"The Persians" on French TV

1961 adaptation of classic Greek play by Aeschylus


more from Darius Kadivar


by benross on

Thanks for your off topic comment. The voice of David Daniels was absolutely lovely. I have few CDs of Cecilia Bartoli, already mentioned in this thread. I guess we simply choose the sex of our angels accordingly!

Darius Kadivar

Me Too VPK Jaan ;0)

by Darius Kadivar on

I Bought mine yesterday. Will watch it this weekend. Nice packaging too.

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan


by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


Just ordered the video from Amazon.fr . I guess I will watch it in about 5-10 days.

Azarin Sadegh

Voila the most beautiful version of Ombra Mai Fu

by Azarin Sadegh on

Sorry for adding this "out of context" comment guys! But I have to thank Ashena and Farah for reminding me of this masterpiece!

This version is my favorite one of Handel's Ombra Mai Fu...I think an angel should sound like Daniels!


Ari Siletz

You're welcome humanbeing

by Ari Siletz on

Of course Farabi's ethnicity is controversial. Which means he is Persian.


thanks ari

by humanbeing on

for saving me from myself. i will run and check my source on farabi right now! i am still slightly hungover, which is not a good state in which to write comments.

probably shouldn't have given any details on any of them. main thing is they wrote in arabic. that should keep enough people happy and enough others unhappy.

one of the things that drew me to ic was a wish to contribute in the cancellation of WWIII !!!

Ari Siletz


by Ari Siletz on

WW I: Assassination of Prince Ferdinand.



WW II: Germany invades Poland  



WW III. Blogger says on Iranian.com that Farabi was Turkish.

Ari Siletz

double post

by Ari Siletz on


rea, farah, ari, dk

by humanbeing on

before i forget, and we all focus on june 12, which it already is here while you guys are still asleep (except rea?)

i second rea, thanks dk from a starved amateur. i have been swamped by greek literature all of my adult life and never even bothered to look into the question of the greek take on the persians!

farah, yes, aeschylus 'persians' is arguably the first surviving intact greek play. papyrus finds have given us fragments of other very old plays and literature. i loved your question you threw at the end about which nations traditionally did the most for persian studies. i agree that russians and british. some individuals from the french academic community, such as benveniste and dumezil, and today gernet for example come to mind. of course there are countless individuals not all can be named (including from my own country, who is one of the leaders of an international team on a middle-persian dictionary).

ari, yes: farabi, ibn sina preserve ideas of plato in arabic (the first a turk, the second a persian), and there are others, such as al-biruni, abu bakr al-razi (both persians!) just to name a few. but most of this is paraphrase (biruni's passages closer to original than others). the few bits of literal translation (into arabic, not persian) i actually found were in the ismaili 'rasa'il ikhwan al-safa' and in an obscure (persian) neo-platonist called al-isfizari/ifsizari (scholars are uncertain), and in some medical texts. all these bits of plato are embedded by these authors into their compositions dealing with other topics. they are not works of plato per se.

dk, the question underlying one of my research projects is plato as a literary piece of art, in particular as dialogue, and how it survived as such (if at all) in the cultures which welcomed greek knowledge and culture into their repertoire. my articles mostly focus on very minute, petty, philological issues which i hope to spare you. but one sometimes gets carried away. anyway, funny you mention my research, which has sort of come to a halt due to end of semester workload, personal events, and, of course, the addiction to ic.

for this very specific question, i'm looking for translations into persian of the text itself (two degrees more direct than an arabic paraphrase), i.e. not the ishraqi derivations by sohravardi et co. which are beautiful and literary and metaphysical to be sure.

since i can't revive ancient jundishapur to explore this, i have until now come up with a dead end (except some leads nur-i-azal gave me on another thread over a month ago).

ari, your reference to the two modern translators is very very welcome. i don't read persian adequately, but i'll try to have a look, at least to see if the dialogue form is retained in these translations. if so, this will be amazing! in modern arabic all i have found are paraphrases, and summaries, and one translation made not from the original, but through the french.

i truly learn something new from ic every time i log on. dk this is a wonderful blog and thread!

enough for today. i'm going to see what is happening in the here and now.

thanks again all of you!

Darius Kadivar

Very True Farah Jaan - castrato farinelli

by Darius Kadivar on

This is from the 1994 movie Farinelli I am sure you have heard of or seen:


Cecilia Bartoldi dubbed for the voice

Darius Kadivar

آشنا Jaan Absolutely Gorgeous

Darius Kadivar

Thanks for the beautiful rendering.

