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>> From the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. >> Mary-Jane Deneb: It's lovely to hear this buzz in the room and the -- feel the excitement. So, good morning. Good morning everybody. And thank you all for coming to this first ever symposium on the Sasanian Empire, here at the Library of Congress. Thank you Congressmen Raskin for taking the time from your very busy schedule to be with us. I'm Mary-Jane Deeb, Chief of the African and Middle East Division. This division has organized this conference here in the Thomas Jefferson building of the Library. And this symposium is part of an annual series that this division holds on the ancient civilizations of the Middle East that go back many thousands of years. But let me first start by introducing Mark Sweeney, the Associate Librarian of Library Services who will welcome you to the Library of Congress. Mark Sweeney begin his career at the Library of Congress in 1987 in the Serial and Government Publications Division. He then rose through the ranks becoming unit supervisor, reference librarian, and reference specialist, and eventually served as head of the newspaper section. In July 2002, Mark began coordinating the libraries work the Unites States Newspaper Program, a cooperative national effort to locate, catalogue, and preserve microfilm newspapers published in the United States from the 18th Century to the present. So, you can imagine how many millions of pages were preserved that way. The following year, he was selected to be chief of the Library's Preservation and Reformatting Division. He then became Chief of the Humanities and Social Science Division. And in 2012 he became Director of Preservation. Three years later in 2015, he was appointed by the Librarian of Congress as Associate Librarian of Library Services. Mark Sweeney earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from McGill University on Montreal, Canada and a Master's Degree in Library Science from Catholic University. Mark Sweeney. [ Applause ] >> Mark Sweeney: Good morning, Congressman Raskin, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I'm Mark Sweeney, Associate Librarian for Library Services. It's my pleasure, on behalf of Dr. Carla Hayden, the Librarian of Congress, to welcome you to the Library on the occasion of today's symposium on the ligancy of the Sasanian Empire. This symposium of the first one ever held on the Sasanian Empire, the last of the major ancient pre-Islamic Persian empires. The Sasanian Empire extended from the near east to central and south Asian over a span of more than 400 years. Furthermore, the empire left a rich cultural legacy that shaped the region and defined elements of Iranian identity that remain conspicuous up to the present day. The holdings of the Library of Congress include the world's largest collection of books, monographs, serials, maps, and many other materials about the Sasanian period. Today you will find a selection of these items from the collection on display in the African and Middle Eastern conference room here in the Thomas Jefferson building through those doors. For their support of this symposium, I wish to thank the Iranian American Alumni of the Alborz High School and their distinguished representative, Mr. Yousef Javadi, and Mrs. Saghi MoJabal who have worked with us to develop the program for this event. I also want to acknowledge the help of the Persian Studies Department at Princeton University and the University of California Irvine, which have assisted our section with the organization of the conference. Thank you all for coming. I hope today's consideration of the contours and the impact of the Sasanian Empire will be thoroughly provocative and enlightening. Now it's my pleasure to introduce the United States Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland's 8th Congressional District. Congressman. [ Applause ] >> Jamie Raskin: Good morning everybody. I just wanted to come by to extend my greetings to all of the renowned [inaudible] and historians and experts who have come to assemble for this conference. And on the way over I had a call from my friend Sarusha Habi [assumed spelling] -- who I see here -- who told me about these terrible terror attacks that took place in Tehran that we're just learning about with many people killed. And so, I didn't want the moment to pass without expressing sympathy and solidarity with the people of Tehran. But also, to say that the work that you're engaged in today, and the work that many of you do with your professional career is the very opposite of terrorism, which is the destruction of the past, and the present, and the future. And you guys are engaged in the work of recovering what is great, and what is meaningful, and what is salvable from the past in order to make our lives clearer today and in order to make the future a better one. Always loved something I read from William Faulkner who said that, "The past isn't dead, it isn't even past." I think it was Cicero who said that, "Not to know what happened before you were born is always to remain a child." And so, the work that you're engaged in of excavating, and rescuing, and resurrecting the greatness of the Sasanian Empire is actually essential work. And so, I salute you for it. I also need to apologize. One, because I have absolutely nothing to contribute to your proceedings, and two because I really should be here learning. But three, I can't stay because I -- a meeting has been called across the street and I've got to go back to it. But I didn't want the moment to pass by without welcoming you all to Washington and thanking you for doing what you're doing. [ Applause ] >> Mary-Jane Deeb: Thank you Congregant Raskin. And now let me introduce Yousef Javadi and also his wife, Saghi MoJabal, two people who have been an inspiration to us all here in this division. It was thanks to their enthusiasm for this project and their initiative to bring together the Alborz U.S. alumni to support this project, and thanks to their own very generous support that this event was made possible. Saghi MoJabal was also the person who worked tirelessly to raise funds for our Persian book exhibit, <i>A Thousand Years</i> <i>of the Persian Book </i>, which we'll never forget. But Yousef Javadi is a co-founder of LTN Global and its President and CEO. He's an accomplished entrepreneur and executive leader in both telecom services and IP technology. Yousef Javadi brings over 25 years of experience in starting, growing, and running global businesses. So, you see, we do not deal only with the past, but also dealing with the future. He has been President of Nextone Communications, a privately held provider of software products, as well as President of Sprint International where he ran all of Sprint's businesses, alliances, and relationships outside of the U.S. Under Mr. Javadi's leadership and direction Sprint built its next generation global internet backbone. Prior to that he has held other important global executive positions including head of the billion dollar North American operations of Primus Telecom, President of a wireless messaging unit at GE Capital, and Vice-President of Global Sales and Marketing at OTI, a startup satellite company that was sold to MCI. Mr. Javadi holds a BSC, a Bachelor in Science, a Master's in Science and Engineering from MIT, and an MBA from Harvard Business School. So, he will now make some remarks. Mr. Javadi. [ Applause ] >> Yousef Javadi: Good morning. I have the privilege to welcoming you to this wonderful symposium on behalf of the Labors High School alumni in the United States. When the Library presented the idea of this symposium to my wife and I some months ago we were extremely excited. We were excited because of how strongly this institution and this topic resonates with us and our core values. Values that were developed and embedded in us through our maturing years and especially, through our educational upbringing in Iran. It reminded us of what we were taught at school in Iran and my alma mater, Alborz High School, as a great example of that. And because of this strong correlation, we felt that sponsoring this event under the banner of Alborz High School would be particularly appropriate. We presented the idea to Alborz alumni here in the U.S. who were quick to embrace it and stepped up to support it. My alma mater, Alborz High School, was founded nearly 144 years ago in Tehran and is known as one of the most prestigious and rigorous high schools is Iran and beyond. The goal of this school was to produce graduates who have the skills and education to contribute to the betterment of their communities and the world in which they lived. Alborz's graduates include some of the world's most renowned thought leaders, entrepreneurs, scientists, and academics. Many of these graduates of my generation reside in the U.S. today. However, the school is continuing its work and tradition in its place of founding. The events that the Library hosts and in particular this symposium, embody core values that all Alborz's -- and I feel mostly Iranian Americans -- share deeply. We want to encourage and support educational programs which draw on leading scholars for the benefit of all. Two underlying themes of today's gathering are fundamental to all Alborz's. First, is the value of education and higher learning. We feel the critical task of any society and government is to focus on and promote excellence in education. Science and technology, and knowledge in general are essential components of advancement and innovation. As a result of our education, we grew up to believe that facts and knowledge rule supreme and should be the key drivers of how we live and work in society. Within this context, the value and status of educators and the educated is enormous. And the recognition they deserve cannot be sufficiently underscored. We all owe a great debt to our educators. Secondly, we have a deep respect and appreciation for our ancient culture and history. As you know, Persian culture is one of the oldest in the world, spanning over 2500 years. It is a culture that has survived and thrived over centuries despite many challenges and disruptions. This culture is recognized for its contribution to world literature and art, sciences, religion, and advanced thinking. We are proud of the Persian identity and relish to hear and learn from the experts gathered here today to discuss and reflect on this ancient culture. So, with that, I would like to recognize my fellow Alborezes who came together to sponsor this event. Friends, thank you for keeping our community alive and strong. This alum I group stands ready to engage in support similar worthy undertakings. I would also like to recognize and thank Congressman Jamie Raskin for coming this morning. As an educator and an academic Congressman Raskin understands the value of education in society's advancement. We're fortunate to have a thoughtful representative like him in The House. Thank you Congressman. I think he left already, but I want to especially recognize and thank the Library of Congress. Particularly, the African and Eastern Division for their vision and the effort in promoting a better understanding of world cultures and literature. Thank you Mary-Jane. Thank you Jirat [assumed spelling]. Jirat is here somewhere. In case you don't know, the Library is home to an amazing collection of thousands of Persian books, dating centuries old. The Library has been very generous in exhibiting some of this collection including the other treasures they own, and I would encourage everyone to take the time view and benefit from this marvelous historical artifacts. And finally, I want to thank the scholars who have gathered here to share their knowledge with us. It is exceptional to see such a scholarly group in one place and be able to learn and cultivate our understanding and knowledge of a history we all hold so dear. I thank them for being here. Welcome to everyone and enjoy the day. Thank you. [ Applause ] >> Mary-Jane Deeb: Before we start I would like to recognize the dynamic force behind this project, our own Hirad Dinavari. The Persian World reference specialist in the African and Middle Eastern Division. It was his vision, his determination, and his work for the past seven months that turned an idea, a dream, into a reality. His close collaboration with professor Touraj Daryaee, the Maseeh Chair in Persian Studies and the Director of the Dr. Samuel M. Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture at University of California Irvine, and Professor Khodadad Rezakhani, Associate Research Scholar at the Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-RahmanI Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies, who are the co-conveners of this conference. This collaboration enabled us to bring together for one day only these world-renowned scholars. They're here from all over the U.S., Canada, and France to share with us their knowledge and their research on a civilization that goes back more than a millennium and a half. Khodadad also consulted on topics and scholars, the powerhouse husband and wife team Professor Fatimeh Keshavarz, Director of the School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures and Professor [inaudible] Director of the Roshan Institute for Persian Studies. Both of the University of Maryland. And lest you should think that a conference such as this is easy to organize and requires but little effort, just consider how many people and divisions Hirad has worked with to make this program happen. Headquarters of course, the African and Middle East Division, where Joan Weeks [assumed spelling], the head of the Nori Section and I as well as others including Paul Zaney [assumed spelling] and Anne Brenner [assumed spelling] provided support and guidance, technical and otherwise, and Angie Ho [assumed spelling] advertised the program on our social media and Facebook. Hirad also worked closely with Claire Dickley [assumed spelling] in the Preservation Division to organize the beautiful display you will see in our conference room. Thanks to his excellent relations with colleagues around the Library, John Lore [assumed spelling] in the Asian Division, and Ken Sigment [assumed spelling] in the Law Library pulled out books from their own collection to add to the display. As did staff from the Music Division and the Motion Picture and Recorded Sound Division. Michael Shiat [assumed spelling] in Cataloguing found the latest book from Iran and it just arrived, and he immediately catalogued it so that it could part of the Sasanian display that we have out there. We have [inaudible] who's the Georgian specialist and he brought a book from his own collection at home so that it could be added to the display. The Geography and Map Division found this map here, which is out there, on the Sasanian Empire and pulled it. Found it among five million maps. One of the largest -- well the largest collection of maps in the world. But they found one on the Sasanian's and they pulled it out, they scanned it, they framed it, and they gave it to us. Which is just wonderful. And we have to thank Cynthia Smith [assumed spelling] and Diane [inaudible] for that. Of course, there is the wonderful Wanda Cartwright [assumed spelling] in Special Events who worked on budgets and caterers and police security, and all got you all in here eventually. And then there's the Communications Office who worked with Hirad on the press release to let the media know that this event was taking place in here. And then our web casting team -- and you have them there. They're with us the whole day. They come to all our programs. They film us and then eventually make our programs available online for the whole world to see. So what you're going to hear today is then going to be webcast and made available for people all over the world to see. And I assure you, people do watch our programs. So, thank you Dominique Pickett [assumed spelling], Jeanette Porter [assumed spelling], Natasha Ballard [assumed spelling], George Force [assumed spelling] -- who are all there in the back -- for all the work they have done. And certainly, last but not least, our own John Regan [assumed spelling] and his wife who record the programs, ensure that you can all hear what we're saying, and that the PowerPoints work. So, thank you all, and I want to give them a big clap for all the work they have done. [ Applause ] And now, I'm going to invite the first panel to come to the table and we will start with the first panel. So, Professor Touraj Daryaee, Professor Rapp, and Professor Khodadad Rezakhani please come to the table. [ Applause ] Okay. So now we embark on a very exciting journey back to the past, to a very glorious and beautiful past. So, as they say, hold onto your seats it's going to be a bumpy road. Well it's going to be exciting road. So, I'm going to moderate this panel and the way it's going to be -- I know we all have the programs, but we will introduce every speaker and read from the bios here because we're being webcast. And people who are abroad, around the country, different parts of the world, and who would want to know who the speakers are will only have the webcast. So, bear with us as we proceed. So we are going to -- I will start with Professor Touraj Daryaee who will be talking about the Sasanian King Transhar [assumed spelling] and all of his gardens. And as we had mentioned he is one of the co-conveners of this conference. He's a historian of Ancient Iran, specializing on the Sasanian Empire. He's the author of a number of books. Some of which are in our display in the next room. Including <i>Sasanian Persia: The Rise and Fall of an Empire </i>, which was published in 2009. And <i>The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History </i>, published in 2012. He has also translated Middle Persian texts on history of the games of chess and backgammon from the Sasanian period. And the rule of [inaudible] in the 6th Century. The only surviving geographical text on Ancient Iran. Most recently he has edited the <i>Partheon</i> <i>and Early Sasanian Empire's: Adaptation and Expansion </i>, published by Oxbow Books in 2016. Dr. Daryaee's presentation, the Sasanian King, Iranshahr and the Walls of His Garden will discuss the idea of Iranshahr as created by the Sasanian's. I'm not going to say anymore because we want to hear him talk. So please Professor [inaudible]. >> Touraj Daryaee: Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for being here. I would like to just briefly thank the Library of Congress, all those who have been involved. Mary-Jane and Hirad who has sent us probably 200 emails and gotten as many. As the alumni of the Alborz High School, Mr. Javadi and your wonderful wife for making this possible. Particularly happy on behalf of the Dr. Samuel M. Jordan Center for Persian Studies at UC Irvine, who Dr. Jordan established the Alborz High School which was then known as the American College if I'm not mistaken. So, we have these very interesting connections. I have not prepared a lecture to read from, but rather in the 20 minutes that I'm allotted to really tell you what this paper will be and I'm hoping these papers will be published together in a volume. And I think this is quite pertinent with what has happened this morning -- or yesterday in Tehran with the bombings. Which I just talked to my mother and father to make sure they're okay -- and is this idea of the Iranians, regardless of its political situation here today in the 21st Century or in the 6th Century, we imagine this place as this imaginary garden where everything is beautiful regardless of its political situation. And what happens when these walls come down? Either it's mental or it's physical wall. But I have of course not coordinated in any way, but that is what seems to be quite pertinent today. And so, the Sasanian King, Iranshahr, and the walls of his garden. I am just going to be quite audacious with having [inaudible] here. No I can see from back here. I'll be just fine. I'm not going to read [inaudible]. But I actually like to start actually with Yasna Feradeine, one of these important hints of Veratustra where there is a word at work here called Frasha, which means the act of ferresokarti, to make this world wonderful. And if you just read the first passage, and so we maybe will be those who make this world perfect. Now, the sense of this is Veratustra is speaking of an end of time when the world will become perfect. It's much more in its spiritual sense than a real physical sense you might say. The key men in Persia who ruled in the 6th to the 4th Century B.C. also used this term in a different way in rather than this world. In the corporal real world. And they use it in describing these gardens, buildings that they construct throughout the empire where the word Frasha is again used in its Old Persian terminology. Now, we know that in old Persian and Median the term for paradox -- a walled garden -- where according to Herodotus they were everything that you could imagine. A -- all the trees, plants, animals, running water. And this is the sense of paradise that we get in the Christian sense. In Old Persian, it's Paradida. It's median form Paradaiza, which gives us this Paradeisos and paradise into English. And I would suggest just as others have, this sense of a paradise does transfer for this Iranian world into the Christian world. And within this garden also Greek sources tell us that these Persian kings liked to garden. I do gardening as well. I just heard that it's really good for your health. That's the only exercise I do. And so, the king as a Gardner of course is not -- perhaps doesn't start with the Persians, but indeed we know that Cyrus apparently liked to do gardening as well as other Persian kings. So, Cyrus of Pasargadae may be one of these ideal places of paradises that we may imagine, and the image that you're seeing is sort of an early couple centuries ago drawings of this Pasargadae in a walled place. In a walled garden. Now, Darius is describing a Susa and perhaps the garden that he has created states that by the grace of Ahuramazda, great perfection -- frasa -- was planned at Susa. Great perfection -- Frasa again -- was built by him. This is what I mean by sort of physicality as opposed to the mental idea of perfection in the future. And this sense of perfection in a garden is very much with us already in the 6th Century B.C. Professor Bruce Lincoln at University of Chicago has already -- really, I think brilliantly discussed these matters in relation to their Achaemenid one in his book <i>Happiness</i> <i>for Mankind </i>that came out in 2012. And so, for the key minutes we are well documented and knowledgeable. I would like to take this discussion a bit forward and bring it to the Sasanian Empire. Because things just don't end in the 4th Century. Ideas and sort of mentalities and beliefs continue. The idea of walled gardens. Of course, we first will look at the hunting grounds -- what we get in Middle Persian as Paliz or Pahriz. Which is a continuation of this Paradida or Paradiza. It is aptly discussed -- not discussed but actually seen for example on the reliefs here in [inaudible]. You're seeing the king [inaudible], the second in his hunting ground. And again, a place where there's lots of animals, there's music going on, and -- oops sorry -- and the king is hunting plenty. So that idea still continues with us. Now, what I would like to contend is Iranshahr. The realm of the Iranians, which is an idea created in terms of a physical space by the Sasanians for the first time. The land of Iranians in the 3rd Century. Again, it is a conceptual idea of an enclosed space. It has definite boundaries. It's just not an idea that you find in the best -- the homeland of the Iranians. And this enclosed space, this Iranshahr is imagined as a garden. And the king acts very much as it's gardner. And this will bring us just briefly to the idea of the theory that are discussed today, a gardening state where the king -- or the gardener is very cognoscente of his garden and what's in it and what should be taken out, and what should be around it. And that is quite pertinent to this idea of the king gardener. Now, just to give you some sense of this really ideas of space -- enclosed space -- let me briefly and rapidly go through some of the epic mythological and really sort of historical documents on the boundaries of this Iranshahr in the Sasanian Empire. I first start with this Middle Persian text that I did when I was much younger. About 15 years ago. I was audacious and probably full of mistakes. Professor Azarnouche would probably point those out to us later on. But the text discusses the Eastern boundary of the Iranshahr. In the brilliant [inaudible] he set the miraculous [inaudible] fire there and he struck his lands there, and he sent a message to a series of nomadic lords, probably Turkic lords in the East. I don't name them. WE don't need to go over all of the [inaudible], the various [inaudible]. And he tells them, behold my lands. Whoever beholds the movement of these lands is like they have rushed into Iranshahr. So, this at least seems to be one of these demarcation boundaries telling your opponent outside, please do not even look at this land shaking, and that means you already come there. Now, other traditions -- if you're Iranian or part of the Iranian or the Persian world, you know about the Iranshahr Arish. When the [inaudible], he comes out as an Arasha who later on thanks to [inaudible] we have this beautiful story of demarcating the boundary between Iran and what is called Turin. And then agreement is set and Arash is going to let out an arrow and wherever it hits, that is the boundary. and you know he tells us God's commands of the winds bear the arrow as far as -- as the region of Khorasan, and it actually hits a place close to the river Balkh. What is really the upmost or the Eastern boundary of Afghanistan today? Now, more interestingly in the recent discoveries in Afghanistan among the Bactrian Documents [inaudible] with Professor Learner [assumed spelling] has published we have an ostandar of Kadagestan. And that is really the area -- I don't know if this works, but it's all the way to the Eastern side of the map if you can see. Really again by the Oxus River. So, the Oxus and Balkh seem to have been really the Eastern boundary of this world that Eastern most Sasanian rock relief, which was again discovered in Afghanistan by Frantz Grenet, is close to where is the Shapur Kabeye Zardosht. Inscription tells us that these are really the Eastern most boundary. Now, on the Western side it seems that Euphrates was the other river that seems to have been boundary of Iranshahr. In terms of Sasanian activity visa vie the Romans, we know that the Romans had built a series of forts on the Euphrates and in fact there were wars going on. But if you just take the words of Fergus Millar, one of the imminent Roman historians, the idea that the Persians were never really interesting in establishing themselves beyond the Euphrates is quite clear. They were predatory until the war activities on both sides, but Euphrates seems to have been that Western boundary of a mental image and sort of a boundary for the Sasanian's. If you look at Sasanian Mints, again all the Western mints do not really go beyond Euphrates. And here's our image of all of these cities with possible mints. And again, it's the west is the Euphrates and that should also tell us something in terms of this Western mentality of the Sasanian's. This idea is I think beautifully captured in the preface to the old Shahname, what is known as a Shahname of Abu Mansuri. Where it says the boundaries of Iranshahr -- this is 10th Century by the way -- of Iranshahr is from Amu Darya -- Oxus to Forat -- Euphrates river and these other regions are around it. And from these seven regions Iranshahr is the greatest. This is of course part of the sort of imperial [inaudible] propaganda of we're the best. Which the Romans did and the Chinese did. And anyone who had an empire late antiquity tried to do. So, this is this idea of the two rivers acting as a boundary. Now, Sasanians as gardeners, they had to reclaim this land and the way they renamed cities gave significance to each of the regions, provinces, and the cities. And of course, they built walls around it. And this is what gardeners do. They till the land, they reorganize it. And if you look at the province -- for example, I've given you four -- of Media up north. Azerbaijan, northwest. Fars in southwest and Sistan in the southeast. All of these regions begin to have significance historically and religiously. Zoroaster's career in Sistan he was born up North in Media. In Azerbaijan there's in memorial fire at Shiz and so on. At Persepolis of course becomes half the Jamshid Yima's throne. So, all of these places within this boundary is given significance. Now as I mentioned, you build a wall. And in fact, the Sasanians build several walls. The most important one and I think majestic one is the Barrier of Alexander, [inaudible] otherwise known as [inaudible], but also other walls. The last one is called [inaudible] which means the Wall of the Arabs. And these walls were built to keep people from the north and the south to keep people from the North and the South or regulate their movement you might say, in a way. And I had to put a picture of myself, you know, this is narcissism to some extent. But this is actually the late I raja [inaudible] who I like to remember took me on this trip to see the walls. he said, where do you want to go? [Inaudible]. I said, I want to see the walls. Okay, let's get on the Jeep and go. And we found -- and as you can see the remnants of Saddi Iskandar where the midevil