Tag Archives: Achaemenid History

Plutarch and the Persica

Almagor, Eran. 2018. Plutarch and the Persica.  Edinburgh University Press.

This book addresses two historical mysteries. The first is the content and character of the fourth century BCE Greek works on the Persian Achaemenid Empire treatises called the Persica. The second is the method of work of the second century CE biographer Plutarch of Chaeronea (CE 45-120) who used these works to compose his biographies, in particular the Life of the Persian king Artaxerxes.

By dealing with both issues simultaneously, Almagor proposes a new way of approaching the two entangled problems, and offers a better understanding of both the portrayal of ancient Persia in the lost Persica works and the manner of their reception and adaptation nearly five hundred years later. Intended for both scholars and students of the Achaemenid Empire and Greek imperial literature, this book bridges the two worlds and two important branches of scholarship.

Key features

  • Builds a picture of the character and structure of the lost Persica works by Ctesias of Cnidus, Deinon of Colophon, Heracleides of Cyme

  • Shows how Plutarch used the Persica works in his Lives with a specific focus on Artaxerxes

  • Considers the depiction of famous figures such as Alexander the Great and Themistocles in Plutarch’s works

Achaemenid Grants of Cities and Lands to Greeks

Kholod, Maxim. 2018. Achaemenid Grants of Cities and Lands to Greeks: The Case of Mentor and Memnon of RhodesGreek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 58, 177-197.

The first grant probably consisted of Ilium, Cebren, and Scepsis and vicinity, while the second was either in the same part of the Troad or in the coastal region between Adramyttium and the Caicus.

Source of the abstract: GRBS.

Greco-Persian Relations 499-490 BC

Stronk, Jan P. 2016/2017. From Sardis to Marathon. Greco-Persian relations 499–490 BC: A review. Part one: Up to and including the fall of EretriaTalanta 48-49, 133-184.

The Battle of Marathon in 490 BC, which was commemorated at Athens on 6 Boedromion (and at present celebrated on 12 September), may be regarded as one of the defining moments in the history of the ancient polis of Athens. The battle was the culmination point of developments that started about the middle of the sixth century BC, but really took shape shortly after 500 BC. In this paper, which will be published in two parts, we shall follow various circumstances and actions involving the Achaemenid Empire (briefly described as Persia) and Greek poleis which ultimately led to the Battle of Marathon. As the Persian sources available in order to draw a more comprehensive picture of those occurrences at the end of sixth and the first decade of the fifth centuries BC relating to the Greco-Persian controversies than can be obtained from Herodotus’ account alone.His story remains to this day the main literary source for most People investigating the events in that period. In this first part, we shall discuss the occurrences up to and including the fall of Eretria. In the second part, due to appear in Talanta 51(-52), we next pay attention to the Battle of Marathon and its implications.

Achaemenid Women: Putting the Greek Image to the Test

Safaee, Yazdan. 2016-7. Achaemenid Women: Putting the Greek Image to the Test, Talanta 48-49, 101-132.

The historians of ancient Greece, as part of the elite of Greek communities, of their own time. By studying the works of these historians one can become familiar with these traditions and the common view on the world in Greek culture regarding various issues and concepts. The purpose of this paper is to study and analyze the Greek approach to women and the effect of this approach on the way the history of the Achaemenid Empire (ca. ((550 – ca. 330 BC) was written. Our central theme in this paper is the question of the connection between the Greek perspective on women and the reliability of narratives related to women in the accounts of Achaemenid history by Greek historians.

Scythian Strategy or Open Pitched Battle

Kleymeonov, Alexander Anatolevich. 2017. Scythian strategy or open pitched battle: Choice of strategy by the Persian command in 334 BCMan In India 97 (22), 219-227.

The article is devoted to the analysis of the Persian command’s plans to repel Alexander the Great’s invasion into Asia Minor. The main objective is to consider the information from the ancient sources related to Memnon of Rhodes’ proposal to apply the ” scorched earth ” tactic against the advancing Alexander’s army, to analyze this plan for feasibility and to identify the reasons for rejection of Memnon’s plan by the Persian satraps and commanders. The research was undertaken based on the principle of historism. A multi-faceted approach to the ancient narrative sources, methods of comparative historical analysis, content analysis, and the historical reconstructive method have been used. As a result, it was determined that the Persians knew well the features of the ” Scythian strategy ” and applied the ” scorched earth ” tactic both before and after Alexander’s invasion. However, Persian satraps and commanders rejected Memnon’s proposal at the council at Zeleia and adopted the open pitched battle. The reasons include numerous shortcomings and unfeasibility of Memnon’s plan, the positive sides of which were greatly exaggerated by ancient historians, who openly sympathized with Memnon of Rhodes and were critical towards the Persians.

Persian Interventions

Hyland, John O. 2017. Persian Interventions: The Achaemenid Empire, Athens, and Sparta, 450−386 BCE. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Thirty years after Xerxes invaded Greece, the Achaemenid Persian Empire ended its long war with Athens. For the next four decades, the Persians tolerated Athenian control of their former tributaries, the Ionian Greek cities of western Anatolia. But during the Peloponnesian War, Persia reclaimed Ionia and funded a Spartan fleet to overthrow Athenian power. It took eight long years for Persia to triumph, and Sparta then turned on its benefactors, prompting Persia to transfer aid to Athens in the Corinthian War. The peace of 386 reiterated imperial control of Ionia and compelled both Sparta and Athens to endorse a Persian promise of autonomy for Greeks outside Asia. Continue reading Persian Interventions

The Administrative Division of the 13th Satrapy of Achaemenid Persia in the Reign of Darius II

Khorikyan, Hovhannes. 2017.  The Administrative Division of the 13th Satrapy of Achaemenid Persia in the Reign of Darius II. Metamorphoses of History, Scientific Almanac 10: 174-180.

