Category Archives: Publications

Persian Art

Carey, Moya. 2018. Persian art: Collecting the arts of Iran in the nineteenth century. London: V&A Publishing.

Persian Art tells the story of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s stunning collection of Iranian art, which spans at least 12 centuries of Iran’s sophisticated cultural history. The objects range from the Ardibal carpet–the world’s oldest dated carpet and one of the largest, most beautiful, and historically important–to archaeological finds and architectural salvage, domestic furnishings and drinking vessels, and complete design archives. Through four case studies, the book investigates how architects, diplomats, dealers, collectors, and craftsmen such as William Morris and William De Morgan engaged with Iran’s complex visual traditions, both ancient and modern, with results that still resonate today in our continued fascination with pattern and form.

Moya Carey is the Iran Heritage Foundation Curator for the Iranian Collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Three Papyri Revisited

Weber, Dieter. 2018. Three Pahlavi papyri revisited. Sasanika Papyrological Studies , No. 2.

Weber revisits three Pahlavi papyri from the period of Sasanian occupation of Egypt (619–628 CE).

The Parthians at the margins of the empire

In this issue of L’Histoire, entitled Les mondes d’Alix and dedicated to the graphic novel series Les voyages d’Alix, specialists of antique history explore various aspects relating to the world and time of the novels. The historian Giusto Traina writes on the Parthians.

Traina, Giusto. 2018. Les Parthes aux marges de l’empire. L’Histoire 6. 66–71.

Safavid Occidentalism and Persian Painting

In ʿAli Qoli Jebādār et l’Occidentalism safavide Negar Habibi provides a fresh account of the life and works of ʿAli Qoli Jebādār, a leading painter of the late Safavid period. By collecting several of the artist’s paintings and signatures Habibi brings to light the diversity of ʿAli Qoli Jebādār’s most important works. In addition, the volume offers us new insights into both the artistic and socio-political evolution of Iranian society in the last days of pre-modern Iran. By carefully consulting the historical sources, Negar Habibi demonstrates the possibility of a female and eunuch patronage in the seventeenth-century paintings known as farangi sāzi, while suggesting the use of the term “Occidentalism” for those Safavid paintings that show some exotic and alien details of the Western world.

Continue reading Safavid Occidentalism and Persian Painting

Iran: A Modern History

Amanat, Abbas. 2018. Iran: A modern history. Yale University Press.

his history of modern Iran is not a survey in the conventional sense but an ambitious exploration of the story of a nation. It offers a revealing look at how events, people, and institutions are shaped by currents that sometimes reach back hundreds of years. The book covers the complex history of the diverse societies and economies of Iran against the background of dynastic changes, revolutions, civil wars, foreign occupation, and the rise of the Islamic Republic.

Abbas Amanat combines chronological and thematic approaches, exploring events with lasting implications for modern Iran and the world. Drawing on diverse historical scholarship and emphasizing the twentieth century, he addresses debates about Iran’s culture and politics. Political history is the driving narrative force, given impetus by Amanat’s decades of research and study. He layers the book with discussions of literature, music, and the arts; ideology and religion; economy and society; and cultural identity and heritage.

Abbas Amanat is professor of history and international studies at Yale University and director of the Yale Program in Iranian Studies at the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies. He lives in North Haven, CT.

Source: Iran by Abbas Amanat – Yale University Press

Shamans of Ancient Iranian Nomads

Yatsenko, Sergey. 2017. Shamans of Ancient Iranian Nomads: Artifacts and Iconography. In Gheorghiu Dragoş, Emilia Pásztor, Herman Bender, George Nash (eds.), Archaeological Approaches to Shamanism: Mind-Body, Nature, and Culture. 243-262. Cambridge Scholars publishing.

The interpretation of depictions in petroglyphs belonging to the Bronze Age in South Siberia as shamanic ones is debatable. Obviously, cultic attributes belonging to men were not removed from barrows 2 and 5 in Pazyryk. Their series can be compared with complexes (known to ethnologists) belonging to shamans of Iranian peoples. Such elements of practicing sequential shamanic rituals as divination, use of musical instruments, entering into a trance state, summoning patron spirits and their “feeding”, exorcism of evil spirits can be reconstructed.

