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The Web of Iran, Ireland, and China and Beyond: An Ethno-Cultural Etymological Interconnection? Sounds Incredulous but Real!


By Davood N. Rahni, New York - Professor of chemistry (Pace University), Adjunct Professor of Dermatology (NMC)

Many years ago a few Irish professors commissioned at the University of Tehran concluded there is a firm interconnection between Iran and Ireland in the distant past. At the time, skeptics including this then teenager perceived it naively as a part of the propaganda machinery by the Shah to embellish an [ultra-nationalistic] Aryan heritage for Iran and thus himself before his self coronation on the "Persian Peacock" throne that followed.  I have since learnt that there are indeed much more inextricable scientific ethnographic and mythographic convergences in such findings than simply meet the eyes. Too bad Hitler's ultra-racially driven crimes against humanity denigrated the use of the otherwise noble term Aryan; otherwise, Aryanism is one diverse racio-ethnic traits in a diverse series of a cornucopia of races and creeds, each with its duly recognized stature in evolutionary anthropology. Noone has succinctly delineated the interpolation of the Europeans, especially the-isolated-from-the-mainland Irish's, to their Iranian language, mythology and ancient monuments better than the legendary 19th century Victorian era poet Francesca Wilde.

Figure 1. The historical lingo-cultural influences of Iranian tribes

Figure 2. Map of Modern IRAN


Francesca Speranza Wilde (1821-1896) aka Lady Jane Wilde  (Eglee) born in Dublin, Ireland was a poet, folklorist and Irish nationalist for independence. She has written books and manuscripts on Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, and Superstitions of Ireland, as well as Words of Women. Please see  for a sample of her writings and purchase her books on .  In her manuscripts she clearly demonstrates the origin of language and spiritual rituals of the Irish people deeply rooted in the Persian/Iranian origin. She deciphers twenty words in all contemporary European languages especially Gaelic (Guilak in Persian along the Caspian Sea!) which philologists consider should have belonged to the original tongue that came with the migrations from the east via Iran of the distant past. Due to its isolations from the mainland Europe in general, evidenced by the unadulterated dialect in Erin, a much smaller sequestered island west of the green Emerald Island beyond which lies the vast ocean in particular, Irish language is nearer to Sanskrit via the Iranian languages than any other living and spoken language in Europe.

Figure 3. The Family of Indo-European Languages spanning form India to Iceland including transplanted Tocharian in Northwest China

Ireland has briefly been invaded by the Romans from the south in the 1st century, the Viking's from the north in the 10th century, and the British from the west since the 14th century, nonetheless, these influences are all dissolved into the indigenous Irish cultures. The same concept of cultural dissolution into the indigenous culture has repeated occurred in Iran for the past several thousand years when invaded by the Greeks, the Arabs, and the Mongols.  The Iranians selectively adopted bits and pieces from such neighboring societies and synthesized it with their own to generate an integrated outcome that was much stronger than the two. Lady Jane Wilde when elaborating on the mythological convergence between Tree, the Woman, the Well, and the Serpent-memories as well as other daily rituals like morning rituals and lyrics in Iran and Ireland states, "This source of life, creed, and culture now on earth, there is no reason to doubt, will be found in Iran, or Persia as we call it, and in the ancient legends and language of the great Iranian people, the head and noblest type of the Aryan races. Endowed with splendid physical beauty, noble intellect, and a rich musical language, the Iranians had also a lofty sense of the relations between man and the spiritual world, and never admitted idols into their temples, but only the supreme ONE creator."  So, no conundrums puzzle philologists who recognize the first syllabus in Ireland and Iran as r- in Sanskrit-the precursor to all Indo-European languages- r- means Arya-both nations as the "land of the Aryans." For more information on her writing prose, please visit and check out Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms and Superstitions of Ireland among others. After all, is it really coincidental that the flags of Iran, Ireland and India are each comprised of three stripes of green, white and red?!

Figure 4. The Achaemenid Persian Empire, comprised of 30 autonomous nations, administered from Persepolis (2,500 years ago).



