Tag Archives: Iranian History

Ctesias’ Persica and its Near Eastern Context

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

Women in Mongol Iran

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.

Emergence of Iranian nationalism

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:

Acknowledgments
Note on Transliteration and Spelling
Introduction
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
8. Triumph
Conclusion: The Failure of Dislocative Nationalism
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Reza Zia-Ebrahimi is lecturer (assistant professor) in history at King’s College London.

Iranian Studies in Honour of Éva M. Jeremiás

Szántó, Iván (ed.). 2015. From Aṣl to Zā’id: Essays in honour of Éva M. Jeremiás (Acta et Studia XIII). Pilis-csaba: The Avicenna Institute of Middle Eastern Studies.
Cove­ring a wide range of subjects within the general field of Iranian studies, this collec­tion of essays consists of contri­bu­tions by twenty scho­lars. Most arti­cles concen­t­rate on Persian lingu­istics.
A number of further essays discuss Persian lite­ra­ture, histo­rio­graphy; reli­gion, science ; and art. The volume contains nume­rous illu­s­t­ra­tions, mostly in colour, and it includes a compre­hen­sive biblio­graphy of Éva M. Jere­miás up to 2015.
Table of Contents:
  • C. EDMUND BOSWORTH: The poet ‘Asjadī and early Ghaznavid history
  • MÁRIA GÓSY: Similarities and differences in the early acquisition of grammar by Persian and Hungarian children
  • ELA FILIPPONE: The so-called Old Persian ‘potential construction’ (being Text production strategies and translation strategies in the Achaemenid documentation, III)
  • BERT G. FRAGNER: Orientalismus in Abenteuererzählungen aus der frühen Sowjetunion
  • CARINA JAHANI: Complex predicates and the issue of transitivity: The case of Southern Balochi
  • ANNA KRASNOWOLSKA: The Sarmatian myth and Poland’s nineteenth-century Orientalism
  • PAUL LUFT: Authenticity and identity of Qājār poetry on stone and paper
  • MARIA MACUCH: Precision orientated legal language in the Sasanian law of inheritance
  • ÁGNES NÉMETH: How do young Iranians speak?
  • PAOLA ORSATTI: Spoken features in classical Persian texts: subordinate conditional clauses without a conjunction
  • ANTONIO CLEMENTE DOMENICO PANAINO: Jesus’ trimorphisms and tetramorphisms in the meeting with the Magi
  • ADRIANO V. ROSSI: Diglossia in Persian
  • CHRISTINE VAN RUYMBEKE: Sir William Jones and the Anwār-i Suhaylī. Containing a fortuitous but nevertheless essential note on the Orient Pearls
  • ‘ALI ASHRAF SADEGHI: Rare forms of personal endings in some Classical Persian texts
  • NICHOLAS AND URSULA SIMS-WILLIAMS: Rustam and his zīn-i palang
  • IVÁN SZÁNTÓ: Bahāʼ al-Dīn al-‘Amilī and the visual arts
  • KATALIN TORMA: Georgius Gentius and the early reception of the Gulistān in Hungary
  • ZIVA VESEL: Les figures astrologiques dans les traités persans
  • SIBYLLE WENTKER: A visit of the Shah. Vienna and the false Rūznāma of Nāṣir al-Dīn Shah

About the Editor:

Iván Szántó (PhD 2009) is a scholar of Art History with special focus on Iranian Art and staff member of  The Institute of Iranian studies at the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW).

Selected Works of Ehsan Yarshater

Civilizational Wisdom- Selected Works of Ehsan Yarshater CoverYarshater, Ehsan. 2015. Civilizational Wisdom: Selected Works of Ehsan Yarshater. (Ed.) Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi. (IranNameh Books 2). Toronto: Foundation for Iranian Studies.

The volume edited by Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi brings together twenty nine articles by the leading scholar of Iranian studies, Prof. Ehsan Yarshater on the various subjects of Iranian history, culture, religions, literature, dialects and philology. It presents a valuable collection of important articles, which many of them were not easily accessible. The collection represents the author’s most important contributions, written in Persian language in the period between 1327š/1947-48 to 1380š/2001-02. Even the papers are concerned with a range of different subjects, they are pretty much interconnected, as it is possible to trace lines of ideas originating in one article which the author develops in latter writings. All these are carefully and illuminating described by the editor in his preface to this volume. The papers are categorized into four thematic chapters: 1. Autobiography and Obituary (with three articles), 2. World Art and Literature (with four articles), 3. Language and Civilization (with nine articles), 3. Civilization and the Secret of Survival (with thirteen article).

 

To learn more read the Preface of the Editor and see the Table of Contents. To order the book see here.

About the Editor:

Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi is Professor of History and Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto and the Founding chair of the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Toronto-Mississauga.

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 in World History

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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