As part of the Gorgias Handbook Series, this book provides a political and military history of the Sasanian Empire in Late Antiquity (220s to 651 CE). The book takes the form of a narrative, which situates Sasanian Iran as a continental power between Rome and the world of the steppe nomad.
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This handbook is a history of the Sasanian dynasty: the rulers of the last Iranian empire before the Arab conquests in the seventh century. Sasanian Iran (220s to AD 651) was the foremost power between Rome and the nomadic world of Inner Asia in Late Antiquity. The book covers the main features of Sasanian political and military history in the form of a narrative formed from the primary sources and the best modern scholarship. Apart from literary histories, this book brings together a great deal of archaeological and sigillographic evidence which has only recently come to light.
The narrative is intended to be a clear and thorough presentation of the history of Iran in Late Antiquity without emphasis on scholarly debates or historiographical problems. But the book ranges widely throughout the lands ruled by the Sasanian dynasty, as well as those within the Iranian diplomatic and military field of view. The Caucasus, Inner Asia, China, the Arabian Peninsula, the Persian Gulf, the Indian Ocean, and the Roman empire loom large in the book. Iran emerges in the resultant narrative as far more diplomatically and militarily capable than is often assumed, and as the only state which Rome acknowledged first as an equal and then as a superior.
“…impeccable scholarship with an eye for a good story worthy of George RR Martin…a magisterial yet highly entertaining survey of the Sasanian Empire – a theme not entirely lacking resonance even in the 21Tom Holland, award-winning historian, author and broadcaster. st century."
“…a superb gripping history of Sasanid Iran that combines scholarship with great storytelling and a cast of powerful characters bringing to life 4 centuries of history at the centre of the world. Highly recommended." Simon Sebag Montefiore, best-selling and prize-winning writer of history and fiction.
“… a very readable, lucid and useful account of the Sasanian empire. It offers both a good chronological survey of the eventful history of the Persian kingdom under the Sasanians as well as sound analysis of wider issues. The author brings to bear his thorough familiarity with the primary sources to produce a work that will undoubtedly be consulted for many years to come.” Geoffrey Greatrex, Professor of Classics and Religious Studies, University of Ottawa