Arabic text [inaudible] also tells us it was during the time of Postrave and [inaudible] in the 6th Century that this wall was built as an obsticle against the Nomads. Now I may use the Turks at that time, but could have been the Huns much earlier. And this wall of Iskandar -- Sadd-i Iskandar or the Wall of Gorgan is -- goes from the Caspian through the mountains. It's about 195 kilometers long with 33 forts. It is indeed the longest ancient wall in antiquity. We usually know about the Roman walls and the Chinese walls. But in fact, the longest continuous wall in antiquity is this Wall of Gorgan, which was meant to keep people -- and these are probably nomadic people coming from the north which have been recently published by Nakedness, Sauer, and several other scholars. On the west side of the Caspian we have [inaudible], Darband Wall, which was also 40 kilometers long and it had seven gates and we find so far there have been 35 middle Persian inscriptions that need to be reread again, but mostly -- or 31 of them rather than 25 seem to have maybe belong to the Aburbadagan amargar. The Accountant of Azerbaijan who was visiting the wall to make sure the wall was kept up and the [inaudible] are paid. The IRS of the Sasanian Empire was at work and you know you do not kid with them. Again, we have lots of textual sources for these walls. Again, all pointing to the time of Hosrove I in the 6th Century. [Inaudible]. So, the Empire as a Garden. So, you built this wall, you have this sort of physical space. So, who dwells in it? Who should? And who should stay out of this paradise? And I think the Persian tiles from much later on and the carpet itself. The Persian carpets really sort of bring forth this idea of a paradise. This garden. And that is part of this part of this sort of Persian heritage of a Persian garden. Mimicking it. Even when the king sits on a carpet within a garden. That again is part of that tradition. Now, just to point out that the Sasanians were interested in gardening very early on, there's a Manichaean text from the 3rd Century that I would like to mention. If anybody took Parthenon Manichaean I think you would have had to read Mary Boyce Reader where this section Mihr-Shah, who is the brother of kind of Shapur the 1st and the 4th Century is with Mani, and he's an unbeliever going to Manichaean text. And King Mihr-Shah says to Mani, in the paradise of which you speak, is there a garden such as mine? Again, the Persian king is boasting as a gardener in the 3rd Century. And then Mani showed him the Paradise of Light, a garden. With all kinds of things, and other desirable sights there. Almost like the Herodotus description of actually a paradise in the [inaudible] period. And within this garden, in fact it is imagined in textual sources as a paradise, in a paradisiacal state. And this should also remind us of the investa and the story of Yima in [inaudible] to where he creates this beautiful sort of enclosure where all the animals, all the living beings, all that is good. Is enclosed there. And the Sasanians created this idea of Erih, Iranianness, and they gave values to it and discussed it in the literature. And they said within this Iranshahr there is order -- the order of the king -- and there is beauty. And of course it's the King's Justice that keeps this idea going. And that is a theme that we find in Middle Eastern Literature. The idea of sort of a just state and the Circle of Justice. Which has a much more ancient tradition but certainly in the early Islamic period it borrows from the Sasanian times. Now, if there is this beauty, justice, and order, what happens with the "weeds"? If you want to say that. And that brings us I think to Mazdak. If you know about Iranian history, Mazdak is one of these priests -- Zorastrin priests in the late-5th, 6th Century who makes certain adjustments to Zoroastrian law, which doesn't sit well with the rest of the priestly I think group, and the king uses him for to make certain changes and when Joseon comes in eradicates him. And Shahnameh has this very beautiful I think almost sort of real image of what is going on when the Mazdakites are put to death. It's part of the Shahnameh draft taken from Dick Davis's [assumed spelling] translation. This is Kasra of Joseon I. In Jiro's palace, there was a garden. Again, a garden -- we can't get away from this garden -- with the high walls around it. Pariesus. Again, we're still with that image. It was dug up from the end to end and Mazdak's followers were planted there head down with their feet in the air like trees. So, you can see what the gardener has done this time. He rather sorts of took the weeds and put them in backwards. And the story goes that he invites Mazdak -- he says, come and see what you have planted. So again, this idea of the king as the gardener. And you can see the image from the Shahnameh where the followers are sort of put down is again, very much with us. Now, if you organize inside, what about outside? Well, the propaganda that is given here is that the outside where the nomads reside, the Huns, the Bedouins, the Hephthalites, and the Turks are seen in certain Middle Persian texts. Certainly apocalyptic texts as sort of the demonic fishers [inaudible] use for their coming [inaudible] or to rush as demonic nature but also as they describe these two legged wolves and so on that we find in [inaudible]. He's very much given specific sort of images of these people who dwell outside. And this barrier, these walls is supposed to keep these people from out -- from inside. Where outside there's disorder, injustice, and it's quite barren. So, I've just taken an image of the other side of the [inaudible] or the Sasanian wall where it is the devilish space in a sense as opposed to the order, the beautiful sort of Zoroastrian orderly inside. And this again is part of the Old Iranian Zoroastrian tradition where we find in the Avesta the Story of Jamshid where he has built this primordial paradise. And Yima built a Vara -- which is [inaudible] the word wall in fact, where placing everything that is good in it. And of course, outside is cold, it's sort of full of death and evil. So again, this inside/outside is very much with us. I would content that Khusro I, the great Sicilian ruler in the 6th Century created this paradise imagery based on this Avestan narrative as well. Whereas, Jamshid builds the vary, Khusro builds the walls. As Jamshid keeps the good people inside and cold and death outside, Khusro keeps all that is good inside and evil is rooted out and there's a wall around it. That what a garden -- in a gardening sense state really works. And to really conclude I would just like Mr. Khusro or King Khusro [inaudible] at least from the Shanname, tell us what he really thinks of this odd Iranshahr as one of his sort of speeches left after -- before his death cited in Khaleghi-Motlagh's edition. I hope I can read it from here. This is his speech. "Iran is like a lush spring garden where roses ever bloom. The army and weapons are the garden's walls and the lances its wall of thorns. If the garden's walls" -- again, I want you to see this devar being continuously repeated -- "are pulled down, then there would be no difference between it and the wilderness beyond. Take care not to destroy its walls, and not to dishearten or weaken Iranians. If you do, then raiding and pillaging will follow and also the battle cries of the riders and the din of war. Risk not the safety of the Iranians wives, children, and lands by bad policies and plans." I think that's something that we could all sort of understand. Thank you very much. [ Applause ] >> Mary-Jane Deep: What a perfect presentation for springtime and gardens. So, our next speaker is Stephen Rapp, who will talk about Caucasian late antiquity between the Byzantine and Iranian world. Dr. Stephen Rapp is Professor of Eurasian and World History at Sam Houston State University. He received his PhD from the University of Michigan in Byzantine History with a focus on Late Antiquity and Midevil Caucasia. His research investigates cross-cultural and cosmopolitan fabric of Caucasia as well as the regions membership and the overlapping Romano Byzantine, Islamic, and especially Iranian worlds. His latest monograph, the <i>Sasanian World Through Georgian Eyes:</i> <i>Caucasia and the Byzantine Commonwealth</i> <i>in Late Antique Georgian Literature</i> was published by Ashgate in 2014. Dr. Rapp has conducted archival and field work in all three publics of post-soviet Caucasia. Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, as well as the Russian Federation and in Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Yemen. Among his research fellowships are awards from Fullbright [inaudible], and the Social Science Research Council. So now, Dr. Rapp. [ Applause ] >> Stephen Rapp: First of all, I would like to thank the organizers and sponsors of this splendid event. Thank you all for coming. The caucuses is the stuff of legends. Jews, Christians, and Muslims imagined its towering spires as the resting place of Noah's Ark after the great deluge. Humanity repopulated the earth from this second Eden. The Ancient Greeks regarded Caucasia as an exotic nearly inaccessible land at the edge of the world. Jason and the Argonauts peruse the Golden Fleece here. And Prometheus had been chained to a rock in the foreboding Caucuses mountains as punishment for stealing fire from Mt. Olympus. Caucasia's association with fire is an old one thanks in part to the petroleum deposits literally seeping to the ground in Azerbaijan. Some scholars have even proposed Azerbaijan as the primordial homeland of Zoroastrianism. The isthmus between the Black and Caspian seas is simultaneously been regarded as an exotic and hazardous place. Pre-Islamic Iranians envisioned Caucasia as the habitat of demons on the edge of the garden we just heard about. The menacing north. The great monotheisms of North Afro-Eurasia perpetuated this northern dread in the apocalyptic prophesy of Gog and Magog. Fierce uncivilized peoples whom at the end of time Satan would unleash from their confinement behind the great wall of rock, that is the Caucasus Mountains. The raising of this wall was subsequently credited to the world conquer Alexander the Great. Today, the Caucasus remains the stuff of legends. In our part of the world it is a region inspiring boundless wonder and horrific peril. It is conveniently far away from the centers of Western Europe, yet in a globalizing world it is not so distant at all. From this tension proceeds one of the most durable modern images of Caucasia. It's location at the juncture between East and West. This binary notion of ordering the world with its undue privileging of the Euro-American experience has been massively critiqued. As demonstrated by Edward Said and numerous others, East and west are the living residue of Europe's global imperial colonial projects of the 19th and 20th Centuries. While convenient, such met geographical concepts like East and West are slippery. They're saturated in ideology and ethnocentrism and they are inherently a-historical. Nevertheless, Caucasia is said to routinely occupy a space between East and West. This morning I would like to illustrate the fallacy of this stubborn projection through written sources produced in the three kingdoms of Late Antique Caucasia. Armenia Major, the Eastern Georgian Realm of Chartley called <i>Hiberia</i> <i>in Greco Roman Sources</i> , and Caucasian Albania. If we accept Late Antique Caucasia's position in the interstitial space between East and West then it would have been located between the Greco Roman Mediterranean on the one end and Iran on the other. But this is problematic in two ways. First, as a growing body of scholarship is demonstrating -- some of which was produced by the scholars sitting in this very room today -- the Greco Roman and Iranian worlds were far more than imperial and civilizational competitors. And they were not isolated by definite static and obvious boundaries. Instead, the two imperial enterprises were tightly interwoven into a transcontinental social, cultural, political, and economic web. What Peter Brown termed The World of Late Antiquity. Such ties even encompass models of imperial power. A second problem was seen as Caucasia as space between worlds is that the isthmus has been an enduring crucible across cultural encounter throughout its lengthy history. When investigated from a cross-cultural vantage, Caucasia emerges not as a dangerous exotic periphery, but as one of Afro-Eurasia's most dynamic centers alongside Central Asia. Approached as deploying a stringent East/West divide undercut the cross-cultural interplay that is the propellant of Late Antiquity. There are two main assumptions underpinning Caucasia's affiliation with the West. Around the year 1800 the German scholar Johann Blumenbach singled out skulls from Caucasia and Georgia in particular as representing humanities most important race. Ever since the Europeans identification as principle modern members of the so-called Caucasian race has lessened the mental distance between Europe and Caucasia. The second assumption proceeds from the early Christianization of Southern Caucasia, archelogy established Christianity's genuine presence in Caucasia no later than the 3rd Century. In the 4th Century the Dynastic monarchs of Caucasia's principle realms Armenia Major, Carley in Eastern Georgia, and Albania all converted to Christianity. By the 5th Century various strands of Christianity were dominant across the Caucasian isthmus. But at no point -- certainly not in Late Antiquity -- were Christianity and Europe perfectly coterminous. Nevertheless, Caucasia's early Christianization has been widely interpreted as an immutable bade of Caucasia's connection to Europe. Both assumptions had been retrojected to remote times. And when I mean remote, I mean a long time ago. The extraordinary discovery at the Mona see in Southern Georgia of the oldest examples of Homo erectus discovered outside of Africa are frequently identified as the earliest Georgians and as the very first Europeans. But words like Georgian and European had absolutely no historical meaning 1.8 million years ago. But let us return to Late Antiquity. There is no historical basis to treat Christian and European as synonyms in Late Antiquity from about the 2nd through the 8th Centuries A.D. Furthermore, Christianization did not necessarily entail integration to the Romano/Byzantine universe. What is frequently called the Byzantine Commonwealth. In the case of Caucasia, Christianization certainly enabled more robust bonds with Constantinople and the Byzantine world. But Caucasia's existing sociocultural fabric -- one that had been woven back in the Iron Age -- remained fundamentally unaltered as a result of Christianization. And this social fabric belonged principally to the Iranian world. Thus, as Caucasia's indigenous Zoroastrianism's were displaced across the 5th and 6th Centuries, many other Iranian and Irenic were -- or if you prefer Persianate aspects of Caucasian society remained intact. And did so throughout the premodern era. So, Caucasia was not so much a space between the Iranian and Romano Byzantine worlds, an exotic frontier between civilizations, nor was it chiefly a passive bridge spanning them. Instead, starting under the Acumens and through the early modern era, Caucasia was an integral component of the Iranian cultural world. The broadest meaning of Iranshahr. This was a very big garden. It was very diverse and had a lot of lovely flowers. Caucasia was a dynamic and contributing member of the cross-cultural Iranian commonwealth stretching from Central Eurasia -- Central Asia to Anatolia, and south to the Horn of Africa. Across the breadth of Late Antiquity even after Christianization, Caucasia's peoples were firmly embedded in the diverse Iranian commonwealth. In Late Antiquity, the Iranian and especially Irenic features of Caucasian society account for regional cohesion at least as much As Christianity. In any case, from its inception Christianity fit itself to an assortment of sociocultural frameworks but not just the Greco Roman. In Caucasia, this framework was the Iranian world. Now so as to better illustrate these points, let's turn to some contemporary voices. I shall make reference this morning to the following histiographical narratives used in Late Antique Caucasia. First, the Armenian narrative of King Khosrov's conversion, the source attributed to the 5th Century writer called Agat'angelos. Another Armenian text, the 5th Century <i>Buzandaran pat mutiwnk </i>or <i>The Epic Histories </i>. The composite history of the land of Albania written in Armenian and credited to Movses Dasxuranc'i. And two anonymous Georgian histories; <i>The Life of the Kings </i>and <i>The Life of Vaxtang Gorgasali </i>. The received forms of both of these text are based on a lost Georgian source from the 6th Century. Now according to all of these Caucasian sources, the social landscape of Late Antique Caucasia was characterized by an Irenic pattern dominated by Dynastic aristocratic houses and a super aristocratic family laying claim to royal status and the possession of the Farat. Royal glory. Significantly in Caucasia, Bishops -- Christian Bishops, fit their ecclesiastical authority not to Roman or Roman like provinces and capitals -- which did not exist here, but to the prevailing noble and royal estates. Early Bishops in Caucasia held their post by hereditary right in harmony with the social practice of the Iranian world and certainly not according to Roman practice. Thus, in Armenia the family of Gregory the Illuminator, the holy man who ensured King Khosrov's baptism in the 4th Century, monopolized the position of Chief Prelate of Armenia Major. The integration of early Caucasian bishops within Iranshahr was manifest in numerous other ways. These Christian leaders were clothed in the heroic vocabulary of the Iranian epic. A tradition enjoying tremendous popularity throughout Caucasia. The epic history thusly describes mid-Century Yusik the first, grandson of Gregory the Illuminator. And I quote, "Yusik followed the apostolic ways of his father Vrt'anes, and was a son like unto his father's measure. Altogether, in all things and in all ways, he showed his angelic traits, and accomplished everything in accordance with the grace granted to him by God. He pastured the rational Christian folk and admonished it with evangelical precepts. For he was young in years -- manure -- victorious, tall in stature, with a face of wondrous beauty and grace, so that no other like him could be found anywhere on earth. Pure and resplendent in spirit, he in no way concerned himself with things here below, but from the days of his youth, like a valiant armored soldier of Christ, like a heroic champion -- nahadog, he defied and threatened with victory the invisible foe. He had no knowledge of partiality or of the respect of persons, but bore the world of the Holy Spirit like a sword at his side. Yusik's Iranian presentation is no aberration." In the Armenian <i>Epic Histories </i>, such imagery reaches a crescendo in the panegyric of [inaudible] the first. Narses was the great-great-grandson of Gregory the Illuminator and the son of the Armenia [inaudible] princess Bando Shin. An obvious transcription of the Middle Raining word for Queen. Bishops like Yusik and Narses were deemed to be epic heroes of the Iranian kind. What's more, Narses represents the biological fusion of the powerful ecclesiastical dynastic elite -- the Gregorites, and the political rulers, the Arshakuni or the Armenia Arsichids in a Christianizing, yet profoundly Irenic society. As we would expect, Iranian and Irenic heroic imagery is also applied to Caucasian kings and their champion warriors called [inaudible] in Armenian and [inaudible] in Georgian. Christianization did not reverse this trend. Indeed, precisely as result of Christianization, the Irenic epic tradition was reinvigorated in Caucasia. Not only in Armenia, a subject extensively studied by Nina Garsyona [assumed spelling]. Here let us consider the history of Agat'angelos which describes the conversion of King Khosrov to Christianity. Agat'angelos Armenia text commences with the Sasanian overthrow of the parteon [inaudible]. At the time [inaudible] Hosrove II ruled in Armenia. He was the scion of the Aermenia Arsicad or Arshakuni House and was the father of the future King Terdod. The Armenian Hosrove was determined to exact vengeance for the Sasanian [inaudible] in Iran. According to Agat'angelos, the time of the Parthian kingdom came to an end when sovereignty was taken away from Artawan son of Vatars on his murder by Artasir son of Sasan. The latter was a prince from the Province of Stahr who had come and united the forces of the Persians; then they abandoned, rejected, and disdained the sovereignty of the Parthians and happily chose the sovereignty of Artasir son of Sasan. Now the sad news -- and this is what is called sad news of the Parthians plight reached the Aremenia [inaudible] king and at the start of the next year King Hosrove began to raise forces and assemble an army. He gathered the armies of the Albanians and the Georgians, opened the Gates of the Alans and the [inaudible] of Cor, and brought through the army of the Huns in order to attack Persian territory and invade Asorestan as far as the gates of Ctesiphon. He ravaged the whole country, ruining the populous cities and prosperous towns. He attempted to eradicate, destroy completely, extirpate and overthrow Persian -- that is Sasanian -- kingdom, and aimed at abolishing its institutions. At the same time, he made an oath to seek vengeance with great rancor for their loss of sovereignty. So as to emphasize the uncompromised legitimacy of the Parthians and the blatant theft of the authority by the upstart Sasanians, some variants of Agat'angelos incorporate the Parthian romance of Arthavan and Arthashir. In Late Antiquity, the obsession with dynastic honor and vengeance is as much a hallmark of the Iranian as it is of Caucasian society. Throughout Caucasia this was bolstered by the prevalence of royal families having strong Parthian roots. A circumstance persisting long after the ascendency of the Sasanians. Significantly dynasties descended from Parthian [inaudible] and [inaudible] monopolized all three throes of Caucasia at the time of their Christianization in the 4th Century. Earlier Armenian histiography highlights the unqualified royal legitimacy of the Armenian Arshakuni's even when specific individuals fell short in their duties. All the while, it cast Arshakuni kingship in the familiar terms of the Iranian world. Following an Armenia led victory of the Romans the [inaudible] II reportedly acclaimed the Armenian [inaudible] in this manner. "The king of Armenia with his own might has been our champion and he has performed a deed of such valor -- [inaudible] that no one else by any means may perform it. However, relations with [inaudible], were soured and [inaudible] invaded Armenia. In this tense atmosphere, the Armenia <i>Epic Histories</i> repeatedly established Arshakuni validity through the supposed actions and words of the Sasanian's themselves. Arshakuni burial sites were especially targeted by Sasanian generals. Now the sad thing of such sites would have immortalized the Armenians, but in its account of the Iranian defeat in the central district of Ararat, the <i>Epic Histories</i> reveals another objective. And the Armenians put all of them to the sword, and they took away from them the bones of their own kings that the Persians were carrying away into captivity to the Persian realm. For they said, according to their heathen beliefs: "This is the reason that we are taking the bones of the Armenian kings to our realm: that the glory of the kings and the fortune and valor of this realm might go from here with the bones of the kings and entire into our realm." Needless to say, these supernatural attributes, P'ark, baxt, k'ajut iwn -- glory, fortune, and valor are pillars of kingship not just in Armenia, but throughout Caucasia and the entire Iranian world. Georgian sources apply equivalent Irenic imagery to both Zoroastrian and Christian monarchs. The most striking Christian example is Vakhtang I Gorgasali who ruled at the turn of the 5th and 6th Centuries. The narrative anchor of the text known as <i>The Life</i> <i>of [inaudible] </i>is a series of single combats waged by Vakhtang. This Christian hero king worsted in turn a Hazar named Tarkan, an Alan named Bakatar, a Christian Byzantine Logotheit named Poly Carpos and an unnamed king of Sendia. Although always taking pains to credit his royal legitimacy and physical prowess to the Christian god, Vakhtang is never made to enter into single combat against Zoroastrian Iranians. However, under Vakhtang's command, were many loyal Iranian champions. The Irenic imagery enshrouding the Christian Vakhtang is particularly evident in a squirmish with Bakatar. A titian hailing from Northern Caucasia, the region known as Alania. And this passage was worth quoting in full. So, you get a sense of this Iranian type imagery. "Baqat'ar was a giant, a goliat I, and since the time he had begun to engage in combat no one had been able to resist him in battle, and he had killed all of his adversaries. This Baqat'ar stood on the bank of a river and shouted in a loud voice, " Oh King Vaxtang, do not be proud of your killing of Tarq'an. He was not one of the giants and therefore he was slain by a youth." Then King Vaxtang replied to Baqat'ar saying, "No only through my own strength did I overcome T'arq'an, but through the strength of my Creator. For the power of Christ is with me, and his honorable cross is my armor." He mounted his horse, which was covered with chain armor, he took up his shield of tiger-skin, which a sword could not cut. Baqat'ar crossed the river and began to shoot arrows. By the sharpness of his eyes, the keenness of his mind, and the agility of his horse Vaxtang avoided the arrows. On both sides, the sounds of trumpets and drums rose from the troops. Baqat'ar was not able to shoot more than two arrows at Vaxtang's shield, and he did not hit it. Then he shot another arrow at Vaxtang's horse which penetrated. While his horse was falling Vaxtang rushed on Baqat'ar, brought his sword down on his shoulders and penetrated to his heart. At that moment Vaxtang's horse fell. He quickly put out his hand and grasped Baqat'ar's horse. First, he fell to the ground, worshipped God, and blessed him even more than before. Although we don't have time to explore it today, the potent Irenic imagery found in Caucasian text has abundant visual parallels as well. Most notably is in the spread wings motif that has been specially studied by Matteo Compareti. Now, as a conclusion, I would like to offer a few words about tensions between Parthian's and Sasanian's. It goes without saying that the Sasanian regime in many ways depended upon Parthian elements in Iran. In Caucasia, where Caucasia Parthian royalty remained in place, heavy-handed Sasanian tactics operated alongside measures fostering mutual confidence and corporative governance. The history of Albania reports that Shapur II made an effort to identify subject peoples who should be honored in his court. The status of the Armenians had come into doubt and the [inaudible] presented them with an ultimatum. Demonstrate through "an ancient book Armenian noble status, lest it tells us prized cushions be conferred upon Audian aristocrats." The Armenian thereafter presented Sapur with a manuscript of Agat'angelos' history, which the King of Kings "Commanded to be translated into the Persian language and script when he learned that it commenced with Artasir, his own forefather, he rejoiced greatly, and moved to tears he praised the book and held it before his eyes." Finding therein the figure of seventeen cushions, he began to arrange accordingly the seats of everyone at the royal table. Now should this reflect a genuine event we can only conjecture about the version of Agat'angelos' presented to the Sasanian empower, the surviving Armenian variant mentions Articshir only in connection with the subjugation of Parthian and Parthius fall is openly lamented here. The Greek version of Agat'angelos' uniquely preserves the aforementioned Parthian romance expounding upon the last Parthian [inaudible] Artivan and the rise to power of Articshir. But it can hardly be termed as a pro-Sasanian tract. In light of the considerable reworking of Agat'angelos' cycle across Late Antiquity it would not however been difficult for Armenian [inaudible] to modify the narrative so as to win Shapur's favor. And so, if one looks beyond the triumph of Christianity, much of the surviving Agat'angelos' tradition would have resonated with the Sasanian's and other Iranians for that matter. For it repeated political and social modes that circulated throughout the Iranian world, including the heartland of Iran itself. And this I think is the ultimate image of Late Antique Caucasia. Not as some hinge between the mythical East and West, but as a Christianizing Irenic society firmly implanted in the Iranian commonwealth. Thank you. [ Applause ] >> Mary-Jane Deeb: Thank you very much, Professor Rapp. And now to the third panelist, Dr. Khodadad Rezakhani, who's a historian of late antiquity and global history. He earned his PhD from UCLA in 2010 and is current a research associate at Princeton University researching the economic history of Central and Western Asia in the 6th and 7th Centuries. He's the author of <i>Reorienting the Sasanian's: East Iran</i> <i>and Late Antiquity</i> that's published by Edenborough University Press this year. As well as a number of articles relating to the late antique period. His translation