All posts by Yazdan Safaee

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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In the margins of the Rabbinic curriculum

Kiel, Yishai . 2015. In the margins of the Rabbinic curriculum: Mastering ʿUqṣin in the light of Zoroastrian intellectual culture. Journal for the Study of Judaism  46( 2): 251 – 281.

The study situates the Babylonian rabbinic discussion concerning the spread of ritual pollution in produce in a broader cultural and intellectual context, by synoptically examining the rabbinic discussion against the backdrop of contemporaneous Zoroastrian legal discourse. It is suggested that the intimate affinity exhibited between the Babylonian rabbinic and Pahlavi discussions of produce contamination supports a fresh examination of the cultural significance of tractate ʿUqtzin in the Babylonian Talmud and the implications of its mastery on the intellectual and cultural identity of the Babylonian rabbis. The study posits that the self-reflective Talmudic reference to the knowledge and interest later generations of Babylonian rabbis possessed in tractate ʿUqtzin and the spread of ritual pollution in produce reflects the relative significance of these topics in the broader intellectual agenda of the Sasanian period. The later Babylonian rabbis boasted about their knowledge of tractate ʿUqtzin, which extended far beyond the capacity of earlier generations, precisely because this topic best reflected the intellectual currents of their time.

Autorité des auteurs antiques

Gorea, M. & M. Tardieu (eds.). 2014. Autorité des auteurs antiques: entre anonymat, masques et authenticité. Brepols.

Les études réunies dans le volume posent la question de la place de l’auteur dans l’Antiquité et de comprendre d’où émanait l’autorité d’une œuvre.

Il n’est pas certain qu’il faille renoncer, dans le cas de la littérature ancienne, aux notions d’originalité, de style en tant que singularité ou expression propre de l’auteur, ou d’autonomie du littéraire. Dans la dialectique invention-fidélité au modèle, le mérite d’un auteur consistait à promouvoir une variante surprenante d’une histoire pourtant notoire, quoique peu répandue dans l’espace où il l’implante précisément et l’adapte. L’originalité consistait à rejoindre le dénouement connu par une voie inédite.

À défaut de toujours pouvoir retrouver la trace des auteurs réels de certains écrits anciens, surtout de ceux dont l’œuvre s’est vue attribuer une autorité de norme collective, à défaut de savoir d’où ils venaient et quelle était l’expérience qu’ils ont vécue ou l’histoire réelle qu’ils ont mise en mots, les contributions de ce volume s’interrogent sur le rapport des auteurs de textes religieux, mythologiques ou littéraires aux valeurs qui firent autorité ou qui sont à l’origine de leur « autorité ».

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A new inscription of Xerxes? One more forgery

Schmitt, Rüdiger. 2015. A new inscription of Xerxes? One more forgeryARTA: Achaemenid Research on Texts and Archaeology 3. 1–8.

In 2007, a complete collection of inauthentic inscriptions in Old Persian cuneiform script was published. It described and discussed, in detail, (1) ancient texts not originating from the king, who was their supposed author, as well as (2) modern forgeries designed to mislead, and (3) imitations of cuneiform inscriptions fabricated more for ‘fun’ than any more serious intent. Since then, the number of such forged inscriptions has increased. There is now a tapestry including an Old Persian text, which turned out to be an adaptation of Xerxes’ Persepolis inscription XPe. A silver tablet purporting to be that of Darius I’s co-conspirator Otanes is a blatant forgery given the serious grammatical mistakes in the Old Persian . Such forged inscriptions are found on a variety of objects and, in virtually every case, display their individual peculiarities.

The Sanskrit, Syriac and Persian sources in the comprehensive book of Rhazes

Kahl, Oliver. 2015. The Sanskrit, Syriac and Persian sources in the comprehensive book of Rhazes. Brill.

This work offers a critical analysis of the Sanskrit, Syriac and Persian sources in Rhazes’ (d. 925 CE) Comprehensive Book (or al-Kitāb al-Ḥāwī), a hugely famous and highly unusual medico-pharmaceutical encyclopedia originally written in Arabic. All text material appears in full Arabic with English translations throughout, whilst the traceable Indian fragments are represented here, for the first time, in both the original Sanskrit and corresponding English translations. The philological core of the book is framed by a detailed introductory study on the transmission of Indian, Syrian and Iranian medicine and pharmacy to the Arabs, and by extensive bilingual glossaries of relevant Arabic and Sanskrit terms as well as Latin botanical identifications.

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Iranica Antiqua, Volume 50

Iranica Antiqua is one of the leading scholarly journals covering studies on the civilization of pre-Islamic Iran in its broadest sense. This annual publication, edited by the Department for Near Eastern Art and Archaeology at Gent University, Belgium, contains preliminary excavation reports, contributions on archaeological problems, studies on different aspects of history, institutions, religion, epigraphy, numismatics and history of art of ancient Iran, as well as on cultural exchanges and relations between Iran and its neighbours. 

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