Philosophy of History
|Parthia independent, 248|
Arsacid (Parthian) Era Begins,
|Parthians expand into|
eastern Iran, 185
|Parthians take Media, 141;|
Parthians take Persia, 139
|Parthians take Babylonia, 126|
|Treaty with Rome, 92|
|Battle of Carrhae, 53 BC|
Triumvir Crassus killed;
34,000 legionnaires captured
|Phraates IV||c.37-3 BC|
|Tiridates II||c.30-25 BC|
|3 BC-3 AD|
|Orodes III||c.4 AD-7 AD|
|Treaty with Rome, Arsacid|
installed in Armenia, 63
|Trajan occupies Mesopotamia,|
takes Ctesiphon, 114-117
The dating and even sequence of the Arsacids is uncertain, largely known from coins. There is little epigraphic and, as far as I know, no documentary evidence from the period. This list is based on E.J. Bickerman, Chronology of the Ancient World [Cornell University Press, 1982, p. 130-131] and Georges Roux, Ancient Iraq [Penguin, 1964, 1992, pp.515-516]. Bickerman says, "The identity of some kings who issued coins...remains uncertain," and, "not all pretenders and temporary rulers are mentioned in this list," though a fair number of overlapping reigns do seem to be mentioned. Things seem a bit tidier in Roux, and several Vologozes's are apparently combined, but Roux also leaves out several undoubted rulers, resulting in some gaps. Since he doesn't discuss the problems of Arsacid chronology, I have retained all of Bickerman's rulers.
The modern Persian word for "Parthian" is Pahlavi, the name chosen for the late dynasty of Shâhs. Pahlavi is also often applied to the middle Persian language, although I think most materials in this language are from the Sassanid period, not from the Parthian. Although without Greek epithets (Eugertes, etc.), the Parthian kings appear rather more Hellenistic and philhellene than the Sassanids, who were deliberately engaged in a Persian revival.
Parthian genealogy is very poorly known, as the number of question marks above indicates. It is also unfortunate that when an Arsacid dynast is installed in Armenia, we don't know his relationship to the contemporaneous Parthian King, Vologezes I.
The Parthians were famous for their heavy cavalry, called "cataphracts" (Latin cataphractus, Greek katáphraktos, "mail-clad," or Latin clibanarius, from Greek kríbanos or klíbanos, an earthen or iron pot or pan). These were shock troops, a little unusual until the armored knights of the Middle Ages. Below is one of the few contemporary images of a cataphract, armed with a lance (12 feet long was standard), from a graffito at Dura Europus on the Middle Euphrates -- the conical hat and chain mail over the whole head makes him look like someone from the Ku Klux Klan. The Parthians also had light cavalry, armed with bows, using tactics of riding in, shooting, and riding away -- "Parthian arrows." This harrying could not, all by itself, win battles against disciplined Roman Legions; but if their victims were otherwise discomfited, cut-off, tired, hungry, thirsty, or demoralized, discipline could break, formations could loosen, and, as in cavalry tactics in all ages, a sudden attack, especially by the cataphracts, could break apart the infantry defense.
The battle of Carrhae (53 BC), where 20,000 out of 36,000 legionaires may have died, the greatest Parthian victory against Rome, was a very bad moment in Roman history and a very good moment in Parthian history. Even more intriguing, however, is how it may also represent a moment in Chinese history. There are Chinese records about a subsequent battle between the Chinese and the Parthians in Central Asia, where the Chinese describe apparent Roman Legionary tactics -- i.e. locking shields to make a wall. The Parthians may have been using captured Romans to fight where they could not simply desert and return to Rome. The Chinese, as it happened, captured a number of these soldiers themselves and returned to China with them. This, indeed, would have been an extraordinary fate in the 1st century BC, to have been a Roman legionnaire, captured by the Parthians, then captured by the Chinese, and then living out one's life in China. If this is what actually happened, it is shame not to have some memoires from the men themselves. Since Han China and Rome traded silk for gold by way of Parthia, which endeavored to conceal knowledge of each from each other, any occasions for common knowledge would be extraordinary.
I have had inquries about my source for this information. Unfortunately, I heard of if from my colleague in the History Department at Los Angeles Valley College, Gunar Freibergs. He had simply heard it in a paper at a history conference and so is not actually able to cite the primary research any more than I can. Hopefully the scholar who gave the paper will eventually publish or post his research in an accessible form.
