All posts by Yazdan Safaee

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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Art of the Achaemenid Empire

Colburn, Henry. 2013. Art of the Achaemenid Empire, and art in the Achaemenid Empire. In Brian A. Brown & Marian H. Feldman (eds.), Critical approaches to ancient Near Eastern art, 773-800. De Gruyter.

This chapter introduces two major aspects of the study of Achaemenid Persian art, namely its definition, and the analysis of quotations of other artistic traditions. Achaemenid art is best defined as consisting of two categories of material. One is the art of the empire, that is, art produced in furtherance of imperial goals. The other category consists of art in the empire, or the artistic production of regions subject to Achaemenid rule. Though this art often took an outward form typical of its local context it was always produced in dialogue with the art of the empire. In both of these categories visual quotations of other, often earlier, artistic traditions figured prominently. These quotations were utilized by individuals as a means of constructing and negotiating visually their positions in the social order of the empire, and by parsing these quotations it becomes possible to reconstruct some of the social conditions in which they were selected. This concept is illustrated in three case studies that demonstrate the breadth of Achaemenid art and its value as a historical source for the study of the empire.

Seleukid Sacred Architecture, Royal Cult and the Transformation of Iranian Culture in the Middle Iranian Period

Matthew P. Canepa. 2014. Seleukid sacred architecture, royal cult and the transformation of Iranian culture in the Middle Iranian period. Iranian Studies 48(1). 1-27.

This article proposes a new approach to three of the most persistent problems in the study of Iranian art and religion from the coming of Alexander to the fall of the Sasanians: the development of Iranian sacred architecture, the legacy of the Achaemenids, and the development of the art and ritual of Iranian kingship after Alexander. Canepa explores the ways in which the Seleukids contributed basic and enduring elements of Iranian religious and royal culture that lasted throughout late antiquity. Beyond stressing simple continuities or breaks with the Babylonian, Achaemenid or Macedonian traditions, this article argues that the Seleukids selectively integrated a variety of cultural, architectural and religious traditions to forge what became the architectural vocabularies and religious expressions of the Middle Iranian era.


Iran and the West: Converging Perspectives

1–3 July 2015, University of Warwick
Call for papers.

Introductory speaker: Dr James Hodkinson, the University of Warwick
Keynote speaker: Prof Ali Ansari, the University of St Andrews.

The conference cordially invites scholars from diverse fields to contribute towards a wide-ranging interdisciplinary conference which aims to further our understanding of Iranian perceptions of the West and Westerners and Western perceptions of Iran and Iranians, from c. 500 BC until the present day. The aim of this conference is to improve our understanding of Iranian and Western cultural perceptions of the other’s culture, people, and politics, both from popular and elite viewpoints, and the points of convergence and divergence between them.

for more information click here

Animals in Ancient Material Cultures: Conference at the Allard Pierson Museum Amsterdam

Call for Papers:

Animals in Ancient Material Cultures

Conference at the Allard Pierson Museum Amsterdam

In the wake of recent interest on both sides of the Atlantic in the subject of Animals in Antiquity, papers are invited for an international conference to be held at the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam on 15 – 16 October 2015. Speakers from all disciplines are welcomed to present papers on the theme of Animals in Ancient Material Cultures, broadly from ca. 5000 BCE to 500 CE, from the Near East to Europe. The focus of the papers will be on representations of animals in the material world and visual evidence of archaeological objects and/or works of art. Speakers are encouraged to make ample reference to objects from the collection of the Allard Pierson Museum.
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