Ancient India & Iran Trust Easter Term Lectures

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25 April: Geoffrey Greatrex (Ottawa) on ‘Procopius’ Persian Tales: entertainment, history or morality fable?’

Geoffrey Greatrex will consider the opening chapters of the Byzantine historian Procopius of Caesarea’s Persian Wars, in which he introduces his theme, the wars fought between the Romans and Sasanian Persians in the sixth century A.D. He recounts a series of intriguing stories about the Persian court and Persian history in the fifth and early sixth centuries. The puzzle remains as to how seriously these tales should be taken…

9 May: Nina Mirnig

The Religious Centre of Paśupatināth: Early Nepalese Śaiva Inscriptions in Context

The Paśupatināth temple in Kathmandu, dedicated to the deity Śiva Paśupati, is Nepal’s national shrine. The existence of this site and local Śaiva religious activities can be traced back to as early as the fifth century CE, and at the beginning of the seventh century the famous ruler Aṃśuvarman (fl. 605-621) introduced Paśupati into Nepal’s political rhetoric for centuries to come by styling himself as “favoured by the Venerable Lord Paśupati” in each of his inscriptions. The talk will address the formative period of early Śaivism in the Kathmandu Valley during the so-called Licchavi period (ca. 300-879 CE), and in particular focus on the rise of the Śaiva Pāśupatas in the kingdom’s religio-political landscape, using mainly inscriptions, but also some textual and iconographical material.

 — Special Event for Friends of the Trust —

16 May: Nicholas Sims-Williams (SOAS)

Go east, young man! A personal journey

In this informal talk the Chair of the Ancient India and Iran Trust, Nicholas Sims-Williams will describe his research on the Sogdian language and literature, in particular on the Christian texts from the Turfan oasis in Western China, and will try to answer a question which he is often asked: What led you to study such an obscure subject?

23 May: Touraj Daryaee (UCI)

The Sasanian Empire as a Garden: The Walls and Rivers of the Sasanian Empire


This lecture looks at the physical and ideological boundaries which the Sasanians created for the idea of Iranshahr. In this late antique construct, inside the empire, protected by walls and rivers was imagined as a garden where order and beauty was in existence. Outside of the walls and the rivers it was seen as place of wilderness and disorder. This binary division was at the centre of Sasanian ideology which projected peace and power inside, while danger for its people lay outside of its boundaries.

Lectures begin at 5.30pm with refreshments from 5pm.

23 Brooklands Avenue, Cambridge CB2 8BG

Please note:  For the Friends’ event on 16 May, booking is required.  To book, or to become a Friend, please contact the Administrator  tel. 01223 356841 or e-mail: infor@indiran.org

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