Tag Archives: Legal System

Sasanian Persia and the Tabarestan Archive

Gyselen, Rika (ed.). 2019. Sasanian Persia and the Tabarestan Archive (Res Orientales 27). Bures sur Yvette: Groupe d’Etude de la Civilisation du Moyen-Orient.

  • James Howard-Johnston: «World War in Eurasia at the End of Antiquity»
  • Nils Purwins: «The Noble Ones of Eranshahr: Rank Titles and a Comparison with the Imperium Romanum».

The Tabarestan Archive (8th century)

  • Dieter Weber: «Pahlavi Legal Documents from Tabarestan. Two Claims and a Re-evaluation of Crop Yields: A Philological Study of Tab. 21, 22 and 24»
  • Maria Macuch: «Pahlavi Legal Documents from Tabarestan. Two Claims and a Re-evaluation of Crop Yields: The Juristic Context of Tab. 21, 22 and 24»
  • Rika Gyselen: «Les bulles de l’Archive du Tabarestan: quelques aspects matériels des scellements».

Cosmology, Law, and Elites in Late Antiquity

Scheunchen, Tobias. 2019. Cosmology, law, and elites in late antiquity: Marriage and slavery in Zoroastrianism, Eastern Christianity, and Islam (Arbeitsmaterialien zum Orient 32). Baden-Baden: Ergon Verlag.

Can elites use cosmological imagery to sanction marital and slavery practices for their political aspirations? Can interactions between Late Antique legal systems be thought beyond “borrowings?” This work studies legal writings from the Zoroastrian, East Syrian, and Islamic traditions arguing that Late Antique matrimonial and slavery practices were significantly informed by cosmological imagery and repeatedly brought in line with the elites’ political aspirations. It suggests that these legal traditions should be thought in a shared epistemic framework to account for the changes and meaningfulness of legal concepts and institutions and cannot simply be reduced to a narrative of borrowings. Instead, this book shows that interactions between Late Antique legal systems were more complex and characterized by patterns of negotiation and competition mirroring the various entanglements of the Late Antique citizen’s life.

New Perspectives on Late Antique Iran and Iraq

Pregill, Michael (ed.). 2018. New perspectives on late antique Iran and Iraq. Mizan. Journal for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations 3(1).

Aramaic incantation bowl from Sasanian Babylonia, 4th-7th c., currently held in the collection of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology (B2945; courtesy Penn Museum Blog)

This volume of the peer-reviewed, open access Mizan: Journal for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations presents several articles (and a provocative postscript) centering on the theme of “New Perspectives on Late Antique Iran and Iraq.” The articles featured here originated with a pair of conference panels convened in 2016. The first was held during the summer of 2016 at the Eleventh Biennial Iranian Studies Conference at the University of Vienna, August 2–5, 2016; the second followed in the fall of that year, convened during the 50th Anniversary Annual Meeting of the Middle East Studies Association held in Boston, November 17–20, 2016.

ToC
– Touraj Daryaee: “How the Sasanians Saw the Late Antique World: A Persianate View of the Interconnectedness of Eurasia”
– Isabel Toral-Niehoff: “Al-Ḥīra: An Arab Late Antique Metropolis in Sasanian Iraq”
– Shai Secunda: “East LA: Margin and Center in Late Antiquity Studies and the New Irano-Talmudica”
– Teresa Bernheimer: “The Revolt of Qaṭarī b. al-Fujāʿa (d. 79/698) and the Kharijite Revolts of Early Islamic Iran: Social Change between Late Antiquity and Early Islam”
– Rahim Shayegan: “On Diachrony in Sasanian Studies”
– Jason Mokhtarian: “Religious Polemics in Sasanian Writings”
– Thomas Carlson: “The Long Shadow of Sasanian Christianity: The Limits of Iraqi Islamization to 950”
– Mimi Hanaoka: “Authority and Identity in Early Medieval Persianate Islamic Historiography: Methologies for Reading Hybrid Identities and Imagined Histories”

