Proceedings of the Second International Workshop of the Gandhāra Connections Project, University of Oxford, 22nd-23rd March, 2018. This volume is open access and available from the publisher's website linked above.
Gandhāran art is usually regarded as a single phenomenon – a unified regional artistic tradition or ‘school’. Indeed it has distinctive visual characteristics, materials, and functions, and is characterized by its extensive borrowings from the Graeco-Roman world. Yet this tradition is also highly varied. Even the superficial homogeneity of Gandhāran sculpture, which constitutes the bulk of documented artistic material from this region in the early centuries AD, belies a considerable range of styles, technical approaches, iconographic choices, and levels of artistic skill.
This paper sets out to examine the use of the term in the Chinese chronicles of the period of the Kushan xihou and in coin and stone inscriptions of Kujula Kadphises to illustrate the function of this title for him and interrogate the contextual evidence from these sources for the meaning of this title and its likely origins.
This volume, being the proceedings of the first international workshop of the Gandhāra Connections Project, which took place 23rd-24th March, 2017, at the University of Oxford, is available as an open access eBook and in print.
Since the beginning of Gandhāran studies in the nineteenth century, chronology has been one of the most significant challenges to the understanding of Gandhāran art. Many other ancient societies, including those of Greece and Rome, have left a wealth of textual sources which have put their fundamental chronological frameworks beyond doubt. In the absence of such sources on a similar scale, even the historical eras cited on inscribed Gandhāran works of art have been hard to place. Few sculptures have such inscriptions and the majority lack any record of find-spot or even general provenance. Those known to have been found at particular sites were sometimes moved and reused in antiquity. Consequently, the provisional dates assigned to extant Gandhāran sculptures have sometimes differed by centuries, while the narrative of artistic development remains doubtful and inconsistent.
Building upon the most recent, cross-disciplinary research, debate and excavation, this volume reinforces a new consensus about the chronology of Gandhāra, bringing the history of Gandhāran art into sharper focus than ever. By considering this tradition in its wider context, alongside contemporary Indian art and subsequent developments in Central Asia, the authors also open up fresh questions and problems which a new phase of research will need to address.
More than 150 documents in Bactrian, the chief administrative language of pre-Islamic Afghanistan, have come to light during the last twenty-five years. These documents include letters, legal contracts, economic documents and a few Buddhist texts; many of them bear dates in the so-called “Bactrian era”, which is also known from a few inscriptions, such as the Tochi valley inscriptions in Pakistan, but whose starting-point is controversial. The Bactrian documents have the potential to transform our knowledge of the history of the region during the 4th to 8th centuries CE, a period for which we have few contemporary records, but before they can be fully exploited as historical sources it is necessary to establish their relative and absolute chronology. The present volume aims to fulfil this need. In Part 1 we consider the dated documents, discussing the nature of the Bactrian calendar and the epoch of the Bactrian era, and concluding with a conspectus in which all the attested dates are converted to Julian dates on the basis of the facts and arguments presented. In Part 2 we turn to the equally important undated documents, systematically weighing up all types of evidence, whether historical, prosopographical, palaeographical, linguistic or orthographic, which may have a bearing on their dating. Part 3 provides a handy check-list of our conclusions, while the Appendices provide additional and supporting material including editions of the Tochi valley inscriptions and of a Pahlavi letter which was purchased together with the Bactrian documents.
This book will be required reading for scholars and students of the pre-Islamic and early Islamic history of Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia. It will also be a useful resource for those interested in the languages, religions and numismatics of the region.
A number of studies have been published on a variety of aspects of the Tillya-tepe necroplis, its cultural associations and ethnic interpretations. However, the determination both of its date and origin, as well as of the ethnicity of the nomads who established the necroplis has proved an extremely controversial issue. A closer examination is needed of the coins and the attributes of power discovered in the furnishings of the Tillya-tepe graves. The necropolis should be seen in the context of Parthian history in the 40s and 50s A.D., when during the reigns of Vardanes, Gotarzes II and Vologases I the clans of Bactria engaged in the Parthian domestic conflict. Taking the historical developments into account, it seems reasonable to reduce the time interval for the death of the prince of Tillya-tepe to ca. A.D. 41-53, when the Sakas and other peoples of the north-eastern marches of Parthia were taking an active part in the battle of the Parthian giants.
The 57th volume of the Acta Iranica is dedicated to the memory of late Xavier Tremblay (* 26. 6. 1971, Lille—15. 11. 2011), in order to celebrate his contribution to Iranian and Indo-European Studies. Evenunfinished, the workofXavierTremblay plays a fundamental role to our understanding of the origins of the Zoroastrian liturgy.
‘The study of any period of ancient history of Iran away from political history is a welcomed change in scholarship. The arrival of this volume, edited by two of the most prominent scholars of the Hellenistic period and in a framing that embraces the multi-cultural nature of the Seleukid kingship is a most exciting development that needs to be celebrated. It should also be considered as a blue-print for future studies of similar calibre and scope in other periods of the history of the region. Hopefully, the proliferation of such studies would bring the history of “in-between” (to quote the prologue) more to the attention of the general audiences, as well as the scholars, of the ancient world. Perhaps the volume could have benefited from more in-depth studies of the majority of the (non-Greek speaking) areas of the Seleukid domains, a lacuna which is perhaps more a fault of the experts of these non-Greek speaking in-betweens than the erudite editors of the volume’.