Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War
Monday, July 11, 2011
Author: Kaveh Farrokh
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Osprey Publishing (April 24, 2007)
The ruins of Persepolis evoke the best-known events of ancient Persia's history: Alexander the Great's defeat of Darius III, his conquest of the Achaemenid empire, and the burning of the great palace complex at Persepolis. However, most of the history of ancient Persia remains as mysterious today as it was to contemporary Western scholars. Compared to the world-famous Alexander, the many wars won by the Achaemenid, Parthian, and Sassanian empires, and their revolutionary military technology, have been almost forgotten in the sands of the East.
In its day, Persia was a superpower to rival Greece and Rome, and conflict between them spanned over a millennium. Through these wars, and trade, these foes learnt from each other, not only adopting elements of military technology, but influences in the arts, architecture, religion, technology and learning. In this beautifully illustrated book, Dr Kaveh Farrokh narrates the history of Persia from before the first empires, through their wars with East and West to the fall of the Sassanians. He also delves into the forgotten cultural heritage of the Persians, spread across the world through war and conquest, which, even after the fall of the Sassanians, continued to impact upon the Western world.
The empires of ancient Persia remain as mysterious today as they were to contemporary Western scholars. Although Alexander the Great's conquest of Persia is legendary, the military successes of the Achaemenid, Parthian, and Sassanian empires, along with their revolutionary military technology, tactics, and culture have been almost forgotten in the sands of the East. Containing information never before published in English, Shadows in the Desert offers a comprehensive history of Persia's wars with East and West which spanned over a millennium, and offers an insight into the exchange of ideas and culture that occurred during these clashes between East and West, not only military technology, but influences in the arts, medicine, religion and science.
"This is an excellent well-illustrated survey of an important period, useful for students and a general readership alike. It deals not only with military matters, but also more broadly with political developments in Persia. My students have consulted it with profit." -Geoffrey Greatrex, University of Ottawa
"This beautifully illustrated book will no doubt serve as a useful companion for all those interested in the military history of the pre-Islamic Middle East... Useful maps, photography and color plates make this a handsome and desirable volume; it will be of interest to students and scholars alike." -Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones, University of Edinburgh (Department of Classics)
"... a book for all who have ever been curious about the 'other' view on Persia, not from the Western standpoint rooted in Greece, but from the traditions of the Persians themselves... Meticulously researched and documented... I have recommended it to many and am also using it here at Stanford not only for research but also in a course ... There is not only no better book on Perisan warfare, it is carefully and sensitively written with great verve and love of history. I much appreciate how the research and analyses of texts showed Achaeminid, Parthian and Sassanid military accomplishments, often to the astonishment of Greeks and Romans and beyond. I notice from excellent reviews that other scholars agree.” -Patrick Hunt, Stanford University (Classics)
"In this beautifully illustrated book, Dr. Kaveh Farrokh narrates the history of Persia from before the first empires, through their wars with East and west to the fall of the Sassanians." -Paul Houston, 300spartanwarriors.com
"Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War is perhaps on of the finest books that has been produced from Western publishing houses, in this case Osprey Publishing... For the first time, we see a clearly written history book that outlines the relationship between these Iranian achievements to the wars that took place between the Greco-Roman world and ancient Persia...this book draws on excellent research that has received little mention; not to mention previously un-translated Greco-Roman historical sources." -Professor Nikoloz Kacharava, MD, PhD, The University of Georgia in Tbilisi, Member of Academy of Sciences in Georgia, Active Member of New York Academy of Sciences
Dr. Kaveh Farrokh's "Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War," is the definitive work in the field. This Osprey Publishing effort combines the scholarship of Dr. Edwin Yamauchi's "Persia and the Bible" and Dr. Lindsay Allen's "The Persian Empire" with a readability accentuated by beautiful maps and photography which bring academic data and precise historical analysis into play with the majestically artistic. Put simply, it is a masterpiece and reference work which will stay on the shelf of the interested generalist and specialized scholar for decades to come. -Mark Dankof, Republic Broadcasting Network
"...those with an interest in this period of history or the military will find it an invaluable resource. Indeed, those pursuing degrees associated with these fields may find It on their required reading lists." -Timothy Baghurst, The Traveler
Foreword • Introduction • Chronology • Part I The Achaemenids - Before the Achaemenids - Cyrus the Great and the early Achaemenids - Darius the Great - Xerxes and Limits of Empire - The Achaemenid Empire from Artaxerxes I to the rise of Macedon - Darius and the fall of the Empire • Part II The Parthians - The Seleucids and the rise of the Parthians - Parthia challenges Rome - Parthia from Mark Anthony to the Alan invasions - Emperor Trajan’s bid to destroy Parthia - The decline and fall of Parthia • Part III The Sassanians - The rise of the Sassanian dynasty - Shapur II: a new revival of Sassanian Persia - The Tumultuous Fifth Century - The Kavad era - Khosrow I, renaissance and revival - The final glory and the decline of the Empire - Downfall of the Sassanians and the Islamic conquests - The legacy of Persia after the Islamic conquests • Endnotes • Select bibliography • Index
“Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War”, a book giving comprehensive information about the Iranian military technology during the ancient times, has recently been translated into Persian.
Written by Kaveh Farrokh, a Canadian-based Iranian scholar at the University of British Columbia, the book has been rendered into Persian by Shahrbanu Saremi.
Qoqnoos Publishing House will be printed the book in the near future.
A number of unique illustrations depicting the wars and the structure of the Persian armies will be published in the book, which also includes a foreword by Harvard Professor Emeritus Richard Neslon Frye.
The World Academy of Arts, Literature, and Media selected “Shadows in the Desert” as the best history book of 2008 and honored Farrokh with a Persian Golden Lioness Award.
“In this beautifully illustrated book, Dr. Kaveh Farrokh narrates the history of Persia from before the first empires, through their wars in East and West to the fall of the Sassanids. He also delves into the forgotten cultural heritage of the Persians, spread across the world through war and conquest, which, even after the fall of the Sassanids, continued to impact upon the Western world,” Osprey Publishing company said on its website.
About the Author
Kaveh Farrokh has been recognized as an expert in the field of Iranian history. Kaveh teaches ancient Persian history at the University of British Columbia’s Continuing Studies Division, and is affiliated with a number of world-renowned organizations, including the Hellenic-Iranian Studies Society, The Iran Linguistics Society and Stanford University’s WAIS (World Association of International Studies) program. Kaveh has been noted for a number of citations including the following:
• The Peer-Reviewed Iranshenasi academic Journal (2010)
• The Scholarship and Merit Award (2009)
• Best History Book Aaward in London (2008), citaiton by the Indepedent Book Publisher’s Association in the United States (2008), citation of book in the BBC (2008) and the Kayhan Newspaper of London (2008) (the Iranian equivalent of the New York Times).
*Links for Further Reading:
Achaemenid Imperial Army: http://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/History/hakhamaneshian/achaemenid_army.htm