SOAS University of London

PhD student to give talk at Princeton University

23 April 2019

Our PhD student Mr Aleksander Engeskaug is going to give a talk on "Zoroastrian Fire Temple Estates, the Islamic Conquest, and Market-Oriented Agriculture in the Age of Transition" at the conference Ērānšahr in Transition: West and Central Asia Between the Sasanians and Islam, 550-800 CE, Princeton University, USA, 10-11 May 2019.

The conference is convened and organized by Dr. Khodadad Rezakhani and sponsored by the Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies.

Abstract: Fire temple estates in the Late Sasanian era consisted of agricultural land, the produce of which were intended for the market. The estates generated large amounts of wealth in the form of money which was stored in the treasuries of the fire temples. During the Islamic conquest, the fire temple treasuries and the estates were confiscated. Previous scholars have argued that with the Islamic conquest, a new and more market-oriented agricultural regime emerged. This paper argues that such market-oriented regime was already in place in the Late Sasanian era particularly on the fire temple estates, which were run almost as commercial enterprises. When they were confiscated by the Arabs, the temple estates were instrumental in transferring a market-oriented agricultural regime to the economy of the new Islamic era.