Departmental Papers (Classical Studies)

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Book Chapter

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Literacy in the Persianate World: Writing and the Social Order

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The history of Persian as an imperial language, as a vehicle of cultural continuities, and as a focus of communal identity, whether of an ethnic, religious, aesthetic, or intellectual nature, is one of the great sagas of civilization. As such, it demands comparison with similar stories if we are to understand the processes at work, both in their general similarities and in their specific differences. In this essay I will consider the cultural empire of Latin in comparison to that of Persian in an effort to determine to what extent these two remarkable traditions are able to illuminate one another and to state as clearly as possible those aspects that resist explanation.

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All rights reserved. Except for brief quotations used for purposes of scholarly citation, none of this work may be reproduced in any form by any means without written permission from the publisher. For information address the University of Pennsylvania Press, 3905 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-4112.

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Date Posted: 12 December 2016