The Iranian History 330 BC


Battle at the Persian Gate

Jan, 20, 330 BC

Persian GateThe Battle of the Persian Gate was a military conflict between the Achaemenid Empire and Macedonian Alexander at the Persian Gate. It's been narrated by Callisthenes who kept Alexander's diary that on this day, the army of Alexander that consisted of tens of thousands of soldiers could not proceed at a passage in Darband of Pars on Jan, 20, 330.
The Achaemenid army was a regimen of 1000-1200 Iranian soldiers leaded by Ario Borzin (Ariobarzanes) the satrap of Persis. He confronted Alexander's army. The same invincible army that had conquered Egypt, Babylon and Susa and had won 3 consequent battles against Dariush 3rd was stuck at the Persian Gate. Ariobarzanes led a last stand of the Persian forces against Alexander's forces.
The Persian Empire suffered a series of defeats against the Macedonian forces at Issus and Gaugamela, and by the end of 331 BC Alexander had advanced to Babylon and Susa. A Royal Road connected Susa with the more eastern capitals of Persepolis and Pasargadae in Persis, and was the natural venue for Alexander's continued campaign. Meanwhile, King Dariush 3rd was building a new army at Ecbatana. Ariobarzanes was charged with preventing the Macedonian advance into Persis, and to this effect he relied heavily on the terrain Alexander needed to pass through. There were only a few possible routes through the Zagros Mountains, all of which were made more hazardous by winter's onset.
After the conquest of Susa, Alexander split the Macedonian army into two parts. Alexander's general, Parmenion, took one half along the Royal Road, and Alexander himself took the route towards Persis. Passing into Persis required traversing the Persian Gates, a narrow mountain pass that lent itself easily to ambush.
During his advance, Alexander subdued the Uxians, a local hill-tribe which had demanded the same tribute from him they used to receive from the Persian kings for safe passage. As he passed into the Persian Gates he met with no resistance. Believing that he would not encounter any more enemy forces during his march, Alexander neglected to send scouts ahead of his vanguard, and thus walked into Ariobarzanes ambush.
The valley preceding the Persian Gate, called the Tang Meyran, is initially very wide, allowing the Macedonian army to enter the mountains at full march. Ariobarzanes occupied a position near the modern-day village of Cheshmeh Chenar. The road curves to the southeast and narrows considerably at that point, making the terrain particularly treacherous. Ariobarzanes had a force of 700 cavalry who faced a Macedonian force of over 10,000.
The Persian Gate was only a couple of meters wide at the point of ambush. Once the Macedonian army had advanced sufficiently into the narrow pass, the Persians rained down boulders on them from the northern slopes. From the southern slope, Persian archers launched their projectiles. Alexander's army initially suffered heavy casualties, losing entire platoons at a time. The Macedonians attempted to withdraw, but the terrain and their still-advancing rear guard made an orderly retreat impossible. Alexander was forced to leave his dead behind to save the rest of his army-a great mark of disgrace to the Greeks and Macedonians who valued highly the recovery and proper burial of their fallen.
Ariobarzanes had some reason to believe that success here could change the course of the war. Preventing Alexander's passage through the Persian Gates would force the Macedonian army to use other routes to invade Persia proper, all of which would allow Dariush more time to field another army, and possibly stop the Macedonian invasion altogether.
Ariobarzanes held the pass for a month, but Alexander found a path to the rear of the Persian army from the captured prisoners of war or a Persian shepherd. Alexander eventually succeeded in encircling the Persian army in a pincer attack with Philotas, and broke through the Persian defenses. Alexander and his elite contingent then attacked the force of Ariobarzanes from above in a surprise attack until the Persians could no longer block the pass.
Finally these brave Achaemenid patriots were defeated by an attack from top of the mountains. Ariobarzanes and his surviving companions were trapped, but rather than surrender, they charged straight into the Macedonian lines. Every single one of them was killed including Youtab, Ario's sister who fought shoulder to shoulder by his brother. Ariobarzanes was killed in the last charge.
The Battle of the Persian Gate is regarded as the most serious challenge to Alexander's conquest of Persia. This engagement cost Alexander his greatest losses during his campaign to conquer Persia.
Similarities between the battle fought at Thermopylae and the Persian Gates have been recognized by ancient and modern authors. The Persian Gates played the role Thermopylae and like Thermopylae it fell. The Battle of the Persian Gates served as a kind of reversal of the Battle of Thermopylae, fought in Greece in 480 BC in an attempt to hold off Xerxes forces.
The defeat of Ariobarzanes forces at the Persian Gate removed the last military obstacle between Alexander and Persepolis. The Achaemenid Empire relied so much on its military might that they did not build city walls around Perspolis, their magnificent capital. Upon his arrival at the city of Persepolis, Alexander appointed a general named Phrasaortes as successor of Ariobarzanes. Alexander plundered the treasury of Persepolis, which at the time held the largest concentration of wealth in the world, and guaranteed him financial independence from the Greek states
Four months later, Alexander allowed the troops to loot Persepolis, kill all its men and enslave all its women, as a final act of vengeance towards the Persians. This destruction of the city can be viewed as unusual as its inhabitants surrendered without a fight and Alexander had earlier left Persian cities he conquered, such as Susa, relatively untouched. In May of 330 BC, Alexander ordered the terrace of Persepolis, including its palaces and royal audience halls, to be burned before he left to find Dariush 3rd. Many attribute this crazy act as anger over not being recognized as the legitimate successor to Dariush 3. Alexander thus earned the title Gojastak in Persian literature. (Updated: Jun, 5, 2011)

