Waters, Matt. 2017. Ctesias’ Persica and its Near Eastern context (Wisconsin Studies in Classics). University of Wisconsin Press.
The Persica is an extensive history of Assyria and Persia written by the Greek historian Ctesias, who served as a doctor to the Persian king Artaxerxes II around 400 BCE. Written for a Greek readership, the Persica influenced the development of both historiographic and literary traditions in Greece. It also, contends Matt Waters, is an essential but often misunderstood source for the history of the Achaemenid Persian Empire.
Matt Waters is a professor of classics and ancient history at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire. He is the author of Ancient Persia: A Concise History of the Achaemenid Empire, 550–330 BCE and A Survey of Neo-Elamite History.
Source: UW Press: Ctesias’ Persica and Its Near Eastern Context
De Nicola, Bruno. 2017. Women in Mongol Iran: The Khātūns, 1206–1335. Edinburgh University Press.
Bruno De Nicola investigates the development of women’s status in the Mongol Empire from its original homeland in Mongolia up to the end of the Ilkhanate of Iran in 1335. Taking a thematic approach, the chapters show a coherent progression of this development and contextualise the evolution of the role of women in medieval Mongol society. The arrangement serves as a starting point from where to draw comparison with the status of Mongol women in the later period. Exploring patterns of continuity and transformation in the status of these women in different periods of the Mongol Empire as it expanded westwards into the Islamic world, the book offers a view on the transformation of a nomadic-shamanist society from its original homeland in Mongolia to its settlement in the mostly sedentary-Muslim Iran in the mid-13th century.
Zia-Ebrahimi, Reza. 2016. The emergence of Iranian nationalism: Race and the politics of dislocation. New York: Columbia University Press.
Reza Zia-Ebrahimi revisits the work of Fath?ali Akhundzadeh and Mirza Aqa Khan Kermani, two Qajar-era intellectuals who founded modern Iranian nationalism. In their efforts to make sense of a difficult historical situation, these thinkers advanced an appealing ideology Zia-Ebrahimi calls “dislocative nationalism,” in which pre-Islamic Iran is cast as a golden age, Islam is reinterpreted as an alien religion, and Arabs become implacable others. Dislodging Iran from its empirical reality and tying it to Europe and the Aryan race, this ideology remains the most politically potent form of identity in Iran.
Akhundzadeh and Kermani’s nationalist reading of Iranian history has been drilled into the minds of Iranians since its adoption by the Pahlavi state in the early twentieth century. Spread through mass schooling, historical narratives, and official statements of support, their ideological perspective has come to define Iranian culture and domestic and foreign policy. Zia-Ebrahimi follows the development of dislocative nationalism through a range of cultural and historical materials, and he captures its incorporation of European ideas about Iranian history, the Aryan race, and a primordial nation. His work emphasizes the agency of Iranian intellectuals in translating European ideas for Iranian audiences, impressing Western conceptions of race onto Iranian identity.
The table of contents:
Note on Transliteration and Spelling
1. The Paleontology of Iranian Nationalism
2. Akhundzadeh and Kermani: The Emergence of Dislocative Nationalism
3. Pre-Islamic Iran and Archaistic Frenzy
4. Of Lizard Eaters and Invasions: The Import of European Racial Thought
5. Europe, That Feared Yet Admired Idol
6. Aryanism and Dislocation
7. The Road to Officialdom
Conclusion: The Failure of Dislocative Nationalism
Reza Zia-Ebrahimi is lecturer (assistant professor) in history at King’s College London.
Foltz, Richard. 2016. Iran in world history. (New Oxford World History). New York: Oxford University Press.
One of the world’s most ancient and enduring civilizations, Iran has long played a central role in human events and continues to do so today. This book traces the spread of Iranian culture among diverse populations ranging from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean, and along the Silk Roads as far as China, from prehistoric times up to the present day. From paradise gardens and Persian carpets to the mystical poetry of Rumi and Hafez, Iran’s contributions have earned it a place among history’s greatest and most influential civilizations. Encompassing the fields of religion, literature and the arts, politics, and higher learning, this book provides a holistic history of this important culture.
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