Tag Archives: Achaemenid

The Imagery of the Ritual Landscape at Persepolis

Garrison, Mark B. 2017. The ritual landscape at persepolis: glyptic imagery from the persepolis fortification and treasury archives. (Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization 71). Chicago, IL: Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.

There are, perhaps, no more contentious issues within the study of Achaemenid Persia than those surrounding its religion(s) and religious iconography. Owing to the role that fire plays in Zoroastrian beliefs in later periods in Iran, almost any discussion of the subject of Achaemenid religion will eventually turn to the identification of sacred fire, fire temples, fire worship, and fire altars in the archaeological, epigraphic, and literary records.

The focus of this book is a corpus of glyptic imagery preserved as impressions on two large archives of administrative tablets from Persepolis, the Persepolis Fortification archive (509-493 BC) and the Persepolis Treasury archive (492-457 BC). The glyptic imagery here published concerns representations of what have been traditionally termed “fire altars” and/or “fire temples.” Most of this glyptic evidence has never been published; many of the structures and the scenes in which they occur are strikingly original.
The goals of this study are to introduce a new corpus of visual imagery concerning religious ritual in the Achaemenid period and to explore the significance of this visual language for our understanding of ritual traditions emerging within the heart of the empire at its most critical formative period, the reign of Darius I. This study seeks also to use the Persepolitan glyptic evidence as a springboard to re-visit the most famous “fire altar” depicted in Achaemenid art, that on the tomb relief of Darius I at Naqs-e Rostam.

This study is an initial step in the development of a religious topography for the zone encompassing Persepolis and Naqs-e Rostam, both a topography on the imaginary level (through images) and a topography on the physical level (through the built space). The glyptic images assembled in this study are the most numerous, the most visually complex, and the best dated and contextualized evidence that currently exists for the study of fire in ritual, and religious ritual more broadly, in early Achaemenid Iran.

You can download and read this volume here.

Bulletin of the Asia Institute 27

Issue 27 of the Bulletin of the Asia Institute will be published this December. The information on this issue is not yet available on the journal’s website, but the content has been circulated, which we are publishing here.

Bulletin of the Asia Institute 27

December 2017

Articles

  • Frantz Grenet, “More Zoroastrian Scenes on the Wirkak (Shi Jun) Sarcophagus”
  • Yaakov Elman and Mahnaz Moazami, “PV 5.1–4 in the Context of Late Antique Intellectual History”
  • Harry Falk, “The Ashes of the Buddha”
  • Peter Skilling, “Śrāvakas, Buddhas, and the Buddha’s Father: Inscribed Artefacts in the U Thong National Museum”
  • V. H. Sonowane, “Rock Paintings Depicting Stupas in Gujarat, India”
  • Domenico Agostini and Shaul Shaked, “Sasanian Seals of Priests”
  • Nicholas Sims-Williams, “A Bactrian Document of the Fifth Century c.e.”
  • Salman Aliyari Babolghani, “Achaemenid Elamite dayāuš (~ Old Persian dahyāu̯-š)”
  • Dieter Weber, “Accountancy of a Zoroastrian Craftsman in Early Islamic Times (662–664 CE)”
  • Stefan Zimmer, “The Etymology of Avestan 2čiqra- ‘Descent, Progeny'”
  • Zhang Zhan, “Kings of Khotan During the Tang Dynasty”

Reviews

  • Lieu and Mikkelsen, eds. Between Rome and China (Albert E. Dien)
  • Hansen. The Silk Road: A New History with Documents(Jenny Rose)
  • Mair and Hickman, eds. Reconfiguring the Silk Road: (Jenny Rose)

v + 170 pp.

Individual orders $80 + shipping or pdf online $50

Persian Interventions

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.

Darius I and Divinity

Greater Glory: Darius I and Divinity in Achaemenid Royal Ideology

A lecture by Matthew Waters (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire)
Organised by the Pourdavoud Center

For more information, click on the photo above or follow this link.

Continue reading Darius I and Divinity

Displaying Royal Tribute Animals in Ancient Persia and the Near East

Persepolis: The Audience Hall of Darius and Xerxes

Llewellyn-Jones, Lloyd. 2017. Keeping and Displaying Royal Tribute Animals in Ancient Persia and the Near East. In Thorsten Fögen & Edmund Thomas (eds.), Interactions between Animals and Humans in Graeco-Roman Antiquity. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter.

The Achaemenid dynasty (559-331 B.C.) ruled the biggest empire the ancient world had ever seen. Commanding lands from India to Ethiopia and Libya to Afghanistan, the Great Kings of Persia demanded loyalty and tribute from the conquered peoples who made up their vast realm, and the walls of their ceremonial capital at Persepolis in the heart of Iran abound with images of foreign delegations carrying tribute to their monarch. Amidst the gold, silver, textiles and precious stones brought to the ruler is a rich abundance of exotic wildlife: Asiatic lions, Bactrian camels, zebu, wild asses, and Arabian horses. Textual evidence alerts us to the presence of parrots, peacocks, and wild jungle fowl at the Iranian court as well as the probability that the Achaemenid Persians were familiar with rhinoceroses, tigers, and even okapi. The exotic fauna were living offerings from the four quarters of the empire, breathing symbols of the Great King’s power and his control of his vast dominions. By examining a variety of Near Eastern and Greek sources, this paper explores the rich variety of exotic species imported into Persia to satisfy the monarch’s pleasure and his public image; it explores evidence for royal menageries in the Near East, as well as offering some cross-temporal comparisons with the Chinese Ming Dynasty, in order to question how the ancient Iranians interacted with exotic animals and to question how they were displayed and treated by their human captors and owners.
Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones is a professor in Ancient History at the School of History, Archaeology and Religion, Cardiff University.

