All posts by Yazdan Safaee

Shamans of Ancient Iranian Nomads

Yatsenko, Sergey. 2017. Shamans of Ancient Iranian Nomads: Artifacts and Iconography. In Gheorghiu Dragoş, Emilia Pásztor, Herman Bender, George Nash (eds.), Archaeological Approaches to Shamanism: Mind-Body, Nature, and Culture. 243-262. Cambridge Scholars publishing.

The interpretation of depictions in petroglyphs belonging to the Bronze Age in South Siberia as shamanic ones is debatable. Obviously, cultic attributes belonging to men were not removed from barrows 2 and 5 in Pazyryk. Their series can be compared with complexes (known to ethnologists) belonging to shamans of Iranian peoples. Such elements of practicing sequential shamanic rituals as divination, use of musical instruments, entering into a trance state, summoning patron spirits and their “feeding”, exorcism of evil spirits can be reconstructed.

Middle Persian Papyri, Ostraca and Parchments: An Introduction

Zeini, Arash. 2018. Middle Persian papyri, ostraca and parchments: An introductionSasanika Papyrological Studies , No. 1.

This essay discusses the state of Middle Persian papyrological, ostraca and parchments studies since its beginning to the present. Dr. Zeini presents a history of the discovery of the Sasanian papyri from Egypt in the nineteenth century, to the new archival finds on the Iranian Plateau which sheds light on the legal and economic history of late antique Iran.

This introductory article is the first issue in the newly launched Sasanika Papyrological Studies and will be followed by a revision of three papyri by Dieter Weber.

Scythian Strategy or Open Pitched Battle

Kleymeonov, Alexander Anatolevich. 2017. Scythian strategy or open pitched battle: Choice of strategy by the Persian command in 334 BCMan In India 97 (22), 219-227.

The article is devoted to the analysis of the Persian command’s plans to repel Alexander the Great’s invasion into Asia Minor. The main objective is to consider the information from the ancient sources related to Memnon of Rhodes’ proposal to apply the ” scorched earth ” tactic against the advancing Alexander’s army, to analyze this plan for feasibility and to identify the reasons for rejection of Memnon’s plan by the Persian satraps and commanders. The research was undertaken based on the principle of historism. A multi-faceted approach to the ancient narrative sources, methods of comparative historical analysis, content analysis, and the historical reconstructive method have been used. As a result, it was determined that the Persians knew well the features of the ” Scythian strategy ” and applied the ” scorched earth ” tactic both before and after Alexander’s invasion. However, Persian satraps and commanders rejected Memnon’s proposal at the council at Zeleia and adopted the open pitched battle. The reasons include numerous shortcomings and unfeasibility of Memnon’s plan, the positive sides of which were greatly exaggerated by ancient historians, who openly sympathized with Memnon of Rhodes and were critical towards the Persians.

The Elamite Royal Orchestra from Madaktu (653 BC)

Alvarez-Mon, Javier. 2017. The Elamite Royal Orchestra from Madaktu (653 BC)Elamica 7: 1-34.

Contents: §1. Prelude; §2. The Royal Elamite Orchestra from Madaktu; §2.1. Instruments: horizontal harps, angular harps, double pipes, a drum, hand clapping and singing; §2.2. People: Musicians and Singers; §3. Allegro ma non troppo: Madaktu 653 BC, the Royal Orchestra in Historical Context. §4. From Madaktu to Assyria: Cacophonies at the Heartland of the Empire; §4.1. The Assyrian Royal Orchestras from Nineveh (Room S1); §4.2. Foreign Orchestras in Assyria; §5. Requiem 612 BC: Royal Orchestras and the Fall of Nineveh.

Persepolis West (Fars, Iran)

Askari Chaverdi, Alireza & Pierfrancesco Callieri. 2017. Persepolis West (Fars, Iran): Report on the field work carried out by the Iranian-Italian Joint Archaeological Mission in 2008–2009 (British Archaeological Reports International Series 2870). BAR Publishing.

This book represents the final report on the field work carried out in 2008 and 2009 by the Iranian-Italian Joint Archaeological Mission at the archaeological site of Persepolis West, where parts of the town adjacent to the well-known Achaemenid monumental terrace of Persepolis have been located. The eleven trial trenches excavated in areas indicated by the results of Iranian and Iranian-French geophysical surveys represent the first stratigraphic excavations ever carried out on this site, the dating of which is supported by a rich series of radiocarbon datings. Illustration of the excavations is preceded by an accurate geophysical study of the topographical context and accompanied by a detailed and richly illustrated analysis of pottery and other finds: the safe stratigraphic context makes these finds a particularly important source of evidence for our knowledge of the ceramics of Fars during the historic pre-Islamic age. The excavations largely confirm the location of the built-up area of Parsa indicated by geophysical surveys.

First alabastron with Aramaic inscription in Persian period

Qahéri, Sépideh & Kevin Trehuedic. 2017. Premier alabastron d’époque perse à inscription araméenne (MNI 218/9). Arta 2017.002.

Persian Interventions

Hyland, John O. 2017. Persian Interventions: The Achaemenid Empire, Athens, and Sparta, 450−386 BCE. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

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

The Administrative Division of the 13th Satrapy of Achaemenid Persia in the Reign of Darius II

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 Eighth Biennial Convention of the Association for the Study of Persianate Societies (ASPS)

 

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.

March 15-18, 2018
Tbilisi, Georgia

Read the detailed conference proframme here.

Venue Site

Ilia State University
Kakutsa Cholokashvili Ave 3/5
Tbilisi 0162, Georgia
https://iliauni.edu.ge/en/

Tsereteli Institute of Oriental Studies, 3, Academician G. Tsereteli street, 0162 Tbilisi, 0162, Georgia
http://iliauni.edu.ge/en/iliauni/institutebi-451/g-weretlis-agmosavletmcodneobis-instituti-742

The Portrait of a Hellenistic Ruler in the National Museum of Iran

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.