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Decline and Fall of the Sasanian Empire: The Sasanian-Parthian Confederacy and the Arab Conquest of Iran

TL;DR: Pourshariati as mentioned in this paper proposes a convincing contemporary answer to an ages-old mystery and conundrum: why, in the seventh century CE, the seemingly powerful and secure Sasanian empire of Persia succumb so quickly and disastrously to the all-conquering Arab armies of Islam.
Abstract: "Decline and Fall of the Sasanians" has already been praised as one of the most intellectually exciting books about ancient Persia to have been published for years. It proposes a convincing contemporary answer to an ages-old mystery and conundrum: why, in the seventh century CE, did the seemingly powerful and secure Sasanian empire of Persia succumb so quickly and disastrously to the all-conquering Arab armies of Islam? Offering an impressive appraisal of the Sasanians' nemesis at the hands of the Arab forces which scythed all before them, the author suggests a bold solution to the enigma. On the face of it, the collapse of the Sasanians - given their strength and imperial power in the earlier part of the century - looks startling and inexplicable. But Professor Pourshariati explains their fall in terms of an earlier corrosion and decline, and as a result of their own internal weaknesses. The decentralised dynastic system of the Sasanian empire, whose backbone was a Sasanian-Parthian alliance, contained the seeds of its own destruction. This confederacy soon became unstable, and its degeneration sealed the fate of a doomed dynasty.
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Dissertation
01 Jan 2015
TL;DR: The Sasanids’ sieges of Roman cities and the Great King’s kindliness presented in literary sources and the Khwadaynamag tradition are presented.
Abstract: .........................................................................................1 Acknowledgements.............................................................................2 Table of contents................................................................................3 Notes on transliteration and terminology....................................................5 Introduction.......................................................................................6 Chronological and geographical scope..........................................11 Civilians: terminology, description and composition.................................15 Existing scholarship on civilians in siege warfare...............................24 Sources and methods................................................................28 Structure of the thesis...............................................................38 Chapter 1. Historical and intellectual background..........................................40 Historical setting....................................................................40 Intellectual and social contexts of key texts......................................48 A chronological table on the sixth-century Persian wars, with a special emphasis on the Sasanids’ sieges of Roman cities..............................54 Chapter 2. Analysis of literary accounts .....................................................55 Words and phrases..................................................................55 Women, children and the urbs capta.............................................61 Motifs from Judeo-Christian Literature..........................................68 The Great King’s kindliness presented in literary sources and the Khwadaynamag tradition............................................................................77 Chapter 3. The experience of civilians in Roman cities...................................88 Loss of life...........................................................................88 Hand-to-hand combat and street battles....................................88 Massacres and executions...................................................92 Lack of subsistence.........................................................103 Sexual violence..................................................................113 Concubinage and sexual relations with the conquerors................113 Rape...........................................................................115 The suicide of two thousand virgins......................................120 Loss and destruction of property................................................123 Plundering....................................................................123

59 citations


Additional excerpts

  • ...Wiesehöfer, J. (2005b), ‘Rum as enemy of Iran’, in Gruen, Erich S. (ed), Cultural Borrowings and Ethnic Appropriations in Antiquity, Stuttgart: F. Steiner, 105-20....

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  • ... Wiesehöfer  1996:  176-7....

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  • ... On  RomanoPersian  relations,  see  Blockley  1992,  Wiesehöfer  and  Huyse  2006,  Drijvers  2009:   441-54,  Bowersock  2012....

    [...]

  • ...108  Many  scholars  further  suggested  that  they  enjoyed  freedom  of  religious  worship,   Fiey  1967a:  26,  Wiesehöfer  1996:  193,  Dignas  and  Winter  2007:  262....

    [...]

  • ...111  Gaube  1986:  519-20,  Christensen  1993:  174,  cf.  Wiesehöfer  1996:  193  for  earlier   cases  in  the  Sasanian  Empire  and  Canard  and  Cahen:  1960:  345  for  the  information   from  the  Islamic  period....

    [...]

Book
30 Sep 2013
TL;DR: In this article, the prophet Mohammad's Persian companion, Salman al-Farisi, was described as a prophet who asserted the end of the past and reformed Iranians' memories of pre-Islamic times.
Abstract: 1. Prior connections to Islam 2. Muhammad's Persian companion, Salman al-Farisi 3. Finding meaning in the past 4. Reforming Iranians' memories of pre-Islamic times 5. The unhappy prophet 6. Asserting the end of the past.

57 citations

Book
18 Apr 2013
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors describe the inner Asian enemies before the Huns, the later Huns and the birth of Europe, and the end of the Hunnic Empire in the West.
Abstract: 1. Introduction 2. Rome's inner Asian enemies before the Huns 3. The Huns in Central Asia 4. The Huns in Europe 5. The end of the Hunnic Empire in the West 6. The later Huns and the birth of Europe 7. Conclusion.

52 citations

Dissertation
01 Jan 2014

51 citations


Cites background from "Decline and Fall of the Sasanian Em..."

  • ...153 P. Pourshariati, 2008, Decline and Fall of the Sasanian Empire: The Sasanian-Parthian Confederacy and the Arab Conquest of Iran (London) 464-65....

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors trace the development of post-Iranian regimes through the dynamic interplay of nomadic and sedentary political institutions in the fourth through early seventh centuries.
Abstract: Contemporaneously with the fall and transformation of the Roman West, the Iranian Empire yielded its East to Hun—and later Turk—conquerors. This article traces the development of post-Iranian regimes through the dynamic interplay of nomadic and sedentary political institutions in the fourth through early seventh centuries. The conquerors adopted Iranian institutions, integrated the Iranian aristocracy, and presented themselves as the legitimate heirs of the kings of kings in a manner reminiscent of post-Roman rulers. At the same time, however, the Huns and the Turks retained the superior military resources of nomadic imperialism, included the Iranian East in trans-Eurasian networks, and distinguished themselves as ruling ethno-classes tied to the steppe. The resulting hybrid political culture came to be known as Turan.

50 citations