Perspolis Turns Into Ashes

Feb, 4, 330 BC

Ruins of Perspolis, once capital of the world stands the test of time.A hero to one nation may well be a sucker to another; and that's the case for Alexander the Great. After the battle of Gaugamela Dariush 3 retreated to Ecbatana on Oct, 4, 331 B.C. to rearrange a new army. However uprisings started all over the kingdom. Alexander conquers Babylon and Susa easily and sets off for Perspolis. The city did not have city walls and as the symbol of the Persian empire, it was the richest city in the world. Alexander plundered the city, massacred all residents and the same night set Perspolis on fire; thus leaving the once glorious empire to ashes. Of few things left from the ruins are tablets made of clay that turned into bricks in the fire as a means to tell future generations the story of the greatest empire on earth. These tablets show that all people working in Perspolis had a wage and that slavery was forbidden. Women had a wage similar to men and earned salary during pregnancy. We also know that Elamite, Aramaic, and other languages were used alongside Iranian languages depicting the importance Achaemenids thought of preserving multi cultural societies. Alexander's conquest started as a savior but he became hated, then known as a barbaric person after burning Herat and it's residents. (Updated: Aug, 11, 2008)

Rhagae Falls After 3 Days Of Resistance

May, 19, 330 BC

Rhagae CitadelAfter the Gaugamela battle, the defeated Iranian army started retreating till they reached Rhagae. Despite having no leader and no supplies, starting from May, 16th, with the help of local citizens, a bloody battle continued street by street. While Rhagae citadel was being defended by local residents, the remaining soldiers continued fighting the mighty Alexander forces on every corner and district of Rhagae. This created some time for the civilians to evacuate the city. Finally after three days of heroic resistance, the defending army fled at night towards Damghan. Probably the news that Dariush 3 was killed by his officers had demoralized them. (Updated: Jan, 29, 2008)

