Rahim Shayegan

M. Rahim Shayegan
Jahangir and Eleanor Amuzegar Chair of Iranian
Director, Program of Iranian Studies
Associate Professor of Iranian and the Ancient Near East

University of California, Los Angeles
Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures
415 Portola Plaza – Box 951511
386 Humanities Building
Los Angeles, California 90095–1511
Tel.: (310) 825-4877
e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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RESEARCH

M. Rahim Shayegan is associate professor of Iranian, the Jahangir and Eleanor Amuzegar Chair of Iranian, and director of the Program of Iranian Studies at the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures (NELC) at UCLA, where he was the inaugural holder of the Musa Sabi Term Chair of Iranian (2005–2009). He received his BA from the University of Cologne, Germany, and his MA from the University of Sorbonne, followed by PhD work at the University of Göttingen. He received his PhD from Harvard University, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. He was a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows, before joining the NELC faculty at UCLA.

His research and teaching range widely across subjects, periods, and linguistic boundaries. The major tenets of his scholarly pursuit relate to the languages, literary traditions, and history of Iran and Mesopotamia from antiquity to the early medieval period. His research pays special heed to the dialectics at play in cultural and intellectual exchanges between Iran, Mesopotamia, and the Greco-Roman world on the one side, and Central Asia, India, and China on the other side. His interest in establishing connections between neighboring regions reflects his interest in the linguistically heterogeneous empires of (late) antiquity, whose political, ideological, and religious structures are the results of complex processes of cultural borrowings and acculturation.

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); and Persia beyond the Oxus (guest editor, Bulletin of the Asia Institute, 2012). He is currently preparing a new edition and translation of the Sasanian royal and private inscriptions (third and fourth century CE), and a book on early Achaemenid history (sixth century BCE).

He is the recipient of several awards, most recently a Guggenheim Fellowship (2013–14), under whose auspices he shall be working on the first installment of a multivolume study on the history of the Sasanian empire (third to seventh century CE), the last great oriental power of late antiquity and most formidable opponent of Rome, which at its height ruled over much of Central Asia and the Near East.

ACADEMIC POSITIONS

  • 2014 – present: Jahangir and Eleanor Amuzegar Chair of Iranian, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, UCLA
  • 2012 – present: Director, Program of Iranian Studies, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, UCLA
  • 2004 – present: Assistant to Associate Professor of Iranian, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, UCLA
  • July 2004 – 2009: Musa Sabi Term Chair of Iranian Studies, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, UCLA
  • Winter 2003: Visiting Professor of Iranian, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, UCLA
  • 2000 – 2002 Junior Fellow, Harvard Society of Fellows, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.
  • 2003 – 2004 Junior Fellow, Harvard Society of Fellows, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

EDUCATION

Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
PhD, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.
Fields: Iranian Philology, Ancient History.
Thesis: "Aspects of Early Sasanian History and Historiography."

Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen, Germany
PhD Candidate, Seminar für Iranistik.
Fields: Iranian Philology.

Université de la Sorbonne, Paris, France
MA, Institut des Études Iraniennes.
Fields: Iranian Philology, Ancient History.
Thesis: "Bardiya, Gaumāta et la politisation du sacerdoce au VIe s. av. J.-C."

Albertus-Magnus-Universität zu Köln, Cologne, Germany
BA, Philosophisches Seminar.
Fields: Philosophy, Comparative Philology, History.
Thesis: "Die wesentlichen Bestimmungen der Substanz und des phänomenalen Seins in Leibnizens Monadologie."

SELECT GRANTS AND AWARDS

  • John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow (2013–2014).
  • Ehsan Yarshater Book Award (for Arsacids and Sasanians, Cambridge UP, 2011) by the International Society for Iranian Studies (2012).
  • UCLA Faculty Career Development Award (2008–2009).
  • Harvard University William F. Milton Research Fund (2002; funds were utilized in the Fall 2002 to take silicone imprints and digital photographs from the entire Sasanian epigraphic corpus in Iran).

RESEARCH CONCENTRATIONS AND INTERESTS

  • Old and Middle Iranian philology, especially 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.

