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April 2018

Ancient Persia and the West: An International Symposium

April 25 @ 8:30 am - 6:30 pm

The Pourdavoud Center for the Study of the Iranian World and the Getty Research Institute are co-organizing a one-day symposium to be held on April 25, 2018 at the Pourdavoud Center, UCLA. Presenters will include invited speakers and the current Getty Villa Scholars, whose projects focus on the encounters of ancient Iran with the classical world. The Getty Scholars Program at the Villa for the 2017–18 and the 2018–19 years address the political, intellectual, religious, and artistic relations between Persia,…

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February 2018

Between Graven Images and Zoroastrian Texts: How to Study Ancient Iranian Religious Iconography?

February 21 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Michael Shenkar (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem) The study of the Iranian religious iconography has been traditionally bound to the Zoroastrian texts. Deities, animals and symbols have all been usually interpreted based on the descriptions found in the Avesta and in the Middle Persian literature. However, to treat these problematic texts as a source of Iranian imagery comparable with the Bible for the Byzantine art or with the Buddhist sacred texts for the Buddhist art, is certainly misleading. The potential…

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January 2018

Great King / King of Kings. Survival and Transformation of a Persian Title in the Hellenistic Period, c. 330–30 BCE: From the Achaemenids to the Parthians

January 10 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Rolf Strootman (Utrecht University) The Old Persian imperial titles Great King and King of Kings (xšāyaθiya vazạrka and xšāyaθiya xšāyaθiyānām) disappeared after the Macedonian conquest of the Achaemenid Empire in 330 BCE. But already before the Parthians reestablished Iranian kingship in Iran, the title Great King had returned in a Greek version: basileus megas. That title was adopted around 205 BCE by the Seleukid emperor Antiochos III (‘the Great’) and by several of his successors. When later the Parthian rulers Mithradates…

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November 2017

The Achaemenid King and his Governors: Identity – Imitation – Identification

November 29, 2017 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Maria Brosius (University of Toronto) While we may have a rather clear idea about the relationship between the Achaemenid king and his satraps, the relationship between the king and local governors and city-rulers has received less scholarly attention. An exception to this omission is Mausolus of Caria who seems to stand out because Greek sources refer to him both as a king and a satrap. Is his position within the Persian governmental structure indeed exceptional, and perhaps a sign of…

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The King of Kings’ Empire as a Garden in Ancient Iran

November 8, 2017 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Touraj Daryaee (UC Irvine) This lecture explores the idea of the Sasanian Empire (Iranshahr) as a garden. The theme of the Persian Empire as a paradise has been explored by a number of scholars, but the continuation of this idea in Late Antiquity is neglected. The speaker will discuss how the Sasanian king of kings acted as a gardener who not only protected his subjects from invaders and malicious forces, but also weeded out those who brought havoc to the…

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October 2017

How much of a physician was Rashīd al-Dīn?

October 18, 2017 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Photo: Humboldt Foundation/Wolfgang Hemmann A lecture by Judith Pfeiffer (University of Bonn) Rashīd al-Dīn Faḍl Allāh Hamadānī (d. 718/1318) is often introduced as “ṭabīb,” or ‘physician,’ mostly to distinguish him from authors with similar names, notably the epistolographer Rashīd al-Dīn Waṭwāṭ (d. 578/1182). This paper discusses Rashīd al-Dīn’s scholarly persona as a physician. Starting from his epithet, ṭabīb, the paper explores his role as a medical practitioner, patron, and author of scholarly medical treatises, arguing that Rashīd al-Dīn’s name is henceforth to…

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Rashīd al-Dīn in the Eye of the Beholder: Proposing a Holistic Approach to Reception History

October 16, 2017 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Photo: Humboldt Foundation/Wolfgang Hemmann Central Asia in Transition Lecture by Judith Pfeiffer (University of Bonn) Recent scholarship has painted a rather dim picture of the Mongol-Ilkhanid vizier and historian Rashīd al-Dīn’s (d. 718/1318) historiographical impact in the Muslim world. This lecture proposes a holistic approach to Rashīd al-Dīn’s oeuvre that includes both his historiographical and theoretical works, and adduces evidence to revise the above statement by reviewing the reception of Rashīd al-Dīn in the Islamic world with a special focus…

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Greater Glory: Darius I and Divinity in Achaemenid Royal Ideology

October 4, 2017 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Matthew Waters (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire) The close link between the king and the divine has deep roots in Near Eastern royal ideologies, and the Persian kings during the Achaemenid period (c. 550-330 BCE) followed this tradition. Exactly how close was the link? Recent studies suggest a blurred line between the two especially during at least some parts of the Neo-Assyrian period. However one chooses to answer that question for the Achaemenids, the king is to be considered a fulcrum.…

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