Category Archives: Books

Over the Mountains and Far Away

Avetisyan, Pavel S., Roberto Dan & Yervand H. Grekyan (eds.). 2019. Over the Mountains and Far Away: Studies in Near Eastern history and archaeology presented to Mirjo Salvini on the occasion of his 80th birthday. Archaeopress.

The publication of Over the Mountains and Far Away: Studies in Near Eastern history and archaeology presented to Mirjo Salvini on the occasion of his 80th birthday was initiated by the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, National Academy of Sciences of Armenia, the International Association of Mediterranean and Oriental Studies (Rome, Italy) and the Association for Near Eastern and Caucasian Studies (Yerevan, Armenia) as a tribute to the career of Professor Mirjo Salvini on the occasion his 80th birthday. It is composed of 62 papers written by his colleagues and students from Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Poland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria, Great Britain, Russian Federation, Israel, Turkey, Islamic Republic of Iran, Georgia, United States and Armenia. The contributions presented here cover numerous topics, a wide geographical area and a long chronological period. However, most of the contributions deal with research in the fields of Urartian and Hittite Studies, the topics that attracted Prof. Salvini during his long and fruitful career most.

For the table of contents click here.

Tanbûr along the Silk Road

Zeeuw, Hans de. 2019. Tanbûr long-necked lutes along the Silk Road and beyond. Oxford: Archaeopress.

Tanbûr Long-Necked Lutes Along the Silk Road and beyond explores the origin, history, construction, and playing techniques of tanbûrs, a musical instrument widely used over vast territories and over many centuries. The diffusion of the tanbûr into the musical cultures along the Silk Road resulted in a variety of tanbûrs with two or more, occasionally doubled or tripled courses, a varying number and variously tuned frets, each having its own characteristic sound, playing technique, and repertory. Since the last century, tanbûrs spread beyond the Silk Road while new versions continue to appear due to changing musical and tonal demands made on them. Similar or identical instruments are also known by other names, such as saz or bağlama, dotâr or dutâr, setâr, dömbra, and dambura.

Making Mesopotamia: Geography and Empire in a Romano-Iranian Borderland

Cameron, Hamish. 2019. Making Mesopotamia: Geography and Empire in a Romano-Iranian Borderland (Impact of Empire, 32). Leiden: Brill.

In Making Mesopotamia: Geography and Empire in a Romano-Iranian Borderland, Hamish Cameron examines the representation of the Mesopotamian Borderland in the geographical writing of Strabo, Pliny the Elder, Claudius Ptolemy, the anonymous Expositio Totius Mundi, and Ammianus Marcellinus. This inter-imperial borderland between the Roman Empire and the Arsacid and Sasanid Empires provided fertile ground for Roman geographical writers to articulate their ideas about space, boundaries, and imperial power. By examining these geographical descriptions, Hamish Cameron shows how each author constructed an image of Mesopotamia in keeping with the goals and context of their own work, while collectively creating a vision of Mesopotamia as a borderland space of movement, inter-imperial tension, and global engagement.

The Empires of the Near East and India

Khafipour, Hani. 2019. The empires of the Near East and India: Source studies of the Safavid, Ottoman, and Mughal literate communities. New York: Columbia University Press.

In the early modern world, the Safavid, Ottoman, and Mughal empires sprawled across a vast swath of the earth, stretching from the Himalayas to the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea. The diverse and overlapping literate communities that flourished in these three empires left a lasting legacy on the political, religious, and cultural landscape of the Near East and India. This volume is a comprehensive sourcebook of newly translated texts that shed light on the intertwined histories and cultures of these communities, presenting a wide range of source material spanning literature, philosophy, religion, politics, mysticism, and visual art in thematically organized chapters. Scholarly essays by leading researchers provide historical context for closer analyses of a lesser-known era and a framework for further research and debate. The volume aims to provide a new model for the study and teaching of the region’s early modern history that stands in contrast to the prevailing trend of examining this interconnected past in isolation.

