The Persian Empire

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Bi-weekly;  Week One; Friday;  12:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
In-person **NEW**

This workshop offers every member the exciting opportunity to actively participate in exploring the history and culture of the Persians. Far from being the barbarians of the Greek imagination, the Persian Empire was sophisticated, powerful, economically strong, and intellectually gifted. We will examine the rise and spread of this Empire from its modest beginnings to the time it dominated as history’s first great superpower, ruling the largest of all ancient world empires. We will meet the Great Kings of Persia, the queens, the tax-collectors, the soldiers, the eunuchs and the concubines; discuss their religious ideas, their politics, where they lived, and why they are so absent in Western histories.

Every participant will be expected to participate in discussions and provide a presentation on topics chosen from ‘THE PERSIANS’ by L. L. Jones, (Basic Books 2022) using whatever accompanying research they have discovered.

The main idea of this workshop is that we will all have fun learning from each other about a brilliant, complex and influential civilization. Come join us!


Brian O’Leary, a former Dominion bag-filler, Esso gas attendant, Rexall server and CBC TV Manager has over his years with the Academy facilitated subjects as diverse as The Byzantine Empire, World Theatre, The Roman Empire, Michelangelo, and the Spanish Civil War. A former president, he is intrigued by new areas of interest and hopes to find others tempted by topics hitherto unknown.

Josie Szczasiuk, a graduate of the U of T, worked in the Ontario Science Centre and has won awards for radio and TV scripts. She has both worked and traveled in Japan, Africa, Europe, Mexico and the US. She enjoys gardening, sketching and opera. Josie has been Academy president, created and facilitated over a dozen workshops; presently leads walks, is a member of the Steering Committee, and recipient of an ALL Lifetime Achievement award.

Workshop Materials:

Facilitators’ Notes