Iran Zamin 2

This weblog contains personal views on the history of Iran in comparison with other ancient countries and information on Iran for those interested to learn about our heritage. (this is part 2 of Iran Zamin)

Saturday, January 14, 2006

The Status Of Science In Ancient Iran

Who says we Iranians have no Plato, Oghlidous or Apolinious? In my mind I always percieved the vanishment of the discoveries of Iranian scholars as a fault of the persian community and the fact that they dont appriciate what they have and always take it for granted. What is evident though is that our country has been percieved as a golden land, plundered by many conquerers such as Alexander the Great and Changeez The Moghol whose goal was to destroy the ever growing Persian civilization. You would be surprise to learn some of the famous philosophers whom you might have thought to be greek were actually persian or the fact that most earned their scholarship through Persian Scientists or philosophers. Arabs alone did serious damege to our Scientific heritage and that is one of the reasons why Persian philosophers like Estans-e- Razi are unknown to the world while an undergraduate student like myself can borow Arsitotle's gatherings at the university library. It has been documanted that when the Arabs invaded Persia they massacred Iranians and confiscated their belongings. All Persian cities were looted repeatedly. They destroyed everything in order to inplant their ideas in peoples minds. For example in "kharazm" they asked for 4000 educated people among the population and beheaded all of them. In "kerman", they asked people to bring their ancient books as a form of tax or else they would be deeply punished. The citizen presented their mathematics and philosophy books in order to save their lives. The same fate repeated with the Mogols attacks. The truth is that there were both scientists and scientific books in ancient Iran, many volumes of which were looted and burnt.

Some Important Notes to Remember:

  • I could proudly claim we Iranians have used the solar calendar ever since we reckoned the need to keep track of our days. While even today there are many cummunities that use a lunar calendar despite the fact that urban and agricultural societies need a solar calendar to be able to function sceintifically. Even Omar Khayam has cited that he used ancient sourses for designing his "Jalali Calendar", which is a more accurate calendar than the "Gregory Calendar" which was designed 200 years after the "Jalali Calendar" and todays Christian calendar is based on it.
  • While "Plutarch", a Roman historian-army commander, was traveling in Persian in 700 BCE, he passed through a city called "Hekmatane", (todays Hamedan). In "Hekmatane", he came across a school (university) whome he discribed as to have a head faculty and 100 students. In the school they learned astronomy, medicine, philosophy and mathematics. Very many of the world's greatest scholars and physicians visited them at the university. "Plutarch" mentioned of similar schools in all Iranian cities. If science did not prevail in Iran, then what were these people studying? what happened to that knowledge?
  • "Plotinus", a Greek historian who visited Iran in 100 BCE, wrote, "when I was in Iran, they were measuring the radius of the Earth and its curvature". Other refrences to the spherical shape of the Earth can be found in "Yasht's". To measure the Earth's radius you have to be familiar with astronomy and mathematics. This was when the Greeks still assumed that the Earth was a flat land sorrounded by water.
  • "Phisaghorous", (Pythogarus) the Greek philosopher and mathematician spent 20 years of his life in Iran and "Babylon", (which was a part of the acient Persian Empire), accurding to his biography. During this time he learned the knowledge of the "Moghan", (Magi). His philosophy of light was under the influence of Persians who believed in spherical Earth rotating around the central Sun. There has also been doubts about the famous theory of right angle triangles. Today, it is a know fact that the theory did not belong to "Pythogarus" but was named after him later on. Towards the end of "Ghajar" era, French archaeologists found some documents in "Elam" which was published in France. Among the findings were 17 cases of the right-angle triangles with different dimensions and calculations similar to those of "Pythogarus". Apparently, they were looking for a single solution and its possible that they found it.
  • There is an ancient Greek thesis from somebody named "Paapoos". He cited "Estaans" the Moughan as a naturalist philosopher believing in "self management and self-recycling power of nature provided that humans do not destroy it". This philosophy is still valid and we have to take care of our environment.
  • "Oghladous" was an Iranian who was born in Asia Minor and migrated to "Eskandarieh" (Alexandria) to work and never lived in Greece.
  • While the Greeks had no progressive calculation and mathematics and nothing to offer in Algebra, Babylonians were using a numaric system and had even invented 0. At this time Greeks used alphabets for numbers. "Araashmidous" the greatest mathematician in ancient Greece, wrote a book to represent a big number, and called it his masterpiece. However, thousands of years before the Greeks, Elamians had a numaric system similar to what we have today.


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Blogger Hamid said...

I Think, there is mistake in saying that Plutarch have visited Persia in 700 BC. He did not exist at that time.
I would also appriciate, if you could mention the sources, you have your information from. Tahnk you.

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