Tag Archives: Middle Persian

Ancient Iranian Terminologies of Armour and Textile

Gaspa, Salvatore, Cécile Michel & Marie-Louise Nosch (eds.). 2017. Textile Terminologies from the Orient to the Mediterranean and Europe, 1000 BC to 1000 AD. Lincoln, Nebraska: Zea Books.
This volume is the fruit of a longstanding collaboration in the field of textile terminologies. Since 2005, Cécile Michel and Marie-Louise Nosch have collaborated on numerous academic activities – joint teaching, lectures at conferences, experimental workshops, co-publishing and co-editing. The second conference on textile terminology was held in June 2014 at the University of Copenhagen. Around 50 experts from the fields of Ancient History, Indo-European Studies, Semitic Philology, Assyriology, Classical Archaeology, and Terminology from twelve different countries came together at the Centre for Textile Research, to discuss textile terminology, semantic fields of clothing and technology, loan words, and developments of textile terms in Antiquity.
Three contributions in this volume are related to Iranian Studies, all available for free to read, download and share:

Trilingual Greek-Aramaic-Middle Persian Pharmaceutical Lexical List

Image from an 18th c. Syriac manuscript from Alqosh. Thomas touching the wounds of Jesus, with Simon Peter looking on. DFM 13, f. 60r. © hmmlorientalia

Müller-Kessler, Christa. 2017. A Trilingual Pharmaceutical Lexical List: Greek – Aramaic – Middle Persian. Le Muséon 130(1–2). 31–69.

This trilingual plant list in Greek, Aramaic, and Middle Persian (Pahlavi) is a late copy in the Aramaic square script from the Cairo Genizah of the ninth or tenth centuries with randomly applied Palestinian vocalisation (T-S K14.22). It is the second example of a trilingual lexical list, containing plant names after Barhebraeus’ plant list in the Menārath Kudhshē. The origin of the Vorlage speaks for Jundishapur as its place of completion, and Syriac used for the Aramaic glosses, since this fragment shows a number of Syriac calques, especially particles, which came in through the translation from one Aramaic dialect into another. This unique text source demonstrates again how closely interlinked Greek, Aramaic, and Middle Iranian were in Late Antiquity, despite the loss of most of the text material from this famous academy of medical studies. What this list makes also so valuable is the application of the grades of the plants’ effect that go back to Galen, as can be found in the remnant Syriac manuscript Mingana Syr. 661.
Christa Müller-Kessler is an scholar of Syriac and Aramaic Studies at the Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena.

The wolf in ancient Iran

Azarnouche, Samra. 2016. “Le loup dans l’Iran ancien. Entre mythe, réalité et exégèse zoroastrienne”Anthropology of the Middle East 11(1): 1–19.

How did ancient Iranian religion represent the wolf? Between the mythological data, the realities of the agro-pastoral world, and the symbolism of exegetical tradition, Late Antique Zoroastrianism considered the wolf as primarily a species to kill. In reality, much more than the Canis lupus hides behind the word ‘wolf ’ (Middle Persian gurg), including most nocturnal predators but also devastating illnesses, a monster whom the Savior will destroy at the end of time, and finally heretics who renounce or deform the Good Religion. However, this negative image is nuanced by the recognition of the strong ties between the she-wolf and wolf cubs, both in texts where the protective qualities of this large predator are evoked, and in iconography, namely magic seals, where one finds the image of the nourishing she-wolf, perhaps connected to perinatal magic.

The second issue of Studia Iranica 45

The second issue of Studia Iranica 45 (2016) has been published. Three papers of this issue are related to our interest:

The presence in the Wizīdagīhā ī Zādspram 28,6 of an explicit reference to the figure 6666 in connection with the manifestation of Ahreman’s arrival into the world immediately suggests a direct comparison with the ‘Number of the Beast’, 666, appearing in the Apocalypse of John, 13, 17-18. The author analyses many symbolic interpretations of this number and its importance in the Early Christian tradition, in particular in the framework of Irenaeus’s Adversus Haereses and the related chiliadic milieu. While the presence of this number in the Mazdean context seems to be another evidence supporting the thesis of a Western influence on Iranian apocalypticism (in spite of the apparent absence of Syriac versions of the Apocalypse of John in earlier times), the circulation of millenaristic doctrines presents a more complex situation, in which also the Iranian component should have played its remarkable impact in earlier times.

A number of Sogdian letter fragments are preserved from the Manichaean communities in Turfan. Although the majority are written in the Sogdian script, a small number are written in a cursive variety of the Manichaean script found only in these texts. Their edition and study provides a brief glimpse into the dynamics of the community. Furthermore, the first paleographic analysis of Manichaean cursive is undertaken.

