Traditional Iranian Martial Arts (Varzesh-e Pahlavani)
The history of traditional Iranian martial arts can be divided into
four major epochs. This division is based on the research of the
available resources and material. There are gaps between these
epochs. At certain periods there is no mention of Varzesh-e
Pahlavani. We are not sure what the status of this sport is during
those periods, but we believe there must have been some movement
although not dominating enough to have been documented as thoroughly
- Mythical Era - A period
starting from 1065 BC according to Ferdowsi's Shahnameh and reaching
- Parthian Empire - This is
the period when the Aryan Parthian (238 BC - 224 AD) expelled the
Greeks from Iran forever. It is reported that the word
"Pahlavan" comes from this era.
- Islamic Era - This covers
the period Islam is brought into Iran and becomes an integral part
of Iranians. This period supplements the physical strength of
Pahlavans with spirituality and philosophy. Islamic values breathe
soul into the physical garment of Pahlavani.
- Contemporary Era - This is
the period starting from the early nineteen century to the present.
The shear volume of historical facts and documents available in this
period, quite understandably due to its freshness, makes this the
most informative period.
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