Photo of Richard Payne
Richard Payne Office: University of Chicago
Social Science Research Building, box 82
1126 E. 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637

William Rainey Harper Memorial Library,
East Tower, room 481 – Office
Phone: (773) 834-9897 Email Interests:

The Middle East in Late Antiquity; Premodern Global History; Comparative Empires

Associate Professor of History, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, ISAC, and the College

Princeton University, PhD '09


A historian of the Iranian world in late antiquity, ca. 200–800 CE, Payne's research focuses primarily on the dynamics of Iranian imperialism, specifically how the Iranian (or Sasanian) Empire successfully integrated socially, culturally, and geographically disparate populations from Arabia to Afghanistan into enduring political networks and institutions.

His recent book, A State of Mixture: Christians, Zoroastrians, and Iranian Political Culture in Late Antiquity, explores the problem of religious diversity within the empire, showing how Syriac-writing Christians could create a place for themselves in a political culture not of their own making. He is currently at work on the role of Zoroastrian religious institutions and the intersection of ideological and material dimensions in Iranian history.

Recent Research / Recent Publications