All posts by Yazdan Safaee

Arabic activities reflected in the documents of the “Pahlavi Archive”

Weber, Dieter. 2014. “Arabic activities reflected in the documents of the ‘Pahlavi Archive'”. Res Orientales 22, 179-189.

The article discusses some Islamic influences in the documents of the so-called “Pahlavi Archive” in the late 7th and early 8th centuries, e.g. the Bismillah-formula, the mentioning of the earliest mosque in the region of Qom, of the Amir as an official and the use of the measurements griw and kabiz for wheat and their Arabic equivalents. Document Berk. 95 is re-edited here, the documents Berk. 93 and Berk. 187 edited for the first time.

The archaeology of Elam

Potts, D. T., 2015. The archaeology of Elam: Formation and transformation of an ancient Iranian state. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Second edition.

Elam was an important state in southwestern Iran from the third millennium BC to the appearance of the Persian Empire and beyond. Less well-known than its neighbors in Mesopotamia, Anatolia, the Levant or Egypt, it was nonetheless a region of extraordinary cultural vitality. This book examines the formation and transformation of Elam’s many identities through both archaeological and written evidence, and brings to life one of the most important regions of Western Asia, re-evaluates its significance, and places it in the context of the most recent archaeological and historical scholarship. The new edition includes material from over 800 additional sources, reflecting the enormous amount of fieldwork and scholarship on Iran since 1999. Every chapter contains new insights and material that have been seamlessly integrated into the text in order to give the reader an up-to-date understanding of ancient Elam.

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The Relations between the Kingdom of Urartu and the Achaemenid Empire

Dan, Roberto. 2015. From the Armenian Highland to Iran: A Study on the Relations between the Kingdom of Urartu and the Achaemenid Empire, Serie Orientale Roma 4, Roma: Scienze e Lettere.

This work by Roberto Dan, in which he provides a systematic and in depth analysis of the complex question of the possible connections that may have existed between Urartian culture and that of the Achaemenids, is an important achievement in this area of research. The book is divided into two parts, one of which is historical in approach and provides the necessary background to set the scene for the manner and timing of the interactions between these two protagonists (outlining a situation which has diverse implications),  and one that is archaeological, which constitutes the real core
of the work.

Table of contents is available here.

Iran Graduate Student Workshop (IGSW)

To build bridges across Persian and Iranian Studies programs, scholars from New York University’s Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Department and the Gallatin School (ISI-NYU), Princeton University’s Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Middle East Center announce the Iran Graduate Student Workshop (IGSW). The workshop will provide a valuable venue for academic exchange and production, giving distinguished young scholars of the field an unrivalled opportunity to present and promote their research. On April 29-30, 2016, Princeton University will host the first meeting of this joint workshop, to be followed by similar gatherings at the other campuses every two years.

The first workshop cohort will consist of PhD students that are near ABD status and preparing their dissertation proposals (i.e., typically in their 2nd or 3rd year of graduate work). This cohort will participate again, as discussants, in the second workshop, to be held in 2018, i.e. towards the end of their graduate work. Applicants must focus on modern Iran, other countries of the Persianate world, or diasporas, or conduct relational histories and comparative work; and will be drawn from disciplines and programs in the humanities and social sciences, including anthropology, art history, economics, history, literature, politics, sociology, and related fields.

For more information see this.

East and West in the World Empire of Alexander

Wheatley, Pat and Elizabeth Baynham. 2015. East and West in the World Empire of Alexander: Essays in Honour of Brian Bosworth. Oxford University Press.

