Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Sepanta Sarraf Humanities and Social Science

Sasanian Subjects and Their Faith

The Sasanian Empire is known to have had a vast number of faiths within it. Despite this, most of the Persian sources of this time only refer to the known Zoroastrian elements of the royal pantheon. By studying these sources, as well as other records around this time, it is possible to learn if the majority of Iranian subjects held the same faith as their rulers, or if there was a difference. This topic will be approached in two major segments, which encompass the analysis of primary and secondary sources. Analysis of these sources will allow a final understanding of the Sasanian rulers’ religion relative to that of their subjects. The first step is to review primary sources created during the Sasanian Era. These sources mainly include the Sasanian Royal Inscriptions, rock reliefs, and Kerdir’s Inscriptions. The second step is to review secondary, scholarly sources about the Sasanian Empire, which contain information relevant to the research. Sources in this category include comparisons between Sasanian religion and other religions, political culture, the relationship between Zoroastrians and Christians, perceptions of sorcery and religious crossovers, and tolerance.

Message To Sponsor

I would like to thank Anselm Arts and Humanities for sponsoring me for SURF. This opportunity has allowed me to explore my area of research in-depth. Furthermore, I have been able to get a head start on writing my year-long thesis. Overall, this sponsorship has helped me learn more about research and analysis while helping me work towards a high-quality thesis. I have also been able to meet other researchers in fields similar to my own, and learn from them.
Profile image of Sepanta Sarraf
Major: History
Mentor: Adam Benkato
Sponsor: Anselm Arts & Humanities
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