Arms and Armor from Iran: The bronze Age to the End of the Qajar Period

● Speaker: Manouchehr
Moshtagh Khorasani
● Date & time: Monday May
8th 2006, 6:00-7:30 PM
● Location: MIT Room 56-114

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The book "Arms and Armor from Iran: the Bronze Age to the End of the Qajar Period" is the result of years of research in the field of Iranian arms and armor, illustrating for the first time a selected array of Iranian arms and armor from ten Iranian museums: the Military Museum Tehran, the Military Museum Shiraz, the Military Museum Bandar Anzali, the National Museum of Iran in Tehran, the Museum Reza Abbasi in Tehran, the Niavaran Palace in Tehran, the Melat Museum in Tehran, the Sabz Museum in Tehran, the Pars Museum in Shiraz, and the Naderi Museum in Mashad. One of the important features of these artifacts is that many bronze items come from controlled excavations, yet some are items confiscated from smugglers on illegal excavations. In addition, much of the swords, arms and armor have been handed down from one generation to the next and thus are in excellent condition. The book also contains some selected items from private collections in Europe and
the USA. Each artifact is meticulously studied and cross referenced with other existing pieces. The basic tenet of the research is to examine the weapons within their cultural settings. The reader is introduced to the topic with a general overview of Iranian history with particular emphasis on Iranian military history. The research has been extensive with over 550 sources consulted. The sources are not only based on international publications on the development of arms and armor in Iran but also the research of Iranian scholars in the field of military history and arms and armor. Many secondary Iranian sources on art, history, and military history are also included as well as the primary period sources.
Contents of the Talk
1) Introduction:
a) Objectives
b) Research hypothesis

2) The Iranian cultural influence in the region and the Iranian search for independence
a) Iranian cultural sphere and language
b) Independence movements in the north and in the Khorassan region and their subsequent influence on the military tactics

3) Copper, copper alloyed, and bronze weapons
a) Casting bronze: different methods
b) Bronze and iron weapons from Luristan and northern parts of Iran

4) Median and Achaemenian daggers and swords
a) The Median and Persian akenakes (short sword)
b) Other types of edged weapons

5) Parthian daggers and swords
6) Sassanian daggers and swords
7) The development of double-edged straight swords to highly-curved swords in Iran
8) Pulad-e johardar (watered steel)
a) Forging watered steel
b) Different patterns of watered steel

9) Some decoration methods on Iranian arms and armor
a) Gold inlaying and overlaying
b) Carved ivory handles
c) Enameling
d) Silver
e) Chiseling

10) Conclusion and future research
11) Questions and answers


Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani majored in English and Business Administration and minored in Spanish from the University of Giessen (Germany), the University of Wisconsin (USA), and Universidad de Salamanca (Spain), and earned his Diplomanglist in English and Business Administration with a minor in Spanish from the University of Giessen, Germany. His PhD topic in English linguistics "Computational authorship identification in written texts: A study in forensic linguistics" explores the new methods in authorship identification in forensic contexts. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani is a specialist in the arms and armor of the Middle East with a special emphasis on Iranian arms and armor. He has done extensive research on the primary and secondary sources of Iranian arms and armor, the military history of Iran, images and decoration on arms and armor, different methods of casting bronze and iron weapons, and the forging of steel weapons. He has analyzed the inventories of ten Iranian arms and armor museums.