Amordad News

Bakhtiari people

Translated by Shabboo Goli

History is the identity and past of the ancestors of each nation and tribe that have joined the museum called history. Bakhtiari land has an amazing history. The land that inherited two of the first and greatest civilizations of Iran, namely, the Ilam and Achaemenid civilizations, in which nature has placed three of the best rivers in the world, namely, Karun, Zayandehrood and Dez, for the noble people living on both sides of the Zagros range and its high peaks: Oshtorankooh and Zardkooh, to spend their winters and summers and people who considered living in such a splendid climate a gift from God. But alas, these high and beautiful mountains and these roaring rivers finally divided the Bakhtiari people. This was a great blow to the body and cohesion of the tribe that had long been the true soldiers and defenders of our beloved land, Iran; people whose bravery, valor and magnanimity are well known throughout history. The purpose of this article is to study the historical course that this land took, according to the three historical stages, namely, the mythical stage, the epic stage and the historical stage, which historians use to study the past of great nations.

On basis of Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh, these three stages can be described as follows: the mythical stage, also called the Pishdadi dynasty; the epic stage, also called the Kiyanian dynasty and the historical stage, which comprises the Parthian and Sassanid eras.

But, what is the connection of these periods and the land of the Bakhtiaris?  According to the ancient geography of Bakhtiari land, which starts in the east from the end of the current Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province and in the northeast from close to Isfahan, i.e., the area of present day Faridan city before the Turks, armenians and georgians settled in that area (during the reign of Shah Abbas Safavid, the turks, armenians and georgians were brought there to act as barriers between the Bakhtiari territory and the Safavid capital, Isfahan, in the form of a transverse line from Chaman Sultan near Aligudarz upto Choghakhor near Borujen, most of whom settled in the Faridan region, leading to Borujerd from the northwest.) It is separated by a river that passes through the city of present-day Darood and leads to the Dez River near Andimeshk, then from Dezful as a cross line to Shushtar, and from there to Behbahan and Ramhormoz, and finally, it was limited to Kohgiluyeh from the southeast.

There are names used in this land that originated from the dawn of Iranian history. In the north of Bakhtiari land, that is, the current city of Aligudarz, there are two regions, one called Alvorz, which is the abbreviation of the word “Algudarz” from which Aligudarz is derived, and the Goodarz tribe living in Algudarz is attributed to Gudarz, the “hero of Shahnameh.” The other is “Al Kurz,” which is, in fact, the abbreviation of the word “Kiomers” or “Kiomars,” who, according to Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh, was the first man and ruler who lived in the mountains and ruled over humans and animals for about thirty years.

“Ahmad Rafat,” writes: “Kiomars, who established the Pishdadian kingdom in Iran in 2415, was from the Ilam tribe.” Kumarz belongs to the Pishdadian period, and Goodarz belongs to the Kianian period. It is interesting to note that Houshang Pishdadi, the son of Kiomers, was the first person in the same Bakhtiari land to spark two flints and set fire to a plant. He taught the people how to extract metals from mines, and we know that the first steel furnace in Iran was built in a place called “Shela” near Susan in the Bakhtiari land, which was built during the Pishdadian period and where iron ore was melted.

(“Shela” was the name of the wife of the Elamite king of Elam in the second millennium BC, both of whom were worshiped as gods and were superior to the Babylonian religion.) This is of such great importance that the German and French archeologists believe that “If Iranians had not invented the melting of iron to make various tools, it is possible that the world’s industry would probably be a thousand years behind.”

In the northeast of Bakhtiari land, some areas have a historical background. One of them is the Faridan region which includes the Faridan districts, its center being Daran, Fereyidoon Shahr and the present day Chadgan, which were from long past part of Bakhtiari land, and were annexed to Isfahan by Reza Shah by dividing Bakhtiari land. And also, Mount Fardoon in Bakhtiari province, which is also derived from the name “Fereydoon”, the grandson of Shah Jamshid of the Pishdadi dynasty. It is possible that this is the same mountain where Fereydoon spent his childhood.

And another is the village of “Mashhad Kaveh”, located in the same Faridan district and is known as the birth and martyrdom place of Kaveh Ahangar (ironsmith). The revolt against the oppressions of Zahak is written to have started from Bakhtiari land under the leadership of Kaveh Dadgar, who captured Zahak, started from Bakhtiari land under the leadership of Kaveh Dadgar, captured Zahak, imprisoned him in Damavand, and elected Fereydoun as the king of Iran.

The monuments and inscriptions of Kol Farre (Farre means glory and superiority) and the discovery of Salman and the ruins of the city of Susan in Izeh are other signs of the civilization and civility of the Ilam era in Bakhtiari land.

