Sasanian Persia: The Rise and Fall of an Empire
01 Jan 2010-Iss: 22, pp 295-299
About: The article was published on 2010-01-01 and is currently open access. It has received 10 citations till now. The article focuses on the topics: Empire.
02 Apr 2013
TL;DR: In this article, a study about the Roman Near East and the relations and interactions with the Eastern neighbours and the local populations is presented, with the starting point for the comprehension of such dynamics must be the identification of the points of interactions as well as the differences, always bearing in mind the hybridisation that occurred.
Abstract: The present study has been conceived on the trails of those works about the Roman Near East and the relations and interactions with the Eastern neighbours and the local populations. In more recent times, the on-going excavations projects in the area and the new notions of interaction and integration related to the Roman presence have made relevant further steps in the understanding of the topic. Considering exclusively Roman or, at the contrary, exclusively Parthian (or Sasanian) a site means, nowadays, ignoring the dynamics that characterized the whole area in the period at issue. It is doubtless that the starting point for the comprehension of such dynamics must be the identification of the points of interactions as well as the differences, always bearing in mind the hybridisation that occurred. The term hybridisation indeed, even if it is a modern word, perfectly fits with the mixture of races, religions and social institutions that shaped the Near East in the period from the Hellenistic period to the late 4th century CE. The theory is quite easily applicable in the major centres (Nisibis, Singara, Hatra), where the abundance of data is widely used to identify this kind of hybridisation such as the distinctive and unmistakable feature of a given culture as well, while it appears to be slightly tougher to track in the minor settlements. The lack of historical and archaeological evidence, indeed, affects our knowledge about the rural landscape and the countryside itself. Some of the minor sites mentioned in the literary sources are still not only unexcavated, but quite often unidentified too, while the fewer where excavation works have been conducted are the same sites almost practically unknown to the ancient sources (see the specifica case of Tell Barri). Notwithstanding this lack of evidence on both sides the countryside and the rural landscape still remains a keystone for the understanding of the Roman occupation in the area, as well as the organization and administration of the newly acquired territory after the severian annexation. The integration of the archaeological data with the known literary and epigraphic evidence could be the only way through which the presence of Rome beyond the Euphrates could be better understood. The region itself, indeed, represents one of the most archaeologically important areas of the world and thus the isolation of a given event in a specific chronological period forcedly needs more elements than elsewhere.
Cites background from "Sasanian Persia: The Rise and Fall ..."
...Only recent and general works are listed here: CURTIS & STEWART 2007 and DARYAEE 2009; SHAYEGAN 2011....
26 Apr 2016
TL;DR: In this article, the authors examined four historical sources originally written in Greek, Armenian, Arabic and Persian regarding Bahrām Cubin and gave light on their respective styles, tendencies and religious and historical affiliations.
Abstract: In this article I will examine four historiographical sources originally written in Greek, Armenian, Arabic and Persian regarding Bahrām Cubin. Given that the sources represent four distinct historiographical traditions they will give light on their respective styles, tendencies and religious and historical affiliations.
TL;DR: The Undergraduate Library Research Award (ULRA) 2019 as mentioned in this paper was the first year of the ULA scholarship competition, with a total prize allocation of $1,000,000.
Abstract: Submitted to the Undergraduate Library Research Award scholarship competition: (2019). 24 p.
01 Jan 2019
TL;DR: The Burgess MS 43 manuscript of Sa'di's Bustan and Gulistan, now at the University of Oregon Special Collections Archive, was created in 1615 CE in Persia and was later transported to Europe, where the original Persian leather binding was swapped for a more European style: soft, red velvet with two silver clasps.