On a related note, this week's New York Times on November 19 ran an article titled, "The dead tell a tale China doesn't care to listen to." It basically describes the several hundred well preserved mummies discovered in northwest China's Xinjiang's region as belong to Iranian stock according to their DNA determination. The mummies excavated in Kshghar, Astana and Lop Nur areas of Xinjiang and on display at the Museum in Urumqi, the territory's capital demonstrates they must have come from the west, thus with Indo-European descent, rather than east Chinese trait. One called Loulan Beauty lies on her back in the glass sarcophagus, with her shoulder-length hair, high cheekbones and long nose, phenotypic features that are not Chinese, but rather Uyghor of Iranian stock.   The ten million plus inhabitants of the province currently speak a Turkic-Persian hybrid dialect and every aspect of their daily lives is as Iranian as the one million Turkmens of Iran southeast of the Caspian Sea. An infusion of Iranian culture and ethnicity in places as diverse as Croatia, Ossetia and Albania, Kashmir and Tajikistan, and as far as southern Persian Gulf and Zanzibar.  The evidence collectively leads us to accept the free movement and intermingling of the Iranian hunter-gatherers turned into nomadic herders, especially after the recession of the last European ice age of 10,000 years ago.


Figure 6. Loulan Beauty: the Mummy on display in Urumqi whose features suggest a people who came from the west, Iran (NY Times Nov. 19, 2008)



Figure 7. Iranian language dialects currently spoken with recent (1000 years) peoples of Iranian ancestry

It noteworthy that the languages spoken form the western Mesopotamia into the entire African continent, are of Afro-asiatic in origin. The distinct family of languages includes historical Aramaic and syriac, and modern Arabic, Hebrew and many others as depicted in the linguistic diagram below. With the advent of Islam eastward into the Indian subcontinent via Iran, and westbound into Europe via Iberian Peninsula, immense amount of language terminologies and cultural were exchanged between the two divergent families of the languages, Afro-asiatic and Indo-European, as one could still discern them today. Among them, however, Persian language retained its original ethno-linguistic Indo-European character, syntax, and grammar. The original language and ethnicity of the Egyptians, once recognized as one of the oldest and grandest civilization on earth became Arabized with the exception of up to ten millions of them, now Christian Arabs, yet use the original Coptic language. To sum it up, there is no culture spanning form china to east Europe and north to southeast Africa that has not been influenced by, and contributed to Persian culture.

As a humble student of history and culture, as I recently heard Harvard University Iranologist Professor Richard Frye during an interview by the CNN anchorwoman Asieh Namdar referring to Iran-and China his son's specialization-as the two most relevant ancient civilizations, I was ecstatic; Nonetheless, somewhat startled as to how he could rationalize leaving out other historic civilizations such as India, Egypt and Mesopotamia. That said, however, and as Lady Jane Wilde has so eloquently disclaimed in her book's preamble, I also follow in her way of thinking when she states, "All desires to be considered are melancholy Laudatrix temporis acti." Simply put, the nostalgic glorious past of a nation such as Iran should not be misconstrued by anyone as a means of ultra-national superiority over other equally important nations and ethnicities. Good, bad and ugly records of the past and present of a glorious nation would only serve as the pillars of perpetual constructionist revisionism to reform socio-cultural norms and to move forward for better days ahead in the family of all nations.  If one were to go back a few hundred thousand years back, in the context of the four-and-one-half billion years of the earth's life, is it not true that all common humanity's ancestors evolved in Northeast African savannah?! One could then only surmise as to the myopic motivations of historians in Europe and the U.S. to solely anchor the so-called western civilization on the Greco-Romans of 2000 years ago, while overlooking blatantly the seminal contributions of a number of earlier civilizations such as the Chinese, Egyptians, Indians and the Persians as well as what must have transpired in Africa in the preceding one hundred thousand to a few million years. No wonder the K-16 world history textbooks in the U.S. do not blithely cite any historical evidence of contributions of others but only the Greeks and the Romans. Everything is presented on the premise of east vs. west. What could have been west without the east and south for that matter?  Thinking processes are non-linear, unidirectional and multi-dimensional and so are the events, be it natural or anthropogenic.  

Epitomizing, whether we learned from, and thus experienced each other's way of life through archetype, and/or innately and independently opted for the same serendipitous approaches of daily rituals and life practices for survival, yellow, red, black, white or brown, we must if not by logical purgative, then by reality predicament utilize our paramount commonality rather than minor differences to ensure there indeed is a lit future for our global family. I encourage everyone to watch the one hour documentary, IRAN Seven Faces of Civilization on video google.  As inscribe on the entrance arch of the UN headquarter in Geneva, perhaps no one has ever articulated the true essence of humanity as Sa'adi, the 13th century Persian Poet:

All Humans are integral members of one frame,
Since all, at first, from the same one essence came.
When by hard fortune one limb is oppressed,
The other members lose their desired rest.
If thou feel'st not for others' misery,
A Human, therefore, is no name for thee

Acknowledgment. Intellectually stimulating discourse with philosopher Gabriel Tatela is appreciated.

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