Iranian Philology in Honour of Gherardo Gnoli

Morano, Enrico, Elio Provasi & Adriano V. Rossi (eds.). 2017. Studia Philologica Iranica. Gherardo Gnoli Memorial Volume. (Serie Orientale Roma, Nuova Serie 5). Roma: Scienze e Lettere S.r.l.
Table of Contents
  •  M. Alram:  “Ein Schatzfund des Hunnen-Königs Mihirakula”
  • G. Asatrian: “Middle Iranian Lexical Archaisms in Armenian Dialects”
  • H.R. Baghbidi: “Three Etymological Notes”
  • C.G. Cereti: “A Short Note on MHDA 38”
  • J. Cheung: “On the Origin of the Terms “Afghan” & “Pashtun” (Again)”
  • C.A. Ciancaglini: “Phonology, Etymology and Transcription Issues of Middle Persian Final Sequences ‹-lg› and ‹-lkꞌ›”
  • I. Colditz: “Another Fragment of the “Parable on the Female Hearer Xybrʾ”?”
  • M. Dandamayev: “Indian Soldiers in Achaemenid Babylonia”
  • A. de Jong: “The Women Who Witnessed Zoroaster’s Birth”
  • D. Durkin-Meisterernst: “Yima’s anādruxti-“
  • E. Filippone: “On the Meaning of Avestan nāuuiia– and Pahlavi *nāydāg
  • Ph. Gignoux: “Sur les noms de personnes et quelques particularités linguistiques d’une nouvelle collection privée de parchemins pehlevis”
  • R. Gyselen: “Formules moyen-perses et monogrammes sassanides”
  • A. Hintze: “The Advance of the Daēnā: The Vištāsp Yašt and an Obscure Word in the Hāδōxt Nask
  • H. Humbach: “Zarathushtra and the Balance”
  • J. Josephson: “The Pahlavi Psalter as a Translation”
  • J. Kellens: “Les Gâthâs dites de Zarathusthra
  • G. Lazard: “Les racines de la langue persane”
  • P. Lecoq: “Le -a final en vieux perse”
  • C. Leurini: “The Virgins and the Bride: Matt. 25:1 in the Manichaean Middle Persian Fragment M36”
  • P.B. Lurje: “More on Sogdian Versification: Translated and Original Compositions
  • M. Macuch: “A Legal Controversy from the Sasanian Period in a Late Pahlavi Rivāyat Text”
  • M. Maggi: “Annotations on the Book of Zambasta, IV: Ronald E. Emmerick’s Notes”
  • E. Morano: “The Jackals and the Elephant: A Manichaean Sogdian Tale in Manichaean Script. With an Appendix with Corrections to Previously Edited Fragments of Tales
  • É. Pirart: “Les Soleils de l’Avesta”
  • A. Piras: “X˅arǝnah– and the Garlands. Notes about the Avestan and Manichaean Yima
  • E. Provasi: “Some Notes on Sogdian Phonology: Prothetic Aleph and Labialised Velars”
  • Ch. Reck: “Form and Emptiness: A Fragment of a Sogdian Version of the Heart Sutra?”
  • A.V. Rossi: “Ten Years of Achaemenid Philology: Old Persian &
    Achaemenid Elamite 2006-2016”
  • G. Scarcia: “Alla ricerca di un Ur-Farhâd: Hercules patiens, magnetico signor dottore, scalpellino, feldmaresciallo mecenate?”
  • R. Schmitt: “Der Flußgott Oxos in der iranischen Anthroponymie”
  • M. Schwartz: “An Achaemenid Position, and Gathic Composition:
    OPers. *grasta-(pati-), OAv. grə̄hma-, and PIE √gʰres
  • Sh. Shaked: “Zoroastrian Views on Suffering”
  • N. Sims-Williams: “The Name of the Kushan Goddess Ομμα”
  • P.O. Skjærvø: “Khotanese Land Purchase Deeds”
  • D. Weber: “Bemerkungen zu einigen Personennamen in den neuen Dokumenten aus Tabaristan”
  • G. Windfuhr: “The Enigmatic kurušag Ewe that Nursed Infant Zarathushtra, and the Precession of the Equinoxes”
  • E. Yarshater: “Tāti Dialects”
  • Y. Yoshida: “A Manichaean Middle Persian Fragment Preserved in the Kyōushooku Library, Osaka, Japan”
  • P. Zieme: “Ein altuigurisches Fragment zur manichäischen Ethik”

The Middle Persian words xwarrah and farr

Shavarebi, Ehsan & Ahmad Reza Qaemmaqami. 2016. Les mots moyen-perses xwarrah et farr: un nouvel argument onomastique. Folia Orientalia 53. 261–274.

This article analyses Ardašīr-Farr, the honorary title attributed to Abarsām, a high-ranking dignitary at the reign of Ardašīr I, and its similarity to the name of the city of Ardašīr-Xwarrah.

Medicine in the Avesta

Delaini, Paolo. 2017. La medicina nell’Avesta. Widēwdād 7, 20, 21, 22. Studio filologico, traduzione e commento dei testi avestici e medio-persiani. Con un saggio sugli studi sulla medicina zoroastriana dal Settecento ad oggi. I. I Pahlavi Widēwdād 7.1 – 7.44. Sesto San Giovanni: Mimesis.

The present volume offers a philological study of various passages from the Wīdēwdād pertaining to medicine.

