Long before French or English, Persian was the international language. Kings, poets, mystics, and diplomats conversed in Persian from Turkey to India to China. Further back in history, Persia was the great rival of the Roman Empire. Caravans crossed the Persian Empire while traveling the Silk Road from Rome to the Far East.
Cradle of the Zoroastrian and Manichaean religions, Persian has been second only to Arabic as the fountain of Islamic culture. Spiritual readers in America and the world over treasure the poems of Rumi, the great mystical poet of the Sufi tradition. Architecture, music, novels, painting: Persian language is the key to the beauties of medieval Persian culture – and a vibrant modern culture as well.
The Department of Central Eurasian Studies offers both undergraduate majors and minors as well as graduate studies. IU's Inner Asian & Uralic National Resource Center also offers many resources for the language and cultural study.