Sassanid petroglyph on marriage found in Marvdasht

January 28, 2023 - 18:40

TEHRAN – Archaeologists have recently found a Sassanid-era (224–651) rock drawing in Marvdasht, southern Fars province, ILNA reported on Saturday.

The petroglyph is written on the subject of wishing for a holy marriage for an Iranian lady, said Iranian archaeologist Abolhassan Atabaki.

It is one of the most beautiful Sassanid inscriptions discovered over the past century in Marvdasht, as it bears a wish for a holy marriage for an Iranian lady, he added.

Ancient works and stone inscriptions discovered in Marvdasht over the past few years have always captured the interest of archaeologists, historians, and people interested in ancient languages.

Last week, Atabaki announced that an ancient rock drawing of a Sassanid-era (224–651) horseman was discovered in Marvdasht.

In the northern rocks of the ancient city of Istakhr and four meters above the ground, the scratch engraving depicts a Sassanid rider with a wavy ribbon and a horse with four hooves, the archaeologist said.

Since there are very few petroglyphs left from the late Sassanid period, the discovery of this petroglyph is very significant and has study value despite its simplicity, he added.

In many ways, Iran under Sassanian rule witnessed tremendous achievements in Persian civilization. Experts say that the art and architecture of the nation experienced a general renaissance during Sassanid rule. In that era, crafts such as metalwork and gem engraving grew highly sophisticated, as scholarship was encouraged by the state; many works from both the East and West were translated into Pahlavi, the official language of the Sassanians.

Of all the material remains of the era, only coins constitute a continuous chronological sequence throughout the whole period of the dynasty. Such Sassanian coins have the name of the king for whom they were struck inscribed in Pahlavi, which permits scholars to date them quite closely.

The legendary wealth of the Sassanian court is fully confirmed by the existence of more than one hundred examples of bowls or plates of precious metal known at present. One of the finest examples is the silver plate with partial gilding in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The dynasty was destroyed by Arab invaders during a span from 637 to 651.

The ancient region, known as Pars (Fars), or Persis, was the heart of the Achaemenid Empire founded by Cyrus the Great and had its capital in Pasargadae. Darius I the Great moved the capital to nearby Persepolis in the late 6th or early 5th century BC. Alexander the Great defeated the Achaemenian army at Arbela in 331 and burned Persepolis apparently as revenge against the Persians because it seems the Persian King Xerxes had burnt the Greek City of Athens around 150 years earlier.

Persis became part of the Seleucid kingdom in 312 after Alexander’s death. The Parthian empire (247 BC– 224 CE) of the Arsacids (corresponding roughly to the modern Khorasan in Iran) replaced the Seleucids' rule in Persis during 170–138 BC. The Sasanid Empire (224 CE–651) had its capital at Istkhr. Not until the 18th century, under the Zand dynasty (1750–79) of southern Iran, did Fars again become the heart of an empire.


Leave a Comment