Garrison, Mark B., Charles E. Jones, and Matthew W. Stolper. 2018. Achaemenid Elamite Administrative Tablets, 4: BM 108963. Journal of Near Eastern Studies 77(1), 1-14.
Faust, Avraham. 2018. Forts or agricultural estates? Persian period settlement in the territories of the former kingdom of Judah. Palestine Exploration Quarterly 150 (1), 34-59.
The territories of the former kingdom of Judah were only sparsely settled during the Persian period, as exemplified by the extreme rarity of domestic structures unearthed in excavations. Viewed against this background, the large number of excavated forts and isolated administrative buildings from this period is remarkable, and they apparently outnumber the period’s excavated dwellings. Not only is this an extremely unlikely situation, but various lines of evidence, pertaining to specific sites as well as to the phenomenon as a whole, render the possibility that all these structures were forts or administrative buildings re-examines implausible. Consequently, this article reexamines the phenomenon within the social landscape of the region in particular, and of the Achaemenid empire in general, in an attempt to embed those unique buildings within the broader demographic and political reality of this time. Given the location of many of the sites and the finds unearthed in them, and in light of the demographic reality in the region and of the broader Achaemenid imperial policy, the article suggests that most of the so-called forts were estates, created in the process of the resettlement of this previously devastated region.
The present volume is a collection of articles published in English by Professor Pierre Briant of the Collège de France, in various forms over the past three decades. Pierre Briant has been instrumental in the recent revival of Achaemenid history, and the way in which he has achieved this is instructive for the future generations of historians to come. One can state that Briant’s approach to history is very much in the French tradition: it engages with both narration and a thorough historiographical methodology, making his work so distinctively rigorous and compelling at the same time. Another important contribution made by Briant’s work concerns the changing scholarly interpretations of the relations between the Achaemenids and Alexander in the longue durée. Since the major corpus of Pierre Briant’s work was originally composed in French, I thought that it would be beneficial to many English-speaking students, as well as educated readers and experts in the field, to have access to these important essays in a single volume. I have tried to keep articles in their original publication format and style, wherever possible. This volume is a special tribute to an important historian of our time, from which current and future students of Persia will have much to learn.
Qahéri, Sépideh & Kevin Trehuedic. 2017. Premier alabastron d’époque perse à inscription araméenne (MNI 218/9). Arta 2017.002.
Müllerm Sabine, Timothy Howe, Hugh Bowden & Robert Rollinger (eds.). 2017. The History of the Argeads. New Perspectives. (classica et orientalia 19), Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
The Macedonian Argead Empire had an interesting and fascinating history already before its rise under its most famous rulers Philip II and his son Alexander III. Furthermore, the history of their predecessors provides a context for understanding their activities.
This volume, based on a conference on Argead Macedonia in 2015, offers an account of the place of Argead Macedonia in the wider ancient world from the sixth century BC to the second century AD and beyond. Argead Macedonia is explored in the context of its regal, structural, historical, courtly and military traditions. Its alliances and enmities, its political networks and environment are scrutinized – particularly in regard to Persia, but also to Greece. In order to look at Argead Macedonia from a wider angle, going beyond ancient literary topoi and views on Macedonia in isolation, the authors analyze in which ways the Argead monarchy was integrated into the wider Eastern Mediterranean and Near Eastern world, influenced by it and having an impact upon it. The volume is divided into four sections. Different aspects such as Macedonia’s relationship with Achaemenid Persia, political and military matters, Argead coinage, dynastic profile and reception of the Argeads are examined.
The introduction and the table of contents are available here.
Hyland, John. 2017. Persian interventions: The Achaemenid Empire, Athens, and Sparta, 450−386 BCE. Johns Hopkins University Press.
