Encyclopædia Iranica

Encyclopædia Iranica is a project whose goal is to create a comprehensive and authoritative English language encyclopedia about the history, culture, and civilization of Iranian peoples from prehistory to modern times.

Encyclopædia Iranica
Author1300 named contributors
CountryUnited States
SubjectIranistics and Greater Iran studies
GenreReference encyclopedia
PublisherEncyclopædia Iranica Foundation
Publication date
Media type45 hardback volumes
15 volumes and 2 fascicles have been published by 2016.[1]


The Encyclopædia Iranica is dedicated to the study of Iranian civilization in the wider Middle East, the Caucasus, Europe, Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. The academic reference work will eventually cover all aspects of Iranian history and culture as well as all Iranian languages and literatures, facilitating the whole range of Iranian studies research from archeology to political sciences. It is a project founded by Ehsan Yarshater in 1973 and currently carried out at Columbia University’s Center for Iranian Studies.[2][3] It is considered the standard encyclopedia of the academic discipline of Iranistics.[4]

The scope of the encyclopedia goes beyond modern Iran (also known as "Persia") and encompasses the entire Iranian cultural sphere, and far beyond. Relations of the Iranian world with other cultures (China, European countries, etc.) are also covered.[5][6]

The project has published 15 volumes, and is planning on publishing a total of up to 45 volumes. Encyclopædia Iranica is sponsored and published by the Encyclopædia Iranica Foundation. The full text of most entries is available free for on-line viewing. In a 2013 interview with BBC Persian, Yarshater stated that the completion of the project is scheduled for 2020.[7]


Ehsan Yarshater was editor-in-chief of Encyclopædia Iranica from 1973 through 2017. The current editor-in-chief is Elton Daniel. The editorial board includes Nicholas Sims-Williams, Mahnaz Moazami, Mohsen Ashtiany, Habib Borjian, Dagmar Riedel and over 40 consulting editors from major international institutions doing research in Iranian Studies.[8] Former long tenured editors include Ahmad Ashraf, Manuchehr Kasheff, and Houra Yavari. A growing number (over 1,300 in 2016) of scholars worldwide have contributed articles to Encyclopædia Iranica.[9]


On March 25, 2007, the Associated Press released a news report about Encyclopædia Iranica, claiming that it is "U.S.-backed".[10] Encyclopædia Iranica published an official response, saying the report was "inaccurate and libelous", that while the National Endowment for the Humanities supports the encyclopedia, the Endowment is "an independent federal agency whose many projects are reviewed and decided upon by independent panels of scholars", not the U.S. Government, and that only a third of the encyclopedia's budget is supplied by the Endowment, not half, as the Associated Press had claimed.[11]

Many foundations, organizations, and individuals have supported Encyclopædia Iranica. The encyclopaedia has been sponsored since 1979 by the National Endowment for the Humanities, as well as the American Council of Learned Societies, Union Académique Internationale, Iran Heritage Foundation, and many other charitable foundations, philanthropic families and individuals.[12]


In a review of Volume III, Richard W. Bulliet calls Encyclopædia Iranica "not just a necessity for Iranists [but] of inestimable value for everyone concerned with the history and culture of the Middle East".[13] Ali Banuazizi, though, notes that its focus is on Iran "as perceived, analyzed, and described by its most distinguished, mainly Western, students".[14] In 1998, the journal Iranian Studies devoted a double issue (vol. 31, no. 3/4) to reviews of the encyclopædia, coming to 700 pages by 29 authors on as many subjects.[15]