commentary was [inaudible] of the Anonymous Lake Chronicle known as <i>The Chronicle</i> <i>of Kozikstan </i>, was recently published in Tehran. So, Dr. Khodadad Rezakhani [inaudible] join us. [ Applause ] >> Khodadad Rezakhani: Thank you very much. While it's particularly hard following Stephen Rapp I'm in awe of anybody who knows Georgian even if they are Georgian, let alone not being there. And I don't have as much interesting stuff as you do. Thank you very much again sir. Thank you very much also for everybody who accepted the offer -- invitation to show up to this event and including the audience, and particularly to Hirad [inaudible] for going through so much trouble in organizing this as well as the Alborz alumni for supporting it. Thank you very much. As it happens when people work on a rather limited geographical area, things start being very close. So, both of the previous speakers said things that are related to what I'm going to present. I'm going to actually talk about those Barbarians, the early ones that Touraj mentioned, and one of my proposals is like what Stephen mentioned, that these peripheral people are not that peripheral. And we are always thinking of them as peripheral because we are looking at from a particularly hegemonic point of view. And my idea is generally that they are not. That second point I don't necessarily get to, but I did get to the Barbarians. This is how I go forward and backwards. So I start a narrative here, and the point is that narrative itself. As you can see there's a dearth of maps. So, I have found a German one. It doesn't matter, same empire. The areas that I'm talking about are the areas that on this map are in a rather generous way are shown by the off-orange color on the peripheries. And what happens to them at the end of the Sasanian period. And particularly what happens on the area that is facing the Arabian region, the Arabian Desert. And specifically, the events of the -- I would say the -- about the middle of the 7th Century, which we all knows as the Arab/Islamic invasions which we now put at the end of the Ancient Iran. Although that is -- seems to be a very modern division that is of little use to historical inquiry. But that is the watershed that everybody refers to. So, what happens that we get to this from that? Particularly from -- to this map of the Islamic Caliphate and the world that gets -- the same world that gets -- takes over -- gets taken over by the new system? Well, I'm going to give you the only text slide that I have today. This is sort of a calendar of key events as I call it, of what is going on and the things that I want to talk about. The events I'm obviously talking about are down the list. So I'm talking about things such as 636, the Battle of Qadisiyya and Yarmuk at the same years, 642, the Battle of Nahavand, which is called the Conquest of all Conquests. And of course 652, the death of Yazdgird III, which is taken as the effective end of the Sasanian Empire, although we should probably consider it about 30 years earlier than that. And how do we end up there? And my narrative starts at the top of the slide. The 484 with the Death of Peroz the Sasanian king in a battle against the Hephthalites. One of the Barbarians mentioned over there, which are not in their own opinion that Barbarian nor are they outside the boundaries of Iranshahr as Touraj mentioned. Oxus to Euphrates is a very useful way of thinking about the Sasanian Empire or the Arianshir from their own particularly ideological point of view, but as I have mostly argued in the book and I will try to touch upon today, the people over there do not think of themselves necessarily as outside that boundary. My basic argumentation for that, which I channeled to dwell on too much today, is the fact that they call themselves [inaudible] of the king calling himself [inaudible]. The Kind of [inaudible]. This [inaudible] is not the province that you're thinking of today in East Iran, nor is the Islamic [inaudible]. It is actually a Middle Persian translation of the [inaudible] which means where the sun comes out. The East. The King of the East. Of course there is a lot east of what this people consider themselves. [Inaudible] desert. And China, and well Japan, and if you just go East enough you get to California. So they are not the East of anywhere. But they are the East of this Iranshahr they're imagining themselves to be. And that is one of the main arguments they have, that beyond the Oxus and beyond things that we think of as the boundaries of Iranshahr people did consider themselves part of this greater entity. And as we see, it is beyond Oxus in the early Islamic period where a lot of this culture that we recognize as a Persian culture or what we recognize as even the Persian language actually gets -- matures up. So just think of the fact that the first poets of Persian language lived beyond Oxus through [inaudible] for example. So these are the people who are actually between the Juxoraties and the Euphrates. So the people around and beyond these boundaries actually end up being the best caretakers of the culture that we are thinking about. Now, this whole event starts here in this period. I can't point to it, but as you can see, the big blue blob in the middle is called the Hephthalites Empire. And the Hephthalites come to existence a little before 484. That king [inaudible] Touraj was mentioning establishes his lands is probably a Sasanian reiteration or maybe reinterpretation of what is actually happening during the time of the famous Sasanian King Baphomet IV. Or Bahome [inaudible] the one who hunts [inaudible], who really establishes a tower at the border and says that the other side is your empire, your kingdom, whatever you want to call it. The Hephthalites. And this side is my kingdom. So these Hephthalites however are not very fond of that and neither is the Sasanian king. A series of squirmishes from the 470's on finally results in a disaster for the Sasanians, which is the death of [inaudible] in 484. In a very carefully planned line of defense by the Hephthalites. These Hephthalites are the latest wave of what in German the great [inaudible] the Iranian Huns. I rather use the German one because when you get to English, to Huns, you think of Attila. I want people to not think of Attila. So the Hephthalites are of this group and they have formed a Kingdome over there. And in 484 when they managed to kill [inaudible] they really become for a good 20 years the people who call the shots on the Sasanian Empire. We have them in the later Islamic sources as, oh the Sasanian King comes and he gets removed by his nobles and the other one comes, and then the new one comes. But they all end up in the Hephthalites court. Including [inaudible] son Kevat [assumed spelling], who he gets removed supposedly and the accusation of promoting masochism he goes to the Hephthalites court and then gets reinstalled. Not by saying that he was wrong about the masochism -- if any of it existed -- but by help of the Hephthalites army. In 498 he actually takes his crown back. And other than their political allegiance Sasanians pay Hephthalites a lot of money. Bob Schoff [assumed spelling] should like these pictures. So the Hephthalites are actually getting the coins of Peroz on top and making their own version of it. As you can see, they don't really care about inscriptions that much. They just copy the coins. So, there's a lot of money going from Iran, going from this Iranshahr to the Hephthalites territories and well they are very happy about it. I think what happens here is that this peripheral power centrality ends up forcing the Sasanians to finally have their eyes on the West. Now, this might sound strange to many of you. We usually know of the Sasanians from Western sources. We know of Sasanians through Roman, and later Islamic sources. All of whom talk about the West inside of the Sasanian Empire. And it seems like the Sasanians are a very Western oriented power. In reality, when you look at the sources, Sasanians are quite an Eastern power. Most of the preoccupation of the Sasanians in the first half of their rule is their Eastern borders. The biggest campaigns are in the East. I'm not necessarily going to stress the point too much, but I think the fact that they put their capital on the very West means that's the place that they felt the safest about. They felt the unsafest in the East. That is my suggestion of the whole thing. But starting in the restoration of Kavat in 498 this Western attention becomes a major point for the Sasanians. They have to take on the Western borders more seriously and by the way, extract any resources from it they can. Because they owe Hephthalites a lot of money and they have already paid quite a bit of it. So, from 502 you have the start of a series of wars. It starts from a war in 502 to 504 known in Roman sources as the Anestasian Wars. And these are all of the wars. You can see the different lines and they all continue until 628. So it's not a continuous war, but on and off for the rest of the Sasanian reign you have a series of wars between Sasanians and Byzantines, often at a standstill. Sometimes with upper hand for the Sasanians and less often for the Byzantines until the Arabs/Muslims come. And these wars continue and they seem to generate a good amount of money, but also a good amount of impetus for reorganization of the empire. This reorganization is known as the Reforms. Attributed popularly to Hosrove I, but less popularly and probably more accurately to Kavat, which results in a complete revamping of the taxation system. As you say IRS is always at the forefront of every change that we have. So the Sasanians change their taxation system as well. There is a complete redoing of the military system and less studied and still underway, a complete redoing of their social and known structure of the Sasanian nobility particularly. These things as I said, are usually attributed to the gentleman here, Shapur I. Obviously one of them is a coin. The other one is a famous relief on the wall of the House of Justice or the Hall of Justice in Tehran. [Inaudible] as I'm sure most of you know, is known as the [inaudible] or then The Just. And is the example of justice in the Sasanian period. And he is also continues all of these wars and goes on to take over most of the areas that had been controlled by the Sasanians prior to the start of the wars, and slowly expands East. So going back to that map. In the West he runs a series of conquests. he is rather successful gains the Byzantines. Not necessarily all the time, but he does establish his Western borders, including trade towns. And further in the East he finally in about 670 -- is mean 570 -- we don't really have the date, he with the help of the Western or the [inaudible] manages to destroy the Hephthalites. So those Hephthalites for -- who about 80 years ago had determined the fate of the Sasanian Empire are now broken down and their territory is incorporated into the territories of the Sasanians. How effective that is and who takes over what is a matter of controversy. But we do know that at least as sort of the central power Hephthalites don't exist anymore. They might exist in smaller Hephthalites entities up to the coming of the Muslim armies. In this -- oops, so after this event, the Sasanian Empire has formed itself as an expanding power. It has secured its Western borders. It has now defeated its greatest enemy in the West -- in the East. And has created this empire divided into four military divisions of [inaudible] in the East, [inaudible] in the West, Naruz's in the South, and usually called [inaudible] or [inaudible] in the North. It has established a good taxation system and it doesn't necessarily seem to be very happy with the state of affairs. It still wants to expand. Particularly in the West. And that happens with the succession -- troublesome succession of Hosrove II. I didn't mention one of the kings [inaudible], but it's pointless to go through his reign at this time. Hosrove II in 590 becomes the king. He's almost immediately removed by one of his generals, the famous [inaudible] who initially has him flee to the Byzantine Empire. The various and mostly Roman and later Islamic -- Midevil Islamic sources say that he goes to Constantinople and he marries the daughter of the Roman empower. Probably mythological. he does go to Syria though and he does get help from Morris [assumed spelling] the Roman emperor. Comes back -- this is the scene from a midevil Persian manuscript of [inaudible] on the left side of the river fighting Hosrove's troops. So [inaudible] for a year rules. 591 Hosrove comes back and starts establishing himself. And shortly after that he seems to find the perfect excuse to go on with his expansionist ideas. And his expansionist ideas as I said, are the West. So from 602 he starts his campaigns in the West. Now, the main motivation is that in 602 his Roman Patron Emperor Morris, the one who helped him succeed, has been killed by one of his own nobles called Focus [assumed spelling]. And this gives enough reason to Hosrove to want to take revenge for Morris' death. So then from 602 he starts conquering in the West. As you can see from the map, he takes over very quickly the area of Anatolia, most of Syria. he goes down towards Palestine and in a second phase after 613 he starts taking over Egypt as well. Now, why is this important? Well other than the fact that it's a very cool event, it is the fact that he is taking over most of the areas to the North of the lands where Islam initially comes to existence. Notice, time is 613 to 628; 621 is the date of Hedgra. So, when Mohamed is moving from Mecca to Medina, when the Islamic states -- the first version of it in Medina is forming -- Sasanians have taken over the passage that the Arabs have to the rest of the world from the North. They are in Syria and they are surrounding the Arabs on the North and even on the Northwest in Egypt. Now, this scene is the scene of the defeat of Hosrove at the hand of Heraclius in [inaudible]. And he gets in one of the most interesting regicides in world history. He gets removed -- he's also put on trial. There is an official complaint about him from the court. He answers it. He -- we have it in [inaudible], we have it in [inaudible], we have it everywhere. And his defense is not accepted and he sort of is executed/someone is allowed to kill him. So they send someone to kill him. So in 628 Hosrove II is killed, the Sasanian Empire falls into a terrible state of disarray and I would suggest that this is the end of the Sasanian Empire. This is the end of the Sasanian Dynasty for sure. What happens after this is really of little significance and what comes up after it is really an internal dynastic fight. The empire is done for. The empire is -- the lands -- Iranshahr is going its own way. And culturally and politically, economically it is already on the way to becoming what we recognize as in the midevil period as the land of the [inaudible], the land of the forced, the land of the Persians. And -- but before we get there we have to notice that the power that comes to replace that -- as I said, the interestingly yellow/beige area -- as I said in the North is surrounded by the Sasanians in Syria. But even earlier than that, something I didn't mention -- because I wanted it for dramatic effect, is that the South side of it is also surrounded by the Sasanians. So Sasanians in the middle of the 6th Century had already managed to take over the [inaudible] in the South of Arabia. So again, notice the world in which the -- in which Islamic state and religion of Islam is coming to existence is surrounded on all sides pretty much by the Sasanians. It is a completely Sasanian context. And that is one of the arguments I'm having -- and I'm hoping to sort of drive home is that in this context, the Arab/Islamic conquest is not a foreign invasion. It's sort of an internal upheaval of within an empire they don't necessarily directly control [inaudible] although there are signs that they are trying to control [inaudible] particularly on the coast. The Sasanians. But the rest of the context of Islam is within a Sasanian context. They are there where in every side they look there is a Sasanian government. And they do actually. They look to their East, the first place they go in modern day Oman, and there are Sasanians. In the North there are Sasanians. In the West there are Sasanians. In the South there are Sasanians. This is what actually is how Islam comes to exist in a Sasanian context. So peripheries of this empire -- as I mentioned at the beginning, the peripheries of this empire are now taking it over. First of all, the Hephthalites helps bring it to its particular shape as a Western empire and now a Western/Southwestern power is finally taking it over and managing to sort of destroy it. I'm not going to go any further than that by just stopping there in the sense of the arguments that I'm trying to make. This is the core of the Islamic conquest. I'm mentioning several things quickly. One is that notice that the first centers of Islam end up being in the Sasanian territories. The first time that the Islamic system moves out of Arabia, it moves to Koufa, just outside the walls of Hera which is a Sasanian dependencies ruling over the Arab tribes of Southwest. Right? And when they move in they move into Central Asia which is their last real major conquest is 728, the Conquest of Boharah. That is where it really stops. Those territories of the Barbarians of the East who initially contributed to the destruction of the Sasanian is where also that the peripheries of the South stop. So these peripheries finally end up taking over the center and becoming really the center. So the power comes from the Southwest. The power comes from the Arab side. And as I mentioned at the beginning, the culture ends up coming from the Northeast from beyond Oxus. And I just put this beautiful coin because I always find it amazingly interesting that this is a Sasanian style coin with the crown of Hosrove II. Outside of it obviously has the word [inaudible] written in Arabic, but notice in front of the king's face is a Middle Persian inscription in the style of Sasanians and instead of the Sasanian kings name it says [inaudible]. The thing that I want to leave you with is that he's not writing [inaudible] in Arabic. He's writing [inaudible]. He's translating his name. He's not calling himself Yusif Ahangar. He's calling himself Joseph Smith. He has translated his name into Middle Persian. He is within this Iranshahr context even from the beginning. Thank you very much. [ Applause ] >> Mary-Jane Deeb: So he has left you -- Professor Rezakhani has left you with a challenge and we have time unfortunately for only two questions, after which we will take a break and then resume with a second panel. So two questions. Please identify yourself and ask one of the speakers. Okay, be brief and to the point. Yes? >> Yes [inaudible]. >> Mary-Jane Deeb: Okay. >> Harry Haedgar [assumed spelling], research and now retired government. Many of the experts have looked at Sasanian coins over, you know, many many years and they still have trouble deciphering the language supposedly on their numismatic items. And I wondered if you had any comments on that. Also, the standard -- the Parthian standard was like a touch of [inaudible] and their sort of thick smaller coins whereas, Sasanian coinage is a large flan and a thin coin. Any comments on that? It's an introduction of a new style of coinage and the successor regimes with the Dirhams, the Arabs Dirhams follow a similar pattern. At least in shape and size. Is there any special significance to this development? >> Mary-Jane Deeb: Thank you. >> Khodadad Rezakhani: Can I admit that I didn't quite understand the question because of the echo in the room? >> Mary-Jane Deeb: Yes. >> Khodadad Rezakhani: Could I refer any specific -- in the interest of time -- specific numismatic question first of all to afterwards and then to Bob Schoff who's better equipped to answer those questions than me. About the language, the language seems to be quite certain. The Middle Persian written in front of the face of the king so written in the generally well understood [inaudible] writing tradition which includes a lot of Aramaic logograms. So we can read it. And then the other one is Arabic. I don't think there's any doubt about the language and I have not heard anybody really doubting the language. It is doubtful how you read [inaudible], but I think that's how a couple of us have jobs. >> Mary-Jane Deeb: Okay, one more question. I think over there Hirad. There. Yes? >> Question to Steve. It's loud. In some of the early more self-consciously Christian sources in Georgian would you say some of the reaching to the west is trying to get themselves away from Iran? You can talk about [inaudible] or Gorgasali or any of those sorts of things. I know we've -- a disclaimer -- we've published things together. And we've talked about how [inaudible] the conversion of Cartley has -- was partly written against the Armenians who had not accepted the council of Chalcedon, but could also the entrance of Constantine and Helena into that source and interrelated sources be a start of trying to shade over the Iranian elements? >> Mary-Jane Deeb: Okay, thank you. >> Khodadad Rezakhani: By the way, this is Paul Crego [assumed spelling] our Armenian/Georgian cataloguer. I owe him quite a bit of gratitude for materials he's gotten for us. Go ahead. >> Stephen Rapp: All right, to give a short answer to that really interesting set of questions, I think one of the things that you're saying is an important point that I really should have said something about in my paper. If Late Antique Caucasia is so [inaudible] part of the Iranian world, why do these places Christianize in the 4th Century at all? Why don't they stay Zoroastrian? And in part, there are certainly non-Iranian elements in the caucuses. Certainly the royal families have deep Parthian roots, all Christianized in the 4th Century. And I think that Christianization is in part a way that they were setting themselves apart from the Sasanians. It was in part a political decision to warm up to the Romans who were pretty distant geographically. They had to deal more with the Iranians. They were much closer just to the South, but by choosing the route of Christianity one, monotheism gave them some powerful political tools in their arsenal. Also opened up problems of hearsay within the faith in the 4th, and 5th, and 6th Centuries. But certainly it's a way to distinguish themselves even more from the Sasanians to the South. And yes, the literatures that develop in the caucuses all develop after the conversion to Christianity. The script for Armenian, Georgian, and Caucasian Albanian -- which has just recently been deciphered -- all were invented around the year 400 and all were connected with Christianization. There are certainly some religious text early on that really -- the religious writers in the caucuses are trying to deliberately remove themselves from an Iranian context and put themselves more deliberately in a Roman or Byzantine context. And we get that. But part of the problem is most of the text that we have in the caucuses are rewrites of rewrites of rewrites. They're highly edited, just like in, you know, the same problem we have in Iran. We have -- putting inscriptions aside, but the literary tradition we have there's a lot of editing, and reediting, and deep manuscript traditions. Many of which are lost. Same thing in the caucuses. So what those earliest Christian text actually look like is a matter of some debate. Although in some of my recent publications I've been arguing that there was a lost Georgian history, an epic history that looked a lot like the [inaudible]. What eventually grew into the Shanama in Iranian and Islamic world. In Georgia that then became the base of the surviving hypsographical tradition. >> Mary-Jane Deeb: Okay, I'm going to take -- I'm going to make an exception. One more question, but to Professor Daryaee. So that we -- [ Inaudible Speaker ] Exactly. So is it a question for Professor Daryaee? [ Inaudible Speaker ] >> Touraj Daryaee: You can ask me so I feel good. >> Mary-Jane Deeb: Good. So everybody has a -- >> Thank you. My name is Isan [assumed spelling]. My question is, do we have any idea about -- I think both gentlemen talked about the reforming the tax system. Do we have any idea about the volume of the government revenues during [inaudible], especially compared to the Byzantines and [inaudible]. >> Touraj Daryaee: We have reports of redacted reports of redacted reports of how much money was brought in from [inaudible]. We get -- Nahordadbe and so on give us reports. Now how reliable they are it's tricky but I think at least we know how much in the early Islamic period they're taxing and [inaudible] writing it he's giving some relevance visa vie how much taxation is coming in the Sasanian Empire. So that's what we have to go by. Of after the reforms, how much was [inaudible] sort of receiving after the reforms? So we do have again, reports or redacted reports as he said. >> Mary-Jane Deeb: Okay, so let's give them a hand. [ Applause ] >> Fatemeh Keshavarz: Very happy to be here. I'm Fatemeh Keshavarz, Professor of Persian and Director of the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at University of Maryland. And my collaboration -- or our collaboration with the Library of Congress goes back for many years now, and it's really a tremendous privilege for us to have this connection with Mary-Jane, with Hirad, with the whole team here. It has been really wonderful. So thank you for this privilege of chairing the panel today. We've had some wonderful presentations reminding us that some ideas of periphery and walls and keeping people out is not so new after all. And I'm sure that there will be some interesting conversations also going on in the light of the current panel, which is focusing on peoples and religions of the Sasanian realm. Our first speaker today is Dr. Yuhan Sohrab-Dinshaw Vevaina who's currently a [inaudible] Assistant Professor of Avestin and Palative languages in the Department of Near Eastern -- or Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto in Canada. Professor Vevaina earned his PhD in 2007 from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University. And soon after that in the year 2010 he was actually a national endowment -- a Fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities. He has taught courses related to ancient and the late antique [inaudible] both on the undergraduate and graduate level. Also related to Zoroastrianism. And he's completing currently a book on Zoroastrian scriptural interpretations in late antiquity. So, with that in mind and his book length project on Zoroastrian coming out very soon we hope I'm inviting Professor Vevaina to speak to us today about Zoroastrianism and Manekism in the Sasanian world and beyond. Please welcome Professor Vevaina. Thank you. [ Applause ] >> Yuhan Sohrab-Dinshaw Vevaina: So, before I begin I would like to express my great honor at being asked to speak here at the Library of Congress. All thanks to Touraj Daryaee, Khodadad Rezakhani. I would also like to express my gratitude to Hirad Dinavari, his technical staff, and the Alborz High School alumni for allowing us to gather here today and showcase the value of scholarly work on pre-modern Iran. The killing of the Prophet Mani, the eponymous founder of the Manichaeism religion in the 3rd Century was one of the most discussed events in late antiquity. From being labeled a heretic, lunatic, seducer, maniac, pseudo prophet, and my personal favorite, a nimble-fingered thief do amene [inaudible] sensitive treatment of Mani in his novel<i> The Gardens of Light </i>. Mani's fascinating life and gruesome death have long captured our imaginations. As you can see the number one on the projector, Ibn al-Nadim, the great Muslim scholar of the 10th Century stated, Mani was put to death during the reign of Bahram b. Sabur. After he executed him he suspended him in two pieces, one half over a certain gate and the other half over a different gate of the city of Junday sabur. These two places received the designations 'the upper part of the Lord' and 'the lower part of the Lord'. It is said that he has been previously imprisoned by Sabur, but after Sabur died Bahram feed him. It is also said that he died while in prison, but there is no uncertainty regarding his crucifixion. This highly evocative description of Mani's ultimate demise beautifully captures the dilemmas we scholars face while studying the Sasanians. Since all of our narrative historical sources for Iranian religious history were either written by the much later Muslim scholars writing Arabic and Persian or we have to be content with the histories and chronicles written by their traditional enemies, the Romans and Byzantines. Or Christian communities composed of former Zoroastrians writing in Syriac and of course the underappreciated sources Armenia and Georgia. I might have left out the Jewish sources. Apologies. What we do have in the way of securely datable sources from the actual Sasanian period are royal inscriptions and reliefs, coins, seals, bullae, and papyri. All of which reflect forms of a rich and varied Zoroastrian political theology. But that typically do not formally explicate their own symbolism in a self-reflective manner. What I would like to do today is to show you how the hermeneutical or interpretive traditions in Zoroastrian Middle Persia or Palative literature are redacted in the early Islamic period has much to contribute to a richer understanding of Sasanian historiography. I will do so by showcasing how