Sunday, August 30, 2015

"Destroyer of Thousands": The Mace as Weapon and Symbol of Power



The mace as a war weapon evolved from primitive clubs, when the addition of stone spikes added to its effectiveness. Stone maces often shattered, however, limiting their value as weapons. With the development of copper or bronze heads, the mace became a powerful weapon of war, as well as a symbol of authority and justice. An important weapon throughout the world, the mace assumed special importance in the Middle East and East Asia.

Among the most famous of mythic maces is Sharur, "Destroyer of Thousands". Sharur was an enchanted mace which could both fly and speak. The symbol and weapon of the Akkadian god Ninurta, this object served as a communication device, spy drone, and in some versions, could transform into a flying lion!

Although not used extensively by Roman fighters, ancient Persian knights favored maces as weapons of war. At short range, a mace could be as deadly as a sword or battle ax. The Gorz was a mace with a head shaped like an ox, and plays a major role in Ferdowsi's The Shahnameh, including its use to defeat the dragon-demon Zahhak. It continues to have important symbolism in the Zoroastrian faith. A symbol of justice and heroism, it was considered a decisive weapon of war. The use of maces with animal or even human faces dates back to the Bronze Age in Iran.

For more pictures and links to amazing weapons from the Middle East, visit my Pinterest Board.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Faravahar



                                              Faravahar symbol on a Fire Temple in Yazd


The winged symbol of the Faravahar, a national symbol of Iran, is a winged disk associated with Zoroastrianism, the state religion of ancient Iran.

                                                           Faravahar at Persepolis




   "Farvahar001" by Roodiparse 

The components of the symbol are linked to Zoroastrian theology, with a man stretching his hand to heaven to symbolize wisdom, a ring for faithfulness, wings to give flight to the soul, and two trailing banners, which represent the individual's choice between good and evil.

The symbol is thought to represent a Fravashi, similar to a guardian angel. Its true origins may date even further back than the ancient religion of Zoroastrianism, since it may be influenced by royal seals from the Bronze Age.

Even after the Islamic conquest of Iran, Zoroastrian culture and festivals remained important in the country. After the 1979 Islamic Revolution, when earlier symbols of the monarchy were banned, the symbol's popularity continued to spread. Today it remains a popular item among Iranians both in the country and outside, seen on necklaces,


and iPhone cases




and even tattoos!