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03/23/2020 06:00 PM ISAW Lecture Hall
Fragmentary painted wall scene depicting a goddess and a fantastic animal

CANCELLED: Rostovtzeff Lecture Series: Sogdian Culture: Its Prelude, Blossom and Afterlife

Lecture 1: The Formation of Sogdian Culture: On Building and Borrowing

Pavel Lurje

Note: This event has been CANCELLED. We apologize for any inconvenience. Lecture 1 in a four-part series — The Sogdians, an eastern Iranian people who lived in the central part of modern Uzbekistan and neighboring areas of Tajikistan and Turkmenistan in the Late Antique and early Medieval periods (4th to 10th centuries CE), produced a culture that made a deep impact on the history of Eurasia. In the last decades, the study of the Sogdians has developed greatly in many countries, and the recent launch of a Sogdian digital exhibition at the Freer|Sackler Gallery marks a new phase of interest in the Sogdians. Archaeological remains and excavated documents tell us the multifaceted story of a society of landlords, merchants, craftsmen, and brave knights—and also of women and their rights and opinions. This is also a story that lacks imperial ambition, but shows religious pluralism in vibrant cities and the life in diasporas, most famously documented in the inclusion of Sogdian merchants in Chinese society, thus contradicting the common opinion of xenophobia of the Celestial Empire. The Sogdians produced outstanding work of visual art, combining intricate ornamental decorations with the rich narrative of epics, tales, and fables.
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