the Manicheans writing in Parthian, the Zoroastrians producing hermeneutical legal and polemical texts in Palatian [inaudible], and the Islamic heraseyographers writing in Arabic all made meaning of the death of Mani at the hands of Behram I. In my opinion, no figure better embodied the cosmopolitanism of the Sasanian world than Mani. As the founder of the world's first truly universalizing religion, Mani claimed to be inheritor of prophets like Jesus, the Buddha, and Zarathustra, all the while joined from traditions associated with biblical patriarchs such Seth, Noah, and Enoch. And apostles like Paul, upon whom Mani modeled his church. Echoing the title of my talk, let us begin by looking beyond the Sasanian realm to the East. As you can see in slide number two in lines one through four, in a Manichaean/Parthian text on the death of Mani from the Turfan oasis in Western China, we find references to his [inaudible] or par nirvana. A Buddhist term signifying a blessed state of death in which the deceased is freed from the cycle of birth and rebirth. And I quote, "And he Mani was unconscious and died. Such was the parinirvana of our father, as this is written." The religious and cultural cosmopolitanism of this text is once again showcased in lines seven through ten when the Manichaean's -- sorry -- when the Manichaean's referred to their Lord and Messiah as [inaudible] or crucifixion. And I quote, "When as we all know as for when Jesus to the Messiah of us all, the Lord was crucified." Here in the text we find the Manichaean's also drawing upon their inherited Christian symbolism. Thus equating Mani's death at the hands of the Sasanians with that of a prophetic forerunner, namely Jesus' ultimate sacrifice. East truly meets West. In Sasanian studies, Mani's death is discussed most often in conjunction with the Zorastrin imperial response to ethnoreligious diversity found in the contemporaneous 3rd Century reliefs of the Zorastrin high priest Caridier. Who unabashedly states, "And Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Nazarenes, Christians, Baptists, and Manichaean's/zandig within the realm were struck down idols were destroyed, dwellings of the demons were ruined and turned into thrones and seats for the gods." This passage has been discussed ad naseum, especially since it is right here that we have the first attestation of the term zandig. Later used by Muslims for the Manichaean's. What is far less well-known however is the explicitly isogenic act of reading the death of Mani into the gothos or forms of Zarathustra in the hermeneutical tradition in [inaudible] literature. The text in question is the 9th book of the Denkard, the largest extent Palative text, estimated at some 170,000 words. Denkard book nine purports to be a [inaudible] resume of a lost Palavey translation, commentary or zand of a putative [inaudible] commentary or mask on the old evestan gothos. Basically, we have stage one from mid-second millennium BCE. An stage four from the early 11th Century C.E. some 2,500 years later. While the myriad issues of textual transmission and interpretive fidelity are beyond our scope today, what should interest us is not just the fact that the gothos from two millennia earlier were read as having something to say about a major sociopolitical event, rather it is the isogenical technique of reading into the gothos here which is particularly fascinating. And the passage in Denkard 9 states, and about the sign of Mani crippled by the lie and the wicked hearers -- niyosag -- of his, and the beating which came upon him from the Lord of the Land -- presumably Behram I. And this too, he is wicked who gives my world to the vengeful one, Ahrimen, he will have raised up the wound demon himself. That is, he will have been set in motion for the death of the world of the Righteous. The text then goes on to quote Mani as having boasted, "I am better suited for the -- " "I am better suited for the office of Rad and the office of the Dastwar. With the Denkard text consequently critiquing Mani by stating, but that is not the way Zarduxst did it. He -- Mani -- makes men devour mutrisn." Something like filth. And he says to them, eternal life. That is, there is eternal life from it for those who were made to devour mutrisn. Then they think, the sacrifice the demons is best. Besides the rather opaque traditional inter-significations used by the Zoroastrian priests as weapons of polemic, how and why is Mani found in the gothic commentary in the first place? What line, formula, word, or concept in the original sacred scriptures motivates this isogenical textual practice? The second millennia BCE, gothic [inaudible] base text that triggers this radical interpretation appears to be Yasna 46.7, which is part of Zartrush [inaudible] complaint as he was facing persecution and a lack of social acceptance. And I quote, "But whom do you appoint as guardian for one such as me, O Mazda, when the deceitful one tries to seize me in order to injure me." And Zarathustra then adds in Yasna 46.8, if someone who places my herds through sin, may destruction not reach me through his actions. May it, in response, come upon him for that hostility onto his body. The gothic text here in line with its epidictic genre of praise and blame poetry, that is praise God and score evil, suggests that the poet priest -- presumably Zarathustra and his priestly followers -- will not be held liable for the misdeeds of the wicked ones. The late antique [inaudible] to translation come commentary of these ancient Avestan scriptures renders this as he -- presumably Mani -- who gives my world to that vengeful one -- [inaudible] -- he gives away property to the authority of the heretics. here, the world or [inaudible], that is modern [inaudible] is glossed by the concept of property or [inaudible] and it is given away through the authority or power of the heretics of ahlomoyan, understood in Denkard book nine to be none other than the Manichaean's who were notorious for their renunciations of philosophy. And a little later in Pahlavi of Yasna 46.8, we find it stated, to the bodies of the heretics and the man -- presumable Mani, the ruler comes. That is, he takes retribution on them. What we have here is truly fascinating. Bronze Age references to moveable property or herds and the lack of social acceptance of an archaic priestly poet sacrificer are allegorically re-tasked in the late antique and early Islamic contexts, and subsequently understood as a scriptural proof or justification for two actual historical events in the early Sasanian period. One, the renunciation of property by the Manichaeans, and the subsequent seizure of their property by the Sasanians. And two, the killing of Mani by Bahram I in 274 C.E. For the seizure of Manichaean property, we can once again look beyond the Sasanian world, this time to the West, to legislation issued in 381 C.E. by the Roman Emperor Theodosius in order to limit the philanthropy of Mani's hearers or auditories in the -- for the benefit of the elect or electing of his church. "If any Manichaean man or woman from the day of the law enacted long ago, and originally by our parents, has transmitted his own property to any person whatsoever, by having made a will or under title of any liberality whatsoever, or by form of donation, or if anyone of these persons has been enriched by grant of an inheritance entered through any form whatsoever, since immediately from the said persons under branded infamy's perpetual stigma, we withdraw all capability of making a will and of living under Roman law. And since we do not permit them to have the power either of leaving or taking any inheritance, the whole by an immediate investigation on the part of our treasury, should be joined to its resources." Just as we see in the West, we can look within the Sasanian world for confirmation of these property seizures by turning our gaze back to the [inaudible] resources, namely the "Madayan I Hazar Dadestan," or "Book of a Thousand Judgments," a Sasarnian era law code. It explicitly discusses the seizure of property due to heresy, zandigih, a term most often associated with the Manichaeans, as we saw earlier in [inaudible] inscription. The "Madayan" states, "The property of the sorcerer, jadug xwastag, such as he has, when they firmly establish his being a sorcerer, shall be held by the Rad," that is the supreme priestly authority. In isolation, the passage I have just cited is not absolutely probative, but the "Madayan" then adds, "Heresy is sorcery," zandigih jadugih. And finally, it declaims, "Due to practicing heresy," zandigih, "and following the beliefs of the heretic, one's property is seized for the treasury." So what do we have here in terms of the relationship between Sasanian jurisprudence administered largely by priests and the Zoroastrian hermeneutical tradition, also produced by the priesthood, in a different sector of the knowledge economy? From the perspectives of the emic, or traditional, interpreters of a religious tradition, in this case the [speaking in foreign language], their only obligation was to make meaning, produce theology, by grappling with the profound hermeneutical challenge of constantly enlivening their received past of archaic myth and ritual from the [inaudible] world. I would argue that they did so assiduously, using tradition-constituted forms of allegoresis, what I colloquially call Zoroastrian thought, to speak to their contemporary social realities by expanding, not delimiting, the spiritual and semantic range of scriptural understanding. For them, just as it was for the rabbis, scripture, in this case the "Avesta," spoke for an already-encoded all forms of lived human experience within human history and cosmic temporality, including all future religious and political events. The Manichaean challenge of an aggressively inter-confessional nature was so threatening to the Zoroastrian priesthood precisely because of Mani's promiscuous borrowing form the theological terms, concepts, and deities from the native Iranian that is Zoroastrian tradition, as when Mani says, "Fourth, this revelation of the two principles/origins, and my living books/scriptures, wisdom, and knowledge, are more and better than those of the religions of the ancients." The "Skand-gumanig Wizar," a tenth century polemic on the sorcery, jadugih, of Manichaean doctrine, written in Pazand -- that is, Middle Persian written in the Avestan alphabet, with glosses added from its Sanskrit version -- states, "I have completely escaped the doubt, and errors, and deceptions, and evil of the false doctrines, and especially from the greatest deceiver, the worst teacher, the airhead Mani whose false doctrine is sorcery, and whose religion, din, is deceit, and whose teaching is evil, and whose custom is spread in secret." One person's esotericism is another person's occultism. Al-Mas udi, living in tenth century Baghdad, the precise place where the [inaudible] was written some 60 years later, tells us, "We report that Mani, the son of Yazid, disciple of Qardun, came to Bahram and presented to him the dualist doctrines. He cunningly accepted them until he had gathered his missionaries, who were dispersed across the lands, those of his disciples who preached the dualist doctrines to the people. Then he," that's Bahram, "killed him, and he killed the leaders of his disciples. The word zindiqa was created in the days of Mani, with whom the zanadiqa are associated. And regarding this, when Zaradusht the son of Asbiman, spitaman, whose genealogy we have already mentioned, brought to the Persians a book called the "Bista," that's "Avesta," "in the first language of the Persians, he gave it a commentary, tafsir, called the "Zand." And he gave this commentary a gloss called "Bazand", Pazand, as we have said before. The "Zand" was an explanation for the esoteric/allegorical interpretation, ta wil, of the ancient revelation. Whoever there was in their religion who adduced anything in opposition to the revelation, that is the "Bista," and who turned toward the esoteric/allegorical interpretation, that is the "Zand," they would say, "He is a zandi," referring to the name of the interpretation, which shows that he had moved from the exoteric meanings of the revelation to the esoteric interpretation. And this is in contradiction to the revelation. When the Arabs came, they took this term from the Persians, and they pronounced it zindiq and Arabized it." While many of us have read this passage and others like it as part of the Manichaean/Zandi question connected to Islamic heresiography, I believe al-Mas udi is also giving us an eyewitness proof, through Islamic eyes, no doubt, of the very contested process of allegoresis within the Zoroastrian tradition that I have been discussing today. We have largely ignored the knowledge production of the quote, unquote Zoroastrian Zindiqs because we, the philologists, as root etymological fetishizers, continue to perceive their allegorical textual practices to be bad philology. I would contend that allegoresis -- that is the expansion of meaning -- as knowledge from the [speaking in foreign language] religion, or Den, was used as a defense of the idealized view of the Sasanian status quo and can best be seen in another [inaudible] passage on heresy in "Denkard Book III" in a chapter entitled, "The Protection of the Knowledge of the Religion, Den, from the Destruction of the Heretics." "And one is the discernment by the enumerators and teachers of the religion from which comes the protection of the proper knowledge of the religion from the destruction of the heretics. In a truthful manner, through good authority, there will be the going forth of the religion," Den, "and through the arrangement of kingship, xwadayih, there will be the management of the world." Here we see the deployment of a Sasanian theological trope and [inaudible] much better known from [speaking in foreign language], an Islamic political theory, from none other than al-Mas uri himself and others, who commonly site the founder of the Sasanians, Ardashir I, as saying, "Religion, Den, and kingship, mulk, are two brothers, and neither can dispense with the other. Religion is the foundation of kingship, and kingship protects religion. For whatever lacks a foundation must perish, and whatever lacks a protector disappears." Mani and his followers' cosmopolitanism threatened its highly idealized view of the relationship between priestly and royal power in Sasanian Iran, so much so that the Sasanian kings felt compelled to kill Mani, while the Zoroastrian priestly counterparts felt equally compelled to mock and reject Mani's claims to being a latter-day Zarathustra. And in doing so, ironically enough, they immortalized him as a persecuted prophet, and read his ultimate device into the Gathas. Thank you. [ Applause ] >> Fatemeh Keshavarz: Thank you very much, Dr. Vevaina, for that beautifully crafted discussion of interpretations and allegorical readings of texts, which again has very modern echoes for all of us today. And the more we listen today, we see how the borders we created between past and present are really more imaginary than they exist. Also, thank you so much to Al Borzean High School people here for brining -- can you imagine that a high school established in Iran so long ago is bringing such learned echoes to the Library of Congress and to all of us? That's wonderful. Thank you. [ Applause ] Thank you, and our next distinguished speaker, Professor Scott McDonough, is an Associate Professor of History at William Patterson University in New Jersey. His research interests lie in the social, institutional, and religious history of late Ancient West Asia, especially pre-Islamic Iran and Caucasia. He's currently working on a monograph, the title of which is "Sasanian Iran, Power, Patronage, and Piety." And the book is going to appear in 2018. The title of Professor McDonough's presentation today is "Queen Shirin and the Churches of the East, Christianity in Sasanian Iran." Sounds to be very, very interesting to listen to. Thank you, please welcome. [ Applause ] >> Scott McDonough: First, I, too, would like to thank the organizers for inviting me here, to all the presenters so far for their very stimulating talks, and what I am sure will be a set of even more stimulating papers in the afternoon. And in addition, I'd like to thank all of you for coming out. Okay, let me see if I know how to use this. Okay, shortly after his restoration to the throne in 591, the Sasanian King Khosrow II presented two remarkable benefactions to the shrine of the Christian Saint Surgius in Byzantine Sergiopolis. For the first, Khosrow restored to the shrine a cross taken in an earlier period of estrangement between Byzantium and Iran and provided a second cross inscribed with the king's thanks to the saint for aiding in his removal of the usurper Bahram Chobin. The second gift contained a number of things -- a number of varied gifts and a plate inscribed, "Not for the sight of men," giving the king's thanks to the saint for helping his Christian wife Shirin conceive a child. Kho row's devotion to the shrine of St. Sergius displays the complex interconnections of faith, power, and legitimacy in the late ancient world. Khosrow came to power in a coup against his father, Hormizd IV, orchestrated by his uncles from the aristocratic house of the Ispahbudhan. Khosrow was then in turn deposed by the Chief General of his empire, Bahram Chobin, scion of another of the empire's great families. Forced to flee to the protection of the Byzantine Emperor Maurice, Khosrow's restoration to the throne was supported by a foreign Christian ruler, and more significantly, by his own Christian subjects. Khosrow's thank offerings to a Christian military saint popular in both Byzantine and Sasanian lands emphasized the harmonious relations between Khosrow and the Christians of the Sasanian East, and the prominent role of his wife in shaping them. Shirin, paramount Queen of Khosrow, is one of the best documented figures of the late Sasanian period, appearing in numerous accounts of Greek -- in Greek, Armenian, Syriac, Arabic, Persian, and other languages. Her central role in the poetry of later Persian authors such as Ferdowsi and Nizami testifies to her continuing importance in the mythologizing of the pre-Islamic kings of Iranshahr. Yet as a Christian, she appears especially in early historical accounts written within the empire's diverse Christian communities, the East Syrian Church of the East, West Syrian and Armenian miaphysite Christian churches, Caucasian Albanian, and Chalcedonian. Well, it can be difficult to sort the myth from the late Sasanian reality of Shirin. Here status as queen, courtier, and Christian provides us with a fascinating window into the complex place of Christians in the Sasanian East. As a subordinate minority population, as vital supporters of Sasanian dynastic power, and as a rapidly-expanding religious -- set of religious communities locked in complex intra- and inter-confessional competition. The Sasanian world was home to significant Christian populations at least as far back as the third century. From the start, the Christian communities of the Sasanian Empire were diverse, originating in distinct episodes of proselytization and sometimes deportation, of culturally, geographically, and linguistically disparate populations. One of the more significant cultural divides among Christians was the organization of churches around urban communities in greater Mesopotamia and Khuzestan, and around aristocratic families and inherited priestly offices in the Armenian high lands, and perhaps the Iranian Plateau. We've already heard about that from Steve's talk. Thus, one might make an argument for the existence of distinct lowland and highland churches in Sasanian lands, the former serving largely Aramean and Greek audiences, the latter encompassing Iranians, Armenians, Iberians, and Caucasian Albanians, often lumped together conceptually as Arians. The growth of the Sasanian Empire's Christian communities did not go unnoticed by the Sasanian kings and the Zoroastrian elites of their empire. The third and fourth century saw several episodes of persecutions by Zoroastrian priests and supporters of the Sasanian dynasty. However, these generally arose in periods of conflict between Iran and Christian Byzantium when Sasanian Christians were seen as a sort of fifth column for the empire to the west. However, as Zoroastrians tended to view their faith as a marker of ethnicity, a characteristic specifically of Arian peoples, the fiercest opposition to Christianity arose from instances of Arian apostasy, particularly in the kingdoms of Caucasia and among the aristocrats of the Iranian Plateau. Nevertheless, efforts to stem the spread of Christianity among Sasanian subjects were piecemeal and ultimately futile, for reasons which are kind of outside the scope of this paper. By the time of Shirin in the sixth and seventh century, our sources, admittedly mostly Christian and anecdotal, suggest that Christians made up an absolute majority of the population of the empire's western regions, Greater Caucasia, Greater Mesopotamia, and Shirin's probable homeland, Khuzestan. By the early seventh century, the East Syrian Synotacon Orientali [assumed spelling] documents an extensive network of episcopacies stretching across the Sasanian realm into Central Asia. Christian churches, martyria, monasteries, and other holy sites came to dot the Sasanian countryside. While few Sasanian Christian sites have seen systematic modern excavation, circuitous collection of artifacts supports the impression of an intensive Christianization of the late Sasanian landscape. It is perhaps not surprising, then, that the Sasanian kings sought to assert their authority over the Christian's spiritual landscape of their empire. Earlier kings had been somewhat uncomfortable with the direct support of Christian shrines. Indeed, in the fifth century Yazdegerd I even allowed the Byzantine bishop Marutha of Maipherqat to remove all the relics of Christians martyred in Sasanian lands to his [inaudible] back home in the Byzantine Empire, which Marutha then renamed Martyropolis, the city of the martyrs. Yet with his Christian Queen Shirin, Khosrow became an enthusiastic patron of Christian holy sites, churches, and monasteries. The Syriac "Life of the Catholicos [inaudible]" notes that Shirin induced her husband to build a monastery in Ctesiphon, while other sources describe the construction and provisioning of the church and monastery associated with the massive Sasanian royal complex of Qasr-e Shirin. Oops, this one there. This presents a number of interesting questions. Was Shirin truly the inspiration for royal patronage of Christian sites? Was Shirin a convenient front for the king to support Christians without alienating Zoroastrian nobles and priests? Do our Christian writers intentionally overstate the influence of Shirin and Christian power during the reign of Khosrow II? Whatever the specific answers here, royal patronage of Christian holy sites served to raise the profile of these places, strengthen the bonds between Christian subjects and Sasanian king, and assert royal authority over the Christian holy sites. Christian writers were, however, eager to emphasize the limits of royal power. Take, for example, the account in the Armenian [speaking in foreign language] in which he describes Shirin's efforts to thwart Khosrow's transfer of the bones of the prophet Daniel, portrayed in this image as an Iranian aristocrat and also probably a eunuch, from Shush to Khuzestan -- Shush in Khuzestan into the hands of the Byzantine emperor. The queen asked the people of Shush to pray to Christ to thwart her husband's efforts, and was rewarded with miraculous intervention when the prophet's bones left the city gate, all of the city's springs dried up and the mules pulling the litter refused to abandon the city. When Daniel returned to his home, its springs gushed forth and the King of Kings and the Byzantine emperor alike were forced to bow to the will of God. Curiously, though, in making its point about the limits of royal power, the story presents Shirin as a champion of a uniquely Sasanian Christianity, opposed to foreigners who might steal divine grace from Iranshahr, like Marutha who I've already mentioned in the fifth century. Indeed, Sasanian kings and their Christian subjects came to collaborate openly and directly from the fifth century onward. Christians, being outside the empire's traditional political elites, were potentially more reliable supporters of the dynasty than the fiercely independent great families of Iran. After convening a Christian senate at Ctesiphon in 410, the kings allowed Christians to worship openly, and the Church of the East -- the Syrian Church of the East was officially recognized as temporal authority of the King of Kings. In return for tolerance, Christian clerics, especially those of this East Syrian Church, offered their prayers for the king and acted as mediators between the King of Kings and the Christian subjects. After this settlement, it was increasingly common to see Christians in service to the Sasanian dynasty, with the clergy of the Church of the East even acting overtly, and sometimes covertly, as agents as the king. While the Sasanian kings remained resolutely Zoroastrian, Sasanian Christians increasingly saw Iranshahr and its kings as instruments of God's will, and also saw the submission of Zoroastrian elites and the king to the Christian God and savior as only a matter of time, inevitable. Khosrow's marriage to a Christian and Shirin's prominence at court fed this popular perception of Christian triumph. We may see this in the seventh century Armenian vision of the nativity where the magi are clearly portrayed as Sasanian aristocrats offering their submission to Christ and the virgin. Shirin, the queen of queens, served as the pole star for constellations of Christian notables at Khosrow II's court. Christian physicians like the queen's favorite, Gabriel of Sinjar, attended to the king and his family. And many of the top financial and military officials serving the dynasty, like the finance minister Yazdin and the Armenian General Sinbad Digortuni [assumed spelling], were Christians. These Christian grandees advanced at court with the enthusiastic support of the queen and rewarded the king with their loyal service. Christian clergy and holy men also found places at court under Shirin's sponsorship. For some, the queen provided protection. The Armenian Catholicos Viroi [assumed spelling], implicated in a revolt, fled to the queen at court and was spared execution as a present from the king. Viroi remained an honored prisoner at court for the next 25 years, learning Persian, which we I think would all agree is probably a much better fate than the death, mutilation, or banishment suffered by his other rebels. Shirin's favor at court could establish a clergyman's power and status in both church and state. East Syrian sources describe how Shirin introduced the Ascetic Bishop Sabrisho of Lashom to the king, providing miraculous aid to the king during his civil wars and acting as go-between with the Byzantine emperor. Sabrisho became Shirin and Khosrow's clear choice for Catholicos of the Church of the East. After securing his election, Sabrisho served as the queen's confessor and an important advisor to the king. Indeed, Sabrisho died on campaign, with Khosrow having helped suppress a revolt in Nisibis. Notably, though, the East Syrian-Khuzestan Chronicle condemned Shirin for her role in elevating Sabrisho's successor, her favorite, Gregory of Phrat, in place of her husband's preferred candidate Gregory of Kashgar, the Bishop of Nisibis. According to the story, she tricked the assembled bishops because they both were named Gregory, so she implied that her husband preferred one Gregory over the other, and it was not. Apparently, Khosrow furiously thereafter ordered the newly-elected catholicos to ransom a bunch of Christian books and pay him a sort of one-time payment to get out of the doghouse. Well, this story is a bit ludicrous. It's a little hard to imagine that either bishops or king would be so easily swayed by the simple fact of a coincidence of names. Khosrow did refuse to allow the election of a new catholicos after Gregory's death. And this brings us to a sort of final point -- or final section of the paper. While our sources attest to Shirin's power in the empire and its churches, her actions are often denigrated in some of our sources, most notably Syrian ones like the Khuzestan Chronicle. While some of this was rooted in contemporary opposition to female authority over matters political and theological, it also reflects the intra- and inter-communal debates among the Christians of the Sasanian realm. From the 410 senate of Ctesiphon to the time of Khosrow II, the East Syrian Church of the East had served as something akin to an official state church. As we've seen, East Syrian clergy proved willing to accommodate themselves to royal power. However, their prominence was increasingly challenged by a new Christian movement within the empire who Shirin came to become the champion of. Matters of theology became increasingly central in defining Christian communities by the sixth and seventh century. In a politically-wise move, Sasanian Christians largely rejected the two-nature Christology adopted at the 451 counsel of Chalcedon as a Greek innovation imposed by the Byzantine emperors. The most significant churches of late Sasanian Iranshahr adopted either a distinct anti-king, two-natures Christology -- I won't get into the details of this because it's horrifically complicated -- or an Alexandrian single-nature Christology, which would be the sort of miaphysite West