Renaming Mithraism Shrines to Solomon-Attributed Monuments (Case Study: Persepolis and Masjed-Soleyman)

Document Type : Research Article


1 Ph.D. in Art Research, Nazar Research Center, Tehran, Iran.

2 Assistant Professor of Advance Studies of Art, College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran, Iran.


Problem statement: The long ancient history of Iranian culture and civilization has witnessed the transformation of pre-Islamic holy figures and places associated with Mithraism, which later turned into sacred places and figures in new beliefs. Many historical Iranian monuments have remained from the Islamic era, associated with Solomon or other Jewish saints and prophets. The question is“what are the historical factors and similarities among these myths that associate these memorials to Jamshid, the mythical Persian king, and Jewish saints such as Solomon, the prophet?”
Research objective: The present research attemptsto study why Mithraism shrines have been renamed to monuments attributed to Solomon following the Arab conquest of Sassanid.
Research method: This descriptive and analyticalqualitative research is applied research. The study was conducted using bibliographicsearch and examining historical references. Mythology-based approach was used to analyzetwo case studies of Persepolis and a historical shrine in Masjed-Soleyman.
Conclusion: After the conquest of Iran by Arabs and forcing Iranians to join and obey the new religion, pre-Islamic Iranian ideological foundations trembled. Survival of ancient Iranian beliefs relied upon the legitimacy that could only be attained through connecting Iranian theology to the saints cited in Islamic traditions and holy books. Hence, the Iranian intelligent mind effectively tried to keep its own cultural identity and protect them from the flood of destruction by attributing its religious temples to the Jewish prophets (also honored by Muslims). This tremendous intellectual movement and historical ingenuity have led Persian myths associated with sacrednesssuch as the Prophet Solomon. Given this analysis, the reason why many ancient Iranian monuments have been attributed to Solomon, his mother, or other Jewish prophets was uncovered.


