History 190 – Late Antique Iran (200-700 CE)

This course is a research seminar on the Sasanian Empire (224-651CE) which ruled over the Iranian Plateau, Mesopotamia and parts of Syria and Arabia. The course is designed to give the students a detailed knowledge of Late Antique Iran and prepare them for writing a research paper on Sasanian civilization. The first quarter will be spent reading the primary sources and the state of the discipline to gain an understanding of issues among the scholars. The second quarter will be spent preparing you for you research paper.

Grades: The grade will be given based on a well researched paper based on the primary sources. This means you must be familiar with state of the questions in the field of Iranian Studies and that of Late Antiquity.

  1. Averil Cameron, Béatrice Caseau, Henry Chadwick, and Garth Fowden, Interpreting Late Antiquity: Essays on the Postclassical World, Belknap Press, 2001.
  2. P. Pourshariati, Decline and Fall of the Sasanian Empire: The Sasanian-Parthian Confederacy and the Arab Conquest of Iran, IB Tauris, 2008.
  3. Touraj Daryaee, Sasanian Iran (224-651 CE): Portrait of a Late Antique Empire, Mazda Publishers, 2008.
  4. Touraj Daryaee, Sahrestaniha ī Eransahr: A Middle Persian Text on Late Antique Geography, Epic, and History, Mazda Publishers, 2002.
  5. Sasanian Iran: A Reader, available at UCI History Department.

Week 1: Sept. 30; Iran and the Near East in the first centuries of the common era:  Sources and approaches

Week 2: Oct. 2, 7;Ardaxšīr and the early sources

Week 3: Oct. 9, 14; Šābuhr I and the Ka’be-ye Zardošt: 3rd CE

Week 4: Oct. 17, 21; Religion: Zoroastrianism and Kerdir and his testament

Week 5: Oct. 23, 28; Wahrams and Narseh: the Paikuli Inscription

Week 6: Oct. 30, Nov. 4; Šābuhr II: Empire and Religion in the 4th CE

Week 7: Nov. 6, 11; Yazdgerds and Armenia: A New Christian Empire in the 5th CE

Week 8: Nov. 13, 18; Kawad, Khusro and Mazdak: Order and disorder in the Empire in 6th CE

Week 9: Nov. 20, 25; Khusro II to Yazdgerd III: Glory and Fall of the Empire in the 7thCE Thanks Giving Holiday

Week 10: Dec. 2, 4; Late Antique Iran? Sources for late Sasanian Iran and the Near East