How Objects Tell Stories

Linduff, Katheryn & Karen Rubinson (eds.). 2018. How objects tell stories. Essays in honor of Emma C. Bunker (Inner and Central Asian Art and Archaeology 1). Turnhout: Brepols Publishers.

Inner and Central Asian Art and Archaeology is a new series launched providing a major forum for discussion and publication of current international research projects and fieldwork concerning the art and archaeology of Central and Inner Asia. Uniquely the series covers the vast regions flanking the ancient Silk Roads from the Iranian world to western China and from the Russian steppes to north-western India. The series mainly focuses on the pre-Islamic period of art and archaeology of Inner Asia. Related scholarly articles on language and history are also published.

Source: How Objects Tell Stories

Chinese Sources and the Sasanians

This article is currently published in the online publication section of Iranian Studies, thus the journal's reference as volume 0, issue 0. I am unsure whether in time it will become part of the printed version or not.

Zanous, Hamidreza Pasha & Esmaeil Sangari. 2018. The last Sasanians in Chinese literary sources: Recently identified statue head of a Sasanian prince at the Qianling mausoleum. Iranian Studies 0(0). 1–17.

Qianling Mausoleum (乾陵) which is located in the northwest of Xi’an, is the tomb of Emperor Gaozong of the Tang Dynasty (唐高宗, r. 649–83 AD) and his Empress Wu Zetian (武則天, r. 690–705 AD). In this mausoleum, there are two statues of Pērōz, son of Yazdegird III (632–51 AD), and another Persian nobleman who have been recognized by western scholars. However, scholars’ attention has been limited to a general and mistaken description of the statues. This paper reassesses both statues in order to give some new insight into the head of one of the statues found at the Qianling Mausoleum.

Diodoros of Sicily: Historiographical Theory and Practice in the Bibliotheke

Hau, Lisa Irene, Alexander Meeus and Brian Sheridan. 2018. Diodoros of Sicily: historiographical theory and practice in the ‘Bibliotheke’. Studia Hellenistica, 58. Leuven: Peeters,

The Bibliotheke of Diodoros of Sicily is the most voluminous Greek historiographical text from the pre-Christian era, and contains the only preserved continuous account of Classical Greek history; for many aspects of this history, such as the events in Sicily, the rise of Macedon under Philip II or the history of the Successors, it is our main or only source. It is thus often used as a source by ancient historians, and a great deal of energy has been spent on identifying which sources Diodoros himself used. Interest in Diodoros as an author in his own right, however, is a comparatively recent phenomenon. The contributors to this volume, junior scholars as well as leading international experts, set out to confront the old and new approaches to Diodoros, studying his first century BC context, questions of genre and purpose, his relationship to his predecessors, composition and narrative technique, the role of the gods and myth in the work, the use of speeches, and Diodoros’ interest in themes like war, writing, language and politics. In so doing they offer exciting new insights into the Bibliotheke and the development of Greek historiography, which in turn also shed important new light on the old question of Diodoros’ value as a source.

Vol. 51 of “Iranian Studies”

Issue 3 of Vol. 51 (2018) of the journal Iranian Studies has now been published.

Achaemenid Women: Putting the Greek Image to the Test

Safaee, Yazdan. 2016-7. Achaemenid Women: Putting the Greek Image to the Test, Talanta 48-49, 101-132.

The historians of ancient Greece, as part of the elite of Greek communities, of their own time. By studying the works of these historians one can become familiar with these traditions and the common view on the world in Greek culture regarding various issues and concepts. The purpose of this paper is to study and analyze the Greek approach to women and the effect of this approach on the way the history of the Achaemenid Empire (ca. ((550 – ca. 330 BC) was written. Our central theme in this paper is the question of the connection between the Greek perspective on women and the reliability of narratives related to women in the accounts of Achaemenid history by Greek historians.

Kings, Whores and Children

Daryaee. 2018. Kings, Whores and Children: Passing Notes on Ancient Iran & the World that We Live In. Mehri Publication.

These short texts are a collection of notes and commentaries that I have made in the past few years about history and my experience and interaction with some intelligent, and some not so bright people on the social media. I firmly believe that we as historians and university professors must write not only for the few colleagues in esoteric journals to prove our intellectual ability, but also communicate and write for the people who are inquisitive and would like to learn about what we do and its significance. I have written these short pieces to peak the interest of the people in what we do and provide relevance to the present through past events. Many of the essays are in response to events in recent times such as the war in Syria and the destruction of historical sites, or notes on my travels through Iran. A few others are review of important topics and people who have left deep impressions on me and my work.