Farah Rusta

Xerxes used to be performed by the castrati

by Farah Rusta on

Some of the finest performances of Xerxes and later Artaxerxes were rendered by a particular brand of sopranos, known as castrati (the castrated ones). These were the choir boys who were chosen for their heavenly voices and castrated at a pre-puberty age so their vocal chords remain unaffected by age


This is why in the modern day performances of Handel's Xerxes and Arne's Artaxerxes women (sopranos) sing the parts of the title roles.




Listen to Xerxes, Handel’s opera

by آشنا on

I thimk this is the best performance of “Ombra mai fou” aria from Xerxes, Handel’s opera.




Thx, DK

by Rea on

Appreciate it. 

Hungry amateurs like myself learn a lot from your links.

Darius Kadivar

FYI/Rossini's "Ciro In Babilonia" and Handel's Xerxes

by Darius Kadivar on

Darius Kadivar

Ari Jaan that should be it then

by Darius Kadivar on

for the performances were indeed around that time.

Mossadegh died in 67 ( sadly and ironically the year of the coronation) and these avant garde plays were performed in the short years that followed. Although I think that we did have modern plays prior to that date but 1971 was aimed as a cultural turning point with all the Jashneh Honar and the Celebrations of the Monarchy.

I don't know if the Shah subconsciously thought he could bury Mossadegh's memory from the people's mind under such larger than life performances ... But history proved that contrary to popular belief a nation does not always have alzheimers ...

If there is a great lesson to learn from all this I suppose it is one of modesty.

But in the end of the day it also proves that culture moves on, and probably thanks to these experimental plays and performances Iranian Arts were exposed to a new and refreshing outlook which is now expressed in a variety of artisitic expressions from music to painting or even Cinema ...

I think in her own way Our Shahbanou left a lasting impact on our culture

Empress of the Arts By Darius KADIVAR 

which is only bearing fruit in recent years both in Iran :

And not just with the Museum she founded

Tehran's Museum of Contemporary Art By Robert Tait ( The Guardian) 

but also in the Diaspora:

EMPRESS OF THE ARTS: Farah Pahlavi at Iranian Photo Journalism Exhibit in Paris (2010)

EMPRESS OF THE ARTS: Farah Pahlavi and Azadeh Ghotbi "Veiled Revelations" Opening

Framing Warhol By Darius KADIVAR

A Gift To All Persians! By Darius KADIVAR

Musical Ode To Cyrus The Great In Paris by Darius KADIVAR

EMPRESS OF THE ARTS: Farah Pahlavi and Mary Apick at "Beneath The Veil" JFK Center (Oct 8th, 2009)

EMPRESS OF THE ARTS: Farah Pahlavi and painter/artist and Iran-Iraq War Veteran Ghass Rouzkhosh

EMPRESS OF THE ARTS: Farah Pahlavi and Ms. Parto Dehlavi

PARIS EXHIBIT: 165 Years of Photography in Iran

A reputation of an Arts muse and lover of beauty and the Arts envied and even Copied in the Emirates :

COVER STORY: The Queen Of Culture (Canvas Magazine, Dubai) 

Ari Siletz

Darius, Antigone

by Ari Siletz on

The Antigone theme resonates with the Mossadegh burial issue because it is about Antigone wanting to give her brother an honorable burial and the king refusing. The king believed Antigone's  brother was a traitor. The parallel would have been noted by the audience.


Thank you for the Brooks info and great links,as always. Sorting out the Antigone prodution in question, I now place it somewhere between 1968 and 1971.  It was in Farsi. If this date and language matches the Brooks production then that could be it.

Farah Rusta

Persians: The first play staged in Greece

by Farah Rusta on

A few years ago, yours truly was asked to give a talk to a small gathering on the Persian influences on Western art. Among numerous citations was Aeschylus's most moving tale of the Persian defeat by Athenians in the battle of Salamis as recited by a messenger to a mournful Atossa (mother of Xerxes and widow of Darius). Aeschylus, himself a veteran of the battle of Marathon, wrote this play as an anti-war piece of drama, reputedly the ealiest surving European piece of theatre. The play is so powerful that some two thousand and five hundred years later is still attracting huge crowds and attention. One such performance that I was fortunate to see was staged in New York back in 2006 with the Greek's leading director and drama player Lydia Koniordou (as Atossa).  Back in 2005, Persians was staged as a comedy    as a anti Iraq war play in which in a bizzare twist the agressors, Americans, were replaced by Persians and the vanquished, the Iraqis, were the Greeks.

