Matthew P. Canepa

in The Two Eyes of the Earth

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780520257276
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944572 | DOI:

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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This book focuses on a pivotal period in political and religious history, poised between the ancient and medieval worlds in the Mediterranean and the Near East, and offers an analysis of the conditions and motivations that enabled the Roman and Sasanian empires—two hostile systems of sacred universal sovereignty—not only to coexist, but to foster cross-cultural exchange and communication even in the face of an undying rivalry. It explores how the two greatest cultural, political, and military forces in the late antique Mediterranean and Near East devised a sacral, yet extrareligious visual and ritual language of legitimacy and debate to communicate and compete over the course of their coexistence (224–642). It examines the two empires' motivations and methods for appropriating the creations of each other's court culture. Thus, it focuses on expressions that often inhabit the margins of cultural identity. Along with the death of the last Sasanian king of kings, the rise of Islam extinguished the Sasanian empire and drastically altered the geographical and demographic composition of the Roman empire.

Keywords: Roman empire; Sasanian empire; cultural identity; kingship; Islam; kings; religious history; cross-cultural exchange; communication; ritual

Chapter.  1951 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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