Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
Impact of Iranian Culture and Language in Poland
: Nassrollah Bayat
Name-e-farsi, Monthly Magazine, Vol. 1,
2, Dec. 1996, Page 115-120
Some chronologists believe Iranians to be the ancestors of the Polish
nation of today. Serious diplomatic ties between Iran and Poland started
in the eighteenth century and several large institutions for Oriental
studies are active in that country. The following report makes a cursory
examination of the effect of Iranian culture and language in Poland.
long time ago this country was called the Republic of People of Poland.
Its name in the native dialect was Poloni or Poleska. According to
mythological narrations a tribe was living in present Poland about a
thousand years ago called Lah (1). During the domination of eastern Europe
by the Ottoman empire the Turks, imitating their eastern neighbor, called
that country Poland but the native tribesmen continued to call themselves
Polona or Polni.
According to historiographers not long time ago different tribes and
ethnic groups immigrated from Asia and settled in Poland among which the
most important tribe was the Qarayeem tribe. With a one thousand and two
hundred years of history, these were one of the branches of Jewish sect
who followed the Talmud branch of the Torah as their religions
commandment. Earlier Qarayeems were living within the Iranian and
Byzantine territories and during the course of history they gradually
immigrated to Crimean and Balkan Peninsula, Poland Lithuania (2).
Due to its suitable climate the Qarayeems became residents of European
lands and compared with their Asian kinds they were better advanced in
civilization and culture. Several historiographers such as Herodotus,
believe that Qarayeems, who were in fact the ancestors of the Polish
nation, were Iranians by origin. This Greek chronograph maintained that
Sarmats (3) were also a branch of Qarayeems. According to the Polish
researches and sociologist scientists, at the end of the sixteenth century
the costume of the Polish people resembled the costumes of the old
tribesmen in Asia and for a long time the dress of their elite and royal
dignitaries resembled that of Safavid and Ottoman royal personalities.
Undoubtedly, the Iranians possessed a very rich culture and art from
ancient times and this great wealth was gradually transferred to eastern
and western nations and tribes. The Polish language, a branch of the Slav
dialect, is of Indo-Iranian origin. The Poles have 28 letters in their
language but with very difficult combinations. The language of that people
is a mixture of Russian and German. German has gradually influenced the
Russian origin and a lot of Poles can converse in both languages nowadays.
>From the point of view of religious beliefs 95 percent of people in
Poland are Catholics, and the remaining five percent are Protestants,
Muslims, Jews, etc. During the eighteen century the Catholic clergy
started to propagate this faith in Poland and they dispatched a group of
Karemili and Jesuit missionaries to Iran. The most important missionary
sent from Poland was Tadeusz Juda Krusinski (4) whose sojourn in Isfahan
coincided with the last days of declining Sultan Hussein of the Safavid
Dynasty. He expired in the year 1756 in a town called Nietak at the age of
The Polish priest has left behind several books of which the most
important is his treatise on the last revolution in Iran.
The Polish Muslims are descended from Tartars and are of the Hanafi sect.
They have built several mosques in Poland of which the Gdansk Mosque is
the most celebrated. Muslim clerics are teaching religious subjects and
Shari'ah in these mosques and spiritual religion and beliefs have very
much impact on the art and culture of Poland.
The impact of the opinion of this nation is evident in their buildings and
structures and the architectural styles and patterns adopted during their
different historical dynasties. From the point of view of images and
paintings and different statues, their churches carry different plaster
works, columns, column heads and ornaments and valuable articles as
decoration which are considered by themselves as rich museums and are very
attractive. There are many temples in Poland which are rich with
ornamental objects and enchanting images displaying a world of beauty and
even the pictures exhibit much magnificence and glory on the columns and
head columns of their edifices.
The combination of the stones (the images and paintings of facing stone
and inside adornments) are a mixture of strength and delicacy. In temples
special copper boxes have survived which have been fabricated by special
tenderness and artistry that proves stone and metal prevailed in the
Polish history to symbolize the power of their commanders and chieftains
during their domination of the eastern European nations.
Iranology in Poland
In Poland large and magnificent institutions for Oriental studies with
long and brilliant records of such ventures are stationed in Warsaw and
Krakow, and these institutions have long since been active in research
In a university of Oriental studies called Jagloonia in Krakow, housed in
a giant building, professors are instructing different Asiatic language
specially the Persian language. In these classes a remarkable number of
students are studying the Persian language and at times they are debating,
studying and researching various etymologies and linguistics and are
comparing Western and Eastern languages.
Interpress Agency in Poland published several pamphlets in 1966 in this
connection. These articles, gathered in a collection, were published in
the Persian language and they deal with the cultural relations between
Iran and Poland particularly with regard to Iranology in Poland. In one of
these epistles we note the following:
"From the fifteen century until eighteen century, Poland was active
in dispatching different religious, commercial and diplomatic delegations
to Iran. More than 504 years has passed since Poland and Iran first
established diplomatic ties with one another and the first delegation
which traveled to the court of Poland was sent by the government of Iran
during the reign of Oozoon Hassan Aq-Qoyunlu in the year 1474.
