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One of the most remarkable empires of the first millennium CE was that of the Sasanian Persian Empire. Emanating from southern Iran’s Persis region in the third century AD, the Sasanian domain eventually encompassed not only modern day Iran and Iraq, but also the greater part of Central Asia and the Near East, including at times the regions corresponding to present-day Israel, Turkey, and Egypt.

This geographically diverse empire brought together a striking array of ethnicities and religious practices. Arameans, Arabs, Armenians, Persians, Romans, and Goths, as well as a host of other peoples, all lived and labored under Sasanian rule. The Sasanians established a relatively tolerant imperial system, creating a vibrant communal life among their Zoroastrian, Jewish, and Christian citizens.

This arrangement which allowed religious officials to take charge of their own communities was a model for the Ottoman millet system. During the Sasanian period, the Nestorian Church was established, and Zoroastrianism’s Holy Scripture, the Avesta, was codified. The Gnostic Prophet Mani popularized his vision in the Sasanian period, news of which spread from China to the Roman world. Finally, Mazdak was recognized as the first socialist reformer who preached communal ownership while living under Sasanian rule.

Sasanika’s Mission:

  • Integrate the Sasanian Empire into the fields of late antiquity and world history.
  • Create a website dedicated to Sasanian civilization (sasanika.com/sasnika.org).
  • Establish panels dedicated to Sasanian studies.
  • Publish Sasanian material culture in partnership with the National Museum of Iran.
  • Rediscover and re-attribute artifacts that are wrongly attributed to other periods and dynasties.


Kamyar AbdiIran University Press
Michael AlramÖsterreichische Akademie der Wisseschaften
Alberto CanteraUniversity of Salamanca
Carlo G. CeretiUniversity of Rome
Vesta Sarkhosh CurtisThe British Museum
Touraj DaryaeeUniversity of California, Irvine
Richard N. FryeHarvard University
Rika Gyselen CNRS- Mondes iranien et indien
Philip HuyseCNRS – Mondes iranien et indien
Erich KettenhofenUniversity of Trier
Judith LernerNew York University
Maria MacuchFreie Universität Berlin
Michael G. MoronyUniversity of California, Los Angeles
Antonio PanainoUniversity of Bologna
Rahim ShayeganUniversity of California, Los Angeles
P. Oktor SkjærvøHarvard University
Evangelos VenetisUniversity of Leiden
Joel T. WalkerUniversity of Washington
Dontald WhitcombUniversity of Chicago


far-hang-logoFarhang Foundation


roshan-culture-heritageRoshan Cultural Heritage Institute


Nastaran Akhavan
Haleh Emrani
Nader Rastegar