The Babylonian document BE. X.107 dated by the period of Darius II contains some very important information which is connected to the administrative division of the Achaemenid Empire. Shamesh/Iltammešbarakku who was the governor of the people of Urashtu (Urartu) and Milidu, is mentioned in the document. Urashtu-Urartu corresponds with Armenia and Milidu-Melitine, and when it was mentioned with the latter,
was an indivisible part of Satrapic Armenia, and Herodotus’ account proves this. Therefore, it can be said that Milidu is mentioned separately because it later became the center of Pactyica after Darius I’s administrative reforms; it was also one of the centers of the 13th satrapy which remained part of Armenia, despite the new administrative changes. Its ruler, the
satrap, continued having the title of “Governor of the People of Urashtu and Milidu (in a broad sense, Pactyica)”. Therefore, one can state that Melitine and its outlying regions, being to the west of the Euphrates where the territory of Armenia Minor would be established in the future, were an indivisible part of the country known as Armina-Armenia, during the entire period of Achaemenid reign.

 

Revolt and Resistance in the Ancient Classical World and the Near East

Collins, John & J.G. Manning. 2016. Revolt and Resistance in the Ancient Classical World and the Near East: In the Crucible of Empire. Leiden: Brill.

This collection of essays contains a state of the field discussion about the nature of revolt and resistance in the ancient world. While it does not cover the entire ancient world, it does focus in on the key revolts of the pre-Roman imperial world. Regardless of the exact sequence, it was an undeniable fact that the area we now call the Middle East witnessed a sequence of extensive empires in the second half of the last millennium BCE. At first, these spread from East to West (Assyria, Babylon, Persia). Then after the campaigns of Alexander, the direction of conquest was reversed. Despite the sense of inevitability, or of divinely ordained destiny, that one might get from the passages that speak of a sequence of world-empires, imperial rule was always contested. The essays in this volume consider some of the ways in which imperial rule was resisted and challenged, in the Assyrian, Persian, and Hellenistic (Seleucid and Ptolemaic) empires. Not every uprising considered in this volume would qualify as a revolution by this definition. Revolution indeed was on the far end of a spectrum of social responses to empire building, from resistance to unrest, to grain riots and peasant rebellions. The editors offer the volume as a means of furthering discussions on the nature and the drivers of resistance and revolution, the motivations for them as well as a summary of the events that have left their mark on our historical sources long after the dust had settled.

Table of contents

Preface
List of Abbreviations
Contributors
Introduction. John J. Collins and J. G. Manning
When is a Revolt not a Revolt? A Case for Contingency. Erich S. Gruen
Assyria and Babylonia
Revolts in the Assyrian Empire. Succession Wars, Rebellions against a False King, and Independence Movements. Karen Radner
Assyria’s Demise as Recompense: A Note on Narratives of Resistance in Babylonia and Judah Peter R. Bedford
Revolts in the Neo-Assyrian Empire: A Preliminary Discourse Analysis. Eckart Frahm
The Persian Empire
Xerxes and the Oathbreakers: Empire and Rebellion on the Northwestern Front. Matt Waters
Cyrus the Younger and Artaxerxes II, 401 BC. An Achaemenid Civil War Reconsidered. John Lee
Resistance, Revolt and Revolution in Achaemenid Persia. A Response. E. R. M. Dusinberre
The Ptolemaic Kingdom
Revolting Subjects. Empires and Insurrection, Ancient and Modern. Brian McGing
Revolts under the Ptolemies. A Paleoclimatological Perspective. Francis Ludlow and J. G. Manning
The Seleucid Empire
Resistance and Revolt. The Case of the Maccabees. Robert Doran
Temple or Taxes? What Sparked the Maccabean Revolt? John J. Collins
The Roman Empire
The Importance of Perspective. The Jewish-Roman Conflict of 66-70 CE as a Revolution James McLaren and Martin Goodman
Josephus, Jewish Resistance and the Masada Myth. Tessa Rajak
The Impact of the Jewish Rebellions, 66 – 135 CE. Destruction or Provincialization? Seth Schwartz
Bibliography
Index

Achaemenid Anatolia

International Symposium
Achaemenid Anatolia: Persian Presence and Influence in the Western Satrapies 546–330 BC
7–8 September 2017
The Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul,

The symposium explores the political, cultural, social, religious and scientific developments in Anatolia during the Achaemenid period. Anatolia was incorporated into the Persian Achaemenid Empire in the middle of the 6th century BC as a result of Cyrus the Great’s conquests and the region was under Persian rule until the end of the Empire, in 330. The period is characterized by a lively exchange between Persians, Greeks and other peoples in areas such as trade, art, architecture, science and religion. Anatolia also served as an important mediator of eastern culture, philosophy and teachings to Athens, a process that was crucial for the continuity in culture development in antiquity.
Continue reading Achaemenid Anatolia

The Monarchy of Teispid-Achaemenid Great Kings

Rollinger, Robert. 2017. “Monarchische Herrschaft am Beispiel des teispidisch-achaimenidischen Großreichs“, In S. Rebenich (Hg.), Monarchische Herrschaft im Altertum (Schriften des Historischen Kollegs 94), 189-215, Berlin:  De Gruyter.