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Silver Plate Showing Shapur II: Neil MacGregor examines a dramatic image of power and faith from ancient Iran.

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Summary

Throughout this week Neil MacGregor is describing how people across the globe around 1700 years ago found new images to express their religious beliefs. Today's object is a dramatic visualisation of power and faith in 4th Century Iran. It is a silver plate that shows King Shapur II out hunting deer. Neil describes how this apparently secular image reveals the beliefs of the day, when the king was seen as the agent of god and the upholder of the state religion - Zoroastrianism. How might we read this hunting scene as a religious image? And why did the belief system of such a powerful dynasty fail to become a dominant world religion? With contributions from the historian Tom Holland and the Iranian art historian Guitty Azarpay.

Producer: Anthony Denselow.

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