Happily, I now have suddenly discovered the source for this account, thanks to an article in The Economist of December 18, 2004. The theory was originally that of Homer Dubs, a professor of Chinese at Oxford University, proposed in 1955. According to him, about 10,000 Romans may have been captured by the Parthians. Pliny the Elder said that some of these were used as guards on their eastern frontier. According to Dubs, some of these may have escaped to join the Huns (this probably means the Hsiung-nu, or Xiongnú). There we get to Chinese records. Dubs says that in 36 BC, a Chinese assault on the Hun ruler Zhizhi netted some prisoners, including 145 Romans. However, the Chinese records do not actually say that these were Romans, just that they fought in a "fish-scale formation," i.e. overlapping shields, which presumably only the Romans were using at the time. They were settled at a frontier post in Kansu (Gansu), called "Liqian," which at some point was the Chinese word for "Rome," now supposedly the village of Zhelaizhai. This theory has had enthusiasts in China, including local officials in Gansu, and a Chinese scholar, Guan Yiquan, who spent the last 20 years of his life (from 1978) writing an unpublished book on the topic. None of this is decisive as evidence, but there is enough local enthusiasm (for tourism) that a statue of a Roman soldier (or at least the local impression of what a Roman soldier would look like) stands in the nearby town of Yongchang. Some Chinese in the area now claim to be descendants of the Romans.
Philosophy of History
The Sassanids replace the Hellenophile Parthian dynasty, with the program of deliberately reviving the Zoroastrian Achaemenid Persian Empire, aspiring to recover all the former provinces of the Achaemenids (Egypt, Syria, Anatolia). Things got off to a bang when Shapur I defeated and captured the Roman Emperor Valerian in 260, one of only two Roman Emperors ever captured in battle by a foreign enemy -- the other being Romanus IV, captured at Manzikert in 1071. Valerian was kept prisoner and subject to various humiliations until executed. His skin was then flayed and stuffed and kept for later display to Roman emissaries. In any case, this is what we are told by later Romans, such as Lactantius, and questions have been raised about the reliability of these accounts.
|defeats and captures|
the Roman Emperor
|Mani crucified, 276|
|Siege & capture of|
Amida on the Tigris,
359; Emperor Julian
the Jews, 529
|Sack of Antioch, 540;|
builds palace with
the Great Arch of
Syria, Egypt, &
Asia Minor, 607-616;
with Avars, 626;
then defeated by
by nobles, 624-628
|Mesopotamia lost to|
Arabs, 637; defeated by
the Caliph 'Umar, 642;
Persia overrun by
Islâm, by 651
The lifespan of the Sassanid Empire may be taken to perfectly match the last years of Ancient Times and the first of the Middle Ages that together have come to be considered the age of Late Antiquity -- an expression that implies a segment of Ancient history but that, given the special and transitional features of the early Middle Ages, often encompasses time down as late as 751 or even later. The neglect of this period in much popular and even academic discourse, which devalues Imperial Roman history after its first couple of centuries and is positively dismissive and scornful of the early Middle Ages, as overwhelmed by darkness, religion, barbarians, and ignorance, effectively removes all of Sassanid history from serious consideration. Yet there is little of the "Dark Ages" about Sassanid Persia, and the Empire is not seriously compromised by any equivalent of barbarian invasion until the Arab Conquest. Thus, all of Sassanid history illuminates the time of Late Antiquity and puts into sharp relief the transformations of Roman history from Alexander Severus to Constans II.
The greatest surviving monument of the Sassanids is the façade of the palace containing the Arch of Ctesiphon, Tâq-e-Kesrâ (i.e. the "Arch of Khusro"), built by Khusro I after he sacked Antioch in 540. The Arch is still the largest brick vault in the world, 115 feet high and 82 feet wide, and until recently was the highest parabolic arch, period (the Gateway Arch in St. Louis is much larger) -- as impressive now as it was to the Abbasid Caliphs in nearby Baghdad. The first image shows the building as it still appeared just before the flood of 1888. This should be an additional reminder that the "Dark Ages" were a phenomenon of Western Europe, not of the Middle East.