The essays in this volume – written by twenty international scholars – are dedicated to Professor Brian Bosworth who has, in over forty-five years, produced arguably the most influential corpus of historical and historiographical research by one scholar. Professor Bosworth’s name is often synonymous with scholarship on Alexander the Great, but his expertise also spreads far wider, as the scope of these essays demonstrates. The collection’s coverage ranges from Egyptian and Homeric parallels, through Roman historiography, to Byzantine coinage. However, the life of Alexander provides the volume’s central theme, and among the topics explored are the conqueror’s resonance with mythological figures such as Achilles and Heracles, his divine pretensions and military display, and his motives for arresting his expedition at the River Hyphasis in India. Some of Alexander’s political acts are also scrutinized, as are the identities of those supposedly present in the last symposium where, according to some sources, the fatal poison was administered to the king. Part of the collection focuses on Alexander’s legacy, with seven essays examining the Successors, especially Craterus, and Ptolemy, and Alexander’s Ill-fated surviving dynasty, including Olympias, Eurydice, and Philip III Arrhidaeus. Readership: Scholars and students interested in the life of Alexander the Great, and historiography, ancient history and civilizations, and mythology more generally.

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The Ladies of Veh Ardashir

Simpson, St.John. 2013. The Ladies of Veh Ardashir. Palazzo Madama, studi e notizie, 3(2): 10-15.

A short article exploring the evidence provided by a selection of the Sasanian “small finds” excavated at Veh Ardashir by the Centro Scavi di Torino. This research is part of the author’s core research on Sasanian and early medieval portable material culture and a detailed publication of all of these finds from this excavation is in preparation.

The Parthian Aristocracy

Dąbrowa, Edward. 2013. The Parthian Aristocracy: its Social Position and Political Activity, Parthica 15, 2013 [2014], 53-62.

Without doubt, the aristocracy occupied an important place in the complicated political and cultural structure of the Parthian state. Sources reveal that the role of this group in its history was determined not only by its social, material or even political position, but also by the strength and authority of individual monarchs. The position of the aristocracy was also axected by external factors. From the moment that the East came into the orbit of Roman policy, political position of the aristocracy was strengthened considerably. The opportunity to attain Roman support for the realization of their own ambitions meant that within the aristocracy opposition to the ruler became more frequent, and certain groups began more ruthlessly to seek not only defense of the rights and privileges they had gained, but above all greater freedom of political actions. In the 1st century BC and the 1st century AD this approach led to a marked weakening in the position of the Arsacid state towards Rome in competition for inkuence in Anatolia, the Caucasus and Armenia as well as even Mesopotamia. Owing to the lack of later sources, we cannot say whether the political gains of the Parthian aristocracy were long lasting.

The Shahnameh of Ferdowsi as World Literature

The Shahnameh of Ferdowsi as World Literature

Iranian Studies, volume 48, Number 3, May 2015. Special issue: “The Shahnameh of Ferdowsi as World Literature

The special issue of the Journal of Iranian Studies, guest-edited by Franklin Lewis is dedicated to studies on Shahname within a  “world literature”  framework.

Iranian Studies is a peer reviewed journal of history, literature, culture and society, covering everywhere with a Persian or Iranian legacy, especially Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia, the Caucasus and northern India.
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Avestan text criticism

Cantera, Alberto. 2014. The problems of the transmission of the Avesta and the tools for Avestan text criticism (TATEC). In Tara Andrews & C. Macé (eds.), Analysis of ancient and medieval texts and manuscripts: Digital approaches, 95-116. Brepols.

The Avestan manuscripts contain the recitatives of several Zoroastrian liturgies that are today still celebrated. These Liturgies took shape around the sixth century BC, long before they were written down for the first time.

Today we know of more than 300 manuscripts, including Avestan texts, but the true number is probably much higher since the tradition of producing manuscripts has continued until recently and the production of copies of parts of Avestan manuscripts is part of the instuction of Zoroastrian priests.

Using the tools proposed in this article will offer a more realistic picture of the complex processes of the Avesta transmission, over and above the simplistic stemmata produced by Geldner solely on the basis of the agreement in error, since errors spread in the Avestan transmission not only through the process of copying from written sources, but also through the influence of ritual practices.

Iran Nameh: Volume 30, Number 2 (Summer 2015)

Irannameh-30-2Iran Nameh is a quarterly journal of Iranian Studies. A special issue, volume 30, Number 2 (Summer 2015), is  dedicated to Ehsan Yarshater
for his lifetime service to Iranian Studies.

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