Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS University of London
Russell Square WC1H 0XG
Taq Kasra: Wonder of Architecture is the first-ever documentary film on the world’s largest brickwork vault. The palace was the symbol of the Persian Empire in the Sasanian era (224-651 AD), when a major part of Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) was part of Persia. Taq Kasra was in serious danger of ISIS attacks in 2015-2016 and this was the main motivation for documentary maker Pejman Akbarzadeh, based in Holland, to travel to Iraq twice and film the arch before it was potentially destroyed. (Read more)
The documentary is produced by the Persian Dutch Network, in association with Toos Foundation, and partially funded by the Soudavar Memorial Foundation.
Following the screening, a Q&A session will be held with the presence of the documentary director Pejman Akbarzadeh and Vesta Sarkhosh-Curis of the British Museum, a scholar of Persian art in Sasanian and Parthian eras.
Thirty years after Xerxes invaded Greece, the Achaemenid Persian Empire ended its long war with Athens. For the next four decades, the Persians tolerated Athenian control of their former tributaries, the Ionian Greek cities of western Anatolia. But during the Peloponnesian War, Persia reclaimed Ionia and funded a Spartan fleet to overthrow Athenian power. It took eight long years for Persia to triumph, and Sparta then turned on its benefactors, prompting Persia to transfer aid to Athens in the Corinthian War. The peace of 386 reiterated imperial control of Ionia and compelled both Sparta and Athens to endorse a Persian promise of autonomy for Greeks outside Asia. Continue reading Persian Interventions→
In recent years a number of scholars have proposed more or less detailed schemas of the formation of the Zoroastrian ritual. These schemas offer accounts of the arrangement of the texts in the liturgy, the process of its formation, and even its function from an endogenous perspective. One way or another, they argue that the official Zoroastrian liturgy is an integrated ritual with a coherent text, and that the function of the ritual and the intention behind the arrangement of the texts can be determined by means of philological, literary and comparative analyses. The questions of formation and meaning of the Zoroastrian liturgy these scholars have placed on the agenda are important not only for the study of Zoroastrianism but also for the history of religions and ritual theory. I consider their accounts with respect to the texts they invoke and the methods they use, and show that their arguments suffer from fatal flaws.
Khorikyan, Hovhannes. 2017. The Administrative Division of the 13th Satrapy of Achaemenid Persia in the Reign of Darius II. Metamorphoses of History, Scientific Almanac 10: 174-180.
The Babylonian document BE. X.107 dated by the period of Darius II contains some very important information which is connected to the administrative division of the Achaemenid Empire. Shamesh/Iltammešbarakku who was the governor of the people of Urashtu (Urartu) and Milidu, is mentioned in the document. Urashtu-Urartu corresponds with Armenia and Milidu-Melitine, and when it was mentioned with the latter,
was an indivisible part of Satrapic Armenia, and Herodotus’ account proves this. Therefore, it can be said that Milidu is mentioned separately because it later became the center of Pactyica after Darius I’s administrative reforms; it was also one of the centers of the 13th satrapy which remained part of Armenia, despite the new administrative changes. Its ruler, the
satrap, continued having the title of “Governor of the People of Urashtu and Milidu (in a broad sense, Pactyica)”. Therefore, one can state that Melitine and its outlying regions, being to the west of the Euphrates where the territory of Armenia Minor would be established in the future, were an indivisible part of the country known as Armina-Armenia, during the entire period of Achaemenid reign.
The forthcoming Rescheduled Eighth Biennial Convention of the Association for the Study of Persianate Societies (ASPS) will be hosted by Tsereteli Institute of Oriental Studies at Ilia State University.
The aim of the present paper is to illustrate as a case study, the linguistic and stylistic peculiarities characterizing the third book of the Dēnkard, one of the most authoritative texts in Zoroastrian Pahlavi literature (9th-10th CE). The analysis will consider these features as part of a coherent system, styled to serve the dialectic strategies pursued by the Zoroastrian high priests in response to the pressures their own community was facing in the early Islamic period. In order to provide a more comprehensive overview on DkIII language distinctiveness, the research will underline the outward/inward dynamics, addressing both the relation of this theological dialectic with the surrounding socio-cultural environment and the leadingrole claims of a group within a politically subordinated community.
Lindström, Gunvor. 2017. The Portrait of a Hellenistic Ruler in the National Museum of Iran. In Daehner, Jens M., Kenneth Lapatin, and Ambra Spinelli (eds.), 198-204, Artistry in Bronze: The Greeks and Their Legacy (XIXth International Congress on Ancient Bronzes). Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum; Getty Conservation Institute.
The portrait of a Hellenistic ruler in the National Museum of Iran (inv. 2477) is the most prominent archaeological testimony of the Hellenistic presence in Iran. It shows the spread of Hellenistic largescale sculpture in the regions east of the Tigris River, of which there is otherwise very little evidence. Furthermore, it is one of the few preserved original Hellenistic large-scale bronzes. Nevertheless, this extraordinary piece of art is rarely illustrated in handbooks on Hellenistic sculpture or ruler portraits, and only a few specialists are familiar with this bronze. The head represents a ruler, likely a king of the Seleucid dynasty, which ruled Iran in the third and second centuries BC. But due to the portrait’s intense deformation, the ruler represented could not be identified until now. In August 2015 a project was started with the aim of reconstructing the original facial features. Although this aim has not been achieved, the investigations at the National Museum of Iran have already yielded extraordinary results.