A History of Persia


Percy Molesworth Sykes (1867–1945) was a British soldier, diplomat, and author who wrote several important books about Persia (present-day Iran) and neighboring countries, including Ten Thousand Miles in Persia (1902), The Glory of the Shia World (1910), and this two-volume A History of Persia (1915). Sykes was educated at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst and, upon his commission as an officer in the British Army, joined a cavalry regiment in India in 1888. In November 1892, he undertook a secret mission to Samarkand (present-day Uzbekistan) to survey, on behalf of the British authorities, the Trans-Caspian Railway, recently completed by the Russians. He made trips to Persia in 1893 and 1894 for surveying and mapping, and to cultivate local leaders. In late 1894, he was appointed the first British consul for Kermān and Baluchistan, a position he held for the next decade. After an introduction to the climate and physical features of the country, A History of Persia provides a comprehensive history, from the early civilization of Elam (circa 2700 BC) to the adoption of the first modern constitution in 1906. The book was updated and reprinted in 1921 and 1930 as well as translated into Persian. Presented here is the 1921 edition. It contains maps, illustrations, and a bibliography of sources used by Sykes.

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Publication Information

Macmillan and Company, Limited, London


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Physical Description

2nd edition. 2 volumes ; 23 centimeters


  1. Martin Bunton, “Sykes, Sir Percy Molesworth (1867–1945),” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).

Last updated: September 30, 2016