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Brilliant analysis of the Iranian Sun and Lion

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    Posted: 22 Sep 2009 at 15:38
I'd rather not post the whole lot here, but here's a link.  It joins up a lot of Iranian history around the sun and lion.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2009 at 16:13
Both the sun and the lion are artistic motivs common to such a multiplicity of cultures that to claim exclusivity to such for one particular group is full nonsense.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2009 at 16:41
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Both the sun and the lion are artistic motivs common to such a multiplicity of cultures that to claim exclusivity to such for one particular group is full nonsense.
 
 


That I fully agree with.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2009 at 17:02
This article is about the history of the Iranian Sun and Lion as manifested on that country's flag up until 1979 - not any other.  It's more like a chronology of the relative significance of those two symbols over the ages of Iranian history.







Edited by Zagros - 22 Sep 2009 at 17:26
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2009 at 17:06
You guys are way off topic, this thread is about the history of the following symbol.  Not the sun and lion itself but the Iranian sun and lion.  The article is written by a respected Iranologist from Vancouver University.




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2009 at 17:32
Look, Zagros, if there's a wish to replicate Iranian political polemics then be clear about it. The link provided was a classic example of masking contemporary symbolism with claims to hoary precedents. There is little point in discussing a standard that is integrally a part of Pahlavi national constructs in the 20th century and seeing in its "heraldry" the Age of the Achaemenids! The bit about the Sun and Mithras (along with a Kurd no less) was a bit humorous, but whether you like it or not the entire article was but an attempt at a secularist opposition to the current Iranian status quo while asserting a distance from the Pahlavi past. To be blunt, politics and not history prompted that essay...by the way, flags are a relatively modern convenience so claims of ancient lienage for their symbolisms are dubious. If you wish a parallel try the "Lion of Judah" on the flag of Menelik back in 1895, such did not make him the continuation of the House of David!

Edited by drgonzaga - 22 Sep 2009 at 17:33
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2009 at 18:11
Well, sometimes the history of flags and more modern symbols can be interesting in itself, but it does not always say so much about ancient history.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2009 at 18:39
You at first seemed to think that the article in some way tried to lay an exlusive claim to the sun and lion as Iranian motifs, yet it did no such thing.

Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Look, Zagros, if there's a wish to replicate Iranian political polemics then be clear about it.


That's not the perspective I was viewing it from.

Quote The link provided was a classic example of masking contemporary symbolism with claims to hoary precedents.


Example please.  And what's the contemporary symbolism of the Iranian Sun and Lion?

Quote There is little point in discussing a standard that is integrally a part of Pahlavi national constructs in the 20th century and seeing in its "heraldry" the Age of the Achaemenids!


The Sun and Lion is not a Pahlavi construct - you seemed to think that Iran [the name] was a Pahlavi construct in a previous thread - I am afraid that your understanding and appreciation of Iranian history is arrogantly shallow.

The Pahlavis had their own fashioned Sun and Lion with a stylised crown above it - the Sun and Lion in the flag form has been in pretty constant usage since the Safavids (IIRC)


Quote The bit about the Sun and Mithras (along with a Kurd no less) was a bit humorous,


Kurd are an Iranic people.  I am a Kurd and the Kurdish languages are closer to Sassanid Persian than Modern Persian, which derives from Parthian (Khorasani Persian which was seeded to the rest of Iran through Ferdowsi's work in the 10th century).

Quote but whether you like it or not the entire article was but an attempt at a secularist opposition to the current Iranian status quo while asserting a distance from the Pahlavi past.


You can surely draw example from it to back this manifest assertion, can't you? Do so please, so I can understand your thought rationale - since even I wasn't thinking of it from that angle.

Quote To be blunt, politics and not history prompted that essay...


That may well be so, but the topic is unmistakably historic.


Quote by the way, flags are a relatively modern convenience so claims of ancient lienage for their symbolisms are dubious.


This is about the symbol, not the flag per se.  That it appears on the flag is a matter of historical inheritance, a transition of the symbols from religious origins to national symbols.

Quote If you wish a parallel try the "Lion of Judah" on the flag of Menelik back in 1895, such did not make him the continuation of the House of David!


The continuity of Iran from an ancient entity into what it is today is explicable and recorded history, not myth.   There are a myriad sources you could consult dating from the very fall of the Sassanid Empire which will explain this notion to you.

The article made no specific linkage between the various uses of the sun and lion in Iranian history, it simply highlighted their existence and revered nature.




Edited by Zagros - 22 Sep 2009 at 18:44
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Harburs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 2009 at 20:11
Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

I'd rather not post the whole lot here, but here's a link.  It joins up a lot of Iranian history around the sun and lion.