Abstract: The Burgess MS 43 manuscript of Sai'di's Bustan and Gulistan, now at the University of Oregon Special Collections Archive, was created in 1615 CE in Persia. It was later transported to Europe, where the original Persian leather binding was swapped for a more European style: soft, red velvet with two silver clasps. John Ruskin, the preeminent art theorist of Victorian England, once held this manuscript in his own private collection. Ruskin’s view of a Persian manuscript eloquently depicts the richly decorated first page, "wrought with wreathed azure and gold, and soft green and violet, and ruby and scarlet, into one field of pure resplendence. It is wrought to delight the eyes only; and it does delight them.” The intricate illuminated ornaments open a window to the Safavid dynasty. In this paper, I will reconstruct the manuscript's original historical and cultural context, returning us to seventeenth-century Shiraz. In 1615 CE, the Burgess MS 43 manuscript of Sa’di’s Bustan and Gulistan was created in Persia. At some point in its life, the manuscript was transported to Europe, where the original Persian leather binding was swapped for a more European style: soft, red velvet with two silver clasps. According to a book seller’s catalogue entry, this manuscript once belonged to John Ruskin, the preeminent art theorist of Victorian England. His view of a Persian manuscript eloquently depicts the richly decorated first page, “wrought with wreathed azure and gold, and soft green, and violet, and ruby and scarlet, into one field of pure resplendence. It is wrought to delight the eyes only; and it does delight them.”1 Gold, red, and blue colors border the text in a frame and illuminate the pages with varying floral and leaf patterns. Microscopy of a similar Persian manuscript suggests that vermilion may have been used as red ink and in the floral decorations, while red lead was employed as a principal hue or tempered with vermilion.2 The brilliant blue pigment most likely comes from ultramarine, a highly expensive material, yet common for important, well-done illuminated manuscripts. The generous use of gold on every page further adds to the expense and high value of this manuscript, both in its time and beyond. While this intricate design is typical for Persian works of art, and can even be found in the patterns of modern Persian carpets, this paper reconstructs the original historical and cultural context of this manuscript based on the design of the first page. The Burgess Sa’di Oregon Undergraduate Research Journal Louie Volume 15 Issue 1 Spring 2019 2 traveled throughout Persia and Europe, and now has made its way to the University of Oregon Special Collections Archive, adopting a whole new set of contexts and associations. Yet, it can serve as a lens into Persia and, given its known date of creation, leads us back to the Safavid period. The Safavid dynasty (1501-1736) cultivated a culture of the arts, including calligraphy, painting, literature, and decorations, during their more than two-century rule of Persia. This high esteem for the arts stemmed from the fact that “virtually every member of [the royal] family (both male and female) was accomplished as a calligrapher and poet and active in the patronage and collecting of art.”3 While the royal court commissioned “the great masterpieces of Iranian painting,”4 they themselves practiced the arts as well. For instance, Sultan Ibrahim Mirza (1540-1577), prince of the Safavid family and later the governor of one of the key cities, Mashhad, composed verses, bound books, and decorated pages with gold and varying colors. His artistic endeavors were encouraged by his uncle, Shah Tahmasp, the second Safavid ruler. Shah Tahmasp was not only an avid patron of the arts, but also established the imperial workshops called “kitabkhana (literally, ‘book house,’ but actually signifying both artistic studio and library) where numerous calligraphers, painters, illuminators, binders, and other specialists created deluxe volumes of classical Persian texts.”5 Each decadent text coming out of the kitabkhana was a miniature treasure, not only decorated in highly valuable and expensive material like gold and ultramarine, but also produced by the best calligraphers, painters, and illuminators in all of Persia. Kitabkhana were established in all of the large cities and provincial centers, including Tabriz, Isfahan, Shiraz, and Mashhad, and the works created were almost always either directly for the Shah (king) or other members of the royal court. Each town, however, had multiple bazaar workshops for themselves, where local artists, most often apprentices, practiced their skills and created manuscripts for the general public, rather than for the elites.6 Manuscripts that came out of the bazaar workshops are of lower quality, both in terms of materials and artistic skill. They also have fewer decorations and ornaments, whereas each page of kitabkhana manuscripts brim with geometric designs and often included miniature paintings.7 The Burgess Sa’di manuscript’s high quality material and design – with its generous use of gold, vibrant colors on every page, uniform and symmetric calligraphy, and strong, durable paper – is most likely not a product of modest bazaar workshops. However, its lack of full-page miniature paintings within the text suggests that though it was created in a kitabkhana, it was perhaps meant for a member of the outer royal court rather than, say, the Shah himself. Indeed, “if the Shah was Iran’s leading patron, he was not the only one. While employed at court, royal artists augmented their incomes by illustrating humbler manuscripts for government officials or rich merchants,”8 and so it is perhaps to the favor of such officials or merchants that our