Page title

Supratik Baralay

Main page content

Profile

Supratik Baralay is a historian interested in destabilizing the divide between ancient Mediterranean and Asian histories, uncovering evidence for the imperial subjection of communities, and reconstructing the ways in which migrant societies refused the demands of empire.  
 
His first book project, provisionally titled “Parthian Eurasia”, examines these ideas in the context of the Parthian imperial formation, which emerged from the southern Turkmen steppe during the mid 3rd century BCE. Baralay will argue that the Arsacid dynasty imposed coercive ideologies and institutions, developed from earlier Hellenistic models, upon populations across western and central Asia for almost five centuries. Parthian imperial subjection took the form of recurrent violence and intimidation directed at indigenous communities and resulted in the infiltration and elimination of their institutions. The Arsacid establishment of diplomatic connections with the Han and Roman empires, undergirded by Parthian imperial coercion, resulted in the formation of the trade routes traditionally known as the “Silk Roads”. But Baralay suggests that Arsacid imperialism was also refused by numerous itinerant societies and that it was these communities who were responsible for the actual movement of ideas as well as goods across the Eurasian landscape. 
 
For his second academic book project, he will explore the ways in which Parthian imperialism impacted the development of Mazdism, Judaism, Christianity, and Buddhism, culminating in the development of Manicheism. 
 
Raised between Bombay and London, Baralay obtained a B.A. in Literae Humaniores (Classics) in 2014 and an M.Phil. in Ancient Greek and Roman History in 2016 from the University of Oxford. He completed his Ph.D. in Ancient History in 2023 at Harvard University. 
 
In Fall 2023, he will team-teach in Princeton’s interdisciplinary Humanities Sequence. In Spring 2024, he plans to teach the freshman seminar, “The Camera and Classical Art”.