Getting to Know my PhD Research

Statue of Khosrow I (Anushiruwan) at the Tehran courthouse – photo by انفی 

I’ve recently been on a break from writing blog posts because my PhD research has taken off and therefore, I needed to give it my ultimate priority. Nevertheless, I hope to come back to this blog for sporadic posts about a variety of topics from PhD advice and insights into Late Antique and Medieval Roman history, and that starts today!

In this blog post, I will be sharing some insight into my PhD research and I will do this through two ways. First, I shall provide a summary of what my thesis aims to examine and the perimeters for it’s research. Second, I will share a recent interview I participated in with the YouTube initiative entitled: The Iranian Studies Collective.

Generals and Rulers in Theophylact Simocatta’s History: Case Studies into Roman and Sasanian Leadership Depictions, AD 565-602

This thesis is a study of Roman, Sasanian and Avar leadership portrayals depicted in Theophylact Simocatta’s History. Theophylact’s History is most noted for its narration of the Emperor Maurice’s wars (AD 582-602); however, the text has greater relevance to historians and a wider examination of it, within the context of royal and military leadership, will open up new avenues in order to better understand leadership during the late sixth and early seventh century. The research will focus on examining the Roman autokrator and Sasanian Šāhanšāh, alongside aspects of Avar leadership, and how the Khagan compares to his counterparts within Theophylact’s History. Key aspects of Late Antique leadership will be addressed such as legitimacy and dynasty, alongside offering an analysis into the transforming military role of the Late Roman autokrator and Sasanian Šāhanšāh

(13) Therefore one should regard the common history of all mankind as a teacher, which advises what should be undertaken and what should be ignored as disadvantageous…(14)… (15) For the aged she is a guide and staff, for the young a most excellent and sagacious tutor, by wide experience lending grey hairs, as it were, to youth and anticipating the gradual lessons of time.”

Theoph. Sim. History. I. Proem 13-15, trans. M. Whitby and M. Whitby

For the second part, I hope to direct you to my recent interview with Rowena Abdul Razak, from the University of Oxford, who has established the incredible initiative titled, The Iranian Studies Collective. The initiative was created to provide better accessibility to the world of Iran through current academic work. For those who wish to learn more about Iranian research, from Antiquity to modern day, then I highly recommend subscribing to the channel.

Researcher Profile: Sean Strong, Cardiff University (March 2021)

I hope this blog has allowed people to know a bit more about my research. If you have any questions about my thesis or are interested in Roman history from Antiquity to AD 1453, then please feel free to get in contact with me.

Published by Sean Strong

Sean is a doctoral researcher working on the reign of Maurice (582-602). He holds a further interest in understanding the ideology behind identity and the perception of rulership in Eastern Europe and the Near East. Sean's research interests vary throughout the Late Antique and Byzantine world, and span across the fields of military, political, and social history.

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