Sasanian Iran in the context of Late Anitquity

Daryaee, Touraj (ed.). 2018. Sasanian Iran in the context of Late Anitquity: The Bahari lecture series at the Oxford University (Ancient Iran Series VI). Irvine: Jordan Center for Persian Studies.
The essays in this volume discuss various aspects of the Sasanian Empire, presented on the occasion of the inauguration of the Bahari Chair in Sasanian Studies at Oxford University in 2014.
  • Michael Alram: “The Numismatic Legacy of the Sasanians in the East”
  • Matthew P. Canepa and Johnathan W. Hardy: “Persian Palace Architecture, Garden Design and Digital Archaeology”
  • Touraj Daryaee: “The Tripartite Sasanian Vision of the World”
  • Antonio Panaino: “Books without Ritual – Ritual without Books”
  • Giusto Traina: “The Rise of the Sasanians”
  • Yuhan Sohrab-Dinshaw Vevaina: “A Father, a Daughter, and a Son-in-Law in Zoroastrian Hermeneutics”
  • Arash Zeini: “The King in the Mirror of the Zand

Descent and Inheritance in Zoroastrian and Shiʿite Law

A Zoroastrian family in Qajar Iran, circa 1910 © The National Geographic Magazine © The National Geographic Magazine

Macuch, Maria. 2017. Descent and inheritance in Zoroastrian and Shiʿite law: A preliminary study. Der Islam 94(2). 322–335.

The Twelver Shiʿite law of inheritance constitutes one of the most distinctive features of the legal system in comparison with Sunni law. Although there are major and even irreconcilable divergences between the Sunnite law of succession according to all four legal schools on the one hand and Twelver Shiʿite law on the other, no convincing explanations for this striking development within Islamic law itself, leading to two fundamentally distinct systems, have hitherto been put forward. The aim of this preliminary study is to call attention to several remarkable correspondences between the complex Iranian (Zoroastrian) law of succession, conceived to support the specific needs of aristocratic descent groups in the Sasanian period, and Twelver Shiʿite regulations, reflecting a very similar underlying concept of family ties and descent groups as a whole. The question is, whether these congruencies are purely coincidental or based on age-old social and traditional norms, which continued to be practised in the regions of the former Sasanian empire after the Islamic conquest. As Sasanian norms remained operative in customary law (now documented by Pahlavi legal documents from 8th century Tabarestān) during the formative period of Islamic law and the Sunnite regulations, being based to a large extent on pre-Islamic tribal law in Arabia, contrast sharply with the Shiʿite concept, it would be consistent to assume that certain precepts in the pre-Islamic Iranian system had an important impact on the development of the Twelver Shiʿite law of inheritance.

Sasanian legal terminology in religious context

Capital and Yield: Sasanian Legal Terminology in Religious Context

A lecture by Arash Zeini on the occasion of a meeting of Corpus Avesticum (CoAv), a European network of scholars aiming to create new and accessible editions of the Zoroastrian sacred texts.

Location: Institute of Iranian Studies, Freie Universität Berlin

Time: 16.06.2016, 18:00 – 20:00

Arash Zeini (PhD 2014, SOAS), is a scholar of Ancient Iranian and Zoroastrian philology, history and culture. His main research interests include the study of ancient Iran, Zoroastrianism, particularly the late antique exegesis of the Avesta, and aspects of digital humanities.

