After finishing my work as Site Architect on the Archaeological Excavation at Kerman, Iran in late 1977, I went on a 'grand tour' of some Iranian cities that I had studied in the 'History of Architecture', from my course at Melbourne University. One of these was the great ancient city of Persepolis. (There are some great stories to be told about this adventure - more later.)

There I came across the famous 'Lion Gates' and then the graffiti engraved on them by the renowned Henry Morton Stanley of the New York Herald.

Very interestingly, the date of 1870 was the year before he met Livingston in Africa. He was probably en route. He would have been 29 at the time.

Between 1869 and 1871 the New York Herald's proprietor, James Gordon Bennett, had sent Stanley to report on the opening of the Suez Canal in Egypt, then to Crimea, Persia, and India."

For a further interesting reference to the graffiti (and other things about his contribution) see the Guardian review by Kevin Rushby of Tim Jeal's book, "Stanley: The Impossible Life of Africa's Greatest Explorer" (published by Faber) at:   Guardian Book Reviews

'Stanley: The Impossible Life of Africa's Greatest Explorer', by Tim Jeal.

"A couple of years ago I stood in front of Henry Morton Stanley's contribution to the ancient palace of Persepolis in Iran and marvelled. On the centre of a huge stone block in the Gate of All Nations, Stanley had carved his name, planting himself firmly among the Achaemenid emperors and heroes of the past. But this was 1870 and Stanley was certainly no hero, merely an obscure American journalist who had yet to become the rescuer of Livingstone and notorious African explorer. His bold and uncompromising piece of vandalism reveals a man determined to be reckoned with, a man who would do whatever was necessary to achieve his grandiose ambitions."

"Of course, I might just be buying into the received wisdom on Stanley, the deeply hostile attitudes that have been accepted since he first made headlines. This was the explorer who blasted his way across Africa, then went back to trick the Congolese chiefs out of their lands and set up King Leopold of Belgium's brutal fiefdom. His one noble act - saving a lost missionary - was marred by the ludicrous pomposity of his, "Dr Livingstone, I presume."

Also, Wikipedia's entry is most interesting. See:   Henry Morton Stanley.

© Len Breen 2017


The Lion Gates, Persepolis, Iran Photo: © Len Breen 1977.


The Lion Gates, Graffiti by H M Stanley. Photo: © Len Breen 1977.


The Lion Gates, Persepolis, Iran Photo: © Len Breen 1977.