All posts by Yazdan Safaee

Achaemenid Anatolia

International Symposium
Achaemenid Anatolia: Persian Presence and Influence in the Western Satrapies 546–330 BC
7–8 September 2017
The Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul,

The symposium explores the political, cultural, social, religious and scientific developments in Anatolia during the Achaemenid period. Anatolia was incorporated into the Persian Achaemenid Empire in the middle of the 6th century BC as a result of Cyrus the Great’s conquests and the region was under Persian rule until the end of the Empire, in 330. The period is characterized by a lively exchange between Persians, Greeks and other peoples in areas such as trade, art, architecture, science and religion. Anatolia also served as an important mediator of eastern culture, philosophy and teachings to Athens, a process that was crucial for the continuity in culture development in antiquity.
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The wolf in ancient Iran

Azarnouche, Samra. 2016. “Le loup dans l’Iran ancien. Entre mythe, réalité et exégèse zoroastrienne”Anthropology of the Middle East 11(1): 1–19.

How did ancient Iranian religion represent the wolf? Between the mythological data, the realities of the agro-pastoral world, and the symbolism of exegetical tradition, Late Antique Zoroastrianism considered the wolf as primarily a species to kill. In reality, much more than the Canis lupus hides behind the word ‘wolf ’ (Middle Persian gurg), including most nocturnal predators but also devastating illnesses, a monster whom the Savior will destroy at the end of time, and finally heretics who renounce or deform the Good Religion. However, this negative image is nuanced by the recognition of the strong ties between the she-wolf and wolf cubs, both in texts where the protective qualities of this large predator are evoked, and in iconography, namely magic seals, where one finds the image of the nourishing she-wolf, perhaps connected to perinatal magic.

Territorializing Iran in Late Antiquity

Payne, Richard. 2017. “Territorializing Iran in Late Antiquity“, In Ando, Cifford and Seth Richardson (eds.), Ancient States and Infrastructural: Europe, Asia, and America, 179-217, Power Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

In late antiquity,the architects of the Iranian Empire superimposed a mythical gepgraphy on the Near East that gave away, over the four centuries of its existence, to partially terriotorialized, infrastructural powers that far surpassed those of their ancient Near Eastern predecessors. More frequently known as the Sasanian Empire after its ruling dynasty, replacing the adjective “Sasanian” with “Iranian” foregrounds the centrality of a mythical conception of time and space to its organization of the empire, and also gives preference to the self-designation of its elites over scholary convention.

Cross-Cultural Communication in the Hellenistic Mediterranean, and Western and South Asia

Canepa, Matthew P. 2017. “Cross-Cultural Communication in the Hellenistic Mediterranean, and Western and South Asia,” In Richard J. A. Talbert & Fred S. Naiden (eds.), Mercury’s Wings: Exploring Modes of Communication in the Ancient World, 249-272, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

This chapter explores the dynamics of cross-cultural communication, primarily among the kingdoms and empires of Western and South Asia after Alexander the Great. This period witnessed the rise, conflict, coexistence and fall of a succession of cross-continental empires, including that of the Seleucids (312-64 BCE) and Mauryas (321-185), as well as powerful regional powers with larger ambitions such as the Ptolemies of Egypt, the Diodotids and Euthymids of Bactria (ca. 25o–ca. 145), Sungas (185-73), and a variety of Indo-Greek kingdoms (ca. 185 BCE–ca. 10 CE). Several new Iranian-speaking elites, including the Parni, Saka, and Yuezhi, descended from the Central Asian steppes and eventually formed the Arsacid, Indo-Scythian, and Kusana empires, respectively. These Macedonian, Indian, and Iranian powers engendered an intensive period of diplomatic interaction and cultural exchange. While this chapter focuses first on peer-polity diplomatic communication, it also explores the relationship between direct, intentional communicative acts and the wider contexts of cross-cultural interaction in which they took place and to which they often contributed.

Encyclopaedia Iranica – Fascicle 3 of Volume XVI

Image may contain: textFascicle 3 of Volume XVI of the print version of the Encyclopaedia Iranica was published in June of 2017. This segment of the EIr. completes coverage of titles starting with Keg- and proceeds to titles beginning with Kes-.

