Medieval Iranshahr (600-1250 CE) – History 131C

J.P. Berkey, The Formation of Islam: Religion and Society in the Near East, 600-1800, Cambridge, 2003.

R.W. Bulliet, Cotton, Climate, and Camels in Early Islamic Iran, Columbia, 2009.

F. Gorgani, Vis and Ramin, translated by D. Davis, Penguin Classics, 2009.

Articles:

E. Yarshater, “The Persian presence in the Islamic World” The Persian presence in the Islamic world, eds. R. Hovannisian & G. Sabagh, Cambridge, pp. 4-125.

Primary Source Readings (will be given in class): I) Histories: Tabari, Tārīkh-e Sīstān; II) Andarz Literature: Qabusāmeh, Siyāsatnāmeh; III) Zoroastrian Texts: Bundahishn; IV) Epic: Shāhnāmeh; V) Biographies: Chāhār-maghāleh; VI) Poetry: Rudaki, Khayyām, Hafez, Sa‘dī

Week 1: Sasanian Iran & the Idea of Iranshahr (500-650CE) APRIL 1, 3

READINGS: Berkey Part I

Lecture and Reading Topics: Khusro I and reforms in the Sasanian empire; Kings and queens; administration and economy of the empire; society; Communal religions: Jews, Christians, Manichaeans and Zoroastrians; The idea of Iran and Iranshahr.

Week 2: The Arab Muslim Conquest Iran & Armenia (600-700CE) APRIL 8, 10

READINGS: Berkey Part II / Bulliet Chapter 1

Lecture and Reading Topics: Internal divisions and dynastic wars; Yazdgerd III: the last Sasanian king; Arab Muslim Conquest; amsar and camps: Kufa and Basra

Week 3: The Rashidun Caliphs, Ummayads and the Iranian Plateau (632-750CE) 15, 17

READINGS: Berkey Part II

Ruling over Iran from Damascus; Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians under Muslim Rule; Shi’ism and Sunni Islam; Jizya and poll-tax; To be or not to be a Muslim.

Week 4: The Abbasid Revolution and the Caliphate at Baghdad (750-800CE) 22, 24

READINGS: Berkey Part III / Bulliet Chapter 2

Abu Muslim and the Iranian Revolutionaries; The world of Baghdad; Persian and Arab worlds together; The revival of Sasanians in Islamic garb.

Week 5: The Caliphate and Religious Movements (800-900CE) APRIL 29, MAY 1

READINGS: Berkey Part III

Religious movement of Behafarid, Moghana’ and Babak Khorramdin; sects and heresies; Ma’mun and his rise to power; the Shi’a on the Iranian Plateau; From Apocalypse to History: Middle Persian texts

Midterm (MAY 6)

Week 6: Independent Dynasties on the Iranian Plateau (800-999CE) MAY 8, 13

READINGS: Berkey Part III

Saffarids; Samanids; Buyids and Ghaznavids

Week 7: Rise of the Persian Language and Literature      MAY 15, 20

READINGS: Primary Sources

Middle Persian, Persian, Sogdian and Arabic; The rise of Persian languages; Persian literature and poetry; the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi (Book of Kings).

Week 8: Turkish migration and Local Dynasties (1000-1200CE) MAY 22, 27

READINGS: Berkey Part IV / Bulliet Chapter 3 & 4

Central Asia in Late Antiquity and the Medieval period; The Turkish Patronage of Persian Literature; The Ghaznavids and the Seljuks

Week 9: Medieval Persian art, Science and Culture          MAY 29, JUNE 3

READINGS: Berkey Part IV / Yarshater

Persian paintings and art; Khawrizmi; Razi; Biruni; Ibn Sina; Persian food; Games: Polo, Chess, Backgammon and jousting; poetry and music.

Week 10: The Mongol Invasion (1200s) JUNE 5, 10

READINGS: Berkey Part IV / Bulliet Chapter 5

Kharazmshahs and the Mongols; the Mongol invasion and its aftermath.

Final EXAM II: Thu, Jun 12, 1:30-3:30pm
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