Syrian and Armenian churches. In the sixth century, the sort of up-and-coming miaphysite preachers, some of them who had been driven out of the Byzantine Empire, made significant inroads in Sasanian territories. Sasanian Christians -- sorry, Armenian Christians taking an anti-Chalcedonian stance at the Councils of [inaudible], endorsed a miaphysite creed, while the enormously-influential Assyrian fathers of Iberia, now seen as paragons of Chalcedonian orthodoxy in modern Georgia, probably spread miaphysite teachings, too. The Syriac theological school in the politically- and strategically-vital city of Nisibis became a flash point for debate and conflict between duaphysite and miaphysite teachers. Indeed, the breakup of that school around the beginning of the seventh century must be seen against this doctrinal conflict, as well as court politics. Indeed, miaphysites seem to have had growing influence in the Sasanian court going into the early seventh century. The Armenian church won particular favor with Khosrow as Armenian generals and troops supported him in his restoration to the throne, and his wars with his rebellious uncles, and conflicts with the Turks on the empire's eastern frontier. Culturally, the miaphysite Armenian church's aristocratic orientation was also a somewhat more comfortable fit with the social dynamics of the Sasanian aristocracy. However, for many East Syrian authors, the triumph of heresy at court was due entirely to Shirin and to her silver-tongued serpent Gabriel of Sinjar. The physician Gabriel was a particular favorite of Shirin's for helping the queen bear a son, and was intensely involved in the politics of the Church of the East. However, following his excommunication from that church for bigamy, Gabriel became a vocal advocate for the miaphysite position at church. Gabriel's failed attempts to promote a miaphysite to catholicos at the East Syrian Church contributed to the office remaining vacant for almost two decades. Gabriel and the miaphysite theology he endorsed enjoyed the queen's increasingly enthusiastic support. However, miaphysitism really got its biggest boost from the Sasanian conquest of much of the Byzantine East where a number of disgruntled miaphysites lived, and where Khosrow was happy to accommodate them by appointing miaphysite bishops. This all comes together ultimately at an instant that's described in a number of sources, sometimes called the Senate of the Persians, which appears to have been held sometime in the second decade of the seventh century. At this senate there seems to have been some sort of attempt to establish a state version of Christianity centered around miaphysitism, or at least to try and reconcile the various doctrinal differences between the Christian factions. The Armenian [inaudible] describes this senate as the Persians in some detail as a dispute between the orthodox, for him miaphysites, which included the queen, Gabriel of Sinjar, and other various West Syrian and Armenian bishops. The East Syrian, Iran Catholicos and his supporters on another side, and various Greek supporters of the Chalcedonian creed, along with Viroi who was hanging out at court. In [inaudible] telling, Khosrow ordered the -- also ordered the Jewish Chief Rabbi, who showed up uninvited, unceremoniously expelled and beaten from the conference for denying the divinity of Christ. But nevertheless, what seems to be happening here is -- you know, at least across our sources, is that Khosrow was not entirely prepared to sever his kind of traditional alliance with the Church of the East, but was hoping to sort of harmonize the Church of the East with a sort of growing miaphysite community who were of vital strategic importance in the frontier regions of the empire. Khosrow's capture of Jerusalem and the true cross in 614, and the seeming inevitability of his final victory over the Chalcedonian emperors in Constantinople, made Khosrow a leading candidate for -- as legitimate earthly king of all Christians. In this role, the king sought a place above the fray, supporting and controlling Christian institutions even-handedly while his wife and Christian court officials concerned themselves with the messy business of engaging with and managing the Christian minority. In the end, though, Khosrow's dreams of universal dominion failed. Although his Christian subjects had proved among his most loyal allies, even in a conflict with a Christian emperor, his highest courtiers abandoned him when the tide of war turned. Making common-cause with his disinherited son, the nobles in the empire deposed and killed the king. And then the -- Khosrow's son then executed all the other male members of the dynasty, including the sons of Shirin. As for Shirin, we have two counts of her fate. One has -- a Syrian source in Arabic has her avenge the death of her son by poisoning Kavadh, the new king. In the "Shahnameh," she commits suicide upon Khosrow's grave rather than being forced to marry his son. But despite her fate, Shirin gives a fascinating glimpse into the heights to which a Christian woman might ascend in the Sasanian Empire, the manner in which Christians and their -- or Sasanians and their Christian subjects were united and bound together by ties of patronage and patriotism, and the centrality of Christians in the late Sasanian world in all their diversity. The enduring Churches of the East would serve as one of the great legacies of Sasanian Iranshahr. Thank you. [ Applause ] >> Fatemeh Keshavarz: Thank you very much, Professor McDonough, for that fascinating account of exchanges and interactions. Of course, being a scholar of Persian literature, all the way through I was thinking of the Shirin that [inaudible] introduced to us, conveniently, of course, converted to Islam, even though her Armenian origins are repeatedly explained. But the most fascinating part for me is that as he ends that story, he tells us that this is about nobody but Shirin. [ Speaking in Foreign Language ] And then he takes that even one step further and connects Shirin with his own wife, Ahfah [assumed spelling]. [ Speaking in Foreign Language ] So Shirin is alive and well. And for those who don't speak Persian, [inaudible] basically says that this whole story is about Shirin, and that lived a short life, and my wife reminded me of that, and so I built that story on Shirin for you. So with that we look forward to the last presentation of this panel, which will bring hopefully for us more of a Jewish interaction into the picture. And the presenter is Professor Simcha Gross who is an Assistant Professor of History of Late Antiquity or Antique Judaism at the University of California, Irvine. So we have so far had two illustrious speakers from that university. Dr. Gross got his PhD at Yale University Department of Religious Studies. And his work is very much focused on creating and/or providing an integrative account of the three elements of Jews, serial Christians, and the larger Sasanian Islamic Empire. So it's a very integrative reading of that, which we will look forward to the presentation of Dr. Gross's talk today. The title of it is "Kings or Slaves, Babylonian Jewish Claims of Royal Genealogy in Their Sasanian Context." Please welcome Professor Gross. [ Applause ] >> Simcha Gross: I'm in the uncomfortable position of standing between Fatemeh's Persian Poetry and lunch, so I'll try to get to the point. I want to thank the organizers, sponsors, and all of you for attending. Am I up? As long as there were Persian empires, there were Jews living in them. From the Achaemenids, through the Sasanians, through the Shah, to the present day, Jews have always been a fixture of Persian imperial rule. Yet of all the Persian empires, arguably the most important for Jewish history was the Sasanian Empire. The Jews who lived under the Sasanian Empire, primarily in Sasanian Iraq -- so that's on the right-hand side of the map -- produced the Babylonian Talmud, the crowning literary achievement of Jewish Antiquity whose production essentially coincided with nearly the entire Sasanian period. The texts, rituals, and stories that this community produced became and continue to be normative for most Jews around the world to this day. And yet only recently have scholars turned their attention to the Sasanian context of these Jews. These scholars have mostly shown that Babylonian Jews were consumers of the rich range of literatures, mythologies, stories, and even legal discussions of the various groups that inhabited the Sasanian Empire, including Zoroastrians, Syriac Christians, Manichaeans, Mandaeans, and more. The richest example of this cross-cultural exchange may be the hundreds of incantation bowls produced by these various groups in Late Antiquity. As you can see from the image above, we have bowls inscribed in Mandaic, Syriac, and Jewish Babylonian Aramaic, and even Middle Persian. These incantation bowls were not only similar in form, they were oftentimes nearly identical in their formula as well. These bowls show how the borders between these various groups were far more porous than their texts would often have us believe. Thus, a bowl written in Jewish Babylonian Aramaic invokes Zoroastrian, Babylonian, Christian, and Jewish mythology, as well as what appears to be early Yazidi mythology. Together, the scholarly textual studies as well as the increased publication of these incantation bowls make it quite clear that Babylonian Jews had access to other groups and their traditions. These studies have enriched our understanding of the ways in which the various groups that inhabited the same empire were at times in conversation with one another. They have also shown that these groups can only be fully appreciated within their larger context. Today I want to move beyond these moments of contact between groups and ask a broader question. In what ways were Babylonian Jews Persianized or Sasanianized? In what ways did Babylonian Jews interact with the Sasanian Empire and its administration? In what ways did they accept, reject, subvert, manipulate, and otherwise negotiate the norms and practices supported by their imperial context? A number of studies have revealed the tip of the iceberg. For instance, Judith Lerner, who's here today -- sorry for calling you out -- has shown how Jews and Christians both used and subverted the imagery on Sasanian seals. We've actually seen a number of coins today that do this. And so in this example on the left you have the Zoroastrian fire priest -- or priest, rather, with the fire alter. And on the right you seem to have the binding of Isaac, even with the ram stuck in the brush on the side. Other scholars have shown how Sasanian imperial propaganda in the forms of inscriptions and stories were known to and used by Jews and Syriac Christians in their own literary productions. I want to offer a broader profile of what a single Jewish household aspiring to a position as a Persian elite may have looked like in the Sasanian Empire. We have the most evidence for one very important Babylonian Jewish household that adopted elite Persian norms. The head of this family was known as the Exilarch, the rosh galut in Hebrew, or reysh galuta in Aramaic. And this title was hereditary, passed on to one of his children upon the Exilarch's death. The members of this family, the children, sons-in-law, and their [inaudible] were all part of the household of the Exilarch. Thankfully, the Exilarchy has recently received a comprehensive study by Geoffrey Herman, to which I am deeply indebted. Given that nearly all of our surviving sources about Jews living in the Sasanian Empire during this period are from texts composed by rabbis now embedded in the Babylonian Talmud, we only get a glimpse of the Exilarch through the rabbis' eyes. The rabbis did not always have a particularly flattering perspective of the Exilarch, but their criticisms are quite revealing, precisely because they were bothered by the Persianization of the Exilarch and his household. Moreover, alongside the Exilarch, they critique the other similar elite Jewish households, revealing that the Exilarch was not the only Jewish household to adopt elite Persian norms. To be sure, the bias of the rabbis against the Exilarch and other Jewish families means we have to be cautious when reading and evaluating their remarks. However, there is also a benefit to the polemical character of their remarks, as the [inaudible] position to the Exilarch reflects the rabbi's own relationship to the Persian elite norms. The contrast between these groups will give us insight into the different attitudes Jews may have had toward Sasanian elite norms and provide us with a more granular perspective of different Jewish strata in Sasanian society. The rabbis have a sustained critique of a member of the Exilarch's household, Rav Nahman, in a single location. This critique is not unique, but rather representative of larger themes concerning the Exilarch found throughout rabbinic literature. In this story, a rabbi named Rav Yehuda appears before the member of the household of the Exilarch named, again, Rav Nahman. In their initial discussion, Rev Yehuda continuously critiques Rav Nahman's grandiloquence. I'm going to be reading from this now. "Said Rav Nahman of the Exilarch's household to Rave Yehuda, "Sit down on a karpita,"" which is some sort of a seat. "Rave Yehuda asked, "Is not safsal as used by the Rabbis, or iztaba, as commonly used, good enough?"" Meaning why are you using that word? There are so many other words that we rabbis or common Jews use. "Rav Nahman continued, "Will you partake of etronga,"" which seems to be a citron. "Rav Yehuda replied, "Thus did Samuel say, "He who says etronga is a third puffed up with arrogance. Either Etrog, as it is called by the rabbis, or etroga as it is popularly called." "Will you drink anbaga," he asked him. "Are you then dissatisfied with isparagus, as it is called by the rabbis, or anpak, as it is popularly pronounced," he reproved him." In each of these cases, Rav Yehuda critiques Rav Nahman for using an arrogant or haughty vocabulary word. If we pay attention, two of these three words are Middle Persian, etronga and anbaga, and one is Greek or Latin, karpita. According to this passage, the member of -- the members of the Exilarch's household use different vocabulary than did the rabbis or common folk, and these words tended to be Middle Persian. I only brought three examples here, but there are a few others in the story used by Rav Nahman that are also Middle Persian, and we'll see a few of them as we go on. So for the moment it seems that Rav Yehuda critiques Rav Nahman for using a highfalutin vocabulary dominated by Middle Persian Words. The story continues by mocking Rav Nahman's more liberal attitude toward women. ""Let my daughter Donag come and serve drink," Rav Nahman proposed. "Thus said Samuel," Rav Yehuda replied, "One must not make use of a woman." "But she is only a child," answered Rav Nahman. "Samuel distinctly said, "One must make no use at all of a woman, whether adult or child,"" responded Rav Yehuda. "Will you send a greeting to my wife Yalta," Rav Nahman suggested. "Thus said Samuel," Rav Yehuda replied, "to listen to a woman's voice is indecent." "Is it possible through a messenger," asked Rav Nahman. "Thus said Samuel, " Rave Yehuda retorted, "One must not inquire after a woman's welfare." "Then by her husband," said Rav Nahman. "Thus said Samuel," said Rav Yehuda, "One must not inquire after a woman's welfare at all."" As you'll notice, Samuel can basically be made to say whatever Rav Yehuda wants. In round two of their exchange, Rav Yehuda now critiques Rav Nahman for what he continues -- what he considers to be Rav Nahman's liberal approach to women. Rav Yehuda essentially expects women to remain entirely out of the sight of men. Rav Nahman's approach, however, is once again in keeping with what we can tell about Persian attitudes toward women at this time. In laws found in the approximately seventh century [inaudible] of "Book of a Thousand Judgments," "Madayan I Hazar I Dadestan," for example, women have the right to reject marriages arranged by their father and are given other rights of property and responsibility. The Sasanian attitude toward women may also be gleaned from the fact that the goddess Anahid was a central figure in the Sasanian pantheon. Moreover, as noted by Yaakov Elman, Rav Nahman's daughter's name, Donag, is in fact better pronounced as Danog, the name of the wife and queen of the first king of the Sasanian Empire. In fact, this name is itself Persian and probably means follower of the Den, the Zoroastrian way of life, a striking name for a Jewish woman. The Exilarch's household was thus known for its more liberal treatment of women, treatment that conforms more closely to Persian than rabbinic norms. The Exilarch and his household also adopted other trappings of nobility. To give one example, the Exilarch and his household were often depicted as traveling while borne on golden thrones. Elsewhere in the Babylonian Talmud, the Rav Nahman of our story appears again, this time on a golden throne. That's the story on the slide. In the Middle Persian source "Arda Wiraz-namag," Arda Wiraz travels to the afterlife, in which he sees, among other things, nobles seated on golden thrones. In fact, the Babylonian Talmud once again uses a Middle Persian word to describe the throne, the same word used in "Arda Wiraz-namag," which is gah. This is just one example of the elite regalia that the Exilarch seems to have adopted. I would like to suggest one more major way in which the Exilarch adopted certain aspects of Persian nobility. The most famous detail about the Exilarch's household is its claim of genealogical descent from King David. For instance, there's a rabbinic discussion in which it is determined that when the Torah scroll is brought into public everyone should follow behind it, thereby embodying the figurative idea of following the Torah's instructions. In response to this, a rabbi notes that in Babylonia the Torah is actually brought to the Exilarch. He doesn't follow behind it. It is brought to him. And I'm quoting, "Everywhere you say that one goes after the Torah scroll, but behold, there in Babylonia they bring the Torah before the Exilarch! Rav Yose be-Rav Bun said, "In that instance, since the seed of David is embedded there, they act for him accordance with the custom of his fathers."" The equation of the Exilarch with King David is rather strong, as the idea that the Torah comes to the Exilarch rather than vice versa is based on laws about passing the Torah scroll to the Jewish king when one exists. Overall, the rabbis did not seem to particularly object to this genealogical claim. However, they did object to a similar claim made by another family of Babylonian Jewish elites. These Jews claimed descent not from King David, but from the Hasmonean kings. Thus in the very same passage in which Rav Yehuda and Rav Nahman sparred, we find the following exchange. "A certain man from Nehardea entered a butcher's shop in Pumbeditha and demanded, "Give me meat." "Wait until Rav Yehuda's attendant takes his," was the reply, "and then we will serve you." "Who is Rav Yehuda," he exclaimed, "to take precedence over me and be served before me?"" You're all probably feeling the same way about lunch now. "When they went and told Rav Yehuda, he pronounced the ban against him. Said they to him, "He" -- meaning the guy who claims Hasmonean descent -- "is wont to call people slaves." Whereupon Rav Yehuda had him proclaimed a slave, for Samuel said, "With his own blemish he stigmatizes others as unfit." At this stage his opponent said to Rav Yehuda, "You call me a slave, I who am descended from the royal house of the Hasmoneans?" "Thus said Samuel," Rav Yehuda retorted, "Whoever says, "I am descended from the house of the Hasmoneans is a slave."" A man with a particular high estimation of himself approaches a butcher and demands meat. The butcher, however, refuses to sell the man meat until Rav Yehuda's attendant comes and takes the first choice of meats, as a sign of respect for Rav Yehuda. The elite man questions how Rav Yehuda could possibly take precedence over him. Over the course of the conversation it is revealed that the man claims descent from the Hasmoneans and, like a good patrician, goes around calling other people slaves. Rav Yehuda declares instead that, in fact, the man is a slave. We thus find two different claims of royal descent by two clearly elite-posturing figures, one from King David and one from the Hasmoneans. The evidence we have seen until now suggests that we should -- we had best look to the Persian elite context to explain this phenomenon. And indeed, during the Sasanian period, royal lineage was, in fact, a marker of elite status. Throughout this period, many of the most important elite families, as well as kings in Armenia and Georgia, claimed descent from the Arsacids, or Pahlavi, or Parthian dynasty, the dynasty that ruled before the Sasanians. And that's one text that claims it, and that's a seal from someone -- an elite who claimed this descent. Alongside these were other -- were the other great families, some of whom may also have gone back to the Parthians, while others claim different hoary ancestors. The Sasanians themselves claimed royal descent, though the precise history of this lineage is unclear. But by the beginning of the fifth century, the Sasanians, too, adopted a number of strategies to claim a hoary royal past, presumably in part due to the importance of such claims in the Persian world more broadly. In this context, then, it is hardly surprising that aspiring Jewish elites would make parallel claims to royal descent. Whereas the Exilarch's claim of genealogical descent from King David makes sense given King David's generally-revered status in the Jewish tradition, the claim of the Hasmonean descent is somewhat puzzling, as many Jews, and especially the rabbis, were at the very least ambivalent about Hasmonean rule. What motivated the man and his family to claim descent from the Hasmoneans in the first place? The answer may lie in the fact that at the very end of the Hasmonean period, the last king allied himself with the Parthians. Indeed, this was the last Hasmonean king, because despite Parthian assistance, the Romans and their proxy, King Herod, ultimately won, bringing an end to the Hasmonean dynasty. I would, therefore, suggest that some aspiring Jews opted for claims of descent from Jewish kings who had a history of allying themselves with Persian rulers. Moreover, in this context, the habit of the Hasmonean descendent to call others slaves makes more sense. A slave in Sasanian law was the opposite of someone with untainted royal genealogical descent. Slaves could be married off at the whim of the owner, and the children were then his slaves as well. Indeed, we find a striking source that discusses precisely how some Iranians claiming Parthian descent were reduced to slaves. That's the source over there. Thus, the Exilarch, and presumably other elite Jewish families like the Jew who claimed Hasmonean descent, adopted a wide range of trappings of Persian nobility. They used specialized Persian language, adopted Persian mores regarding women, and like their elite Sasanian peers, maintained royal genealogical claims. Did it work? Were at least some of these Jews successful in integrating into the Sasanian elite class? In the case of the Exilarch, the answer seems to be a definitive yes, as seen from the only non-rabbinic source to mention the Exilarch, which was edited and translated by our own Touraj Daryaee. And I'm reading here, "The city of Susa and Sustar were built by Sisinduxt, the wife of Yazdigird, the sun of Sabuhr, since she was the daughter of the Exilarch, the King of the Jews, and also was the mother of Wahram Gor." According to this source, the Sasanian king Yazdgird I married the daughter of the Jewish Exilarch. Like Danog, the daughter of Rav Nahman, the daughter of the Exilarch here receives a nice Persian name of Daughter of Susa. What's especially important here is that the Exilarch is identified as the King of the Jews. This is not a mere expression, as every other figure in this text who is called a shah refers to a historical or mythical king. I would suggest that this claim -- that the claim of Davidic descent by the Exilarch was accepted by the Sasanian royal household. This would also explain how the daughter of the Exilarch was found worthy to marry the king, as Sasanian kings only married daughters of kings or noblemen. An example would be Shirin, as Scott's presentation just showed. I end with the rabbis. What do we make of rabbinic disapproval of at least some aspects of these elite Jewish families? Some have suggested that this shows a resistance by some rabbis to Persian norms in general. However, I think this is incorrect. Instead, I would argue that the rabbis' disapproved of the Exilarch and the purported Hasmonean descendent because the latter strove to be part of elite Persian society, whereas the rabbis strove to be elites in their own local Jewish society. Thus, if we return to the story of Rav Yehuda and Rav Nahman where Rav Yehuda critiqued Rav Nahman for using Middle Persian and Greek words, we see that the words Rav Yehuda preferred, the words he attributed to the rabbis or common-folk, are themselves often Persian and Greek words. And these are all the highlighted words. However, there is an important difference between these words. Rav Nahman's vocabulary included terms that were relatively new to the Sasanian period. Thus, they are either Middle Persian words or Greek words never attested before. By contrast, the words of the rabbis or the words of the common-folk were either Parthian or Greek words that were introduced into Jewish Aramaic in an earlier period. In linguistic parlance, this is -- they were retentions. In other words, the rabbis are not opposed to Persian or Greek, per se. They are opposed to new words and terminology which they considered haughty, apparently signs of Persian elitism. But this isn't opposition to elite Persian norms as such. In fact, the Babylonian rabbis seem to have modeled their own academies after royal or elite Persian courts. For example, the Babylonian academies were seated in rows just like the royal Persian court. And in the first section here you see how a rabbi is demoted or promoted up the seven rows based on how clever his questions are. And the bottom, another rabbi who he's asking questions to is promoted and demoted with cushions, depending on how good his answers are. So for example, the Babylonian academies were seated in rows, just like the royal Persian court. Indeed, sitting in rows seems to have been central to Persian imperial culture for centuries, as Ancient Greek authors report that Cyrus' court sat in rows, and the Arsacids adopted this aspect of imperial Persian culture themselves. Similarly, the prestigious leading members of the academy sat on a number of cushions that delineated their rank, also like the royal Persian court. Both the tows and the cushions are standard aspects of Persian noble culture. In fact, if one thinks about Rav Yehuda's encounter with the Hasmonean descendent, their dispute did not simply arise because the Hasmonean man acted as an elite, but precisely because the Hasmonean man claimed superiority to Rav Yehuda's own privileged position to choose his meats first. Rav Yehuda may have been less opposed to elitism as such than to elitism that infringed on his own privileges. Indeed, Rav Yehuda calls the man a slave because the man called others slaves, but by declaring the Hasmonean descendent to be a slave, wouldn't Rav Yehuda be committing the same offense? Jews of all stripes were Persianized and adopted the trappings of Persian culture and status. This is true of Jews throughout the various Persian periods, as seen, for instance, by comparing the architecture of Jewish and Muslim [inaudible] shrines from the 18th century. But what exactly did Persianization look like? And how exactly different Jews adopt, reject, contest, co-op, and even contribute to Persian culture and society changes with time, as does the significance of Persianization. In the Sasanian period some Jews, like the Exilarch, strove to join elite Persian society while others, like the rabbis, imagined their own academies as elite courts and themselves as worthy of elite privileges. Persianization was not simply something external to Jews, a set of cultural practices they at times adopted and at other times rejected. Persianization inevitably affected Jews living in the Sasanian period, their self-understanding, aspirations, and more. It is my hope that future research will help us appreciate how crucial the Sasanian period was for these Jews in particular and, as a result, for Jewish history more broadly. Thank you. [ Applause ] >> Fatemeh Keshavarz: Thank you all very much for these three wonderfully complex and colorful depictions of a society in which we see more and more interaction and complexity. And thanks to the discipline of all the speakers, we have a little time for some questions. And I would encourage you to please introduce yourselves and keep the questions as short as you are able to so that we can reach more people, please. There's one there. >> I'm Baron Bistakia [assumed spelling] from the Zoroastrian community. On the west coast of India in [inaudible] we have seen Christian crosses with [inaudible] writing, and there is a group of Syrian Christians who have settled there. And I'm wondering what led to that migration of Syrian Christians to the west coast of India from ancient times? >> Scott McDonough: Well, so there's certainly the claims that are made by those communities of Christians that, you know, they're