In flooding during 1888, one whole wing of the façade and large part of the Arch collapsed, as can be seen in the modern image below, which also shows the remaining Arch itself better. This is actually all that remains visible of the entire city of Ctesiphon, which had served both the Parthians and Sassanids.
The Sassanid period is the only time that a vigorous Zoroastrianism was a state religion in Iran, without the polytheistic remnants (e.g. the cults of Mithra and Anahita) that were tolerated by the Achaemenids. However, the strongest expressions and expositions of Zoroastrian doctrine were written rather as apologetics and polemics after the Islamic Conquest. This is what we see in the Dênkart (dên, "religion," borrowed into Arabic -- as , dîn -- and kart, which still exists in Modern Persian kardan, "to do, make"), which argued that, while Zoroastrianism is the "Good Religion," simply requiring us to choose between Good and Evil, none of the "99 Names of God" in Islam is "the Good." R.C. Zaehner's classic, The Dawn and Twilight of Zoroastrianism , poignantly characterizes the Sassanid period as the "twilight." What should have been the central time of Zoroastrian ascendency was obscured by the Hellenism of both the Hellenistic states and of the Parthian kingdom.
The language of the Dênkart is Middle Persian, often called Pahlavi or "Parthian." The language, however, was the dialect of Persia proper, or Pârs, and not of Parthia. A Parthian connection, on the other hand, is found in the most common writing system, which was a continuation of the Aramaic alphabet as it had been previously adapted to write the Parthian dialect of the Arsacids. Middle Persian, with many changes, derived from the Old Persian of the Achaemenids, which represented a major branch of the Indo-Iranian languages. Under the Islamic dominion, the language, its alphabet, and Zoroastrianism declined to practical extinction. New Persian, in the Arabic script and heavy with Arabic and Islamic influence, began to appear under the Sâmânids.
The devotionalistic image of Zoroaster at right is from a photocopy I made many years ago, when photocopies were pretty primitive, from a book in the UCLA University Research Library (the URL, now the YRL). I don't think I would have a chance of finding that book again (I certainly didn't note the title or author, if it wasn't Zaehner), but I am surprised that I have been unable to find this same image on the Internet or in the materials that Zoroastrian students have supplied me. The images I see now appear to have a much more recent provenance and remind me of images of the Caliph and Imâm 'Alî that a friend used to bring back from Irân. This image may be a style that was more in vogue with the Parsis in India.
"Zoroaster," of course is the Prophet's name from Greek. In Avestan, transcribed phonetically, it was Zarautra, with the /z/ as in English, the in as English "thin," and as English "sh." Nietzsche's German Zarathustra would actually get the /sh/ right, but would have German /ts/ for "z" and /t/ for the "th." In Modern Arabic and Persian there are a variety of renderings of his name: Zartot, Zardat, Zardohat, Zarâdot (), etc. The last is not common but preserves more of the feel of the original.
The Shâh-nâma, Book of Kings, of Firdawsî (940–1020) contains a striking dream image, of four men pulling at the corners of a square cloth, but not tearing it. This is interpreted to mean that the four men are the Prophets Moses, Zoroaster, Jesus, and Muhammad, while the cloth is the Religion of God. That Zoroaster figures along with Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad is an unmistakable clue that we are dealing with a Persian source. Otherwise, Muslims do not go out of their way to include Zoroaster, certainly not on equal footing, with the other three. Also, as a statement about religion it is un-Islâmic and subversive in that it implies an equality, despite the conflict, between the four attendant religions. The Islâmic view is that only Muhammad delivers an uncorrupted revelation.
After steady conversion, only about 20,000 Zoroastrians remain in modern Iran; and they have recently been prohibited from practicing their distinctive "sky burial," i.e. laying out the dead on "Towers of Silence" to be eaten by birds. A much larger and more vigorous Zoroastrian community is found in the refuge of India, where it is still known by the Middle Persian word for Persian, "Parsi." The Parsis, however, do not accept converts, and the intermarriage of community members outside of India has resulted in a decline in their numbers. As their Towers of Silence have become surrounded by modern Bombay, vultures have become more reluctant to service them. Nevertheless, a friend of mine who once lived nearby said that the occasional body part dropped into her garden.
