Mary Seeger O'Boyle Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Co-sponsored by the Committee for the Study of Late Antiquity, 2019-2020
Ani Honarchiansaky received her MA in Iranian Studies and her Ph.D. in Armenian Studies from the Near Eastern Languages and Cultures Department at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Her work has focused on the social and cultural history of the Roman Empire and Sasanian Iran with Armenia as the focal point. In her dissertation, she applied world history methods to the study of the Late Antique Near East. She has studied how the history of the Armenian Church and the Church of the East were affected by each other and by the social, cultural, political and economic relationships between the two great empires of late antiquity.
She studies the literary, hagiographic, and historiographic accounts produced by the authorities of these two Churches and the way in which these accounts constitute a Christian congruity by relating and thinking about the Roman and Sasanian authorities, about themselves, and each other.
She is interested in the history of how these Christian communities imagined their possibilities and limits living under the Sasanians and later Islam. This brought her to her current project, where she will explore the role of taxation, violence, and military recruitment in defining and shaping contexts for coexistence of Christians within Sasanian Iran.
I am working on my book manuscript which expands on my dissertation. The book aims to explore the major religious, political, and social developments that were instrumental in the development of the two Churches of the Near East, the Church of the East and the Church of Greater Armenia. This will be achieved by studying their history against the background of events occurring between the Sasanian and Roman empires. It is a thematic history that recounts the importance of peace treaties and conflicts between the two empires along the development of these Churches. Furthermore, the book aims to bring the history of the Jewish population to the study of the multi-religious Sasanian society, and map their history alongside the history of Christianity in Sasanian Iran. The book tries to understand the relationship between the organization of synods in Iran and formation of learning centers in Greater Armenia. It complicates our understanding of what heavy taxations of Christians and their recruitment in the Sasanian army meant to Christians in Greater Armenia and Syriac-speaking Christians of Sasanian Iran. My goal is to tie the religious aspects of these events to their social and political aspects that built the world of late antiquity.