Tag Archives: Sasanian archaeology

Sasanian Elements in Byzantine, Caucasian and Islamic Art and Culture

Sasanian Elements in Byzantine, Caucasian and Islamic Art and Culture

International Conference of the Leibniz-WissenschaftsCampus Mainz: Byzantium between Orient and Occident.

October 18–20, 2017, Mainz/Germany

Organized by Prof. Dr. Falko Daim (General Director, RGZM) and Prof. Dr. Neslihan Asutay-Effenberger (Johannes Gutenberg- Universität, Mainz)

Cultural exchanges between Christianity and Islam, especially between Byzantium and its Islamic Neighbours, but also in the Caucasian region, have been an attractive topic for historians, art historians and archaeologists in recent years. Scholarly interest focuses on diplomatic gift exchange, trade, the mobility of artists and the common motifs in both Christian and Islamic objects. The stage extends from Spain to Afghanistan and justifies the necessity of this debate. Yet, unfortunately, the role of one of the important protagonists of this exchange, namely the Persian Sasanians, is less well researched, although many important artistic and cultural phenomena in Byzantium, Armenia, and Georgia as well as in the Islamic countries can only be understood when this culture is included.

The Sasanian Empire (224-651 A.D.) extended over a large territory. In Late Antiquity and the early Medieval Era, it ruled the whole area of modern Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Caucasian region was exposed to its political influence. Until the middle of the 7th century, Sasanians were the major rival of the Late Roman and Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire and exported art and culture into these civilizations through various means and on different levels. The cultural connections ended after the fall of the Sasanian Empire, which was replaced mainly by Arab Muslims, and a new era began: the new owners of the territory then adapted Sasanian elements into their own culture.

From the10th century onwards, the Turkish dynasties such as the Ghaznawids (963-1186) or the Great Seljuks (1019-1157 / de facto until the 13th century) settled in Persia and styled themselves as the successors of the Sasanians as well as as Turks; hence, they were called “Persians” in Byzantine sources. The Sasanian artistic and architectural tradition continued to exist in these cultures. The same phenomenon also applies to the Turkish Rum-Seljuks, who founded their empire in Anatolia: Persian was the court language, the sultans were named after Sassanian heroes from the Shahname (Keykubad, Keyhusrev, Keykavus), and despite the religious prohibition, drinking scenes were depicted in the artworks and wine played an important role at the ceremonies and celebrations according to the Sasanian model.

As can be clearly seen, the Sasanian Empire had not only ‘transfused’ its art and culture to its neighbourhood during its prime time, but also influenced the successor states after its decline. Just as Ancient Greek and Roman culture played an important role in the formation of Western Europe, the Sasanian Empire bequeathed, a remarkably rich cultural heritage to the Christian and Islamic East.

The conference “Sasanian Elements in Byzantine, Caucasian and Islamic Art and Culture” succeeds “Der Doppeladler. Byzanz und die Seldschuken in Anatolien vom späten 11. bis zum 13. Jahrhundert”, which was held at the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum, Mainz in October 2010. The first event dealt with the cultural relations between Islam, particularly Turkish Islam, Byzantium and the Caucasus. At the forthcoming conference, we aim to discuss the role of the Sasanian Empire in the process of cultural exchange before and after its decline.

See here the Conference Programme

  • Khodadad Rezakhani: “The Roman Caesar and the Phrom Kesar: Hrōm, Eranshahr and Kushanshar in Interaction and Competition”
  • Johannes Preiser-Kapeller: “From one edge of the (post)Sasanian world to the other. Mobility and migration between the Caucasus, Central Asia and the Indian Ocean in the 4th to 9th centuries CE”
  • Rustam Shukurov: “The Image of Byzantium in Persian Epics: from Firdawsi to Nizami”
  • Matteo Compareti: “The Representation of Composite Creatures in Sasanian Art. From Early Coinage to Late Rock Reliefs”
  • Neslihan Asutay-Effenberger: “Senmurv – Beschützer von Konstantinopel?”
  • Thomas Dittelbach: “Kalīla wa-Dimna – Der Löwe als symbolische Form”
  • Rainer Warland: “Das Eigene und das Fremde. Hellenistische Selbstvergewisserung, sassanidische Konfrontation und apokalyptische Endzeit als Lesarten der frühbyzantinischen Kunst (500–630 n. Chr.)”
  • Arne Effenberger: “Sassanidischer Baudekor in Byzanz: der Fall der Polyeuktoskirche in Konstantinopel”
  • Nikolaus Schindel: “Sassanidische Münzprägung im Kaukasus”
  • Nina Iamanidze: “Georgian Reception of Sasanian Art”
  • Armen Azaryan: “Architectural Decorations of the Armenian Churches of the 7th and the 10th–11th Centuries, and their Presumably Sasanian Sources”
  • Shervin Farridnejad: “Continued Existence of the Imagery Repertoire of Sasanian Court Ceremonies and Rituals in the Islamic Art”
  • Markus Ritter: “Umayyadische Rezeption sasanidischer Architektur”
  • Osman Eravşar: “Sasanid Influence on Seljuk Art and Architecture”

