Ērān Research Forum

Ērān Research Forum :West & Central Asia in the First Millennium CE Université de Lille, 15-19 July 2024 Convenors: Ekaterina Nechaeva (Lille) and Khodadad Rezakhani (Leiden) Ērān Tūrān Hrōm Network Call for Participants Application Form Programme About C ontact The study of the first millennium of the common era has enjoyed a healthy uptick in the last few decades, mainly due to the efforts of Roman and Byzantine historians who adopted and expanded the concept of Late Antiquity. These efforts have further percolated into the study of early Islam, chronologically, and the world outside the Mediterranean, including Iran but most prominently the Caucasus, and have benefited Sasanian and Syriac studies too. However, much of these studies tend to emphasise the Mediterranean and Roman world still, mainly due to the accessibility and the availability of sources. Despite many good faith efforts, however, the world east of the Euphrates has received less attention. Apart from the shortage of available sources, and lack of resources for their study, a part of the reason for this neglect is the shortage of coherent research groups and agendas that seriously consider and study Central and West Asia in this period from a larger, global viewpoint. Isolated studies of the region, in the context of Sasanian history and alike of course exist. However, a more connective, large picture, and parallel historical approach is largely lacking. The Iranian world is still almost totally absent from the story of the rise of Islam, in contradiction to ample evidence of the Islamic sources themselves. In fact, continued lopsided research on the same lines is running very close to canonising problematic narratives of cultural superiority, triumphalism, and religious disputes that result in dangerous derailment of scholarly endeavour. Consequently, the need for a global historical approach to the history of the first millennium which surpasses the chronological boundaries of “Pre-Islamic” and “Islamic” as well as the political-cultural boundaries of the Iranian, Central Asian, and Roman worlds is urgently needed. The goal of this initial Research Forum is to partially remedy this absence, and initiate an effort toward creating research units, by bringing senior scholars of the field from across many disciplines together with junior scholars. The idea is to create a context where already established, successful research agenda and results can be presented to junior scholars as both guidance and mentorship, while new trends and interests by younger scholars can be cultivated, presented, and critiqued. The Forum aims to create a network of senior and junior scholars, inspire a carefully considered interdisciplinary research agenda, and boost cooperation among scholars of different levels and fields. This first Research Forum, concentrating more on the imperial Sasanian domains, is the initial attempt at creating such context and network. As such, we encourage junior scholars from neighbouring fields interested in the study of the Sasanian world to join the Research Forum in order to participate in creation of networks. The convenors hope that subsequent Forums engender a more connective, parallel, and global approaches to the study of the late antique world.

A dive into the future EX-PATRIA library fund

The EX-PATRIA team visited our University Ancient Studies Library (BS A). Guided by the Librarian Christophe Hugot we got a chance to see some sections of the EX-PATRIA Book Fund. In partnership with the BSA, the EX-PATRIA Project acquired several hundred works on a chrono-geographic area that is still underdeveloped within the University collections: studies and sources relating to the Global Late Antiquity of West Asia (for example on Sassanid Iran, on Syriac world, on the Caucasus, on the silk roads, the steppes, etc.) Anna & Bardaisan of Edessa. Anna: What a morning! The last time I experienced such an excitement was in the manuscript section in the British Library! The collection of books is so well assembled that examining it felt like entering a treasury. All the books that I wanted to read or even was not aware of but definitely need to consult are there. Amazing! Scrolling through the book titles fills you with an incredible enthusiasm for your research. Daniel & the TAVO: Tübingen Atlas of the Near & Middle East Daniel: There are so many possible directions for research represented within this extremely extensive collection that I wonder where I'm going to start! I can't wait to sink my teeth into them (metaphorically) once they are all catalogued and on our shelves. Thanks also to the building's cat for greeting us on the way out. I didn't know we had one of those!

EX-PATRIA team complete!

We celebrate 2024 with the two postdoctoral researchers of the EX-PATRIA Project: Anna Usacheva and Daniel Alford . Daniel just arrived from Oxford to work on the mobility of families in Armenia and Northern Mesopotamia. Anna is working on across the border 'Antiochean expansion'.

Discussing Trust, Uncertainty, and Knowledge bases @ the Entangled Prosopographies of the Later Roman and Byzantine Worlds event.

Presenting the first results of interdisciplinary collaboration between the EX-PATRIA Project and computer scientists from CRIStAL . Pierre Bourhis and Ekaterina Nechaeva came to Edinburgh to share (on the 8th of December, 2023) their common work in progress with Simon Bliudze and Lionel Seinturier on dealing with uncertainty in historical databases. The Prosopon workshop was extremely stimulating to learn about all the prosopographical projects and meet the people behind them. It was an ideal place to discuss our ideas and get first-hand feedback! Bravo Pierre: a computer scientist among the historians! Thank you Zachary Chitwood, Charalampos Gasparis, Niels Gaul, and Ekaterini Mitsiou for organising it! Pierre Bourhis: explaining computer science approaches to historians. Ekaterina Nechaeva: presenting the EX-PATRIA Project. Pierre Bourhis discusses assertions and authorities with Tara Andrews. Niels Gaul, Zachary Chitwood, and Ekaterini Mitsiou: closing remarks.

Talking about East Roman and Sasanian Empires: Nature and Causes of Conflict?

EX-PATRIA @ the Circle for Late Antique and Medieval Studies. On December 6, 2023, Ekaterina Nechaeva participated in a panel discussion on Roman-Sasanian relations in late antique and medieval studies , together with Geoffrey Greatrex, Scott McDonough, and (literally!) hundreds of colleagues all over the world. Thank you CLAMS and personally to Parvaneh Pourshariati and Merrill Sovner for organising such an outstanding event and for preparing the video.

“Gift-giving Diplomacy and the Steppe Peoples” @Northeast Normal University in Changchun

EX-PATRIA in China! Via Zoom though.Participating in the 2023 seminar series ‘Byzantine Diplomacy in a Global Perspective’: Institute for the History of Ancient Civilizations (IHAC), at Northeast Normal University in Changchun. On 23rd October 2023 Ekaterina Nechaeva delivered a lecture on the principles of gift-giving in Late Antiquity, in particular on the symbolic diplomacy between Rome and the steppe peoples. Many thanks to all the colleagues from the Northeast Normal University in Changchun and personally to Li Qiang for the invitation and brilliant organisation.