Fascicle XVI/3 contains the following entries (not including cross-reference entries):

Title Author(s)
Kégl Miklos Sarkozy
Ḵelʿat Willem Floor
Kelidar Mohammad Reza Ghanoonparvar
Kelim (Gelim) Sumru Belger Krody
Kemāḵ Hurivash Ahmadi Dastgerdi and EIr.
Kent Rüdiger Schmitt
Képes András Bodrogligeti
Ḵerad-nāma Dariush Kargar and EIr.
Kerešma Gen’ichi Tsuge
Keriya Alain Cariou
Kerman i. Geography Habib Borjian
Kerman ii. Historical Geography Xavier De Planhol and Bernard Hourcade
Kerman iii. Population Habibollah Zanjani and Mohammad-Hossein Nejatian
Kerman v. History from the Islamic Conquest to the Coming of the Mongols C. Edmond Bosworth
Kerman vii. History in the Safavid Period Rudi Mathee
Kerman viii. History in the Afsharid and Zand Period James M. Gustafson
Kerman ix. History in the Qajar Period James M. Gustafson
Kerman xiv. Jewish Community of Kerman City Nahid Pirnazar and EIr.
Kerman xv. Carpet Industry James M. Gustafson
Kerman xvi. Languages Habib Borjian
Kermanshah i. Geography Habib Borjian
Kermanshah iv. History to 1953 Jean Calmard
Kermanshah vii. Languages and Dialects Habib Borjian
Kermanshah viii. The Jewish Community Nahid Pirnazar
Ḵerqa Erik S. Ohlander
Keš Pavel Lurje
Kešaʾi Dialect Habib Borjian

The Monarchy of Teispid-Achaemenid Great Kings

Rollinger, Robert. 2017. “Monarchische Herrschaft am Beispiel des teispidisch-achaimenidischen Großreichs“, In S. Rebenich (Hg.), Monarchische Herrschaft im Altertum (Schriften des Historischen Kollegs 94), 189-215, Berlin:  De Gruyter.

Journal of Persianate Studies – Volume 10, Issue 1

The Journal of Persianate Studies is a peer-reviewed publication of the Association for the Study of Persianate Societies.

For a table of contents, see below:


Review of Semiramis’ Legacy

Safaee, Yazdan. 2017. “[review of] Semiramis’ Legacy: The History of Persia According to Diodorus of Sicily“, Iranian Studies 50:5, 752-754.

This is the most recent work on Diodorus of Sicily, a famous ancient historian who dealt with the history of ancient Iran, translated by an eminent scholar who has previously also translated Ctesias’ Persica. The book under review offers an English translation of the text together with a valuable introduction to Diodorus, his method, his views, and the structure of the Bibliotheca historica, and is also followed by a rich investigation of the extant manuscripts and of some editions of Diodorus’ Bibliotheca.

Parthian Great King’s rule over vassal Kingdoms

Gregoratti, Leonardo. 2017. “Sinews of the other Empire: Parthian Great King’s rule over vassal Kingdoms” in H. Teigen and E. Seland (eds.), Sinews of Empire: Networks in the Roman Near East and Beyond, 95-104. Oxford, Oxbow Books.

The Great Kings of Parthia, belonging to the Arsacid dynasty, ruled a large empire in south-western Asia, from India to the Euphrates, for more than three centuries (first century BC–third century AD). Within the large geographical area controlled by the Arsacids, next to the satrapies directly controlled by royal officers, a series of autonomous kingdoms existed, ruled by local dynasties, which in some cases existed before the coming of the Parthians, and whose authority over their territories was acknowledged by the Great King. Unlike the Roman ones, the Parthian vassal kingdoms never ceased to be one of the most important means the Great King had at his disposal to control key areas of his vast dominions. This paper investigates the different solutions the Arsacids conceived and put into action in order to keep control over those political subjects. The employment of three main forms of action: maintaining a local dynasty, temporary direct occupation and the creation of a client kingdom ruled by an Arsacid monarch, over the whole spectrum of client states will be the subject of the investigation.

Some stamp seals of Achaemenid date

Collon, Dominique & John Curtis. 2017. “Some stamp seals of Achaemenid date“, In Y. Heffron, A. Stone and M. Worthington (eds), At the Dawn of History: Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Honour of J.N. Postgate, 765-780. Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns.

This paper discusses a collection of 17 distinctive bronze stamp seals. They are all plaques or tablets of bronze, more or less flat on both surfaces, and square or rectangular in shape. More than half of them have a distinctive ladder-pattern border around the decorated face of the seal. The designs are usually highly stylized but sometimes more naturalistic. These seals may be compared with a stone seal from Nimrud and a silver ring from Kamid el-Loz. They apparently date from the Achaemenid period, 5th-4th century BC, and probably derive mostly from the western part of the Persian empire.