See also


  1. ^ "Citing the Encyclopedia Iranica". Encyclopedia Iranica. 2013-09-16. Retrieved 2016-07-14.
  2. ^ "Iranicaonline". Retrieved 1 June 2014.
  3. ^ Banuazizi, Ali (1990). "Review of Encyclopædia Iranica by Ehsan Yarshater". International Journal of Middle East Studies. 22 (3): 370–373. doi:10.1017/s0020743800034279. JSTOR 164148.
  4. ^ "Praise from Scholars Worldwide". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 2016-07-14.
  5. ^ Boss, Shira J. (November 2003). "Encyclopedia Iranica". Columbia College Today. Retrieved 2016-07-14.
  6. ^ Trompf, Garry W. (2008). "Encyclopedia Iranica - 35: A New Agenda for Persian Studies?". Iran & the Caucasus. 12 (2): 385–395. doi:10.1163/157338408X406137. JSTOR 25597382.
  7. ^ "چمدان: احسان یارشاطر 'هرگز' به ایران باز نمی‌گردد". BBC Persian. 2013-07-04. Retrieved 2016-07-14.
  8. ^ "About Iranica". Encyclopaedia Iranica. Retrieved 2016-07-14.
  9. ^ "Authors". Encyclopaedia Iranica. Retrieved 2016-07-14.
  10. ^ "U.S.-funded encyclopedia revels in Iran's greatness". CTV. 2007-03-26. Archived from the original on 2009-01-16. Retrieved 2016-07-14.
  11. ^ Ashraf, Ahmad (2007-04-05). "Official response of the Encyclopaedia Iranica to the Associated Press article of March 25, 2007 entitled "U.S.-funded encyclopedia revels in Iran's greatness"" (PDF). Encyclopedia Iranica. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2013-04-02.
  12. ^ "Sponsors". Encyclopaedia Iranica. Retrieved 2016-07-14.
  13. ^ Bulliet, Richard W. (1992). "Review of Encyclopædia Iranica by Ehsan Yarshater". International Journal of Middle East Studies. 24 (4): 680. JSTOR 164443.
  14. ^ Banuazizi (1990), p. 372.
  15. ^ "Review of the Encyclopedia Iranica". Iranian Studies. 31 (3/4). 1998. ISSN 0021-0862. JSTOR i401469.

External links


Afghan (also referred to as Afghanistani) (Pashto/Persian: افغان‎; see etymology) refers to someone or something from Afghanistan, in particular a citizen of that country. Prior to the rise of the nation as Afghanistan, it was used by Persian speakers and those influenced by the Persian language to denote the Pashtun people. In modern times, Afghan is rarely used as an ethnic term for the Pashtuns, but is rather used as the national demonym for all citizens of Afghanistan—Pashtuns, and a large number of Tajiks, Hazaras, Uzbeks, Aimaqs, Turkmens, Balochs, Nuristanis, Pashayis, Pamiris, Arabs, and others. According to the Encyclopædia Iranica, the word Afghan (afḡān) in current political usage means any citizen of Afghanistan, regardless of their tribal or religious affiliation. According to the 1964 Constitution of Afghanistan, all Afghans are equal in rights and obligations before the law. The fourth article of the current Constitution of Afghanistan states that citizens of Afghanistan consist of Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, Turkmen, Aimaq, Arab, Baluch, Pashayi, Nuristani, Qizilbash, Gurjar, Brahui, and members of other tribes.As an adjective, the word Afghan also means "of or relating to Afghanistan or its people, language, or culture".


Afrasiab (Persian: افراسياب‬‎ afrāsiyāb; Avestan: Fraŋrasyan; Middle-Persian: Frāsiyāv, Frāsiyāk, and Freangrāsyāk) is the name of the mythical king and hero of Turan. He is the main antagonist of the Persian epic Shahnameh, written by Ferdowsi.

Alireza Shapour Shahbazi

Alireza Shapour Shahbazi (4 September 1942 Shiraz - 15 July 2006 Walla Walla, Washington) (Persian: علیرضا شاپور شهبازی‎) was a prominent Persian archeologist, Iranologist and a world expert on Achaemenid archeology. Shahbazi got a BA degree in and an MA degree in East Asian archeology from SOAS. Shahbazi had a doctorate degree in Achaemenid archeology from University of London. Alireza Shapour Shahbazi was a lecturer in Achaemenid archeology and Iranology at Harvard University. He was also a full professor of Archeology at Shiraz University and founded at Persepolis the Institute of Achaemenid Research in 1974. After the Islamic revolution, he moved to the USA, firstly teaching at Columbia University and then later becoming a full professor of history in Eastern Oregon University.While employed at Columbia, Shahbazi became involved with the formation of the Encyclopædia Iranica. Shahbazi, who also served as visiting associate editor until 2003, would also author 76 articles of varying topics covering the Achaemenids, Arsacids, and Sasanian periods of Iran.Shahbazi wrote numerous classic books and articles on archeology (Achaemenid, Sassanid and Islamic) in English, German, French, and the Persian language He died on 15 July 2006 after a long battle with cancer. He was transferred to Shiraz and buried in the memorials surrounding the Tomb of Hafez.


