M. Rahim Shayegan

A photo of M. Rahim Shayegan
E-mail: shayegan@humnet.ucla.edu Phone: 310-825-4877 Office: 358 Royce Hall

M. Rahim Shayegan is the Jahangir and Eleanor Amuzegar Professor of Iranian, and director of Pourdavoud Center for the Study of the Iranian World. He completed his BA at the University of Cologne, Germany, and obtained his MA from the University of Sorbonne in Paris, followed by doctoral work at the University of Göttingen. He received his PhD from Harvard University, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, and was a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows, before joining the NELC faculty at UCLA. He has been the recipient of number of awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship (2013–14).

He has authored and co-edited several books, among them Arsacids and Sasanians: Political Ideology in Post-Hellenistic and Late Antique Persia (Cambridge UP, 2011); Aspects of History and Epic in Ancient Iran (Center for Hellenic Studies—Harvard UP, 2012); The Talmud in Its Iranian Context (co-editor, Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2010); Persia beyond the Oxus (guest editor, Bulletin of the Asia Institute, 2012); and Cyrus the Great: Life and Lore (2019 – Harvard University Press). He is currently working on a number of edited volumes on the Achaemenid and Sasanian empires, among them the forthcoming volume Companion to the Sasanian Empire (Wiley-Blackwell). In addition, he is preparing a new critical edition and translation of the Sasanian royal and private inscriptions, as well as a multivolume study on the History of the Sasanian Empire (third to seventh century CE) for Cambridge University Press.



PhD, Iranian Philology and Ancient History, Harvard University
PhD Candidate, Iranian Philology, Seminar für Iranistik, Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen, Germany
MA, Iranian Philology and Ancient History, Institut des Études Iraniennes, Université de la Sorbonne, Paris, France
BA, Philosophy, Comparative Philology, History, Philosophisches Seminar, Albertus-Magnus-Universität zu Köln, Cologne, Germany


  • Old and Middle Iranian philology
  • Iranian epigraphy
  • Achaemenid, Arsacid, Seleucid, and Sasanian history with special attention to interactions between Mesopotamia and Iran; as well as Greco-Roman and Iranian cultural and ideological exchanges
  • Ancient Iranian religions
  • Greek historiography; Hellenistic and Late Antique worlds
  • Persian Church; Syriac literature; history of Exilarchate
  • Epic and oral traditions
  • Early New Persian epic poetry and prose
  • Islamic historiography


Edited Volumes


Articles, Essays and Book Chapters

  • “Prosopographical Notes: The Iranian Nobility during and after the Macedonian Conquest.” Bulletin of the Asia Institute 21, 2007 [2012]: 97–126.
  • “Bardiya and Gaumāta: An Achaemenid Enigma Reconsidered.” Bulletin of the Asia Institute 20, 2006 [2010]: 65–76.
  • “Nugae Epigraphicae.” In Festschrift for Prods Oktor Skjærvø. Edited by Nicholas and Ursula Sims-Williams. Bulletin of the Asia Institute 19. Bloomfield Hills, MI: Bulletin of the Asia Institute, 2005 [2009]: 169–179.
  • “On the Rationale behind the Roman Wars of Šābuhr II the Great.” Bulletin of the Asia Institute 18, 2004 [2008]: 111–133.
  • “On Demetrius II Nicator’s Arsacid Captivity and Second Rule.” Bulletin of the Asia Institute 17, 2003 [2007]: 83–103.
  • “On the Function of the (h)argbed in Sasanian Iran.” In Ahmad Tafazzoli: A Commemorative. Iran Nameh: A Persian Journal of Iranian Studies. Vol. 17:2. Bethesda, MD: Foundation for Iranian Studies, 1999, 287–290.
  • “The Evolution of the Concept of xwadāy in Middle Persian. Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 51, no. 1–2 (1998): 31–54.

Book Chapters

Encyclopaedia Entries

  • “Hormizd I.” Encyclopædia Iranica. Vol. 12, no. 5 (2004): 462–464.
  • “Hazārbed.” Encyclopædia Iranica. Vol. 12, no. 1 (2003): 93–95.
  • “Ḵosrow I Anōširavān.” Encyclopædia Iranica. In preparation.


  • Macuch, Maria. Rechtskasuistik and Gerichtspraxis zu Beginn des siebenten Jahrhunderts in Iran: Die Rechtssammlung des Farroḫmard i Wahrāmān. Edited by Maria Macuch. Iranica, Band 1. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1993, xiv, 807 S. In Orientalische Literaturzeitung 93 (1998): 230–234.
  • Wiesehöfer, Josef. Ancient Persia. London: I. B. Tauris, 1996. In Iranian Studies 33, 1-2 (2000): 238–240.
  • Tafazzoli, Ahmad. Sasanian Society: I. Warriors; II. Scribes; III. Dehqāns. Ehsan Yarshater Distinguished Lectures in Iranian Studies, No. 1. New York: Bibliotheca Persica Press, 2000, 71. In Journal of the American Oriental Society 132:1 (2012): 124–125.
  • Cantera, Alberto. Studien zur Pahlavi Übersetzung des Avesta. Edited by Maria Macuch. Iranica, Band 7. In Journal of the American Oriental Society 131:3 (2011): 504–506.


  • Achaemenid Civilization and Empire of Alexander (Ancient Near East M60)
  • History of the Achaemenid Empire (Iranian M110A)
  • History of the Arsacid (Parthian) Empire (Iranian M110B)
  • History of the Sasanian Empire (Iranian M110C)
  • Introduction to Western Middle Iranian Pahlavi; Manichaean Middle Persian (Iranian 161A)
  • Religions of Ancient Iran Zoroastrianism; Manichaeism; Mazdakism (Iranian 170)
  • Early New Persian Epic Poetry and Prose
  • Old Persian Cuneiform (Iranian M230A, Iranian M230B)
  • Avestan Younger (Iranian M230A, Iranian M230B)
  • Advanced Western Middle Persian Pahlavi; Manichaean Middle Persian and Parthian; Sasanian Inscriptions (Iranian 231A, Iranian 231B)
  • Introduction to Eastern Middle Iranian Sogdian; Bactrian (Iranian 161A)
  • Elamite (Middle Elamite; Achaemenid)