Parvaneh Pourshariati: The Mazdakites, the Mithraists and later Khurramdins

/ University of Toronto Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies


Parvaneh Pourshariati


Join host, Yasamin Jameh, in learning about the Mazadakite Uprising of the late 5th century and early 6th century AD in the Sassanian Empire. 
The 39th episode of Parse is an excerpt of a presentation given by Parvaneh Pourshariati in the Zoroastrian Studies Symposium in honour of Ervard Dr. Jehan Bagli which took place at U of T on September 9th, 2023. Professor Pourshariati expounds on her research on the Mazdakite Revolution in late antique Iran and its relation to later Mithraist and Khurramite movements. For context, Mazdak was a Zoroastrian priest and Prophet who sought to reform the existing Zoroastrian clergy and their influence on the Sasanian aristocracy whom he believed had amassed too much undeserved power and wealth over the poor masses. The Mazdakite Uprising was crushed eventually in the 520s AD and Mazdak was brutally executed, but his worldview influenced the Khurramites some centuries later who resisted Abbasid rule for twenty years in the aftermath of the Muslim conquest of Iran.  
Parvaneh Pourshariati is a historian who specializes in the late antique, early medieval and modern histories of Iran and the Middle East. She is an Associate Professor of History at New York City College of Technology (CUNY) and former president of the Association for the Study of Persianate Societies. Before joining CUNY in 2014, she was a professor at Ohio State University for 14 years. Her major work, Decline and Fall of the Sasanian Empire (Published in 2008), has been translated into Persian and Arabic, and is one the most eminent sources of Sassanian history in recent years.  
To watch the full talk, click here: ⁠⁠