Abou the Author
Paul Delaini, is an scholar of Iranian studies at the University of Bologna, Ravenna. His research deals mainly with the history of pre-Islamic medicine in Iran, with particular emphasis on the development and circulation of medical knowledge on the body and the physiology of birth evolved from the ancient world on the late ancient and medieval tradition.

The Zoroastrian Law to Expel the Demons

The text Wīdēwdād – “Law Serving to Keep the Demons Away” – is one of the longest and most important sources for the study of the Zoroastrianism of the ancient Iranian and the Middle Iranian periods. The ancient Iranian text, written in Avestan, was in the Sassanid era (3rd-7th centuries) translated into Middle Persian (Pahlavi) and provided with glosses and extensive commentaries. The Pahlavi version, called zand, is of particular interest for two reasons: firstly, it is the oldest Middle Persian translation of an Avestan text, and thus of major importance for the linguistic reconstruction of Middle Persian; secondly, the annotations approach complex theological, ritual, and legal questions that examine numerous insufficiently studied areas of the Sassanid society. Despite its outstanding importance, this primary source has, due to the high degree of difficulty of the subject matter, until recently attracted hardly any attention.
Miguel Ángel Andrés-Toledo’s book, based upon a careful collation of all 44 still existing manuscripts, is the first critical edition of the Avestan and the Pahlavi text of the Wīdēwdād.
For more details see the table of the contents of this volume.
Author:
Miguel Ángel Andrés-Toledo is an scholar of Ancient and Middle Iranian Lingustics as well as Zoroastrianism. He is currently a research fellow of the Department of Classical Philology and Indo-European Studies at the University of Salamanca.

Bulletin of the Asia Institute 26

Issue 26 of the Bulletin of the Asia Institute will be published in December. The information on this issue is not yet available on the journal’s website, but the content has been circulated. We are publishing the table of content based on a request by the journal.

Bulletin of the Asia Institute 26

December 2016

Articles

  • Zsuzsanna Gulácsi and Jason BeDuhn, “The Religion of Wirkak and Wiyusi: The Zoroastrian Iconographic Program on a Sogdian Sarcophagus from Sixth-Century X’ian
  • Harry Falk, “’Buddhist’ Metalware from Gandhara”
  • Dieter Weber, “Studies in Some Documents from the ‘Pahlavi Archive’”
  • Martin Schwartz, “Pahlavi = Adiantum capillus-veneris L.: Ethnobotany, Etymology, and Iranian Cultural History”
  • Ofir Haim, “An Early Judeo-Persian Letter Sent from Ghazna to Bāmiyān (Ms. Heb. 4°8333.29)”
  • Siam Bhayro, “Sergius of Reš ʿAyna’s Syriac Translations of Galen: Their Scope, Motivation, and Influence”
  • David Frendo, “Alexander’s Anti-Persian Rhetoric and the Destruction of the Achaemenid Empire: A Re-examination of the Sources”
  • Michele Minardi, “New Data on the Central Monument of Akchakhan-kala”

Shorter Notice

  • Ali Mousavi, ”Shahyar Adle (1944–2015)”

Reviews

  • CANTERA. Vers une édition de la liturgie longue zoroastrienne: Pensées et travaux préliminaires (Skjærvø)
  • HILL. Through the Jade Gate—China to Rome. A Study of the Silk Routes 1st to 2nd Centuries CE (Dien)
  • BAUMER. The History of Central Asia: The Age of the Silk Roads (Rose)
  • WHITFIELD. Life along the Silk Road (Rose)
  • FALK, ED. Kushan Histories: Literary Sources and Selected Papers from a Symposium at Berlin, December 5 to 7, 2013 (Bromberg)
  • SHAYEGAN. Aspects of History and Epic in Ancient Iran: From Gaumāta to Wahnām (Brosius)
  • JULLIEN, ED. Husraw Ier: Reconstructions d’un règne. Sources et documents (Choksy and Dubeansky)

Books Received

Abbreviations

198 + v. pp.

$80 + shipping Individual orders

For more information, please contact: bai34@comcast.net

Greek Echos in Pahlavi Literature

Agostini, Domenico . 2016. Greek echoes in Pahlavi literature. A preliminary survey of calques and foreign terms. Linguarum Varietas 5. 13–24.

The vast majority of the extant Pahlavi literature was written or compiled during the Islamic period (mainly during the 9th-10th centuries) and deals with religious themes of theological and scholastic interest. Only a few examples of Sasanian imaginative, scientific and philosophical works have survived, despite the rich testimony towards their existence found in Syriac, Arabic, and Persian sources, as well as references in some Pahlavi texts. In particular, some of them teach us that Greek philosophical systems, astrology, astronomy and medicine penetrated Iranian thought already in the Sasanian period. These new ideas were necessarily reworked as they entered Zoroastrian writings. It is not always easy to
pinpoint when and where certain aspects of the Pahlavi literature rely on Greek culture, although it is quite clear that the latter had a heavy influence on the formation of Iranian, and especially Zoroastrian, thinking in Sasanian period. This article aims to present some evidence of the presence of Greek thought and lexicon in the Pahlavi literature through the textual analysis of some passages belonging to the Zoroastrian literary tradition.