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Updated: Saturday 11th October 2014

ایرانشهر تعریف

The terms Eranshahr and Eran were in use in Sassanid Iran. From early Sassanid era (Ardeshir and Shapour's elaborations), as a designation of their land they adopted Eranshahr “Empire of the Iranians” and this served as the official name of their country.Shahrestanhay-e-Eranshahr (lit. the provincial capitals of Iran) is a surviving Middle Persian text on geography, which was completed in the late eighth or early ninth centuries AD. The text gives a numbered list of the cities of Eranshahr and their history and importance for Persian history. The text itself has indication that it was also redacted at the time of Khosrau II in 7th century as it mentions several places in Africa and Persian Gulf conquered by the Sassanid.The book serves as a source for works on Middle Iranian languages, a source on Sassanid administrative geography and history, as well as a source of historical records concerning names of the Sassanid kings as the builder of the various cities. The text provides information on the Persian epic, the Khodaynameh (lit. Book of Kings)The book may be the same as Ayadgar-e-Shahrha (lit. Memoir of Cities) named in the Bundahishn and said to have been written following an order of Ghobad I.Ardeshir I (reign until 241) the first king of the Sassanid Empire had used the older word Eran (Parthian aryan) as part of his titles and in accordance with its etymology. At Naghsh Rostam in Fars province and the issued coins of the same period, Ardeshir I calls himself Shahanshah-e-Eran in the Middle Persian version meaning “king of kings of the Aryans.” His son Shapour I referred to himself as Shahanshah-e-Eran and aneran (lit. "King of kings of the Aryans and the Non-Aryans") in Middle Persian. Later kings used the same or similar phrases and these titles became the standard designations of the Sassanid sovereigns.However the major trilingual (Middle Persian, Parthian, and Greek) inscription of Shapour I at the Zoroaster's Cube in Fars, introduces another term Eranshahr in Middle Persian and Aryanshahr in Parthian. Shapour's declaration reads I am lord of the kingdom of the Aryans. This follows his title “king of kings of the Aryans,” and thus makes it "very likely" that Eranshahr "properly denoted the empire". Next to Dariush's inscription, this inscription of Shapour at walls of Kabe-ye Zartosht is among the most important inscriptional records. It records parts of Persian-Roman wars and gives "a clear picture of the extent of his empire" by naming of provinces, mentioning religious foundations and mentioning senior officials of the court of Papak, Ardeshir and Shapour I. According to the inscription, after death of Shapour's father and his accession, the emperor Gordianus “marched on Assyria, against Eranshahr and against us”.Beside the royal title, the term "Eran" was also used as an abbreviation of "Eranshahr" and referred to the empire in the early Sassanid era. In this case the Roman west was correspondingly referred to as “aneran”. As references to empires, Eran and Aneran occur already in a chronicle text from Mani (dating back probably to Ardeshir I's era.) This shorter term "Eran" appears in the names of the towns build by Shapour I and his successors as well as in the titles of several high ra (Wikipedia) - Iran (word)   (Redirected from Eranshahr)

The name of Iran (Persian: ایران‎) derives immediately from Middle Persian Ērān, Pahlavi ʼyrʼn, first attested in this form in the inscription that accompanies the investiture relief of Ardashir I at Naqsh-e Rustam. In this inscription, the king''s Middle Persian appellation is ardašīr šāhān šāh ērān corresponding to the passage ardašīr šāhān šāh aryān in the Parthian inscription accompanying the Middle Persian one. Both mean "Ardashir, king of kings of Aryans". Though in English the name Persia was once normal, Iran is today the preferred name.

  • 1 Etymology
  • 2 Usage in the medieval Islamic period
  • 3 Modern usage
  • 4 See also
  • 5 Notes
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links


The gentilic ēr- and ary- (in e.g. ērān/aryān) in the Middle Iranian languages of Persian and Parthian derives from Old Iranian *arya- (in e.g. Old Persian: ariya-, Avestan: airiia-, etc.), meaning "Aryan," in the sense of "of the Iranians." This word (i.e. *arya-) is attested as an ethnic designator in Achaemenid inscriptions and in Zoroastrianism''s Avesta tradition, and in Middle Iranian era (ca. 400 BCE - 700 CE) it seems "very likely" that the word ērān in Ardashir''s inscription still retained the same meaning as in the Old era, i.e. denoting the people rather than the empire while the empire was properly named as ērānšahr.

Notwithstanding this inscriptional use of ērān to refer to the Iranian peoples, the use of ērān to refer to the empire (and the antonymic anērān to refer to the Roman territories) is also attested by the early Sassanid period. Both ērān and anērān appear in 3rd century calendrical text written by Mani. In an inscription of Ardashir''s son and immediate successor, Shapur I "apparently includes in Ērān regions such as Armenia and the Caucasus which were not inhabited predominantly by Iranians." In Kartir''s inscriptions (written thirty years after Shapur''s), the high priest includes the same regions (together with Georgia, Albania, Syria and the Pontus) in his list of provinces of the antonymic Anērān. Ērān also features in the names of the towns founded by Sassanid dynasts, for instance in Ērān-xwarrah-šābuhr "Glory of Ērān (of) Shapur". It also appears in the titles of government officers, such as in Ērān-āmārgar "Accountant-General (of) Ērān" or Ērān-dibirbed "Chief Scribe (of) Ērān".