LANGUAGES

  • Major European Languages.
  • Old, Middle, and New Iranian languages; classical and (old) Semitic languages; Elamite and others.

SELECT PUBLICATIONS

BOOKS:

  • Arsacids and Sasanians: Political Ideology in Post-Hellenistic and Late Antique Persia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011. www.cambridge.org/9780521766418
  • Aspects of History and Epic in Ancient Iran: From Gaumāta to Wahnām. Edited by Gregory Nagy. Hellenic Studies Series 52. Washington, D.C./Cambridge, Mass.: Center for Hellenic Studies – Harvard University Press, 2012. www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?recid=31813
  • Sasanian Inscriptions. Work in progress.

EDITED WORK:

  • Persia Beyond Oxus. Bulletin of the Asia Institute 21. Bloomfield Hills, MI: Bulletin of the Asia Institute, 2007 [2012]. Guest Editor.

ARTICLES:

  • "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:

  • "Old Iranian Motifs in Vīs o Rāmīn." In Mahdavi-Damghani Festschrift. Forthcoming 2014.
  • "The Arsacids and the Commagene." In The Parthian and Early Sasanian Empires: Adaptation and Expansion: Proceedings of a Conference Held at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, 14−15 June 2012. BIPS Archaeological Monograph Series, Edited by Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis and Michael Alram, Forthcoming.
  • "Sasanian Royal Ideology." In The Oxford Handbook of Ancient Iran. Edited by D. T. Potts. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013, 805–813.
  • "Philostratus's Heroikos and the Ideation of Late Severan Policy toward Arsacid and Sasanian Iran" In Philostratus's Heroikos: Religion and Cultural Identity in the Third Century CE. Edited by Ellen Bradshaw Aitken and Jennifer K. Berenson Maclean. Writings of the Greco-Roman World, Number 6, ser. ed. John T. Fitzgerald. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2004, 285–315.
  • "Approaches to the Study of Sasanian History." In Paitimāna: Essays in Iranian, Indo-European, and Indian Studies in Honor of Hanns-Peter Schmidt. Edited by S. Adhami. Costa Mesa, California: Mazda Publishers, 2003, 363–384.

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.

REVIEWS:

  • 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.

ACADEMIC ASSOCIATIONS AND ACADEMIC BOARDS

  • American Oriental Society.
  • American Schools of Oriental Research.
  • Societas Iranologica Europæa.
  • Association pour l'Avancement des Études Iraniennes.
  • Iranian Studies: Journal of the International Society for Iranian Studies (editorial board).

RECENT PRESENTATIONS

  • 2013: American Schools of Oriental Research Conference, Baltimore. “Parthian and Roman Wars: An Overview”
  • 2013: Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW), NYU. “Murder in Media: The Case of Bardiya nd Gaumāta: An Old Achaemenid Enigma Reconsidered.”
  • 2013: Columbia University Seminar On Religion And Writing, Columbia University. “The King and his Audience: On the Composition and Reception of Royal Inscriptions in Ancient Iran and the Iranian World.”
  • 2013: Cyrus the Great: Life and Lore. An International Conference, UCLA “Cyrus, Darius, and the Achaemenid World Order.”
  • 2013: Cyrus the Great: From Ancient Persia to the European Literary Imagination, UCI “From Cyrus to Darius: Conquest, Usurpation, and Continuity”
  • 2013: Samuel Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture, UCI. “On Epigraphy and Historiographical Practices in Sasanian Iran.”
  • 2013: Shahnameh Festival, Samuel Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture, UCI “Old Iranian Inscriptions, Greek Narratives, and the Šāhnāme.”
  • 2012: The Parthian and Early Sasanian Empires: Adaptation and Expansion, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna “The Arsacids and the Commagene.”
  • 2010: Department of Classics, Stanford “On Roman and Sasanian Ideological Exchanges in the Third and Fourth Centuries C.E.”
  • 2009: Writing Down Myths: The Construction of Mythology in Classical and Medieval Traditions, UCLA “The Evil Brothers in Iranian History and Epic Tradition.”
  • 2008: The Presence of Iran in the Ancient World, UCI “Early Arsacid Hostage Policy.”
  • 2008: Department of Classics, USC “Sasanian Epigraphy and the res gestae divi Saporis.”
  • 2007: The Talmud in Its Iranian Context, UCLA “The Stakes for Iranian Studies.”
  • 2007: Images and Lives of Women in Ancient Iran, Cal State Fullerton “On Obscure Queens of the Arsacid Age.”
  • 2007: The Idea of Iran: The Late Sasanian Period, SOAS/BM, London “The Roman Wars of Šābuhr II The Great.”
  • 2006: The World of Ancient Persia: Achaemenid Archaeology, History, and Religion, Cal State Fullerton “Bardiya and Gaumāta and the Issue of Succession in the Early Achaemenid Empire.”
  • 2006: Sixth Biennial Conference of Iranian Studies, SOAS, London “Indupāne and Saxt: Two Iranian Satraps in Late Hellenistic, and Early Arsacid, Iran.”

