All posts by Yazdan Safaee

The physique and appearance of Achaemenid monarchy

Llewellyn-Jones, Lloyd. 2015. “That My Body is Strong”: The Physique and Appearance of Achaemenid Monarchy. in Dietrich Boschung, Alan Shapiro & Frank Waschek (eds.), Bodies in Transition: Dissolving the Boundaries of Embodied Knowledge. Fink Wilhelm Gmbh. 213-250.

The body of the Persian Great King was carefully and skilfully constructed through text and image as a series of signs to be decoded and read. Placing the Persian royal body within the context of general Near Eastern ideologies of the monarchic body, this chapter explores the codified meanings of, firstly, the royal head because the Great King’s eyes, nose, beard, and hair are rich in cultural and symbolic meaning. But more than anything it is the clothed body of the king that speaks in a uniquely ‘Persian voice’. The chapter explores how the monarch’s clothed body is a site of representation, an emblem of his power, potency, legitimacy, and strength.

Six Polybian themes concerning Alexander the Great

Overtoom, Nikolaus L. 2013. Six Polybian themes concerning Alexander the GreatClassical World. 106 (4), 571-593.

This study discusses the image of Alexander the Great created by Polybius and reinvestigates the Polybian themes concerning the Macedonian. Richard Billows suggested that there are fi ve Polybian themes found in his analysis of Alexander. Yet our current assumptions about the scope of Polybius’ portrayal and his own conclusions require reconsideration. In fact, Polybius’ favorable comparison of Rome’s accomplishments to those of Alexander emerges as a possible sixth theme. This article examines these six Polybian themes, while demonstrating that Polybius does not disassociate his text completely from an apologetic tone and offers a generally positive opinion of Alexander the Great.


The Arsacids: Gods or Godlike Creatures?

Dabrowa, Edward. 2014. The Arsacids: Gods or Godlike Creatures?. In Tommaso Gnoli and Federicomaria Muccioli (eds.), Divinizzazione, culto del sovrano e apoteosi Tra Antichità e Medioevo, Bononia University Press, 149-159.

Edward Dabrowa is a Polish historian, Professor who graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy and History at the Jagiellonian University in 1972 and received the title of professor 1994. He is Currently head of the Department of Ancient History and the Institute of Jewish Studies at the Faculty of History at the Jagiellonian University

Re-establishment of Achaemenid History

Imanpour, Mohammad-Taqi. 2015. Re-establishment of Achaemenid History and its Development in the Nineteenth and Twentieth CenturiesIranian Studies. 48(4), 515-530.

Iranians were aware of Sasanian history through traditional historical writings, but they knew nothing about Achaemenid history. Following European travelers to Persia from the fifteenth century, who were well prepared by reading the classical and biblical texts, Persepolis and Pasargadae were rediscovered and Achaemenid history re-established in the nineteenth century. The rise of Reza Khan to power and his grand emphasis on nationalism and ancient Iran that characterized his reign also left a deeper impact on Achaemenid studies in this period. In this paper the re-establishment of Achaemenid history and its development in nineteenth and twentieth centuries are discussed and reviewed.

Mohammad-Taqi Imanpour is Associate Professor of Ancient History of Iran at Ferdowsi University of Masshad, Iran.

The Susa Marriages

Van Oppen De Ruiter, Branko F. 2014. The Susa Marriages: A Historiographical Note. Ancient Society. 44, 25-41.

The Persian and Median noble women whom Alexander married to his Greek and Macedonian companions at Susa were all repudiated shortly after his death — so common opinion would have it. The present note aims to dispel this notion and to argue instead that Alexander’s Successors had no reason to abandon their Asiatic wives — even if they did eventually marry other women. If the Susan brides failed to make their presence in recorded history, that would be because ancient authors found nothing worth mentioning in their subsequent careers. Underlying modern assumptions, moreover, we will find misleading believes such as that the Macedonians were serially monogamous and that they resented their foreign wives. This article may thus serve as a warning about the intricacies of (early-) Hellenistic marital practices.

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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