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Persian History

Discussion in 'Civ - Ideas & Suggestions' started by Xshayathiya, Oct 23, 2005.

  1. Xshayathiya

    Xshayathiya Warlord

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    I always hated the way they had written the history for Persia in Civ3. They even didnt have the immortals unit right (this is what an immortal actually looks like). I'd hoped they would have fixed it for Civ4, but they haven't. It starts out ok, but at the end it becomes inaccurate, and even a little offensive.

    Now if you're not Persian, that paragraph is fine and dandy, but if you are, you know what i'm talking about.

    1. The Parthians are considered a Persian dynasty by Persian historians. The way that the game treats them as barbarians and conquerers is totally inaccurate. Them not mentioning this is ok, I can live with it.

    2. They just briefly mention the Sassanians, and only talk about their weakness. Not the fact that they beat back Byzantine invasions and took the roman emperor Valerian prisoner. Not mentioning this I can also live with.

    3. The Arab Invasion. Now this is the one i can't live with. "Persia (modern Iran) has largely belonged to the Arab world. " Iran is not an Arab country. This statement is literally offensive to me and anyone else who is from Iran.

    "The customs and religion of ancient Persia were destroyed and the population absorbed into the surrounding Islamic culture; only a few remnants survive today."
    This could not be less inaccurate. If anything, there was a Persian cultural invasion of the Arabs. Thjey dont mention that the greatest Persian philosophers, scientists, poets and minds lived during this era. Khwarazmi, who the word Algebra is named after. Tusi, the astronomer who published the same theories as copernicus, only 400 years before copernicus. Sina, whose medical books are taught in western medical schools, even today. I can go on forever. There aren't only "a few" remnants remaining today. There is about 80 million. Persian cultural practices are observed to this day. The Persian (Farsi) language is spoken by more than 100 million people (Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikstan, not to mention people in western countries). The Persian new year, a 2500 year old tradition still continues to this day.


    Now I realize my tiny voice cant get this fixed, but i had to speak my mind or i was going to explode. This is worse than National Geographics' "Arabian Gulf" incident. If anyone from firaxis reads this, please change it for any upcoming civilisation game. If you need any information, feel free to contact me at Xshayathiya [at] hotmail [dot] com and i will answer any and all questions.


    PS: Oh and while I have your attention how about adding Zoroastariansm as a playable religion? I believe it is significant because it was the world's first monotheistic religion.
     
  2. Crayton

    Crayton King

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    It seems they view Persia+Islam as no longer Persia. ??? They view Persia as they do Rome: Fallen/Conquered. This is a bummer, not to mention untrue. Did the Civilopedia mention British Imperialism?

    At the very least, they are reflecting civilizations (Perisa) with regards to outside civilizations (Arabs) other than the West (England, America). It is frustrating though, that they view any civilization as repeatedly being 'conquered' instead of 'added to'.
     
  3. KrikkitTwo

    KrikkitTwo Immortal

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    Well I could see how they could say the Religion of ancient Persia was destroyed and replaced by Islam, but the culture was (as you point out) definitely not replaced by Arab culture. (Just as Christianity may have destroyed Roman Religion but it did not replace Roman culture with Jewish culture)

    PS the paragraph doesn't seem to paint the Parthians as barbarians, and it does talk about the battles with the Byzantines, although they do mentioned that it weakened the Empire (which just about any large scale war will do if it doesn't also gain territory)

    They could probably solve the last problem by changing 'Arab world' to 'Islamic world' and delete 'customs' (although I'm guessing some ancient Persian customs were wiped out when Islam came through but they make it seem as if all of them were)
     
  4. Junuxx

    Junuxx Emperor

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    I mostly agree with you, especially on your maint point, no 3.
    But let me give some comments on the first two, first.

    1. Please do note that there are more 'barbarians' in Civ 3 which actually should be considered part of a civ. The Minoans (pre-Greeks) and the Seljuk (the name of the Ottomans before Ottoman) spring to mind. Also, some North American tribes are featured as barbarians, while the Iroquois are considered a civ. So, although it's strange and a little offending mayhaps, it might be some comfort for you that other people are offended just as much ;)

    2. I just compared the Civ 3 civelopedia entry and the civ4 site text about the Persians. You should note that Civ 3 doesn't mention the Sassanians at all, so actually it has quite improved. Also, I think it's good that it's the outcome of a war -or series of wars- that is mentioned, and not every battle or thwarted invasion. Every nation that got defeated probably also had a few victories against its enemy, that's quite normal I think.

