behistun

Tajik model holding a daf/dap. 

The Daf is a large Persian frame drum used in popular and classical music. The frame is usually made of hardwood with many metal ringlets attached, and the membrane is usually goatskin. The earliest evidence of the Dap (Daf) dates back to Sassanid Iran. The word daf is the Arabicized form of the word dap. Some pictures of dap have been found in paintings that date before the Common Era. The presence of Iranian dap in the reliefs of Behistun suggests the daf existed before the rise of Islam. Dafs were part of religious music in Iran and greater Iran much before Sufism.

While I was in Persia and Media, again a second time the Babylonians became rebellious from me. One man named Arkha, an Armenian, son of Haldita — he rose up in Babylon. A district named Dubala — from there he thus lied to the people: “I am Nebuchadrezzar the son of Nabonidus.” Thereupon the Babylonian people became rebellious from me, (and) went over to that Arkha. He seized Babylon; he became king in Babylon.
—  Darius the Great, Behistun Inscription

Heracles rock relief at Behistun Province of Kermanshah, Iran
According to its Greek inscription, the rock relief representing Heracles at Behistun was carved in 148 BCE , being dedicated to a local Seleucid governor. After the collapse of the first Persian Empire following the Macedonian invasion, following the death of Alexander the Great, the Greek dynasty of the Seleucids (from Seleukos, former general of Alexander) were the main rulers of the western part of the Iranian plate. The Seleucids were dominating the cities and the main commercial roads, but failed to impose their power in the rural lands. However, their artistic influence began to penetrate the Iranian plate and will remain for centuries, through the Parthian then the sasanian dynasties. The presence of a statue showing Heracles there testify of such artistic influence, as for the often seen Greek inscriptions or representations of Nike in the later carved rock relieves all over the country.

A religious syncretism occurred in Iran soon after the beginning of the Seleucid dynasty, seen Heracles assimilated with the old Iranian divinity of power Verethragna. In this relief, Heracles is shown in a languorous attitude, laying naked on the skin of a lion (probably the Nemean lion he killed in his 12 labours) , holding a bowl, under the shadow of an Olive tree. His traditional wood bludgeon and elbow lay near him. If the topic is typically Greek, either The fashion and carving technique reveal the relief was carved by some Iranian artist, unfamiliar with the greek iconography. The main reason was probably because it was not a royal relief but one of a local person.

Taken in Behistun, Province of Kermanshah, Iran