Cultural, Religious and Social aspects of Vaqf in Iran

Werner, Christoph. 2015. VAQF en Iran aspects culturels, religieux et sociaux. (Cahiers de Studia Iranica 56). Paris; Leuven: Peeters.
This volume contains the text of the five Ehsan and Latifeh Yarshater Distinguished Lectures on Iranian Studies, organized by the Unité Mixte de Recherche 7528 “Mondes iranien et indien”, and delivered in 2012 at the Collège de France in Paris.
It analyses cultural and social – as well as religious, economic, political and material aspects of endowments in Iran from the 14th century up to the present time. The five chapters cover various periods and are arranged chronologically along major themes: The institution of vaqf in early modern and contemporary Iran; Mystical endowments and religious endowments in fourteenth and fifteenth century Azerbaijan; Mashhad and its illumination vaqfs; Robes of honour conferred by Imam Reza; and Philanthropy, public education and nationalism in vaqf foundations of the Pahlavi period.
Table of Contents:
I. L’institution du vaqf en Iran
  • Vers une définition de l’institution du vaqf en Iran
  • Administration du vaqf et indépendance de l’institution
  • Le vaqf comme institution vivante
  • Vaqf et bonyād : un imbroglio idéologique
  • Manuels juridiques et vaqf : questions et réponses

II. Mouvements mystiques et fondations pieuses : les Kujujī et les Ṣafavides au 14e siècle

  • Les cheikhs Kujujī
  • L’histoire de Tabrīz et du nord-ouest de l’Iran au 14e siècle
  • La Kujujī Vaqfīye de 782h.q./1380
  • Le fondateur comme notable urbain dans les chroniques
  • Le fondateur poète
  • Le fondateur comme cheikh et mystique

III. Ville de lumière : Machhad et ses fondations d’illumination
Fondations d’illumination à Machhad selon le «Paradis des
histoires»

  • Le sanctuaire de l’Imam Reżā – origine, développement et administration
  • Le catalogue de Seyyed Hamadānī, «s̱ār al-rażavīye»
  • Les objectifs des fondations de l’Āstān-e Qods
  • L’administration des fondations d’illumination à l’époque qajare
  • Fondations d’illumination et introduction de l’éclairage électrique

IV. Robes d’honneur conférées par l’Imam Reżā

  • Robes d’honneur – la tradition des ḫelʿat
  • Pīškeš et ḫelʿat
  • Une collection des décrets émis par l’Āstān-e Qods
  • L’Āstān-e Qods-e Rażavī comme état semi-indépendant
    Conclusion

V. Mécénat, instruction publique et nationalisme : Le vaqf à l’époque Pahlavi

  • Législation et l’administration des owqāf à l’époque Pahlavi
  • Les Fondations Malek
  • Les Fondations Doktor Maḥmūd Afšār
  • La Fondation Moqaddam à Téhéran et autres fondations hybrides
    de l’époque Pahlavi

English summaries: Vaqf in Iran Cultural, Religious and Social aspects
Introduction
I. The institution of vaqf in Iran
II. Mystical movements and pious foundations: the Kujujī and the
Ṣafavids in the 14th century
III. City of light: Mashhad and its illumination vaqfs
IV. Robes of honour conferred by Iman Reżā
V. Philanthropy, education and nationalism: vaqf in Pahlavi Iran

About the Author:

Christoph Werner is Professor of Iranian Studies at Center for Near and Middle Eastern Studies (CNMS) was established at the Philipps-University of Marburg.

Sasanian law in its social context

The 2015 UCLA Biennial Ehsan Yarshater Lecture Series will be delivered by Prof. Maria Macuch:

Sasanian law in its social context

November 9-18, 2015

Legal texts are among the more important sources for the reconstruction of the political and economic institutions, and cultural practices, of late antique Iran, as they considerably further our understanding of past social complexities that are decisively different than our own. This year’s Ehsan Yarshater Biennial Lectures shall provide a sweeping overview and detailed analysis of the principal fields of jurisprudence in Sasanian Iran (third to seventh centuries CE). The five lectures will be investigating the genesis of legal institutions that were instrumental in consolidating the social status of Sasanian élites, notably, the Zoroastrian clergy and the Iranian aristocracy.

