AUTHOR: Khodadad DATE: 4:38:00 AM ----- BODY: Just for anyone who might be checking this weblog out. The new address for this blog is http://www.vishistorica.com/brain/

This weblog will not be updated anymore. Please visit the new site and update your links.

Thanks!
-------- AUTHOR: Khodadad DATE: 9:25:00 AM ----- BODY: test
-------- AUTHOR: Khodadad DATE: 10:54:00 PM ----- BODY: Here I go again
 
Well, here I am.  I am not sure why I have not been writing for all this time, but maybe because I felt there is not much to be said here for my English speaking (or reading!) audience.  Much of what is happening needs to be said in persian. I am going to plays, hanging out with friends, travelling, and doing some work related to Iranian Studies. 
 
I went to Khuzestan and visited Ahwaz, Izeh, Shush, and Shushtar. Izeh is the ancient Ayapir, a highland town of the Elamite Kingdom with quite many reliefs from the Neo-Elamite period.  If you want to see some pictures of the town and the reliefs, please have a look at my article in Cappuccino.  Shush is obviously the ancient Susa, the magnificent capital of the Elamites and the Achaemenids.  I am planning to upload these pictures when I get back to the US and have the highspeed internet again!
 
Since then, I have been going out most of the time and have been busy writing and translating as well.  I saw two plays, one entitled "Rabe'e" which is the tale of the first poetess in New Persian (ca. 10th century CE). It was a horrible play and my friends and I could not stomach more than 30 minutes of it, and one of us is a known feminist!!!  The other one I saw tonight is called "The Specialist" and is written by Dusan Kovachevich, the same author who wrote the screenplay for Emir Kusturica's fabulous "Underground".  It was a magnificent piece of art and was very well acted and directed. 
 
I will try to write more regularly from now on and update the news about my travels.  Here are some pictures of my recent travels.
-------- AUTHOR: Khodadad DATE: 8:00:00 PM ----- BODY: Wow, I am in Tehran!

Well, the title is rather self explaining, innit? I am in Tehran, and I have been quite busy since I arrived here. Met a lot of friends, went to some talks by fellow Iranists, and went to visit Taleghan, a nice area around two hours west of Tehran, in the middle of Alburz mountains. It has a very cool and nice weather.

Tomorrow, I am off to Ahwaz and Shush (ancient Susa) to visit some archaeological sites and historical monuments. I am sure it is going to be quite an experience. I have taken a lot of pictures and I am going to take more, but unfortunately, since the connexions here are quite slow, I am not sure if I can manage to make a proper photoblog before going back to Europe or the US.

Meanwhile, I will try to be more consistent and update this weblog more often. I will write about my experiences in the land of ancient Elamites.

Meanwhile, have a look at my pictures in the Yahoo Photos.

-------- AUTHOR: Khodadad DATE: 4:08:00 PM ----- BODY: It has indeed been a long time since I posted to this weblog, about 20 days actually, but I guess I have a good excuse: I was traveling! In fact, I am still traveling, if travel means being away from home. Another good excuse is that Blogger kept on giving me "Page not Found" errors when I tried to publish the post!

I am now in Villefranche sur Mer, a little town just east of Nice in south of France. I got here after a week of traveling to London, Cambridge (where I saw a good friend of mine and spent the night in Ancient India and Iran Trust, Sir Harold Baily's old residence!), and Orleans, where I saw another friend and a fellow blogger, Amir Hesabdar.

Now, I am here in Villefranche, and I am quite enjoying the place too, thank you very much! It is quite a charming "resort" town, or rather a regular southern France village with typical "savoi" style architecture (the area was part of the duchy of Savoi whose dukes later became kings of Italy!). The influx of tourists, all kinds, but many Americans, had turned it into an "exotic" destination, meaning everything is overpriced! Fortunately, a good deal of the old, original charm still remains.

I will write more later, and follow up on the discussion on history. Till then!
-------- AUTHOR: Khodadad DATE: 9:17:00 PM ----- BODY: This is just a quick note to let everyone know that I am okay and just have had problems accessing the internet and posting to the blogger (which keeps on giving me "Page not Found" errors). I will write more later.
-------- AUTHOR: Khodadad DATE: 2:55:00 AM ----- BODY: Ancient Neo-Cons?

Well, here is another installment of the Iranology column in Cappuccino and also in my own website.

Meanwhile, I was reading "A Political History of the Achaemenid Empire" by Prof. Dandamaev, the part about the advancements of Philip II of Macedonia and the campaign of his son, Alexander, against the Achaemenids. Despite all the military stuff that has been said about the father and the son, it was interesting to read the diplomatic policies of Philip. He as a Macedonian (this a Hellenised "barbarian"), tried to pass himself as the "saviour" of the Greeks and their defender against the "enemy" (Persians). In fact, Persia, due to its size and its concern with its heartland of Persia/Media, had not been involved in Greek affairs for many years. On the other hand, the chaos of late Achaemenid times also meant that Persian did not eneter internal Greek politics. Despite the many cruelties that Alexander commited during his campaign (including he burning of the Palaces of Persepolis and the documents included in its treasury), what is more important is the way Macedonians ended the "Golden Age of Greece".

Inside Greece, Athens to be exact, two parties, one the "democrats" headed by Demosthenes, and the other "Unionists" headed by Isocrates, were fighting over the diplomacy. Democrats argued that the "Barbarians" in fact never tried to limit the Greek freedoms or change their system of government (indeed, Persians just wanted to keep Greeks from starting havoc on the Persian satrapies of Asia Minor). They also said that Macedonians, the only European Hellenised state with a monarchy, was more dangerous to the freedom of Greece and their democratic system of government.

On the other hand, the Unionists encouraged all Greeks to unite and fight the "enemy" and take revange for the wars waged by "Barbarians" against the Greeks 150 years before. They wanted Macedonia to be the leader of all Greeks and attack Persia with a collective force. They accused Democrats of not being patriotic and having ties to the Persians and taking bribes by them.

I guess we all know the outcome. Macedonians finally conquered all of Greece, concluding a "Treaty of Unision" that on the surface kept the autonomy of the Greek city-states. In fact, Macedonia established garrisons near all Greek cities and directly controlled their politics. This in fact was the end of the "Golden Age" of Greece. Shortly afterwards, Romans managed to occupy Greece and forever end its independence and florishing culture. It is interesting that under 200 years of "Barbarian" threat, Greece had its Golden Age and saw the birth of Anaxagoras, Socrates, Plato, Aritstoteles, Pericles, and other greats of Greek culture. The Greek culture that many, in my opinion wrongly, see as the root of modern "Western Civilisation" actually existed during the Achaemenid era, while under the Macedonians and Romans, the monarchy eliminated the polis system and thus the Greek democracy.

I still wonder if people think that Alexander's dominance over Greece and very destructive conquest of the Achaemenid Empire "saved" the Western Civilisation! The whole thing sounds too much like a certain modern government that sees itself as the defender of "civilisation" against "barbarism"!!!

--------