All posts by Yazdan Safaee

A Demotic Tablet or Two in the Persepolis Fortification Archive

Azzoni, Annalisa, Christina Chandler, Erin Daly, Mark B. Garrison, Jan Johnson & Brian Muhs. 2019. From The Persepolis Fortification Archive Project, 7: A Demotic Tablet or Two in the Persepolis Fortification Archive. ARTA 2019. 003.

This article publishes two tablets in the Persepolis Fortification archive, one of which is certainly inscribed in Demotic, and possibly the other as well. They join a small number of tablets written in Old Persian, Neo-Babylonian, Greek, and Phrygian, alongside the vast majority of tablets written in Elamite or Aramaic or left uninscribed.

Over the Mountains and Far Away

Avetisyan, Pavel S., Roberto Dan & Yervand H. Grekyan (eds.). 2019. Over the Mountains and Far Away: Studies in Near Eastern history and archaeology presented to Mirjo Salvini on the occasion of his 80th birthday. Archaeopress.

The publication of Over the Mountains and Far Away: Studies in Near Eastern history and archaeology presented to Mirjo Salvini on the occasion of his 80th birthday was initiated by the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, National Academy of Sciences of Armenia, the International Association of Mediterranean and Oriental Studies (Rome, Italy) and the Association for Near Eastern and Caucasian Studies (Yerevan, Armenia) as a tribute to the career of Professor Mirjo Salvini on the occasion his 80th birthday. It is composed of 62 papers written by his colleagues and students from Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Poland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria, Great Britain, Russian Federation, Israel, Turkey, Islamic Republic of Iran, Georgia, United States and Armenia. The contributions presented here cover numerous topics, a wide geographical area and a long chronological period. However, most of the contributions deal with research in the fields of Urartian and Hittite Studies, the topics that attracted Prof. Salvini during his long and fruitful career most.

For the table of contents click here.

Making Mesopotamia: Geography and Empire in a Romano-Iranian Borderland

Cameron, Hamish. 2019. Making Mesopotamia: Geography and Empire in a Romano-Iranian Borderland (Impact of Empire, 32). Leiden: Brill.

In Making Mesopotamia: Geography and Empire in a Romano-Iranian Borderland, Hamish Cameron examines the representation of the Mesopotamian Borderland in the geographical writing of Strabo, Pliny the Elder, Claudius Ptolemy, the anonymous Expositio Totius Mundi, and Ammianus Marcellinus. This inter-imperial borderland between the Roman Empire and the Arsacid and Sasanid Empires provided fertile ground for Roman geographical writers to articulate their ideas about space, boundaries, and imperial power. By examining these geographical descriptions, Hamish Cameron shows how each author constructed an image of Mesopotamia in keeping with the goals and context of their own work, while collectively creating a vision of Mesopotamia as a borderland space of movement, inter-imperial tension, and global engagement.

The Achaemenid Messenger System and the Ionian Revolt

Hyland, John. 2019. The Achaemenid Messenger System and the Ionian Revolt: New Evidence from the Persepolis Fortification Archive. Historia 68(2), 150-169.

The express messenger (pirradaziš) system attested in the Persepolis Fortification Archives played a crucial role in Achaemenid Persia’s control of a widespread provincial administrative system.  Its potential relevance for Persian military operations is illustrated by a series of tablets, some previously unpublished, recording multiple messengers’ journeys between the court of Darius I and his brother Artaphernes at Sardis in 495-494 BCE.  The timing and locations of their travel suggest a connection with the Persian offensive against Miletos and the suppression of the Ionian Revolt.

The Cult of the “Eternal” Fire in the Rituals in Avesta

Cantera, Alberto. 2019. Fire, the greatest god (ātarš … mazišta yazata). The cult of the “eternal” fire in the rituals in Avestan. Indo-Iranian Journal 62(1), 19–61.

The following paper is concerned with a comparison between the Vedic hymn RV VII 55 and the Vīdēvdād chapter XVIII 16. It is argued that little lullaby-themes, aimed at quieting men as well as animals, have come to be included into sacral and religious texts from popular sources (e.g. magical charms to be performed on sleepless babies), revealing Proto-Indo-European formulae and stylistic patterns that can be reconstructed. A Hittite text and some fragments of Greek poems by Simonides and Alcman are also included in the list of the passages to be compared.

STUDIA IRANICA 47(1)

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 Studies 51(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?