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Naqsh-e rajab

Naqsh-e rajab

Iran is a country with a pure history with a lot of historical areas. However, sadly some of them are destroyed or badly damaged, they are still eye-catching.

Naqsh-e rajab is an important historical place in Iran, near Shiraz, which is keeping three Sassanid bas-relieves.
Naqsh-e rajab is located about 8 kilometers to the north of Persepolis, and also 1 kilometers to the south if Necropolis. In this place there are three Sassanid relives dating back to the 3rd century AD. Actually Sassanid reliefs are classified in 4 groups that show, a coronation, a battle, a victory or an audience.

Naqsh-e rajab

The investiture relief of Ardeshir

Ardeshir is the founder of the Sassanid dynasty, he revolted against his Parthian overlord, Artabanus the 5th. In the middle of the relief Ardeshir is depicted while respecting to Ahuramazda, God, and receiving the ring of power from Ahuramazda. He has a simple crown with a diadem, pleated trousers and curly hair and beards. In front of him, Ahuramazda is offering the ring of power to Ardeshir while in his left hand there is a bundle of a sacred twig, called barsom. Between these two reliefs the figure of two babies can be seen. Probably the one close to Ardeshir is his grandson but the other near Ahuramazda is unknown. Behind Ardeshir a man, a servant, is carrying a flywhisk and a towel. Again behind him a courtier is showed respecting with the index finger and the other hand is covered under sleeve, it was a costume in the Sassanid court to cover hands under sleeves. This could be the relief of the crown prince or a courtier. In addition to the right, behind Ahuramazda, a woman, whom could be the queen, is following by a servant. This part is separated by a frame.

Naqsh-e rajab

Near the Investiture relief of Ardeshir, to the left, Kartir, the Zoroastrian high priest, is depicted while respecting with his index finger. Behind this relief there is an inscription. In this inscription, Kartir is describing himself, that how he promoted Zoroastrianism while persecuted other religions. This part shows that he was a powerful man in the Sassanid court, because no one except kings did not allow to engrave their reliefs there.

Naqsh-e rajab

The Investiture relief of Shapur the 1st

In this relief we can see two horsemen. The one to the left is Shapur the 1st . He has curly hair and beard, wearing a crenelated crown with a diadem and pleated garments. Shapur is receiving the ring of power from Ahuramazda. Moreover, as the sign of power, his other hand is rested on his sword. In front of Shapur, the relief of Ahuramazda is engraved, offering the ring of power. In addition this is an active relief, as two horses seem walking toward each other and also the cloaks of horsemen are flying in the wind.

Naqsh-e rajab

The Audience relief of Shapur the 1st

The third relief is showing an audience, probably celebrating Shapur’s victory over the Roman emperor, Guardian the 3rd. To the right side of the relief, Shapur is sitting on his horse following by 9 courtiers. The first three followers are courtiers, as there is an emblem on their caps. In fact each courtiers had a special cap or there was a special sign on the cap. Also each king had his own special crown. Shapur is recognized by his crenelated crown, but in this relief his crown is different because his wearing his father’s crown. Actually Ardeshir, the founder of the dynasty, at the end of his life enthroned his son, Shapur, as the king of Iran. So to respect his father Ardeshir is wearing his father’s crown, until he was alive. Moreover, there is an inscription on the chest of the horse which says: “this is the figure of King Shapur, king of kings, king of Iran and abroad, son of king Ardeshir, king of kings, son of King Papak.” This is for the first time that a king announce himself as the king of Iran and abroad. The reason is that Shapur defeated Roman emperor Guardian the 3rd, then Philipus, known as Philipus Arab as his mother was Arab, had to make a peace treaty with Shapur and paid ransom instead, about half million dinar, and also Shapur appointed someone to monitor their acts in the Roman court.

This place is known as Naqsh-e rajab which has been influenced by the name of the owner of a tea house near this place, Rajab.

About the author

Hamid Noori is a local tourist guide in Iran. He borned in 1991 june 22end. First he studied industrial engineering at Shiraz university and worked in that field for a while but later he decided to pursue his dreams dealing with history. Now Hamid is a professional tourist guide.

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