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Professor Nicholas Sims-Williams FBA

Philology Central and Inner Asia
Professor Nicholas Sims-Williams FBA profile picture

About this Fellow

Nicholas Sims-Williams studied Iranian languages, Sanskrit and Syriac at Cambridge, obtaining his PhD with a thesis on the Sogdian manuscript C2, a miscellany of Christian texts translated from Syriac. In 1976 he joined the staff of SOAS, University of London, where he became Research Professor of Iranian and Central Asian Studies in 2004 and Emeritus Professor in 2015. His research focuses on Bactrian, Sogdian and other Middle Iranian languages of Afghanistan and Central Asia, taking an equal interest in the languages themselves, with their Indo-European roots, and in their Central Asian setting, with its stimulating mixture of languages, cultures and religions. In addition to the British Academy, he is a Fellow of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres (AIBL) and the Academia Europaea, and an Honorary Member of the American Philosophical Society and the American Oriental Society. He has received the Ghirshman Prize of the AIBL, the Hirayama prize for Silk Road Studies, a Book of the Year Prize of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Denis Sinor medal of the Royal Asiatic Society. He is Chairman of the Ancient India and Iran Trust, Cambridge, and the Corpus Inscriptionum Iranicarum.



Current post

  • Emeritus Professor of Iranian and Central Asian Studies, SOAS, University of London

Past Appointments

  • Research Professor of Iranian and Central Asian Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Soas, University Of London, 2008 - 2015
  • Lecturer in Iranian Languages, Reader in Iranian Studies, Professor of Iranian and Central Asian Studies, Soas, University Of London, 1976
  • Emeritus Professor of Iranian and Central Asian Studies, Soas, University Of London, 2015

British Academy Appointments

  • Member of Council, 2017 -


Iranian manuscripts in Syriac script in the Berlin Turfan collection 2012

Biblical and other Christian Sogdian texts from the Turfan collection 2014

A Dictionary: Christian Sogdian, Syriac and English 2016

The Christian Sogdian manuscript C2 1985

Turco-Sogdian Documents from 9th-10th century Dunhuang 2015

Bactrian documents from Northern Afghanistan (vol 1-3) 2001-2012

Other Africa, Asia and the Middle East Fellows

Professor David Arnold

Modern History History of a specific country South Asia History of Science History of Medicine Social History

Professor Rana Mitter

The history and politics of modern China; history of twentieth-century China, in particular the Republican period (1912-1949) and Cold War; contemporary Chinese nationalism and Sino-Japanese relations

Professor Roel Sterckx

Classical and literary Chinese language and philology; history, religion and thought of pre-imperial and early imperial China; text and manuscript studies (Warring States, Qin, and Han periods); the natural world in pre-modern China

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