purple parchment, gold-lettered books across time and space

Books with purple parchment and gold lettering, both pagan and Christian, were known in ancient Rome, early Islamic Baghdad and early medieval Spain.


Panchatantra plays with Julius Caesar’s veni, vidi, vici

Within four centuries after Julius Caesar’s death, the Panchatantra used a cowardly donkey in playing with Caesar’s boast in Latin: “veni, vidi, vici.”


Christians in China between Tang and Yuan Dynasties

Christians in China survived between the Tang and Yuan Dynasties despite persecutions and little Christian institutional support.


Bar Sauma and Rubruck’s experiences of learned religious debate

Bar Sauma, a Christian born in China, debated with cardinals in Rome. Franciscan Friar William of Rubruck debated in the Mongol court in central Eurasia.


Bābak and the Khurramī revolt according to Wāqid’s account

Wāqid’s account of Bābak and the Khurramī uprising figuratively denigrated Bābak and his fellow Khurramīs’ pre-Islamic, non-Arabic culture.


Genghis Khan and the Mongols’ beliefs in comparative perspective

Genghis Khan’s Mongol empire had eclectic, cosmopolitan beliefs. Determination to realize belief in Mongol divine supremacy distinguished the Mongols.


fidelity and seduction in ancient intimate cross-cultural encounters

Sexual seduction is a more fertile field for elite literary elaboration than is religious or political fidelity, yet less socially functional.

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Christian icons in Islamic world during Byzantine iconoclasm

Christian icons were used spiritually before Islam, continued to be used through Byzantine iconoclasm, and were prevalent in the 9th-century Islamic world.


Matthew of Edessa re-imagined Sindbad’s lure of the sea

Within his chronicle, Matthew of Edessa, a twelfth-century Armenian Christian monk, figured himself with the Islamic Abbasid legend of Sindbad the Sailor.


music business in ancient Eurasian traveling trade

The music business in ancient Eurasia was not just a specialized, elite urban profession. It included small, traveling enterprises.

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