All posts by Yazdan Safaee

Alexander III, Darius I and the land acquired by spears

Degen, Julian. 2019. Alexander III, Darius I and the Spear-Derived Land (Diode 17, 17, 2). Journal of Ancient Near Eastern History 6(1): 53–95.

This article aims to shed new light on Diodorus’ episode about Alexander’s crossing of the Hellespont by bringing ancient Near Eastern evidence into discussion. I assume that Diodorus’ “report” is a nesting of three different narrative-elements woven to a composition which provides a purposeful view ex post facto on the event in 334 BCE. By showing that Alexander adapted Achaemenid strategies to legitimize his power over the new won empire as well his awareness of older Mesopotamian geographical ideas, this article argues that the Argead ruler exposed himself with predominant concepts of ancient Near Eastern kingship. The argumentation underlines for the most part that Diod. 17, 17, 2 is an intentional episode containing Greek-Macedonian propaganda and Persian elements. Especially the famous scene of Alexander hurling a spear in the coast of Asia Minor and the belief that the Persian empire is a gift of the gods root in Teispid and Achaemenid royal ideology. However, Diodorus’ portrayal of Alexander as the first of the Macedons who landed on the coast is an element of his propaganda used during the early phase of his conquest. Finally, this article aims to bring new insights into the discussion about Alexander being the “last Achaemenid”.

The Archaeology of Afghanistan

Allchin, Raymond, Warwick Ball & Norman Hammond (eds.). 2019. The archaeology of Afghanistan from earliest times to the Timurid period. Edinburgh University Press.

Afghanistan is at the cultural crossroads of Asia, where the great civilisations of Mesopotamia and Iran, South Asia and Central Asia overlapped and sometimes conflicted. Its landscape embraces environments from the high mountains of the Hindu Kush to the Oxus basin and the great deserts of Sistan; trade routes from China to the Mediterranean, and from Central Asia to the Arabian Sea cross the country. It has seen the development of early agriculture, the spread of Bronze Age civilisation of Central Asia, the conquests of the Persians and of Alexander of Macedon, the spread of Buddhism and then Islam, and the empires of the Kushans, Ghaznavids, Ghurids and Timurids centred there, with ramifications across southern Asia. All of which has resulted in some of the most important, diverse and spectacular historical remains in Asia.

First published in 1978, this was the first book in English to provide a complete survey of the immensely rich archaeological remains of Afghanistan. The contributors, all acknowledged scholars in their field, have worked in the country, on projects ranging from prehistoric surveys to the study of Islamic architecture. It has now been thoroughly revised and brought up to date to incorporate the latest discoveries and research.

Table of contents

  • Notes on Contributors
  • List of Illustrations
  • Acknowledgements
  • Foreword, Mohammad Fahim Rahimi, Kabul Museum
  • Preface, Norman Hammond
  • Introduction to the first edition, Norman Hammond and Raymond Allchin
  • Introduction to the new edition, Warwick Ball
  • The Geographical Background, Sophia R. Bowlby and Kevin H. White
  • The Palaeolithic, Richard S. Davies
  • The development of the Oxus Civilisation north of the Hindu Kush, Henri-Paul Francfort, Bertille Lyonnet, Cameron Petrie and Jim G. Shaffer
  • The development of a ‘Helmand Civilisation’ south of the Hindu Kush, Jim G. Shaffer and Cameron Petrie
  • The Iron Age, Achaemenid and Hellenistic periods, Warwick Ball, Simon Glenn, Bertille Lyonnet, David W. Mac Dowall and Maurizio Taddei
  • From the Kushans to the Shahis, Warwick Ball, Olivier Bordeaux, David W. Mac Dowall, Nicholas Sims-Williams and Maurizio Taddei
  • From the Rise of Islam to the Mongol Invasion, Warwick Ball and Klaus Fischer
  • From the Mongols to the Mughals, Warwick Ball and Klaus Fischer
  • Conclusion, Raymond Allchin and Norman Hammond
  • Bibliography

VOL. 20 of Parthica

Volume 20 of the journal “Parthica” (2018) contains several interesting contributions.