While the official religion of Sassanid Persia was Zoroastrianism, there was also a Christian community, whose line of Patriarchs of the East, usually referred to as "Nestorians" by historians, continues to the present; and refugee pagans were accepted from the increasing intolerance of Christian Rome. Most noteworthy in that respect were the last Scholarch of Plato's Academy, Damascius, his colleague Simplicius, and other scholars, who fled to Persia after the Emperor Justinian closed the Academy in 529. Khosro I took great interest in the refugees, who nevertheless became homesick and returned to Romania. Justinian, after all, had promised them pensions for a quiet retirement.
While Romans found some religious toleration under the Sassanids, the founder of another religion did not. This was Mani, the eponymous Savior of Manicheanism, who claimed to be both Christ and the Buddha, and was crucified, either under Hormizd I or slightly later, as shown. Mani preached a Zoroastrian conflict between good and evil, but then (like the Gnostics) regarded matter as evil. Served by a celibate and vegetarian priesthood, Manicheanism spread both East and West. To the East, it was adopted by the Sogdians and Uighurs (under Bugug Khan, 759-780), until the advent of Islâm, and spread all the way to China. Marco Polo's description of a Christian community in China which had actually forgotten it was Christian may actually refer to a group of Manicheans. In the West, Manicheanism became familiar in the mix of religions of Late Antiquity. It is often said there there were Manichean remnants in Mediaeval Europe, like the Cathari exterminated by the Albigensian Crusade (1209-1229). Also Jews, were not always tolerated by the Sassanids. They were all expelled in 529.
An artifact of Zoroastrian and Manichean influence in China is the Chinese character , which is defined by Mathews' Chinese-English Dictionary as, "A term used during the T'ang Dynasty to denote the god of the Zoroastrians; it was also adopted by the Manicheans" [Harvard University Press, 1972, character #2657 -- note]. From this we also get the combinations , "the fire-god of Zoroastrianism," and , "Zoroastrianism." Of course, there was no "fire-god" of Zoroastrianism; but the Zoroastrian fire altars were widely identified with the religion, and we can imagine that the Chinese just got the wrong idea. Even more intriguing is the definition in the ABC Chinese-English Comprehensive Dictionary of the combination as, "a Nestorian" [John DeFrancis, University of Hawai'i Press, 2003, p.1032]. Since this merely adds the character , "follower, disciple," to "Zoroastrianism," we would expect the phrase to mean "a Zoroastrian." If it was used to mean "a Nestorian," this may be another case where the Chinese got the wrong idea again, identifying Nestorian missionaries with the previous Western religions, Zoroastrianism and Manicheanism, that had come down the Silk Road from Central Asia. Later, by the Ming, Christians and Jews, as the , would be confused with Muslims and with Islâm, the -- the next religion to come through Central Asia.
The full Sassanid program of restoring the Achaemenid Empire was ultimately achieved, briefly, by Khusro II, between 607 and 616. The brilliant counter-invasion of Iran, from 624-628, by the Emperor Heraclius, however, undid all of this and resulted in the overthrown of Khusro and a period of anarchy. After Heraclius' first campaign in Persia in 624-625, a Persian army reached the Bosporus in 626 and attempted to invest Constantinople with the help of Avar allies on the European side. The Avars, despite the use of some modern siege equipment, made no headway against the Walls of Theodosius, and the Roman navy prevented Persian forces from crossing from Asia. The siege was thus memorably repulsed; and when Khusro ordered his commanding general, Shahrvarâz, executed, Shahrvarâz reached an understanding with Heraclius and ceased operations against him.
This monumental conflict came at a very bad time. The Bubonic Plague struck in the middle of it (627), with terrible effects on the population, on top of the other dislocations and costs of the war. Neither side had much opportunity to rest and restore themselves before the forces of Islâm snatched Syria and Egypt from Romania and completely overthrew Sassanid Persia. Yazdagird III, like the luckless Darius III, spent his last days unsuccessfully fleeing towards Central Asia, before being murdered. We have no record of Yazdagird's murder being avenged as Alexander did that of Darius. For a while, Persian language and culture simply disappeared under the cloak of Arabic and Islam. The culture began to revive under the Sâmânid Amirs, who claimed descent from the Sassanids, but the Sâmânids themselves were swept away by Turkish migration. A true national monarchy did not revive until the Safavids -- themselves at first, ironically, Turkomen.
