Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Free Content License They Used 1800 Years Ago

In my Pahlavi (also called Middle Persian) classes we've started reading a new text called "The Book of Wars (or Works) of Ardeshir-e Bābakān" which belongs to some 1800 years ago. Here's my rough translation of its first paragraph:

In the name, power, and help of the Creator Ohrmazd, the Glorious, the Great, wishing health and long life for all good-doers especially those who have this (text) (re)written.

Imagine if we had something like that last phrase in the GNU FDL (or other licenses)!

A note about the text for the curious:
Although the book is very interesting from a historical or linguistic perspective, it's not the most honest kind of history. To the contrary, it is part of a grand struggle by the Sassanid Empire, not only to legitimize their government, but also to remove their predecessors the Ashkanians (the Parthians) from the face of history. Interestingly, the government they were trying to remove from history is, to this very date, the longest ruling government in the history of Iran, having ruled more than 460 years. You will be surprised to know that they succeeded in this quest to a very large extent. The Ashkanian Empire is hardly ever mentioned in later texts. This fact, along with the fact that Sassanids destroyed almost everything their predecessors had built, makes it very difficult for us to get to know about what was probably the coolest government we've had in our history: a federal (and to a large extent democrat) empire.

Update: I did a little bit more research and found out that my assumption that the book is written 1800 years ago may not be correct. Apparently, for all that we know, it is written some times during the reign of Sassanids, which make it any time between 1800 and 1400 years ago. Still I guess it is old enough!


Noah Slater said...

This is so much win. I may start using this license for my own creative works, so thank you.

Anonymous said...

If you append the text in Unicode to your post (assuming Unicode supports everything needed for Pahlavi), we can all include it.

Homayoon said...

Unfortunately, it seems that Pahlavi is not supported by Unicode, yet. The list of supported languages does not include it, but there are proposals for the addition.

I do have a hard copy of the text, but it is of relatively low quality and I've written all over it so I don't think a scan of that will do any good.

I found a romanization of the text here (although, unfortunately, it has pronunciation inaccuracies) and an English translation here. The translation, though, does not include the first paragraph I translated here. The romanization has it, under "Chapter 0".

You can drop a comment here if you have any questions. I'll be glad to be of any help.

Fariborz Shamshiri said...

Islamic Iran is making excessive use of the death penalty to spread fear among people mostly dissidents and activists. Although Iranian officials insist death penalty is an effective deterrent but in fact experience in past 29 years proved that death penalty is not an effective way to prevent crimes.

Also Iran officials claim that death penalty is carried out only after an exhaustive judicial process which doesn't have any meaning while suspect doesn't go through a fair trial. Police force in Iran torture suspects to confess to crime whether they have done it or not and their confession under torture is a main argument that judges take into consideration to sentence suspects to death. Sadly most of judges are illiterate and they don't have any knowledge about law but sharia. They do careless about suspect rights from the beginning of trial to the end.

Under above circumstances all of these sentences are against international laws and Iran is in violation of them. (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights)

We urge Islamic Republic of Iran's officials bring an immediate end to these executions.

Please support above cause to Stop Execution in Iran and spread the message in your network. Thanks.

Homayoon said...

Spamming, although for a good cause, is still spamming!

Fariborz Shamshiri said...

In blogosphere people don't use spam term for "call for an action". Spam has different definition in blogosphere.

To this time, call for actions have always been unwanted. you have choice to accept it or reject it. In blogosphere you have more choices, you can delete it too. right?

No hard feelings. Sorry if "Stop Executions in Iran" action call was bothering you.

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