Specimens of Late Sasanian Art within the Context of the Fifth-Sixth Century "Hellenistic Revival"

5:30 PM—7:30 PM
Columbia University, Faculty House, 64 Morningside Drive, New York, New York 10027

(map and directions: http://universityseminars.columbia.edu/resources/directions-to-faculty-house/ )

speaker: Dr. Matteo Compareti, ISAW, NYU

This is the sixth meeting of the Ancient Near Eastern Seminar (http://universityseminars.columbia.edu/seminars/the-ancient-near-east/) for the 2013-14 academic year.

The period covered by the Sasanian Dynasty (AD 224-651) is one of the most controversial in the history of pre-Islamic Persia. Although Muslim Iranian authors looked back at the Sasanian period as a "golden age" for Persian art and culture, relatively few works of art can confidently be attributed to the Sasanians; and among these, even fewer have been scientifically excavated. Approximately 40 rock reliefs and a few dozen objects of metalwork form the basis of what scholars of the period accept as "canonical" Sasanian. The main subject of almost all of these works is the king and sometimes his court.

In contrast to this royal imagery is a group of silver plates bearing scenes rooted in Classical art, such as the triumph of Dionysus. These plates do not form a large group, but they reflect the widespread interest in Classical themes in Christian lands (including Egypt) where such themes had long been cultivated, and also in Iranian areas, such as Persia, Bactria, and Sogdiana. In all probability, Christians should be considered responsible for this "Hellenistic Revival."

The meeting will be held at the Columbia University Faculty House. We begin gathering at 5:00 PM in the first floor lounge, and the lecture will begin at 5:30 PM on the second floor, followed by optional dinner with the speaker at 7:00 PM at the restaurant just outside the seminar room.

If you wish to make dinner reservations and join us (we will need to report the number of guests), please contact our seminar rapporteur, Andrea Hinojosa [andrea_hinojosa@yahoo.com], and for those without internet access, a phone call to me will be fine [(718) 817-3854]. The buffet dinner costs $25, and you must pay the rapporteur with a check. We must have your reservation request one week in advance.

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