Sepanta Sarraf

Sasanian Subjects and Their Faith

The Sasanian Empire is known to have had a vast number of faiths within it. Despite this, most of the Persian sources of this time only refer to the known Zoroastrian elements of the royal pantheon. By studying these sources, as well as other records around this time, it is possible to learn if the majority of Iranian subjects held the same faith as their rulers, or if there was a difference. This topic will be approached in two major segments, which encompass the analysis of primary and secondary sources. Analysis of these sources will allow a final understanding of the Sasanian rulers’ religion relative to that of their subjects. The first step is to review primary sources created during the Sasanian Era. These sources mainly include the Sasanian Royal Inscriptions, rock reliefs, and Kerdir’s Inscriptions. The second step is to review secondary, scholarly sources about the Sasanian Empire, which contain information relevant to the research. Sources in this category include comparisons between Sasanian religion and other religions, political culture, the relationship between Zoroastrians and Christians, perceptions of sorcery and religious crossovers, and tolerance.

Message to Sponsor

I would like to thank the Anselm fund for making it possible for me to research this topic. Due to the complexities of this research, the support granted through SURF is very valuable to my research plan. Furthermore, it will allow me to become more familiar with scholars within this field who have similar interests.
  • Major: History
  • Sponsor: Anselm Arts & Humanities
  • Mentor: Adam Benkato