Sponsorship

Research Unit Historical Cultural Sciences

Organization

Prof. Dr. Falko Daim (Mainz)
Prof. Dr. Neslihan Asutay-Effenberger (Mainz)

HISTORIA I ŚWIAT

The sixth issue of Historia i Świat (2017) has been published. Many papers of this issue are related to our interest:

  • Svyatoslav V. SMIRNOV: Notes on Timarchos’ Iconography: Dioscuri Type
  • Mozhgan KHANMORADI & Kamal Aldin NIKNAMI: An Analytical Approach to Investigate the Parthians Painted Stuccoes from Qal‘eh-i Yazdigird, Western Iran
  • Ilkka SYVÄNNE: Parthian Cataphract vs. the Roman Army 53 BC-AD 224
  • Morteza KHANIPOOR, Hosseinali KAVOSH & Reza NASERI: The reliefs of Naqš-e Rostam and a reflection on a forgotten relief, Iran
  • Gholamreza KARAMIAN & Kaveh FARROKH: Sassanian stucco decorations from the Ramavand (Barz Qawaleh) excavations in the Lorestan Province of Iran
  • Katarzyna MAKSYMIUK: The capture Ḥaṭrā in light of military and political activities of Ardašīr I
  • Michael Richard JACKSON BONNER: A Brief Military History of the Later Reign of Šapur II
  • Patryk SKUPNIEWICZ: The bullae of the spahbedan. Some iconographic remarks
  • Joan ZOUBERI: The role of religion in the foreign affairs of Sasanian Iran and the Later Roman Empire (330-630 A.D.)
  • Tomasz SIŃCZAK: New Russian view on Sassanid Empire. Polemic with book: М. Мочалов, Д. Полежаев, Держава Сасанидов 224 – 653 годы, Москва 2016

Figures of two kings on a late Sasanian coin

Shavarebi, Ehsan. 2016. “Eine spätsasanidische Münze mit zwei Prägeherren“, Schweizer Münzblätter (Gazette numismatique suisse/Gazzetta numismatica svizzera) 66 (263), 63-66.

International Journal of the Society of Iranian Archaeologists 2(3)

The third published issue of International Journal of the Society of Iranian Archaeologists 2 (3) (2016) is dedicated to the Persian Gulf. For a table of contents and access to articles, see below or visit this page.

Cameron A. Petrie: “Kaftati and Kaftari-Related Ceramics in Southwest Iran and the Persian Gulf

Lloyd Weeks: “Iran and the Bronze Age Metals Trade in the Persian Gulf

Hossein Tofighian & Farhang Khademi Nadooshan: “Ancient Maritime Trade in the Persian Gulf: the Evidence of Sassanid Torpedo Amphoras

Touraj Daryaee: “The Sasanian ‘Mare Nostrum’: The Persian Gulf

Donald Whitcomb: “Persian Documents In The National Archives (Torre Do Tombo) Of Portugal And Their Importance For The History Of Persian Gulf In The 16th -17th Centuries

Daniel T Potts: The Shi‘a origins of the 12th century ‘Uyunid Madrasah Abu Zaidan (Suq al-Khamis Mosque) on Bahrain

Late Sasanid and Early Islamic Period in the Marvdasht Plain

Shobairi, Abazar, 2016. New evidence of late Sasanid and early Islamic period in the Marvdasht plain. In Denis Genequand (ed.), Proceedings of the 9th International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, vol.2, 425–440. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.

This present paper is a brief report of a rescue excavation results as well as an analysis of the relative chronology of the material culture which was found during the excavation on the Marvdasht Plain. The result of the excavation can serve as an indication of the sequence of settlement from the Sasanid to the late Islamic period in the Marvdasht Plain and southwestern Iran generally.

Sasanian glassware

Sasanian glassSimpson, St John. 2015. Sasanian glassware from Mesopotamia, Gilan, and the Caucasus. Journal of Glass Studies 57. 77–96.

This paper was presented at The Corning Museum of Glass in March 2014 as part of the symposium dedicated to the memory of the late David Whitehouse and entitled “A Life in Archaeology and Glass: Honoring David Whitehouse (1941-2013)”. It is now published in the Journal of Glass Studies (57), 2015. The subject is a first attempt to understand the role of Sasanian glass in the Caucasus and suggest this is the source of much of the imported Sasanian glass reportedly found in graves in north-west Iran.

Merv, an archaeological case-study from the northeastern frontier of the Sasanian Empire

Simpson, St John. 2014. Merv, an archaeological case-study from the northeastern frontier of the Sasanian EmpireJournal of Ancient History. 2(2), 1-28.

This paper re-examines some of the latest archaeological evidence from Merv, beginning with the oasis, followed by the city and finally with aspects of the urban economy. It concludes with a brief exploration of how this cumulative evidence matches that from some other regions of the Sasanian Empire, including frontier regions such as Gorgan, and the Mesopotamian heartlands, and argues that cross-regional archaeological comparison throws new light on how the
Sasanian state effectively managed its resources.