The Amardians, widely referred to as the Amardi (and sometimes Mardi), were an ancient Iranian tribe living along the mountainous region bordering the Caspian Sea to the north, to whom the Iron Age culture at Marlik is attributed. They are said to be related to, or the same tribe as, the Dahae and Sacae. That is to say, they were Scythian.

Astaneh-ye Ashrafiyeh

Astaneh-ye Ashrafiyeh (Persian: آستانه اشرفيه‎, also Romanized as Āstāneh-ye Ashrafīyeh; also known as Astane and Āstāneh) is a city and capital of Astaneh-ye Ashrafiyeh County, Gilan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 36,298, in 10,558 families.Astaneh-ye Ashrafiyeh is a major peanut, rice, silk, and fragrant medicinal herbs producing city. It lies close to the city of Rasht and the Caspian Sea. The mausoleum of Seyed Jalal od-Din Ashraf, brother of Imam Reza, as well as the tomb of Mohammad Moin, the Iranian lexicographer and compiler of Persian Dictionary, are located here.

The great Sepidrud river crosses the city on the northwest side. The main highway connecting the eastern and western parts of the province passes through Astaneh, over a c. 1-kilometre-long bridge. A satellite image of the city is found on google map.

entry in the Encyclopædia Iranica

Iranian Arabs

Iranian Arabs (Arabic: عرب إيران‎ ʿArab Īrān; Persian: عرب‌های ايران‎ Arabhāye Irān) refers to the citizens or residents of Iran who are ethnically Arab. Iranian Arabs form around 2% of Iran's population which is around 1.5 million people.

Iranian folk music

Iranian folk music refers to the folk music transmitted through generations among the people of Iran, often consisting of tunes that exist in numerous variants.

The variance of the folk music of Iran has often been stressed, in accordance to the cultural diversity of the country's ethnic and regional groups. Musical influences from Iran, such as the ancient folkloric chants for group dances and spells directed at natural elements and cataclysms, have also been observed in the Caucasus.Iran's folk, ceremonial, and popular songs might be considered "vernacular", in the sense that they are known and appreciated by a major part of the society, as opposed to the country's art music, which belongs for the most part to the intellectuals.

Iranian folklore

Iranian folklore encompasses the folk traditions that have evolved in Iran.

Jalal Matini

Jalal Matini (Persian: جلال متینی‎) (born 1928) is a scholar of Persian literature, particularly the epic Shahnameh by Ferdowsi, and Iranian studies. He is also known for producing the critical edition of the Kush Nama.

Prior to the 1979 Iranian revolution, Matini was a professor and president of the Ferdowsi University of Mashhad (Iran). After emigrating to the United States, Matini taught Persian literature at the University of California, Berkeley, and founded the journals "Iran-Nameh" and Iran-Shenasi.

Jushqan, Markazi

Jushqan (Persian: جوشقان‎, also Romanized as Jūshqān and Jowsheqān; also known as Jowsheghan) is a village in Kuhpayeh Rural District, Nowbaran District, Saveh County, Markazi Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 366, in 142 families.

The correct spelling is Jowshaqan, according to the article in Encyclopædia Iranica. http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/jowsaqan-ii-dialect

Literature in Iran

Literature in Iran encompasses a variety of literary traditions in the various languages used in Iran. Modern literatures of Iran include Persian literature (in Persian, the country's primary language), Azerbaijani literature (in Azerbaijani, the country's second largely spoken language), and Kurdish literature (in Kurdish, the country's third largely spoken language), among others.

