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Iranian Women at the time of Achaemenid Dynasty Were Using Poisoned Daggers for Protection


11 June 2005



An ivory dagger handle has been found in Bardak-e Siah Palace in Borazjan, in the southern province of Bushehr. Experts believe that the dagger has been poisoned, most probably belonged to a woman, and has been used for protection against enemy forces.

The dagger blade has not yet been discovered, but the delicacy of the handle has been reason for experts to think of it as belonging to a woman.

Bardak-e Siah, the discovery site of the dagger, was first excavated in 1977 by Ehsan Yaghma’ii. It is considered one of the key structures of the Achaemenid era. Other architectural remains, some stone inscriptions, and several pieces of gold are among other treasures unearthed in the area.

According to Yaghma’ii who still heads the excavation team of the Palace, the delicacy of the ivory handle is reason to believe that it belonged to a woman.

The hole at the end of the handle which stretches all through to the blade is believed to have been used for transferring the poison to the blade. “The dagger is very delicate and without being poisoned, it would have been of no use. Women used the poison to protect themselves from enemies.” explains Yaghma’ii.

The discovery of the blade will help experts confirm the poison hypothesis.

Alongside the handle, some accessories made of ivory, ironstone, and broken pieces of lapis lazuli have been unearthed in Bardak-e Siah Palace.

Bardak-e Siah Palace is one of most glorious palaces of the Achaemenid period. Remains discovered in the area shows that the palace was constructed at the time that the Achaemenids were at the height of their power.

Military tools found in the site are evidence of the wars between Iranians and Greeks in the region and the dagger along other decorative pieces prove the residence of women there.



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