All posts by Arash Zeini

Middle Persian and Parthian hymns in the Turfan Collection

Leurini, Claudia. 2017. Hymns in honour of the hierarchy and community, installation hymns and hymns in honour of Church leaders and Patrons. Middle Persian and Parthian hymns in the Turfan Collection. Turnhout: Brepols Publishers.

This volume presents texts in the Iranian languages, Middle Persian and Parthian, preserved in the Berlin Turfan Collection. These hymns are predominantly in Middle Persian. They were identified by M. Boyce in the registers of her Catalogue of the Iranian Manuscripts in Manichaean Scripts in the German Turfan Collection as “Hymns in Honour of the Hierarchy” and “Installation Hymns, Hymns in Honour of Church Leaders and Patrons”. Few of the fragments have been published, and mainly in editions dating back to the time of their discovery. New and updated readings, transliterations, translations into English, notes and commentaries are provided here for all the fragments identified by Boyce. The Introduction provides a description of the main features of the hymns to the Manichaean elect hierarchy, to the local hierarchies, and to the hierarchies of the Hearers, as well as of the installation hymns, and those in honour of high clerics and lay patrons. Reflections are provided on the use of cryptography in the Manichaean texts in Manichaean script, and about the learning habits inside scriptoria in Manichaean monasteries in Central Asia, the existence of which has long been suspected. The volume contains a complete glossary and bibliography, as well as facsimiles of joined fragments.

Source: Hymns in Honour of the Hierarchy and Community, Installation Hymns and Hymns in Honour of Church Leaders and Patrons

Cosmology, Law, and Elites in Late Antiquity

Scheunchen, Tobias. 2019. Cosmology, law, and elites in late antiquity: Marriage and slavery in Zoroastrianism, Eastern Christianity, and Islam (Arbeitsmaterialien zum Orient 32). Baden-Baden: Ergon Verlag.

Can elites use cosmological imagery to sanction marital and slavery practices for their political aspirations? Can interactions between Late Antique legal systems be thought beyond “borrowings?” This work studies legal writings from the Zoroastrian, East Syrian, and Islamic traditions arguing that Late Antique matrimonial and slavery practices were significantly informed by cosmological imagery and repeatedly brought in line with the elites’ political aspirations. It suggests that these legal traditions should be thought in a shared epistemic framework to account for the changes and meaningfulness of legal concepts and institutions and cannot simply be reduced to a narrative of borrowings. Instead, this book shows that interactions between Late Antique legal systems were more complex and characterized by patterns of negotiation and competition mirroring the various entanglements of the Late Antique citizen’s life.

An Ascetic Miscellany

Sims-Williams, Nicholas (ed.). 2017. An ascetic miscellany: The Christian Sogdian manuscript E28. Turnhout: Brepols Publishers.

The Christian Sogdian manuscripts in Syriac script which were found at a Central Asian outpost of the “Church of the East”, the monastery at Bulayïq in the Turfan oasis, and are now preserved in the Berlin Turfan collection, include a large number of fragments in a distinctive handwriting which have been catalogued under the designation “E28”. Through his choice of texts to translate or to copy the scribe demonstrates his interest in the practice and traditions of monasticism, originating with St Anthony and the other “Desert Fathers”, the solitaries and monks of the Egyptian desert, and transplanted to Mesopotamia and Iran, according to legend, by Mār Awgen (Eugenius). In addition to works whose Syriac sources have been identified, such as passages from the spiritual writings of Šemʿon d-Ṭaibuteh, Isaac of Nineveh and Dādišoʿ Qaṭrāyā, as well as from the life of Mār Awgen, “E28” contains a number of unidentified texts, also no doubt translated from Syriac, many of which deal with aspects of the ascetic life. This volume contains an edition and translation of all the texts, most of them previously unpublished, together with a commentary, glossary and 35 plates. An appendix contains critical editions of some of the parallel Syriac passages.

From Liturgy to Pharmacology

Sims-Williams, Nicholas. 2019. From liturgy to pharmacology. Christian Sogdian texts from the Turfan Collection. Turnhout: Brepols Publishers.

Containing a variety of texts ranging from liturgy to pharmacology via hagiography, calendars and ascetical works by Isaac of Nineveh, this volume completes the publication of all known Christian Sogdian texts.

This volume completes the publication of the Christian Sogdian texts of the Berlin Turfan Collection begun by F. W. K. Müller in 1907. Several Syriac texts are also included, in particular a series of liturgical texts in Syriac with Sogdian rubrics (edited in collaboration with J. F. Coakley).

