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Lecture | LUCIS What's New?! Series

The First Great War of the Middle Ages: Sasanians, Byzantines, and the Rise of Islam, 602-642

Thursday 7 March 2024
What's New?! Spring Lecture Series 2024
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

The early seventh century wars between the Sasanian Empire of Iran and the Byzantine Roman Empire have received the sobriquet of ‘the Last Great War of Antiquity.’ This suggests that we must see them in the context of Ancient History and divorce it from the subsequent events that usher in the Islamic period. This division, however, is considered artificial and imposed by modern, often Orientalist and essentialising, views of the past. The present paper sets to study the wars within their West Asian context and as part of a larger set of economic and political changes that changed the face of Eastern Mediterranean and are intimately connected with the rise of the Islamic Empire. While not directly commenting on the Pirenne Thesis, the paper nonetheless makes contributions to Mediterranean Studies and the transition of the Roman mare nostrum to the medieval sea uniting and dividing Christendom and Islamdom. 

Khodadad Rezakhani

Khodadad Rezakhani is a historian of late antique and early medieval Near East at Leiden, concentrating on the history of the Sasanian and early Islamic empires. He currently leads the project A City of Many Cities: Ctesiphon and Baghdad, funded by the Gerda Henkel Stiftung, studying the transition period between the Sasanian and the Abbasid period from the viewpoint of the history of the Ctesiphon city complex. He is the author of ReOrienting the Sasanins: East Iran in Late Antiquity (Edinburgh UP, 2017) and the upcoming Sasanians, Byzantines, and the Caliphs (Oneworld, 2025). 

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