Epilogue: The Legacy of the Two Eyes of the Earth

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:
Epilogue: The Legacy of the Two Eyes of the Earth

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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Rome and Sasanian Iran's fraught relationship as brothers and enemies was the crucible that forged the late antique Mediterranean, Europe, and western Asia. The end result of their coexistence was not just an exchange of cultural material, but a truly global, cross-cultural, and extrareligious language of debate and legitimacy. Despite the collapse of the Sasanian empire and the radical transformation of the Roman empire after the Muslim invasions, the traditions of the earth's two eyes survived this cataclysmic period and endured long after the empires themselves fell. The meeting and melding of Roman and Sasanian practices of kingship shaped the expression of power in the Mediterranean, Near East, Central and South Asia, and China from the Middle Ages to the seventeenth century. Despite the destruction of the old order, Rome and Sasanian Iran's relationship indelibly imprinted world politics and symbolics of power for almost a millennium thereafter, serving as a prestigious template for the exercise of power and diplomacy from the Atlantic to Central and South Asia.

Keywords: Rome; Sasanian Iran; Sasanian empire; Roman empire; kingship; power; world politics; diplomacy; Asia; Near East

Chapter.  843 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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