Central Asia is commonly imagined as the marginal land on the periphery of Chinese and Middle Eastern civilisations. At best, it is understood as a series of disconnected areas that served as stop-overs along the Silk Road. However, in the mediaeval period, this region rose to prominence and importance as one of the centres of Persian-Islamic culture, from the Seljuks to the Mongols and Timur. Khodadad Rezakhani tells the back story of this rise to prominence, the story of the famed Kushans and mysterious ‘Asian Huns’, and their role in shaping both the Sasanian Empire and the rest of the Middle East. Contextualises Persian history in relation to the history of Central Asia Extends the concept of late antiquity further east than is usually done Surveys the history of Iran and Central Asia between 200 and 800 CE and contextualises the rise of Islam in both regions ; In the mediaeval period, Central Asia rose to prominence as a centre of Persian-Islamic culture, from the Seljuks to the Mongols. Khodadad Rezakhani tells the back story of this rise to prominence, the story of the famed Kushans and mysterious ‘Asian Huns’, and their role in shaping both the Sasanian Empire and the rest of the Middle East. ; List of Illustrations; Acknowledgements; Series Editor's Preface; Maps; Preface; Introduction; Chapter I: Sasanians and the Sistanis; Chapter 2. Kushans and the Sasanians; Chapter 3. Kushano-Sasanians in East Iran; Chapter 4. The Iranian Huns and the Kidarites; Chapter 5. The Alkhans in the Southern Hindu Kush; Chapter 6. The Hepthalite 'Empire' and its Successors; Chapter 7. Sogdiana in the Kidardite and Hepthalite Periods; Chapter 8. The Ne¯zak and Turk Periods; Chapter 9. Tokharestan and Sogdiana in the Late Sasanian Period; General Conclusions and Postscript; Epilogue and Excursus on the Shahnameh; Bibliography; Index.
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When it comes to the Sasanian Empire, most of our attention is turned toward its western neighbour, the Roman Empire. Khodadad Rezakhani has produced a brilliant synthesis and narrative of East Iran, showing how important the other side of the Sasanian Empire was for understanding Iranian and Eurasian history in Late Antiquity. This book must be read not only to understand the Sasanian World, but also to form a wider perspective of late antique history in general.
Khodadad Rezakhani is an Associate Research Scholar at the Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-RahmanI Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies, Princeton University.