The texts edited here are mostly short but extremely varied and interesting. The Syriac liturgical fragments are some of the earliest surviving witnesses to the liturgy of the “Church of the East”, though the Sogdian rubrics which accompany them show that those who performed them were not native speakers of Syriac. Other texts connected with the liturgy include a Sogdian version of the Gloria in excelsis and a text explaining how to calculate the date of Easter or Lent. Hagiographical texts include fragments of the martyrdoms of St George and of Cyriacus and Julitta as well as part of the so-called “Six Books” on the Dormition of the Virgin Mary. Two pharmacological fragments (edited in collaboration with Dieter Maue) show familiarity with Indian medicine, while a “prayer-amulet” belongs rather to a Syriac tradition. Finally, a chapter contributed by Adrian Pirtea contains the re-edition of a well-preserved folio identified by him as a Sogdian version of a work by Isaac of Nineveh.

Studies in Early Medieval Iranian Religious Manuscript Traditions

Barbati, Chiara & Olga Chunakova (eds.). 2018. Studies in early medieval Iranian religious manuscript traditions other than Islamic. Written Monuments of the Orient 2(8). Institute of Oriental Manuscripts: Russian Academy of Sciences.

This edited volume is part of the English version of the biannually published journal Written Monuments of the Orient, issued at Institute of Oriental Manuscripts: Russian Academy of Sciences.

Table of Contents

Introduction by Chiara Barbati 3

Enrico Morano. Some Сodicological Remarks on the Сorpus of the Berlin Turfan Manichaean Sogdian Manuscripts in Manichaean Script: among Books, Glossaries, Letters, Booklets, Bilingual and Trilingual Texts, Normal, Bold and Cursive Script — 11

Olga Chunakova. Middle Iranian Manichaean Manuscripts. Interpretation and Identification — 39

Christiane Reck. Short Survey on Sogdian Manuscriptology — 51

Christiane Reck and Adam Benkato. ‘Like a Virgin’: A Sogdian Recipe for Restoring Virginity and the Sanskrit Background of Sogdian Medicine — 67

Chiara Barbati. On the Numbering of Quires in the Christian Sogdian and Syriac Manuscript Fragments in the Turfan Collection (Berlin) and the Krotkov Collection (St. Petersburg) — 92

Alexander der Große

Müller, Sabine. 2019. Alexander der Große. Eroberungen – Politik – Rezeption. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer.

Alexander III. von Makedonien (356-323 v. Chr.) gilt als einer der größten Eroberer der Antike. Bereits zu seinen Lebzeiten wurden gezielt um seine Person und Politik Mythen gewoben. Seit der Antike polarisieren die schillernd konstruierten Kunstfiguren, zu denen Alexander stilisiert wurde. Fakten wurden dabei von Fiktionen überlagert. Sabine Müller dekonstruiert diese artifiziellen Images und zeichnet die Politik der historischen Person Alexander nach, der in den Traditionen seiner Dynastie, der Argeaden, stand und auf die politischen Zwänge innerhalb seines expandierenden Reichs achten musste.

Professor Dr. Sabine Müller ist Inhaberin des Lehrstuhls für Alte Geschichte an der Universität Marburg.

Source: Alexander der Große, Sabine Müller bei Dienst am Buch Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH

Bulletin of the Asia Institute

Volume 28 of the Bulletin of the Asia Institute has been published.

To obtain a copy, please contact Carol Bromberg: bai34@comcast.net

Table of contents

  • Harry Falk, “The Five Yabghus of the Yuezhi”
  • Shai Secunda, “‘Lost Property to the King!’: The Talmudic Laws of Lost Property in the Shadow of Sasanian Bureaucracy”
  • Zhang Zhan,”Secular Khotanese Documents and the Administrative System in Khotan”
  • Salman Aliyari Babolghani,”What Was the Instrument That Zurwān Bestowed on Ahreman in the Wizīdagīhā ī Zādspram 1.29; 34.35?*”
  • Siam Bhayro, “A Jewish Aramaic Magic Bowl Containing the Formula of Ḥanina ben Dosa, and the Problem of Psalm 24:8b in the Magic Bowls”
  • Dieter Weber, “Pahlavi Documents of Windādburzmihrābād, the Estate of a Zoroastrian Entrepreneur in Early Islamic Times (With an Excursus on the Origin of the Fulanabad-Type of Village Names)”
  • Prods Oktor Skjærvø, “The Pahlavi Optative and Some Feminine Forms in īy”
  • Anca Dan, Frantz Grenet and Nicholas Sims-Williams, “Homeric Scenes in Bactria and India: Two Silver Plates with Bactrian and Middle Persian Inscriptions”

