All posts by Yazdan Safaee


The first issue of Studia Iranica 47 (2018) has been published. For a table of contents and access to individual articles, see below or visit this page.

L’Orient est son jardin

Gondet, Sébastien & Ernie Haerinck (eds.). 2018. L’Orient est son jardin: Hommage à Rémy Boucharlat (Acta Iranica 58). Leuven: Peeters.

Le présent volume regroupe 36 articles signés par 49 auteurs et rédigés en hommage à la carrière de Rémy Boucharlat, directeur de recherche émérite au CNRS et spécialiste de l’archéologie du monde iranien et des pourtours du Golfe Persique. Ses nombreuses et importantes contributions ont servi de point d’appui aux spécialistes réunis ici (archéologues, historiens, épigraphistes et historiens de l’art) pour traiter de l’archéologie et de l’histoire des civilisations qui se sont succédé dans cette vaste aire géographique, entre le premier millénaire avant notre ère et le premier millénaire après. Une grande partie des contributions traite de l’archéologie de l’Iran et plus particulièrement de l’époque achéménide qui, depuis ses premières recherches à Suse au cours des années 1970, fait l’objet d’un intérêt constant de la part de Rémy Boucharlat. Les périodes plus anciennes, de l’âge du Fer, et plus récentes, parthes et sassanides, sont également abordées. L’ensemble des articles témoigne de la richesse des thématiques et des terrains que Rémy Boucharlat a explorés, et continue à explorer, ainsi que d’une démarche d’étude des sociétés orientales passées résolument pluridisciplinaire dont il est un des principaux moteurs.

Khargāh and Other Terms for Tents in Firdawsī’s Shāh-nāmah

Durand-Guédy, David. 2018. Khargāh and Other Terms for Tents in Firdawsī’s Shāh-nāmah. Iranian Studies51(6), 819-849.

This article aims to contribute to the wider debate on the historicity of the Shāh-nāmahby focusing on the way Firdawsī uses the word khargāh. The word, which is first attested in Rūdakī poetry, has not been dealt with adequately in previous scholarship dedicated to the Shāh-nāmah. An analysis of all the occurrences in the text provides results consistent with those obtained from contemporary sources: the khargāhappeared in Central Asia (here, Tūrān); it was the standard dwelling of Turkic-speaking pastoral nomads (here, Tūrānians), whatever their social rank; and it was adopted later as a status symbol by non-Turkish elites (here, during Kay-Khusraw’s reign). In Firdawsī’s Shāh-nāmah khargāh should therefore also be understood as the type of framed tent known as “trellis tent” (the so-called yurt).

The Persianate World: The Frontiers of a Eurasian Lingua Franca

Green, Nile (ed.). 2019. The Persianate World: The Frontiers of a Eurasian Lingua Franca. Oakland, California: University of California Press.

Persian is one of the great lingua francas of world history. Yet despite its recognition as a shared language across the Islamic world and beyond, its scope, impact, and mechanisms remain underexplored. A world historical inquiry into pre-modern cosmopolitanism, The Persianate World traces the reach and limits of Persian as a Eurasian language in a comprehensive survey of its geographical, literary, and social frontiers. From Siberia to Southeast Asia, and between London and Beijing, this book shows how Persian gained, maintained, and finally surrendered its status to imperial and vernacular competitors. Fourteen essays trace Persian’s interactions with Bengali, Chinese, Turkic, Punjabi, and other languages to identify the forces that extended “Persographia,” the domain of written Persian. Spanning the ages of expansion and contraction, The Persianate World offers a critical survey of both the supports and constraints of one of history’s key languages of global exchange.

Āmul/Āmū(ye): die nordöstlichste Münzstätte des Sasanidenreiches im 5. Jahrhundert n. Chr.

Shavarebi, Ehsan. 2019. Āmul/Āmū(ye): die nordöstlichste Münzstätte des Sasanidenreiches im 5. Jahrhundert n. Chr. in: M. Stermitz (Hrsg.), Sammlungen und Sammler: Tagungsband zum 8. Österreichischen Numismatikertag [Kärntner Museumsschriften 86], Klagenfurt am Wörthersee: Landesmuseum für Kärnten, 2019, S. 173-179.

