Matthew P. Canepa is Professor and Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Presidential Chair in Art History and Archaeology of Ancient Iran at University of California, Irvine. His most recent book is ‘The Iranian Expanse: Transforming Royal Identity through Landscape, Architecture, and the Built Environment (550 BCE–642 CE)’.

Head of a king (c. 4th century), Sasanian. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The Iranian kings who thought the world revolved around them

As the last rulers of pre-Islamic Iran, the Sasanians crafted a grand courtly culture that would go on to influence kings from the Balkans to Bengal

8 May 2021