Present-Day Persia


La Perse d'aujourd’hui is an account of trips made by the author in parts of Persia (present-day Iran) and Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq) in the second half of 1906 and the first half of 1907. The places visited included territories that as a consequence of later territorial changes are now in Azerbaijan and eastern Turkey. Mesopotamia was at this time part of the Ottoman Empire. The author, Léon Eugène Aubin Coullard Descos (1863‒1931), was a French diplomat and writer who served as the French minister in Tehran in 1905‒7. Most of the chapters are devoted to particular journeys and places, for example the road to Tauris (present-day Tabriz), the city of Tabriz, a journey around Lake Urmia (present-day Orumiyeh), the Kurdish regions west of Lake Orumiyeh, a journey from Tabriz to the Caspian, and a journey from Tehran to Isfahan and a sojourn in the city of Isfahan. Other chapters cover particular themes or topics, including Shiism, the Anglo-Russian Agreement of 1907, the Persian revolution of 1905‒6, Persian customs, and Shia holy cities. The book contains a large color fold-out map showing Persia and parts of Iraq, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, and Turkey, indicating Aubin’s routes in 1906‒7. An inset map in the upper right shows Lake Orumiyeh, with Tabriz to the east and Kurdistan to the west. A small inset map in the lower left shows the division of Persia into Russian, British, and neutral zones of influence under the Anglo-Russian Agreement of August 31, 1907. Aubin, who published several books under the pen name Eugène Aubin, was also the author of Les Anglais aux Indes et en Égypte (1899), Le Maroc d'aujourd'hui (1904), Le Chiisme et la Nationalité persane (1908), and En Haïti: Planteurs d'autrefois, nègres d'aujourd'hui (1910).

Last updated: September 30, 2016