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Fall 2023 | M 11 – 13

Literature of Ancient and Late Antique Iran



The Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations (Literature)
St. George
Room: BA
Miguel Ángel Andrés-Toledo

This course explores the most important texts of the Zoroastrian literature of ancient and late antique Iran and serves as a broad introduction to the mythical and ritual world of Zoroastrianism and the contours of pre-Islamic Iranian thought. The course is divided into two parts: a) Old Iranian literature, such as the Avestan religious literature and the Old Persian inscriptions, and b) Middle Persian (Pahlavi) literature, including epic poetry (Chronicle of Ardakhshir, narrating the deeds of the first Sasanian king), didactic and wisdom literature (Memorial of the Vizier Wuzurgmihr; Explanation of Chess and Backgammon), apocalyptic and visionary literature (Book of the Righteous Wiraz, describing his journey to heaven and hell), texts on cosmology (Primordial Creation), and encyclopaedic works (Acts of the Zoroastrian Religion), as well as specimens of Manichaean literature in Middle Iranian languages. All readings are in English translation.