At the heart of the Yarshater Center are initiatives that aim to capture the spirit of the scholarly activities pioneered by Ehsan Yarshater while also allowing for greater synergies with the research agenda of the Pourdavoud Institute and the strength of faculty specializing in Iranian Studies and West Asia. We trust that the proposed research projects, each rooted in Professor Yarshater’s vast scholarly activities, will continue his intellectual legacy.


One of the main aims of the Yarshater Center shall be the establishment of a bilingual repository of Iranian literary traditions, which in a standardized form will introduce canonical Old and Middle Iranian as well as new Persian texts to a learned and informed audience.



The Encyclopaedia of the Ancient Iranian World is conceived as an academic standard work devoted to Iranian antiquity from prehistory to the fall of the Sasanian empire and its aftermath, a span of several thousand years.

As a multidisciplinary reference work, the Encyclopaedia will be an extensive compendium on the past cultures of the Iranian-speaking peoples and their extensive contributions to the broader history of human civilization: a documented, reliable reference work on the lands, life, culture, and history of all Iranian peoples and their interaction with other societies in antiquity.

The Encyclopaedia shall cover all aspects of life, history, and cultural practices of the Iranian and Iranicate peoples in antiquity (including civilizations that flourished on the Iranian plateau prior to the arrival of Iranian tribes, such as Elam). Special emphasis shall be given to the interaction between the Iranian world on the one hand and Classical, Mesopotamian, Semitic, Egyptian, Central and East Asian, Indo-Iranian and early Muslim cultures on the other. A special section shall be dedicated to the reception of ancient Iran from antiquity to modern times, and be concerned with the arduous process of reinterpretation and (re)discovery of the Iranian heritage in the Persianate and Western worlds, including the history of scholarship.



A History of Persian Literature has been designed as a comprehensive and richly documented work, based on original sources with illustrative examples and a fresh critical approach. As a collaborative international venture written by prominent scholars in the field, it should serve as an accessible, lively account of Persian literature, as well as a scholarly and authoritative reference work. The Yarshater Center at UCLA would strive to complete this extraordinary undertaking.