Bei den sowjetischen archäologischen Ausgrabungen von Marw kamen zum ersten Mal etliche Bronzemünzen des sasanidischen Königs Pērōz (457–484) zum Vorschein, auf deren Rückseite die Münzstättensigle AMW belegt ist. S. D. Loginov und A. B. Nikitin identifizierten diese Sigle mit der Provinzhauptstadt Āmol in Tabaristān. Die erste sichere Münzen vom Münzamt Āmol in Tabaristān sind jedoch während der ersten Regierung des Kawād I. (488–496) mit der Signatur AM geprägt. Laut historischen Quellen war Tabaristān seit dem Anfang der Sasanidenzeit bis zum Ende der Regierung des Pērōz ein fast unabhängiges Fürstentum unter der lokalen Herrscherfamilie der Gušnaspiden, die von Kawād gestürzt wurde. Die unter Pērōz mit der Münzstättensignatur AMW geprägte Bronzemünzen sind eigentlich bisher nur in Marw gefunden und daher kann man diese Münzstätte nicht in Tabaristān, sondern in einem gleichnamigen Ort in Zentralasien, östlich von Marw, lokalisieren. Aber warum prägte Pērōz Bronzemünzen in diesem Ort und wieso hatte diese Münzstätte nach der Regierung des Pērōz keine Aktivität mehr?

Between Highlands and Lowlands

Wicks, Yasmina. 2019. Between highlands and lowlands. The Ram Hormuz Plain in the neo-Elamite and early Achaemenid periods, and comments on five burials from the Fort Mound at Tal-i Ghazir. Arta 2019.002.

The plain of Ram Hormuz was a strategically important area of southwest Iran connecting the Susiana lowlands with the Zagros highlands, and undoubtedly a critical zone of Elamite and Iranian interaction in the centuries leading up to the emergence of the Persian Empire. Its archaeological remains must therefore be regarded as a vital key to our comprehension of the processes of acculturation that gave rise to the Elamo Persian culture of the early Achaemenid period. While the plain has been extensively surveyed, its only excavated site remains Tal-i Ghazir where just two seasons of excavation were conducted in 1948/49 by Donald E. McCown under the auspices of the Oriental Institute. McCown worked in three separate mounds— Mounds A and B, and the so-called Fort Mound—but he never published his results. Almost half a century later, Elizabeth Carter (1994) published a series of burials in the Fort Mound from his field notes, and another two decades later, Abbas Alizadeh (2014) published the complete records of the Tal-i Ghazir excavations. The purpose of this paper is to outline the evidence for the Neo-Elamite (ca. 1000 525 BCE) and Achaemenid periods (ca. 525-330 BCE) collected during the surveys across the Ram Hormuz plain and the excavations at Tal-i Ghazir, with special attention to the burials in the Fort Mound.

The Historiography of Alexander the Great

Nawotka, Krzysztof, Robert Rollinger, Josef Wiesehöfer & Agnieszka Wojciechowska (eds.). 2019. The Historiography of Alexander the Great (Classica et Orientalia 20). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

This volume tries to tackle the most serious problem facing modern Alexander the Great studies: that of inadequate sources. Its principal interest is in surviving ancient continuous accounts (Diodorus, Curtius Rufus, Plutarch, Arrian, and Justin), which are at least three hundred years younger than Alexander and in many ways one-sided in their Greek bias, often promoting the view of Alexander within the narrow bounds of a Western conqueror. The papers in this volume deconstruct these accounts and search for sources used by their authors, principally in narrative of eye-witnesses and other authors of the first generation after Alexander, including his court historian Callisthenes and his companions Onesicritus, Aristobulus, and Ptolemy. They search for fragments of ancient literary works known from papyri and for shadowy accounts created on the Persian side like the “mercenaries’ source”. Some papers look into propaganda patterns of the age of Alexander and their connections with clichés of Egyptian literature. Some investigate a parallel tradition on the last will of Alexander, enshrined in I Maccabees, and best known from the Alexander Romance. Finally, papers in this volume examine post-classical rendition of Alexander: Jewish from the Talmud to Josippon and Byzantine, composed of separate textual traditions of various ancient authors, with Plutarch taking pride of place.