These are not deep writings with many footnotes and with a heavy dose of theoretical dressing. Rather, they are written from the heart about issues that preoccupy us today, but are also belong to the ancient past. I live in the US, where the past is the past. US is a forward looking nation with little regard anything before the eighteenth century. But even ancient history in the US, mainly deals with Greece and Rome, although beside the Greek columns in the US Congress, there isn’t much real or continuous connections. If one was to talk about ancient history on this content, it must be the history of the Olmecs and the Toltecs and the Mayans and the Incas and the Aztecs. Knowledge about the history of the native inhabitants of the American continent is as important as understanding the history that I present in this little book. The events in the past in the Middle East are as relevant as the events today and tied in many ways to the lives of the people living in the US and Europe and the rest of the world. I hope by reading these short essays which in many ways are meant to entertain and educate, the reader understands the experience of a historian who relates his own experience with texts, monuments, and people who work on the past.

Silk, Slaves, and Stupas

Whitfield, Susan. 2018. Silk, slaves, and stupas: Material culture of the Silk Road. Oakland, California: University of California Press.

Following her bestselling Life Along the Silk Road, Susan Whitfield widens her exploration of the great cultural highway with a new captivating portrait focusing on material things. Silk, Slaves, and Stupas tells the stories of ten very different objects, considering their interaction with the peoples and cultures of the Silk Road—those who made them, carried them, received them, used them, sold them, worshipped them, and, in more recent times, bought them, conserved them, and curated them. From a delicate pair of earrings from a steppe tomb to a massive stupa deep in Central Asia, a hoard of Kushan coins stored in an Ethiopian monastery to a Hellenistic glass bowl from a southern Chinese tomb, and a fragment of Byzantine silk wrapping the bones of a French saint to a Bactrian ewer depicting episodes from the Trojan War, these objects show us something of the cultural diversity and interaction along these trading routes of Afro-Eurasia.

Susan Whitfield, author of Life Along the Silk Road, is a scholar, curator, writer, and traveler who has been exploring the history, art, religions, cultures, objects, exploration, and people of the Silk Road for the past three decades.

The Iranian Männerbund Revisited

Daryaee, Touraj. 2018. The Iranian Männerbund Revisited. Iran and the Caucasus 22(1), 38–49.

This article discusses some of the Iranian evidence in relation to the idea of Indo-European Männerbund, which first was brought forth by Stig Wikander. There have been objections to Wikander’s work due to the fact that he wrote it during the rise of Fascism and the War. It is suggested that, indeed, there is more than the meager Old and Middle Iranian evidence that points out to the existence of the male unions in the Iranian world. The article specifically chooses the idea of rage among the young men, which is found not only in Old and Middle Iranian texts, but also in Persian epic and folklore up to the recent times. This rage can be seen among the Javān-mardān and in folklore for such figures as Hosein the Kord, or Gord, who exhibits archetype Männerbund traits.

Remnants of Zoroastrian Dari in the colophons and Sālmargs of Iranian Avestan manuscripts

Gholami, Saloumeh. 2018. Remnants of Zoroastrian Dari in the colophons and Sālmargs of Iranian Avestan manuscripts. Iranian Studies 51(2), 195-211.

Zoroastrian Dari, also known as Behdini or Gavruni, is an endangered Iranian language spoken by the Zoroastrian minority who mostly live in Yazd and the surrounding areas as well as in Kerman and Tehran. Zoroastrian Dari is a unique Iranian language on account of its historical background and large number of subdialects. This language is only a spoken language and not a written one, but it seems that remnants of this language are attested in the Avestan manuscripts, particularly in the colophons. This paper provides a study of the existence of Zoroastrian Dari in the personal names in the colophons and Sālmargs of the Avestan manuscripts.

Achaemenid Elamite Administrative Tablets, 4: BM 108963

Garrison, Mark B., Charles E. Jones, and Matthew W. Stolper. 2018. Achaemenid Elamite Administrative Tablets, 4: BM 108963Journal of Near Eastern Studies 77(1), 1-14.

A predominantly bibliographic blog for Iranian Studies