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Sasanian Persia

Between Rome and the Steppes of Eurasia

Edited by Eberhard W. Sauer

Paperback (Forthcoming)
eBook (ePub) i
eBook (PDF) i

Details Persia’s growing military and economic power in the late antique world

The Sasanian Empire (3rd–7th centuries) was one of the largest empires of antiquity, stretching from Mesopotamia to modern Pakistan and from Central Asia to the Arabian Peninsula. This mega-empire withstood powerful opponents in the steppe and expanded further in Late Antiquity, whilst the Roman world shrunk in size. Recent research has revealed the reasons for this success: notably population growth in some key territories, economic prosperity, and urban development, made possible through investment in agriculture and military infrastructure on a scale unparalleled in the late antique world.

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Preliminaries: List of Illustrations, Acknowledgements, Notes on the Contributors, Series Editor’s Foreword
1. Introduction
Eberhard W. Sauer
2. Sasanian cities: archaeological perspectives on the urban economy and built environment of an empire
St John Simpson
3. Palaeoecological insights into agri-horti-cultural and pastoral practices before, during and after the Sasanian Empire
Lyudmila Shumilovskikh, Morteza Djamali, Valérie Andrieu-Ponel, Philippe Ponel, Jacques-Louis de Beaulieu, Abdolmajid Naderi-Beni and Eberhard W. Saue
4. Animal exploitation and subsistence on the borders of the Sasanian Empire: from the Gorgan Wall (Iran) to the Gates of the Alans (Georgia)
Marjan Mashkour, Roya Khazaeli, Homa Fathi, Sarieh Amiri, Delphine Decruyenaere, Azadeh Mohaseb, Hossein Davoudi, Shiva Sheikhi and Eberhard W. Sauer
5. The Northern and Western Borderlands of the Sasanian Empire: Contextualizing the Roman/Byzantine and Sasanian Frontier
Dan Lawrence and Tony J. Wilkinson
6. Connectivity on a Sasanian frontier: Route systems in the Gorgan Plain of north-east Iran
Kristen Hopper
7. The Sasanian Empire and the East: A summary of the evidence and its implications for Rome
Warwick Ball
8. Minority Religions in the Sasanian Empire: Suppression, Integration, and Relations with Rome
Lee E. Patterson
9. A Contested Jurisdiction: Armenia in Late Antiquity
Tim Greenwood
10. Cultural contacts between Rome and Persia at the time of Ardashir I (AD 224-240)
Pierfrancesco Callieri
11. Innovation and Stagnation: Military Infrastructure and the Shifting Balance of Power between Rome and Persia
Eberhard W. Sauer, Jebrael Nokandeh, Konstantin Pitskhelauri and Hamid Omrani Rekavandi
12. The Arabian Frontier: A Keystone of the Sasanian Empire
Craig Morley
13. The India Trade in Late Antiquity
James Howard-Johnston

About the Author

Eberhard Sauer is Professor of Roman Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh, having previously taught at the Universities of Leicester and Oxford. He has directed excavations in Britain as well as, jointly with colleagues in Iran and Georgia, fieldwork on the Great Wall of Gorgan and the Sasanian fort in Dariali Gorge in the Caucasus. He is the author of The End of Paganism in the North-Western Provinces of the Roman Empire (1996), The Archaeology of Religious Hatred in the Roman and early medieval world (2003) and Coins, cult and cultural identity: Augustan Coins, Hot Springs and the Early Roman Baths at Bourbonne-les-Bains (2005). He is co-author of Linear Earthwork, Tribal Boundary and Ritual Beheading (2005) and Persia’s Imperial Power in Late Antiquity (2009). He is co-editor of Archaeology and Ancient History: Breaking Down the Boundaries (2004).


The work is recommended to all who are working on the Sasanian Empire. This publication has once again demonstrated  that "Edinburgh Studies in Ancient Persia" has become an important publishing series for pre-Islamic Persia.

Translated from the German

- Tino Shain, Plekos

Despite the granular nature of the data presented in the volume in both archaeological and historical terms, the work should not be dismissed as a series of reports. Instead, chapter authors repeatedly demonstrate the ability to draw meaningful conclusions even in the face of considerable contradictory pluralisms, to borrow a turn of phrase from Greenwood (p. 200)… Considered as a whole, the volume makes a compelling argument for the innovative nature of Sasanian power, and its ability to develop uniquely appropriate strategies that facilitated both the growth and maintenance of its sphere in a wide variety of contexts.

- Lara Fabian, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Antiquity

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