"The historical records of diplomatic relations between Tehran and
Warsaw shows that Jaglooni, the Polish king, who was contemporary with the
strong Safavid monarch Shah Abbas the First, established the Jaglooni
University in Poland and from the start the university was called after
that king's name. From the date of its establishment, the works of
renowned Iranian scholars particularly that of Abu Sina were taught in the
university. As a result of this valuable undertaking by King Jaglooni,
from the beginning of the operation of Jaglooni University, the Iranian
science, art and culture was widely welcomed by the students and scholars
"In 1606 Samuel Atojenuvski, the translator of the Polish royal
court, was the first scholar that translated Saadi's Golestan into Polish
language. Since then the sweet Persian language and literature was widely
spread in Poland and the divans of Hafiz, Ferdowsi's Shahnameh and the
outstanding works of Iranian scientists, philosophers, scholars and poets
were translated and published into Polish language (6). Since 1820 the
department for instruction and promotion of the Persian language and
literature was inaugurated and since its inception this cultural and
scientific organization has taught the Persian language and literature and
European researchers have become familiarized with Ferdowsi's Shahnameh
and the poetry of Mowlana Jalaluddin Molavi Balkhi, the mystic and divine
lyrics of Hafiz and many other Iranian poets, orators and scholars (7).
"During the period between the two world wars in Europe, the Jaglooni
Cultural Institute gained more strength and as a result of such
invigoration, a series of cultural, literary and artistic exhibitions were
held and outstanding Polish linguists and Iranologist researchers such as
Gavronski, Lanjlibiki and Kovalksi were instrumental in the propagation of
Iranian civilization and culture and they have rendered outstanding
services towards that end. It was due to the efforts of these outstanding
Iranologist scholars that the Krakow and Warsaw universities opened a
Persian literature and language branch and a number of young linguists
started to teach Persian in that branch. Pursuant to that effort, the rich
Iranian culture, art and literature served as an inspiration fountain for
the Polish cultural and artistic pioneers." (8) Adam Miskovich (9),
the able and talented Polish poet who was completely familiar with the
Persian language and literature and was speaking fluent Farsi, was
personally teaching the Persian language and literature to the Polish
students. With such engagements, Miskovich wanted to plunge into the
unbounded ocean of ancient Persian culture and literature and to drink
deeply from that wholesome fountain. Eventually and inspired by this
divine fountain of art, Miskovich created a living and eternal literary
work called "The Satan and the Ahuramazda" which is considered a
very famous book on religious topics among the major poets of Europe (10).
After the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, the
Socialist Republic of Poland was one of the first nations that recognized
the provisional government of the Islamic Revolution and established
friendly ties with the Islamic Republic. Since then the senior officials
of Poland have repeatedly praised the anti-imperialistic stances of the
IRI and this has further ameliorated relations between Tehran and Warsaw
The majority of Polish researchers, scholars and students have studied or
made scientific, artistic and literary research in scientific and research
centers in Iranian academies and some have closely witnessed the
chronology of the Revolution (12). A number of Polish researchers such as
Eskelavatek have examined the political, social and ancient historical
subjects of the Iranian history individually and in a scattered manner.
Eskelavatek was a researcher from Warsaw University who studied the
political, religions and economic history of Iran after the Islamic
Hanozinski is one of the historiographers and scientists of Pozhnan
University who has made extensive studies on the history of the different
Islamic sects. Kaposinski, another outstanding Polish scholar, has written
a very interesting and valuable book in 1982 about the Islamic Revolution
where he studies and elaborates the Revolution and its roots. In that book
the Polish scholar is examining, discussing and sagaciously analyzing and
portraying the glorious features of the Islamic Revolution from the
various perspectives for the information of the Europeans. Besides, this
book supplies useful and comprehensive information about Iran's history
and its relation with Poland from the oldest time until the contemporary
1. The Russians, particularly those who dwelt in Ukraine and White Russia,
used to call the Polish natives Lahs.
2. Nassrollah Bayat, Poland, Tehran, Foreign Ministry's Printing and
3. Sarmats are a branch of Qarayeems who spread many of their fanatical
ethnic traditions and customs among other Polish tribes and even among the
Slaves dwelling outside Poland and the Poles used even to copy their
4. Tadeusz Juda Krusinski, was a Pole by birth. He was born in the year
1675 and after learning eastern languages he joined the Jesuit
missionaries in that country. In 1720 Krusinski was appointed by Bartabas
Fedli, the archbishop in Isfahan, to negotiate with Shah Sultan Hussein
about certain (Muslim) clerics who had hurt and persecuted the Armenians
in Tblisi and Ganja, and he performed his duties in an excellent manner.
Krusinski was present in Isfahan when the town was besieged by the
invading Afghans and after the fall of Isfahan he welcomed the invading
Mahmud, the Afghan. Several weeks after Mahmud's death, the Polish priest
along with Abdolaziz Qaterchi fled to the Ottoman embassy and in 1726 he
managed to reach Skutari, Istanbul. There Krusinski wrote down his memoirs
in Latin language. In 1733 Krusinski published Dori Efendi's book in Latin
language which described the former's mission in Iran (Abdolhossein
Navayie, Iran and Jahan Tehran, Nashr-e Homa, 1991, vol. 1 , p. 454).
5. Lockhart, The Fall of Safavid Dynasty, translated by Esmaeel Dolatshahi,
P. 606 to 616.
6. Poland, P. 52.
8. Anna Krasnovolska, translated by Hussein Masoomi Hamadani, Nashr-e
Danesh, 9th year, No. 3.
9. Adam Miskovich (1978 - 1855), a famous Polish poet, writer, dramatist
and politician was born in Navagrad. In childhood and still young, his
native Poland was not independent. After graduating from the Vilta
University in 1989, he jointed anti-government revolutionary organizations
but was detained, jailed and exiled.
>From 1824 to 1829 he remained an exile outside Poland and during that
period he became acquainted with Pushkin, the celebrated Russian poet. In
1830 Miskovich returned to Poland and in 1839 he was lecturing in Lausanne
University on Latin literature. In 1848 he formed the Miskovich legion in
Italy and another legion in Istanbul. He died in Istanbul in the year 1855
(Poland P. 53 and 54).
10. Poland, P. 52.
is the Light on the Path to Future"
British Institute of Persian Studies