 Also on the question of which nations have done the most scholarly work on Iran and Persia, my vote goes first to the British and second to the Russians.  


Darius Kadivar

Thanks Ari Jaan - Antigon was Peter Brooks take on the Ta’zîeh

by Darius Kadivar on

Interesting. By the way what was in the theme of Antigone which was interpreted at the time as something reminicent to the Coup or Power Struggle between the Shah and Mossadegh ? I wonder if the performance you are refering too was not staged by Peter Brook's Theater Company.

I know that Maurice Bejart, Peter Brook and Jean Claude Carriere had attempted some Avant Garde Play called ORGHAST which shocked some in the audience of the Shiraz International Festival of the Arts because some claimed the dancers were naked.

I happened to see footage of the Play on French TV a few years ago and it happened that the dancers were Fully Dressed but some wore thin Skin Coloured tight costumes which gave the impression they were naked: See Here

This was the new theater trend of the Craze of the Jesus Christ Super Star Hippie Years ... so to see all these hippies performing in Persepolis shocked many traditional minded people with little exposure to Avant Garde Art or expression.

In a traditional country like Iran this must have shocked some people all the more that the actors wanted to perform live in some remote villiages or city corners where more traditional people lived.

The Irony is that in Peter Brook's memoires he complained of the SAVAK ( actually Gendarmerie - but in his confused western mind he immediately associated it with the Shah's secret police) trying to stop them to perform in the villiages but then Brook started a scandal threatening to leave the country and not honoring his contract and performance obligations. As a Result the Shahbanou was to interfere and calm him down by apologizing for the zeal of the poor gendarm simply for doing his duty ...

Here is Farah greeting Peter Brook, and other avant gard theater artists like  John Cage and Merce Cunningham at the 1972 festival:


Another Irony is that in the years  that followed the Revolution particularly in the 1990's the Islamic Republic asked Peter Brook with his company to come back to IRan particularly during the Fajr Festival to perform other Avant Gard plays including the re adapting the Ta’zîeh Tradition to a Shakesperean Sauce ...

Brook keeps on performing with his company in Iran to this day and as late as last January: 


But have not heard from him complaining about the SAVAMA or violence of the IRI Police ...

Here are some of the performers ( particularly Kazem SHAHRYARI) of Brook's Antigone and ORGHAST complaining of having been beaten up and tortured by the Savak :


You know the Gauche Caviar type deegeh ...  ;0)

In short it was much ado about nothing ...




Ari Siletz

Darius, humanbeing

by Ari Siletz on


Mossadegh is buried under the floor of his dining room in Ahmadabad. Here's brief account along with a copy of his will. The first line states he wants to be buried in the "Freedom Cemetery" where his 30th of Tir fellows were. You can see the problem.  Thanks for the great post by the way. 


Interesting that you mention Plato because Agathias is supposed to have mentioned a translation in Sassanid Persian before the Muslim invasion of Iran. Please check with the better informed , but for now I believe--until modern times--Persians got their Plato from the Ibn Sina and Al Farabi critical commentaries in Arabic. For modern Persian translations try Hasan Lotfi Kashani and Foad Rowhani.



Darius Kadivar

Vaa ....aaaaaY This is About CULTURE Not Politics ...

by Darius Kadivar on

Can't You Guys see things from time to time from a different angle than the Soorakh Kooneh Lagheh Hazrateh Abbas ? ...

And Just appreciate this performance for what it is:

That is First and Foremost as a Pure Entertainment directed by one of the greatest Golden Age French ORTF TV directors of the time: Jean Prat.  

Not that I disagree with everything in your arguments from a historical perspective but this is a GREEK PLAY translated into French played by the Greatest Actors of the COMEDIE FRANCAISE of the time ( François Chaumette, Maurice Garrel ) ... and a Classic of French TV which was a HUGE success when aired in 1961 ( ten years prior to the Shah's celebrations of '71, so doesn't even have anything to do with it ) and remains a milestone in the history of French Television.