The second period is the Kianian period or the epic period. Historians, in fact, consider this period as the Achaemenid period, and the connection of this period with the Bakhtiari land is evident.  Baron Debode believes that the term “Lor” is derived from Iranian words and says that the word “Lor” is derived from Lohrasb, and also Mirza Aga Khan Kermani writes in the history of Iran that: Seventh, the Achaemenid dynasty: that first ruled in Ilam and then in Pars. Maybe that Lohrasb means “great Lor” because their tribe belonged to the Lor people, and Lohrasb means one of his Achaemenid descendants.

According to Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh, after Keikhosrow, who historians believe is the same as Cyrus the Great, Lohrasb came to the throne.  Therefore, it should be noted that the first settlement of the Pars tribe was in Bakhtiari land called Parsomad, meaning the center of Pars and Medes tribes. Another point that is important to mention here is about the “Chelgard” or “Chehelgard” region in Bakhtiari province and the current Chaharmahal, where “Rostam,” the famous hero of Iran Baharan, came here to teach martial arts to the youth and the Bakhtiari battalion.

From another perspective also, the history of Bakhtiari can be evaluated and studied. Kongel (1966, p. 220) “believes that in the late 3000s BC the Gutians descended from the mountains and settled in the lowlands of Mesopotamia, and soon after conquered Babylon.”

Dehkhoda also writes: “The Gutians were a tribe of ancient inhabitants of the Zagros.” This group defeated Naramis, king of Akhaemenid, and took over Babylon.”

“Torayov” writes in his book, “The ancient East”, page 16, that Ogbaro, the commander of the Gutians, entered Babylon by order of Cyrus the Great and conquered it. And then Cyrus himself entered Babylon and brought peace and calm to their city and announced Ogbaro as governor of that city”. What is certain is that the Gutians are the same Gutvandi tribe (today’s Gutbandi), one of the groups in the Bakhtiari tribe. The Lulubis are considered to be the Gutian’s neighbors in this period of history. Both tribes, routed in the Indo-European race and lived in Khuzestan, were respected by the people of Khuzestan due to the importance of their cities and the abundance of wealth in those cities. (Eakstadt, 1961, p. 62).

Although some writers generalize the Lulubi to all Lors but based on sociological research, I have come to the conclusion that Lulubis are, in fact, one of the present-day Bakhtiari tribes as a national clan, which after five thousand years, many of them still recognize the Lulubi suffix and preserved it.

The first government to be formed in pre-Islamic Iran at the same time as Ilam was the Medes. The association of this government with Bakhtiari land has also been significant. As Herodotus writes: “The tribes that made up the Medes were six tribes: the Bosians, the Parthians, the Astrokatians, the Aryans, the Buddhists, and the Magi (Median History, p. 142).” Of the mentioned tribes, the names of five of them among the Bakhtiari tribes can be seen with changes, which are:

The Bosians of the Busak or Basak clan of the Chaharlang tribe, the Magis of the Mugui or the Mughui clan of the Chaharlang tribe, and more interestingly, historians have also mentioned the settlement of the sixth tribe south of Isfahan, which is the area of present-day Frieden and the ancient Partiken. At present, Partiken Park has been built near Daran.

With the arrival of Islam in Iran, many Persian words underwent many changes. For example, the pronunciation of Zoroaster in Pahlavi language is Zarathushtra and the Greek wrote it as Zoroaster.  Therefore, the before mentioned names also changed over time because of frequent use, or maybe that because most historians were foreigners these names underwent changes when translating them.

Herodotus, in 800 BC, also wrote somewhere that the plains on the slopes of Zagros and the area around the capital, Susa (perhaps Susan Malmir or Susa) belonged to the people of “Aski tan” and Ki Mer.

As mentioned, the names of the tribes are documented in different ways, so it is assumed that the Ascites are the same as the Astrokatians. The name of the modern Astraki tribe is derived from them, and the terms of the tribes “Emri” Zarasvand and “Mary” Mogui are the same modified form of “Ki Mer.”

These tribes may have been the first Persian tribes to migrate to the present-day Bakhtiari lands at the same time as the Medes and were members of the Medes until the formation of the Achaemenid state, which was another Persian tribe, and afterward came to Bakhtiari, but after the arrival of other tribes. Persia, which eventually led to the formation of the Achaemenid Empire, the tribes also united with the Persian government, whose first bases were in the land of “Asak” (whose name is closely related to the name of the Astrokian tribe (Askiton or Astrokatian), i.e., the next Parsumash. They were tribes that may have been Medes and conquered by the Persians. But since the later Persians chose this region and migrated here, it is thought that the upper tribes were also Persian.

