Category Archives: Publications

Sasanian Persia

Sauer, Eberhard. 2017. Sasanian Persia: Between Rome and the steppes of Eurasia. Edinburgh University Press.

The Sasanian Empire (3rd-7th centuries) was one of the largest empires of antiquity, stretching from Mesopotamia to modern Pakistan and from Central Asia to the Arabian Peninsula. This mega-empire withstood powerful opponents in the steppe and expanded further in Late Antiquity, whilst the Roman world shrunk in size. Recent research has revealed the reasons for this success: notably population growth in some key territories, economic prosperity, and urban development, made possible through investment in agriculture and military infrastructure on a scale unparalleled in the late antique world.

The author: Eberhard Sauer is Professor of Roman Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh, having previously taught at the Universities of Leicester and Oxford.

The wolf in ancient Iran

Azarnouche, Samra. 2016. “Le loup dans l’Iran ancien. Entre mythe, réalité et exégèse zoroastrienne”Anthropology of the Middle East 11(1): 1–19.

How did ancient Iranian religion represent the wolf? Between the mythological data, the realities of the agro-pastoral world, and the symbolism of exegetical tradition, Late Antique Zoroastrianism considered the wolf as primarily a species to kill. In reality, much more than the Canis lupus hides behind the word ‘wolf ’ (Middle Persian gurg), including most nocturnal predators but also devastating illnesses, a monster whom the Savior will destroy at the end of time, and finally heretics who renounce or deform the Good Religion. However, this negative image is nuanced by the recognition of the strong ties between the she-wolf and wolf cubs, both in texts where the protective qualities of this large predator are evoked, and in iconography, namely magic seals, where one finds the image of the nourishing she-wolf, perhaps connected to perinatal magic.

Territorializing Iran in Late Antiquity

Payne, Richard. 2017. “Territorializing Iran in Late Antiquity“, In Ando, Cifford and Seth Richardson (eds.), Ancient States and Infrastructural: Europe, Asia, and America, 179-217, Power Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

In late antiquity,the architects of the Iranian Empire superimposed a mythical gepgraphy on the Near East that gave away, over the four centuries of its existence, to partially terriotorialized, infrastructural powers that far surpassed those of their ancient Near Eastern predecessors. More frequently known as the Sasanian Empire after its ruling dynasty, replacing the adjective “Sasanian” with “Iranian” foregrounds the centrality of a mythical conception of time and space to its organization of the empire, and also gives preference to the self-designation of its elites over scholary convention.

Cross-Cultural Communication in the Hellenistic Mediterranean, and Western and South Asia

Canepa, Matthew P. 2017. “Cross-Cultural Communication in the Hellenistic Mediterranean, and Western and South Asia,” In Richard J. A. Talbert & Fred S. Naiden (eds.), Mercury’s Wings: Exploring Modes of Communication in the Ancient World, 249-272, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

This chapter explores the dynamics of cross-cultural communication, primarily among the kingdoms and empires of Western and South Asia after Alexander the Great. This period witnessed the rise, conflict, coexistence and fall of a succession of cross-continental empires, including that of the Seleucids (312-64 BCE) and Mauryas (321-185), as well as powerful regional powers with larger ambitions such as the Ptolemies of Egypt, the Diodotids and Euthymids of Bactria (ca. 25o–ca. 145), Sungas (185-73), and a variety of Indo-Greek kingdoms (ca. 185 BCE–ca. 10 CE). Several new Iranian-speaking elites, including the Parni, Saka, and Yuezhi, descended from the Central Asian steppes and eventually formed the Arsacid, Indo-Scythian, and Kusana empires, respectively. These Macedonian, Indian, and Iranian powers engendered an intensive period of diplomatic interaction and cultural exchange. While this chapter focuses first on peer-polity diplomatic communication, it also explores the relationship between direct, intentional communicative acts and the wider contexts of cross-cultural interaction in which they took place and to which they often contributed.

Ancient States and Infrastructural Power

Ando, Clifford & Seth Richardson (eds.). 2017. Ancient states and infrastructural power: Europe, Asia, and America (Empire and After). Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

While ancient states are often characterized in terms of the powers that they claimed to possess, the contributors to this book argue that they were in fact fundamentally weak, both in the exercise of force outside of war and in the infrastructural and regulatory powers that such force would, in theory, defend. In Ancient States and Infrastructural Power a distinguished group of scholars examines the ways in which early states built their territorial, legal, and political powers before they had the capabilities to enforce them.

The volume brings Greek and Roman historians together with specialists on early Mesopotamia, late antique Persia, ancient China, Visigothic Iberia, and the Inca empire to compare various models of state power across regional and disciplinary divisions. How did the polis become the body that regulates property rights? Why did Chinese and Persian states maintain aristocracies that sometimes challenged their autocracies? How did Babylon and Rome promote the state as the custodian of moral goods? In worlds without clear borders, how did societies from Rome to Byzantium come to share legal and social identities rooted in concepts of territory? From the Inca empire to Visigothic Iberia, why did tributary practices reinforce territorial ideas about membership?

