The Iranian Expanse: Transforming Royal Identity through Architecture, Landscape, and the Built Environment, 550 BCE–642 CE

May 4, 2021
The Iranian Expanse: Transforming Royal Identity through Architecture, Landscape, and the Built Environment, 550 BCE–642 CE

The Iranian Expanse explores how kings in Persiaand the ancient Iranian world utilized the built and naturalenvironment to form and contest Iranian cultural memory, royalidentity, and sacred cosmologies. Investigating over a thousandyears of history, from the Achaemenid period to the arrival ofIslam, The Iranian Expanse argues that Iranian identitieswere built and shaped not by royal discourse alone, but bystrategic changes to Western Asia’s cities, sanctuaries, palaces,and landscapes. The Iranian Expanse critically examinesthe construction of a new Iranian royal identity and empire, whichsubsumed and subordinated all previous traditions, including thoseof Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Anatolia. It then delves into thestartling innovations that emerged after Alexander under theSeleucids, Arsacids, Kushans, Sasanians, and the Perso-Macedoniandynasties of Anatolia and the Caucasus, a previously understudiedand misunderstood period. Matthew P. Canepa elucidates the manyruptures and renovations that produced a new royal culture thatdeeply influenced not only early Islam, but also the widerPersianate world of the Il-Khans, Safavids, Timurids, Ottomans, andMughals.