Apocalyptic Imagery and Royal Propaganda in Khosrow II’s Letter to the Byzantine Emperor Maurice
10 Aug 2022-Journal of Persianate Studies-Vol. 14, Iss: 1-2, pp 178-195
TL;DR: The correspondence of March 590, from the Iranian shah Khosrow II Parviz (r. 591-628) and addressed to the Byzantine emperor Maurice as discussed by the authors , exhibits a particular style, focused on the ideological oppositions of order and disorder and legitimacy and usurpation.
Abstract: The Byzantine historian Theophylact Simocatta (fl. 620s) records an exchange of letters with the Sasanian Empire. The correspondence of March 590, from the Iranian shah Khosrow II Parviz (r. 591–628) and addressed to the Byzantine emperor Maurice (r. 582–602), exhibits a particular style, focused on the ideological oppositions of order and disorder and legitimacy and usurpation. This paper suggests that Khosrow’s claims to his kingdom made use of a discourse of catastrophic motifs that reflected common Sasanian apocalyptic beliefs. Thus, the chaotic situation provoked by the inversion of the rightful order elicited, from a Zoroastrian perspective, a response that stressed the dualistic nuance of demonic anarchy in order to stigmatize the risk of deposition. For these reasons, apocalyptic doctrines and royal propaganda share a common language: a political discourse based on the justification of kingship and the demonization of the enemy.
TL;DR: A. V. Jackson used the text extensively in his article ‘A sketch of the Manichaean doctrine concerning the future life' as discussed by the authors, which is known from nine more or less fully preserved sheets (i.e. of at least two pages each) of one MS.
Abstract: It is remarkable that, of the many more or less fragmentary Manichaean writings in Iranian languages discovered in Central Asia at the beginning of this century,1 one of the few texts directly attributable to Mani himself has still, three-quarters of a century after its first partial publication, not appeared in a full and satisfactory edition, with translation. ‘Mani;apos;s Sābuhragān, in which he summarized his teachings in Persian for the enlightenment of Sabuhr I,;apos; is known from nine more or less fully preserved sheets (i.e. of at least two pages each) of one MS. and some eight or nine smaller pieces. The larger fragments were first published in transcription in 1904, in F. W. K. Muller's pioneering ‘Handschriften-Reste in Estrangelo-Schrift aus Turfan, Chinesisch-Turkistan’, II, with an incomplete interlinear translation and partly out of order. The text alone was then republished in transliteration (in Hebrew letters) in C. Salemann's ‘Manichaeische Studien’, I. There the matter largely rested until 1930, when A. V. W. Jackson used the text extensively in his article ‘A sketch of the Manichaean doctrine concerning the future life’. In an article published posthumously in 1946, A. Ghilain established, without seeing either photographs or the originals, that the two fragments of M 473 glassed together as a and b, and published by Muller as they so appeared, are to be fitted together in the reverse order, the lower piece b above the upper a. Most recently Mary Boyce has included the text of the fragments M 473, 475, 477, 482, 472 and 470, so ordered correctly but with the omission of a number of incomplete passages, as text z in her Reader in Manichaean Middle Persian and Parthian.
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