Academic journal article The Historian

Sasanian Persia: The Rise and Fall of an Empire

Academic journal article The Historian

Sasanian Persia: The Rise and Fall of an Empire

Article excerpt

Sasanian Persia: The Rise and Fall of an Empire. By Touraj Daryaee. (New York, NY: I. B. Tauris, 2013. Pp. xxvi, 225. $29.00.)

In antiquity there were two great Persian empires. The first was that of the Achaemenids founded by Cyrus the Great in 550 BC and destroyed by Alexander the Great in 330 BC. After a long interval of rule by the successors of Alexander and the Parthians, the Sasanian Empire was established in AD 224 and overthrown by the Arabs in AD 651. In recent years, interest in the Achaemenids has quickened as may be witnessed from the slew of publications in the area. The Sasanians have received much less attention, and so Touraj Daryaee has set himself the task of providing us with an introduction to them.

The work is divided into five chapters. The first deals with the often tangled political history of the period and provides good discussion of Sasanian relations with the other great empire of the day, Rome. The second is concerned with society and, among other issues, discusses such topics as urbanization, the court, and slavery. The next chapter is devoted to religion. …

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