- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: I. B. Tauris In Association With The Iran Heritage Foundation; Reprint edition (April 15, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1780763786
- ISBN-13: 978-1780763781
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #567,116 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Sasanian Persia: The Rise and Fall of an Empire Reprint Edition
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""Touraj Daryaee is a well-known scholar of Sasanian history and religious texts who knows the subject well and has published widely in his field. This will be a useful publication for scholars and everyone interested in Sasanian history."" – Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis, Curator, The British Museum
""Touraj Daryaee's Sasanian Persia is far more detailed than all previous work on the subject, with a multitude of new materials and sources. It is a masterpiece of research and will be the last word on Sasanian Iran in all of its aspects - from political history to religion, society and commerce."" – Richard N. Frye, Emeritus Professor of Iranian Studies, Harvard University
""The publication of Touraj Daryaee's book is a cause for much satisfaction. He is a leading scholar of his subject, which he tackles very successfully"" – David Morgan, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Wisconsin
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The book utilizes end-notes, has 32 black and white photographs printed on glossy paper. It has one map at the beginning of the book, which I found to be of little use as only about a dozen important cities are shown, with some rivers (shown but not identified), along with some areas, such as Armenia, but without boundary demarcations. The book has a useful Sasanian Family Tree, which lists the Kings and others in the family line. It has a bibliography and index.
While his previous book dealt with the political history this one covers the social, economic, and religious background. Both of these work best in tandem.
There aren't really any problems with this book that couldn't be solved by a good editor or proofreader. There are many examples of sentences which show that the author is not a native English speaker and display rather an excess of punctuation. Such as from the Introduction: "Do we stay silent for the fifth century and make do with what we have, which is very little, or try, according to historians, to do a reading against the grain?" The introduction also gets the chapters wrong. He says that the chapter order is 1. Political, 2. Religious, 3. Economic, 4. Sociological, and 5. Textural. In reality the chapters go 1. Political, 2. Social, 3. Religious, 4. Textural, 5. Economic. This isn't a particularly major problem here but it is symptomatic of a greater lack of care and attention to detail throughout the book. I actually think that the publishers are more to blame for this than the author since they are a small printing company and seem to be filled with Iranian speakers. As such they are unlikely to do as thorough a job of proofreading as a larger publisher would.
The first chapter is a political narrative of Sassanian history. Dr. Daryaee has really been quite lazy here since it is nothing but an abbreviation of his first book. It provides nothing new and in many cases even includes the exact same wording. Here's page 25 from that book: "What was the lie? In effect, although Philip had promised to allow the Iranian control of Armenia, he did not actually cede Armenia to the Sasanians." Compare that with page 7 of this book: "What was this lie? In effect, although Philip had promised to give Iranians control over Armenia, he did not cede Armenia to the Sasanians." One or two words changed is still paraphrasing. If it wasn't his own work that he copied this would be plagiarism. As it is it's just very lazy. How hard would it be to rewrite the entire section? If you've got the time or the money I'd recommend that book over this chapter. This one abbreviates the other a bit too much and is unclear in several sections. But reading both will gain you nothing. It's about half the length and contains the same information.
As with his last book there are several anti-Western comments and complaints of prejudice, but they are so toned down that I probably wouldn't have even noticed them if I hadn't read that book first. This makes the book that much more readable since, let's face it, nobody likes to hear foreigners tell them how bad they are. Especially when they're unfair about it and especially when they're from places like Iran which, as you may know, doesn't have the greatest of governments right now. So well done on that score. Hopefully Dr. Daryaee will follow through on his promise to write a more in depth work about some of the topics covered in here because I would very much like to read it. This work is really just an introduction to the Sassanians and hopefully there will be more to come.
The most notable aspect of Sasanian Persia was the fact that a new religion came into being in the form of Manicheanism, named after the Persian prophet Mani (whom I refer to as the Persian Gandhi because the faith he propagated embraced non-violence). Because Manicheanism co-existed with Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Zoroastrianism in the Sasanian era, one can comprehend the unprecedented degree of tolerance for diverse religious faiths in Sasanian Persia.
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