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Sasanian elites and kinship ties

I found Prof. Macuch’s lecture at the FAMES, entitled Kinship Ties and Fictive Alliances in Sasanian Law, very engaging. The lecture was in two parts. First, she gave an overview of the  Sasanian interpretation of kinship and discussed wealth, property management and inheritance. In the clearly structured introduction she defined the various models of matrimony such as fully qualified marriage, proxy, temporary and fictive marriages and their purposes. In the shorter second part she interpreted the social purpose of these legal institutions. She argued that the complex Sasanian legal system was carried by the Zoroastrian clergy and served to protect the elites’ wealth, preventing it from passing to commoners. In her view, the protection of wealth in this manner resulted in a two class society with a severe imbalance of wealth. She closed her lecture with the suggestion that this imbalance of wealth may have contributed to the collapse of the Sasanian Empire in the wake of the Islamic conquests.

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The Everlasting Flame

Sogdian Ashem VohuThe study of Zoroastrianism is nothing new to the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. A number of formative figures in Iranian Studies have taught at SOAS: W. Henning, M. Boyce, D. N. MacKenzie, J. Hinnells, N. Sims-Williams, F. de Blois. And it houses the only endowed chair in Zoroastrian studies (A. Hintze). The Brunei Gallery at SOAS has been the home of ‘The Everlasting Flame‘ for the past three months, which is even by the standards of SOAS a unique event. See my interview with Sarah Stewart.

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Zoroastrians – Washingtonpost.com

Washingtonpost.com has a multimedia-like feature on Zoroastrians in Iran. A quick scan of the first page does not reveal any date for the feature, but I think it could be from the year 2000 or so. It is available in an HTML and a flash version. Enjoy it:

Among the Zoroastrians – Washingtonpost.com

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Ted Rall & Zoroastrianism

Small in numbers, big in history, these days Zoroastrians live a quite life without attracting much publicity. Ted Rall’s choice to use Zoroastrianism as the theme of one of his cartoons is surprising.

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Review: Die Schiiten

Vor etwa zehn Tagen habe ich beim Stöbern in der VUB “Die Schiiten” von Professor Heinz Halm entdeckt. Das Buch ist im Jahre 2005 in der Reihe WISSEN bei C. H. Beck erschienen. Bereits beim ersten Durchblättern fiel mir die klare Gliederung des Buches auf. Und das Inhaltsverzeichnis lockte mit Kapitelüberschriften wie: “Die Basis der Macht der Mollas” oder “Monarchie und Klerus als Rivalen”. Obwohl die Zeit nicht günstig war, konnte ich der Versuchung nicht widerstehen und musste es kaufen.

Das Buch hält, was das Inhaltsverzeichnis indirekt verspricht. Das Thema wird sehr klar und wissenschaftlich angegangen. Die wichtigsten Themenbereiche werden angesprochen, und der Autor vermittelt eine sehr klare Übersicht über die geschichtliche Entwicklung der Schia. Neben der religionsgeschichtlichen Darstellung werden die Beziehungen zwischen den ethnisch verschiedenen Schiiten der Region dargestellt. Dabei wird die Bedeutung des Schiitentums für die iranische Revolution von 1979 und umgekehrt sehr deutlich. “Theologische” Grundsätze der Schia werden klar und verständlich beschrieben. Der Stil ist ansprechend und macht die Lektüre des Buches zum reinen wissenschaftlichen Genuss.

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آرامش

کاش سرم را بردارم
و برای هفته ای در گنجه ای بگذارم و قفل کنم
در تاريکی يک گنجه خالی …
روی شانه هايم
جای سرم چناری بکارم
و برای هفته ای در سايه اش آرام گيرم …

ناظم حكمت

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Zoroastrian spam

Few days ago, a friend received her first Zoroastrian spam mail. I found it interesting, so here it goes:

From: Dr. Agathangelos Eutropius II <eutropiusii@yahoo.es>
Date: Tue, 15 May 2007 22:51:09 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Zorastrianism Greetings

Direccion: calle Brazil 10, 28025 Madrid
Date: 15th 05 2007
Our Ref: ZG/1007MA

Zorastrianism Greetings,

The Mithras Association with guidiance of Mit(h)ra, has this day the 15th 05 2007 has granted you the sum of US$ 830,000:00 only as a tribute for the Spinoff of Zorastrianism celebration (Celebration of Light). After series of secret deliberations by the Abrahadabra Forums, eight (8) people were selected from around the globe to be benefactors of the Spinoff of Zorastrianism celebration free light aid.

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linuxiran.org

According to the Persian Wikipedia, I was one of the first advocates of FOSS in Iran. The little entry continues to claim that Chapar Shabdiz was the first Iranian company to base its commercial business plan on FOSS. It also mentions the FarsiKDE project, Shabdix GNU/Linux and linuxiran.org!

Well FarsiKDE’s website expired long back and few days ago linuxiran.org! expired too. I created linuxiran.org! on April 20, 2001 and it expired on April 20, 2007. linuxiran.org! was the first Iranian portal dedicated to FOSS and at a time, was very active. It’s gone now and with it FarsiKDE and Shabdix. We had a good time trying to create something that we believed could benefit Iran.

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Old books

Yesterday I visited Ostad Lotfi. Once the meeting was over, I thought I should use the chance and take a walk around the University of Tehran. The book shops around the university are known for their access to rare books. Compared to some years ago, the area has changed drastically. There are so many people on the streets that you can barely walk straight. The streets around the Enqelab Square reminded me of India. A lot of the old book shops are gone and have been replaced with newer shops specialising in modern books or illegal copies of CDs.

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Iran’s oldest street

این نوشته‌ی جالب رو در یک وب‌گاه گردشگری قزوین پیدا کردم:
قدیمی ترین خیابان ایران در قزوین می‌باشد. نام این خیابان سپه است که از مسجد جامع قزوین به کاخ عالیقاپو منتهی می‌شود.