Burgess Sa’di came to be. Oregon Undergraduate Research Journal Louie Volume 15 Issue 1 Spring 2019 3 For sixteenth and seventeenth-century Persian artists, “the peak of worldly success was recognition at the Shah’s court and membership in the royal workshop, a virtual magnet to which exceptional artistic talent was drawn.”9 Without the formal job application process that we have today, aspiring artists had to rely on natural talent, a network of connections, and just a bit of luck. The typical acceptance procedure into a kitabkhana might look something like this: “If an apprentice painter in Shiraz revealed extraordinary ability, he was likely to be hired away from the bazaar workshop by the local governor, who would before long offer him to the Shah in hopes of currying favor.”10 Accordingly, kitabkhana and placement into one relied on a network of class structures, social positions, cultural tradeoffs, and a system of favors. The Safavid court’s love of literature and arts thus inspired generations of artists and successfully wove a new system of workshops into the fabric of Persian culture from the sixteenth century onwards. At the kitabkhana, artists produced the greatest masterpieces of Persian literature, had access to the best and most expensive materials, and received training in how to improve their skill and hone it to the specific Safavid artistic taste. Safavid period painters who worked at or trained at the court kitabkhana expressed a principle stylistic characteristic that can be found in almost all manuscripts of this tradition, which includes “large-scale composition that frequently overflow into the surrounding margins; a bright and extensive palette of jewel-like (and often precious) pigments polished to a high sheen; fluid, rhythmic lines...and intricate ornamental patterns.”11 Ornaments were often used to decorate the page margins and served an essential role of establishing page structures and controlling the surfaces. The specific ornament present throughout the Burgess Sa’di, particularly prominent in the carpet-like design on the first page, was referred to in the West as arabesque: “at the time of the Renaissance, entering the vocabulary of a wide range of art forms.”12 However, due to its Orientalist origins and several misleading definitions,13 the more accurate and Persian term for the design on the Burgess Sa’di manuscript is islimi. While the Persian word islimi “means both ‘Islamic’ and ‘arabesque,’” islimi shouldn’t be identified solely with Islamic design because “the definition of islimi-khata’i (used as a doublet) is the lines traced around paintings.”14 This “rhythmic design based upon flowering vines,”15 has now become integrally associated with all Iranian compositions and art work, as seen in architecture, furniture, and paintings. As scholar and curator Stuart Cary Welch observes, without islimi, “these paintings would be as unthinkable as an orchestra playing a Bach suite without rhythm. With it, they are the visual equivalent of poetic verse.”16 The islimi in our Burgess Sa’di thereby compliments the written words themselves, the flowers and leaves symbolically nodding to the literal meanings of Bustan (“garden”) and Gulistan (“place with flowers”), as well as bordering the calligraphy of prose and poetry with a visual, aesthetically pleasing poetry of its own. Although the Safavid court established an artistic style used all over Persia, major cities developed their own particular styles in addition to the broader Safavid style. One such city was Shiraz, depicted as “a city of enduring artistic vitality,” which “had held its Oregon Undergraduate Research Journal Louie Volume 15 Issue 1 Spring 2019 4 position as the centre of commercial manuscript production throughout the sixteenth century.”17 Shirazi artistic style stressed two-dimensional and decorative values, rather than space and volume, and typically Throughout the codex, the written surfaces and the illustrations are enframed with colored and gold lines or rulings...their headings written within a central gold cartouche, which is rounded with either slightly scalloped or distinctly projected ends. The inscribed cartouches
TL;DR: The influence of Sasanian heritage is confirmed by scholarly work and research in Japan (Nara) and Silla (Korea) (Akbarzadeh: 2013, 226) as discussed by the authors.
Abstract: is a well-known name in eastern texts which is translated as “Parthian,” who were on the other end of the Silk Road, the gateway where different cultures met with each other. The Sogdians who were famous traders of the Silk Road played an important role between eastern and western Asia (Vaissiere: 2005, 97). They brought Iranian cultural heritage to China and its surrounding regions. In the Sasanian period (224 - 651 AD) is another important period for cultural relations between Iran and China. Various Sasanian cultural artifacts, such musical instruments, glassware, inscriptions and painting are found in China (An: 2010, 1).The influence of Sasanian heritage is confirmed by scholarly work and research in Japan (Nara) and Silla (Korea) (Akbarzadeh: 2013, 226). Medieval Muslim scholars have also provided important information on the Silk Road, the trade networks and religious relations between Iran and China (Daryaee: 2010, 404). There are different and unique data to be found in the reports of these Medieval Persian authors which are less studied or noticed. It is important to note that some of these reports are comparable with pre-Islamic texts.
01 Jan 2012
TL;DR: The Shkand Gumanig Wizar as discussed by the authors contains polemics against Islam, Christianity, and Manichaeism, as well as Judaism, and the passages on Judasim include citations of a Jewish sacred text referred to as the First Scripture.
