Video Library: Melammu Symposium Talks Available – Second Keynote Address

Published: July 8, 2020
The second keynote address from the Fourteenth Melammu Symposium, “Contextualizing Iranian Religions in the Ancient World,” is now available.  In this video, recorded on February 20, 2020, Touraj Daryaee (University of California, Irvine) presents “The Limits of Tolerance: Jews, Christians, Buddhists, and Others in the Sasanian Empire.”

The Limits of Tolerance: Jews, Christians, Buddhists, and Others in the Sasanian Empire

Recorded: February 20, 2020
Event: Contextualizing Iranian Religions in the Ancient World – 14th Melammu Symposium

by Touraj Daryaee (University of California, Irvine)

There are many reports on periodic persecution of religious groups from the 3rd century CE, until the end of the Sasanian empire in the 7th century. However, we do know that Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Manichaeans, and others lived and, at time thrived, under a Zoroastrian king. So how can one explain the relation between the state and the religious minorities that existed in late antique Iran? This paper takes issue with both those who regard the Sasanian empire as an intolerant polity bent on persecuting religious minorities, and those who believe the Sasanians allowed religious groups to expand without opposition. I would rather suggest that the Sasanian empire practiced a “rough tolerance,” in order to control the multicultural and multireligious Sasanian world.

About the Fourteenth Melammu Symposium
The Pourdavoud Center for the Study of the Iranian World convened the 14th Melammu Symposium, “Contextualizing Iranian Religions in the Ancient World,” at UCLA on February 18-20, 2020. The international three-day symposium held at Royce Hall explored Iranian religions in light of ancient Near Eastern traditions and precedents. It hosted scholars whose work pertains to the interchange of ideas and practices between the ancient Near East, Egypt, the Classical and Hellenistic worlds, and ancient Iran. The overarching themes of the symposium encompassed: Elam, the Ancient Near East, and Persia; Ancient Egypt and Persia; the Divine in Achaemenid Material Culture; (Post-)Achaemenid Religious Practices in Literary Traditions; Religions and Religious Policy in the Hellenistic and Arsacid Worlds; and the Religious Landscape of the Sasanian World.
About the Melammu Project and Symposia
The main aim of the Melammu Project is to investigate the continuity, transformation, and diffusion of Mesopotamian and ancient Near Eastern cultures from the third millennium BCE until the rise of Islam and beyond. The Melammu Symposia provide a forum, in which the cultural continuity and transformation in the ancient world may be assessed systematically in the longue durée. While the Melammu Symposia typically concentrate on discrete themes, their emphasis remains on cross-cultural perspectives and the continued interchange of ideas between specialists in different disciplines.