I found Prof. Macuch’s lecture at the FAMES, entitled Kinship Ties and Fictive Alliances in Sasanian Law, very engaging. The lecture was in two parts. First, she gave an overview of the Sasanian interpretation of kinship and discussed wealth, property management and inheritance. In the clearly structured introduction she defined the various models of matrimony such as fully qualified marriage, proxy, temporary and fictive marriages and their purposes. In the shorter second part she interpreted the social purpose of these legal institutions. She argued that the complex Sasanian legal system was carried by the Zoroastrian clergy and served to protect the elites’ wealth, preventing it from passing to commoners. In her view, the protection of wealth in this manner resulted in a two class society with a severe imbalance of wealth. She closed her lecture with the suggestion that this imbalance of wealth may have contributed to the collapse of the Sasanian Empire in the wake of the Islamic conquests.
The study of Zoroastrianism is nothing new to the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. A number of formative figures in Iranian Studies have taught at SOAS: W. Henning, M. Boyce, D. N. MacKenzie, J. Hinnells, N. Sims-Williams, F. de Blois. And it houses the only endowed chair in Zoroastrian studies (A. Hintze). The Brunei Gallery at SOAS has been the home of ‘The Everlasting Flame‘ for the past three months, which is even by the standards of SOAS a unique event. See my interview with Sarah Stewart.
Washingtonpost.com has a multimedia-like feature on Zoroastrians in Iran. A quick scan of the first page does not reveal any date for the feature, but I think it could be from the year 2000 or so. It is available in an HTML and a flash version. Enjoy it:
Small in numbers, big in history, these days Zoroastrians live a quite life without attracting much publicity. Ted Rall’s choice to use Zoroastrianism as the theme of one of his cartoons is surprising.
Few days ago, a friend received her first Zoroastrian spam mail. I found it interesting, so here it goes:
From: Dr. Agathangelos Eutropius II <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 15 May 2007 22:51:09 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Zorastrianism Greetings
Direccion: calle Brazil 10, 28025 Madrid
Date: 15th 05 2007
Our Ref: ZG/1007MA
The Mithras Association with guidiance of Mit(h)ra, has this day the 15th 05 2007 has granted you the sum of US$ 830,000:00 only as a tribute for the Spinoff of Zorastrianism celebration (Celebration of Light). After series of secret deliberations by the Abrahadabra Forums, eight (8) people were selected from around the globe to be benefactors of the Spinoff of Zorastrianism celebration free light aid.
Yesterday I visited Ostad Lotfi. Once the meeting was over, I thought I should use the chance and take a walk around the University of Tehran. The book shops around the university are known for their access to rare books. Compared to some years ago, the area has changed drastically. There are so many people on the streets that you can barely walk straight. The streets around the Enqelab Square reminded me of India. A lot of the old book shops are gone and have been replaced with newer shops specialising in modern books or illegal copies of CDs.