It is not well-known that the Persians had their own form of minstrel poets known as gosan. These minstrel poets of Iran contributed to the resistance to Hellenism and it appears that they were influential on their entire society.
In the pre-Christian and pre-Islamic period the gosan was “privileged at court and popular with the people; present at the graveside and at the feast, eulogist, satirist, storyteller, musician; recorder of the past achievements, and commentator of his own times,” They must have had a powerful influence on public opinion. They also traveled widely and were probably a source for spreading news.
The gosan was known among the Persians as well. In the poem Vīs u Rāmīn, there is a passage where the king calls for a gosan-i navagar. In another work … an author says, “Like a gosan, who proclaims the worthiness of kings and heroes of old and himself achieves nothing at all.” This passage is important because it establishes that Parthian minstrels told tales about Parthian history and it provides support that Parthian minstrels were important to preserving Iranian history.
The term also occurs in the Armenian texts and Moses of Xoren speaks of information about ancient Aram being derived from the songs of gusans. He also supplies that these “were in verse, were sung, and were not written down.” There are also references to gusans in the bible, namely in Ecclesiastes II, 8.
In a canon of 488 it says, “of those who mourn for the dead, let the head of the household and the gusans be found and taken to the king’s court and punished.” From this it is evident that the church disapproved of the gusan as a professional mourner. Apparently, due to his part in pagan rites which were no longer in favor by the religious leaders of the time.
It seems that they either were, or were associated with, actors, acrobats, musicians, storytellers, eulogists, historians, professional mourners, judges, and satirists. The gusan is sometimes portrayed as a bawdy frequenter of taverns and other times exalted for his work.
Unfortunately, no references remain to give us insight into the gusan’s training. Though, it seems likely that training would have had to be extensive in order to learn the many tales and songs by heart.
Likewise, as most of their work seems to have been orally transmitted, little remains of the works of the gusans. Though many scholars believe works like the Persian epic poem Shahnameh (Book of Kings) written by Firdausi around 1000 CE were compilations of the oral traditions passed down until that time.
 Willem. The History of Theater in Iran. Washington: Mage Publishers. 2005. 14.
 The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies. Iranian Music: Tanbur (Guitar). Retrieved 05/05/2008. <http:// www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/Music/tanbur.htm>.
 Photo by Zereshk. Iran National Museum.
 Boyce, Mary. “The Parthian gosan professional singer and the Iranian Minstrel Tradition.” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Vol. 1 & 2 (1957): 10-45.
 Boyce, Mary. A History of Zoroastrianism. Vol. 1. Brill: Leiden, 1975. 59-60.
Boyce, Mary. “The Parthian gosan professional singer and the Iranian Minstrel Tradition.” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Vol. 1 & 2 (1957): 10.
 Ibid. 11.
 Ibid. 13.
 Ibid. 13.
 Ibid. 14.