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Sasanian Chess, Origin and Development

Sasanian Chess, Origin and Development
170 St. George Street, Room 100
Time: Mar 16th, 3:00 pm End: Mar 16th, 5:00 pm
Interest Categories: Religion, Study of (FAS), Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations (FAS), Linguistics (FAS), Italian Studies (FAS), Islamic Studies, History (FAS), History & Philosophy of Science & Technology (FAS), Historical Studies (UTM), Historical and Cultural Studies (UTSC), 400-1200, 1-400 CE
Lecture by Antonio Panaino, University of Bologna

The Jackman Humanities Institute Program for the Arts on Humour, Play, and Games is pleased to present a series of four events with

Antonio Panaino, University of Bologna

Board Games in Sasanian Iran: Fun, Intellect, Ideology

Sasanian Chess, Origins and Development
    MONDAY 16 MARCH, 3-5 PM – PUBLIC LECTURE
    170 ST. GEORGE STREET ROOM JHB100
Introduction: A Brief history of Chess; which Homeland? India or China? With or without dice? The military disposition and symbolism. The Indian sources and their importance. The Sasanian Catrang and its explanation in Pahlavi literature. The evolution of the game and its varieties in the Islamic and Mediæval traditions.

The Game as Mirror of Royal and Aristocratic Ideology at the Sasanian Court
    WEDNESDAY 18 MARCH, 2-4 PM – SEMINAR FOR FACULTY AND GRADUATE STUDENTS
    170 ST. GEORGE STREET ROOM JHB1040
Games as a serious challenge and a subject of scholarly research. Board games and sports in antiquity and their educational values. The ideology of the game; the Sasanian story of Wuzurgmihr and Xusraw and Iranian supremacy.
 
Astral Lore and Games in Antiquity
    THURSDAY 19 MARCH, 3-5 PM – SEMINAR FOR FACULTY AND GRADUATE STUDENTS
    170 ST. GEORGE STREET ROOM JHB1040
Games and divination; chess and dice; destiny and individual ability. The astrological implications of backgammon and similar games since Seleucid times; the Mazdean interpretation. Astrological Chess in the Islamic and Byzantine world.

Sasanian Backgammon, Origins and Development
    FRIDAY 20 MARCH, 2-4 PM – PUBLIC LECTURE
    170 ST. GEORGE STREET ROOM JHB100
Iranian nard and its origins since earliest antiquity. Similar games in other cultures. The pattern of the Greek Table and the Ludus duodecim scriptorum; sources and rules. The Sasanian cosmological and astrological description of the game and the disposition of its pieces. Later traditions.

Antonio Panaino is Full Professor of Iranian Studies at the University of Bologna. His fields of research are Old and Middle Iranian philology and linguistics, history of Mazdeism and related religions, intercultural relations between Iran and Byzantium, and astronomy and astrology in antiquity. He is the author of La novella deli scacchi e della tavola reale (The Novel of the Chess and of the Royal Table, Milan, 1999), a groundbreaking study and edition of a Middle Persian text describing the history of the chess and backgammon, and has published numerous articles on the history of the games in antiquity. He has also written widely about Sasanian royal ideology, and is a leading expert on the astral sciences in ancient Iran. He is the author of Tishtrya: The Avestan Myth of the Star Sirius (Rome, 2 vols. , 1990–1995) and Tessere il cielo (Weaving the Sky, Rome, 1997).

Download series flyer [pdf]

The public lectures on Monday 16 March and Friday 20 March are free and open to all.  Registration is not required for these two events.  The workshops on Tuesday 18 March and Wednesday 19 March are for faculty and graduate students of the University of Toronto.  For further information, please contact the Jackman Humanities Institute at (416) 946-0313.

These events are co-sponsored by the Iranian Studies Seminar Series.


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