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Iran and America, a shared origin

February 24, 2014

Persian buildingIt is strange how Iran and the United States can be such enemies while they are in essence the same people for the most part (if we consider the European part of the United States). Although Iran is a Shiit Islamic State, it has European features which are still present today. One example is the language. If we just take a small look at the Persian language, we can see similarities with English. I won’t consider ‘bad‘ as a similarity, because the origin of English ‘bad‘ and Persian ‘bad’ is different, although they have the same meaning, but if we look at a word like ‘ast‘ in Persian, it looks a lot like ‘is’ in English. Another word is ‘khoda‘, which means ‘good‘ and is quite similar to the word ‘good’.

Not only that, but also before Islam became the main religion in Persia, there was a religion called Zoroastrism which had similarities with the coming of Christianity in the Americas. Just like there was a belief in multiple Gods by the native Americans and by the Europeans from the early medieval times, a monotheistic religion came later in the place. In Iran, the Gods, ahuras, were replaced by one God, the one of Zoroaster which consists of the belief in two sides, the good side and the dark side in which the two sons of God have choosen for one or the other. The wise men in Zoroastrism, the magis, also have a role in christianity and brought gifts to Christ when he was born. Not only is there an overlay of these two religions, but the religions also are similar because they both consist of the belief in one God instead of more Gods. In Iran zoroastrism replaced this belief in more Gods, in the United States the belief of more Gods was replaced by the christians who came there.

The most obvious origin however is their Indo-European origin. Both the modern Americans of European origin and Persians once were one and the same people, the Persians were the Aryan tribes and the American of European origin once were Germanic tribes, Slavic tribes, Romans etc. They had a shared culture and language in the beginning, but drifted apart which made their cultures more different and harder to recognize as having a same origin.  Unfortunately we don’t know what Indo-European culture exactly was like, but we can know from the early history of our language, that we certainly had similarities with eachother.

There have been obvious relations with Europe though. Not only did the Vikings trade silk with the Persians, but the Greeks were also dominated by the Persians and there might be a chance that the Bulgarians, a European population, are of Persian origin instead of a shared Slavic and Turkic origin. There are probably people who also stimulate these relationships to be intensified, since an exhibition in the Niavaran Cultural Center  was organized in which the influence of Persian culture on European art is able to be seen.

Also in our literature there are relationships with Persia. Take for example Deux Persanes by Voltaire, in which the Persians are perceived as more civilized people than the European from the time of Voltaire. Also Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe have made allusions to Persia. One other remarkable example is how the famous La Divina Commedia of Dante has similarities in it’s symbolism with the contemporary writers of his period of time who also used the same kind of symbolism. The spiritual journey of Dante also starts with love which evolves from suffering to a change. There are even claims that his book may be based on accounts of the prophet Muhammed and his spiritual journey.

Although Byron did not reach Persia, what he wanted, he visited the Ottoman Empire and was inspired by the Suffis from there and stories of Persian origin. In his Turkish Tales for instance, references can be found to Persian works like Mejnoun’s tale and Sadi’s song.

The Persian work Layla and Majnun has similarities to Romeo and Juliet from Shakespeare. Young lovers from childhood who are seperated by their families.

One Comment
  1. Yes they are all indo-european languages. A good example are the words for family members:

    BTW if you are interested in Iran I invite you to my blogs: (has more iran topics) (also about iranian americans, …)

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