Iranian Studies

Medieval Persian manuscript depicting Muhammad leading Abraham, Moses and Jesus in prayer.

Our FID Middle Eastern, North African and Islamic Studies acquires subject-specific publications from the countries of the MENA region and thus provides research material for many subjects such as Oriental Studies, Arabic Studies, Islamic Studies, Turkology, Kurdology and Iranian Studies.

The subject of Iranian Studies is an interdisciplinary cultural science that deals with the history, societies, languages and religions of the entire Iranian cultural area, covering a broad period from antiquity to the present. The questions dealt with in this area then extend far beyond the borders of today’s Iran and its neighbouring countries (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey and Iraq) to Syria in the Middle East, Georgia in the Caucasus, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan as well as India in Central and South Asia. Iranian Studies deals with both the intellectual and the material cultural assets of all Iranian peoples and thus borders on other subjects such as philology, cultural anthropology, archaeology as well as history and religious studies.

The subject bibliography of Iranian Studies:

Innumerable dynasties have ruled in and over Persia before and after the Islamic expansion (in the 630s), such as the Elam Empire (2550 to 636 BC) or the Achaemenids (550-330 BC) as well as the Sassanids (224-651) from antiquity, and the Samanids (819-1005), the Buyids (932-1062) as well as the Ilkhans (1256-1388) from the Middle Ages. All of these are part of the field of research in Iranian studies. Rulers from modern times, such as the Safavids (1501-1765) or the Pahlavi dynasty (1925-1979), as well as the Islamic Republic of Iran (since 1979), are also part of the focus of some Iranists.

For this purpose, we provide Iranian studies with publications, primarily in original languages:

3.2.5 Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and other Iranian peoples of the region


Iranian languages and literatures are also part of research in Iranian studies. Numerous languages and dialects belong to the Iranian languages, which in turn belong to the Indo-European language family. Many of them are still spoken today, such as (New) Persian/Farsi (called Dari or Tajik in Afghanistan and Tajikistan), Ossetian, Tati, Talyshian, Hazara, Aimaq, Pashto, Judeo-Persian, Luri, Baluchi, Masanderan, Jaghnobi as well as Kurdish (Kurmanji, Sorani, Gorani, Zazaki). However, there are also many Iranian languages that are extinct, such as Median, Parthian, Avestic, Bactrian, Khorezmian and Sogdian.

Research on these languages as well as on Iranian literatures is also part of the study of Iranian studies. There are, for example, a large number of Persian-language authors, especially from modern-day Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and India, on various literary genres. The diverse (modern) Persian literature is as fascinating as its landscape and has partly left an influence on Western literature. Poets such as Saadi (1210-1291) and Hafis (1315-1390) were considered a great source of inspiration for Wolfgang von Goethe, for example. Poets such as Rudaki (858-940) and Ferdousi (c. 940-1020), who are considered the “father of the New Persian language” and the creator of the Persian national epic “Shahname” respectively, as well as the great Persian mystics Attar (1145-1221) and Rumi (1207-1273), who have attracted great attention abroad thanks to translations, are also among the classics of New Persian literature.

Here, we also provide Iranian studies with publications in the original languages:

4.4 Iranian Languages and Literatures