By Richard E. Payne

Christian groups flourished in the course of past due antiquity in a Zoroastrian political approach, referred to as the Iranian Empire, that built-in culturally and geographically disparate territories from Arabia to Afghanistan into its associations and networks. while earlier stories have looked Christians as marginal, insular, and infrequently persecuted members during this empire, Richard Payne demonstrates their integration into elite networks, adoption of Iranian political practices and imaginaries, and participation in imperial associations. the increase of Christianity in Iran relied on the Zoroastrian idea and perform of hierarchical, differentiated inclusion, in line with which Christians, Jews, and others occupied valid areas in Iranian political tradition in positions subordinate to the imperial faith. Christians, for his or her half, located themselves in a political tradition now not in their personal making, with recourse to their very own ideological and institutional assets, starting from the writing of saints’ lives to the judicial arbitration of bishops. In putting the social background of East Syrian Christians on the middle of the Iranian imperial tale, A country of blend is helping clarify the persistence of a culturally assorted empire throughout 4 centuries.

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Additional resources for A State of Mixture: Christians, Zoroastrians, and Iranian Political Culture in Late Antiquity (Transformation of the Classical Heritage, Volume 56)

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69 Their accounts of the Iranian court and its relations with outside powers are the main sources available, alongside the Roman and Armenian historiographical traditions, for the reconstruction of the political history of the Sasanian period. Research has therefore centered on untangling the various strands of narrative with which the authors of the early Islamic period constructed their accounts, in pursuit of the original Xwadāy-nāmag. 70 But the contradictions of accounts purporting to have been drawn from the Xwadāy-nāmag should not be discounted as mere interpolations.

The following sections, therefore, look beyond the stereotyped and polemical passages of the East Syrian hagiographical works to context-specific details concerning the actions of imperial authorities, such as names, dates, precise locations, and historically verifiable or plausible acts of mowbed or kings of kings. This reading of the corpus of East Syrian hagiography reveals the consistent, rather than fluctuating, use of violence against religious others by the Iranian court in particular circumstances as a means of establishing norms of interaction between Christian and Zoroastrian elites.

Their accounts of how Zoroastrian authorities thought or behaved cannot be accepted as historical. The following sections, therefore, look beyond the stereotyped and polemical passages of the East Syrian hagiographical works to context-specific details concerning the actions of imperial authorities, such as names, dates, precise locations, and historically verifiable or plausible acts of mowbed or kings of kings. This reading of the corpus of East Syrian hagiography reveals the consistent, rather than fluctuating, use of violence against religious others by the Iranian court in particular circumstances as a means of establishing norms of interaction between Christian and Zoroastrian elites.

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