Iran from the Earliest Times to the Islamic Conquest

Iran from the Earliest Times to the Islamic Conquest

Iran from the Earliest Times to the Islamic Conquest

Iran from the Earliest Times to the Islamic Conquest

Excerpt

The Iranian Plateau is a triangle set between two depressions, the Persian Gulf to the south and the Caspian Sea to the north (Fig. 1). Further, as a bridge between Central and Western Asia, it forms a promontory which links the steppes of inner Asia to the plateau of Asia Minor and beyond to Europe. Geography can thus account for the historic part which the Plateau was called on to play in the course of thousands of years of human history.

The triangle is bounded by mountains rising round a central depression, a desert region formed by the bed of a dried-up sea. The western mountains, or Zagros range, run from north-west to south-east, and are over 620 miles in length and 120 in width. The chain rises to between 3280 and 5570 feet and consists of numerous parallel folds, enclosing valleys 30 to 60 miles long and 6 to 12 miles wide (Fig. 2). Below the pastures on the higher slopes of these mountains stretch the remains of what were once dense forests of oak, walnut, evergreen oak, wild almond and pistachio. Lower down in the high valleys grow vines, figs, and pomegranates, and there is wide cultivation of wheat . . .

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