- IRAN BEFORE IRANIANS
- THE ARIANS
- THE MEDES
- THE ACHAEMENIANS
- CYRUS THE GREAT
- THE GREEKS
- THE PARTHIAN EMPIRE
- THE SASSANIANS
- ARAB CONQUEST
- THE ABBASSID CALIPHATES
- THE SAMANIDS
- THE TURKISH DYNASTIES
- MONGOL INVASIONS
- THE SAFAVIDS
- AFSHAR DYNASTY
- ZAND DYNASTY
- QAJAR DYNASTY
- PAHLAVI DYNASTY
- ISLAMIC REVOLUTION
The Elamite civilization in Iran,
first developed in the Susian plain, under the influence of nearby Sumeria
and Mesopotamia in the Tigris-Euphrates valley.
Around 3500 B.C., animal drawn wheeled carts were in use in Sumeria. They
also used ploughs to till their land, and oars to propel their ships on the
Euphrates river. The Sumerians were the most advanced and complex
civilization in the world at that time, and by 3100 B.C. they had invented a
system of writing which was the first of its kind in the world.
In 3000 B.C. a group of people called the Akkadians drifted into the
northern Sumerian territory. The Akkadians adopted some aspects of Sumerian
culture and for that reason, the region is sometimes referred to as
Sumer-Akkad. Around 2340 B.C. Sargon, ruler of the Akkad defeated Sumer and
went on to conquer Elam and the mountainous lands to the east. His empire
spread from the Mediterranean Sea to the Caspian Sea in the north, and the
Persian Gulf in the South.
The Guti, among other tribes living in the mountainous areas controlled many
of the routes that crossed western Iran. They took advantage of periods of
weakness in Babylonian power and, around 2200 B.C., even succeeded in
invading Babylon, causing the fall of the empire of Akkad.
This fall allowed Elam to capture Susa, a city that was to become one of its
capitals. Elam developed into a civilization that could be compared with
that of Sumer, and during the 13th and 12th centuries B.C., at the height of
its glory, it succeeded in defeating Assyria and Babylon.
Throughout the centuries that followed, the Assyrian Empire continued to
fight for control of the region, at times succeeding with great force. They
waged war with deliberate frightfulness, sacking cities, and killing their
inhabitants indiscriminately. By 900 B.C. Assyria was busy restoring its
control over Babylonia, and by 700 B.C. the Assyrian Empire included the
entire Tigris-Euphrates region, and all the Eastern Shore of the
Mediterranean. It was the most powerful empire the world had yet seen.
The Indo-European Aryans or
Iranians arrived on the plateau during the second millennium BC, and it is
at Tappeh Sialk that the remains of their most ancient dwellings have been
found. The rich had jewels made of silver, and the poor of bronze or iron.
Vast finds of pottery at Tappeh Sialk give us an insight into their art.
The most representative type, a long spouted pitcher used in funeral
rituals, was decorated with the head of an animal. The artist accentuated
the resemblance of the animal by drawing around the spout. For example, if
he wanted to increase the resemblance of a bird, the artist drew a series of
triangles suggesting a collar of feathers or a pair of wings.