Stepping off of Westwood  Blvd. in  LA, into a Persian bookstore, I made a complete examination of the space, and noticed  that one book was placed in two different locations. 

Ancient Iran,” by Massoume Price–and published by Anahita Productions Limited (2008)–was placed in both the “Children’s” section, as well as the “Adult Arts.”

It seems that the owner of the store was aware of the book’s dualistic qualities.  The book is seemingly geared toward the young reader (by the indication: “Culture of Iran Youth Series” on top of the book), who may be inexperienced with the culture and rich  historical timeline of ancient Iran. 

Photo-inclusive, and broken down into sections, the book attempts to categorize the different periods of Iranian history starting from the “Burnt City’–over  5000 years ago–ending at the Sasanian dynasty of the 7th century AD.  Simple, yet compact paragraphs describe the basic time periods, while the large color imagery serves to engage the eye and mind. 

There is much to be said about the photographs, and there are plenty of rich treasures that are printed within this book.  The almost life-size photo of a Gold Bracelet (pg. 15) is as real as one can get without being at a museum.  Ms. Price succeeds in highlighting archeological finds that give proper perspective into civilization, and to Iran, in particular showing the earliest finds for games such as Backgammon, wine making, and of course the garden.

I must admit, that while I consider myself an amateur historian, I found this brief read, insightful in ways that inspired me to research more of a particular time period.  When I grew up in the 80s in the states, regrettably there was nothing like this book, and I can only say that it serves both the young child, who is ready to learn about Iran, as well as the adult who could use a refresher course, or might not even be aware of Iranian history.

Ms. Price, also involves other aspects of Iranian culture, that being a description of the ancient writing forms of Iran ranging from cuneiform, to middle Persian, and even insight into clothing styles, and food.  While children can learn about Persian culture by cooking with the family, those of us without children can also replicate ancient recopies for Parthian Bread, and Parthian Chicken. 

I always wondered what we did to prepare food before the tomato, and the potato reached Iran. 

Perhaps in terms of a civilization that is over 5000 years old, we are all children who can benefit from learning more about the past.



About Author

Eric Parnes

Eric Parnes is a Persian-American artist And attorney, focusing on the compelling and substantive discourse resulting from the impact of commercialism and successive interaction between the Middle East (Orient) and the Western world (West). Parnes is well-known for blending historic and popular culture motives within the context of “Orientalism,” leading him to trademark the words Neo-Orientalism and NeOrientalist and serving as the basis for his narrative by incorporation of ancient, contemporaneous, and mystical characteristics.
For more of Parnes’s work, please visit: