Tag Archives: Ancient Iranian History

King of the Seven Climes

Daryaee, Touraj (ed.). 2017. King of the Seven Climes: A History of the Ancient Iranian World (3000 BCE – 651 CE). UCI Jordan Center for Persian Studies.

 

In a Middle Persian text known as “Khusro and the Page,” one of the most famous kings of the ancient Iranian world, Khusro I Anusheruwan, is called haft kišwar xawadāy “the King of the Seven Climes.” This title harkens back to at least the Achaemenid period when it was in fact used, and even further back to a Zoroastrian/Avestan world view. From the earliest Iranian hymns, those of the Gāthās of Zarathushtra, through the Younger Avesta and later Pahlavi writings, it is known that the ancient Iranians divided the world into seven climes or regions. Indeed, at some point there was even an aspiration that this world should be ruled by a single king. Consequently, the title of the King of the Seven Climes, used by Khusro I in the sixth century CE, suggests the most ambitious imperial vision that one would find in the literary tradition of the ancient Iranian world. Taking this as a point of departure, the present book aims to be a survey of the dynasties and rulers who thought of going beyond their own surroundings to forge larger polities within the Iranian realm.

Thus far, in similar discussions of ancient Iranian history, it has been the convention to set the beginnings of a specifically Iranian world at the rise of Cyrus the Great and the establishment of the Achaemenid Empire. But in fact, this notion is only a recent paradigm, which became popular in Iran in the late 1960s owing to traditions of Classical and European historiography. At the same time, there are other narratives that can be given for the history of the Iranian World, including those that take us to 5000 BCE to sites such as Sialk, near Kashan, or other similar archaeological localities. As attractive as an archaeologically based narrative of local powers can be, however, the aim of the present work is to focus on political entities who aimed at the control of a larger domain beyond their own local contexts. As a result, this book starts its narrative with Elam, the influential civilization and kingdom that existed long before the Achaemenids came to power. Elam boasted a writing system and a complex culture and political organization contemporaneous with that of Mesopotamia, and was made up of cities such as Susa and Anshan. As Kamyar Abdi shows in his chapter, the Iranian civilization owes much to the Elamites and their worldview and conception of rulership. Thus, we do not start the present narrative with 550 BCE and Cyrus, but with 3000 BCE, in the proto-Elamite Period, when signs of a long lasting civilization on the Iranian Plateau first appeared.

Table of Contents:

India and Iran in the Longue Durée

Patel, Alka & Touraj Daryaee (eds.). 2017. India and Iran in the Longue Durée. UCI Jordan Center for Persian Studies.

This book is the result of a conference held at the University of California, Irvine, covering the contacts between Iran and India from antiquity to the modern period. The papers include historical, archeological and artistic aspects and influences between the two civiluzations.

Table of Contents:

  • Alka Patel & Touraj Daryaee: India and Iran in the Longue Durée
  • Osmund Bopearachchi: Achaemenids and Mauryans: Emergence of Coins and Plastic Arts in India
  • Grant Parker: Nested Histories:Alexander in Iran and India
  • Touraj Daryaee & Soodabeh Malekzadeh: The White Elephant: Notions of Kingship and Zoroastrian Demonology
  • Frantz Grenet: In Search of Missing Links: Iranian Royal Protocol from the Achaemenids to the Mughals
  • Ali Anooshahr: The Shaykh and the Shah: On the Five levels of Muhammad Ghaws Gwaliori
  • Sudipta Sen: Historian as Witness: Ghulam Husain Tabatabi and the Dawning of British Rule in India
  • Afshin Marashi: Parsi Textual Philianthropy: Print Commerce and the Revival of Zoroastrianism in Early 20th-Century Iran
  • Alka Patel: Text as Nationalist Object: Modern Persian-Language Historiography on the Ghurids (c. 1150-1215)

Imagining the Ancients in the Iranian Popularization of Pre-Islamic History

Rezakhani, Khodadad. 2016. The present in the mind’s past: Imagining the ancients in the Iranian popularization of pre-Islamic history. In Sonja Brentjes, Taner Edis & Lutz Richter-Bernburg (eds.), 1001 distortions. How (not) to narrate history of science, medicine, and technology in non-Western cultures (Bibliotheca Academica – Reihe Orientalistik 25) 97–106. Herausgeber: Würzburg: Ergon.

 

Disability in Ancient Persia

Coloru, Omar. 2017. Ancient Persia and silent disability. In Christian Laes (ed.), Disability in antiquity, 61–74. London: Routledge.

Did disability ever exist in ancient Persia? This provocative question is justified by the scarcity of the documentary evidence the historians face when dealing with the pre-Islamic societies of the Iranian world. As a matter of fact, the tradition of theses populations have always been pre-eminently oral. The rock inscription of Darius I at Behistun, which represents the first text written in the Old Persian language, was only composed in the 6th century BCE, when the nearby Mesopotamian world could boast a diverse textual tradition dating back three millennia. […] Given the nature of the evidence, it is easy to feel discouraged about the possibility of having a clear and definite picture of the condition of the disabled in the Persian world. Nevertheless, we can try to explore the issue by surveying the available documents and comparing and contrasting them with external evidence from the classical world.

Omar Coloru, is an associate member of the laboratory ArScAN HAROC (Nanterre). His main research interests include Hellenistic history, history of Iran and pre-Islamic Central Asia, and the relations between the Greco-Roman and the Iranian worlds.

Iranian Studies in Honor of Pierre Lecoq

Achaemenid Royal Archers, Coloured glazed terracotta brick panels, Susa, around 510 BC © Pergamon Museum, Berlin
Achaemenid Royal Archers, Coloured glazed terracotta brick panels, Susa, around 510 BC © Pergamon Museum, Berlin

Redard, Céline (ed.). 2016. Des contrées avestiques à Mahabad, via Bisotun. Etudes offertes en hommage à Pierre Lecoq. (Civilisations Du Proche-Orient Série III. Religion et Culture 2). Paris: Recherches et Publications.

This  volume is dedicated to Pierre Lecoq, one of the prolific and renowned scholars of Ancient Iranian and Orietal Studies. The book consists of seventeen papers written by some of the foremost scholars in the field of Iranian Studies, essentially concerned with different aspects of Ancient Iranian Art, Archaeology, History, Numismatics and Religion, reflecting Pierre Lecoq’s scholarly interests.
Table of Contents:
  • Bibliographie de Pierre Lecoq
  • Gilbert Lazard:  “Pour saluer Pierre Lecoq”
  • Rudiger Schmitt: “Zur altpersischen Grammatik und Inschriftenkunde”
  • Adriano V. Rossi: “Considérations sur le § 14 de DB et sur Āyadana-/ANzí-ia-an ANna-ap-pan-na É.˹MEŠ˺ šá DINGIR.MEŠ
  • Ela Filippone: “Goat-Skins, Horses and Camels: How did Darius’
    Army Cross the Tigris?”
  • Rémy Boucharlat: “À propos de parayadām et paradis perse : perpléxité de l’archéologue et perspectives”
  • Margaret Cool Root: “Tales of Translation: Leroy Waterman, Biblical Studies, and an Achaemenid Royal-Name Alabastron from Seleucia”
  • Jan Tavernier: “À propos de quelques noms iraniens dans les
    inscriptions lyciennes”
  • Georges-Jean Pinault: “Ariyāramna, the Pious Lord”
  • Jean Haudry: “Le rejeton des eaux”
  • Philippe Swennen: “Le Yasna Haptaŋhāiti entre deux existences”
  • Jean Kellens: “Stratégies du Mihr Yašt
  • Antonio Panaino: “Later Avestan maɣauua– (?) and the (Mis)Adventures of a ‘Pseudo-Ascetic’”
  • Céline Redard: “Le fragment Westergaard 10”
  • Enrico Raffaelli: “The Amǝša Spǝṇtas and Their Helpers: The
    Zoroastrian ham-kārs”
  • Rika Gyselen: “Noeud d’Héraclès, noeuds lunaires et sceaux
    sassanides”
  • Agnès Lenepveu-Hotz: “L’emploi de mar … rā chez Firdausī: simple raison métrique ou cause linguistique?”
  • Halkawt Hakem: “Kurdistān, Le journal de la République de Mahabad (1946)”
About the Editor:
Céline Redard (PhD 2010) is a scholor of Ancient Iranian Languages and a Research Assistant at the Université de Liège, Département des Sciences de l’Antiquité, Langues et religions du monde indo-iranien ancien.

