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Semiramis or Farhad, Mystery of Behistun(Bagistan)

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Cyrus Shahmiri View Drop Down
King of Kings

Joined: 07-Aug-2004
Location: Iran
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  Quote Cyrus Shahmiri Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Semiramis or Farhad, Mystery of Behistun(Bagistan)
    Posted: 31-Oct-2013 at 06:07
Farhadtarash (Farhad Cut), a huge rectangle stone carving on Behistun (Bagistan), is really one of wonders of the world.

There are several legends and stories about it but none of them seems to be real. The most recent story dates back to late Sassanid period when Khosrow II, one of the greatest Sassanid kings, ruled in Iran:

A sculptor named Farhad, falls in love with Shirin and becomes Khosrow's love-rival. Khosrow cannot bide Farhad, so he sends him on an exile to Behistun mountain with the impossible task of carving stairs out of the cliff rocks. Farhad begins his task hoping that Khosrow will allow him marry Shirin. Yet, Khosrow sends a messenger to Farhad and gives him false news of Shirin's death. Hearing this false news, Farhad throws himself from the mountaintop and dies.

The influence of the legend of Farhad is not limited to literature, but permeates the whole of Persian culture, including folklore and the fine arts. Farhad’s helve supposedly grew into a tree with medicinal qualities, and there are popular laments for Farhad, especially among the Kurds (Mokri).

The important point about this story is that it doesn't talk about any relief or inscription, so it can be said that almost nothing has been changed in Farhadtarash in the last 1500 years.

But ancient Greek historians say some other things about it, however most of them attribute it to a legendary queen, Semiramis:

The name of Semiramis came to be applied to various monuments in Western Asia and Asia Minor, the origin of which was forgotten or unknown. Nearly every stupendous work of antiquity by the Euphrates or in Iran seems to have ultimately been ascribed to her, even the Behistun.

One of them is Ctesias: He was a Greek physician and historian from Cnidus in Caria. Ctesias, who lived in the 5th century BC, was physician to Artaxerxes Mnemon, whom he accompanied in 401 BC on his expedition against his brother Cyrus the Younger.

Ctesias' 'History of Persia': Tales of the Orient, page 123:

As you read it talks about an image of a queen and hundred spearmen, of course it seems to be goddess Inana/Ishtar, instead of Semiramis, because there are some similar rock carvings in Iran, like Anobanini bas-relief. Of course the most important thing is that inscription, it could say many things about the history of that period.

Edited by Cyrus Shahmiri - 31-Oct-2013 at 06:13
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