Mohammad-Amin Riahi

Mohammad-Amin Riahi (Persian: محمدامین ریاحی‎; 1 June 1923, Khoy – 15 May 2009, Tehran) was a prominent Iranian literary scholar of Persian literature, a historian, writer and statesman. Apart from being one of the authors of Dehkhoda Dictionary and Encyclopædia Iranica, he was the author and editor of several well-known scholarly books. Mohammad-Amin Riahi received his PHD on Persian literature from Tehran University

under the supervision of Badiozzaman Forouzanfar. Riahi is best known for his scholarly works on Shahnameh and Ferdowsi, Hafiz, and the ancient iranian languages (especially Azari Language). He has produced critical editions of some of the major classical Persian texts such as Mersad-al-ebad and Nozhat-al-majalis. During a course of 60 years he published numerous scholarly articles, a selection of which are gathered in a volume titled Forty essays on language, literature and history of Iran.

Among numerous cultural positions he held during his career, Riahi was a professor of Tehran University, the founding member and later president of the Shahnameh Foundation (1971–1979), vice-chairman of the Iranian Academy of Literature and Arts, and Iranian Minister of Education (1979).

Music of Iran

The music of Iran encompasses music that is produced by Iranian artists. In addition to the traditional folk and classical genres, it also includes pop and internationally-celebrated styles such as jazz, rock, and hip hop.

Iranian music influenced other cultures in West Asia, building up much of the musical terminology of the neighboring Turkic and Arabic cultures, and reached India through the 16th-century Persianate Mughal Empire, whose court promoted new musical forms by bringing Iranian musicians.

Persian traditional music

Persian traditional music or Iranian traditional music, also known as Persian classical music or Iranian classical music, refers to the classical music of Iran (also known as Persia). It consists of characteristics developed through the country's classical, medieval, and contemporary eras.Due to the exchange of musical science throughout history, many of Iran's classical melodies and modes are related to those of its neighboring cultures.

Iran's classical art music continues to function as a spiritual tool, as it has throughout history, and much less of a recreational activity. It belongs for the most part to the social elite, as opposed to the folkloric and popular music, in which the society as a whole participates. However, the parameters of Iran's classical music have also been incorporated into folk and pop music compositions.

Qashqai language

Qashqai (قاشقای ديلى, also spelled Qashqay, Kashkai, Kashkay, Qašqāʾī, and Qashqa'i) is an Oghuz Turkic language spoken by the Qashqai people, an ethnic group living mainly in the Fars Province of southern Iran. Encyclopædia Iranica regards Qashqai as an independent third group of dialects within the southwestern Turkic language group. It is known to speakers as Turki. Estimates of the number of Qashqai speakers vary. Ethnologue gave a figure of 949,000 in 2015.The Qashqai language is closely related to Azerbaijani, also known as Azeri. However, some Qashqai varieties namely the variety spoken in the Sheshbeyli tribe share features with Turkish. In a sociopolitical sense, though, Qashqai is considered a language in its own right.Like other Turkic languages spoken in Iran, such as the Azerbaijani language, Qashqai uses a modified version of the Perso-Arabic script.

Robert D. McChesney

Robert Duncan McChesney (born May 10, 1944, is a scholar of the social and cultural history of Central Asia, Iran, and Afghanistan.

The Fourteen Infallibles

The Fourteen Infallibles (Arabic: معصومون‎ Ma‘sūmūn) (Persian: چهارده معصوم‎ Chahar'dah Ma‘sūm) in Twelver Shia Islam are the Islamic prophet Muhammad, his daughter Fatima Zahra, and the Twelve Imams. All are considered to be infallible under the theological concept of Ismah. Accordingly, they have the power to commit sin but by their nature are able to avoid doing so, which is regarded as a miraculous gift from God. The Infallibles are believed to follow only God's desire in their actions because of their supreme righteousness, consciousness, and love for God. They are also regarded as being immune to error in practical matters, in calling people to religion, and in the perception of divine knowledge. Shias believe the Fourteen Infallibles are superior to the rest of creation and to the other major prophets.


Turan (Persian: توران Tūrān, "the land of the Tur") is a historical region in Central Asia. The term is of Iranian origin and may refer to a particular prehistoric human settlement, a historic geographical region, or a culture. The original Turanians were an Iranian tribe of the Avestan age.

Zu'l-Fiqar Shirvani

Zu'l Fiqar Shirvani (died c. 1291) was a Persian poet of the Ilkhanid-era. His divan consists of 9,000 verses. Mohammad Dabirsiaqi / Encyclopædia Iranica notes that "he was generally recognized as a master of versification".

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