Tag Archives: Achaemenid Empire

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.

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.

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 Dating Biblical Texts to the Persian Period

Bautch, Richard J., and Mark Lackowski (eds.) (2019). On Dating Biblical Texts to the Persian Period. Mohr Siebrek Ek.


In the last two decades, increasing numbers of texts have been suggested as coming from or edited during the Persian period, but these discussions do not always reflect extensively on the assumptions used in making these claims or the implications on a broader scale. Earlier generations of scholars found it sufficient to categorize material in the biblical books simply as “late” or “postexilic” without adequately trying to determine when, by whom, and why the material was incorporated into the text at a fixed point in the Persian period. By grappling with these questions, the essays in this volume evince a greater degree of precision vis-a-vis dating and historical context. The authors introduce the designations early Persian, middle Persian, and late Persian in their textual analysis, and collectively they take significant steps toward developing criteria for locating a biblical text within the Persian period.

The Concept of Monument in Achaemenid Empire

Soheil, Mehr Azar. 2019. The concept of monument in Achaemenid Empire. New York: Routledge.

The aim of this book is to explore the significance of the concept of ‘monument’ in the context of the Achaemenid Empire (550-330 BC), with particular reference to the Royal Ensemble of Persepolis, founded by Darius I and built together with his son Xerxes. While Persepolis was built as an ‘intentional monument’, it had already become an ‘historic monument’ during the Achaemenid period. It maintained its symbolic significance in the following centuries even after its destruction by Alexander of Macedonia in 330 BC. The purpose of building Persepolis was to establish a symbol and a common reference for the peoples of the Empire with the Achaemenid Dynasty, transmitting significant messages and values such as peace, stability, grandeur and praise for the dynastic figure of the king as the protector of values and fighting falsehood.
While previous research on Achaemenid heritage has mainly been on archaeological and art-historical aspects of Persepolis, the present work focuses on the architecture and design of Persepolis. It is supported by studies in the fields of archaeology, history and art history, as well as by direct survey of the site. The morphological analysis of Persepolis, including the study of the proportions of the elevations, and the verification of a planning grid for the layout of the entire ensemble demonstrate the univocal will by Darius to plan Persepolis following a precise initial scheme. The study shows how the inscriptions, bas-reliefs and the innovative architectural language together express the symbolism, values and political messages of the Achaemenid Dynasty, exhibiting influence from different lands in a new architectural language and in the plan of the entire site.

Interpreting Herodotus

Harrison, Thomas & Elizabeth Irwin (eds.). 2018. Interpreting Herodotus. Oxford University Press.

Charles W. Fornara’s Herodotus. An Interpretative Essay (1971) was a landmark publication in the study of Herodotus. It is well known in particular for its main thesis that the Histories should be read against the background of the Atheno-Peloponnesian Wars during which Herodotus wrote. However, it also includes penetrating discussion of other issues: the relative unity of Herodotus’ work; the relationship between Herodotus’ ethnographies and his historical narrative; and the themes and motifs that criss-cross the Histories, how ‘history became moral and Herodotus didactic’. Interpreting Herodotus brings together a team of leading Herodotean scholars to look afresh at the themes of Fornara’s Essay, in the light of the explosion of scholarship on the Histories in the intervening years. What does it mean to talk of the unity of the Histories, or Herodotus’ ‘moral’ purpose? How can we reconstruct the context in which the Histories were written and published? And in what sense might the Histories constitute a ‘warning’ for his own, or for subsequent, generations?

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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