Girshman believes that the Persians first settled in northwestern Iran near Lake Urmia. Around 700 BC, they settled in the western part of the Zagros Mountains east of the new city of Shushtar, in an area they called Parsvash or Parsumash – and this name is mentioned in the Assyrian calendar.

Grishman adds: “But regarding the Persians, it should be noted that around 700 BC they settled in Parsumash in the sub-mountains of the Bakhtiari Mountains east of Shushtar, an area on either side of Karun near the great curvature of the river before turning south.”

The Elamites no longer had the power to prevent them from settling in this area, which had always been part of the Elamites’ possessions, and the Persians had probably acknowledged their rule.  Under the leadership of Achaemenes, the Persians were able to establish their small government, which had the potential to grow, and gave it their name (Iran from the beginning to Islam, p. 124)

The mountainous country of ancient Persia was south of Partacna. It was bordered on the southeast by the valleys of the Karun and Karkheh rivers, which were located between the Zagros Range. The mentioned region is the ancient Elamite or Suzian (Khuzestan – Susa), one of the enters of the oldest civilizations, and has been bordered by Assyria to the west of the Medes. (History of the Medes, p. 82) According to the Biston inscription, the Achaemenid dynasty ruled Persia from the seventh century BC. After the founder of the dynasty named Achaemenid and his son “Taisap” or “Chishpish,” the dynasty was divided into two branches, both of which ruled in that land.

Cyrus I, king of Parsumash, and Cambyses I, father of Cyrus II, founder of the kingdom of Persia, belonged to the first branch. Arya Mamneh, another son of Jaishpish, belong to the second branch.  Therefore, it is assumed that these two branches are divided into small and big branch (meaning the elder son and the younger son). The great branch to which Cyrus belonged and ruled in Parsumash, so the great Lor took the suffix “great” from the great and noble branch of the Achaemenids who were their predecessors.

On the other hand, the small Lor also added the suffix “small”, taken from the second branch of the Achaemenid, the lower stem, which is their descendants. It is worth mentioning that Parsomad (Masjed Soleyman) was the birthplace of Jaishpish, Cyrus I, Cambyses I, and Cyrus the Great. Also, the name “Kor” on a spring in Koohrang Bakhtiari, which is the source of Karun River, is reminiscent of the name of Cyrus the Achaemenid, which in our time is known as the spring “Mahmoud Ker.”

This land was also of particular importance during the Parthian and Sassanid periods. The statue of the Parthian man in “Shami” Izeh, which according to Stein “Shami” refers to the summer residence of the Parthians if proof of this claim. Also, seven large families (clans) held prime positions during the Parthian period, of which two families were considered to be more powerful, after the royal dynasty. One is the Sorena family, and the other is the Karen family. The Karen family belonged to the Bakhtiari tribe. He (Karen) was the ruler of the Bakhtiari satrap (state) at that time, and the name of the great Karun River in Bakhtiari land was adapted from the name of this great Bakhtiari general. Among the works of the Sassanid period, we can mention the Farahzad branch in Izeh, which reminds us of the name of Ardeshir Babakan’s mother and the city of Ardeshir Khoreh in the current city of Izeh. And, also, the city of Estarabad Ardeshir or the present day Bonehvar Estraki (Bonehvar seven and four), 30 km east of Lali, where large buildings were built, in the Safavid period, in the Safavid style, by the great Bakhtiari rulers, Tajmir Khan Astaraki, his son Mir Jahangir Khan, and his grandson Khalil Khan Astaraki, on its former buildings.

Bonehvar was the center of the rule of Bakhtiari of Haft Lang and Chaharlang from 924 to 1203 AH. Therefore, it is also known as Banehvar Haft and Chahar. Regarding this place, it is stated in historical books: From the dynasty of Mir Jahangir Khan Astaraki Bakhtiari, great historical monuments and buildings have been left behind in different parts of Bakhtiari land, including the ruins of Sardasht near Dezful and Bonhvar, from the territories of Masjed Soleiman in Garmsir region and also in Deymeh and Choghagarg in the cold region, which is a clear proof of their glory.

In conclusion, I must reiterate to all those who, whether in the past or the present, have tried to blemish the identity of the Bakhtiari people especially, and the Lor’s in general, unknowingly and without sufficient knowledge, that considering all these historical evidences, customs, language, culture and civilization, and it should be added that the Bakhtiari people, unlike other Iranian ethnic groups, after thousands of years that foreigners attacked our beloved country Iran in different historical periods, have been able to preserve their ancestors’ culture and are proud of it.

Retrieved from: Bahrami Astaraki, Ali. My Bonehvar, my tribe. Bahrami Astaraki, Ali. The masterpiece of Bakhtiari tribe (Bakhtiari political history from Ilam to Zandieh, the role of Bakhtiari people in the Iranian constitutional revolution)

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