This course is designed as an introduction to the political, religious and social history of Late Antique and Medieval Iran.
Beginning with the rise of the Sasanian Empire in the 3rd century CE, we will trace the history of the idea of Iran as a political and cultural entity. Next we will examine the Arab conquests of Iran and the profound social changes experienced by Iranians during the early Islamic period. Finally we will conclude with a study of Iran in the centuries leading up to the Mongol conquest, focusing on the institution of kingship within the Islamic world. Throughout the course, a close reading of primary sources is emphasized.