dynasties in Iran were as follows:
The Medes, the Achaemenid Empire, the Seleucid Empire, the Parthian Empire and the Sasanian Empire
The ancestries before Islam
The Medes (beginning of the eighth century lunar month) the founder and the significant kings of the dynasty
·Deioces – Cyaxares (the Achaemenid Empire) (330–559 BC ) the founders and Cyrus and Dariush (the important kings)
·Seleucid Empire (129-330 BC) the founder is Seleucus the first
·the Parthian Empire (224-256 A.D.) the founder and the important kings of the dynasty are Ash the first – Mehrdad the first or Ashk the thirteenth
·Sasanian Empire (652-224 lunar month) the founder is Ardashir I and the important kings of the dynasty are Shapur the first, Shapur the second as well as Anushiruwan the Just
The ancestries after Islam
Taherian (205-259 lunar month) the founder is Tahir ibn Husayn
Saffarid dynasty (261-287 lunar month) the founder is Ya'qub ibn al-Layth
Samanid Empire (261-389 lunar month) the founder is Nasr the first and the important kings are Isma'il ibn Ahmad and Nasr II
Ziyarid dynasty (315-462 lunar month) the founder is Mardavij and the important king is Qabus
Buyid dynasty (320-440 lunar month) the founder is Imad al-Dawla and the important king is Adud al-Dawla
Ghaznavids (388-555 lunar month) the founder is Mahmud of Ghazni
Seljuk Empire (429-590 lunar month) the founder is Tughril and the important kings are Malik-Shah I and Ahmad Sanjar
Khwarazmian dynasty (470-617 lunar month) the founder is Anushtegin Gharchai and the important king is Muhammad II of Khwarezm
Ilkhanate (654-734 lunar month) the founder is Hulagu Khan
Timurid Empire (771-903 lunar month) Timur (906-1135) the founder is Shah Ismael the first and the important king is Shah Abbas
Afsharid dynasty (1148-1161 lunar month) the founder is Nader Shah
Zand dynasty (1209-1163 lunar month) the founder is Karim Khan Zand
Qajar dynasty (1209-1345 lunar month) Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar and the important king is Naser al-Din Shah Qajar
Pahlavi dynasty (1304-1345 Hijri) the founder is Reza Shah and the imposrant king is Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
The Islamic Republic of Iran (Since 1357 – present Hijri) the founder is Imam Khomeini