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Garth Fowden's Empire to Commonwealth - Consequences of monotheism in late antiquity, which I read ~25 years ago, best framed this whole issue for me. He also argues the importance of Iran and the Iranian plateau as a geographic fortress that gave weight to the Persian and Sasanian empires located there. In a age when China and India were too remote to matter Iran hosted the 'middle empire, between the Byzantine and the Kushan. This contrasts with the 'three great monotheisms' view of the period more common in 'the west', which was a barbarian fringe once Rome fell.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Dec 7th, 2017 at 04:32:48 PM EST
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