Category Archives: Articles

Between Highlands and Lowlands

Wicks, Yasmina. 2019. Between Highlands and Lowlands. The Ram Hormuz Plain in the Neo-Elamite and Early Achaemenid Periods, and Comments on Five Burials from the Fort Mound at Tal-i Ghazir. Arta 2019.002.

The plain of Ram Hormuz was a strategically important area of southwest Iran connecting the Susiana lowlands with the Zagros highlands, and undoubtedly a critical zone of Elamite and Iranian interaction in the centuries leading up to the emergence of the Persian Empire. Its archaeological remains must therefore be regarded as a vital key to our comprehension of the processes of acculturation that gave rise to the Elamo Persian culture of the early Achaemenid period. While the plain has been extensively surveyed, its only excavated site remains Tal-i Ghazir where just two seasons of excavation were conducted in 1948/49 by Donald E. McCown under the auspices of the Oriental Institute. McCown worked in three separate mounds— Mounds A and B, and the so-called Fort Mound—but he never published his results. Almost half a century later, Elizabeth Carter (1994) published a series of burials in the Fort Mound from his field notes, and another two decades later, Abbas Alizadeh (2014) published the complete records of the Tal-i Ghazir excavations. The purpose of this paper is to outline the evidence for the Neo-Elamite (ca. 1000 525 BCE) and Achaemenid periods (ca. 525-330 BCE) collected during the surveys across the Ram Hormuz plain and the excavations at Tal-i Ghazir, with special attention to the burials in the Fort Mound.

Cyprus in the Achaemenid Rosters of Subject Peoples and Lands

Zournatzi, Antigoni . 2018. Cyprus in the Achaemenid rosters of subject peoples and lands. In A. Cannavò and L. Thély (eds.), Les royaumes de Chypre à l’épreuve de l’histoire Transitions et ruptures de la fin de l’âge du Bronze au début de l’époque hellénistique (BCH.Suppl. 60), 189–200. École française d’Athènes.

To date references to Cyprus, as a possession, remain difficult to recognize in the Achaemenid record. The present discussion focuses on the testimony of the rosters of subject peoples and lands that are featured in surviving Achaemenid monumental inscriptions. It supports the view that, though Cyprus as such is not mentioned in these rosters, it is nonetheless evoked as the (western) maritime holding par excellence of the Persian kings. Indications in support of this interpretation derive from geographical and historical parameters that arguably determined the order of entries in the various rosters, references in Classical Greek texts, and certain telling convergences between the Achaemenid and earlier Mesopotamian imperialist ideology and conquest vocabulary.

DNf: A New Inscription Emerges from the Shadow

Delshad, Soheil, and Mojtaba Doroodi. 2019. DNf: A new inscription emerges from the shadow. Arta 2019.001.

DNf is a recently-discovered trilingual inscription on the tomb of Darius I at Naqsh-e Rostam. This article presents images, a first edition of the texts, observations on why the inscription was not recognized earlier, and comments on the relationship between the inscription and the sculptured figures below it.

Polygamy in Greek Views of Persians

Lenfant , Dominique. 2019. Polygamy in Greek views of Persians. Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies 59(1). 15–37.

Polygamy, rather than being invoked by Greek authors as a disparaging stereotype of Persians universally, was ascribed by Greeks only to certain kings, with most Persians portrayed as monogamous.

The Coronation of the Early Sasanians

Shenkar, Michael. 2019. The coronation of the early Sasanians, Ctesiphon, and the great diadem of Paikuli. Journal of Persianate Studies 28(2).

The article discusses the venue and the nature of the coronation ceremony of the Sasanian kings in the third century. It is argued that the coronation of the early Sasanians was a continuation of a Hellenistic ceremony, which was essentially the act of binding a diadem around one’s head. It seems that the common practice was for the king to bind the diadem himself in the presence of a select circle of courtiers or only in the presence of the gods. Furthermore, the article will demonstrate that Ctesiphon was neither the “capital” nor even the most important residence of the early Sasanians and no ceremony of coronation took place there in the third century.

Studies in Early Medieval Iranian Religious Manuscript Traditions

Barbati, Chiara & Olga Chunakova (eds.). 2018. Studies in early medieval Iranian religious manuscript traditions other than Islamic. Written Monuments of the Orient 2(8). Institute of Oriental Manuscripts: Russian Academy of Sciences.

This edited volume is part of the English version of the biannually published journal Written Monuments of the Orient, issued at Institute of Oriental Manuscripts: Russian Academy of Sciences.