In Persian Interventions, John O. Hyland challenges earlier studies that assume Persia played Athens against Sparta in a defensive balancing act. He argues instead for a new interpretation of Persian imperialism, one involving long-term efforts to extend diplomatic and economic patronage over Greek clients beyond the northwestern frontier. Achaemenid kings, he asserts, were less interested in Ionia for its own sake than in the accumulation of influence over Athens, Sparta, or both, which allowed them to advertise Persia’s claim to universal power while limiting the necessity of direct military commitment. The slow pace of intervention resulted from logistical constraints and occasional diplomatic blunders, rather than long-term plans to balance and undermine dangerous allies.
John O. Hyland is an associate professor of history at Christopher Newport University.
The book is scheduled to be published in December 2017.
The latest issue of Phoenix, the journal of the society Ex Oriente Lux, has been just published. Here is R.J. (Bert) van der Spek‘s summary of this special issue, ‘Herodotus en het Perzische Rijk’, Phoenix 63.2 (2017):
Focus is on Near Eastern information that puts Herodotus in a more balanced perspective. Wouter Henkelman presents Egyptological (and other) information on the famous story of Cambyses and the Apis (III 27-9; 33; 64). He shows how early researchers of the Apis burials were deceived by taking Herodotus’ story at face value. It is better not to, rather to consider Herodotus’ agenda of defamation of Cambyses, which Henkelman defines as ‘character assassination’. He places the story in an Egyptian tradition of defamation of foreigners, of ‘Chaosbeschreibung’. Olaf Kaper discusses the excavations in the Dakhlah oasis, which was once a settlement of revolting king Petubastis IV. The mysterious story of an army sent by Cambyses to the Ammonians, that disappeared in the desert (III 25), might well simply reflect an annihilation by that army by Petubastis, followed by a damnatio memoriae by the Persians. CAROLINE WAERZEGGERS discusses the modern prejudices on Xerxes, exemplified by the film ‘300’. Western knowledge and interpretation of Xerxes is based on Herodotus, who has a very biased picture of Xerxes. Herodotus suggests to have visited Babylon, but who is not very reliable. He does not know anything about an important revolt in the second year of Xerxes’ reign, i.e. about the year of birth of Herodotus. Karel van der Toorn discusses ‘the long arm of Artaxerxes II’ by recognizing the Jewish community in Elephantine in Egypt, which caused tensions. In the fifth century, the time of Herodotus, this setting apart of the Jewish community was not yet so much clear, so that for Herodotus the Jews (in Elephantine and in Palestine” simply counted as “Syrians” (all spoke Aramaic).
Lanzillotta, Lautaro Roig with the collaboration of Luisa Lesage (eds.). 2017. Frederick E. Brenk on Plutarch, Religious Thinker and Biographer. Leiden: Brill.
The present book Frederick E. Brenk: Plutarch, Religious Thinker and Biographer, “The Religious Spirit of Plutarch of Chaironeia” and “The Life of Mark Antony” includes the updated and revised version of two seminal articles on Plutarch by F. E. Brenk published thirty years ago in ANRW. Edited by Lautaro Roig Lanzillotta, both articles cover the two sides of Plutarch’s corpus, the Livesand Moralia.
Gallarreta, Jose E. Balcells. 2017. Household and Family Religion in Persian-Period Judah: An Archaeological Approach (Ancient Near East Monographs 18), SBL Press.
Balcells Gallarreta investigates the ritual artifacts from Persian period Tell en-Nasbeh in their original contexts, as a case study that provides a deeper understanding of the religious ideas and practices of households in Persian period Judah. Unlike previous scholarship that focused on official or state religion, he utilizes archaeology of religion and domestic contexts to reveal the existence of household religion and rituals in Persian period Tell en-Nasbeh, along with other contemporary sites in Yehud. Archaeological data from Tell en-Nasbeh and other sites in the Shephelah region of Yehud demonstrate that family and household rituals and religion were practiced in Persian period Judah.
José E. Balcells Gallarreta is Assistant Professor at Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico, where he focuses on Hebrew Bible and Near Eastern archaeology.