Tag Archives: Achaemenid Empire

The Iron Age in southern Central Asia

Lhuillier, Johanna & Nikolaus Boroffka (eds.). 2018. A millennium of history. The Iron Age in southern Central Asia (2nd and 1st millennia BC). Proceedings of the conference held in Berlin (June 23–25, 2014). Dedicated to the memory of Viktor Ivanovich Sarianidi (Archeology in Iran and Turan 17). Berlin: Dietrich Reimer Verlag.

The volume gives a comprehensive insight into the Iron Age in southern Central Asia, whose beginning and end are marked by two major cultural changes: the end of Bronze Age urban societies with their large burial grounds and the conquest of Central Asia by Alexander the Great. Central to this is the incorporation of this region into the Achaemenid-Persian empire. Profound social changes in settlement, technology, and spiritual life can be linked to the emergence of the Avesta and the Zoroastrian religion, which became the official religion of the Persian Empire. A new look at texts and archaeological research demonstrates the complete incorporation of Bactria and Sogdia into the Achaemenid Empire during the 6th century BC.

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Alphabet scribes in the land of cuneiform

Bloch, Yigal. 2018. Alphabet scribes in the land of cuneiform: sepiru professionals in Mesopotamia in the neo-Babylonian and Achaemenid periods (Gorgias Studies in the Ancient Near East 11). Piscataway, NJ, USA: Gorgias Press.
This book discusses the alphabetic scribes (sēpiru) mentioned in Mesopotamian documents of the Neo-Babylonian and Achaemenid periods – specifically, of the 6th-5th centuries bce. The period in question saw a wide diffusion of writing in the Northwest Semitic alphabetic script – mostly in Aramaic – in Mesopotamia; yet, alphabetic texts were normally written in ink on perishable materials and did not survive to be discovered by modern archaeologists. In contrast, cuneiform tablets written on clay have been found in large numbers, and they document different aspects of the alphabetic scribes’ activities. This book presents evidence for understanding the Akkadian term sēpiru as a designation for an alphabetic scribe and discusses the functions of these professionals in different administrative and economic spheres. It further considers the question of the ethnic origins of the alphabetic scribes in Mesopotamia, with special attention to the participation of Judeans in Babylonia in this profession. Bloch also provides translations of over 100 cuneiform documents of economic, legal and administrative content.

Taxation and Administration in the Achaemenid Empire

From 550 to 330 BCE, the Achaemenid empire conquered different regions and united them under the rule of its king. To finance its military expeditions, its administration and its building projects, the empire extracted taxes from the peoples it ruled. But was there a common fiscal system uniting Babylonia, Egypt, Iran, Asia Minor, Bactria, etc., managed by a corps of administrators and agents imposing Achaemenid rules? This workshop will bring together specialists of archeological and written sources from different provinces of the empire to discuss the problems associated with this question and to present the realities of the local peoples living in of the Achaemenid empire.

 

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War and peace in the Iranian world

Jullien, Florence (ed.). 2018. Guerre et paix dans le monde iranien: revisiter les lieux de rencontre (Cahiers de Studia Iranica, 62). Peeters.

Ce volume est le fruit du programme de recherche «Guerre et paix en monde iranien. Revisiter les lieux de rencontre» (2015-2017) de l’Unité Mixte de Recherche “Mondes iranien et indien” et de conférences données dans le cadre d’un atelier lors du deuxième congrès du Groupement d’Intérêt Scientifique “Moyen-Orient et Mondes musulmans” (juillet 2017).

Table of contents:

  • Wouter F. M. HENKELMAN: Precarious gifts: Achaemenid estates and domains in times of war and peace
  • Christelle JULLIEN: La piété du Perse “barbare”. Modélisations chrétiennes en milieu sassanide
  • Maria SZUPPE: Les “Nôtres” et les “Autres” dans la conquête qezelbāsh du Khorāsān : propagande et Realpolitik dans l’État safavide naissant
  • Rika GYSELEN: Une cohésion culturelle par l’image ? Le concept air-terre-eau chez les artistes sassanides
  • Johnny CHEUNG: Maintenir la paix religieuse entre les membres musulmans et yézidis des tribus kurdes
  • Florence HELLOT-BELLIER: Violence et solidarités en Azerbaïdjan iranien avant et pendant la première guerre mondiale
  • Anne-Sophie VIVIER-MURESAN: Sanctuaires “partagés” : lieux de tensions ou de rencontres ?
  • Florence JULLIEN: Des chrétiens engagés pour la paix entre la Perse et Byzance. L’ambassade du catholicos Īšōʿyahb de Gdala
  • Denis V. VOLKOV: War and Peace in the Other and the Self: Iran through the eyes of Russian spies. The case of Konstantin Smirnov (1877-1938) and Leonid Shebarshin (1935-2012)
  • Jean-Pierre DIGARD: Meurtre, répression et réparation en milieu tribal iranien (Bakhtyâri, 1973-1974)

ANABASIS. STUDIA CLASSICA ET ORIENTALIA Volume 8 (2017)

Volume eight of “Anabasis“, edited by Marek Jan Olbrycht is out now. Several papers and reviews of this issue are related to ancient Iran:

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Archaeological traces of the Achaemenid palaces of Hamadan

Boucharlat, Rémy. 2018. Les traces archéologiques des palais achéménides de HamadanArta 2018.002.

Several tens of incomplete column bases and fragments of column drums and stone capitals testify to the existence of several hypostyle halls on the Hamadan site. The majority of the pieces presented here, often little known, come from Tépé Hegmateneh in the north-east of the modern city center. However, the important excavations on this hill did not reveal any level of Achaemenid times. The buildings of this period must then be sought elsewhere, perhaps on the other nearby hill, Tépé Mosalla.