Table of Contents

Introduction by Chiara Barbati 3

Enrico Morano. Some Сodicological Remarks on the Сorpus of the Berlin Turfan Manichaean Sogdian Manuscripts in Manichaean Script: among Books, Glossaries, Letters, Booklets, Bilingual and Trilingual Texts, Normal, Bold and Cursive Script — 11

Olga Chunakova. Middle Iranian Manichaean Manuscripts. Interpretation and Identification — 39

Christiane Reck. Short Survey on Sogdian Manuscriptology — 51

Christiane Reck and Adam Benkato. ‘Like a Virgin’: A Sogdian Recipe for Restoring Virginity and the Sanskrit Background of Sogdian Medicine — 67

Chiara Barbati. On the Numbering of Quires in the Christian Sogdian and Syriac Manuscript Fragments in the Turfan Collection (Berlin) and the Krotkov Collection (St. Petersburg) — 92

Manches de miroirs égyptiens de Suse

Qaheri, Sepideh & Julien Cuny. 2018. Manches de miroirs égyptiens de Suse. Revue d’égyptologie 68: 253-259.

This paper proposes a new function for a group of Egyptian objects from the Achaemenid city of Susa. These objects, which were previously known as architectural elements or ritual vessels, are in fact the handles of massive mirrors attested in Egypt from the Late Period onwards. They are more probably related to the chronological context of the Second Persian Period: they would reveal the Egyptian religious practices and reflect the diversity of the cults rendered in the heartland of the Persian Empire.

On the invention of the Old Persian Cuneiform

Albino, Marcos. 2017 [2018]. Zur Erfindung der altpersischen Schrift. MSS: Munich Studies on Linguistics Issue 71(2): 181-200.

In diesem Aufsatz stelle ich die Hypothese zur Diskussion, dass die altpersische Schrift unter Darius I. erfunden wurde, und zwar auf folgende Weise: ein Gelehrter („der Erfinder“) schrieb erst in aramäischer Schrift den Name des Darius, seines Vaters, seiner Vorfahren und die der anderen persischen Könige. Dann erfand er willkürlich das Zeichen für den ersten Buchstaben in Darius’ Namen und modifizierte dieses Zeichen für die anderen Buchstaben dieses und der anderen Namen: (fast) jedes neue Zeichen ist das Ergebnis der Modifizierung des Vorangehenden oder eines in seiner Nähe in der aramäischen Vorlage.

Labour in the Achaemenid heartland

Tamerus, Mark. 2018. Labour in the Achaemenid heartland. In Agnès Garcia-Ventura (ed.), What’s in a name? Terminology related to the work force and job categories in the ancient Near East, 467-493,
Münster: Ugarit Verlag .

This contribution is concerned with labour in the heartland of the Achaemenid Persian Empire (from the end of the sixth until the mid-fifth century BC). Drawing on earlier studies that have touched upon aspects of the organisation and management of labour in the imperial core, special focus is laid upon the diachronic and synchronic contexts of Persepolitan labour and labourers.

Bulletin of the Asia Institute

Volume 28 of the Bulletin of the Asia Institute has been published.

To obtain a copy, please contact Carol Bromberg:

Table of contents

  • Harry Falk, “The Five Yabghus of the Yuezhi”
  • Shai Secunda, “‘Lost Property to the King!’: The Talmudic Laws of Lost Property in the Shadow of Sasanian Bureaucracy”
  • Zhang Zhan,”Secular Khotanese Documents and the Administrative System in Khotan”
  • Salman Aliyari Babolghani,”What Was the Instrument That Zurwān Bestowed on Ahreman in the Wizīdagīhā ī Zādspram 1.29; 34.35?*”
  • Siam Bhayro, “A Jewish Aramaic Magic Bowl Containing the Formula of Ḥanina ben Dosa, and the Problem of Psalm 24:8b in the Magic Bowls”
  • Dieter Weber, “Pahlavi Documents of Windādburzmihrābād, the Estate of a Zoroastrian Entrepreneur in Early Islamic Times (With an Excursus on the Origin of the Fulanabad-Type of Village Names)”
  • Prods Oktor Skjærvø, “The Pahlavi Optative and Some Feminine Forms in īy”
  • Anca Dan, Frantz Grenet and Nicholas Sims-Williams, “Homeric Scenes in Bactria and India: Two Silver Plates with Bactrian and Middle Persian Inscriptions”


  • Schrenk. Textilien des Mittelmeerraumes aus spätantiker bis früislamicher Zeit (CAB)
  • Von Fircks and Schorta. Oriental Silks in Medieval Europe (CAB)
  • Wang Bo, Wang Mingang, Minawar Happar, and Lu Lipeng. Textile Treasures of Zaghunluq. Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Museum (CAB)