LECTURES AND CONFERENCES ORGANIZED

  • The Persepolis Fortification Tablets. Lecture held by Mathew W. Stolper, University of Chicago, 2006–2007.
  • King and Kingship in Sasanian Iran. Lecture held by Josef Wiesehöfer, Professor of Ancient History at the department of Classics (Institut für klassische Altertumskunde) at the Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel (Germany), 2009.
  •  Kawad I, Khusro I, and the Mazdakites: A New Proposal. Seminar held by Josef Wiesehöfer, Professor of Ancient History at the department of Classics (Institut für klassische Altertumskunde) at the Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel (Germany), 2009.
  • Mind in Anaxagoras, Plato, and the Avesta. Lecture held by Philip S. Horky, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities, Stanford University, 2010 (organized in conjunction with the Classics Department, UCLA).
  • The Talmud in Its Iranian Context. International conference held in 2007 at UCLA, and jointly organized with Professor Carol Bakhos (sponsored by the Musa Sabi Chair 2004–2009 and the Center for Jewish Studies).
  • Persia beyond Oxus. International conference convened in April 2010 at UCLA (sponsored by the Musa Sabi Chair of Iranian 2004–2009 and the Program on Central Asia, International Institute).
  • Whither Syria? Lecture held on May 25, 2011 by James L. Gelvin, Professor of Modern Middle Eastern History, UCLA.
  • Bar ḥasb-e ḥāl. On Occasion and Circumstance in Early Persian Court Poetry: Time In: Poetry upon Occasion. Seminar conducted on April 9, 2012 by Dr. Justine Landau, Institute of Iranian Studies (Institut für Iranistik), Vienna.
  • Bar ḥasb-e ḥāl. On Occasion and Circumstance in Early Persian Court Poetry: Time Out: Untimely Poetics. Seminar conducted on April 11, 2012 by Dr. Justine Landau, Institute of Iranian Studies (Institut für Iranistik), Vienna.
  • Pārsi-e dari: The Unassignable Language of Poetry. Lecture held on April 13, 2012 by Dr. Justine Landau, Institute of Iranian Studies (Institut für Iranistik), Vienna.
  • On the Importance of Iranian History for World History: A Historian's Perspective. Lecture held on April 25, 2012 by Touraj Daryaee, Professor in the History of Iran and the Persianate World, University of California, Irvine.
  • From Sedentism to Nomadism: Transformations in Iranian Economy and Demography since Prehistory. Lecture held on May 15, 2012 by Daniel T. Potts, Professor of Middle Eastern Archaeology at the University of Sydney, Australia.
  • Iran’s Nuclear Gamble: The Human Cost of Military Strikes against Iran’s Nuclear Facilities. Lecture held by industrialist and philanthropist, Khosrow B. Semnani,followed by round table discussion by eminent scholars on January 28, 2013 at Royce Hall 314, UCLA.
  • Cyrus the Great: Life and Lore. International colloquium to be held on October 28–29, 2013 at UCLA.
  • China and Iran: Cultural Interactions from Antiquity to the Mongol Period. International conference in preparation (in partnership with the UCLA Center for Chinese Studies, 2014–15.