The Ancient Persian Symbols
ancient Persian symbols have always been magnificent and mystic.
These symbols are not only visible dominantly in the ancient
lithographic scriptures but have carried on their legacy in the present
times as well. The fact that these symbols are used all over the
country signifies the importance of these over time.
land of ancient Persia, as we know today, was located in the region
now identified as Iran and Afghanistan. The human civilization is known
to have existed as early as 1200 BC. The first Persian state was
established in 700 BC. This ancient land is imprinted with successful
invasions of a number of ambitious conquerors; the most significant
dynasties being the Greeks, the Arabs, the Turks and the notorious
Mongols. The empire was constantly expanded through regular military
Persians were highly advanced. This can be clearly concluded from the
fragmented remains of the ancient Persian capital Persepolis which
shows the use of complex geometrical mathematics and astronomy in its
creation. Along with geometrical shapes, the art of the time focused on
stylised representation of both real and imaginary creatures including
lions, peacocks, griffins and phoenixes. With time, these mythical
elements along with the ancient deities came to be regarded as highly
significant pillars of the history of the region.
Practised By Ancient Persians
ancient Persians followed Zoroastrianism started by the prophet and the
teacher Zoroaster. Founded in 600 BC, Zoroaster helped unite the empire
through this religion. He preached worship of a single God named Ahura
Mazda rather than multiple idol worships. The religion emphasised on
battle between the good and the evil and the triumph of the former over
latter. Highly dominant in the previous eras, there are only a few
The ancient Persians were fascinated by mythical creatures and gave
them utmost importance as can be seen below.
The Persian Water
is the Persian goddess of water. She is also known as the Fertility
Goddess, the Lady of the Beasts and the Goddess of the Sacred Dance.
Anahita dominated the waters and ruled the stars and the fate. She
depicts the creative principle of females. Perceived with wings and
accompanied by mighty lions, Anahita is often pictured with a
bejewelled diadem of stars. She is also associated with lakes, rivers
and waters of birth. She is the patroness of women and war
means “the immaculate one”. She is pictured
as a virgin, donning a golden cloak and ornate in a diamond tiara. Her
sacred animals are the dove and the peacock. In the ancient Persia,
Anahita was very popular and is considered amongst The Great Goddess
appearing in many eastern religions.
The Sun And The
ancient Persian symbol comprises of two images- a lion and the sun. The
lion represents divinity, royalty and the mighty lineage of the kings,
much like the astrological constellation Leo. The image of the sun
symbolizes the ruler of heaven. This is a very famous symbol and has
been used by rules all over the history as banners since ancient times.
The Bird Of The
Huma bird is a legendary mythical creature from the Sufi fables. It is
said to never land and live its entire life during flight. It flies
invisibly high above the earth, impossible to spot through the human
eyes. Also referred to as the bird of fortune, the Huma bird is a
compassionate creature and symbolises happiness. According to the Sufi
lore, once you catch a glimpse of Huma or its shadow even, happiness
will ensue for the rest of your life. The prominent Sufi preacher
Inayat Khan portrays the spiritual dimension of this bird. According to
him, it represents the evolution of a thought to the zenith where it
breaks all limitations. “Huma” in Persian language
stands for fabulous bird. It was believed in the olden times that if
this legendary creature sat on the head of an individual, then it was
an omen to the person becoming a king. In the word Huma,
“hu” represents spirit and the word
“mah” is Arabic which represents
“water”. In the olden traditions, it was believed
that the Zoroaster was born of the Huma tree which speaks for the bible
verse “Except a man be born of Water and the Spirit, he
cannot enter the Kingdom of God.”
some altered versions, Huma bird is depicted similar to the phoenix. It
consumes itself in fire after a few hundred years and rises anew from
its own ashes. This bird is also referred to as the Bird of Paradise.
It consists of the physical features of both male and female in one
body. Each nature consists of one wing and one leg. Catching a Huma
bird is impossible as the legends explain. According to the Sufi
religion, the Huma bird cannot be caught alive and a person who kills
it, dies in forty days.
griffins are popular mythical creatures used extensively in the movies
and fiction novels. The griffin is a chimera or hybrid mythical
creature. These legendary creatures have the body of a lion and the
wings and head of eagle; thus representing the kings of both animals
and the birds. They may also bear ears of a horse. Traditionally known
for guarding treasures and possessions, griffins are protectors from
evil, slander and witchcraft as well. Sculpted in some churches, the
griffin is known in Christian symbolism and depicts both the divine and
heraldry, griffin stands for courage, leadership and
strength. Pictured as fierce, they have gained respect over
ages too. They appear regularly on the coats, arms, flags of the noble
and highly respected important families in Europe. The roots of this
fascinating mythological creature reach from Western Europe to the
Eastern edges of Indian subcontinent and beyond.
and majestic, the griffins guarded gold and treasure. In the medieval
era, they came to be regarded as symbols of monogamous marriage. They
discouraged fidelity. Known to be strictly loyal to its partner, in the
event of the death of one partner, the other griffin never mated again.
They started representing Jesus As they were able to traverse in both
air and earth with equal ease which symbolized the human and divine
nature of the Christ.
griffins represent both power and wisdom. They are commonly associated
with strength during war. The Genoa republic used griffins as symbols
to all its seafaring ships in the middle ages.
mountain is the highest peak in Iran and all over the Middle East. It
is an active volcano and is represented heavily in the Persian
mythology and folk tales. It stands as a symbol of the Persian
resistance from the foreign rule. It is said to possess magical healing
powers due to its hot thermal water springs which treat skin aliments
and chronic wounds. The mountain is printed on the back side of the
Iranian 10, 000 Rials bank note.
Simurg (alternatively spelled as simurgh, simorgh, simoorgh, simourv and senvurv) is an ancient Persian mythological bird. This immortal, gigantic, female winged creature is usually described as having a scale-covered body, with a dog's head and foreparts, lion's claws and peacock's wings and tails. It is also depicted sometimes with a human face.
The Simurg was considered a benevolent guardian figure with protective and healing powers. It was believed to purify the waters and the land and bestow fertility. It was also seen as a messenger or mediator between the Sky and the Earth, and symbolic of their union. The Simurg is mentioned quite frequently in classical as well as modern Persian literature, used specifically in Sufi mysticism as a metaphor for God.
The mystical bird appears in several old tales of creation. According to Persian legends, the Simurg was very old, so much so that it had witnessed the world's destruction thrice.