Thank you for posting this article . I have read something alike this article with less information before.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Sep 2009 at 15:48
Yes, I have come across one in Persian (2 pages i think it was) and also one on iranchamber, neither were very deep in substance.

Just reflecting on this thread... i wonder if someone created a topic with an article which attempted to chart the history of another country's national symbol say, St. George's Cross for England... would it have been showered with as much uninformed scorn as this was.


Edited by Zagros - 23 Sep 2009 at 15:49
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Sep 2009 at 20:45
Yeah, I was a bit surprised at the angry reception this thread got and I can't help but wonder where it's coming from. Kaveh Farrokh is a recognized scholar and not a rabid nationalist - I can't spot any claims that sun or lion motifs are unique to Iranians.

This also makes sense of the odd winged globe-symbol of the Sassanids. I didn't occur to me that the globe was the sun.
Sing, goddess, of Achilles' ruinous anger
Which brought ten thousand pains to the Achaeans,
And cast the souls of many stalwart heroes
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Mar 2015 at 02:07
Interesting, but I would humbly suggest looking at the Electrum coinage of Lydia, particularly the "trite" denomination.  This coinage has the head of a lion facing right, with a "blob" on its nose (hence the nickname "wart-nosed" lions).  That blob is the sun.  This coinage is the most popular EL coinage in Lydia, prior to its conquest, by Persia, in 548 BC.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AnOldFreiend Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Dec 2016 at 09:21
Sun and Lion symbol predate Achaemenid empire (550 BC) it is deeply rooted in ancient Iranian religion Mithraism and widely practice among Medes. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Dec 2016 at 01:33
The Lydian empire was replaced by the Persian in 548 BC, so therefore its coinage (the trite with what is sometimes called a "wart" nosed lion (sun behind lion), ends then, I don't know how many rulers it went through before Croesus' demise.  It may be imagery found in Iran, but the coinage I am talking about are Lydian coins.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AnOldFreiend Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Dec 2016 at 05:51
Median empire predate Lydian empire. The concept of sun and lion is deeply rooted in Mithraism ( originated from north east Iran in 2000 BC), and Zoroastrianism (1200 BC). Mithraism is the old religion of eastern Iranians who later gradually converted to Zoroastrianism. In Zoroastrianism sun and fire are symbol of Ahura Mazda and the lion is symbol of the king. Old Iranians were sun worshipers.

Edited by AnOldFreiend"Mr.H" - 24 Dec 2016 at 05:57
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Dec 2016 at 02:28
"Trust, but verify."  Do you have an online reference or book reference for the Mede use of the lion and sun?  I am familiar with the motif used on Lydian coins, but would like to see examples of its prior use.  Of course, coins are both a form of public and official art, but it would be neat to see regional precursors.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AnOldFreiend Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Dec 2016 at 23:36
What I have read here and there, were articles and mostly from university academicians. Old history of Iran and Iranian kingdoms prior to Medes and Achaemenids reside in eastern Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan southern Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. For example Balkh in Afghanistan was once the center of few pre-Median kingdoms. Ancestors of Iranians came through two routes into current day Iran. The main group came from current day Russia through south eastern route (eastern shores of Caspian sea) and the minor group immigrated south through Caucasus mountain(western shores of Caspian sea).

Because of instability and constant wars in central Asia, which is the core of pre-Persian Empire civilization, there are not enough archaeological projects to unearth coins, or other artifacts. The war in Afghanistan, smuggling and repressive regimes are the other reasons. What we have are based on limited data and relative references in our old sources about this region. Basically whatever we have in Zoroastrian books, documents, our old literature, and secondary Roman, Greek, and Chinese sources. I am aware of this because I have Zoroastrian relatives which is very rare. The burden of providing an online source is even harder. I just share my two cents of knowledge. If I have enough time and still interested I may dig some info in Iranian sources but I doubt I can find good English translated document.




Edited by AnOldFreiend"Mr.H" - 28 Dec 2016 at 23:45
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Dec 2016 at 03:45
I don't doubt you that the lion/sun imagery predates Lydia.  But right now, it is something I can look for as I peruse other stuff, it is not enough for me to claim that I know it myself.  It would be interesting for me to see how other, earlier cultures influence the coin types of Lydia.

If you are not familiar with it, I suggest looking up a gold (or maybe electrum) Lydian trite (trite is the denomination), the type is a roaring lion head, facing right. above and "attached" to the nose or brow, is a globule described in older literature as a "wart" and hence the type is commonly called a wart-nosed lion.   The globule is actually the sun appearing behind the roaring lion's head.
Look up Lydian trite or wart-nosed lion on vcoins.com.  There are probably a few examples on sale there, I wouldn't suggest buying one, unless you know what you are doing.

btw the first coins are from Lydia or Ionia, c. 650-600 BC


Edited by franciscosan - 29 Dec 2016 at 03:54
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