In epic stories like Iliad and Odyssey of
Homer and Shahnameh Ferdowsi sports namely wrestling, horse riding, polo, shooting
and………are referred to and most heroes of Shahnameh know wrestling well apart
from other abilities and used to wrestle with their enemies in many wars so as
to show their fighting skills and avoid bloodshed.
Ritual of sportsmanship
The proof of what was raised earlier is the
sportsmanship which has a long-standing history in ancient Iran and friendship,
mutual understanding and respect to your rival are amongst its peculiarities.
These peculiarities exist in heroic
wrestling of Iran as well.
According to proofs and documents remained from ancient eras, Iranian used to be pioneers in wrestling and
Pewter ax helve of Lorestan-early 1st
Combat of two wrestlers-ceramic painting on tile –
7th Hijri centur
Pewter candlestick of Iran-Mesopotamia-late 3rd
Goddess of Mehr (Mitra) and heroic wrestling
An image of Bostan arch in Kermanshah, Iran. In this painting, the Sassanid
Shah Shapur II stands in the middle and on his right, Ahura Mazda, who gives him a crucifix for the coronation, on a
buried enemy ( Julian, the Roman emperor). On the left side of the king,
Mitra or Mehr, whose light arrows scattered like the sun over his head in all directions,
took a branch of a plant called "Bersam" and stood on a lotus flower.
Heroic wrestling is linked with long history of
Mehr or Mithraism.
Mithraism is an Iranian religion related to 1400
BC –Goddess of Mehr; Goddess of love and covenant and friendship.
This traditional religion has passed the
Iranian borders and has reached to ancient Rome and mingled with Greek and
Roman myths and have been emerged within the framework of statues and images
under the name of “Mithraism”.
To enhance the moral and physical values
and combat ignorance, Mehr followers have always believed in honesty and good
behavior and use to nourish their mind and body in caves and underground
Goddess of Mehr Statue while
Sacrificing a Cow
During the 1st and 2nd
centuries BC, the Mehr followers developed their rites and rituals all over the
world of those days, from Asia to Europe and even Egypt in Africa.
The carvings remained in Kermanshah are
among obvious signs of Goddess Mehr. Symbol is “ring” which indicates
friendship and kindness. Likewise, is the symbol: “cross”
Goddess of Mehr Carving-Kermanshah with
symbol of a ring-Sassanid
Symbol of cross- Naqshe
Rostam-near Persepolis- Tomb of Darrius the 1st -550 BC
Rings of power which were
later turned into heroic rings
Armband known as ring of