In 1964 the Centro Ricerche Archeologiche e Scavi di Torino per il Medio Oriente e l’Asia started field research at Seleucia on the Tigris, the Babylonian capital of Seleucid Asia, built in an area where other important capitals such as Parthian Ctesiphon and Sasanian Veh Ardashir were founded, and which is still called in Arabic al- Madā’in (the cities). The city, founded at the end of the 4th century BC, appears to have been the main centre of inner Asia in the Seleucid period and maintained its pivotal role even during the Parthian age (half of the 2nd century BC – beginning of the 3rd century AD), being progressively abandoned from the last quarter of the 2nd century AD, for the nearby bourg of Ctesiphon, grown in importance in the AD centuries as the Parthian capital of the region. Afterwards, during the reign of Ardashir I (AD 224-241), the new Sasanian capital, Veh Ardashir (Coche), vied with Ctesiphon for regional dominance and finally prevailed.
- Michael Alram: “The Numismatic Legacy of the Sasanians in the East”
- Matthew P. Canepa and Johnathan W. Hardy: “Persian Palace Architecture, Garden Design and Digital Archaeology”
- Touraj Daryaee: “The Tripartite Sasanian Vision of the World”
- Antonio Panaino: “Books without Ritual – Ritual without Books”
- Giusto Traina: “The Rise of the Sasanians”
- Yuhan Sohrab-Dinshaw Vevaina: “A Father, a Daughter, and a Son-in-Law in Zoroastrian Hermeneutics”
- Arash Zeini: “The King in the Mirror of the Zand“
Canepa, Matthew. 2018. The Iranian expanse: Transforming royal identity through architecture, landscape, and the built environment, 550 BCE-642 CE. Oakland, California: University of California Press.
The Iranian Expanse explores how kings in the ancient Iranian world utilized the built and natural environment–everything from royal cities and paradise gardens, to hunting enclosures and fire temples–to form and contest Iranian cultural memory, royal identity, and sacred cosmologies over a thousand years of history. Although scholars have often noted startling continuities between the traditions of the Achaemenids and the art and architecture of medieval or Early Modern Islam, the tumultuous millennium between Alexander and Islam has routinely been downplayed or omitted. The Iranian Expanse delves into this fascinating period, examining royal culture and identity as something built and shaped by strategic changes to architectonic and urban spaces and the landscape of Western Asia. Canepa shows how the Seleucids, Arsacids, and Sasanians played a transformative role in developing a new Iranian royal culture that deeply influenced not only early Islam, but also the wider Persianate world of the Il-Khans, Safavids, Timurids, and Mughals
Directed by Pejman Akbarzadeh
7.00pm, Thursday 1 February 2018
Russell Square WC1H 0XG
Taq Kasra: Wonder of Architecture is the first-ever documentary film on the world’s largest brickwork vault. The palace was the symbol of the Persian Empire in the Sasanian era (224-651 AD), when a major part of Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) was part of Persia. Taq Kasra was in serious danger of ISIS attacks in 2015-2016 and this was the main motivation for documentary maker Pejman Akbarzadeh, based in Holland, to travel to Iraq twice and film the arch before it was potentially destroyed. (Read more)
Watch the trailer here.
The documentary is produced by the Persian Dutch Network, in association with Toos Foundation, and partially funded by the Soudavar Memorial Foundation.
Following the screening, a Q&A session will be held with the presence of the documentary director Pejman Akbarzadeh and Vesta Sarkhosh-Curis of the British Museum, a scholar of Persian art in Sasanian and Parthian eras.
Admission Free – All Welcome
Organised by: Centre for Iranian Studies
Khries, Hashem. 2017. The Architecture of the Persian Period in the Levant. Scholar Press.
This book is a comprehensive study of the Levantine architecture in the fifth and fourth centuries B.C.E. The current book is unprecedented in its contents and the manner in which it addresses the subject since it contains all Persian-period sites in the whole Levant -as an integrated entity- that contains building remains. It also handles the Achaemenid impacts – both the direct and indirect ones- on the tradition of the Levantine architecture through conducting a descriptive, analytical and interpretative study of the buildings under consideration. Another perspective adopted here is that of functionally characterizing each excavated context, thus reaching assessments which are not only typologically based. This has resulted in a better understanding of the nature of the social, economic, political, and religious life in the entire Levant.
Historiography is the study of the methodology of writing history, the development of the discipline of history, and the changing interpretations of historical events in the works of individual historians. Exploring the historiography of Persian art and architecture requires a closer look at a diverse range of sources, including chronicles, historical accounts, travelogues, and material evidence coming from archaeological excavations.
Matthew P. Canepa. 2014. Seleukid sacred architecture, royal cult and the transformation of Iranian culture in the Middle Iranian period. Iranian Studies 48(1). 1-27.
This article proposes a new approach to three of the most persistent problems in the study of Iranian art and religion from the coming of Alexander to the fall of the Sasanians: the development of Iranian sacred architecture, the legacy of the Achaemenids, and the development of the art and ritual of Iranian kingship after Alexander. Canepa explores the ways in which the Seleukids contributed basic and enduring elements of Iranian religious and royal culture that lasted throughout late antiquity. Beyond stressing simple continuities or breaks with the Babylonian, Achaemenid or Macedonian traditions, this article argues that the Seleukids selectively integrated a variety of cultural, architectural and religious traditions to forge what became the architectural vocabularies and religious expressions of the Middle Iranian era.
Starting from important new archaeological findings and insights that have led to a rethinking of the history of viticulture in Iran and its wider Asian context, this volume explores various aspects of the cultural, social and political significance of grape wine in the Iranian cultural sphere. It assembles specialized studies and interpretative essays ranging from the question of the origins of viticulture and winemaking and the trade of wine between the Iranian plateau and China to viticulture and wine consumption in 20th-century Kafiristan, from the place of intoxicating beverages in hadith to the nature and function of wine in classical Persian poetry and Iranian architecture, from the ambiguities of alcohol in pre-modern Persia to the challenges of modernity and colonial encounters.
Continue reading Wine culture in Iran and neighbouring countries