The Persian and Afghan Romance of Alexander the Great

  • Starts: 6:00 pm on Monday, March 21, 2016
ACANSRS Annual Silk Road Lecture 2016 at Boston University

Dr. Michael Barry (Princeton University) gives a lecture and slide show on the 15th- and 16th-century Persian miniatures.

Alexander the Great, setting out to conquer the Persian Empire in 334 BC, lamented over Achilles’ tomb at Troy that he enjoyed no Homer to sing his exploits. In fact, Alexander or “Iskandar” found his Homer, and Virgil too, more than a thousand years later in the Persianate world’s two greatest epic poets, Firdwasi and Nizami - illustrated by the finest miniaturists throughout the lands that are today Iran, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and India - in an extraordinary mythical transformation of sober history into a tale of unwitting fratricide and then divine redemption through universal empire: with Alexander learning that he is the secret half-brother to Darius, whose daughter he weds to reconcile all kingdoms, all peoples.

Michael Alexander Barry has lectured in Princeton’s Near Eastern Studies Department since 2004 on the medieval and modern Islamic cultures of Iran, India, Pakistan, and most especially Afghanistan—where his work over more than four decades has ranged from anthropological research to defense of human rights and coordinating humanitarian assistance for the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights, for Medecins du Monde, and for the United Nations.

Event is free and open to the public. Please register:

Sponsored by the Association for Central Asian Civilizations & Silk Road (ACANSRS), the American Institute of Afghanistan Studies (AIAS), the Institute for the Study of Muslim Societies & Civilizations (SMSC) and Mizan Project.
Trustee Ballroom, 1 Silber Way, 9th Floor