The eye of the Shah

Chi, Jennifer (ed.). 2015. The Eye of the Shah: Qajar Court Photography and the Persian Past. With contributions by Carmen Pérez González, Judith Lerner, and Reza Sheikh. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

A while ago we posted a link about the exhibition The Eye of the Shah: Qajar Court Photography and the Persian Past. We now draw attention to the catalogue  of the exhibition, which presents nearly 200 photographs and contributions by Carmen Perez Gonzalez, Bergische Universität Wuppertal; Reza Sheikh, Independent Scholar; and Judith A. Lerner, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World.

The catalogue’s essays discuss such topics as the achievements of court photographers in the service of Naser al-Din Shah, including Reza ‘Akkasbashi, ‘Abdollah Mirza Qajar, and Dust Mohammad Khan Mo’ayyer al-Mamalek, and the volume also examines the role of photography in helping Iranians document Iran’s pre-Islamic monuments during the second half of the nineteenth century.

For more information, see the catalogue or the publisher websites.

Religion, History and Art of Ancient Iran

Farridnejad et al. Faszination Iran — Cover 2015Farridnejad, Shervin, Anke Joisten-Pruschke & Rika Gyselen (eds.). 2015. Faszination Iran. Beiträge zur Religion, Geschichte und Kunst des Alten Iran. Gedenkschrift für Klaus Schippmann. (Göttinger Orientforschungen. III. Reihe: Iranica, Neue Folge 13). Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz Verlag.

This Memorial Volume is dedicated to one of the most prolific and renowned scholars in the field of Ancient Iranian Archaeology and History, the late Professor Klaus Schippmann (1924-2010), who held the chair of “Near Eastern Archaeology with special reference to Iran” at Georg-August University of Göttingen until his retirement in 1990.

The volume consists of eleven papers, written by some of the foremost scholars in the field of Iranian Studies as well as some of his lifetime friends and colleagues. The articles are essentially concerned with different aspects of Ancient Iranian Art, Archaeology, History, Numismatics and Religion, reflecting the scholarly interests of Klaus Schippmann. The volume is accompanied also by parts of his unpublished private diary (1959) from his Nachlass, reflecting his ideas, visions and memories of his excavations as well as one report of his last trip to his favourable archaeological site of taḫt-e soleymān (Iran), written by his personal tour leader. The book is illustrated by numerous plates.

This volume could be of interest for scholars and students of Ancient Iranian Art, Archaeology, History, Religion and other neighbour disciplines.

Table of Contents (PDF):
  • In Memoriam Klaus Schippmann
  • Anke Joisten-Pruschke: „Ich muss irgendwie sehen, dass es für mich einen Weg gibt Archäologie zu studieren“ – Klaus Schippmanns Tagebuch einer Reise in den Vorderen Orient (1959)
  • Oric Basirov: “Proselytisation” and “Exposure of the Dead”:
    Two Christian Calumnies Commonly raised against the Sasanians
  • Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis: “Observations on some coins of Persis”
  • Touraj Daryaee: “The Xwarrah and the Sēnmurv: Zoroastrian Iconography on Seventh Century Copper Coinage
  • Shervin Farridnejad: “Das zoroastrische mār-nāme „Schlangenbuch“. Zur zoroastrischen Volksreligion und Ophiomantik”
  • Rika Gyselen: “Some Thoughts on Sasanian mgwh-Seals”
  • Bruno Jacobs: “Zur bildlichen Repräsentation iranischer Eliten
    im achämenidenzeitlichen Kleinasien”
  • Anke Joisten-Pruschke: “Feudalismus im Sasanidenreich?”
  • Wolfram Kleiss: “Hochterrassen – Zikkurati – Stufenpyramiden”
  • Karin Mosig-Walburg: “Herrscherpropaganda der Nachfolger Shapurs I. (Ohrmazd I. – Narse) – Ein Beitrag zum Verhältnis von König und Adel im Sasanidenreich in der zweiten Hälfte des 3. Jh. n. Chr.”
  • Michael Shenkar: “Aspects of Iconography of Ahura Mazdā: Origins and Significance”
  • Dieter Weber: “Spätsasanidische Preislisten im frühislamischen Iran”
  • Hartmut Niemann: “Der Kreis schließt sich – Klaus Schippmanns letzte Reise zum ‘Takht’ “