Greeks Adopt Achaemenid Calendars

Jun, 28, 330 BC

Nabonidus ChronicleWhile cities of the Achaemenid Empire were being captured one after another by Macedonian Alexander, among many booties recovered from the Persian civilization, Iranian achievements in science and technology were quickly adopted by the Greeks. It is important to note that even a simple innovation such as arming Hoplites with longer spears had changed the power balance and led to downfall of the Achaemenid Empire.
Greeks started translating astronomical diaries after conquering Babylon following the Battle of Gaugamela in 331 B.C. The new knowledge was immediately applied in Greece: the astronomer Callippus of Cyzicus, a pupil of the philosopher Aristotle of Stagira, recalculated the length of the lunar month and proposed a new calendar, in which he applied the longer cycle. His new era, which was used by all later Greek astronomers, started on June, 28 330 B.C., eight months after the capture of Babylon and right after the falls of Rhagae.
Dariush the Great introduced a standard procedure for the intercalation of months to Babylonian priests in 503 B.C. however the origin of Persian Calendar goes back to a few millennia earlier. Iranians have always observed Equinox as measuring point of the year. Spring Equinox coincides with Norooz and Autumn Equinox is the point of mid-year.
Achaemenid solar month names and their perceived modern equivalents are as follows:
Adukanaisha: Farvardin
Turavahara: Ordibehesht
Taygasish: Khordad
Garmapada: Teer
Turnabazish: Mordad
Karbashiyash: Shahrivar
Baghayadish: Mehr
Markashanash: Aban
Achiyadia: Azar
Anamaka: Day
Samiyanash: Bahman
Viyaxana: Esfand
Application of Achaemenid month names can be seen in the Bisotoun Inscription. Persians had also solved the problem of adopting solar calendars to twelve lunar months by adopting a standard system.
After translating Achaemenid Chronicles, Callippus started his observation cycle on the summer Solstice, 330 BC, (28 June in the Proleptic Julian calendar). The cycle's begin position, the stellar position and sidereal hour timing the eclipse, are used by later astronomers for calibrating their observations in relation to subsequent eclipses.
The original Achaemenid Calendar evolved in time into modern Persian Calendar. The Sassanid adopted the Yazdgerd calendar. The solar Jalali calendar was adopted on March, 15 1079 A.D. in respect to Muslim lunar calendar. The modern Persian calendar was adopted in 1925, supplanting (while retaining the month names of) a traditional calendar dating from the eleventh century. The calendar consists of 12 months, the first six of which are 31 days, the next five 30 days, and the final month 29 days in a normal year and 30 days in a leap year.
The Persian solar calendar still has the highest precision among all available systems. (Updated: Dec, 28, 2011)

