Persophilia refers to the appreciation and love of the culture, people or history of Iran (Persia). The earliest use of the word may have been by the Royal Numismatic Society in 1838;[1] it referred to a king of Marium, in modern-day Cyprus. The opposite of Persophilia is anti-Persian sentiment or anti-Iranianism.[2]


A painting of Cyrus the Great, one of the most admired figures in the history of Iran and the world

Admiration of the Persians was especially high during the Achaemenid dynasty. Its founder, Cyrus the Great, was the only Gentile to be considered a messiah in the Bible.[3] Alexander the Great, who conquered the empire in its entirely, was himself an avid admirer of Cyrus the Great, and adopted Persian customs. The Macedonian satrap Peucestas gained the support of his subjects in Persis due to his Persophilia.[4] Ancient Greek leaders of the Achaemenid period who gave themselves Persian titles or names were considered Persophiles.[5] The kings of Sidonian whose governmental policies gave special rights to the Persians may also be referred to as Persophiles.[6]

"Ibero-Sasanian" coin introduced by of Stephen I of Iberia. On the reverse there is a cross, symbol of Christianity, together with the Holy Fire (atar), the symbol of Zoroastrian faith and the Sasanian Empire.[7]

Caucasian leaders who sided with the Sasanians are branded as Persophiles, such as Stephen I of Iberia.[7]

Early Abbasid caliphs Harun al-Rashid and Al-Ma'mun are described as Persophile by the English author Percy Sykes,[8] due to their pro-Persian policies.

Admiration of Persian culture continued during the Mughal Empire in South Asia; for example, Abdul Rahim Khan-e-Khana was considered the foremost Persophile of his time.[9]

One of the most prominent contemporary Persophiles was the British literary historian Edward Granville Browne, who participated in the 1906 Persian Constitutional Revolution.

A recent book on Persophilia is the Iranian Hamid Dabashi is "Persophilia, Persian Culture on the Global Scene".[10]

Other Persophiles

See also


  1. ^ Wertheimer, Londres (1838). The Numismatic Chronicle. Royal Numismatic Society. Online Version
  2. ^ Ram, H. (2009): Iranophobia: The Logic of an Israeli Obsession, Stanford University Press, ISBN 9780804760676
  3. ^ Isaiah 45:1
  4. ^ Curtis, Vesta Sarkhosh; Stewart, Sarah (2007). The Age of the Parthians. I.B.Tauris. ISBN 978-1-84511-406-0.
  5. ^ Max Cary, Percy Gardner, Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies (London, England), JSTOR (Organization), Ernest Arthur Gardner (1984). Journal of Hellenic Studies.((cite book)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) Online Version
  6. ^ Boardman, John (1982). The Cambridge Ancient History. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-23348-8. Online Version
  7. ^ a b Rapp, Stephen H. (2003). Corpus scriptorum christianorum orientalium: Subsidia. ISBN 9789042913189.
  8. ^ Sykes, Sir Percy (2013-09-27). A History of Persia. ISBN 978-1-136-52597-1.
  9. ^ Culture and Circulation: Literature in Motion in Early Modern India. BRILL. 2014. p. 13. ISBN 9789004264489.
  10. ^ "Persophilia — Hamid Dabashi | Harvard University Press". Retrieved 2017-02-25.
  11. ^ "EMERSON, RALPH WALDO – Encyclopaedia Iranica".
  12. ^ "HEGEL, GEORG WILHELM FRIEDRICH – Encyclopaedia Iranica".
  13. ^ Lawrence, Tanya Elal (2022). "An Ottoman mission to Tehran: Mehmed Tahir Münif Paşa's second ambassadorship to Tehran and the re-making of Perso-Ottoman relations (1876-1897)". British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies: 9. doi:10.1080/13530194.2022.2092839. hdl:10023/25681.
  14. ^ "Peter Avery OBE (1923–2008)". Cambridge University. Retrieved 2013-11-11.