Abstract: Author(s): Thrope, Samuel Frank | Advisor(s): Schwartz, Martin | Abstract: My dissertation examines the critique of Judaism in Chapters Thirteen and Fourteen of the Shkand Gumanig Wizar The Shkand Gumanig Wizar is a ninth century CE Zoroastrian theological work that contains polemics against Islam, Christianity, and Manichaeism, as well as Judaism The chapters on Judasim include citations of a Jewish sacred text referred to as the "First Scripture" and critiques of these citations for their contradictory and illogical portrayals of the divine This dissertation comprises two parts The first part consists of an introductory chapter, four interpretative essays, and a conclusion The second part consists of a text and new English translation of Shkand Gumanig Wizar Chapters Thirteen and FourteenMy first essay presents a new approach to the relation between the citations from the First Scripture in the Shkand Gumanig Wizar and Jewish literature Previous scholars have tried to identify a single parallel text in the Hebrew Bible or rabbinic literature as the origin for each of citation Borrowing approaches developed by scholars of the Qur'an and early Islamic literature, I argue that the Shkand Gumanig Wizar's critique draws on a more diverse and, likely, oral network of traditions about the biblical patriarchs and prophets My second essay contains a close reading of three linked passages concerning angels in Shkand Gumanig Wizar Chapter Fourteen I argue that the depiction of angels in these passages responds to a widespread Jewish belief in Metatron, an angelic co-regent whose power equals God's, This essay analyzes the these angelic passages in light of the traces of this belief that can be found in the Babylonian Talmud, Jewish mystical literature, and other texts My third essay concerns one of the longest citations in the critique of Judaism, a version of the story of the Garden of Eden from the first three chapters of the Book of Genesis This essay demonstrates that this citation is one of a motif of connected and mutually illuminating garden passages found throughout the apologetic and polemical chapters of the Shkand Gumanig Wizar I argue that gardens' prominence in the critique of Judaism, and the Shkand Gumanig Wizar as a whole, derives from gardens' symbolic role in Iranian cultureMy final essay compares the critique of Judaism in the Shkand Gumanig Wizar to a Zoroastrian anti-Jewish text from another Middle Persian work, the Denkard Whereas the earlier Denkard depicts Judaism mythically, relating the story of Judaism's creation by an evil demon, the Shkand Gumanig Wizar depicts Judaism textually, as citations from the First Scripture I argue that the lShkand Gumanig Wizar's presentation of Judaism as a text is an interpretative key for understanding the Zoroastrian work as a whole
02 Aug 2013
Abstract: Based on a broad survey of the reception of Firdausī‘s Shāhnāma in medieval times, this dissertation argues that Firdausī‘s oeuvre was primarily perceived as a book of wisdom and advice for kings and courtly élites. The medieval reception of the Shāhnāma is clearly manifested in the comments of medieval authors about Firdausī and his work, and in their use of the Shāhnāma in the composition of their own works. The production of ikhtiyārāt-i Shāhnāmas (selections from the Shāhnāma) in medieval times and the remarkable attention of the authors of mirrors for princes to Firdausī‘s opus are particularly illuminating in this regard. The survey is complemented by a close textual reading of the Ardashīr cycle in the Shāhnāma in comparison with other medieval historical accounts about Ardashīr, in order to illustrate how history in the Shāhnāma is reduced to only a framework for the presentation of ideas and ideals of kingship. Based on ancient Persian beliefs regarding the ideal state of the world, I argue that Ardashīr in the Shāhnāma is represented as a Saviour of the world. Within this context, I offer new interpretations of the symbolic tale of Ardashīr‘s fight against a giant worm, and explain why the idea of the union of kingship and religion, a major topic in almost all medieval Persian mirrors for princes, has often been attributed to Ardashīr. Finally, I compare iii the Ardashīr cycle in the Shāhnāma with nine medieval Persian mirrors for princes to demonstrate that the ethico-political concepts contained in them, as well as the portrayal of Ardashīr, remain more or less the same in all these works. Study of the Shāhnāma as a mirror for princes, as this study shows, not only reveals the meaning of its symbolic tales, but also sheds light on the pre-Islamic roots of some of the ethicopolitical concepts presented in the medieval Perso-Islamic literature of wisdom and advice for kings and courtiers.
TL;DR: Ammianus Marcellinus’ information and knowledge of the Sasanian Persians is often criticised for being stereotypical and reliant on traditional tropes and ideas, but when the focus is switched instead to the wider narrative of the Res Gestae the information AmmianusMarcellinus presents is usually accurate and reliable, and can be corroborated by Roman and Sasanian sources.
Abstract: Ammianus Marcellinus’ information and knowledge of the Sasanian Persians is often criticised for being stereotypical and reliant on traditional tropes and ideas. This is a result of a scholarly focus on the historian’s long Persian digression, which is based predominantly on ethnographic traditions and older writers. When the focus is switched instead to the wider narrative of the Res Gestae the information Ammianus Marcellinus presents of the Persians and their empire is usually accurate and reliable, and can be corroborated by Roman and Sasanian sources. Beyond the digression we can find useful knowledge on the Persian army, kingship, ideology, frontiers and cultural permeability can be found.
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