    Then, on your major point. I don't really know. Firaxis likes the ancient Persians better, I guess. And although the Iranians might not be Arabs, they are Muslims, right? Quite unlike the Achaemenids and Sassanids. I think that although it's not entirely correct, it might be better to have the Persians to represent the Zoroastrian culture and empire, and the Arabs to represent the Muslim culture. Of course, in a scenario set in the Middle East in, like, 900 AD or so, you could go into much more detail.

    Sid and the team apparently think it's good to keep the Civilopedia concise, and to describe every civ in just two pages. I think that's a good decision. It's not too long to scare people off, it's just enough to give you some background info and make people interested. It's not complete or very accurate though, and it doesn't pretend to be so, I think. If people get really curious, they should read a book about the civilization they like.

    By the way, you are incorrect about Al-Kwarizmi. His name lives on in the word algorithm, probably because of a translating error of a Greek monk. Algebra comes from the Arabic al-jabr, which means something like 'restoration' or 'repair', if I remember correctly.
     
  5. Xshayathiya

    Xshayathiya Warlord

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    I am indeed honoured that sid decided to include the Persians in civ. I was very surprised when i first playerd civ3 that they were. I just dont want us to be represented as a lost civilization.

    I agree with you that the histories should not be too long, but i am only opposed to that last paragraph. They dont need to write a long story, just take out the part about the Persian culture disappearing, all they need to say is "After several hundred years of foreign rule, Persia was restored to Persian rule in 1501 with the Safavid Dynasty. In 1935 Reza Khan Pahlavi, the Shah of Persia sent a request to all nations to refer to the country by its native term, 'Iran'."

    The whole reason I am adverse to what they have written is because it is exactly opposite to the Iranian identity. We as a people define ourselves by the fact that our culture has survived even with repeated invasions from the Greeks, Arabs, Mongols, Russians and Timurids.

    And yes, i did mistake about Khwarazmi, but what i actually meant was that the word algebra comes from the name of his book "Al-Jabr wa-al-Muqabilah" which means integration and equality.
     
  6. Junuxx

    Junuxx Emperor

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    I did some more Civ 3 civilopedia research, and I have to agree with you that it isn't very consistent in the style of the last paragraphs. Why are modern Greece and Egypt described lengthily, and modern Rome (Italy), Mongolia and Scandinavia not? Could be better.

    By the way, my own culture is mistreated in exactly the opposite way. With the Dutch, it's not the last but the first paragraph that's very incomplete. The civilopedia makes it look like the Netherlands suddenly came into existence in the 16th century. That's nonsense, the nation has a history that goes back way longer. Especially if you compare the text for the Dutch with our English and German neighbours, you can see it's utterly unfair :o
     
  7. Xshayathiya

    Xshayathiya Warlord

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    exactly what i'm saying.

    And here's some trivia for you folks (its not a complaint but i found this inaccuracy really funny).

    If you look at the civ4 picture for Cyrus, the building behind him and to his right is the tomb of Hafez, one of the greatest persian poets. This building is indeed one of the greatest examples of Persian Architecture. Hafez, however, died in 1389 CE, 1900 years after Cyrus. :lol:
     
  8. KrikkitTwo

    KrikkitTwo Immortal

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  9. Anima Croatorum

    Anima Croatorum Prince

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    While Greece and Egypt cover more or less the same region they did a millenia ago, Roman Empire is no more, Mongolia is completely different and Scandinavia features several states.

    Modern Rome is not Italy. In fact allusions of modern Italy as sole heir of Roman heritage is standard Italian fascist propaganda and are insulting to all other cultures that carry western Roman heritage.

    The Mongolia that was once the largest Empire the world had seen has little or nothing in common with modern Mongolia, plus most of central Asia could claim some heritage of the Khanates.

    Scandinavia, features several nations and states, there isnt even really a consenzus what countries are part of it or not. Some arent geographically, but are culturaly.

    Now back to topic. Persia. Yes, when I read the description it did strike me as quite odd since they described Persia as part of Arabic world. The few Iranians I've had the pleasure to meet shared a very 'entertaining' opinion of arabs and their culture. Forum rules do not allow quoting. One even explained how the Arabic invasion was the greatest disaster that ever struck Persia...

    The inconsistancies in the Civilopaedia are merely product of lack of western knowledge of Iranian culture. Mostly due to isolation and cultural barriers. I am sure that this can be easily rectified to portray the Iranian culture and people correctly. A task for our Iranian forum members.

