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Ehsan Yarshater, Iran Scholar With a Monumental Vision, Dies at 98

Historians in the News
tags: obituary, Ehsan Yarshater



Ehsan Yarshater, an eminent Iranian historian who founded and edited the Encyclopedia Iranica, a magnum opus of Iranian history and culture that helped transform the modern understanding of Persian civilization, died on Sept. 2 in Fresno, Calif. He was 98.

His death was confirmed by his niece Mojdeh Yarshater.

Professor Yarshater’s encyclopedia cast Iran as a global civilization in the aftermath of the Iranian revolution in 1979 and the seizure of United States Embassy hostages, when the country appeared isolated on the world stage and he was forced to suspend the project by the new Islamic regime.

“I had this ideal in my mind,” he told NPR in 2011, “that there would be an encyclopedia which would respond to all possible legitimate questions about Iran and its history and its civilization.”

The encyclopedia includes entries on everything from ancient Persian philosophy to cabbage. It documents Iran’s relationship with other world cultures, like those of Greece and India, expanding the notion of Persian civilization beyond Iran’s modern borders. ...

Read entire article at NYT

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