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.


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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.”


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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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