Manteghi, Haila. 2018. Alexander the Great in Persian tradition: History, myth and legend in medieval Iran. I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd.
Alexander the Great (356-333 BC) was transformed into a legend by all those he met, leaving an enduring tradition of romances across the world. Aside from its penetration into every language of medieval Europe, the Alexander romance arguably had its greatest impact in the Persian language. Haila Manteghi here offers a complete survey of that deep tradition, ranging from analysis of classical Persian poetry to popular romances and medieval Arabic historiography. She explores how the Greek work first entered the Persian literary tradition and traces the development of its influence, before revealing the remarkable way in which Alexander became as central to the Persian tradition as any other hero or king. And, importantly, by focusing on the often-overlooked early medieval Persian period, she also demonstrates that a positive view of Alexander developed in Arabic and Persian literature before the Islamic era. Drawing on an impressive range of sources in various languages – including Persian, Arabic and Greek – Manteghi provides a profound new contribution to the study of the Alexander romances.Beautifully written and with vibrant literary motifs, this book is important reading for all those with an interest in Alexander, classical and medieval Persian history, the early Islamic world and classical reception studies.
About the author:
Haila Manteghi is a lecturer at the University of Munster and recently completed her second PhD on the Persian Alexandrian tradition, at the University of Exeter. Her first PhD, on the same topic, was completed at the University of Alicante, and she has published in peer-reviewed journals and edited collections.
Erskine, Andrew, Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones & Shane Wallace (eds.). 2017. The Hellenistic court: Monarchic power and elite society from Alexander to Cleopatra. Classical Press of Wales.
Hellenistic courts were centres of monarchic power, social prestige and high culture in the kingdoms that emerged after the death of Alexander. They were places of refinement, learning and luxury, and also of corruption, rivalry and murder. Surrounded by courtiers of varying loyalty, Hellenistic royal families played roles in a theatre of spectacle and ceremony. Architecture, art, ritual and scholarship were deployed to defend the existence of their dynasties. The present volume, from a team of international experts, examines royal methods and ideologies. It treats the courts of the Ptolemies, Seleucids, Attalids, Antigonids and of lesser dynasties. It also explores the influence, on Greek-speaking courts, of non- Greek culture, of Achaemenid and other Near Eastern royal institutions. It studies the careers of courtesans, concubines and ‘friends’ of royalty, and the intellectual, ceremonial, and artistic world of the Greek monarchies. The work demonstrates the complexity and motivations of Hellenistic royal civilisation, of courts which governed the transmission of Greek culture to the wider Mediterranean world – and to later ages.
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Lindström, Gunvor. 2017. The Portrait of a Hellenistic Ruler in the National Museum of Iran. In Daehner, Jens M., Kenneth Lapatin, and Ambra Spinelli (eds.), 198-204, Artistry in Bronze: The Greeks and Their Legacy (XIXth International Congress on Ancient Bronzes). Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum; Getty Conservation Institute.
The portrait of a Hellenistic ruler in the National Museum of Iran (inv. 2477) is the most prominent archaeological testimony of the Hellenistic presence in Iran. It shows the spread of Hellenistic largescale sculpture in the regions east of the Tigris River, of which there is otherwise very little evidence. Furthermore, it is one of the few preserved original Hellenistic large-scale bronzes. Nevertheless, this extraordinary piece of art is rarely illustrated in handbooks on Hellenistic sculpture or ruler portraits, and only a few specialists are familiar with this bronze. The head represents a ruler, likely a king of the Seleucid dynasty, which ruled Iran in the third and second centuries BC. But due to the portrait’s intense deformation, the ruler represented could not be identified until now. In August 2015 a project was started with the aim of reconstructing the original facial features. Although this aim has not been achieved, the investigations at the National Museum of Iran have already yielded extraordinary results.
The sixth issue of Historia i Świat (2017) has been published. Many papers of this issue are related to our interest:
- Svyatoslav V. SMIRNOV: Notes on Timarchos’ Iconography: Dioscuri Type
- Mozhgan KHANMORADI & Kamal Aldin NIKNAMI: An Analytical Approach to Investigate the Parthians Painted Stuccoes from Qal‘eh-i Yazdigird, Western Iran
- Ilkka SYVÄNNE: Parthian Cataphract vs. the Roman Army 53 BC-AD 224
- Morteza KHANIPOOR, Hosseinali KAVOSH & Reza NASERI: The reliefs of Naqš-e Rostam and a reflection on a forgotten relief, Iran
- Gholamreza KARAMIAN & Kaveh FARROKH: Sassanian stucco decorations from the Ramavand (Barz Qawaleh) excavations in the Lorestan Province of Iran
- Katarzyna MAKSYMIUK: The capture Ḥaṭrā in light of military and political activities of Ardašīr I
- Michael Richard JACKSON BONNER: A Brief Military History of the Later Reign of Šapur II
- Patryk SKUPNIEWICZ: The bullae of the spahbedan. Some iconographic remarks
- Joan ZOUBERI: The role of religion in the foreign affairs of Sasanian Iran and the Later Roman Empire (330-630 A.D.)