apostolic in origin. That, you know, they -- that one of the apostles actually traveled to India and sort of proselytized there, and that they date back to that. That's probably apocryphal. There have been some thought about, you know, trade networks bringing people there. And certainly the Church of the East was very aggressive and proselytizing in places quite far away from and outside of the Sasanian Empire. You know, there is a bishop in Tibet in the eighth century and a couple other places like that. >> Simcha Gross: And an archive in China. >> Scott McDonough: Yeah, yeah, certainly, and a number of monuments in China. So you know, certainly there's trade -- movement along trade routes. The Sasanians had political interests in India from the time of Bahram [inaudible], at least -- or earlier. And you know, then also with the sort of conquest period, I'm certain that just as Zoroastrian communities came to settle in India as well, probably, you know, Iranian Christian communities came alongside them. But that's just sort of off the top of my head. I can probably make a more [inaudible] comment if you want to chat. >> Hirad Dinavari: Anyone else want to answer that on the panel? Simcha? No? All right, any other questions? Anything on Zoroastrianism? On the Syriac Armenian churches? On Judaism? >> Quick question. >> Hirad Dinavari: Okay. >> Is there a Middle -- >> Fatemeh Keshavarz: Yes. The question was is there a Middle -- >> I'm asking the philologist, the Middle Persian [speaking in foreign language]? >> Yuhan Sohrab-Dinshaw Vevaina: It's in Pazand, it's like -- >> Pazand? >> Yuhan Sohrab-Dinshaw Vevaina: -- it's like [speaking in foreign language], something like that. >> Oh, skull, so something actually without -- oh, okay. >> Yuhan Sohrab-Dinshaw Vevaina: Like -- >> Numbskull? >> Yuhan Sohrab-Dinshaw Vevaina: Numbskull, feather-head, something. Yeah. >> Yeah, okay. >> Fatemeh Keshavarz: Yeah. >> It's numbskull. >> Fatemeh Keshavarz: All right, if there are no more questions, there is lunch. But I -- oh, there is question. There is question, great, so here. >> I'm [inaudible], lately retired from the Library of Congress. Question for Dr. Vevaina, what accounts for the great study and influence of Mani, despite his being, you know, killed by the Sasanians as a heretic? His influence went far and wide to Central Asia, and China, and even to the West. And there is present-day scholarship on him as well. So what would you say is the reason for this great influence? >> Yuhan Sohrab-Dinshaw Vevaina: Well, I think -- so Mani does something somewhat unprecedented. I mean, he really is the first person to make a truly universalizing claim about religion. And he says this in one of the texts that I cited -- I had in the PowerPoint there. Essentially, mine is not one religion for one people or one ethnicity, it's for all peoples, and it's in all these languages. And so you see Manichaean materials produced both East and West, all over the place. The thing that made Manichaeism both brilliant and efficient also was the seeds of its destruction, which is that -- and I mean this with no pejorative -- it is a sort of a -- it has a sort of parasitic aspect in that in every environment where it goes, it takes on the guise of the local vocabulary, the traditions, the ideas. So it would be super-efficient in the sense that everyone feels that they get to see themselves in their own prior identities. They don't actually feel like they're necessarily switching to something else, as getting a more refined message. But therein lies the problem, because from the imperial and religious elites everywhere, East and West, this will look like a highly virulent sort of heresy and things like that. And it's really interesting that -- I mean, except for the [inaudible] Turks, I mean, everywhere else they were persecuted and never became a state religion. And the way that the vocabulary -- Manichaeism is a strange phenomenon because what we have is examples in Coptic, in Greek, in Latin, [inaudible], Parthian. Interesting thing is that even the Middle Persian and the Parthian, which could be -- which should be pretty close, don't always have the same Zoroastrian deities in the same slots in the system. It was really tailor-made for the environment, if that makes any sense. >> Simcha Gross: So and just to add to what Yuhan said, which is 100% correct, is Muhammed in some ways adopted the same strategy but went about it a little bit differently. And so he also integrates Jewish prophets, Christian prophets. It's -- well, he treats them as Jewish prophets, Christian prophets -- into his system, but I guess the -- it never veered too far away from the original message. Whereas, Mani explicitly makes -- he is going after Iranian traditions, Christian traditions. He's integrating pretty consciously. And so later followers end up integrating more, and more, and more, and it kind of fizzles out. >> Yuhan Sohrab-Dinshaw Vevaina: And he did extremely well in the early years under the Sasanians, and he had royal patronage. I mean, there's also the interesting question of why did the Sasanians turn on him? And you know, it's -- probably the simple answer is that the Zoroastrian priests were like, "This is getting out of hand." >> Fatemeh Keshavarz: I wonder if there is any real academic discussion of all the attribution of all the artistic size of his religion, and his paintings, and all that? >> Simcha Gross: His pain book, you mean? He had -- he basically also -- >> Fatemeh Keshavarz: Yes. >> Yuhan Sohrab-Dinshaw Vevaina: Painter. >> Simcha Gross: -- he created a -- he was the first person to put out comic books. So he put out comic books to promote his religion. And in some ways, the medium may have -- we have similar images that exist throughout the world. So we don't actually have the original, but it seems to be that there's some sort of consistent tradition about what these pictures would have looked like, ranging really from the -- I shouldn't say West and East anymore -- from the Roman Empire through Asia. And so that definitely would have -- may have contributed to his initial success and burst onto the scene. >> Yuhan Sohrab-Dinshaw Vevaina: And if I could just add a small -- >> Fatemeh Keshavarz: Sure. >> Yuhan Sohrab-Dinshaw Vevaina: One of the interesting things it that, you know, Mani as part of his prophetic biography says that he goes as a healer and a doctor to India, and things like that. And for those of you from South Asia, you have this -- you hear these stories of Jesus went to India, and his tomb was in Kashmir, and all of these things. And -- >> Simcha Gross: And Thomas. >> Yuhan Sohrab-Dinshaw Vevaina: -- many of these stories I personally think are actually the Manichaean biography re-tasked for Jesus, because he's a latter-day Jesus anyway. Makes perfect sense. >> Fatemeh Keshavarz: Yeah, also in Augustine's "Confessions" there is a lot of reference to this fascination with Manichaeism in the early stages, and then going back. But sorry -- other? Oh, yes. I'm sorry, go ahead. >> Scott McDonough: I was wondering about what evidence we have for the status of the Exilarch under the Parthians, particularly with the sort of Parthian/Early Sasanian system of kind of subordinate kings that kind of the Sasanians phase out over time. I was just wondering if you could comment on that? >> Simcha Gross: Yeah, so this is a problem in general with Babylonian Judaism that we -- our first -- let's call it indigenous source of Babylonian Jews, or any real extended source by Babylonian Jews is the Babylonian Talmud. Now just like we were talking about with Middle Persian and Arabic texts that are kind of very late and we have to figure out what -- which one of these later texts can we trust about earlier events? The Babylonian Talmud is a let's call it sixth, seventh century text -- probably sixth century, which includes lots of sources. It makes up sources. So as was saw, Samuel did not say any of the things that Rav Yehuda attributed to him in my lecture, but you can kind of -- it was -- they were very malleable. In terms of -- so we have no -- we don't have anything to actually talk about the Parthian period -- Jews in the Parthian period. Best thing we have is Josephus who basically has two or three anecdotes about Jews in the East, and then he kind of loses interest. Geoffrey Herman, who I mentioned in the presentation, has recently argued that the Exilarch comes into existence around the beginning of the third century. So he kind of thinks that it coincides with the rise of the Sasanians. Even if that's the case, I still think that the Parthian context that you're talking about would have to have played a role, because the Sasanians didn't come on the stage and reform the administration overnight. As we saw, it, you know, took until the fifth, sixth century for things to really start changing. So I definitely think of them just from a Parthian kind of context, even if it emerged slightly after the Parthians went off the stage. >> Scott McDonough: I mean, it's fascinating the parallel with Steve's talk, you know, this kind of, you know, bring us a book that shows who you are. We'll, we're, you know, descended from David. Here's our book. Promote us to our proper status as kings. >> Simcha Gross: That's exactly right, yeah. >> Scott McDonough: That -- it's interesting to see that kind of correspondence with what we're seeing in Caucasia as well, that literature. >> Fatemeh Keshavarz: All right, let me take one more question, because I saw a hand up back there. Yes, please. Here, that lady over there. Thank you. >> Thank you. My question is for Simcha Gross, I know from later history that the Babylonian Jewish community also heavily Arabized. And I was wondering, during the Sasanian time it seems like you made the claim that they were starting to take on a lot of Persian and Sasanian traditions. Once the process of Arabization started to happen, did they still retain that sort of Persian identity? Or did they entirely integrate into the Arab society, if you know? >> Simcha Gross: That's a great question. In general -- and Khodadad was talking about this a little bit. In general, the way eighth, ninth, tenth century Arabic sources, and then the way we as historians the last 200 years, maybe even longer, talk about the Arab conquest is as a watershed. And so Arabs showed up, and then everything changed. It -- Arabs were also Islamic. They were Muslim over -- you know, right away. This was a coherent body of tradition, and then they came around, and all of the minorities kind of said, "Okay, I guess we'll have to either kind of hide in our corners or do what you're doing, which is Islam." When, in fact, we now know that economics, administrative infrastructures, and confessional groups kind of were unharmed, more or less, didn't suffer some sort of serious change for at least until the seventh century when you start seeing this kind of conscious use of Islamic sources and Arabic as imperial propaganda. SO Jews certainly would not have been affected, I think, in the seventh century let's call it. And afterward they start -- in general, Jewish texts are -- most of the ones that survive for historic -- for the reasons that the rabbis are -- still the community that are kind of followed are rabbinic sources. And as we saw, they kind of don't like to admit foreign elements. So they'll do their best to conceal their context, which is why it's very fun and also very hard to kind of tease out that context. So you do see Islamic influence and Arabic influence in form. So you know, very prominent ninth, tenth century Jewish sources, I argue, are actually clearly Jewishized -- I guess is my new word -- Arabic sources. So they're kind of writing like an Arabic historian write, but in totally Jewish parlance, Jewish language, Jewish history. And so if you did not read through Arabic historiography, it would be very hard for you to identify this. But once you do, it's kind of like, "Oh, this is obviously that." Right, we've never seen anything like this before, we see it in the ninth century by Jews, obviously because Arabic historiographers are doing this at this time. So the answer is absolutely you see this kind of interaction, and you do see the kind of influence, but you have to tease it out because oftentimes it's kind of concealed. >> Fatemeh Keshavarz: Thank you. I'm sure there are other thoughts, and the speakers will be available -- sorry for volunteering you -- to interact with all of you. So I would invite you to join lunch after, of course, thanking this very complex and stimulating panel [applause]. Also, I would like to remind you that there will be a film shown. And [inaudible] would you like to announce the place and the -- >> Hirad Dinavari: I could gladly tell you that. Thank you very much Fatemeh [inaudible] for announcing. The film will be playing while you get your food. It will start in about five minutes, and it features out wonderful speaker Touraj Daryaee himself. He will be talking about the Sasanians. And the book display is there. I just ask please do not take food to the display room after you've enjoyed your meal. You can look at the display afterward, or after the third panel ends you have a period in which you can go and look at the book display as well. Last but not least, we have fabulous Lebanese food for lunch, wonderful Middle Eastern cuisine. Enjoy, thank you. >> Fatemeh Keshavarz: All right, and the afternoon panel, of course, on art and culture. So we look forward to that. Thank you all. >> Hirad Dinavari: All right, so I am going to start on the third panel, and hopefully in the next few minutes Ida will also join us. First, though, I want to echo exactly without repeating in detail all the names that Mary-Jane announced earlier. Thank everyone that's worked with me hand-in-glove. I was able to receive the blessings of people in the Asian Division, in the Law Division, Music Division, as well as MBRS for the film that you saw earlier, the Motion Picture Division. They all gave us materials that we could put on display. Geography and Maps gave us atlases and this wonderful map that you see behind you. The catalogers Paul Crego and Michael Cheyet [assumed spelling], who helped us process materials and get it ready. And most of all, our two conveners, Touraj Daryaee and Khodadad Rezakhani. Going back to November at MESA when I first approached Khodadad and I asked if a conference or a symposium on the Sasanians would be something that he would be interested in, he showed immediate interest, and within a day or two we had already talked to Touraj, and Touraj also was very happy. And then the issue of funding came about. Now I was fortunate enough that my boss Mary-Jane had given me the approval to look into a conference on the Ancient Persian history. And once we had reached out the [inaudible] and Mr. Javadi, as always, just as they supported us with the Persian book exhibit, they were kind enough to immediately embrace the idea. And on top of that, bring in the Al Borz, you know, high school alumni as well. So again, I want to thank all of you who are here. I want to thank every division that has taken part in making this happen. And I want to thank my own division. And Mary-Jane Deeb, of course. And of course, Joan Weeks as well as other colleagues like Ann Brenner. And I really want to point out here that nothing that gets happened as a bureaucrat happens without the guidance, and the help, and the approval of management. Nothing that has happened here would be possible without Mary-Jane. Mary-Jane Deeb, our Chief, who you see right here, is the person who has mentored, and helped me, and walked me through the process. She is a perfect person to follow in her footsteps. She's done three of these amazing programs prior to this, one on the ancient city of Tyre, on the legacy of the Assyrian civilization. We had a wonderful program on the Afghan Media Resource Center. Now this one I was able to do, but I couldn't have done any of it without the help, the backing, and the support, and mentorship of Mary-Jane. So if it's possible, I would really appreciate a round of applause [applause]. Thank you. Thank you. And I also wanted to thank University of Maryland, Dr. Keshavarz and Ahmet Karamustafa for being there with us all along with the Persian book exhibit, the lecture series, and helping us with this lecture -- I mean, seminar as well. They've always been there as mentors. I've always been able to talk to them and get their advice. In the D.C. area they are the Persian Studies Department to go to. So thank you very much. Thanks to everyone that's here. With that, I am going to start with reading the bios of all of the wonderful speakers. I have the honor of having an all-woman panel. And the gender balance [applause] -- gender balance is very important, because we were having a lot of male speakers in the previous two, essentially, panels who were fantastic. So I am delighted that everything has gone so well. And we had eloquent moderators, Mary-Jane as well as Fatemeh, who did an amazing job as well. And last but not least, the amazing Lebanese food you enjoyed, we have to thank the caterers Occasions as well. I think that was quite befitting of this gathering [applause]. Our first speaker has come the farthest, all the way from Paris. Dr. Samra Azarnouche is Associate Professor at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes in Paris where she teaches the history of Zoroastrianism. Her research focuses on Late Antiquity, Sasanian culture and religion, Iranian mythology, and Persian literature. Among her publications are an edition of Middle Persian texts on Sasanian reali "Khosrow fils de Kawad et un page" 2013. How do you say that? Did I say it wrong? I'm sorry, French is not my language. And several articles on rituals, essentially -- and various institutions, technical vocabulary, and Zoroastrian myths. Long and short without taking more time, I invite Dr. Azarnouche to speak with you. Thank you. [ Applause ] >> Samra Azarnouche: Ladies and gentlemen, before I start, I would like to thank the African and Middle Eastern Division of the Library of Congress for this wonderful event. Thank you to Hirad Dinavari and [inaudible] Touraj Daryaee, and also Khodadad Rezakhani for their kind invitation. It is my great pleasure to be here. And I would say as an alumnae of the Zoroastrian High School [inaudible], which is, as some of you may know, historically and geographically connected to the Al Borz High School, I would like to give a warm greeting and a sisterly greeting to Al Borz College. In this presentation, I would like to present some aspects of the cultural life, literary, and mythical narrations that seem to have played an essential role in the imperial construction of the Late Sasanian period. I think I don't need to stress, especially after the illuminating talks we had this morning, that the Sasanian society experienced different ranges of the writing culture from the memorial function of royal or aristocratic lapidary inscriptions, up to the more practical, but still specialized activities of the scribes in court and provincial administrative networks. Besides, their vernacular language, per se, equals as we say Middle Persian or Pahlavi, seems to possess all the features of a literary language. It has a simple morphology but a remarkable flexibility and an internal dynamism that makes word composition very productive. Despite this rich and indispensable tool for expression, our information about books in the Sasanian period is very limited. Of course, we have no reason to doubt that the compilation and edition of the very famous "Xwaday-Namag," the "Book of Kings," that we know only by its title and some outlines, were directly supervised by the king or his chancellery. We also know that different aspects of the courtly customs, like protocol of audience and banqueting, were confined in special volumes like "Ewen-Namag" or "Gah-Namag," of which we know very little. If Sasanian didn't produce many books, at least they liked them. They had, for instance, Indian parables, Indian legends translated into Middle Persian as the "Kalilag ud Dimnag" from the Sanskrit "Panchatantra." Or their -- the Sasanian like to be offered ones. The prophet Mani wrote "Shapuragan" for the King of Kings. And also Priscianus of Lydia, one of the last Neoplatonists, who was forced to seek asylum in the Sasanian court, offered his "Soluciones" to Khosrow I. One field only seems to have been reluctant for a while to the writing culture, probably because it didn't need it, or it found idols scriptures, or the act of writing undeserving of its own status, or perhaps it considered writing prone to alteration, and therefore, not suitable for a long-lasting tradition. I am, of course, pointing to the sacred knowledge of Zoroastrian priests who considered their own memory as the only worthy keeper of the holy words of the "Avesta." Even if we agree with the hypothesis that the translations and commentaries of the "Avesta" could have been put down into writing before the Sasanian period. For paleographical reasons we are quite certain that it wasn't the case for the "Avesta" itself. Most scholars agree that after many centuries of oral transmission, the "Avesta" was written for the first time in the second half of the sixth century A.D. at the time of the Sasanian King Khosrow I even though it continued to be taught orally, memorized, and recited by priests, especially by ones involved in the ritual activities or in the educational activities. Writing down the "Avesta" didn't happen in one day. It needed a long process, and priestly gatherings, priests who were experts in the pronunciation of the liturgical hymns, specialists of phonetics, and also of paleography because they had to invent a new alphabet in order to write down the holy text as precisely as possible and turn it into a holy book, as Jews, Christians, Manichaeans possessed one long before them. This radical innovation -- let's say a revolution -- in their religious tradition was not well-welcomed -- was not welcomed by all. But it probably stimulated and [inaudible] the status of religious writing. The priestly class began to have an easier access to scientific knowledge, astrology, medicine, geometry, botany, zoology. And they sometimes incorporated their material into their religious writings. The scholar priest seems to have a remarkable skill to describe the word from the very beginning of the creation to the fresh-geared order renovation at the end of time. And scientific observation makes their enumeration even more accurate and believable. By contacts with different communities, for instance, in the milieu of the Academy of Gondishapur, their writings were surely influenced by the intellectual effervescence of the late Sasanian period and beyond it in the court of the Caliph of Baghdad, for instance, where the heads of the Zoroastrian community were active up to the tenth century. Of this literary production, only a restricted amount of text has been transmitted to us. That is what we call the Pahlavi books, or Zoroastrian Middle Persian text, that we know only from medieval manuscripts, the oldest preserved one dated to 1322. Despite important efforts of generational scholars and some colleagues here in this room, this Middle Persian literature remains incompletely edited or commented on. The question we may ask is to what extent does this corpus inform us about the Sasanians? How a corpus postdated to this period and written by Zoroastrian priests for Zoroastrian priests may be relevant as a source of Sasanian time? On this last point, the French Iranist Philippe Gignoux, who devoted many of his works to the Middle Persian documents and Sasanian history, claimed in the last '70s that this text must be seen as secondary sources, and because of their chronology, they my less -- they are less important than coins and seals. More recently, another outstanding historian, Albert de Jong, argued that we have no reliable techniques and no methods to separate Sasanian material from post-Sasanian material and Pahlavi books. And he also notes that the authors of this text are, I quote, "remarkably free from nostalgia and remarkably diffident in the memory of the Sasanians, who are by no means generally seen as heroes of the religion," end of quote. I think that some of this assessment might need to be amended, though I myself admit and deplore the lack of coherent methodology and reliable techniques used to -- so far regarding the chronology of this text. At this point I would like to suggest not a technique -- I have none -- but rather a new perspective to analyze some Middle Persian narrations that could provide essential elements not only to the understanding of interconnection between narration and political propaganda in the late Sasanian time, but also to re-evaluate the place of the Sasanian king within the Zoroastrian myth ideology. Let me begin with a case that I know the best, as updated the edition of this narration in 2013. This is a dialogue between Khosrow I [speaking in foreign language] and a page -- a young aristocrat. This dialogical form involving Khosrow I and a knowledgeable man, whoever he might be, was a very common genre in this period. We have the Latin translation of the Neoplatonist Christian and his answers to King Khosrow that I mentioned earlier, or even a late Arabic parallels it in [speaking in foreign language] of the ninth century. Here is the frame story of the "Husraw I Kawadan Ud Radag," this Middle Persian text. The plot is extremely simple. I hope you can read the screen, otherwise I can read it for you. "A young aristocrat has been deprived from his rank and has lost his fortune. He requests a hearing, stands before the king," and this gesture imposed by the protocol, as we see in this detail of a silver dish, where the king does not wear the same crown as Khosrow I, but it is Khosrow anyway. And the page tried to gain the favor and the protection of the king. For achieving that, he describes in detail his education, which fits exactly the standards of aristocratic Sasanian military and intellectual training, including religious education, astrological knowledge, and also training in games like chess and polo. Then beings the questioning. The king wants to know what is the best of everything in the servant's eye, including food, wine, music, perfumes, women, horses, and so on. The answer gives rise to a long enumeration of the realia of the -- and the material culture of Sasanian Iran and the courtier protocol. When some place names are mentioned, as it is the case with the great varieties for the most excellent wines, we can observe that these regions are, in fact, included in the border of the Sasanian realm at the time of Khosrow I. This detail shows that the period of the composition of the text is very likely to be the period of his reign. And this is -- that is -- that it was not -- the story was not attributed to him retrospectively, as it was presumably assumed. But this is not the only result of reliable techniques of observation. The king is satisfied by the answer of the young page, and he bestows a high military title of the marzban on him. Then the page finds himself in situations where he has to prove his courage. He captures dangerous lions, and he has to prove also his chastity. And when he passes these ordeals, the king decides to keep him at the court. End of the story. Now what is the moral of the social ascension of an anonymous servant? What could be significance for the audience of the sixth century? It seems to be that behind this naive court story hides a strong political propaganda. This Middle Persian Text only makes sense if we consider the context of internal policy according to which it was composed. Khosrow I, at the beginning of his reign, had to face the consequences of a socioeconomic crisis that started in the time of his father Kavadh. Khodadad mentioned the story this morning. Kavadh actually supported a religious leader called Mazdak because he found Mazdakism a useful instrument for undermining the power of the clergy. The Mazdak movement might have attracted the lower classes of the society. I don't have time to go into details about the social and moral doctrine, but from the Zoroastrian point of view it was seen not only as a dangerous heresy, but also as an economic disaster that would explain why the story of the -- in this story, the page has lost his fortune and turns to the court for help. Here as well as in other stories, Khosrow I took the occasion of presenting himself as the champion of anti-Mazdakism. In fact, Khosrow I is very well-known for his reforms. He actually continued to [inaudible] economic reforms that his father initiated, and a better control over the agricultural production, and a taxes levy required to rebalance the social forces. The power of the great noble houses needed to be reduced, and instead the king favored the small land-holding gentry. It is clear to me that the depiction of the politically-correct figure of the young page in this story echoes the increased confidence of the king toward the lesser nobility, here presented as a victim of Mazdak economic project, or its alleged communism. And this story is, therefore, better understood in the social reconstruction context of the post-Mazdakite crisis. Allow me now to present another brief example of the depiction of the Sasanian king as a hero of the religion, as I don't find Middle Persian Zoroastrian literature particularly diffident to the memory of the kings. Quite on the contrary, it keeps telling us that the Zoroastrian tradition has been transmitted from immemorial times along with Iranian kings, and especially thanks to the Sasanian kings. Not all of them, of course, but at least