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ARC 118 H — Art and Archaeology of Persia

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Mondays
Course Format: On-campus (About Formats)
Duration: 8 weeks
Date(s): Apr 8—Jun 3
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Apr 10
Unit: 1
Tuition: $465
Instructor(s): Patrick Hunt
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
Please Note: No class on May 27
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Apr 8—Jun 3
8 weeks
Refund Date
Apr 10
1 Unit
Patrick Hunt
Please Note: No class on May 27
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Persia has had one of the world’s longest, most glorious, and fascinating histories. 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 include Achaemenid Persepolis, Safavid Isfahan, and the garden city of Shiraz.

In this course, we will examine millennia of rich textiles, precious gemstone seals, metalworking, and engineering marvels like desert qanat aqueducts. Every week, we will encounter treasures well-known to archaeologists and art historians but unfamiliar even 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 Sasanian silk, Persian rugs, and the story of deciphering cuneiform with the Behistun Rock. We will read Herodotus on Cyrus the Great and selections from literary masterpiece such as the medieval epic Shahnameh (Book of Kings), in which Rustam is a beguiling Persian hero. Such poignant tales, illustrated with incredible Safavid miniature paintings, predate the legendary stories of the beautiful Persian heroine Scheherazade.

Students can choose to attend this course on campus or online. Sign up for Section H if you think you might attend class on the Stanford campus at least once. There is no commitment—you can still choose to attend via Zoom for any session. Sign up for Section Z if you know you will exclusively attend via Zoom.

Former Director, Stanford Alpine Archaeology Project; Research Associate, Archeoethnobotany, Institute of EthnoMedicine

Patrick Hunt is the author of 26 books and is a lecturer for the Archaeological Institute of America. He received a PhD from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. Hunt is an elected Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Explorers Club, and he is an explorer and expeditions expert for National Geographic. His Alps research has been sponsored by the National Geographic Expeditions Council.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Houma Katouzian, The Persians: Ancient, Medieval, Modern Iran (ISBN 978-0300169324)