English-Persian Glossary
  • Macedonian Alexander : اسکندر مقدوني Media_Files
  • Alexander the Great : اسکندر کبير(Macedonian Alexander,Eskandar Gojastak) اسکندر گُجَستک
  • Achaemenid Calendar : تقويم هخامنشي
  • Achaemenid Empire : امپراطوري هخامنشي(Hakhamaneshi,Hakhamaneshian Dynasty) خاندان هخامنشيان Media_Files
  • Dariush the Great : داريوش کبير(Darius I) Media_Files
  • Cheshmeh Chenar : چشمه چنار
  • Rhagae Citadel : قلعه ري Media_Files
  • Ariobarzanes : آريوبرزن(Ariyabrdna,Ario Borzin) آريوبرزين
  • Karbashiyash : جهان بخش(Karba?iya?,Jahanbakhsh,Shahrivar) شهريور
  • Markashanash : باران خيز(Markâsana?,Barankhiz,Aban) آبان
  • Callisthenes : کاليستنس
  • Iranian Army : ارتش ايران Media_Files
  • Adukanaisha : چمن آرا(Adukanai?a,Farvardin,Chamanara) فروردين
  • Turnabazish : آتش بيشه(Turnabazi?,Atashbisheh,Mordad) مرداد
  • Tang Meyran : تنگ ميران(Tang-e-Meyran)
  • Baghayadish : دژخوي(Bâgayâdi?,Mehr,Dejkhoy)
  • Ario Borzin : آريو برزين(Ariyo Barzin, Ario Barzan) Media_Files
  • Ordibehesht : ارديبهشت(Thûravâhara,Golavar) گل آور
  • Thermopylae : ترموپولي
  • Persepolis : تخت جمشيد پرسپوليس
  • Achaemenid : هخامنشي Media_Files
  • Pasargadae : پاسارگاد(Passargad) Media_Files
  • Turavahara : گل آور(Thûravâhara,Golavar,Ordibehesht,Thuravahara) ارديبهشت
  • Samiyanash : برف آور(Samiyama?,Barfavar,Bahman) بهمن
  • Aristotle : ارسطو
  • Achiyadia : اندوه خيز(Açiyâdiya,Azar,Andoohkhiz,Achiyadiya) آذر
  • Shahrivar : شهريور(Karba?iya?,Jahanbakhsh) جهان بخش
  • Taygasish : جان پرور(Thâigaci?,Janparvar,Khordad,Thaigarci) خرداد
  • Garmapada : گرما خيز(Tir,Teer) تير
  • Dariush 3 : داريوش سوم(Dariush III,Darab) داراب Media_Files
  • Parmenion : پارمنيون
  • Perspolis : پرسپوليس(Persepolis) تخت جمشيد،پارسه خشتر Media_Files
  • Gaugamela : گاوگمل Media_Files
  • Farvardin : فروردين(Adukanai?a,Chamanara) چمن آرا Media_Files
  • Sassanid : ساساني(Sasanian) Media_Files
  • Ecbatana : اکباتان(Ekbatana,Hamedan) هکمتانه، هاگماتان Media_Files
  • Yazdgerd : يزدگرد(Izdekerti,Yazdegerd,Isdigerd) Media_Files
  • Bisotoun : بيستون(Behistun,Bisotoon) بغستان Media_Files
  • Gojastak : گجستک(evil) خبيث
  • Viyaxana : مشکين فام(Esfand,Meshkinfam) اسفند،اسپند
  • Solstice : انقلاب تابستاني
  • Anamaka : سرماده(Anâmaka,Sarmadeh,Day) دي
  • Aramaic : آراميک
  • Equinox : اعتدال خورشيدي(Vernal equinox,autumnal equinox) اعتدال بهاري،اعتدال پاييزي
  • Stagira : لستگيرا
  • Khordad : خرداد(Thâigaci?,Janparvar) جان پرور
  • Damghan : دامغان(Damqan)
  • Iranian : ايراني‌ اهل‌ ايران‌ ، وابسته‌به‌ ايران‌ Media_Files
  • Persian : فارسي(Farsi,Parsi) ايراني پارسي Media_Files
  • Babylon : بابل Media_Files
  • Darband : دربند Media_Files
  • Elamite : ايلامي Media_Files
  • Dariush : داريوش(Darius) Media_Files
  • Persia : ايران Media_Files
  • Greece : يونان(Ionia,Yunan) Media_Files
  • Muslim : مسلمان(Moslem) مسلم‌ Media_Files
  • Xerxes : خشايارشاه(Ahasverus, Khashayarshah) Media_Files
  • Zagros : زاگرس(Zagros Mountains) رشته كوههاى زاگرس Media_Files
  • Norooz : نوروز(Nowrooz,Noruz,Nevruz,Nawruz) Media_Files
  • Youtab : يوتاب
  • Rhagae : ري(Ray, Rey) شهر ري Media_Files
  • Persis : پارسه(Fars) فارس Media_Files
  • Bahman : بهمن(Samiyama?,Barfavar) برف آور
  • Esfand : اسفند(Espand,Meshkinfam) اسپند
  • Mordad : مرداد(Turnabazi?,Atashbisheh) آتش بيشه
  • Jalali : جلالي
  • Egypt : مصر(Al Mesr) Media_Files
  • Issus : ايسوس Media_Files
  • Herat : هرات(Areia) Media_Files
  • Greek : يوناني(Ionian) Media_Files
  • Susa : شوش(Shush, Shushan) Media_Files
  • Teer : تير(Tir,Garmapada) گرما خيز
  • Mehr : مهر
  • Aban : آبان(Markâsana?,Barankhiz) باران خيز
  • Azar : آذر(Achiyadia) اندوه خيز

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