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Philosophy of Religion
Philosophy of History
The formation of the character is of some interest. It is not of the common "radical and phonetic" nature, where one part of the character gives a clue as to meaning (and is the index for Chinese dictionaries) and the other gives a clue about pronunciation. Instead, this is an example of a "Compound Indicative" or a "Logical Aggregate," where each part of the character contributes meaning, without any clue to pronunciation. The left hand part, which here is the Radical (in dictionary terms, Radical 113), is the character , "omen; to manifest, proclaim, show, indicate." We also see this, with apparently the same contribution to meaning, in , "the sprit of the earth, earth god, spirit, deity." We get a compound , "spirits of heaven and earth," literally, "high, low, god, earth god."
On the right part of we get , "heaven, sky, celestial, divine, God." Thus, the character for the "god of Zoroastrianism" (or Manicheanism, or Nestorian Christianity) is a compound of chacacters in Chinese that are already associated with deities. But then where does its pronunciation come from? The pronunciation, as it happens, is identical to that of , "an immortal, a fairy, a genie," which is particularly associated with the "Eight Immortals," , the deities of Taoism. So it is not just the parts of the character, but the word itself, that is connected to divine beings. One is left curious how a rare character like this, with such specialized application, got formulated in the first place.
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|nationalist Persian monarchy|
established on basis of
Shi'ite (Twelver) ideology
|S.afi II/Solaymân I||1666-1694|
|Afghans Occupy Irân|
|Afshârid rule, 1736-1750|
|Solaymân II at Mashhad||1750|
|Esmâ'il III in Es.fahân||1750-1765|
After the Arabic Conquest, Persian disappeared briefly as a written language -- although Zoroastrian literature, like the Dênkart, apparently continued for a while. It revived under the Sâmânids, now written in the Arabic alphabet and with a large Arabic vocabulary. Persian, however, had some sounds that Arabic did not, and so four letters were added to the alphabet. Since a number of Arabic letters already only differed by the addition of different numbers of dots to the same "chair," this device was easily expanded to accomodate new letters. At the same time, Arabic had a number of sounds that did not exist in Persian. Consequently, three different letters from Arabic came to be pronounced "s" in Persian, and no less than four were pronounced "z." The Persian pronunciation of these letters would be inherited by Turkish, Urdu, and Malay. This reflects the influence of literary Persian on those languages, whose own extensive Arabic vocabulary is thus borrowed by way of Persian mediation.
|Nâder Shâh||regent since 1732|
|Looting of Delhi; Peacock Throne brought back, 1739|
|Nâder Mirzâ in Mashhad||Khorâsân, 1796-1803|
Persian wrote standard Arabic vowels but pronounced them differently. Arabic "i" became Persian "e"; Arabic "î," Persian "i"; Arabic "u," Persian "o"; and Arabic "û," Persian "u." Arabic "a" is fronted as "æ," which is close to the English "a" in "bad"; and Arabic "â" is pushed back until it is close to the short English "o" in "cot." As discusssed on the page for Urdu, Persian words are often written with the Arabic notation for their vowels. That is not done on this page. Also, Arabic consonant distinctions, written but not pronounced in Persian, are retained, as they are indeed in Persian writing.
|Karim Khân||regent for|
|Abu'lFath||1779 in Shirâz|
The Qajars reunify the country and usher in a long period in which there is at least a national government legitimized by durability.
1794, southern Persia
|the Bâb executed, 1850|
|Rez.â [Rid.â] Shâh||1925-1941, d.1944|
|Persia is officially styled Irân, 1935; Shâh deposed as pro-German by Russians and British|
|Moh.ammad Rez.â||1941-1979, d.1980|
|Celebrates the 2500th anniversary of the Persian Empire, 1971; goes into exile, 1979|
In World War II Iranian neutrality, and what may have been Rez.â's sympathy for Germany, led to the Russians and British occupying the country and deposing the Shâh. This opened a transport route to the Soviets and also secured Allied control of Iranian oil. A similar problem of getting caught in the middle of geopolitics occurred in 1953, after prime minister Mohammad Mossadegh tried nationalizing the Iranian oil industry. This was regarded not only as hostile, but as effectively pro-Soviet. In 1953, as in 1941, Shâh Rez.â's son, Moh.ammad Rez.â, was more amenable to Western interests. A coup, with American support, took out Mossadegh. In the demonology of anti-imperialism, this is counted as one of the primal sins of American foreign policy. The Soviet occupation in 1941 apparently doesn't rate the same indignation.
