L321 Fall 2018 The Persian Empire: 2500 BCE to 1979 CE
Mondays, 9:40–11:05, Sept. 17–Nov. 5
No class on Sept. 24, Oct. 8
Instructor: JiIla Shambayati
Explore the unique history and glories of the Great Persian Empire from its founding, more than 2,500 years ago, until the 1979 Iranian Revolution. We will learn about its founder and first King, Cyrus the Great, and his remarkable philosophy of governance and human rights. The Persian noble character lies in the teachings of Zoroastrianism, arguably the world's first great monotheistic religion. We will learn about other figures who have shaped Persian culture through the arts, traditions, and religious thinking. Among these are Rumi, Omar Khayam, and Ferdowsi, historian and author of the remarkable Shahnameh (Book of Kings). The rise of religious Islam, following the Arab invasions of the 7th century, led to new Persian religious philosophies including Islamic Shi'ism and the Iranian tradition of Sufiism. Along with Zoroastrianism, these beliefs and practices remain the unique threads of Persian culture and traditions to this day.
Jilla Shambayati is a Persian American who has been teaching Persian (Farsi) language, literature, and history at the Persian Cultural Center, the Cyrus Academy, and private venues in the United States for over 30 years. She has an undergraduate degree in Persian language and a master’s degree in international trade. She worked as an agent, importing pharmaceutical products to Iran from Europe.