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BRISMES 2010: "The Sasanian Persia, The Rise and Fall of an Empire", the best scholarly work on the Middle East


19 December 2010



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LONDON, (CAIS) -- The British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES), has awarded 2010 Book Prize to professor Touraj Dayaee for the best scholarly work on the Middle East and his book "the Sasanian Persia, The Rise and Fall of an Empire". 

Professor Daryaee provides a portrait of the Sasanian Dynasty (224-651 CE), the last of the Persian dynasties in the ancient times, and the largest empire to espouse Zoroastrian religion, before the encounter with the Arabs swept away the pre-Islamic institutions.

Declaring the book "a masterpiece" the judges of the prize commented that it is "a very fine book indeed" and "offers a timely counterpart to Eurocentricity which has distorted the study of antiquity...[in] an extremely erudite book...the author wears his learning lightly, showing an enviable ability to distinguish the wood from the trees and write in a reader friendly manner."

The prize is awarded every year for the best scholarly work in English on the Middle East which has been published first in the UK. Books are judged on their originality, clarity, accessibility and their importance to the field. 

A number of world renowned scholars have praised Daryaee's work.

"Touraj Daryaee's Sasanian Persia is far more detailed than all previous work on the subject, with a multitude of new materials and sources. It is a masterpiece of research and will be that last word on Sasanian Iran in all of its aspects " from political history to religion, society and commerce", said Richard N. Frye, Emeritus Professor of Iranian Studies, Harvard University.

Ze'ev Rubin, Late Professor of Ancient history, University of Tel Aviv, stated: "Touraj Daryaee, one of the most outstanding young scholars dealing with Sasanian history today, uses the utmost skill in order to shed light not only on the historical plot, but also on the administration and the economy of the Sasanian kingdom. His treatment of such subjects may be set as an example; this is a panoramic survey, concise, clear and "reader friendly" throughout." 

And Gene Garthwaite, Professor of History, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire and Jane and Raphael Bernstein, Professor of Asian Studies, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, eloquently asserted: "Touraj Daryaee synthesizes a new generation of Sasanian scholarship to present the first single volume study of such important history " important not only for understanding Iranian, but Roman and early Islamic histories as well. The author's erudition is very impressive and he masters complex sources with exemplary clarity." 

The book was published by I.B. Tuairs, London, 2009.

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