Ancient Persians 'gassed Romans'
BBC / Tanya Syed
19-Jan-2009 (17 comments)

Ancient Persians were the first to use chemical warfare against their enemies, a study has suggested. A UK researcher said he found evidence that the Persian Empire used poisonous gases on the Roman city of Dura, Eastern Syria, in the 3rd Century AD.

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Why now?

by Amir695 (not verified) on

I often wonder why such revelations about ancient Iran makes headline news out in the west. I can not stop thinking that in some strange, demented way this has something to do with Israel's use of phosphorous gas in Gaza.

Why else would they credit Persians with anything other than what Herodotus lies peppered with some historical facts. This is the same west that takes credit for absolutely any human achievement and tries to disregard or undermine other civilizations outside this virtual sphere they call west starting from the Greeks all the way to the Anglo-Saxons. Sure, when you highlight the problem people say your just jealous or accuse us of feeling insecure and defensive. But honestly how many times have Persians been acknowledged for their scientific, cultural, political contributions outside youtube other than by Iranians. I recently saw an article that suggested, perhaps we should not call Khwarizmi the father of Algebra, as Diophantus a Greek/ some say Egyptian has come up with the idea first in Arithmetica. Ok, may be he has may be its a fiction like many other stories written about the Greeks whose ideas seem to have dried up for 2000 years. A historical hemorrhage and a resurrection 1600 years later, and 2,500km away from Greece. See, now I am doing it. When your undermined you tend to undermine others in retaliation.


as if

by Anonymous sam (not verified) on

This most probably was a isolated case and not widespread, other wise Roman historians who were worse than CNN for minute details would have written about it in some forms ...none of the major figures such as Amonius, Tacitus, setonius, Livy and so on has ever verified such ways . the whole charade might have been a by-product of black explosive powder mastered by Sassanid in siege tactics...kudos to their geniousity .



by Abarmard on

Ahmadinejad should officially apologized to the Romans



by Mehbod (not verified) on

How about that. What is your input pal? Don't miss on this one.



by Salamat Bashid (not verified) on

Golab be rootoon
salamat bashid


but Iran signed the GNPT in 255AD

by Anonymous sam (not verified) on

king ardeshir signed it .GNPT(Gastro Nuclear proliferation treaty) uhmmm.::))


Interesting answers

by John on

Thanks for the interesting answers; I understand and appreciate all of them.  I am well aware of the negative impact of the IRI, of course, but I hadn't considered how a 14 century long cultural invasion might be a factor, although I have often heard my Iranian friend curse the Arab influences on Iran.



by shirazie (not verified) on

what kinda of gas? Persian army had beans before battle!!

all fair in war and love ( not sure I would use gas to get a date)

but seriously, Churchill was the first to use gas on Kurds in Iraq in 1911..

Nice try


Part of the pattern

by MRX1 on

This is a part of systematic pattern in destroying whatever was noble and great about ancient Iran, and who is promoting it, good old BBC who else, the mouth piece of British government only in disguise.

Get to know the enemy otherwise you will never be able to defeat it.




by Anonymousx (not verified) on

Allow me to answer your question please, at least partly, when you asked:

Iranians are so insecure and defensive that they lash out at anything that might be seen as being critical of Iran and/or Iranians?

There are really a number of issues in your short question, some requiring short answers, some long.

"Iranians are so insecure and defensive...": I believe that is true.

"at anything that might be seen as being critical of Iran and/or Iranians?": this is not totally true; but there is a constructive criticism and a criticism with an agenda. Take this whole article, it borders the unbelievability considering time and iranian culture that even when they were retaliating against Greek/Roman custom of burning captured cities to ground, iranians did not behave in that fashion, or when we have known for ages that sulfur and gun powder were discovered by chinese, and so on.

But, the word "anything" in your sentence turns everything upside down and makes it untrue. Iranian culture has really been under attack for the past 14 centuries, and under harsher attack in the past 30 years. Iranians feel like threatened by all and feel like different, being iranian in an arab area, and being shia in a sunni area, so they feel isolated and being ambushed on all sides by major and minor powers as well as forces internal to iran. In other words, in the larger scheme of things the attack/criticism of iranian identity is not an isolated anything; it has been quite severe specially in the past 30 years. Anything iranian was being cursed after the revolution and many attempts were made to destroy historical heritage of iran; as we speak, a part of Fars province that has been on the UNESCO list of historical sites (with some 171 registered sites) is being flooded by the islamic republic in the name of progress. Iranian identify has been associated with Monarchy and thus a barrier for domination of ruling class in islamic republic that had to be eliminated/fought for islamic republic rulers to be able to impose their domination of the country. The recent visit by the Leader of Islamic Republic to ruins of Persepolis and his talk there is very informative where he curses the iranian past and tells the audience that we have not destroyed this structure because some misguided people have feelings for it. There are many other examples that iranian holidays and events have been suppressed continuously.

My point, this criticism in not an isolated event, it is widespread in different forms, and if all successful, there remains not much of an iranian identity for iranians whose language, culture, and religion is unique in the neighborhood that they live.

Sorry for the long response. It was not intended.


to John

by Anonymous denial (not verified) on

you are absolutely right. i was talking with a friend the other day and discussing the whole iranian personality thing. as both of us are freguent visitors to IC, we've seen it all from our hamvatans. iranians in general:

"do as i say, not as i do".

"you're either with me or against me".

"extremely defensive and in denial".

we do have much to be proud of. and much to be ashamed of. it's takes a man to admit this unarguable fact and deal with the truth.

toofan. you are sounding too much like the sacred few who think that admitting a wrong makes you weak. you are just giving someone an opportunity to call us barbaric by denying facts.

civilized means:

stoning women
grotesque butchery of young girls genitalia
acid throwing men
executions of true patiots


THAT is civilized?


They probabely fed beans to the poor soldiers

by پیام on

and thus gassed the Romans the next day :)


A cultural/racial characteristic?

by John on

Iranians have such an incredibly rich culture and history that they should never have any trouble in finding something to be proud of.  Why is it then, based on so much of what I read on this web site, that Iranians are so insecure and defensive that they lash out at anything that might be seen as being critical of Iran and/or Iranians?  I'm just curious, not being critical, so don't lash out at me!


Not those mulla-loving Brits Again?

by Anonymousx (not verified) on

Was it mustard or laughing gas or tear gas? I thought it was a nuclear fusion, and they communicated with each other via wireless communication.

Normally Brits take credit for others' achievements; wonder why they are changing tactics now and giving Persians credit for Brits' achievements.


What a load of british horseshi#

by Toofantheoncesogreat (not verified) on

"A UK researcher said he found evidence that the Persian Empire used poisonous gases on the Roman city of Dura, Eastern Syria, in the 3rd Century AD. "

Since when was eastern Syria Roman?? It was occupied Persian territory by the fascist slave labour promoting 2 Reich of Rome.

If the US was allowed to Nuke the Japanese Empire for its cruelties etc, killing 20 Roman soldiers with sulphure should be just fine, in British, US thinking.

Its amazing that the BBC finally gives some attention to Persian history, but when they do, they manage to make huge shocking headlines and twist the background completly around.

Nice try, but no matter how much the BBC tries to somehow show our past as barbaric, they will never beat their own cave dwelling celtic history. There has never been a more moral just and civilized empire than the Persian empire. Dont let the anglosaxons tell you otherwise.



by Anonymous commentor (not verified) on

i can't believe it. the peace loving iranians? it must be a jewish conspiracy.

Jahanshah Javid

Oh boy!

by Jahanshah Javid on

I'm not sayin nothin! :o))))