Middle Persian Papyri, Ostraca and Parchments: An Introduction

Zeini, Arash. 2018. Middle Persian papyri, ostraca and parchments: An introductionSasanika Papyrological Studies , No. 1.

This essay discusses the state of Middle Persian papyrological, ostraca and parchments studies since its beginning to the present. Dr. Zeini presents a history of the discovery of the Sasanian papyri from Egypt in the nineteenth century, to the new archival finds on the Iranian Plateau which sheds light on the legal and economic history of late antique Iran.

This introductory article is the first issue in the newly launched Sasanika Papyrological Studies and will be followed by a revision of three papyri by Dieter Weber.

Scythian Strategy or Open Pitched Battle

Kleymeonov, Alexander Anatolevich. 2017. Scythian strategy or open pitched battle: Choice of strategy by the Persian command in 334 BCMan In India 97 (22), 219-227.

The article is devoted to the analysis of the Persian command’s plans to repel Alexander the Great’s invasion into Asia Minor. The main objective is to consider the information from the ancient sources related to Memnon of Rhodes’ proposal to apply the ” scorched earth ” tactic against the advancing Alexander’s army, to analyze this plan for feasibility and to identify the reasons for rejection of Memnon’s plan by the Persian satraps and commanders. The research was undertaken based on the principle of historism. A multi-faceted approach to the ancient narrative sources, methods of comparative historical analysis, content analysis, and the historical reconstructive method have been used. As a result, it was determined that the Persians knew well the features of the ” Scythian strategy ” and applied the ” scorched earth ” tactic both before and after Alexander’s invasion. However, Persian satraps and commanders rejected Memnon’s proposal at the council at Zeleia and adopted the open pitched battle. The reasons include numerous shortcomings and unfeasibility of Memnon’s plan, the positive sides of which were greatly exaggerated by ancient historians, who openly sympathized with Memnon of Rhodes and were critical towards the Persians.

The Elamite Royal Orchestra from Madaktu (653 BC)

Alvarez-Mon, Javier. 2017. The Elamite Royal Orchestra from Madaktu (653 BC)Elamica 7: 1-34.

Contents: §1. Prelude; §2. The Royal Elamite Orchestra from Madaktu; §2.1. Instruments: horizontal harps, angular harps, double pipes, a drum, hand clapping and singing; §2.2. People: Musicians and Singers; §3. Allegro ma non troppo: Madaktu 653 BC, the Royal Orchestra in Historical Context. §4. From Madaktu to Assyria: Cacophonies at the Heartland of the Empire; §4.1. The Assyrian Royal Orchestras from Nineveh (Room S1); §4.2. Foreign Orchestras in Assyria; §5. Requiem 612 BC: Royal Orchestras and the Fall of Nineveh.

Persepolis West (Fars, Iran)

Askari Chaverdi, Alireza & Pierfrancesco Callieri. 2017. Persepolis West (Fars, Iran): Report on the field work carried out by the Iranian-Italian Joint Archaeological Mission in 2008–2009 (British Archaeological Reports International Series 2870). BAR Publishing.

This book represents the final report on the field work carried out in 2008 and 2009 by the Iranian-Italian Joint Archaeological Mission at the archaeological site of Persepolis West, where parts of the town adjacent to the well-known Achaemenid monumental terrace of Persepolis have been located. The eleven trial trenches excavated in areas indicated by the results of Iranian and Iranian-French geophysical surveys represent the first stratigraphic excavations ever carried out on this site, the dating of which is supported by a rich series of radiocarbon datings. Illustration of the excavations is preceded by an accurate geophysical study of the topographical context and accompanied by a detailed and richly illustrated analysis of pottery and other finds: the safe stratigraphic context makes these finds a particularly important source of evidence for our knowledge of the ceramics of Fars during the historic pre-Islamic age. The excavations largely confirm the location of the built-up area of Parsa indicated by geophysical surveys.