    Also, Civ 4 is not a historic game, its a fun game with some historic elements. It does not reproduce history or historic events, merely mimicks some elements for a fun experience. All civs are pretty much just for flavour, they can hardly represent any country in history. And Civ series should not bother with deeper history than merely providing a few names players can relate to with a bit of flavour to fill the gaps in history knowledge for a few younger gamers.

    And bottom line. Iranians, you could have ended up worse than few inconsistancies in civilopaedia. Look at the Macedonians! They call them Greek! Or even worse, the Arabs, for they are ruled by a Kurd! ;-) Its just fun, not history.
     
  10. TheDervish

    TheDervish Scion of the Achaemenids

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    I am half Persian, so I would like the best accuracy possible. The immortal design you linked is classic, it's on all the stone carvings at Persepolis (which I had the pleasure of visiting just last month). And honestly, Cyrus doesn't really look Persian in Civ IV, I dunno, he kind of looks like a gypsy (nothing wrong with that except Cyrus is Persian!).

    I'd have been happier if they included Zoroastrianism on the list of playable religions, too.
     
  11. apatheist

    apatheist Emperor

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    Leaving out the Sassanids and treating the Persians as ending with the Arab invasions is unfair because part of what makes the Persians worthy of inclusion is the long history, where they change over time while still maintaining continuity with their ancient past. Obviously, Iran today is not the same as the Persia of Cyrus and Darius, but there is a clear heritage and continuity. Yes, they became Islamized, but they still retain their own language and culture. Persia has been a distinct ethnic and cultural entity for over 2500 years, which few nations can say. India didn't disappear when part of the population became Muslim; that was just another chapter. The same applies to Egypt. It was the Egypt of the pharaohs, then the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Arabs, the Turks, etc. It's not like they were utterly wiped out/assimilated like the Phoenicians were.
     
  12. TheDervish

    TheDervish Scion of the Achaemenids

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    Iran also took Islam, and gave it a style all their own. Sufism, for example, is an aspect of Islam thought by many to really have its key origins and the greatest following amongst Iranian traditions. Aside from being Shi'a instead of Sunni, and revolutionary fundamentalists aside, Islamic Iran has almost always been completely distinct from its ethnic Arab neighbors.
     
  13. Xshayathiya

    Xshayathiya Warlord

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    You and me are on the same page, lol
     
  14. blindside

    blindside formerly god

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    DIdn't read the whole thread, but the "Iranian people" is a pretty broad term covering lots of different Indo European people from that general area. It includes the Parthians, Scythians, Aryans, Persians...
     
  15. Xshayathiya

    Xshayathiya Warlord

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    you're partially right. Iranian does include a large range of people who do include the persians, parthians, medes, scythians, etc. These people all speak the Indo-Aryan or Indo-Iranian language group. (Iran means 'Land of the Aryans'). These groups are not from the 'general area' however, they are constrained to a few countries which make up the former Persian empire.
     
  16. Volstag

    Volstag Chairman of the Bored

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    You guys... it's a computer game. Very little of it would stand up to academic scrutiny. It's wildly beyond the scope of the game to provide a comprehensive and accurate summary of all of history that encompasses all viewpoints. If it offends you so much, mod it and release it to the community. When you're done with that, feel free to tackle the rest of the game.
     
  17. TheDervish

    TheDervish Scion of the Achaemenids

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    I for one can't wait to see a mod that shows Persian Immortals how they are truly meant to look like. Unfortunately, I do not possess the artistic ability to make a really cool one. I hope someone here takes that torch and runs with it ;)
     
  18. apatheist

    apatheist Emperor

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    A viewpoint is whether it's called Iran or Persia. This thread is concerned more about accuracy.

    It was Firaxis's choice to include historical information and references in the game. If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well.
     
  19. Anima Croatorum

    Anima Croatorum Prince

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    Can any of our fellow Iranian posters write an unbiased and accurate summary to correctly represent Persia as civ? Its plain text, something that can be modded in easily and be included in patches.
     
  20. TheDervish

    TheDervish Scion of the Achaemenids

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    Here's what I see would be suitable changes so far:

    Ancient Persia's contribution to the concept of diplomacy, and its effect on future dominant civilizations including Ancient Greece.

    Get rid of "Persia belongs to the Arab World"

    After writing how "Ancient Persia's culture was largely destroyed", add that it was one of the very few conquests of Islam to maintain their language, spearheaded by the efforts of Ferdowsi. Maybe even add something about Iran's unique perspectives on Islam if it's feasible.

    And of course, having nothing to do with the history page, change the graphics for Persian Immortals a bit. :p

    Anything else?
     

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