I went to library yesterday and saw this book that I just could not help bring home. So now I am listening to one book in the car and started reading one at home. This one is Persian Fire and written by Tom Holland who also wrote Rubicon. It is about Persian Empire. Essentially story before the Alexander. I just could get through about 20 pages till now but it seems like it definitely has a focus about Greek-Persian War.
There two interesting things I found out. There is this this third historical reference to “Aryans”. Off course everybody knows about “Third Reich and Aryans”. In India the tribes that came few thousand years through khyber pass and moved native Indian (Dravids) also called themselves Aryans. Now this book talks about tribes that lived in Zagros Mountains. One of these horse taming nomadic tribes (Median) basically brought the Assyrian (Modern day Northern Iraq) empire to its knees and destroyed it.
Astyages, Median King, had a dream (his daughter urinating without cease and his kingdom drowns) that was interpreted by his Magi (dream reader) as ‘any son of King’s daughter Mandane, would be destined to imperil the Median throne’. Now because of those King married off his daughter to a weak vassal of not so important kingdom, Persia. (Persia comes from the name of the tribe, Persua, that lived zagros and gulf coastline). After Mandane was pregnant, King dreamed again (Vine growing from between Mandane’s leg and putting all of Asia under its shadow). King waited till his grandson was born and then gave orders to kill boy. Apparently orders were defied and baby was abandoned on the mountain side where it grew up with some say Shepard or some say bandit etc. Anyway, the boy grew up to become the “Cyrus the great” founder of great Persian empire.
Now this whole story was interesting in itself but similarity of this story to the story of birth of Krishna in Mahabharata is also great. Krishna’s maternal uncle was a King Kansa and he dreamt that his sister (not daughter here) will give birth to a child that will kill him. Kansa immediately put his sister (Devki) and brother in Law (Vasudev) in the the prison. But somehow Krishna escaped and was left in Jamuna river, only to be found by people who raised cattle (Gokul). Krishna grew up and eventually killed his maternal uncle.
It is always interesting to see the similar stories in different parts of the world. One of them, being part of one of the Indian epic poems, nobody knows how much is true. For second one, at least the characters in the story are true.
Gnostic Gospel is getting interesting too. Day before yesterday I was listening to the part where it talks about politics of monotheism. Apparently some of the gnostic believed that there are two separate gods. First God is God of old testament, he is the creator of this world but he punishes people if they don’t listen to him. He is almost vengeful, arrogant and jealous. Gnostic literature talks about how God was angry with Adam and Eve because they ate from the tree of knowledge. Why should God be jealous of Adam and Eve finding knowledge. Gnostics claim because he did not want to lose the position of absolute authority. Second god is the God of new testament, Father and One who forgives. Book talks about how one can find the roots of the slogan “I Believe in One God, Father Almighty and Creator of the World” has roots in Orthodox church trying to fight the ‘Heresy” of these two Gods.