July, 2008
Steven Collins
The previous blog at this site documented that a major Parthian fortress guarded access to the Persian Gulf in the region of the Straits of Hormuz. It was also noted that a National Geographic map supplement provided with its August, 2008 issue grossly understated the size of the Parthian Empire as it indicated the Parthian Empire stopped far short of the location of this known strategic Parthian fortress. A prestigious magazine like National Geographic really ought to do some research so such glaring errors don’t make their way into its magazines and map supplements.
The massive size of another Parthian fortress has been documented in an archaeological site in western Iran’s province of Kermanshah (near the modern Iranian-Iraqi border). It is called the Yazdgerd fortress and the link below (from the Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies) reports that “the Parthian remains of the site included a large palace, a number of constructions which may have had military use, and a large garrison which is surrounded by defensive walls 40 square kilometers long.” This strategic Parthian fortress “overlooks the ancient Silk Road,” and it had to be truly massive to enclose 40 square kilometers within its defensive walls. One can only wonder how many buildings and tents were located outside the fortified walls during the heyday of this Parthian fortress city. Its location on the Silk Road insured that Parthian customs agents would collect tolls from all caravans going either east or west on the Silk Road connecting Europe and the Mediterranean region with the Asian regions ruled by Parthia, China, etc. Discoveries at the site include “a hallway within the chapel of the palace with its ceiling still intact, as well as some murals, all dating to the Parthian dynastic era.”
As near as I can tell its location on a modern map from the limited information in the link, this Parthian fortification was located approximately 250-300 kilometers east of the Euphrates River. Given the fact that the Euphrates River was the recognized border between the Roman and Parthian Empires for centuries, and given the further fact that Rome launched many wars of aggression against Parthia’s western provinces, this fortress was located not only to control the Silk Road’s peacetime commerce but also to provide a major military site from which to counter Roman invasions from the west.
The name of the modern Iranian region of Kermanshah (emphasis added) is also worthy of comment. In my book, Parthia–The Ancient Forgotten Superpower, I document that when the vast and mighty Parthian Empire fell, its people (along with their related Scythian Sacae tribesmen) migrated out of Asia into Europe via the “Caucasus” Mountain region. After this migration, the Parthian/Scythian refugees pouring into Europe became known as “Caucasians.” Before their migration into Europe, Parthian/Scythian tribal names included the “Gauthei, Germanii/Kermans, Sacae/Saka and Jats.” After their migration into Europe, these Parthian/Scythian names resurfaced as”the Goths, Germans, Saxons and Jutes.” This connection clearly indicates that the population base of many modern European nations was provided by migrating Parthian and Scythian refugee tribes who poured into Europe and eventually overwhelmed and supplanted the Roman Empire. The modern Iranian name of “Kermanshah” still bears witness to the fact that the forebears of some of today’s modern “Germans” (or “Kermans”) lived in that ancient Iranian region during the long reign of the Parthian Empire.
Those who wish more information about the Parthian Empire, its people and their origins and their later migrations can hear a great deal of free information on this topic by listening to the audio messages at this website available at the “speeches” tab at this website’s homepage.