Today in Middle Eastern history: Iran becomes “Iran” (1935)

It’s a historical oddity that the nation (kingdom, empire, whatever it was at any particular point in history) of Iran was never officially called “Iran” by anybody other than Iranians until 1935, even though most Iranians had been calling it “Iran” for millennia. The rest of the world didn’t catch on until Reza Shah Pahlavi (d.… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: Iran becomes “Iran” (1935)

Today in Iranian history: the Shahnameh is completed (1010)

Obviously there are a lot of important works of literature that have been created over the years and across the many cultures of the world, so if I were to describe Abu’l-Qasim Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh as simply a great work of literature I would be doing it something of an injustice. It is a great work… Continue reading Today in Iranian history: the Shahnameh is completed (1010)

Today in Middle Eastern history: Iran becomes “Iran” (1935)

I don’t mean to seem obscure with that title, but it’s a historical oddity that the nation (kingdom, empire, whatever it was at any particular point in history) of Iran was never officially called “Iran” by anybody other than Iranians until 1935, even though most Iranians had been calling it “Iran” for millennia. The rest of… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: Iran becomes “Iran” (1935)

Today in Iranian history: the Shahnameh is completed (1010)

Obviously there are a lot of important works of literature that have been created over the years and across the many cultures of the world, so if I were to describe Abu’l-Qasim Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh as simply a great work of literature I would be doing it something of an injustice. It is a great work… Continue reading Today in Iranian history: the Shahnameh is completed (1010)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of al-Qadisiyah (636)

Originally posted on and that's the way it was:
There are battles throughout history that are decisive for purely military reasons, and then there are battles that are decisive for reasons that go far beyond that. Take two famous examples from the Second Punic War. Hannibal’s victory at the Battle of Cannae (216 BCE)…

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Chaldiran (1514)

Originally posted on and that's the way it was:
Today is the anniversary of a battle that had far-reaching implications for the Middle East, but that gets relatively little recognition if you’re not a specialist in either Ottoman or Safavid history. I happen to know a bit about both (though I wouldn’t call myself…