The letters of Shahrbaraz and Middle Persian historiography on the last great war of Late Antiquity

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Abstract

The article analyses stories about letters sent by Kisrā Abarwīz to his general Shahrbarāz during the last Great War of Late Antiquity. The analysis sheds light on Middle Persian historiography and the transmission of historical information in the Late Sasanian and Early Islamic periods, information we need in order to understand the history of the period. Based on the study of this episode, supported by wider evidence, the article suggests that Middle Persian historiography was prone to literary embellishment, that it was solipsistic, almost exclusively interested in matters Persian, and that for its Persian sections Arabic historiography inherited this attitude from Middle Persian sources. The article also points to previously unused, or underused, sources that can throw more light on the relations between Middle Persian, Christian, and Islamic historiography.
Original languageEnglish
Journal Journal of Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 10 Mar 2022

Keywords

  • Middle Persian historiography
  • Sasanians
  • Arabic historiography
  • Heraclius

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