All posts by Yazdan Safaee

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.

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.

The Religion and the Pantheon of the Sogdians

Shenkar, Michael. 2017. The Religion and the Pantheon of the Sogdians (5th–8th centuries CE) in Light of their Sociopolitical StructuresJournal Asiatique 305(2), 191-209.

 

Persian period settlement in the territories of the former kingdom of Judah

Faust, Avraham. 2018. Forts or agricultural estates? Persian period settlement in the territories of the former kingdom of JudahPalestine Exploration Quarterly 150 (1), 34-59.

The territories of the former kingdom of Judah were only sparsely settled during the Persian period, as exemplified by the extreme rarity of domestic structures unearthed in excavations. Viewed against this background, the large number of excavated forts and isolated administrative buildings from this period is remarkable, and they apparently outnumber the period’s excavated dwellings. Not only is this an extremely unlikely situation, but various lines of evidence, pertaining to specific sites as well as to the phenomenon as a whole, render the possibility that all these structures were forts or administrative buildings re-examines implausible. Consequently, this article reexamines the phenomenon within the social landscape of the region in particular, and of the Achaemenid empire in general, in an attempt to embed those unique buildings within the broader demographic and political reality of this time. Given the location of many of the sites and the finds unearthed in them, and in light of the demographic reality in the region and of the broader Achaemenid imperial policy, the article suggests that most of the so-called forts were estates, created in the process of the resettlement of this previously devastated region.

Alexander the Great in Persian Tradition

Manteghi, Haila. 2018. Alexander the Great in Persian tradition: History, myth and legend in medieval Iran. I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd.

Alexander the Great (356-333 BC) was transformed into a legend by all those he met, leaving an enduring tradition of romances across the world. Aside from its penetration into every language of medieval Europe, the Alexander romance arguably had its greatest impact in the Persian language. Haila Manteghi here offers a complete survey of that deep tradition, ranging from analysis of classical Persian poetry to popular romances and medieval Arabic historiography. She explores how the Greek work first entered the Persian literary tradition and traces the development of its influence, before revealing the remarkable way in which Alexander became as central to the Persian tradition as any other hero or king. And, importantly, by focusing on the often-overlooked early medieval Persian period, she also demonstrates that a positive view of Alexander developed in Arabic and Persian literature before the Islamic era. Drawing on an impressive range of sources in various languages – including Persian, Arabic and Greek – Manteghi provides a profound new contribution to the study of the Alexander romances.Beautifully written and with vibrant literary motifs, this book is important reading for all those with an interest in Alexander, classical and medieval Persian history, the early Islamic world and classical reception studies.

About the author:
Haila Manteghi is a lecturer at the University of Munster and recently completed her second PhD on the Persian Alexandrian tradition, at the University of Exeter. Her first PhD, on the same topic, was completed at the University of Alicante, and she has published in peer-reviewed journals and edited collections.

A Seal Imprint from Old Nisa and the Iconography of Mithra

Sinisi, Fabrizio. 2017. A seal imprint from Old Nisa and the (Apollonian) iconography of Mithra. Studia Iranica 46(1). 9–30.

A seal impression from Old Nisa / Mithradatkart bearing the image of a deity is reexamined. It is suggested that the figure is depicted in the guise of Apollo in order to portray the Zoroastrian god Mithra. Other images of Apollonian derivation are discussed to track the iconographic development of the solar traits of Mithra.

Post-Achaemenid Legacy of the Persian Gulf Hinterland

Askari Chaverdi, Alireza . 2017. Post-Achaemenid legacy of the Persian Gulf hinterland: Systematic survey of surface remains from Tomb-e Bot, Fars, Iran. Ancient Civilizations from Scythia to Siberia 23(1). 127–150.

The archaeological site of Tomb-e Bot, located in the Mohr County of southern Fars Province, is a major settlement of Arsacid and Sasanid date. The site was selected for detailed investigation from among the 76 sites recorded by the general survey of southern Fars region to provide answers to outstanding questions on ancient Iran, in particular during the period from the Achaemenids to the Sasanids. The survey team systematically collected all visible architectural remains, including capitals with volutes and addorsed animal protomes as well as surface ceramics and attempted to draw and register the whole assemblage of finds. Documenting and analyzing the assemblage revealed that centuries after the Achaemenid demise the Persepolis artistic legacy had run on at the site in religious beliefs and among the local groups, from the Seleucid and Arsacid periods up to the rise of the Sasanids.

The Hellenistic Court

Erskine, Andrew, Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones & Shane Wallace (eds.). 2017. The Hellenistic court: Monarchic power and elite society from Alexander to Cleopatra. Classical Press of Wales.

Hellenistic courts were centres of monarchic power, social prestige and high culture in the kingdoms that emerged after the death of Alexander. They were places of refinement, learning and luxury, and also of corruption, rivalry and murder. Surrounded by courtiers of varying loyalty, Hellenistic royal families played roles in a theatre of spectacle and ceremony. Architecture, art, ritual and scholarship were deployed to defend the existence of their dynasties. The present volume, from a team of international experts, examines royal methods and ideologies. It treats the courts of the Ptolemies, Seleucids, Attalids, Antigonids and of lesser dynasties. It also explores the influence, on Greek-speaking courts, of non- Greek culture, of Achaemenid and other Near Eastern royal institutions. It studies the careers of courtesans, concubines and ‘friends’ of royalty, and the intellectual, ceremonial, and artistic world of the Greek monarchies. The work demonstrates the complexity and motivations of Hellenistic royal civilisation, of courts which governed the transmission of Greek culture to the wider Mediterranean world – and to later ages.

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