Secrecy and canonisation

Bahari Lecture Series: “Sasanian Iran in the Context of Late Antiquity”

20 May (Week 4)
Arash Zeini (University of St Andrews):
Secrecy and canonisation in Sasanian Iran: A scholastic reading of the Zand

Tuesday at 5pm
Ioannou Centre for Classical & Byzantine Studies, 66 St Giles’, Oxford (OCLA)

Bahari lecture series

Sasanian Iran in the Context of Late Antiquity

Tuesdays of Weeks 2–9 of Trinity Term 2014 at 5pm
Ioannou Centre for Classical & Byzantine Studies, 66 St Giles’

The lectures are convened by Professor Touraj Daryaee and Professor Edmund Herzig and organised by the Oxford Centre for Late Antiquity (OCLA). The full programme is here.

Public lecture II

02_Ardashir_investiture2. The Sasanian Empire and religious authority: The case of Zoroastrianism

As one of the major political and economic powers in the region, the Sasanian Empire (224–651 CE) elevated Zoroastrianism to the dominant religious and cultural force within its polity, bringing to the foreground the question of the interaction between religion and sovereignty in the Sasanian era. By providing an historical overview this lecture highlights the dynamics between political and religious authority during the Sasanian era.

Speaker: Arash Zeini
Where: University of St Andrews, School of Classics, Swallowgate, S11.
When: 07 May 2014, 17:30

The Sasanian Empire as a garden

The Sasanian empire as a garden: The walls and rivers of the Sasanian Empire

This lecture by Touraj Daryaee (UCI) looks at the physical and ideological boundaries which the Sasanians created for the idea of Iranshahr. In this late antique construct, inside the empire, protected by walls and rivers was imagined as a garden where order and beauty was in existence. Outside of the walls and the rivers it was seen as place of wilderness and disorder. This binary division was at the centre of Sasanian ideology which projected peace and power inside, while danger for its people lay outside of its boundaries.

Speaker: Touraj Daryaee (UCI)
Where: AIIT, Cambridge
When: 23 May 2014, 17:30.

Markets for land

Rezakhani, Khodadad & Michael Morony. 2014. Markets for land, labour and capital in late antique Iraq, AD 200-700. Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 57. 231–261.

Read the article here. Abstract:

Lack of direct evidence on the functioning of factor markets in Sasanian/Late Antique Iraq makes it difficult to present a clear picture of the production side of economy during this period. However, relying on the Talmudic evidence, as well as what is men-tioned in the Mādayān ī Hezār Dādestān (MHD), this article aims to provide an idea of factor markets during the Sasanian period, as well as demonstrating the areas where further evidence and research could render better results and allow us to understand the economy of this region in more depth.

A Sasanian chariot

Shenkar, Michael. 2013. A Sasanian chariot drawn by birds and the iconography of Sraosha. In Sergei Tokhtasev & Pavel Lurje (eds.), Commentationes Iranicae. Vladimiro f. Aaron Livschits nonagenario donum natalicium, 211–223. St. Petersburg: Nestor-Historia.

Read the article here.

The Iranian Talmud

Secunda, Shai. 2013. The Iranian Talmud: Reading the Bavli in its Sasanian context. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

For the book, see here. Short abstract:

Although the Babylonian Talmud, or Bavli, has been a text central and vital to the Jewish canon since the Middle Ages, the context in which it was produced has been poorly understood. Delving deep into Sasanian material culture and literary remains, Shai Secunda pieces together the dynamic world of late antique Iran, providing an unprecedented and accessible overview of the world that shaped the Bavli.

A goddess or a queen?

Shenkar, Michael. 2013. A goddess or a queen? On the interpretation of the female figure on the relief of Narseh at Naqš-e Rostam (in Russian). In Scripta Antiqua, vol. 3: Edward Rtveladze felicitation volume. Moscow.

Read there article here. Abstract:

The article offers a reassessment of the identity of the female figure found on the relief of the Sasanian king Narseh at Naqš-e Rostam. Based on iconographic analysis of the relief and discussion of the arguments put forward by A. Sh. Shahbazi and U. Weber, it is concluded that the figure is not a queen but rather a goddess. She is most probably to be identified with the goddess Anāhitā, to whom Narseh was perhaps personally devoted. This discussion is followed by a critical examination of the pictorial representations of Anāhitā in the pre-Islamic Iranian world. It is emphasized that Anāhitā was a western Iranian goddess whose worship was probably imported to Bactria after this part of the eastern Iranian world came under the rule of the Sasanian kings.