Books

Sasanian Persia

Author:
Eberhard Sauer
Sauer, Eberhard W., ed. Sasanian Persia. Between Rome and the Steppes of Eurasia. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2017.

The Sasanian Empire (3rd–7th centuries) was one of the largest empires of antiquity, stretching from Mesopotamia to modern Pakistan and from Central Asia to the Arabian Peninsula. This mega-empire withstood powerful opponents in the steppe and expanded further in Late Antiquity, whilst the Roman world shrunk in size. Recent research has revealed the reasons for this success: notably population growth in some key territories, economic prosperity, and urban development, made possible through investment in agriculture and military infrastructure on a scale unparalleled in the late antique world.

Our volume explores the empire’s relations with its neighbours and key phenomena which contributed to its wealth and power, from the empire’s armed forces to agriculture, trade and treatment of minorities. The latest discoveries, notably major urban foundations, fortifications and irrigations systems, feature prominently. An empire whose military might and culture rivalled Rome and foreshadowed the caliphate will be of interest to scholars of the Roman and Islamic world.

  • Challenges our Eurocentric world view by presenting a Near-Eastern empire whose urban culture and military apparatus rivalled that of Rome
  • Covers the latest discoveries on foundations, fortifications and irrigation systems
  • Includes case studies on Sasanian frontier walls and urban culture in the Sasanian Empire

Table of Contents

Foreword
1. Introduction
Eberhard W. Sauer
2. Sasanian cities: archaeological perspectives on the urban economy and built environment of an empire
St John Simpson
3. Palaeoecological insights into agri-horti-cultural and pastoral practices before, during and after the Sasanian Empire
Lyudmila Shumilovskikh, Morteza Djamali, Valérie Andrieu-Ponel, Philippe Ponel, Jacques-Louis de Beaulieu, Abdolmajid Naderi-Beni and Eberhard W. Saue
4. Animal exploitation and subsistence on the borders of the Sasanian Empire: from the Gorgan Wall (Iran) to the Gates of the Alans (Georgia)
Marjan Mashkour, Roya Khazaeli, Homa Fathi, Sarieh Amiri, Delphine Decruyenaere, Azadeh Mohaseb, Hossein Davoudi, Shiva Sheikhi and Eberhard W. Sauer
5. The Northern and Western Borderlands of the Sasanian Empire: Contextualizing the Roman/Byzantine and Sasanian Frontier
Dan Lawrence and Tony J. Wilkinson
6. Connectivity on a Sasanian frontier: Route systems in the Gorgan Plain of north-east Iran
Kristen Hopper
7. The Sasanian Empire and the East: A summary of the evidence and its implications for Rome
Warwick Ball
8. Minority Religions in the Sasanian Empire: Suppression, Integration, and Relations with Rome
Lee E. Patterson
9. A Contested Jurisdiction: Armenia in Late Antiquity
Tim Greenwood
10. Cultural contacts between Rome and Persia at the time of Ardashir I (AD 224-240)
Pierfrancesco Callieri
11. Innovation and Stagnation: Military Infrastructure and the Shifting Balance of Power between Rome and Persia
Eberhard W. Sauer, Jebrael Nokandeh, Konstantin Pitskhelauri and Hamid Omrani Rekavandi
12. The Arabian Frontier: A Keystone of the Sasanian Empire
Craig Morley
13. The India Trade in Late Antiquity
James Howard-Johnston

Eberhard Sauer is Professor of Roman Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh, having previously taught at the Universities of Leicester and Oxford.

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