History of Iran: The Prehistoric Era to 642 CE (at Mary Winspear Centre)


Course description

This course is the first in a series that will cover the history of Iran from prehistoric times to the present. In these first sessions, your instructor will discuss the origins of life in ancient Iran, also known as Persia, going back tens of thousands of years. Names of some locations date back more than 5000 years; these sites and their characteristics will be discussed and illustrated, as well as pre-ancient nations, whose inhabitants were located in the territory of old Iran. Many of these nations still exist in Iran today under different names, comprising constituent parts of Iranian identity. Immigration of Aryans, from which the name of Iran is originated, will also be discussed. We will cover the so-called Iranian mythology, which many scholars think should not be called mythology, but history itself. One of the earliest religions, and perhaps the first monotheistic religion in the world, is Zarathustrianism, which we will explore. We will discuss, in some depth, ancient dynasties and in doing so we will review the history of Iran up to the Arab conquest of Iran in 642, which resulted in the new state religion of Islam.

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