Lastly Even if Your Argument is Historically Accurate it should actually satisfy Your Anti British Sentiments unless you consider that keeping the British - Russian - Persian Alliance as opposed to a French - Ottoman- Persian Tripartite was a good thing. After All even YOUR Joon Joony Ahmadinejad has Sealed it With Erdogan satisfying partially the Iran Turkey Alliance which seems to suit your interests lately ... But would Turn Both Reza Shah and Attaturk upside down in their tombs :

PUTTIN' ON THE RITZ: Why I won't Sign a Petition or Demonstrate Against Bad Bad Israel ... 

Otherwise Stop Complaining about British Petroleum or the Coup of 53 for in both cases it served the British Presence in Iran.

Recommended Book:

Napoleon and Persia: Franco-Persian Relations Under the First Empire by Iradj Amini

If there is something that AMAZES ME with YOU Islamic Intellectuals is your lack of COHERENCE !

Votre Betise est ENORME que Dis je C'est Une PENINSULE ...


Tirade du Nez-Depardieu Cyrano de Bergerac:


And the English Version:

Cyrano de Bergerac (1950) - "Nose Speech" & "Fencing Ballade"



Now Go and Enjoy your Weekend with Some Tazieh Performed in Avignon if it pleases you :


But don't Come back with another Conspiracy Theory blaming Gerard Philippe and Jean Vilar for the Islamic Revolution of '79 ...

Truly Some of You are HOPELESS !

Recommended Reading:

A Night at La Comedie Francaise with Shahrokh Moshkin Ghalam by DK


Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Fair enough

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


Will leave the politics out.


Ancient Persia is a passionate and fascinating subject

by Rea on

Leave the politics out of it, pls.  Allow us, non-Iranians, to learn more about Persia coming on IC.

PS. forgot to say earlier, thx DK for reminding us of Xerxes and Persepolis.

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

I have

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


to agree with Midwsesty. The French may be interested in our culture now. However in the past specially Napoleon backtabbed us big time. No time to sugar coat the actions. More recently France gave refuge to Khomeini. You remember flying him to Iran on Air France. While I appreciate this movie I also see the other side.

Thank you Midwesty for brining this point up. The bitter truth is the only way to progress. No more denail. All of truth all the time.


Not so fast...

by Midwesty on

On one the most humiliating treaties imposed on Iran, Golestan Treaty and the French connection:

This opened the door for France to use Persia to threaten both Russian
and British interests. Hoping to forge a tripartite alliance of France,
the Ottoman Empire, and Persia, Napoleon sent various envoys to Persia,
notably Pierre Jaubert and Claude Mathieu de Gardane, whose diplomatic
efforts culminated in the Treaty of Finkenstein, signed on 4 May 1807
(text in Hurewitz, I, pp. 184-85; see also FRANCE i; GARDANE MISSION),
under which France recognized Persian claims to Georgia and promised
assistance in training and equipping the Persian army. Only two months
later, however, Napoleon and Alexander I agreed to an armistice and
signed the Treaty of Tilsit (7 July 1807), which effectively rendered
the French commitments to Persia untenable, although the French mission
did continue to provide some military assistance and tried to mediate a
settlement with Russia.

Source: //www.iranica.com/articles/golestan-treaty



by humanbeing on

this link on xerxes is so interesting! with mottos from aristotle and herodotus! and this ren hakim is some impressive young lady! what an interesting cultural background she hails from.

glad you posted it on a fri., so i'll have time this weekend to read it attentively.

first, i must plod through friday domestics and sober up after fri nite hosting a full house (of my favourite subspecies, 'homo mathematicus').

ari's challenge is a bit daunting, but it will make me do some serious homework.

Darius Kadivar

Ari Jaan that's an interesting story

by Darius Kadivar on

If you can dig into it more deeper I am interested. Art and Politics have always been bedfellows in all societies and Iran is no exception to the rule be it under the Shah or Khomeiny.

Where is the Great Man buried by the way or was supposed to be buried ?

Darius Kadivar

humanbeing jaan Great Idea

by Darius Kadivar on

That would be wonderful if you enlighten us with your reasearch.

Thanks in advance,


Recommended Reading:

XERXES A SCREENPLAY: An Interview with Ren A. Hakim by Darius KADIVAR

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Mr Daryaee

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


Is still around publishing fine books. A good man and a source of pride to Iranians. Mostly an expert on Sassanids but with a great deal of knowledge on Ancient Persia in general.

Thanks for mentioning him.


thanks maziar

by humanbeing on

i'll google him. i'm interested in reception of greek texts in other cultures, and whether they rely on paraphrases or actually go for a rendering of the text itself.