three or four of the most important ones. I don't want to bother you with the details of the text, and this sketch will surely be enough to illustrate the case. This is what we find -- this chart is what we find in -- or we can reconstruct after many Middle Persian texts, especially the "Denkard IV," an Arabic text based on earlier Middle Persian texts. The genealogical table of the Iranian royalty in which the Sasanians present themselves as the heirs of the legendary Kayanid dynasty, here represented by Wishtasp. This legacy is not a mere historical resonance, nor an intellectual construct. It has to be sustained by tangible elements and facts. This transmission process could apply to many things, the empire itself might be handed down through generations, or the [speaking in foreign language], the royal glory. But I choose to show you the myth of the transmission of the holy scriptures. As you can see here, if you live in the sixth century and you want to write a good story, before you post it on the sixth century Facebook, which is, of course, the network of the mythical narrations that were spread throughout the priestly schools, or the festive gatherings, or whatever. But your story has to meet established criteria of the Zoroastrian mythology to be considered as a good story. Here is some of this criteria. The story has to fit the general picture of the mythical chronology, the scheme of the succession of millennia with different periods, dynasties, and reigns, and so on. The second criteria is the presence of three characters, the hero -- here a king -- the sage or the wise man, most of the time a magus, and a common enemy [inaudible] tied to Iran and its religion. You also need something that links the generation one to the other. According to this version of the myth, the transmitted element from the Kayanid to Sasanian was the "Avesta," not as the liturgical recitation nor as the vague notion named the Den, but as a real object, as a book handed down, after self-vicissitudes, of course -- Alexandre was there -- to the Sasanian kings. And each of them has contributed to its edition, copying, reassembling, and completing. When you want to legitimize the existence of something, basically you only need to say that it was here before. "My ancestors gave it to me, so there is no reason to doubt about it." This raises another question, why does the author of this text need to legitimize the existence of the "Avesta" as a book? The answer is clear, it wasn't a book before it. It seems to me that this narration is only meant to place Khosrow I at the end of this line as the legitimate depository and heroic savior of the holy book, which has accumulated all the knowledge of the time and has become the epitome of the scions of the Iranian and non-Iranian world, and that it has a distinctive shape of a codex or a book, [speaking in foreign language] in Middle Persian. This holistic and cosmic aspect of the "Avesta" truly reminds the holistic and cosmic aspect of the king himself. I hope these two tiny examples were enough to demonstrate that the Middle Persian literature has not yet said its last word about the Sasanian kings, and that it is not surprising that profound historical and social transformations have left a trace into the highly-conservative and faithfully-transmitted tradition, if we are inclined of using new techniques to look for them. Thank you. [ Applause ] >> Hirad Dinavari: Thank you, Dr. Azarnouche for a wonderful talk. I am now going to introduce our second speaker, Dr. Judith Lerner who is an art historian specializing in the history and visual culture of Iran and Central Asia from the Achaemenid to the early Islamic periods. She is especially interested in and has published widely on the glyptic art of Iran, Bactria and Sogdiana; the art and culture of the Silk Road, specifically that of the Sogdians and other Central Asians who lived in China; and the artistic and political uses of Iran's pre-Islamic visual past in the 19th and early 20th centuries. A Research Associate at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, she is a co-editor for the "Journal of Inner Asian Art and Archaeology." She has a MA degree from Columbia University and a PhD from Harvard University. Thank you very much. Let's have Dr. Lerner give us her talk. [ Applause ] >> Judith Lerner. Thank you very much, Hirad. And thank you all for coming. And thanks to all the people who have made this fascinating gathering possible today. I am particularly grateful for this opportunity to talk about an important aspect of the art created under the Qajar dynasty that ruled Persia from the late 18th to the early 20th century. This is the art of carving into living rock, that is a large boulder or, more typically, a cliff or mountainside, of monumental images in high relief. This form of visual art is one of several artistic innovations of the Qajar period. It seems to have been the brainchild of -- let's see if this works -- of Fath-Ali Shah, the second Qajar ruler. Although, in his extensive use of it, he was actually revisiting an artistic medium that began in very ancient, pre-Islamic times. And I'm sure many of you are familiar with the Qajars, and particularly Fath-Ali Shah. And this is a particularly wonderful -- he was rather vain, as you could probably tell from his pose. He imitates Napoleon, in fact. But he has this long, luxurious black beard that was described as very shiny and glistening. And he was quite a clothes horse. And you will -- I will refer to that briefly later on. The very earliest rock relief carving we know of are four reliefs in Western Iran carved around the beginning of the second millennium B.C.E. by the rulers of Lullubi, a mountainous kingdom in the region, in which they proclaim and show the victories over their enemies. You are just -- you're looking at one of them, Anubanini, and you see him trampling on the body of his most important defeated enemy. And facing him is the goddess Ishtar, whom he acknowledges as helping him, being on his side so he could have his -- achieve this victory. This monumental means of glorifying royal power inspired 25 centuries later the Achaemenid Darius the Great to commemorate his military victories on a mountainside not too far away at Bisitun. Succeeding Elamitian, Parthian, and Sasanian monarchs, continued this tradition of immortalizing their kingship and military triumphs. Rock relief sculpture reached its apogee under the Sasanian kings, especially those of the third and fourth centuries, in particular Ardashir I, and you see him in the -- at the top receiving his investiture, his right to rule, from Ahura Mazda; Shapur I, the second one, that -- who also receives his investiture from the great god Ahura Mazda; and Shapurs II and III. I also show you two reliefs made for the last important king of the dynasty, Khosrow II, in the larger grotto at Taq-e Bustan in Kermanshah, the same province as the reliefs of Anubanini and Darius. For the Sasanians, rock relief was a major artistic medium in which they expressed imperial ideas about divine investiture, legitimacy, royal succession, and sheer military might. Rock reliefs attributable to the Sasanian period total nearly 40, and 34 of them can be identified with specific Sasanian kings. With the exception of one relief in Afghanistan, which Touraj showed you earlier in the morning, all are in Iran proper. Most date to the third and fourth centuries. Significantly, almost all of them are located in Fars province, which was the geographical foundation of not only the Sasanian dynasty, but that of the Achaemenid. With the fall of the Sasanians, monumental sculpture from living rock was all but abandoned, although successive Islamic dynasties such as the Buyid, the Mongols, and the Safavids left many inscriptions carved into living rock, none continued the art of monumental relief sculpture. To be sure, the major pictorial, and especially the figurative themes of pre-Islamic Iran, specifically those that had been employed by the Sasanians, "Razm o Basim," Fighting and Feasting, along with the hunt and enthronement scenes continued to be depicted in painting, metalwork, ceramics, and textiles as you see here in examples from Islamic times. But it was only in the reign of Fath-Ali Shah Qajar that figurative monumental rock carving was again made. In this talk, I'll survey most of the Qajar reliefs, showing their debt to those of the Sasanians. I'll suggest why Fath-Ali Shah revived this ancient art, and end by contrasting the use of Sasanian models in the first part of the 19th century with the change in the scale, iconography, and even medium of relief carving that prevailed in the second part of the century. And I shall briefly suggest a reason why. Of the eight reliefs known from the Qajar period, seven can be attributed to Fath-Ali Shah or to one of his numerous progeny. The eighth was ordered in the late 19th century by Fath-Ali Shah's great grandson Nasr al-Din Shah. I'm showing you one of the earlies of Fath-Ali Shah's relief, which is found in Northern Iran in the mountainous region of Firuzkuh northeast of Teheran, and I'm sure many in this room have hiked up there, maybe in their youth, and perhaps have seen the relief. These mountains, which separate Firuzkuh from the Mazandaran plain, were the main summer quarters of the Qajar tribe, providing rich hunting grounds for the court. And Fath-Ali Shah had a hunting lodge there. It was also there in 1808 or 1817, depending upon how the accompanying inscription is read, that he commemorated his exploits in this relief. Filling the frame are not only just the Shah and his prey -- I'm sorry -- and his prey, but 18 of his many sons in attendance. I believe he had about 63 sons, and they never counted all his daughters. The relief may commemorate a particular hunt while also reproducing, on a grand scale, paintings of hunting scenes that were popular with the shah and his court. And you're looking at an example of a painting on lacquer showing Fath-Ali Shah hunting. His -- again, his black beard just in the wind behind him. The subject matter harks back to ancient Iranian images, in particular the density of the composition recalls the monumental hunting reliefs in Khosrow II's iwan at Taq-e Bustan, as well as, as you can see above, this late Sasanian hunting plate on which the king pursues a number of different game. It was at Taq-e Bustan sometime between 1821 and 1828 that a courtier had carved this relief to memorialize Mohammad Ali Mirza Dowlat-Shah, one of Fath-Ali Shah's sons, and Governor of Kermanshah who had died in 1821. And so in the upper left you see him attended by his sons and chief eunuch, ensconced on a high-back throne, his posture and physiognomy very much like that of his father who in numerous paintings sits on a similar chair throne. The relief was placed above the gray panel showing Khosrow II's boar hung. Its placement at the same height of the figure of Khosrow on the rear of the grotto, on this rear wall, has prompted Prudence Harper to observe that "The Sasanian King of Kings is reduced to functioning as Mohammad Ali Mirza's doorkeeper." It's a very nice conceit. Moving south to Shiraz, the capital of Farz province, we find this imposing image created between 1823 and 1825, when it was mentioned by a British traveler as having recently been completed. Unfortunately, it is greatly eroded over the years. It's unprotected, and when I last saw it about 10 years ago, it had been -- people had taken potshots at it -- at the heads, as you can see. But I hope you can make out the rigidly frontal figure of Fath-Ali Shah, flanked by two standing also frontal figures. Set high in the Tangeh Allahu Akbar, the traditional entry into Shiraz from the north, the relief lacks an identifying inscription, but the enthroned monarch is clearly Fath-Ali Shah, recognized by his luxuriant beard, which had been originally painted black, but in fact, I should say that all the reliefs were painted, Qajar reliefs, as well as Sasanian reliefs, as well as Achaemenid reliefs, and quite garishly I must say, very shocking to our eyes. We're not used to this. Anyway, Fath-Ali Shah is flanked by his heir apparent, Abbas Mirza to your right, and to your left, Abbas Mirza's son Mohammad Mirza who in 1834 succeeded Fath-Ali Shah as Mohammad Shah Qajar. Fath-Ali Shad kneels on the Takht-e Marmar, the famous marble throne upon which he and successive monarchs were crowned. Framing the scene are the twisted marble columns that the first Qajar ruler, Fath-Ali Shah's uncle Agha Mohammad, carted off to Teheran from Karim Khan Zand's palace in Shiraz when he defeated the Zand dynasty and gained the Persian throne. These furnishing indicate that the scent takes place in Teheran. And as I've previously written about the relief, I believe it was carved on the orders of Fath-Ali Shah to demonstrate to the people of Farz the correct succession to the throne. It became necessary to do this in 1822 after the Shah heard rumors that two of his other sons, Hassan Ali Mirza, Governor of Khorasan, and Hossein Ali Mirza, Farman Farma, Governor of Shiraz, were planning a revolt. Hassan Ali Mirza resigned his governorship, but Hossein Ali Mirza did not and continued to rule in Shiraz. The frontal hieratic pose of the Shah, flanked by his intended heirs, recalls the enthronement relief of the Sasanian ruler Bahram II at Sarab Bahram, which is not far from Saharz and surely must have served as an inspiration. I show you two more reliefs dated to the early 1830s, Fath-Ali Shah's last decade of rule. Both were carved at Rayy, south of Teheran. And this one on a boulder at Kuh-e Sorsorreh shows him with long beard flying as he spears a lion, a more active portrayal than the usual static enthronement. It's possible that this daring-do was inspired by the Sasanian relief that had originally been carved on the boulder, which probably depicted Shapur I. And you see it here in this drawing made by Cerulean Usli [assumed spelling] during his stay in Persia from 1811 to 1812. It's likely that the Qajar shah's appropriation of this ancient relief added to the power and prestige of his image. Fath-Ali Shah's last relief at Rayy is this enthronement at Cheshmeh Ali, carved three years before his death in 1834. And again, for nostalgia's sake, in the upper left some of you might remember it was a fine place to picnicking, and people washed their carpets at the spring. It's a very old slide. The relief reprises the central portion of a much earlier well-known and much-copied life-sized wall painting made by Abdullah Khan 20 years earlier for the Negaristan palace outside of Teheran. Its subject is an imaginary New Year reception at the Persian court. The enthroned shah is flanked by his sons and retainers as well as by all the foreign envoys and ambassadors he had received on different occasions. Its composition echoes the great reliefs of Shapur and that of -- I don't think it moved -- sorry. Yes, sorry, I have left out a slide, but it's okay. Anyway, it echoes the great reliefs of Shapur I and the one of Shapur II at Bishapur, which display images of and submission of subject peoples from all parts of the Sasanian empire. In the Negaristan painting and at Cheshmeh Ali, representatives of Britain, France, India, Arabia, and the Ottoman Empire pay their respects to the Qajar Shah. But this is purely symbolic, as they never all actually converged on the Qajar court at a single time. If the image of foreigners coming to pay respect to the Persian shah reminds you of the Great Procession at Persepolis to which -- in which all the subject nations bring gifts or tribute to the American King of Kings, I'd give you an A for effort, but otherwise you would be wrong. And that's because the enthroned figure of Darius and his Crown Prince Xerxes had occupied the center of the composition on the northern and eastern staircases of the Apadana, but the Qajars never saw them, as those panels had been replaced by Darius' son Xerxes with an inscriptional panel flanked by guards. And you see that in the lower slide. And this, of course, is what we see today. The -- in the center is the drawing of one of the two panels. And you will see them because they were found during proper excavations of Persepolis in the treasury building. So they had been removed by the heir who really didn't want to show himself as being subservient to his father. At least that is what we have accepted. So this is what we see today. However, the grandeur of the entire procession on the eastern stairway became visible only in the 1930s with the scientific excavation of Persepolis. And this is really what the Qajars would have seen, and even into the early 20th century this is what Persepolis looked like. And what was exposed, which was the northern staircase of the Apadana, was in a ruinous state and had also been looted. Many reliefs that now grace some of our museums around the world came from there. In short, Fath-Ali Shah and his artists were not inspired by these Achaemenid reliefs. Rather, the image of the enthroned ruler flanked by courtiers was a topos of Persian painting. And as you've seen, one that harks back to Sasanian rule. Before Fath-Ali Shah assumed the Qajar throne, he had served Agha Mohammad Shah as Governor of Farz province with his seat in Shiraz. As you saw on the map at the beginning of my talk, Farz is home to a trove of Sasanian reliefs. Of the surviving 40, 28 are in Farz province, and most are not far from Shiraz. Truly their imposing scale and courtly imagery of enthronement and jousting inspired the young Baba Khan, as Fath-Ali Shah was known, while his uncle Agha Mohammad ruled in Persia. As I hope I've demonstrated, rock relief carving flourished during Fath-Ali Shah's reign, and only with his reign. With his death in 1834, this art form came to an end, except for a one-time revival under Nasr al-Din Shah, which is what you're looking at now. Bearing the date of 1878 is this monumental relief commemorating the reconstruction of a road through the Haraz River Valley in Mazandaran. That's in the north. In the center you see the Shah on horseback flanked by courtiers, one of which is his Minister for Public Works, and another, the second from the right -- I'm sorry, I don't have a pointer -- is his favorite court photographer, Aga Riza Aqa Spash-e [assumed spelling]. Please notice the extreme fidelity in the rendering of the Shah, his courtiers, and his horse. This is due to a great familiarity with photography, for Nasr al-Din Shah was himself an avid and accomplished photographer and advanced the use of this art throughout Persia. Also notable in this relief is how the figures are organized in space and the use of different heights of relief to crate depth. This helps to suggest a kind of perspective that is alien to ancient and traditional Persian art, but is characteristic of this late Qajar period. An increased interest in and resulting influence of the West impacted strongly on Qajar art, as did the so-called realism of photography. Thus, in the relief we see a new take on the hierarchic courtly mode of the ruler enthroned. And it's interesting to contrast the two, the Sasanian Bahran II one and Fath-Ali Shah's enthronement scene in Shiraz. Interestingly, in this time of the Haraz Road relief and Qajar interest in photography, a different kind of relief sculpture was being developed in Iran, specifically in Farz province. Beginning in the 1860s, a number of grand houses in Shiraz were built and embellished with stone relief sculptures as well as plaster carvings and ceramic tiles that copy Achaemenid sculpture, specifically the reliefs from Persepolis. There's time to show you examples from one of -- only one of these houses. It is the Narengestan, built sometime between 1879 and 1885. And no doubt some of you here have visited it either because you lived in Shiraz or you visited Shiraz, and maybe you grew up in Shiraz. I know that one person in the audience here has. What prompted this interest in Achaemenid, specifically Persepolitan imagery? Centuries of Persian Islamic art had reverberated with faint echoes of the art developed under Cyrus and Darius. And these reverberations had been channeled through the filter of Sasanian artistic convention. I've already treated this issue in several articles that focus on its various aspects. In the time remaining, suffice it to say that knowledge of Persia's pre-Islamic past had virtually been lost to the Persians themselves. The epic national history, the "Shahnameh," treats only the major Sasanian rulers, the events of their reign only vaguely remembered or romanticized. The Achaemenid dynasty was even more obscure. In fact, it was virtually unknown. The "Shahnameh" mentions only the last Achaeminic king, Darius III, but only as a foil for the conquering and heroic Iskandar, Alexander the Great, who is the legitimate ruler. But an important event occurred in 1846 with the publication by the military officer linguist and diplomat, Henry Creswicke Rawlinson, of his reading of the Old Persian text of Darius' inscription at Behistun. This introduced to mid-19th century Persians the voice of a great Persian ruler of an actual and far more ancient and powerful Persia than hitherto they had known. Through Darius' own words which were translated into modern Persian, almost immediately, Persians learned about the first great Persian Empire that for its time, rivaled that of any of the European powers past or current. At a time when Persia had to stave off Russian, British, and French attempts to bring the country into their respective spheres of influence, this knowledge became a source of national pride and fed into the growing interest on the part of many Persian intellectuals in nation building. Thus interest turned to such Achaemenid sites as Pasargadae and to the tombs of the Achaemenid kings at Naqsh-e Rustam but most particular to Persepolis or Parsa, hitherto known to Persians from early Islamic times as Sad Stun, "Hundred Columns" -- chihil minara "Forty Minarets" -- or as it is still called today, Takht-e Jamshid for Throne of Jamshid. [Inaudible] must have been aware of Persepolis but we have -- he would have considered it the creation of mythological or supernatural beings. Its carvings unfamiliar and unidentifiable and hence meaningless. In contrast, he would have recognized in the reliefs of the [Inaudible] the traditional privileges and duties of kingship, enthronement, homage, fighting and the hunt, all produced on a monumental scale, worthy models for this [inaudible] monarch. Thank you. [ Applause ] >> Hirad Dinavari: Thank you very much. And we do have someone from Shiraz here, Dr. Fatemeh Keshavarz is from Shiraz. So one of our speakers, exactly. Last but not least from University of Maryland, I would like to introduce Dr. Ida Meftahi. She currently holds a Visiting Assistantship Professorship in Contemporary Iranian Culture and Society at the Roshan Institute for Persian Studies, University of Maryland. She completed her doctoral studies at the University of Toronto's Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations and was the postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at Pennsylvania State University. Her first book, <i>Gender and Dance in Modern Iran,</i> <i>Biopolitics on Stage</i> was released in May 2016. In addition to teaching interdisciplinary courses on Modern Iran, she is the director of Lalehzar Digital Project, a component of the Roshan Initiative for Digital Humanities, as well as faculty adviser for Roshangar, Roshan Undergraduate Journal for Persian Studies. Thank you, Ida. It's great to have you here again. She gave us a wonderful talk on her book and now we have her talking about dance and Sasanian bringing the Sasanian Realm to the present by taking it out of antiquity and bringing it to the contemporary. Thank you. [ Applause ] >> Ida Meftahi: Thank you. Greetings, everyone. In November 1921 on the stage of the Grand Hotel on Tehran's Lalehzar Street, the historical musical Parichihr and Parizad was staged twice for the benefit of the newspaper [Inaudible] -- newspapers [Inaudible] respectively. Advertised as a play that would "inform the audience of the customs of Sasanian era" and written by a young playwright Reza Kamal, who later took up the pen name "Shahrzad". The show drew several hundreds of enthusiastic audiences comprised of both ticket payers and trespassers. The significance of the play is reflected in the debased -- debates it instigated in the periodicals in the following weeks about various aspects of performance including the actors' depiction of characters and the venue, all of which provide us with insights into politics, perception, and expectations pertaining to staging ancient Iranian history in early 20th century. An audience member, in defense of the play wrote the following letter to the playwright, "Mr. Reza Kamal, I came to the show knowing that you brought a forgotten part of Iranian history to life using historical evidence -- evidences. I was especially excited that the play is about King Anurshirvan's famous dream, the one that many historians have described. I couldn't believe that a young Iranian would be able to convert this country -- his country's history into a play. You have selected to depict the era of the just king that all Iranians are proud of and a beautiful episode unique to this era." Thus far, the letter tells us that firstly, the notion of history in this context was intertwined with nationalism and glory of ancient Iran. And secondly, literary imagination counted as historical evidence as the most recognized to Anurshirvan's dream as far as those historic, [inaudible] book of the kings. The letter then continued, "But then the day after the show, I was surprised to see that [Inaudible] itself had published a negative review about your play. I'm writing to asking not to get discouraged by these criticisms. They have complained that depicting Parichihr whose dead body on stage was not appropriate for the 20th century and that it was a sign of savagery, [inaudible]. You shouldn't take these interpretations seriously as such scenes are prevalent and important phase around the world including Salome and Othello. If you -- if having a dead body on stage is savagery then all these writers of the civilized world must have been savages. You were also condemned for having a fortune teller who speaks from the other world but of course, you're showing an era in which this idea was very indeed widespread." This part of the letter tells us -- attest to the fact that when ancient Iranian history was materialized on stage, it had to reflect the values and rules of modern stage of 1920s and not of the Sasanian era in which the plot was based. At the time, theatrical stage was considered the site for display of modernity and a school of morality and edification for its audience. Thus the backward signs of savagery and superstitious countered the then modern Iranian notions. The letter then continued, "A playwright has to depict the characters' personalities and behaviors as much as their costumes. It would been ridiculous if you had shown the [inaudible] dancing just as a young Belgian king may dance with women or if you would have depicted the courtiers of the 1st century [inaudible] with ties or bowties of latest Parisian fashion because some actors of Comedie Francaise may show up [inaudible] on the stage." As evidence, no matter how much the theatrical media of the time drew up on European inspirations or dialogued with European aesthetics, vernacular and gender perceptions, they are expected to be reflected in the depiction of important historical characters especially the kings. In this case, dancing was not considered appropriate for a [inaudible] Iranian king. However, as other sources on this play indicate, it was acceptable for the female protagonist Parichihr to dance and sing. Indeed, one of the most important novelties of this play was the employment of the young Armenian dancer and singer, [Inaudible] Aqabayov to enact the role of Parichihr upon her arrival from Europe where she received her opera and ballet training. Praised widely for her sole -- for her role as Parichihr which literally means, fairy face, Aqabayov adopted the stage name of Pari and became the star of Iranian stage for a decade. While there are no existing images of her performance, a farfetched interpretation on my behalf, is to relate this balletic depiction of the goddess Nahid on pointe shoes in the logo of the periodical Nahid in 1920s to Madame Pari's success at the time. Not only was Aqabayov's artistic skillsets a novelty for that era but the public appearance of female performers even on that modern stage was rare and mostly limited to non-Muslims. In this era, most female roles continued to be performed by cross-dressed men. This was the case -- oops -- with another important historical opera contemporaneous to Parichihr and Parizad which had been on the stage of Grand Hotel since May 1921. This was the Resurrection of Persian Kings in the Ruins of Mada'in written by the poet and journalist Mirzah'i Eshghi. Writing the first historical opera of its kind, Eshghi was inspired by his travel from Baghdad to Mosul where he encountered the still glorious ruins of Sasanian [Inaudible]. The script revolves around the poet's own dream which unfolds against the backdrop of this historical monument. There he witnesses some of the major ancient Iranian kings including Cyrus, Darius, and [Inaudible] along with Zoroaster, all of whom mourned for the condition of Iran in 1920 which was depicted as part of the continuum of a dark age which began with the "Arab Invasion" that had put an end to the Golden Age of Sasanian Era. A significant role belonged to -- in this play, belonged to a Sasanian