Cyrus the Great: Life and Lore

Shayegan, Rahim M (ed.). 2019. Cyrus the Great: Life and Lore. Boston: Ilex Foundation.

The edited volume Cyrus the Great: Life and Lore re-contextualizes Cyrus’s foundational act and epoch in light of recent scholarship, while examining his later reception in antiquity and beyond. Among the many themes addressed in the volume are: the complex dossier of Elamo-Persian acculturation; the Mesopotamian antecedents of Cyrus’s edict and religious policy; Cyrus’s Baupolitik at Pasargadae, and the idiosyncratic genesis of Persian imperial art; the Babylonian exile, the Bible, and the First Return; Cyrus’s exalted but conflicted image in the later Greco-Roman world; his reception and programmatic function in genealogical constructs of the Hellenistic and Arsacid periods; and finally Cyrus’s conspicuous and enigmatic evanescence in the Sasanian and Muslim traditions.

The sum of these wide-ranging contributions assembled in one volume, as well as a new critical edition and English translation of the Cyrus Cylinder, allow for a more adequate evaluation of Cyrus’s impact on his own age, as well as his imprint on posterity.

Table of contents:

  • preface
  • M. Rahim Shayegan: Introduction
  • Matt Waters: Cyrus Rising: Reflections on Word Choice, Ancient and Modern
  • David Stronach: Cyrus, Anshan, and Assyria
  • Hanspeter Schaudig: The Magnanimous Heart of Cyrus: The Cyrus Cylinder and its Literary Models
  • Beate Pongratz-Leisten: “Ich bin ein Babylonier”: The Political-Relligious Message of the Cyrus Cylinder
  • William Schniedewind: Cyrus and Post-Collapse Yehud
  • Marvin A. Sweeney: Contrasting Portrayals of the Achaemenid Monarchy in Isaiah And Zecharia
  • Rémy Boucharlat: Cyrus and Pasargadae: Forging an Empire – Fashioning “Paradise”
  • Daniel Beckman: Cyrus the Great and Ancient Propaganda
  • Maria Brosius: Cyrus the Great: A Hero’s Tale
  • Jason M. Schlude: Cyrus the Great and Roman views of Ancient Iran
  • Marek Jan Olbrycht: The Shapinf od Political Memory: Cyrus and the Achaemenids in the Royal Ideologies of the Seleucid and Parthian Periods
  • Touraj Daryaee: On Forgetting Cyrus and Remembering the Achaemenids in Late Antique Iran
  • Olga M. Davidson: traces of the Poetic Traditions about Cyrus the Great and his Dynasty in the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi and the Cyrus Cylinder

Cyprus in the Achaemenid Rosters of Subject Peoples and Lands

Zournatzi, Antigoni . 2018. Cyprus in the Achaemenid rosters of subject peoples and lands. In A. Cannavò and L. Thély (eds.), Les royaumes de Chypre à l’épreuve de l’histoire Transitions et ruptures de la fin de l’âge du Bronze au début de l’époque hellénistique (BCH.Suppl. 60), 189–200. École française d’Athènes.

To date references to Cyprus, as a possession, remain difficult to recognize in the Achaemenid record. The present discussion focuses on the testimony of the rosters of subject peoples and lands that are featured in surviving Achaemenid monumental inscriptions. It supports the view that, though Cyprus as such is not mentioned in these rosters, it is nonetheless evoked as the (western) maritime holding par excellence of the Persian kings. Indications in support of this interpretation derive from geographical and historical parameters that arguably determined the order of entries in the various rosters, references in Classical Greek texts, and certain telling convergences between the Achaemenid and earlier Mesopotamian imperialist ideology and conquest vocabulary.

DNf: A New Inscription Emerges from the Shadow

Delshad, Soheil, and Mojtaba Doroodi. 2019. DNf: A new inscription emerges from the shadow. Arta 2019.001.

DNf is a recently-discovered trilingual inscription on the tomb of Darius I at Naqsh-e Rostam. This article presents images, a first edition of the texts, observations on why the inscription was not recognized earlier, and comments on the relationship between the inscription and the sculptured figures below it.