This article is about the Persians, an ethnic group. For the ancient empire, see Persian Empire.
The Persians are an ethnic group that lives mainly in Iran, in Afghanistan, Tajikstan, and Uzbekistan. In Central Asia they are called Tajiks.
The Persians became the rulers of a large empire under the Achaemenid dynasty in the sixth century BC. Over the centuries Persia was ruled by various dynasties; some of them were ethnic Persians (the Sassanids, Buwayhids, Samanids, and others), and some of them were not (the Seleucids, Seljuk Turks, Mongols, Safavids, and others).
The Persian civilization spawned three major religions: Zoroastrianism, Mithraism, and Manichaeanism. All of these reflect the extreme dualism of Persian culture.
According to the 2004 CIA World Factbook, 51% of Iran's current population is ethnic Persians. Other estimations put the figure as high 70%. Many other ethnic groups are represented in Iran, including the non-Persian Aryan group, the Gilaki; the Turkish-descended Azerbaijanis and Turkmens; and a few Arabs and other minorities. See Demographics of Iran for more detail.
Origins and roots
Although an ethnical definition of Persia is no longer applicable today, historically, the Persians are ethnically descended from the Aryans, an Indo-European people that migrated to the region from Central Asia c. 1000 BC. The first record of the Persians comes from an Assyrian inscription from the 800s BC which calls them the Parsu and mentions them alongside another Aryan group, the Madai (Medes). See also Persian Empire and History of Iran.
Main article: Persian language.
The Persian language, Farsi, is one of the world's oldest languages still in use today. It comes from the Indo-Iranian family of languages. Persian-speakers are today in majority in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikstan, and form a large minority in Uzbekistan as well.
Main article: Music of Iran.
The music of Persia goes back to the days of Barbod in the royal Sassanid courts, and even earlier.
Main article: Iranian architecture.
Architecture is one of the areas where Persians have made outstanding contributions.
Main article: Persian rug.
Gottfried Semper called rugs "the original means of separating space". Rug weaving was thus developed by ancient civilizations as a basis of architecture. Persian rugs have a history as old as humanity itself.
Main article: Persian Gardens.
The Persian Garden was designed as a reflection of paradise on earth; the word "garden" itself coming from Persian roots.
Main article: Persian Woman.
She is the star of 1001 Nights. She is the source of color and life in Persia. Who is the Persian woman? Oriental, yet markedly distinguishable.
Persian contributions to humanity
Main article: Culture of Iran.
From the humble brick, to the windmill. Persians have strived to create a better world by mixing creativity with art.
Main article: Persian literature.
This is the literature that inspired the likes of Von Goethe and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Last updated: 08-13-2005 11:08:41