- Tomasz SIŃCZAK: New Russian view on Sassanid Empire. Polemic with book: М. Мочалов, Д. Полежаев, Держава Сасанидов 224 – 653 годы, Москва 2016
Canepa, Matthew P. 2017. “Cross-Cultural Communication in the Hellenistic Mediterranean, and Western and South Asia,” In Richard J. A. Talbert & Fred S. Naiden (eds.), Mercury’s Wings: Exploring Modes of Communication in the Ancient World, 249-272, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
This chapter explores the dynamics of cross-cultural communication, primarily among the kingdoms and empires of Western and South Asia after Alexander the Great. This period witnessed the rise, conflict, coexistence and fall of a succession of cross-continental empires, including that of the Seleucids (312-64 BCE) and Mauryas (321-185), as well as powerful regional powers with larger ambitions such as the Ptolemies of Egypt, the Diodotids and Euthymids of Bactria (ca. 25o–ca. 145), Sungas (185-73), and a variety of Indo-Greek kingdoms (ca. 185 BCE–ca. 10 CE). Several new Iranian-speaking elites, including the Parni, Saka, and Yuezhi, descended from the Central Asian steppes and eventually formed the Arsacid, Indo-Scythian, and Kusana empires, respectively. These Macedonian, Indian, and Iranian powers engendered an intensive period of diplomatic interaction and cultural exchange. While this chapter focuses first on peer-polity diplomatic communication, it also explores the relationship between direct, intentional communicative acts and the wider contexts of cross-cultural interaction in which they took place and to which they often contributed.
Seleukid Royal Women is introduced by our guest contributor Khodadad Rezakhani, a Humboldt Fellow at the Institute of Iranian Studies, Free University of Berlin.
Coskun, Altay & Alex McAuley (eds.). 2016. Seleukid royal women: Creation, representation and distortion of Hellenistic queenship in the Seleukid Empire (Historia, Einzelschriften 240). Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag.
‘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’.
Continue reading Seleukid Royal Women
Carter, Martha, Prudence Harper & Pieter Meyers (eds.). 2015. Arts of the Hellenized East: Precious metalwork and gems of the pre-Islamic era. Thames & Hudson.
The al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait, houses one of the world’s most spectacular collections of ancient silver vessels and other objects made of precious metals. Dating from the centuries following Alexander the Great’s conquest of Iran and Bactria in the middle of the 4th century BCE up to the advent of the Islamic era, the beautiful bowls, drinking vessels, platters and other objects in this catalogue suggest that some of the best Hellenistic silverwork was not made in the Greek heartlands, but in this eastern outpost of the Seleucid empire. Martha L. Carter connects these far-flung regions from northern Greece to the Hindu Kush, tracing the common cultural threads that link their diverse geography and people. The last part of the catalogue, by Prudence O. Harper, deals with an important group of Sasanian silver vessels and gems, and some other rarities produced in the succeeding centuries for Hunnish and Turkic patrons. The catalogue is accompanied by an essay on the technology of ancient silver production by Pieter Meyers, who has performed a number of scientific tests on the objects, including a new metallurgical analysis that may help to identify their geographical origins.
Ideology, Power and Religious Change in Antiquity, 3000 BC – AD 600 (IPRCA)
International Summer School organized by Graduate School of Humanities Göttingen (GSGG)
20 – 24 July 2015, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen (Archäologisches Institut und Sammlung der Gipsabgüsse)
In the modern world, political as well as religious leaders make use of ideological messages to legitimize and advertise their power. Especially during periods of transformation and change, it is important for leaders to demonstrate their strengths and capacities in order to unify their subjects. By presenting themselves as the right men in the right place they could win their subjects’ loyalty and thus legitimize and safeguard their own positions. This practice is however not a modern invention, it is rooted in ancient traditions and habits.
The summer school focuses on ideological messages communicated by leaders in the ancient world (Ancient Near East, Greece and Rome, c. 3000 BC – AD 600) during periods of religious change (periods characterized by the rise, expansion or dominance of new religions, specific religious factions, sects or cults that caused changes in or threatened existing social, religious and/or power structures). Which messages were communicated by central and local authorities as well as specific religious authorities in these epochs? What do these messages tell us about the nature of power exercised by leaders?
The pre-arranged sessions to discusse the different subjects and questions are:
- Session 1 Ancient Mesopotamia
- Session 2 Ancient Anatolia, Levant and Iran
- Session 3 Classical Greece and the Hellenistic World
- Session 4 Roman Republic and Empire
- Session 5 The Byzantine Empire
Continue reading Ideology, power and religious change in antiquity
Ancient Persia in Western History is a measured rejoinder to the dominant narrative that considers the Graeco-Persian Wars to be merely the first round of an oft-repeated battle between the despotic ‘East’ and the broadly enlightened ‘West’. Sasan Samiei analyses the historiography which has skewed our understanding of this crucial era – contrasting the work of Edward Gibbon and Goethe, which venerated Classicism and Hellenistic history, with later writers such as John Linton Myres. Finally, Samiei explores the cross-cultural encounters which constituted the Achaemenid period itself, and repositions it as essential to the history of Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
you can have a look inside the book.
About the Autor:
Sasan Samiei completed his PhD in Iranian History at University College London and also holds an MSc in Economics from the London School of Economics (LSE).