Over the years, the Shâh seemed to go from success to success. Iran became a kind of Great Power in the Persian Gulf, and with expensive pageantry the Shah's belated coronation and then the supposed 2500th anniversary of the Persian Empire were celebrated. Since the "2500th Anniversary" was observed in 1971, this was a little confusing. 2500 years before 1971 was 530 BC, the year of the death of Cyrus the Great. Is that really what was being observed? Cyrus came to the Throne of Persia in 559 BC. 2500 years later was 1942. This was close to when the Shâh himself came to the Throne of Iran in 1941. Indeed, some sources say that 1941 itself was the 2500th anniversary. This may have resulted from the confused mathematics of simply subtracting 559 from 2500 -- confused because mathematically 559 BC must be treated as -558 AD. There is no year zero in the use of "BC" counting, but adding and subtracting requires the use of zero. Thus, the year that follows 1 BC is 1 AD, but you cannot get "1" for 1 AD by either adding or substracting "1" to the "1" of 1 BC. The year 1 BC must be treated mathematically as 0 AD. If the Shâh wanted 1941 to be 2500 years after 559 BC, however, this is probably because he wanted to compare his whole reign to that of Cyrus. In fact, he did rule longer, but then he did not come to the same kind of admirable end.
Meanwhile, however, Iranian students demonstrating aginst the Shâh, often with bags over their heads, were becoming a familiar sight in the West.
|The Ayatollâh Ruhollah Khomeini||Supreme Leader, 1979-1989|
|Abolhassan Banisadr||1980-1981, Impeached|
|Mohammad Ali Rajai||1981, Assassinated|
|The Ayatollâh Ali Khamenei||1981-1989|
|Supreme Leader, 1989-present|
|Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani||1989-1997|
Thus passed the last Emperor in the European, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern world, as Cyrus the Great, or perhaps Sargon of Akkad, had been the first. Of the two traditional empires that were contemporaneous with the last Shâh -- Ethiopia and Japan -- only the office of Japanese Emperor survives. Iran, meanwhile, for a while seemed caught between a popular but timid liberalization and an institutional check of reactionary zealots that was carefully put in place by Khomeini. Now, however, with the election of President Ahmad-i-Nejad in 2005, any thought of liberalization seems to have been forgotten and Iran's nuclear program has become a matter of international concern.
The Ayatollah became the "Leader of the Revolution," Rahbar-e Enqelâb or, less formally, the "Supreme Leader," Rahbar-e Mo'azzam. This office continues over and above the Presidency and secular (such as it is) government of Iran. It is noteworthy that the conception and the terminology, for all the reactionary nature of the regime, do not reflect Islamic tradition. The original Islamic executive and military title was simply amir, "commander," later "prince." We thus see the influence, not of Islamic history, but of modern Western political ideology -- unfortunately of the totalitarian variety. "Rahbar" thus joins other titles meaning "leader" in the Fascist tradition: Duce, Führer, Caudillo, and Líder.
Iran is a police state where newspapers are shut down for daring to ask if it is illegal to laugh in public. Iranian Jews fled the country. Bâbis and Bahá'ís, regarded as apostates from Islâm, were driven out, while their institutions and holy places were completely destroyed. The remaining Zoroastrians in Iran were prohibited from the traditional "sky burial" of their dead, on the "Towers of Silence." Although the public seemed to tire of all this, the election of Ahmad-i-Nejad means either than they have not or that the reactionaries rigged the election. Nevertheless, the inspiration of Islamic Fascism spreads to other causes.
In 2009 there was a new presidential election. Ahmad-i-Nejad was offically reelected; but, since he was announced the winner before votes had even been counted, there was immediately an outpouring of protest. We learned that much of the urban population, at least, was weary of the reactionaries, and there was suddenly mass chanting, not of mard be Amrika ("death to America") but of mard be diktator ("death to the dictator"). We then learned how much of a police state Iran now is, as the protests were suppressed and many dissidents arrested. The regime evidently has enough support that it can use its numbers to suppress protest. There is also the problem that the rural population, still a considerable force in the country, may be more blindly loyal to the mullahs. There is no telling how this will play out next.
Philosophy of History