Source: Ancient States and Infrastructural Power | Clifford Ando, Seth Richardson

Encyclopaedia Iranica – Fascicle 3 of Volume XVI

Image may contain: textFascicle 3 of Volume XVI of the print version of the Encyclopaedia Iranica was published in June of 2017. This segment of the EIr. completes coverage of titles starting with Keg- and proceeds to titles beginning with Kes-.

Fascicle XVI/3 contains the following entries (not including cross-reference entries):

Title Author(s)
Kégl Miklos Sarkozy
Ḵelʿat Willem Floor
Kelidar Mohammad Reza Ghanoonparvar
Kelim (Gelim) Sumru Belger Krody
Kemāḵ Hurivash Ahmadi Dastgerdi and EIr.
Kent Rüdiger Schmitt
Képes András Bodrogligeti
Ḵerad-nāma Dariush Kargar and EIr.
Kerešma Gen’ichi Tsuge
Keriya Alain Cariou
Kerman i. Geography Habib Borjian
Kerman ii. Historical Geography Xavier De Planhol and Bernard Hourcade
Kerman iii. Population Habibollah Zanjani and Mohammad-Hossein Nejatian
Kerman v. History from the Islamic Conquest to the Coming of the Mongols C. Edmond Bosworth
Kerman vii. History in the Safavid Period Rudi Mathee
Kerman viii. History in the Afsharid and Zand Period James M. Gustafson
Kerman ix. History in the Qajar Period James M. Gustafson
Kerman xiv. Jewish Community of Kerman City Nahid Pirnazar and EIr.
Kerman xv. Carpet Industry James M. Gustafson
Kerman xvi. Languages Habib Borjian
Kermanshah i. Geography Habib Borjian
Kermanshah iv. History to 1953 Jean Calmard
Kermanshah vii. Languages and Dialects Habib Borjian
Kermanshah viii. The Jewish Community Nahid Pirnazar
Ḵerqa Erik S. Ohlander
Keš Pavel Lurje
Kešaʾi Dialect Habib Borjian

The Monarchy of Teispid-Achaemenid Great Kings

Rollinger, Robert. 2017. “Monarchische Herrschaft am Beispiel des teispidisch-achaimenidischen Großreichs“, In S. Rebenich (Hg.), Monarchische Herrschaft im Altertum (Schriften des Historischen Kollegs 94), 189-215, Berlin:  De Gruyter.

Journal of Persianate Studies – Volume 10, Issue 1

The Journal of Persianate Studies is a peer-reviewed publication of the Association for the Study of Persianate Societies.

For a table of contents, see below:


Sylloge Nummorum Sasanidarum Iran: A late Sasanian Hoard from Orumiyeh

Akbarzadegh, Daryoosh & Schindel, Nikolaus. 2017. Sylloge Nummorum Sasanidarum Iran: A late Sasanian Hoard from Orumiyeh. (Veröffentlichungen zur Numismatik 60). Wien: Verlag der österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften.

The present volume from series “Sylloge Nummorum Sasanidarum” (SNS) deals with a treasure found in the region of Piran-Shahr in the north-west of Iran in 2007 and is one of the largest and most important collections of coins from Sasanian era which includes a quantity of 1267 drachmas. The collection informs us about not only the history of the coin and money in Iran during the Late Antiquity, but also about the economic history of the Sasanid empire, for which there are hardly any sources. The publication is prepared by a cooperation of the Austrian Academy of Sciences with RICHTO, the Research Institute of ICH (Iran Cultural Heritage, Handcrafts and Tourism Organization).

Stone Vessels in the Near East during the Iron Age and the Persian Period

Squitieri, Andrea . 2017. Stone Vessels in the Near East during the Iron Age and the Persian Period. (Archaeopress Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology 2). Oxford: Archaeopress.

This book focuses on the characteristics and the development of the stone vessel industry in the Near East during the Iron Age and the Persian period (c. 1200 – 330 BCE). Three main aspects of this industry are investigated. First, the technology behind the manufacture of stone vessels, the tools and techniques, and how these changed across time. Second, the mechanisms of exchange of stone vessels and how these were affected by the changing political landscape through time. Third, the consumption patterns of stone vessels in both elite and non-elite contexts, and how these patterns changed through time. The aim is to evaluate how the formation of new regional states, occurred in the Iron Age I-II, and their subsequent inclusion within large-scale empires, in the Iron Age III and Persian period, transformed the Near Eastern societies by exploring how the stone vessel industry was affected by these transformations. For the period and area under analysis, such a comprehensive study of stone vessels, covering a wide area and connecting this industry to the broader socioeconomic and political landscapes, has never been attempted before.