Photography of the Persian Past

Persepolis in Qajar era, c. 1902. © Wikimedia

Exhibition: The Eye of the Shah: Qajar Court Photography and the Persian Past

October 22, 2015- January 17, 2016
Gallery Hours: Wednesday-Sunday 11am-6pm, Friday 11am-8pm, Closed Monday and Tuesday

The Eye of the Shah: Qajar Court Photography and the Persian Past explores a pivotal time in Iran, when the country was opening itself to the Western world. With over 150 photographic prints, a number of vintage photographic albums, and memorabilia that utilized formal portraiture of the shah, the exhibition shows how photographers—many of them engaged by Naser al-Din Shah Qajar (r. 1848-1896), the longest reigning Shah of the Qajar Dynasty (1785-1925)—sought to create a portrait of the country for both foreigners and Iranians themselves. Most of the photographs in the exhibition have never been publicly displayed.

The Eye of the Shah includes unprecedented photographs of life in the royal court in Tehran, such as images of the last shahs of the Qajar Dynasty, their wives and children, and court entertainers. These are complemented by photographs of iconic ancient monuments and sites, such as Persepolis and Naqsh-e Rostam, capturing Iran’s expansive and rich historical past, which further promoted Iran and Iranian culture to the West. The photographers depicted the Iran of their day through images of modernization initiatives, such as the military, the railway, and the postal system, while the daily lives of Iranian people was revealed through photographs showing shopkeepers, street vendors, and field workers. Additionally, Eye of the Shah features pieces by two modern-day Iranian photographers, Bahman Jalali (1944-2010) and Shadi Ghadirian (b. 1974), who evoke and sometimes incorporate images of photography from the Qajar Dynasty, illustrating the continuing and powerful influence that Iranian photography of 19th and early 20th century photography has in the country’s contemporary art world.

The image is taken from ©Wikimedia Commons.

Iran through German Eyes

Gheiby, Bijan. 2012. Persien oder Iran? Die Deutschen entdecken das Land Zarathustras. Philipp von Zabern.
Although the book “Persia or Iran? The Germans discovering the land of Zarathustra” is not directly engaged with answering this question, the reader can acquire here the necessary background knowledge regarding the discovering of Ancient Iran by Germans, which enables him to make an informed opinion. “Persia or Iran” deals with the reception of the Iranian culture within the German-speaking world from its beginning in the 15th century to the present. In various chapters, it is presented, how the Germans came into contact with the Iranian culture and how they grappled with this culture. This book is both a reference work in which, both the German (forgotten) historical figures and their works are re-discovered and completely described. Thus, this volume aimes to address the interests of not only the general readership, but also the historians, Germanists, religious scholars, Orientalists and Iranists.
About the Author:
Bijan Gheiby was born in Teheran in 1954. He studied media in Tehran and in Long Beach as well as Iranian Studies in Hamburg and Göttingen, where he received his doctorate. He is an independent researcher of Zoroastrianism and ancient Iranian Studies.

A manual for Iranian Studies

Paul, Ludwig (ed.). 2013. Handbuch der Iranistik. Wiesbaden: Ludwig Reichert Verlag.
This manual for Iranian Studies  presents a comprehensive survey of status and trends of current research in the filed of Iranian Studies.  In 34 contributions, the most important disciplines of the field, namely history, literature, religion and language were examined by 33 authors on almost 500 pages. It comprised both the current state of Iran as well as  the Iranian cultural sphere in its geographic breadth and historical depth, from Anatolia to Central Asia and from the early history (7th millennium BC) Until today. The manual aims to provide a methodical presentation of research developments and tries to answer the questions such as: what research questions are fresh and interesting? why and in which research contexts they are important?
All contributions of the manual are divided into three sections A, B and C.  The section A guides the reader through fundamental and self-reflexive methodological considerations to approach the subject. The section B provides a research overview, and the section C gives an alphabetical bibliography on each subject.

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