Mahindra Humanities Center Persian and Persianate Studies Seminar


Friday, November 15, 2019, 5:00pm to 6:30pm


Barker Center 024, 12 Quincy Street

Maria Subtelny (University of Toronto), Iranian Elements in the Pseudo-Aristotelian Sirr al-asrār (Secretum secretorum). Co-sponsored with the MHC Medieval Studies Seminar and the Aga Khan Fund for Iranian Studies.

The pseudo-Aristotelian Politics, known in Arabic as Sirr al-asrar (The secret of secrets) and in its medieval Latin translations as Secretum secretorum, purports to be Aristotle’s correspondence with Alexander the Great who at the time was engaged in the conquest of Persia. Probably compiled in the tenth century CE, this Arabic mirror for princes exhibits the influence of many different Late Antique sources, of which the Iranian—that is to say Sasanian—usually gets short shrift in the scholarly literature. The presentation seeks to identify the Iranian elements in the Sirr al-asrar that arguably constituted the basis for this poorly understood medieval blockbuster.