As far as we know, the lectures are announced individually. The brochure for Prof. Macuch's lectures is available here: UCLA Yarshater Lectures 2015 Macuch

The Lectures:

    1. Legal Sources and Instruments of Law
      The opening lecture will provide an overview of the available legal material, dispersed in a great variety of sources, and discuss the many pitfalls Iranists encounter in reconstructing the Sasanian legal system.
    2. Kinship Ties and Fictive Alliances
      The second lecture examines questions pertaining to Family Law, in particular, the role of kinship ties that are of paramount importance in Sasanian jurisprudence. The lecture also elaborates on the significance of legal institutions within the context of marriage and succession.
    3. Property and Inheritance
      The third lecture explores the general concept of property, in particular,
      how it gave rise to complex categories crucial to preserving the possessions of affluent élites, while ensuring that proprietary rights were preserved from one generation to the next.
    4. Civil and Criminal Proceedings
      The fourth lecture reviews the judicial system, the foundation upon which the privileges of the élites were built, and the position of religious minorities, the Jews and Christians, within the framework of the judiciary.
    5. Sasanian Law and other Legal Systems
      The final lecture discusses the impact of Iranian law on other important legal systems of the Near East, be it Rabbinic and Nestorian-Christian, or be it Islamic and especially Shi’ite, law.

Zoroastrian Law and Identity

Sharafi, Mitra. 2014. Law and identity in colonial South Asia: Parsi legal culture, 1772-1947. (Studies in Legal History). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

This book explores the legal culture of the Parsis, or Zoroastrians, an ethnoreligious community unusually invested in the colonial legal system of British India and Burma. Rather than trying to maintain collective autonomy and integrity by avoiding interaction with the state, the Parsis sank deep into the colonial legal system itself. From the late eighteenth century until India’s independence in 1947, they became heavy users of colonial law, acting as lawyers, judges, litigants, lobbyists, and legislators. They de-Anglicized the law that governed them and enshrined in law their own distinctive models of the family and community by two routes: frequent intra-group litigation often managed by Parsi legal professionals in the areas of marriage, inheritance, religious trusts, and libel, and the creation of legislation that would become Parsi personal law. Other South Asian communities also turned to law, but none seems to have done so earlier or in more pronounced ways than the Parsis.

This book is based upon previously unexamined primary sources from archives rediscovered over the past decade: the Bombay High Court (Mumbai) and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (London) as well as takes case law seriously, while most work on South Asian legal history focuses on legislatio. It presents one of the first studies in South Asian legal history by a scholar trained both in law and in history.

See here the ToC of this book.

Mitra Sharafi is an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School, with an affiliation appointment in history at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

The Mount Mugh Documents and Sogdian Epigraphy

Livshits 2015Livshits, Vladimir A. 2015. Sogdian epigraphy of Central Asia and Semirech’e. (Ed.) Nicholas Sims-Williams. (Trans.) Tom Stableford. (Corpus Inscriptionum Iranicarum. Part II Inscriptions of the Seleucid and Parthian Periods and of Eastern Iran and Central Asia Vol. III. Sogdian). London: School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).
This volume presents the Emglish translations of some very important and major works of  Vladimir Aronovich Livshits on the Sogdian language, culture and sources. The volume is arranged in two parts. The first part is a translation of Sogdian documents from Mount Mug (kuh-e moḡ), site of the 7th-8th-century refuge of the rulers of Penjikent in Sogdiana, located in the upper reaches of the Zeravshan in northern Tajikistan, where an important archive of documents written in Sogdian was discovered by A. A. Freiman’s 1933 expedition. Livshits has taken part  first and foremost, in the deciphering of the Mnt. Mug archive of Sogdian documents from Mount Mug.
The second part of the volume, dedicated to the English translations of some ten important articles of Livshits, concerning the Sogdian epigraphy, in which he examines “not only the purely philological problems but also questions of the history and culture of Sogd, aided by his frequent participation in archaeological excavations and journeys to the lands of historical Sogdiana in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kirgizia”.

Continue reading The Mount Mugh Documents and Sogdian Epigraphy