Writing the History of the "Persian Arabs": The Pre-Islamic Perspective on the "narids" of al-īrah

Greg Fisher, Philip Wood

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Modern scholarship on Arabs in the pre-Islamic period has focused on Rome's Arab allies - the so-called "Jafnids" or "Ghassānids," with much less attention paid to Persia's Arab allies, the so-called "Narid" or "Lakhmid" dynasty of Arab leaders at al-īrah in Iraq. This article examines select pre-Islamic sources for the Persian Arabs, showing that even with the meager evidence available to us, and the lack of archaeological material, it is possible to draw a relatively complex portrait of the Persian Arabs. This article situates the Persian Arabs as important figures in some key themes and phenomena of late antiquity, such as the growth of Christian communities, the conflict between Rome and Persia, and the struggle for influence in the Arabian peninsula.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-290
Number of pages44
JournalIranian Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2016


  • Arabian peninsula
  • Arabs
  • Christianity
  • Islam
  • Persia
  • Roman-Persian War
  • Sasanians


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