Shapur''s trilingual inscription at Ka''ba-i Zartosht also introduces the term ērānšahr (), "kingdom of the Iranians", that is however not attested in any other texts of this period other than in royal inscriptions (it is however preserved in post-Sassanid-era Zoroastrian texts). Because an equivalent of ērānšahr does not appear in Old Iranian (where it would have been *aryānām xšaθra- or in Old Persian *- xšaça-, "rule, reign, sovereignty"), the term is presumed to have been a Sassanid-era development. In the Greek portion of Shapur''s trilingual inscription the word šahr "kingdom" appears as ethnous "nation". For speakers of Greek, the idea of an Iranian ethnous was not new: In the 1st century BCE, Strabo had noted a relationship between the various Iranian peoples and their languages: " beyond the Indus Ariana is extended so as to include some part of Persia, Media, and the north of Bactria and Sogdiana; for these nations speak nearly the same language." (Geography, 15.2.1-15.2.8).

Usage in the medieval Islamic period
This section contains Persian text. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols.

The name "Aria" (etymologically equivalent to Iran) is also attested in this period. Hamza Isfahani (894-970), in his book History of the Prophets and Saints, mentions:

Aryan which is also called Pars is in the middle of these countries and these six countries surround it because the South East is in the hands China, the North of the Turks, the middle South is India, the middle North is Rome, and the South West and the North West is the Sudan and Berber lands.

Hakim Meysari (born 935) wrote an important Persian treaty on medicine in verse, in the beginning of which he writes:

جو بر پیوستنش بر دل نهادم

فراوان رایها بر دل گشادم

که چون گویمش من تا دیر نماند

وُ هرکس دانش او بداند

بگویم تازی ار نه پارسی نغز

ز هر در بگویم من مایه و مغز

وُ پس گفتم زمین ماست ایران

که بیش از مردمانش پارسیدان

وُگر تازی کنم نیکو نباشد

که هر کس را از او نیرو نباشد

دری گویمش تا هرکس بداند

وُ هرکس برزبانش بر براند

Translation: When I decided to compose works, many thoughts ran through my mind. I wanted everyone to understand the knowledge I am writing. I was undecided to write in Persian or Arabic Then I told myself that our country is Iran, and the majority of its people speak Persian, thus if I write in Arabic it is not right, because not every may benefit from that language, Thus I will compose it in Dari (Persian) So that people can understand it and recite it

The name was also used for inhabitants. For example, the famous Iranian musician Safi al-Din al-Urmawi is referred to by Qutb al-Din Shirazi ((1236–1311)) as the wise sage of Iran. According to the Encyclopedia of Islam on Safi al-Din al-Urmawi:

The sources are silent about the ethnic origin of his family. He may have been of Persian People descent (Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi calls him afdal-i Īrān (A sage of Iran)).
Modern usageQajar-era currency bill featuring a depiction of Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar. It states: Issued from the imperial bank of Iran

During the Safavid era, most of the territory of the Sassanid empire regained its political unity, and Safavid kings were assuming the title of "Šāhanšāh-e Irān" (Iran''s king of kings). An example is Mofid Bafqi (d. 1679), who makes numerous references to Iran, describing its border and the nostalgia of Iranians who had migrated to India in that era. Even Ottoman sultans, when addressing the Āq Quyunlu and Safavid kings, used such titles as the “king of Iranian lands” or the “sultan of the lands of Iran” or “the king of kings of Iran, the lord of the Persians”. This title, as well as the title of "Šāh-e Irān", was later used by Nader Shah Afshar and Qajar and Pahlavi kings. Since 1935, the name "Iran" has replaced other names of Iran in the western world. Jean Chardin, who travelled to Persia between 1673 to 1677, observed that both Iran and Fars were used concurrently:

The Persians, in naming their Country, make use of one Word, which they indifferently pronounce Iroun, and Iran; ...Even to this very Day, the King of Persia is call''d Padcha Iran, and the Great Vizier, Iran Medary, the Pole of Persia. This is the Modern Appelation, the most in Use in that Country. That which they frequently make use of in the Second Place, is the Term Fars, which is the particular Name of the Province; the Metropolis of which, in ancient Days, was Persepolis, and which gave its Name to All Province of the Kingdom, and the Seat of its Monarch. This Word Fars, to signify Persia, is very ancient; and the Persians still call the Old Language of their Country, which was in use before the Days of Mahometanism, Saboun Fours, the Tonge of Persia.

Since the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the official name of the country is "Islamic Republic of Iran."

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