Abbasi Shahni, D. (2004). Tarikh-e Masjed Soleyman [The history of Masjed Soleyman]. Tehran: Hirmand publication.
Afifi, R. (2004). Persian culture and myth. Tehran: Toos.
Alizadeh, A. (1979). Baztab-e Naghsh-e Joghrafiya-yi, Zist-Mohiti va Eghtesadi dar Tahavolat-e Jonoub-e Bakhtari-ye Iran [Reflection of the geographical, environmental, and economic contribution in the southwestern developments of Iran (from pre-history to Islam)]. Asar, (21), 29-42.
Ali-Shir Nava’i, M. N. (1984). Tazkerat Majales Al-nafaes (A. A. Hekmat, Ed.). Tehran: Manoochehri publication.
Al-Biruni, A. R. M. I A. (1983). Asar-Al-Baghieh An Ghoroun-Al-Khalieh [The Remaining Signs of Past Centuries] (A. Danaei Seresht, Trans.). Tehran: Amirkabir.
Avesta. (2012). Edited by J. Doustkhah. Tehran: Morvarid.
Azarpazhouh. (1977). Zoureh-ye Bastan. Document No:ض 15088. Astan-e Quds-e Razavi library.
Aeschylus. (2010). The Persians, an ancient Greek tragedy (R. Davari ardakani, Trans.). Tehran: Islamic culture and thought research center publication.
Aydenlou, S. (2006). The relation between myth and epic. Iranian Studies, (10), 20-40.
Bal’ami, A. A. M. (1962). Tarikh-e Bal’ami (M. T. Bahar, Ed.). Tehran: Amirkabir.
Bal’ami, A. A. M. (2006). Tarikh-e Bal’ami (M. T. Bahar, Ed.). Tehran: Zavar.
Booth, M. (1996). Tarikh-e Kish-e Zartosht [The history of Zoroastrian] (H. San’atizadeh, Trans.). V. 1. Tehran: Toos.
Bahar, M. (1973). Asatir-e Iran [Persian Mythology]. Tehran: Iranian Cultural Foundation publication.
Bahar, M. (1985). Pajouhesh-i dar Asatir-e Iran [A research in Persian Mythology]. Tehran: Toos.
Bahar, M. & Kasra’iyan, N. (1993). Takht-e Jamshid. Tehran: Mehr va Yasna.
Dinvari, A. (1985). Akhbar Al-Taval (S. Nashaat, Tans.). Tehran: Iranian Cultural Foundation.
Esmaeilpour, A. (2004). Takht-e Jamshid: from temple to the throne. Anthropology (letter of anthropology), (6), 38-46.
Ferdowsi, A. (2010). Shahnameh (J. Khaleghi Motlagh, Ed.). Tehran: Islamic encyclopedia.
Ghaemi, F. (2015). Cognitive studying of Solomon status in development of Persian mythology. Journal of the Faculty of Literature and Humanities, (4), 117-136.
Ghazvini Razi, A. (1952). Ba’z Masaleb Al-Navaseb Fi Naghz Baaz Fazaeh Al-Ravafez (M. Mohades, Ed.). Tehran: The Society for the National Heritage of Iran.
Ghirshman, R. (1965). Iran az Aghaz ta Eslam [Iran from the beginning to Islam] (M. Moein, Trans.). Tehran: Translation company publication.
Ibn Ḥawqal, M. (1966). Surat al-Arz (J. Sho’ar, Trans.). Tehran: Iran Cultural Foundation.
Ibn Miskawayh, A. (1994). Tajarob Al-omam Fi Akhbar Al-molouk Al-arab va Al-ajam (R. Torabinezhad & Y. Kalantari, Eds.). Mashhad: Ferdowsi University.
Javadi, Sh. (2013). Re-reading ancient narrations (water and tree) in Islamic periods. Journal of Art and Civilization of the Orient, 1(1), 23-30.
Javadi, Sh. (2018). Holy places with Mithraism background. Journal of Art and Civilization of the Orient, 6(19), 10-15.
Hamidi Tehrani, A., Safari, J. & Karimi, P. (2019). Comparative studying of Var-e Jamkard with national and international mythological examples. Mytho-Mystic Literature, (57), 123-144.
Kharazmi, H. (2020). Development of Mehr in mythology and its transformation to Jamshid based on transformation theory. Heroic Literature, Lorestan University, (6), 69-96.
Rabi. (2010). Alinameh (R. Bayat & A. Gholami, Eds.). Tehran: Miras-e Kohan.
Zādspram. (1987). Edited by M. T. Rashed Mohassel. Tehran: Institute of cultural studies.
Zarkoub Shirazi, M. A. (1971). Shiraznameh (E. Vaez Javadi, Ed.). Tehran: Iranian Cultural Foundation.
Shahbazi, A. (1977). A documentary guide for Takht-e Jamshid. Shiraz. Parseh Research Foundation.
Tabarsi, F. I. H. (1971). Majma’-Al-Bayan Fi Tafsir al-Quran. Tehran: Farahani.
Tabari, M. (1973). Tarikh al-Tabari (A. Payandeh, Trans.). Tehran: Iranian Cultural Foundation.
 Tha’ali, A. (1949). Shahname-ye Tha’ali dar Sharh-e Ahval-e Salatin-e Iran [Shahnameh Tha’ali in the biography of the sultans of Iran] (M. Hedayat, Trans.). Tehran: Ministry of Culture.
Modaressi, F. (2006). Ostoure-ye Jamshid ba Negahi be Sargozasht-e Soleyman-e Nabi [The myth of Jamshid with a look at the history of Solomon]. Journal of the Faculty of Literature and Humanities, Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz, (4), 9-36.
Masoudi, A. (1986). Moravej Al-zahab va Maaden Al-Johar (A. Payandeh, Trans.). Tehran: Ministry of Higher education and cultural and scientific publication.
Moghaddasi, M. I. T. (1995). Afarinesh va Tarikh [History and creation] (M. Shafiei Kadkani, Trans.). Tehran: Agah publication
Nikouei, A. (2018). The Holy Cattle Slaughterer in the Persian Mithraism. Journal of Art and Civilization of the Orient, 6 (22), 19-30.
Nikouei, A. (2020). From Thirazis to Qaṣr-i Abu Naṣr, from Mother Solomon throne to Shiraz (A journey to the capital of the Achaemenid Empire). Sarzamin-e Man, (125), 18-25.
Nikouei, A. (2021). Why do we need to know myths? Sarzamin-e Man, (132), 16-21.
Qomi, A. I. I. (1991). Tafsir-e Qomi [An exegesis on the Quran]. Beirut: Scientific center publication.
Yadgar-e Zariran. (1995). Translated (comparative studying) by Y. Mahyar navabi. Tehran: Asatir.
Yasna. (2001). Translated by Davoud Ebrahimpour. Tehran: Asatir.