Montag, 25. Februar 2019, 16:30 - 18:00 iCal

The First Iranians

Religion, Ethnicity, and Empire in Late Antiquity

Institut für Mittelalterforschung an der Österr. Akademie der Wissenschaften
Hollandstraße 11-13, 3. Stock (Bibliothek), 1020 Wien


Whence the Iranians? The Middle Persian term ērān first appears as an ethnonym in 226 CE, on the coins of Ardashir I, the first Sasanian king of kings. His court undertook a novel imperial project, seeking to unify the disparate Parthian territories and aristocratic communities Ardashir had conquered. The paper will consider the origins of the ethnic discourse of the ērān, “the Iranians,” in Zoroastrian myth and cosmology and argue for its essential role in the making of an empire. It will locate the case of the Iranians with the broader historiography of ethnogenesis in late antiquity and the early Middle Ages.

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Sophie Gruber
Institut für Mittelalterforschung (ÖAW)