Source: The Empires of the Near East and India | Columbia University Press

The Geography of Gandhāran Art

Rienjang, Wannaporn & Peter Stewart (eds.). 2019. The geography of Gandhāran art. Oxford: Archaeopress.

Proceedings of the Second International Workshop of the Gandhāra  Connections Project, University of Oxford, 22nd-23rd March, 2018. This volume is open access and available from the publisher's website linked above.

Gandhāran art is usually regarded as a single phenomenon – a unified regional artistic tradition or ‘school’. Indeed it has distinctive visual characteristics, materials, and functions, and is characterized by its extensive borrowings from the Graeco-Roman world. Yet this tradition is also highly varied. Even the superficial homogeneity of Gandhāran sculpture, which constitutes the bulk of documented artistic material from this region in the early centuries AD, belies a considerable range of styles, technical approaches, iconographic choices, and levels of artistic skill.

Sūtkar-Nask and Varštmānsar-Nask from Dēnkard 9

Tafażżolī, Aḥmad. 1398 š [2019]. Taṣḥīḥ-o tarǧome-ye Sutgar nask va Varšt-mānsar nask az Dēnkard-e 9 va sanǧeš-e in do nask bā matnhā-ye avestāʾi [An Edition and Translation of Sūtkar-Nask and Varštmānsar-Nask from Dēnkard 9 in comparison with the Avestan texts]. (Ed.) Žāle Āmuzgār. Tehran: Center for the Great Islamic Encyclopedia.

The Middle Persian Dēnkard “Acts of the religion” is a summary of 10th-century Zoroastrian knowledge of religion, considered as the “Mazdean encyclopedia”. It is divided into nine books of which, the first two and the beginning of the third are lost. The Book IX of Dēnkard consists commentaries on the three great Mazdean prayers: Ahunwar, Ašem vohū, and Yeŋ́hē hātąm from the gathic nasks of Sūtkar, Varštmānsar, and Bagnasks. Tafażżolī’s edition comprises the first two nasks, which are of mythical and historical contents.

Aḥmad Tafażżolī (1316 š/1937-1375 š/1997) was a prominent scholar and philologist in the field of Middle Iranian studies. His works deal with lexicography and the edition of Middle Persian (Pahlavi) texts and Iranian mythology, most of which, regretfully now lost. This volume is his for the first time postmortemously published doctoral thesis in ancient Iranian languages, defended on 1965 under the direction of Ṣādeq Kiā at the Tehran University. Furthermore he left nearly a dozen books, more than a hundred articles, and many book reviews, which those in Persian are also recently publihsed in The Collected Writings of Ahmad Tafazzoli.



The Collected Writings of Ahmad Tafazzoli

Tafażżolī, Aḥmad. 1398 š [2019]. Maqālāt-e Aḥmad Tafażżolī [The collected writings of Ahmad Tafazzoli]. (Ed.) Žāle Āmuzgār. Tehran: Toos Publications.

The collection includes Aḥmad Tafażżolī’s published Persian scholorly articles on various subjects of ancient and middle Iranian studies, Iranian philology as well as Zoroastrian studies in two sections and 472 pages. The first sections comprises 55 articles and the second section is devoted to his reviews and contains 19 reviews and critical seurvays, edited by Zhaleh Amuzgar.

Aḥmad Tafażżolī (1316 š/1937-1375 š/1997) was a prominent scholar and philologist in the field of Middle Iranian studies. His works deal with lexicography and the edition of Middle Persian (Pahlavi) texts and Iranian mythology, most of which, regretfully now lost. His doctoral dissertation on Dēnkard IX is published recently posthumously. He left nearly a dozen books, more than a hundred articles, and many book reviews, which those in Persian are gathered and edited in this volume.

The table of contents of this volume can be seen here.

