International Institute for Culture


October 12, 2015    7:00 PM       
“The tale of Khosraw and Shirin is well known 
And by Truth, there is no sweeter story than it.”
-Nizami Ganjavi

“Our Long Travels Will Be As Nought”: Christianity and the State in Pre-Islamic Sassanian Iran

To say that Christianity in Iran has had a somewhat turbulent history is perhaps an understatement. Iranian Christians have throughout their history been the subject of persecution from various sources and in various degrees, much in the same manner as is witnessed today. This is ironic given the fact that by many accounts, Christians in pre-Islamic Iran presented little more than a marginalized minority. Such a narrative, while suiting the agendas of many modern Iranian scholars, wholly ignores or denies the large amount of evidence that paints a much different picture. On the contrary, although Christianity never achieved full acceptance in society within Sassanian Iran, it was arguably seen to play an important role during a significant portion of its pre-Islamic history. Foremost of these, is the reign of Khosrau II, King of Persia, and his taking of a Christian woman named Shirin to be his queen. As immortalized by medieval Persian poets and historians, the story of Khosrau and Shirin reveals a deep insight into the intricate association that the Sassanian state had with the Christian religion. To that end, this lecture will seek to explore the history of Christianity in pre-Islamic Iran, and how the popular narrative of the romance of Khosrau and Shirin acted as a metaphor for many medieval Persians of Persia’s complex relationship with Christianity. 

Mr. John Manderscheid, an alumnus of the Philadelphia Classics Academy at Ivy Hall and a graduate student at the University of Alberta will present this fascinating lecture which by illuminating Persia's past will surely occasion insights about its present and future.
Suggested donation: $25/each

Latin Lives at Ivy Hall
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The IIC offers Latin classes throughout the year in the evening on Wednesdays, as well as full-time summer intensive courses. For more information, click here to contact the Institute.

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Sunday, April 8
The Island of Catholic Exuberance in Protestant Germany: Music of the Dresden Court


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