The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
(CAIS) -- Farmers are still working on the land under which the Sasanian city
of Jondishapur is buried. Jondishapur
(Gundishapur), was one of the oldest academic establishment in the world located
near modern city of Dezful, Khuzestan Province in southwestern Iran.
30 archaeological mounds in 1980 only 14 of them are now standing - the other mounds have
been flattened by farmers during agricultural activities. Experts believe that
90 percent of the ruins of the 300-hectare town have been destroyed by farming,
the Persian service of CHN reported on Tuesday.
years ago, a contract was signed between the farmers and the Islamic
Agricultural Jihad Ministry (AJM), was purposely permitting the farmers to work
on the fields for a decade until April 2007. The Cultural Heritage, Tourism and
Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO) had asked the AJM to put a stop to the
agricultural operations, and allocate alternative agricultural land to the
“However, neither the ICHTHO has allocated the land nor has the AJM signed a new contract with the farmers,”
Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Office director Mehdi Mohammadizadeh
said: "the office has already suggested that the land located in the third
grade area of the site be transferred to the farmers after a series of
comprehensive salvage excavations have been carried out. A team of
archaeologists has completed demarcation of the area but as yet no official
statement has been announced".
is also being threatened by smugglers who are plundering the site for artifacts.
Jondishapur, (Middle-Persian) Gundīšāpūr it is commonly believed was founded by the Sasanian Emperor Shapur I (r. 241-272 CE), but it has been argued that Jondishapur might have had an Arsacid dynastic (248BCE-224CE) antecedent, and was rebuilt by Shapur II (r. 309-379). This argument is based on the mention in two Greek inscriptions from Susa of the term Gondeisos as the name of a waterway. The name would seems to represent an Iranian gund-dêz "military fortress," which led to pose the hypothesis that Gond-dez was the original Iranian name of the place; later gund-dêz-ī Šāpūr, hence the military fortress of Shapur.
Jondishapur became the capital city of Shāpur II,
and it gained its claim to fame during the rule of Khosrow I Anushirvan (Anūšakrūwān
- the immortal soul). It is written that the King of Kings had a
keen interest in the sciences and thus gathered a large group of scholars in his
city. It was by his decree that the famous Persian physician Borzuyeh was sent
to East to invite Indian and Chinese scholars to the academic city.
is famous for having translated the ancient text “Panchatantr” from Sanskrit
into Persian, naming it “Kalilah and Dimnah”. Thus, Jondishapur University
became an important centre of science, philosophy, and medicine in the ancient
The city was captured and plundered by Muslims, and its library either burnt down or dumped in the rivers. Despite that, the city's academy was survived and persisted for several centuries as a Muslim institute of higher learning. The most prominent feature of Jondishapur from the 9th century onwards was the tomb of the founder of Saffarid dynasty, Ya'qub b. Layth. A little shrine located on the outskirts of the Shahabad village has long been the focus of attention. Today, the identification of this shrine as the tomb of Ya'qub is so widely believed that some refer to it as "Emamzada Ya'qub b. Layth".
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