L’Orient est son jardin

Gondet, Sébastien & Ernie Haerinck (eds.). 2018. L’Orient est son jardin: Hommage à Rémy Boucharlat (Acta Iranica 58). Leuven: Peeters.

Le présent volume regroupe 36 articles signés par 49 auteurs et rédigés en hommage à la carrière de Rémy Boucharlat, directeur de recherche émérite au CNRS et spécialiste de l’archéologie du monde iranien et des pourtours du Golfe Persique. Ses nombreuses et importantes contributions ont servi de point d’appui aux spécialistes réunis ici (archéologues, historiens, épigraphistes et historiens de l’art) pour traiter de l’archéologie et de l’histoire des civilisations qui se sont succédé dans cette vaste aire géographique, entre le premier millénaire avant notre ère et le premier millénaire après. Une grande partie des contributions traite de l’archéologie de l’Iran et plus particulièrement de l’époque achéménide qui, depuis ses premières recherches à Suse au cours des années 1970, fait l’objet d’un intérêt constant de la part de Rémy Boucharlat. Les périodes plus anciennes, de l’âge du Fer, et plus récentes, parthes et sassanides, sont également abordées. L’ensemble des articles témoigne de la richesse des thématiques et des terrains que Rémy Boucharlat a explorés, et continue à explorer, ainsi que d’une démarche d’étude des sociétés orientales passées résolument pluridisciplinaire dont il est un des principaux moteurs.

The Persianate World: The Frontiers of a Eurasian Lingua Franca


Green, Nile (ed.). 2019. The Persianate world: The frontiers of a Eurasian lingua franca. Oakland, California: University of California Press.

Persian is one of the great lingua francas of world history. Yet despite its recognition as a shared language across the Islamic world and beyond, its scope, impact, and mechanisms remain underexplored. A world historical inquiry into pre-modern cosmopolitanism, The Persianate World traces the reach and limits of Persian as a Eurasian language in a comprehensive survey of its geographical, literary, and social frontiers. From Siberia to Southeast Asia, and between London and Beijing, this book shows how Persian gained, maintained, and finally surrendered its status to imperial and vernacular competitors. Fourteen essays trace Persian’s interactions with Bengali, Chinese, Turkic, Punjabi, and other languages to identify the forces that extended “Persographia,” the domain of written Persian. Spanning the ages of expansion and contraction, The Persianate World offers a critical survey of both the supports and constraints of one of history’s key languages of global exchange.


Middle Persian and Parthian hymns in the Turfan Collection

Leurini, Claudia. 2017. Hymns in honour of the hierarchy and community, installation hymns and hymns in honour of Church leaders and Patrons. Middle Persian and Parthian hymns in the Turfan Collection. Turnhout: Brepols Publishers.

This volume presents texts in the Iranian languages, Middle Persian and Parthian, preserved in the Berlin Turfan Collection. These hymns are predominantly in Middle Persian. They were identified by M. Boyce in the registers of her Catalogue of the Iranian Manuscripts in Manichaean Scripts in the German Turfan Collection as “Hymns in Honour of the Hierarchy” and “Installation Hymns, Hymns in Honour of Church Leaders and Patrons”. Few of the fragments have been published, and mainly in editions dating back to the time of their discovery. New and updated readings, transliterations, translations into English, notes and commentaries are provided here for all the fragments identified by Boyce. The Introduction provides a description of the main features of the hymns to the Manichaean elect hierarchy, to the local hierarchies, and to the hierarchies of the Hearers, as well as of the installation hymns, and those in honour of high clerics and lay patrons. Reflections are provided on the use of cryptography in the Manichaean texts in Manichaean script, and about the learning habits inside scriptoria in Manichaean monasteries in Central Asia, the existence of which has long been suspected. The volume contains a complete glossary and bibliography, as well as facsimiles of joined fragments.

Source: Hymns in Honour of the Hierarchy and Community, Installation Hymns and Hymns in Honour of Church Leaders and Patrons