Reviews

  • Schrenk. Textilien des Mittelmeerraumes aus spätantiker bis früislamicher Zeit (CAB)
  • Von Fircks and Schorta. Oriental Silks in Medieval Europe (CAB)
  • Wang Bo, Wang Mingang, Minawar Happar, and Lu Lipeng. Textile Treasures of Zaghunluq. Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Museum (CAB)




Cities of Medieval Iran

Cities of medieval Iran, edited by David Durand-Guédy, Roy P. Mottahedeh & Jürgen Paul has been published, as vol. 16, issue 1–2 of the journal Eurasian Studies (2018).

Table of contents

Die Grenzen des Großkönigs?

Börm, Henning. 2018. Die Grenzen des Großkönigs? Überlegungen zur arsakidisch-sasanidischen Politik gegenüber Rom. In Frank Schleicher, Timo Stickler & Udo Hartmann (eds.), Iberien zwischen Rom und Iran. Beiträge zur Geschichte und Kultur Transkaukasiens in der Antike (Oriens et Occidens 29). Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag.

Dreizehn Jahre lang beherrschte Severus Alexander das Reich in tadelloser Weise, soweit es ihn betraf. Im vierzehnten Jahr aber trafen unerwartet Berichte der Statthalter Syriens und Mesopotamiens ein und enthüllten, dass Artaxerxes, der König der Perser, die Parther besiegt und ihr östliches Reich erobert hatte (…). Er blieb nun aber nicht ruhig auf seiner Seite des Tigris, sondern (…) überrannte Mesopotamien und bedrohte Syrien. Er wollte nämlich die ganze Landmasse, die Europa gegenüberliegt und durch die Ägäis und das Marmarameer von ihm getrennt wird, und das ‚Asien‘ genannte Gebiet für das Persische Reich zurückgewinnen. In dem Glauben, diese Gegenden von seinen Vorfahren geerbt zu haben, erklärte er, alle Länder dieses Gebietes, einschließlich Ionien und Karien, seien einst von persischen Statthaltern regiert worden, von der Herrschaft des Kyros, der als erster das Medische zum Persischen Reich gemacht hatte, bis zu Dareios, dem letzten Perserkönig, dessen Reich Alexander der Makedone zerstört hatte.

About the book:

Die Geschichte und Kultur Transkaukasiens in der Antike steht im Fokus dieses Bandes, der die neuesten Forschungsergebnisse aus der Alten Geschichte, der Archäologie und der Orientalistik vereint. Ziel ist es, das antike Kaukasien stärker in den Fokus der Forschung zu rücken: Die Region liegt zwar an der Peripherie der alten Welt, stellt zugleich aber auch eine zentrale Kontakt- und Konfliktzone zwischen Rom und Iran dar.

Im ersten Teil des Bandes stehen historische Fragen im Vordergrund, die von Problemen der Chronologie und Herrscherlisten über die Machtausdehnung der Römer und Perser bis zu deren Politik gegenüber den kaukasischen Völkern reichen. Im zweiten Teil geht es um Aspekte der religiösen Entwicklung, insbesondere um die Christianisierung Iberiens (heute Georgien) seit dem vierten Jahrhundert und die Rückwirkung dieser Vorgänge auf die beiden spätantiken Imperien. Der dritte Teil ist den neuesten archäologischen Befunden gewidmet.


Statistics for 2018

Just some quick numbers to wrap up 2018: We had a total of 41,504 views on our website, up by 8418 views compared to 2017. In 2018, 22,885 people visited Bibliographia Iranica from 142 countries, the USA leading with 11,363 visitors. We have 1,015 visitors from Japan but only 47 from Iran (perhaps the result of anonymisers?). Sajad Amiri, Shervin Farridnejad, Yazdan Safaee and Arash Zeini together published 172 entries, with “amazon” (20) beating 2017’s “friedrich carl andreas” (6) as the most searched term on the blog. “friedrich carl andreas” came second in 2018 with a total of 13 searches!

As always, the above numbers do not account for the views and shares on our Facebook or Twitter accounts. These are just the website statistics.

Furthermore, our posts were followed 3,573 times from Twitter and 3,427 times from Facebook

Thank you for your continued support and interest in Bibliographia Iranica. We wish you all a happy and healthy 2019.