The Garden of Pasargadae

Grob, Helge Bert. 2017. Die Gartenlandschaft von Pasargadai und ihre Wasseranlagen Topographischer Befund, Rekonstruktion und achaimenidischer Kontext. (Oriens et Occidens 28). Stuttgart: Franz-Steiner-Verlag.

After defeating the Medes and Lydern in the middle of the 6th century BC, Cyrus the Great, layed the foundations for the rise of the Achaemenids to the “world power”. His first large building and garden project is the Pasargadae residence – a world heritage site of the UNESCO. Against this background, the question arises not only about the underlying design, but also about a possible role model for later stablishements.

Helge Bert Grob, for the first time, subjected the available plans as well as travel and research reports to a systematic, critical evaluation of the Pasargadae residence and its garden. Basied on partially unpublished sources, together with the archaeological findings, topographical maps as well as aerial and satellite images, as the basis of this new study, the focus of this volume lies on the water structures – basins, canals and watercourses as well as on the analysis of the development of the garden design in Ancient Iran. By comparison with Susa, Persepolis, Babylon and other important sites, Pasargadae is placed and examined in its achaimenid context.

Administration in the Achaemenid Empire

Jacobs, Bruno, Wouter F. M. Henkelman & Matthew W. Stolper (eds.). 2017. Die Verwaltung im Achämenidenreich – Imperiale Muster und Strukturen. Administration in the Achaemenid Empire – Tracing the Imperial Signature. Akten des 6. Internationalen Kolloquiums zum Thema »Vorderasien im Spannungsfeld klassischer und altorientalischer Überlieferungen« aus Anlass der 80-Jahr-Feier der Entdeckung des Festungsarchivs von Persepolis,. Landgut Castelen bei Basel, 14.-17. Mai 20. (Classica et Orientalia 17). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.
In recent decades, a number of local archives and other primary sources for the history of the Achaemenid empire have been made available for the first time, or have received new treatment. Foremost among these are the Persepolis Fortification archive and the correspondence between the satraps of Bactria and Egypt and their respective staffs. Several contributors to this volume try to analyze the events and transactions documented by these sources in terms of bureaucratic and administrative protocols and to interpret them within an empire-wide network. Recurring patterns reveal a system of administrative hierarchies and structures. Among other things, the Achaemenid administration managed supplying official travelers, assuring regular communication between the empire’s core and the provinces, and it used some of the same methods and institutions to manage supply, assignment and logistics of workers sent from the provinces to do labor service in the center of Persia.
Another approach represented in this volume confronts these primary sources with information about Achaemenid imperial administration in classical sources, the primary material serving both as corrective and as analytical tool. Combined, these complementary approaches lead to a similar assessment: the imperial administration was not characterized by rupture and ad hoc responses to crises but rather by continuity and stability, and these long-term factors were important reasons for the unprecedented scope and endurance of this first world empire.

The Architecture of the Persian Period in the Levant

Khries, Hashem. 2017. The Architecture of the Persian Period in the Levant. Scholar Press.

This book is a comprehensive study of the Levantine architecture in the fifth and fourth centuries B.C.E. The current book is unprecedented in its contents and the manner in which it addresses the subject since it contains all Persian-period sites in the whole Levant -as an integrated entity- that contains building remains. It also handles the Achaemenid impacts – both the direct and indirect ones- on the tradition of the Levantine architecture through conducting a descriptive, analytical and interpretative study of the buildings under consideration. Another perspective adopted here is that of functionally characterizing each excavated context, thus reaching assessments which are not only typologically based. This has resulted in a better understanding of the nature of the social, economic, political, and religious life in the entire Levant.

 

Treasury Secretary at Persepolis

Stolper, Matthew W. 2017. From the Persepolis Fortification Archive Project, 6 The Dossier of Šarbaladda, Treasury Secretary at Persepolis. ARTA: Achaemenid Research on Texts and Archaeology 001. 1–33.

Since Hallock 1969 made available the first large sample of administrative documents from the Persepolis Fortification Archive, efforts to characterize the organization and operations of the institution that produced the Archive have sometimes noticed a man named Šarbaladda, called a ‘treasurer’ and perhaps a ‘scribe in the treasury’ in PF 1947:17 and 19. A growing sample of Elamite Fortification documents, now about
three times as large, allows reconsideration of his name, titles, location, status and work.

 

Mithra and the Arrangement of Geographical Lists in the Achaemenid and Sasanid Inscriptions

Tamari, Nazanin. 2017. Mithra and the arrangement of geographical lists in the Achaemenid and Sasanid inscriptions. Journal of Historical Researches 8(4). 111-130.

The division of the world is one of the issues that began with the social life of human in all over the world and still continues. The oldest division has mythical and legendary aspects that shows the geographical knowledge or religious and ethnic beliefs of their predecessors.
Various geographical divisions can be seen in the ancient Iranian traditions. Each of these divisions follow the specific arrangement of listing the geographical areas, which discussed in this paper. The arrangement of geographical areas in Achaemenid and Sasanian inscription and in the Mihr Yašt, the oldest of Avestan hymns (Yašts), are the same. Because of this similarity cannot be accidental, in this paper the cause of the similarities has been investigated.
The arrangement of geographical areas in two lists (inscriptions and Mihr Yašt) shows clockwise (sunwise) fashion, that investigated in religious view in this study. Due to the Mithra’s influence on cultural and religious context of the ancient Iranians, for the first time in present paper investigated the role of this god and his influence on the writing the geographical lists in the Achaemenid and Sasanin inscriptions.

In origianl:

تمری، نازنین. 1395.   ایزد مهر و آرایش فهرست های جغرافیایی در کتیبه های هخامنشی و ساسانی. فصل‌نامه پژوهش‌های تاریخی، 8(4) 111-130