Speaking Persian in Byzantium

Rustam Shukurov*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The earliest instances of Byzantine interest for the New Persian language date from the ninth century. The most notable example is provided by Photios who was especially curious about the Persian roots of Greek words. However, in the eighth-to-eleventh centuries, the knowledge of Persian was not common among the Greeks. The situation changed in the second half of the thirteenth century, when the practical knowledge of foreign languages spread outside the small circle of professional scholars and diplomats and became rather common among the native Byzantines. The status of the Persian language increased dramatically for two reasons: first, because of the rise of the political and cultural prestige of Anatolian Muslims in Byzantine eyes; and secondly, due to the rediscovery of Persian science by the Byzantines.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202–214
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023


  • Middle and late Byzantium
  • Multilingualism
  • Persian language
  • Cultural history
  • Prosopography


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