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ARC 118 — Art and Archaeology of Persia

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Wednesdays
Course Format: On campus
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 28—Dec 7
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: Oct 11
Unit(s): 2 Units
Tuition: $435
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class on November 23
On campus
7:00—8:50 pm
Sep 28—Dec 7
10 weeks
Drop By
Oct 11
2 Units
Please Note: No class on November 23
Persia has had one of the longest, most glorious, and fascinating histories in the world. Too often neglected by the West, Persia’s rich and complex culture was jealously admired by the ancient Greeks and later by the Byzantines. Its imposing monumental sites range from Achaemenid Persepolis to Safavid Isfahan as well as the garden city of Shiraz. In this course, we will examine millennia of rich textiles, precious gemstone seals and metalworking, and engineering marvels like desert qanat aqueducts. Every week we will encounter treasures well known to archaeologists and art historians but unfamiliar to most well-educated Westerners. Course highlights will include the fabulous Oxus Treasure hoard, discovered in the 19th century with its gold griffins, silver simurghs, and other fabulous animals, as well as some of the oldest metallurgical treasures in the world from Proto-Elamites dating to 3100 bce, before the Bronze Age. We will explore Sassanian silk and the story of deciphering cuneiform with the Behistun Rock. We will read Herodotus on Cyrus the Great and literary masterpieces such as the medieval epic Shahnameh (Book of Kings) in which Rustam is a beguiling Persian hero. Such poignant tales, illustrated by incredible Safavid miniature paintings, predate the legendary stories of the beautiful Persian heroine Sheherazade.

If art history is a passion of yours, you might also be interested in “The Business of Art: Selling, Buying, and Collecting” with art advisor and lawyer Tatiana Maratchi Legrain. For more information, please visit the course page.

Patrick Hunt, Former Director, Stanford Alpine Archaeology Project; Research Associate in Archeoethnobotany, Institute for EthnoMedicine

Patrick Hunt has taught at Stanford since 1993. He is the author of seventeen books, including Ten Discoveries That Rewrote History and A Few Hundred Thoughts. Hunt’s archaeology research has been sponsored by the National Geographic Society. He received a PhD from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London.

Textbooks for this course:

No required textbooks