Table of contents:

  • F. SINISI, A. BETTS, G. KHOZHANIYAZOV: Royal fires in the ancient Iranian world: the evidence from Akchakhan-Kala, Chorasmia
  • I. BUCCI, A. CELLERINO, M. FARAJI, E. FOIETTA, F. GIUSTO, J. M. KIAN, V. MESSINA, M. ROUHANI RANKHOUI: Preliminary report on the third season of excavation of the Iranian-Italian Joint Expedition in Khuzestan at Kal-e Chendar, Shami (8th campaign, 2015)
  • V. N. PILIPKO: Nisa-Mihrdatkirt: Changing conceptions
  • L. COLLIVA: Sanctuaries and ʻdynastic cultsʼ in the Indo-Iranian world: Arsacid, Indo-Parthian and Kushan evidence
  • A. KHOSROWZADEH, N. N. Z. CHEGINI, S. NAZARI: Description, classification and typology of the excavated Parthian pottery from Qal‘eh-i Yazdigird, Kermanshah province, Iran
  • A.KHOUNANI, Y.MOHAMMADIFAR: Two Parthian period rock reliefs from Iraqi Kurdistan
  • E. FOIETTA, E. MARCATO: A review of the sequence of Hatra rulers and the role of 147 the inscription H416

DPg: Ahuramazdā and the Creation of Water

Delshad, Soheil. 2019. DPg: Ahuramazdā and the creation of water, with a new text edition. Iranian Studies 52(3-4). 575-588.

Among the Achaemenid inscriptions, DPg has been the topic of several studies since the very beginning of cuneiform studies. The photographs prepared by the DARIOSH (Digital Achaemenid Royal Inscription Open Schema Hypertext) project at L’Orientale University of Naples shed light on some ambiguities of this specific inscription and led to the proposal of a new text edition of DPg. The purpose of this article is to follow the whole history of studies on DPg until today and then propose a new reading of the inscription and a discussion of related issues, including its unique creation formula and orthography.

Taxing Achaemenid Arachosia: Evidence from Persepolis

King, Rhyne. 2019. Taxing Achaemenid Arachosia: Evidence from Persepolis. Journal of Near Eastern Studies 78(2): 185-199.

Iran 57(2)

Volume 57, issue 2 of Iran, Journal of the British Institute of Persian Studies:

Iran 57(2).

Table of Contents:

New Perspectives in Seleucid History, Archaeology and Numismatics

Roland, Oetjen (ed.). 2019. New perspectives in Seleucid history, archaeology and numismatics: Studies in honor of Getzel M. Cohen (Beiträge zur Altertumskunde 355). Berlin: De Gruyter.

Dedicated to Getzel M. Cohen, a leading expert in Seleucid history, this volume gathers contributions on Seleucid history, archaeology, numismatics, political relations, policy toward the Jews, Greek cities, non-Greek populations, peripheral and neighboring regions, imperial administration, economy and public finances, and ancient descriptions of the Seleucid Empire. The reader will gain an international perspective on current research.

Journal Asiatique 307 (1)

The first issue of Journal Asiatique 307 (2019) has been published. The following articles are related to the scope of Iranica:

Should we say goodbye to the Median kingdom?

Parker, Victor. 2019. Sollten wir das medische Reich aus der Geschichte verabschieden?. Klio 101 (1): 1-56.

In spite of some scholars’ recent arguments that the Median Kingdom, which according to Herodotus preceded the Persian Empire, never existed, the Medisms within Old Persian show that the Medes had developed both an imperial ideology and institutions for ruling. The Persians inherited both from the Medes. This suggests that a Median Kingdom did exist. Besides, Near Eastern sources, independently of Herodotus, attest to the existence of some sort of a powerful Median state, and Jer. 51,28 actually attributes imperial officials to this state. Close examination of Herodotus’ Median Logos further demonstrates that this passage contains so much Iranian material that one simply cannot dismiss it as Herodotus’ own invention. On the contrary we should acknowledge the existence of Iranian source material which on its own attests to the existence of a Median Kingdom.

L’histoire, volume 60

The latest volume of the magazine, “L’histoire”, is dedicated to Achaemenid Persia. Among other interesting subjects in this volume, the following articles are remarkable:

  • Pierre Briant: Achéménides: le premier empire-monde
  • Rémy Boucharlat: Pasargades, visite d’une capitale
  • Dominique Lenfant: Profession: médecin du Grand Roi
  • Wouter Henkelman: Le nouveau visage de la religion des Perses
  • Pierre Briant: Cyrus l’Iranien