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Alexander the Great is still remembered in Persia, Iran – Part 1 of 2

2004-11-14
The ancient city Persepolis, Takht-e-Jamshid, in Persia, Iran, is a great wonder of world. Its remains are still well preserved in some parts, but what could it have been if not Alexander the Great invaded it.

At that time he was remembered as Sikander or Iskander and was called Dhul Quarayn, or "the Two-Horned," probably because he was once depicted on a coin wearing a helmet with horns.

Photo. Strange stone sculptures in ancient Persepolis, Persia, Iran.

Have these mysterious stones sculptures been shaped to symbolise Alexander the Great wearing a helmet with horns, or has it something to do with Norwegian Vikings? Anyway Alexander the Great sat his footprints deeply in Persia, and they are visible.

Not inspired by the Vikings?
Have the Vikings ever been to Persepolis? The city of Persepolis is from around 500  - 300 B.C. When I was in
Persepolis in July this year I heard someone mentioned that these stone sculptures could have something to do with Norwegian Vikings, but how could this make sense? Of course it depends on when they were designed and raised. As kno wn from history that the Vikings used helmets (hats) with horn, but the Viking era spanned from about 750 to 1050. So where is the connection?

 

The Viking longboat, the most advanced ship available in its time, was a major factor in the success of the Vikings. They could go everywhere. Archaeologists have found evidence of their civilization not only in their homelands of Norway, Sweden and Denmark, but also as far away as Greece and Baghdad in the "old world" and L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland, Canada in the "new world". They traded furs, amber, iron objects, walrus ivory and slaves for silks, spices, and silver. A sixth or seventh century bronze Buddha was even found in Helgo, Sweden. The Vikings could also go everywhere, but at that time Persepolis was on its heydays there were no Vikings. So perhaps it's was more likely that these stones are connected to Alexander the Great`s hat wearing?

 

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E-mail: Stein@TravelExplorations.com

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The origon of Persepolis

Persepolis is located 60 km northeast of Shiraz in Iran. The present-day Persian name, Takht-e-Jamshid, means "Throne of Jamshid", a legendary Iranian King. However, the ancient name of the city was Parsa, or Pars' City, hence the Greek name Persepolis. It was founded in the Sixth Century B.C. by the Kings of the First Persian Empire (the Achaemenids). Today it`s one of Iran`s most popular tourist sites.

 

Alexander the Great`s war on Persia

Alexander the Great and Conquests Alexander was the son of King Philip II of Macedonia born approximately on July 20th in 356 B.C. His mother was Olympias, a young princess from Epirus. Alexander was a remarkably person. Soon after taking the throne Alexander proceeded with Philip's planned war on Persia. In a few years he conquered most of Asia Minor. He was called "Lord of Asia," a title he had chosen for himself. Alexander the Great (*356; r. 336-323): the Macedonian king who defeated his Persian colleague Darius III Codomannus and conquered the Achaemenid Empire.

Image. Alexander with ram's horns, Coin of Lysimachus, c.290.

Has the strange stone sculptures also been shaped based on Alexander`s helmet with horns?

 

Based on information from the website Royalty.nu (the World of Royalty), Alexander the Great tried to treat Persians fairly, because he wanted them to accept him as their leader, but his impulsiveness, caused by his bad temper and hard drinking, sometimes got in the way of his good intentions. According to one account Alexander decided to sack the Persian city of Persepolis after a courtesan suggested it at a drunken party.

 

The city and its palace were reduced to rubble. The king of Persia, Darius III, fled from Persepolis and Alexander pursued him. Darius appealed to a satrap named Bessus for help, but Bessus and his allies killed Darius, possibly at Darius's request. Alexander brought Darius's body back to the ruins of Persepolis and gave him a grand funeral. Then he had Bessus hunted down, publicly flogged, and executed for Darius's murder.

 

Alexander's attempts to appease the Persians, along with his increasing power and ego, antagonized some of the men around him. The son of one of his most trusted generals became involved in a plot to assassinate him. Although the general had no part in the conspiracy, he was executed along with his son, which did not please Alexander's soldiers. The general's successor insulted Alexander at a party and Alexander killed him on the spot.

 

Photo. The Gate of All Nations, Takt-e-Jamshid,Persepolis.

 

The old Persians welcomed and hosted people from several nations at that time, but not everybody made a friendly visit.

 

It was a great time before Alexander the great showed up. Persepolis` civilisation and culture had a great impact on the world`s development.

 

In 327 B.C. Alexander captured a group of rebels and fell in love with the chief's daughter, Roxane. They were married and Roxane soon became pregnant, but the child was stillborn. Due to his constant campaigns Alexander had little time to spend with his wife, and it was four years before she became pregnant again. After marrying Roxane, Alexander invaded India and conquered much territory there. Following one bloody battle (which his forces won) his men refused to go any further. Reluctantly Alexander agreed to turn back. He attacked many cities on the march back home. During one battle he took an arrow in the chest and almost died.

 

Alexander the Great`s returns for Persia

In the winter of 325-324 he returned to Persia. Finding that several of his governors had abused their authority in his absence, he had them executed. To promote harmony between his people and the Persians he ordered eighty of his most important men to marry highborn Persian women in traditional Persian wedding ceremonies. He himself married King Darius's daughter, who was named either Barsine or Stateira. At the same time he was still married to Roxane.

 

His best friend, Hephaestion, married Barsine's sister Drypetis. Alexander also began promoting Persians to high ranking positions in his army, saying that Persians and Macedonians should share the empire. His efforts to create unity failed; even the marriages between his men and the Persians mostly broke up after Alexander's death.

 

The coming movie about Alexander the Great will remind us about a bloody history, but also a great time where Persia was probably the most advanced society in the world. Alexander the Great never managed to destroy it complety. His name is still remembered in Persia for his brutality, but the city of Persepolis is remembered for its beauty and arena for peacemaking. It was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1979. It was the cradle of civilisation, and can still be admired in Iran. It's huge, symbolic and beautiful.

 

This article continues in part 2. Read more about Alexander the Great and ancient wonders in Iran.

 

Stein Morten Lund, 13 November 2004

 

Additional information

 

Background information source:

 

Royalty.nu: http://www.royalty.nu/Europe/Balkan/Alexander.html

 

Read about history and royalty in Iran: http://www.royalty.nu/MiddleEast/Iran/index.html

 

Here you find everything about Alexander the Great on this website: http://www.isidore-of-seville.com/alexander

 

Watch the trailer from the coming movie about Alexander the Great (from the Official website for the movie): http://alexanderthemovie.warnerbros.com

 

The cradle of civilisation in Iran: Takt-e-Jamshid, Persepolis! It`s one of the greatest wonders in the world - located in Iran. But so came Alexander the Great…… Read more on our website (Travel Explorations).

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