Cultural and linguistic relations within the Achaemenid Empire

ÁLVAREZ-PEDROSA, Juan Antonio , Flavia POMPEO & Maria Carmela BENVENUTO (eds.). 2017. Del Indo al Egeo. Relaciones culturales y lingüísticas en el interior del Imperio aqueménida, Madrid: Guillermo Escolar Editor.

This book is a product of the project entitled «Indios y Griegos en la corte de los Aquemenidas. Analisis de un contacto cultural (IGCA) – Indians and Greeks in the Achaemenid Court. A Cross-cultural Analysis (IGAC)», coordinated by Juan Antonio Álvarez-Pedrosa Núñez (referentia FFI2013-41023-P, sponsored as part of the ‘Plan Estatal de Investigación Científica y Técnica y de Innovación 2013-2016’).

Here is the Spanish abstract:

Los estudios que conforman este volumen abarcan un rango muy variado de contactos culturales y lingüísticos que se produjeron en el interior del Imperio aqueménida. La estructura descentralizada de su administración favoreció todo tipo de contactos. Igualmente lo hizo el reconocimiento por sus gobernantes de su carácter multilingüe, multinacional y multirreligioso y la flexibilidad con la que gobernaron todas estas complejas realidades.

El Imperio aqueménida contaba con núcleos particularmente activos en su vida cultural. Uno estaba constituido por las capitales del Imperio: Susa, Ecbátana, Persépolis, Pasargadas y Babilonia, donde radicaban la lengua propia de la realeza y la aristocracia, el antiguo persa, que coexistía con lenguas como el acadio. En Anatolia, se configura un núcleo cultural importante en las capitales de las satrapías más occidentales, Sardes y Dascilio, con una influencia fuerte de la cultura griega. Parece claro que al Oriente se va creando un núcleo bactro-céntrico, con una importancia especial de la ciudad de Bactra.

También es cierto que el uso del arameo como lengua franca de la administración y el comercio facilitó enormemente el cáracter descentralizado y flexible del gobierno aqueménida y, sin duda, pavimentó el camino para la difusión del griego en el periodo helenístico.

En definitiva, se trata de in mundo cultural de una riqueza y complejidad sin parangón, que puede dar lugar a sucesivos hallazgos científicos que nos permitirán conocerlo más y mejor.

Source: Guillermo Escolar Editor. 

For the table of contents, see here.

Intercalary Months in Achaemenid Elamite Documents

Stolper Matthew W. 2018. Intercalary months in Achaemenid Elamite administrative documents from Persepolis. In C. Jay Crisosotomo, Eduardo A. Escobar, Terri Tanaka, & Niek Veldhuis (eds.), The scaffolding of our thoughts: Essays on Assyriology and the history of science in honor of Francesca Rochberg, 296–316. Leiden: Brill.

Surveys current evidence from the Persepolis Fortification Archive and the Persepolis Treasury Archives on intercalation: terminology, usage, attestations.

 

Report on Inscribed Fragments Excavated from Drainage System of Southern Courtyard of Tačar

Delshad, Soheil. 2017. Report on inscribed fragments excavated from drainage system of Southern courtyard of Tačar. In Asadi, A. and M. Mansouri (eds.), Excavation reports of the third season of archaeological excavations at Persepolis drainage system, 121–135. Persepolis World Heritage Site.

During the second and third seasons of excavations at Persepolis drainage system (led by A. Asadi and M. Mansouri), three inscribed fragments have been excavated. The exact findspot of those fragments is the water channel at the southern courtyard of Tačara Palace. The first two fragments have been found during the third season of excavations (i.e., 1396: 2017) and the third fragment has been revealed to the excavators in the second season (i.e., 1393: 2014).

In original:
دلشاد، سهیل. 1396. گزارش خرده‌کتیبه های شناسایی شده از آب راه حیاط جنوبی تچر. گزارش فصل سوم کاووشهای باستانشناختی آبراهه‌های تخت جمشید (ا. اسدی-م. منصوری)، پایگاه میراث جهانی تخت جمشید، صفحات 121-135.

Some Perspective on Agriculture and Irrigation Systems in the Achaemenid Heartland

Shobairi, Seyed Abazar. 2018. Beyond the Palace: Some Perspective on Agriculture and Irrigation Systems in the Achaemenid Heartland. In Barbara Horejs et al (eds.), Proceedings of the 10th International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, Vol. 2 (Prehistoric and Historical Landscapes & Settlement Patterns), 149-162. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.

The Achaemenid heartland (Parsa and Pasargadae Plains) is one of the most vital areas in southwestern Iran. These wide regions are watery and have rich lands suitable for farming. Most likely, the formation of the Achaemenid capitals, Pasargadae and Persepolis, by the Sivand and Kur rivers in Fars was neither arbitrary nor did it occur suddenly. Considerable remains of large earthen channel networks branch out from these rivers and are located close to the main Achaemenid sites. In addition, existing qanat systems and the remains of several dams in the Persepolis and Pasargadae plains represent a development and progress in irrigation systems and agriculture in the Achaemenid period. It seems probable that one of the economic aims of the Achaemenids was the development of agriculture as well as increased production. Some of the Persepolis Fortification Tablets attest to the importance of rivers as well as crop farming in Achaemenid era. The broader scope of my research is to arrive at a much more substantial understanding of water supply and management practices in the Persian Achaemenid period.