princess enacted by a cross-dressed man who mourned for the poor condition of Iranian women symbolizing modern Iran or all women of Iran and ancient Iranian princess became a prevalent character type in nationalist plays and operettas of that era. Similar to Parichihr and Parizad, Resurrection of Persian Kings instigated responses for the audiences who recommended a more appropriate attire for certain kings on stage. A favorable comment from audience member reads, "This play is the best medium for moving the sensitive hearts who view Iranian kings [inaudible] up in the ruins of Ctesiphon to pray for the progress of Iran. Accompanying them is Zoroaster who begs for the bliss of Iran. How can not -- how can one not be moved by these things?" While later stagings of the Resurrection in 1923, Madame Pari took over the role of the Sasanian princess. Raztakhiz's reference to Sasanian history were indeed far more direct than Shahrzad's Parichihr and Parizad and perhaps its success prompted the selling of Shahrzad's play as a Sasanian history. Visualizing the glorious ancient Iranian history combined with nationalism and nostalgia as well as binary characterization of us Iranians versus them, the Arab invaders, was a recurring theme even before these operas and it's continued afterwards. A good later example is [Inaudible] written in 1927. Some of these plays combine the ancient history with classical literature including those dealing with [inaudible] namely [Inaudible] which drew on ancient history to assign historical personas to literary characters. While others were based on collaborations of historians, again, history in its early 20th century sense with writers. These collaborations which gradually became more conscious of archeological expeditions and works of European Orientalist scholars would lead to a more historically informed detailing in the staging of plays. While Reza Shah's state is nationalism promoted similar lines of thinking, it's important to note that these authors that they're not necessarily pro-state. In fact, Mirzah'i Eshghi was murdered by the Pahlavi regime and Shahrzad committed suicide. An example of a pro-state play is Zoroaster's Promise, [Inaudible] written in 1930 by [Inaudible]. In this play, in the manner of Eshghi's Resurrection of Iranian Kings, modern Iran, Zoroaster, Darius I, [Inaudible] all visit the playwright in his dream. The play culminates with all of these important figures praising Reza Shah for his achievements. In the words of the theater scholar, [Inaudible], the goal of this genre of historical drama in that era was to evoke emotional response in the audience while embodying the official, the grandiose language and larger than life behaviors as well as idealistic love to sacrifice for the Motherland. Concurrently, the first Pahlavi's Women Emancipation Program in 1936 facilitated the men's presence on stage. However, public performance and especially dancing for Muslim women continued to have its predicaments. As I argue in my book, these early combinations of music, dance, and acting with Iranian literature and nationalist themes gave legitimacy to dance and revered asexual female performers appeared on stage as angels and Persian princesses. Such depiction of women as angel and Persian princesses combined with nationalist and revivalist attitude for ancient Iranian tradition is best depicted in productions of the Studio for Revival of Iranian Classic Arts. Founded during World War II by the American Nilla Cram Cook, the company sought not to only visualize ancient Iranian history on stage but also use their range of ancient motifs to reconstruct the "real Iranian dance" and bring back its ancient religious and national status. Like Iranian -- like her Iranian predecessors of 1920s, Cook drew up on Persian literature, archaeological findings, and Zoroastrian text. Here I turned to her piece, Ardeshir Babakan which bore many resemblances to earlier works. It employed the backdrop of a dream to bring the founder of Sasanian Empire into a conversation with Darius in the background of his tomb. But comparing to the earlier works, she had explicit details and program notes regarding the use of ancient motifs. For instance, excerpt from the translation of an inscription of -- from Persepolis and [Inaudible], they are used for the dialogue between the two kings. Angels of earth, fire, water, sun, and moon -- they're featured as characters and their costuming was based on silver vessels of Sasanian era held at the Museum of Ancient Iran. Providing the historical introduction to Babakan's era and his significance, the program notes declared, "If you have chosen Ardeshir Babakan as our first hero rather than Cyrus or Darius of the Golden Age, it's because he aroused the sleeping fate, found the sacred -- secret of new life and dared to attempt the rebuilding of the world that had fallen into ruins." As the quote indicates, Cook's connection with ancient history was not of the romantic, nostalgic nature of the earlier writers but was hopeful, [inaudible], invigorating and to some extent universalist. While the image in the printed program indicates poses rather movements, Cook wrote elsewhere that she drew up on old coins, sacred Zoroastrian rituals, Zurkhanah and sculpture processions of Persepolis. Especially [Inaudible] as a source for revival of [Inaudible] dances. While she also claimed that there were many similarities between ancient's Achaemenid movements as well as those of the Greek. [Inaudible] -- the historian [Inaudible] in his widely circulated article on dance and history of Iran, criticized Cook's ideas on this as baseless fantasy. It's also important to note that [inaudible] in his text referred to Achaemenid kings dancing while emphasizing that the type of dance that they did was sacred and not cheap and degenerate. And now one may ask -- -- I have to go back [laughter]. That is, the Iranian playwrights of 1920s had an emotional attachment to Iran's glorious past and used such nostalgia for the purpose of regaining that glory. What was the American Nilla Cook's intention for traveling to Iran in 1942 to revive the ancient Iranian arts? My answer is two-fold. As in the case of many modernist artists of her era who turned eastward for the authentic, the natural, and the universal material for arts, Iran and Persian language attracted Cook. Furthermore, Nilla Cook's parents were among key figures, the key figures involved the American [inaudible] Hellenist artistic movements in 1920s and the organizers of the important Delphic Festival in Greece for the revival of Persian -- of pure ancient Greek traditions. Growing up in Greece, Nilla not only witnessed major American modern dancers including Isadora Duncan, in search of natural dances in ruins of Athens but also was herself involved in these dance activities. At the same time, like many Orientalists of the wartime, she worked with the U.S. government. Showing up in the wartime of Iran in 1942, she temporarily was hired by the American Embassy in Tehran as a cultural relation representative. She later joined the Department of Theaters of Iranian Ministry of Interior as director meaning that she was the -- she was in charge of censorship of theater and cinema which at the time was very much influenced by the Soviets. Meanwhile, she pursued both Iranian and American resources ranging from the embassy to Shah's mother in order to create an Iranian National Opera. Inferring from archival research at my archival research at National Archives, I find that wartime atmosphere of American legation was suitable for Cook's venture. Firstly, competing with England and United -- and the Soviets, the United States was pursuing an independent propaganda system that distanced United States from the negative reputation of the British and Soviets in Iran. Secondly, as quoted in the first memorandum for propaganda activities in Iran, sent to State Department in 1942, they had already found Iranian soft spots. I'm quoting that document. "Iranian people are susceptible to flattery especially in connection with Persia's contribution to the fields of art, poetry, and architecture." Thus they recommended flattery on these subjects as a medium for propaganda. I find that directly [inaudible] this anecdote and the field trips of Arthur Pope to Iran in preparation of his famous Survey of Persian Arts. In fact, Arthur Pope was very much present in all these documents from 1930s to '40s. Cook argued that -- and Pope's book was also one of the sources that Nilla Cook used for her artistic creations. Cook argued that the environment of Iranian theater was especially dominated by the Russians and pushed for an American-based stage project to counter the impact. At the same time, she added another public diplomacy agenda for her project by using it to "break the barrier of dancing for women of good families," an idea that was even quoted in Richard Arndt's book on<i> American Cultural Diplomacy</i> <i>in the 20th Century </i>as a project serving the diplomatic purpose of United States. Cook's point on this barrier proved to be right when her advertisements brought hundred men to the audition but no women. It was with the help of the U.S. Public Relation attache Kyler Young that would finally persuaded a few ballet-trained Iranian girls of mixed backgrounds to join the studio. Among them, Natasha [Inaudible], who later on wrote her memoir and Haideh Ahmadzadeh. And Haideh Ahmadzadeh, who after a decade, founded the Iranian National Ballet. In pursuit of this goal, legitimizing dance through linking it with glory of ancient Iran and Persian classical literature, one of the earliest performances of Cook's studio was at the reception of Public Relation Attache at the Iranian Embassy which was organized for "Iranian cultural leaders". The event was held in October 1945 at the garden of American Embassy. According to Young, about 300 intellectuals, educational, and cultural leaders including those from University of Tehran and Ministry of Education were invited along with members of Royal Family. The event became the talk of the town for several weeks particularly because it was the -- as he quotes, "It was the first time that reputable Iranian families had permitted their daughters to dance publicly." Nesta Ramazani's reflection on perform -- on the performance further completes Young's description, "Our show was an instant success. Far from being labeled as dancing girls, we were seen as heroines. By infusing ancient Zoroastrian rituals and legends with magic and vitality of movement, Ms. Cook had tapped into the Persian pride in their ancient roots and cultural heritage." Based on this success, Cook later on held further public performances on Lalehzar Street and later took the company to a tour for several years in Middle East and Europe and this was still 1940s. So just a few words to conclude, since the late [inaudible] era, experimentations with new approaches to performing arts, Sasanian motifs and symbols -- sorry, with new approaches to performing arts, Sasanian motifs, symbols and themes have been adapted to the stage for telling dramatic stories of Iranian nation, of its [inaudible] success, failures, and revival. Said to be presented as musicals, operettas, play or a dance, these theatrical staging usually went hand in hand with literary sources in visualizing the kings, warriors, princesses and goddesses of pre-Islamic Iran. These dramatic ventures, they're not only concerned with the glory of ancient Iran, but they're informed by scholarship produced at the time. In the meantime, depicting dancing women as angels and princesses against the aura of ancient Iranian glory legitimized dance for women that was otherwise considered only a sexual display of the body. Thank you. [ Applause ] >> Hirad Dinavari: Thank you, folks. We have time for maybe two questions and after the questions, I'm going to put it out. Right now, I would like to have Mary-Jane and Fatemeh to come up. The moderators as well, I will invite everyone who has spoken, all of the panelists, Touraj, Khodadad and then of course, all the speakers to also come for a group picture. And I want to give Khodadad and Touraj a chance to also say some things since they were co-conveners as well. And -- okay, so who has the microphone? Do I get the microphone from you? All right. Could you -- all right, if you have any questions for the wonderful last panel, John will bring you the microphone. Thank you. >> All right. Fatemeh Keshavarz, my question is when you read Persian literature from [inaudible] onwards in modern Persian, there are constant references to these earlier kings and heroes -- [inaudible] and so forth. Obviously, they're not accurate historical discussions but they show a level of awareness that seems to be far from being totally forgotten and then rediscovered in the 20th century. I wonder if anybody would like to comment on that. Thank you. >> Hirad Dinavari: Go ahead, Ida? Any comments, any responses? >> Ida Meftahi: Well, I'm thinking how to respond. I mean, I don't know if you were referring to -- >> I'm actually more referring to Judith's paper and, you know, the others. I mean, you're most welcome to address this. But I got the impression that there's generally a thought that this past is kind of forgotten and then totally rediscovered in the 20th century. And I do understand that there is some of that but there seems to be a far more continued awareness of that earlier history, if you read Persian literature, you see constant references to all these heroes and kings and things like that. So I'm just wondering if that may not be an indication that there's not a total rupture in that history. >> Judith Lerner: I will try to speak to that. That's a big topic. I think there's a difference between a past, let's call it a legendary past and a historical past. And we do know that the Persians in the first part of the 19th century and earlier, I mean, ever since -- I mean, even if you read the -- and the historians here can correct me -- but even the Arab historians, we don't know about the Achaemenids. They did not know. That's why Cyrus' tomb was the mosque of the mother of Solomon. [Inaudible], they really didn't know. However, the past was known in the west because people read the Herodotus. They read [Inaudible]. They knew about Alexander. They knew and but that really wasn't available or it doesn't seem to be. It could have been available but it's not part of the culture. >> But that doesn't [inaudible] all these -- I mean, I'm wondering why is -- there's a huge [speaking in foreign language] which is based on that and then you get references in [speaking in foreign language]. And so you go on referring to these past. I understand that that's not historical before. >> Judith Lerner: It's a different past, the recent past. >> With research, in fact, there is an awareness of this old ancient history. Thank you. >> Judith Lerner: Right, but it's a very different past. >> Samra Azarnouche: Does it work? >> Judith Lerner: Yes. >> Samra Azarnouche: May I -- I had a comment about the memory of historical or mythical kings. So that's correct that in classical literature, we have no trace of Achaemenides, only Darius III, for instance. And because it is confronted to Alexander, otherwise, we had no trace of him as well. So the Book of Kings and other epic cycles are not history. But we have a source in which we have a very accurate memory of ancient kings. And this source is Baroni. And Baroni has a list of chronology of ancient people and he has a very accurate list of the -- of Iranian kings. So all the Achaemenid kings are here but they are mixed with [Inaudible] mythical kings. So both names are present in the list. So it tells us that at one time before Baroni, maybe at the time of the Sasanians, this mixture has been made in the text sources. So Achaemenid doesn't appear in literary because they have nothing to do with it. I mean, they were erased from this history long before Sasanian time, long before [Inaudible] so there's no surprise that they aren't in our literature. >> Judith Lerner: And that we also know that apparently in the early Sasanian period, there still was a memory. There still was the ability to read -- or I should say, in the earliest, not just the early Islamic period, excuse me. There was an ability to read Middle Persian or I should -- no, I'm sorry. I'm -- forget what I just said. I'm a bit tired. The actual -- the Achaemenid kings and the Old Persian could not be read. That had been forgotten. And so things came down. There is -- there are certain formulae that the early Sasanian kings used that parallel some of the Achaemenid formulae. And so there is a memory. But by the late Sasanian times, for whatever reason, there was really a forgetting of this past. And so, in fact, the being able to read what was up there in Behistun and this was an ancient king speaking in his own words, who was in a sense, a world conqueror, was absolutely extraordinary. And when Rawlinson, you know, he's not the only one who read or even read it properly but he gave his translation to Mohammad Shah Qajar who was absolutely ecstatic with it and gave orders to carve a translation below Behistun in Modern Persian. It never happened. But he was so taken with this because this really showed the antiquity and also the reach. Again, if you put it into the context of 19 -- early 19th century history and how Persia was threatened on so many sides. They had lost territory. The country was verging on bankruptcy and then practically did become bankrupt. This was an amazing thing to learn about for Persians. >> Hirad Dinavari: One more question? Go ahead. Or two more, okay. >> Thank you. I'm Laurel Gray, George Washington University. I wanted to ask about those magnificent Sassanid silver and gilt ewers that have depictions of women dancing. I know every generation sees things from the past through their own filter. And often you would say that the inscription when someone is describing let's say, dancing girls. But what is that current attitude of scholarship because those are very precious items and there's expense and craft in creating them. Are they dancing girls? Are they queens? Are they goddesses? I know that in a way for later Islamic period, they would be shocking because they were wearing jewelry and just jewelry in some cases with some sheer veils and things. But when as someone trying to reconstruct dance, we don't have a lot to go on. Usually it's very flat, one-dimensional items or two-dimensional items. But that's a really important key to try to understand that. What -- instead of just dismissing it as a dancing girl, what can we look differently -- more deeply? What is the status of those items now? >> Hirad Dinavari: By the way, if you do not recognize the young lady who's asking the question, she has been a firestorm of dance in this DC area. She is the lady who has been doing the Silk Road Dance Company that brings to the entire region, Central Asian, Persian, Afghan, Turkic and also Arabic dancing. So she's asking questions based on real love and interest. >> Judith Lerner: I understand. That's a very good question [laughter]. And one could do a whole series of talks about it because people have different ideas. I think they're certainly dancing. They're women. And they're scantily dressed, if at all. And they are dancing. And it probably does reproduce some kind of dances with scarves and which are still done today. But there are various theories of what they represent such as Sasanian silver was greatly influenced by the silver from the west -- Roman silver. And there's a whole -- the seasons, for example. You notice there are four of them usually and they carry different attributes. And so one theory is it has to do with that. Another theory is that it has to do with the bacchanal and wine drinking and these ewers, of course, were very special objects. They're not votive objects. They were used. Wine was kept in them. And for probably for courtly banquets. So a lot of these themes feed into each other. But for purposes of trying to understand, you know, did they have dances like that? I would -- I would think yes. And that's why they're -- that's not why they're depicted. But certainly, that's part of the feasting and the fun is to have these dancing girls. >> Hirad Dinavari: Okay, we have -- I have one more question. I'm sorry. We're running out of time. Go ahead. You go ahead and ask your question and then I'm going to ask our wonderful conveners and others to join us. Go ahead. He's bringing it and dancing around [laughter]. Speaking of dance [laughter]. >> I know that many modern day Zoroastrians believe in most of these post-Sasanian documents and books which this panel and the previous panels are referred to. And also many scholars of Zoroastrianism and Iranian history also rely on them because probably of the facility of translating the language of those books. But they were all written in the post-Sasanian period under the very repressive Umayyad Dynasty and which tried to persuade people in the Sasanian Empire to embrace Islam. And followed by the Abbasid one where they tried to cajole many of the people in the Iranian empires [inaudible] to accept Zoroastrian or to accept Islam thereby keeping the habits and the practices of the Sasanian court and offering them prime ministerships, governorships and so on and so forth. They were also written and therefore in a period where the [Inaudible] who wrote some of these books were influenced either by Islam or they felt that their own security was going to be compromised if they wrote anything which was not Islamic. In these circumstances -- >> Hirad Dinavari: Your question, if you could -- >> The question therefore is that in this background, what is the authenticity of relying on interpreting both Zoroastrian theology as well as Iranian history as many of the speakers seem to have done? >> Samra Azarnouche: Well, I guess the question is for me. Well, as I have tried to demonstrate, for some very specific elements, we can say that it belonged to the Sasanian period. But only when we can point to a historical fact or to a geographical references, or to a geographic reference, or to something that could have a meaning only in Sasanian times. For all the rest, all the theological knowledge, all the dogmatic literature, we don't know. It could have been written before or after Sasanian period. We have no clue. So and also I have to add that this literature is -- has very different genres. And we cannot treat apocalyptic context like theological one like Zend text which is the translation and commentary of the Avesta. They all have to be addressed and commented differently. So basically, you are right. We don't know. But for instance, in the apocalyptic literature, it's very interesting because it's the genre in which you can depict the present time but we're projecting into the future. You say, "They will come. They will kill us." Or they're very destructive and so on. But actually, you are referring to the Abbasids, for instance, which are living at your time. So you see, there are also these chronological problems inside each text because the authors play with this, when it comes to, with history actually. This is what I can say for the Middle Persian that I know but I guess maybe other has answers for other corpora. >> Hirad Dinavari: Dr. Azarnouche, would it be fair to say that this notion -- would it be fair to say that this notion that somehow, everything ceases with the coming of Islam is nonsense because it obviously seems to continue for centuries after. So there is the blurring of line is because the culture and tradition they continue in the Islamic period. >> Samra Azarnouche: This is not only true for religious writings. Sorry but there's a noise on -- >> Hirad Dinavari: Yeah, guys. >> Samra Azarnouche: And but it is also true for administrative documents. For instance, when you read Arabic chronics, they tell us that well, the Persian continued to use their language in a caliphate chancellery within the Muslim administration. So it is -- okay, we had no information before reading this. I mean, we have only this information by the chronic. But now we know that it was true because we have found these documents written in Middle Persian dating from the 7th, 8th century. There is a very large archive, the Pahlavi Archive kept in the Bank of Library of -- I've shown you one example earlier. This -- there are hundreds of documents. They have been written during the Islamic times but are in Middle Persian. They refer to Sasanian administration. There is no Muslim. No -- absolutely not Arabic or maybe one or two Arabic words actually but not more. The same happens, we guess that our archives is from Central Iran, the region of [inaudible]. Another archive in Middle Persian is from the 8th century. It comes from [Inaudible]. When you read this text, it's like nothing had happened. No trace of Islam. No trace of any political change. So these two documents, these two examples show us that what's the chronicle, what's the [Inaudible] says is totally true. The administrative and some other institutions in Sasanian institution has continued during the Islamic times without any change. So it is true for -- this kind of institution, it's probably true for religious text and other structures of the society. >> Hirad Dinavari: Okay, thank you very much. I know you have questions but the lovely speakers will be here. But we need to take care of some administrative things. First of all, if you have not seen the book display, it's back in the conference room. Please, after this, go there. We need to vacate this room by 4:00 and get ready. But what I would like to do is ask Touraj and Khodadad since they were co-conveners to please come up. We would like to hear something from you. And then I'm going to ask all of the moderators and all of the speakers to also join us for a group photograph. Fatemeh, John, Mary-Jane, all of the other speakers, please come up. And if you need to ask questions, the speakers are here. You're more than welcome to approach them afterwards. Thank you. >> All right. >> Hirad Dinavari: Please, please, please. Yes, absolutely. So Khodadad and Touraj, if you have something to say, please. >> Touraj Daryaee: Yes, first actually is professor Azarnouche said, having gone to [Inaudible], I also was on the vicinity. I went to [Inaudible] next door. It was a Zoroastrian school on the grade school so we were relatively close to our boards, but just on the borders. Yes, I think this was very good. I wish we had a little bit more of the reception. At first, we weren't sure how to think of this because there were so many people and we had to, you know, make it interesting. I think, [Inaudible], this was really interesting with Ida Meftahi's paper. You know, that really sort of brought interest, I think, for people who are interested in the past but also now as well as [Inaudible] work on the, again, this reception. So we're hoping to publish the volume. And it should be something like the Sasanian world and its reception, I think. And we need more reception, I think, as far as that goes. And Hirad, again, thank you for all that you've done. >> Hirad Dinavari: My pleasure. Again, thank you. Khodadad, the work you've been doing recently, I would like to plug this in as a Persian specialist here. Judith, definitely the work you're doing, we've looked this time on the Sasanians and there's a lot of work that have been done on [Inaudible] Achaemenid. Work on the eastern Iran, the realm that you are working with, [Inaudible] -- what is now Afghanistan, what is now Central Asia, the Kushan. And the work that Judith is doing right now with the [Inaudible] really maybe in a few years, we could potentially go and speak to folks and see if we could have a talk that focuses on the eastern realm which is really not worked on. The Central Asian, Afghan, and the eastern side of Iran, the eastern [Inaudible]. So I think of building on these and let's maybe we can all talk. The other request I have is you saw the books I have on display. I was only able to pool a small number of them. But a number of you wonderful scholars, we do not have your works. Please work with me if we can search the catalogue. If there are items of yours that have been published that we don't have, we would love to get your material for the collections. All right and that's it on my end. I'm going to ask Mary-Jane and Fatemeh, and John to please come up. And then all the speakers also, please come up. Thank you. [Applause] Khodadad, if you would want to say something, go ahead. >> Khodadad Rezakhani: I was -- I wanted to just to be known that the point of this whole thing as we talked originally with Hirad was to show a bit of the work in progress. And I think the selection of the speakers that honored us by showing up, very much showed that people who are working on subjects that are being developed. So and things such as east Iranian subjects are a natural continuation of these works in progress and I thank everybody for their support and hope that this can continue. Thank you, [inaudible]. >> This has been a presentation of the Library of Congress. Visit us loc.gov.

Election results

Candidate Party Votes[1] Percent
Stephen Van Rensselaer Federalist 2,266 80.7%
Solomon Southwick Democratic-Republican ("Bucktail" faction) 499 17.8%
Others 43 1.5%

Rensselaer took his seat on March 12, 1822.[2]

See also

References

  1. ^ http://elections.lib.tufts.edu/aas_portal/view-election.xq?id=ny.specialelectioncongress9.1822[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-12-13. Retrieved 2012-12-14.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) footnote 38
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