The Arsakid World (Anabasis, 10)

Volume 10 (2019) of Anabasis. Studia Classica et Orientalia is now out. This is a special volume, entitled “The Arsakid World: Studies on the History and Culture of Western and Central Asia” edited by Marek Jan Olbrycht and Jeffrey D. Lerner.

Table of Contents:

  • Marek Jan Olbrycht, Jeffrey D. Lerner:
    The Arsakid World and Its Neighbors: An Introduction
  • Alice Borgna:
    Pompeius Trogus and the Romanization of History (Note to Iust. 41.2.1-2)
  • Yasuyuki Mitsuma:
    “General (Who Is) Above the Four Generals” in the Seleucid and Arsacid Period
  • Marek Jan Olbrycht:
    Crisis in Parthia (ca. 90-70/69 BC) and Arsakid Coinages: Preliminary Remarks on Numismatic Evidence
  • Mehdi Mousavinia, Hassan Nami:
    Shahr-Tepeh and Toghei – Two Early Parthian Cities in Northeastern Iran
  • Mohsen Dana, Alireza Nasrabadi, Hadi Sharifan:
    Qal’e Nehbandan: Evidence of the Parthian Period in Eastern Iran
  • Martin Schottky:
    Die arsakidische Nebenlinie in Armenien
  • Anahit Mousheghian:
    Monetary Circulation in Armenia in the Hellenistic and Parthian-Roman Periods (Some Remarks)
  • Jeffrey D. Lerner:
    A Further Note on the Appearance of “Αντειχ” / “Σαναβ” on the So-Called “Heraios” Tetradrachmas of the Kushan King Kujula Kadphises, ca. 30-80 CE
  • Razieh Taasob:
    Khalchayan and Historical Links to the Numismatic and Iconographical Evidence in Central Asia: Some Suggestions for Chronology
  • Udo Hartmann:
    Die Imperiale Politik des Vologaises III. und das Bellum Parthicum des Lucius Verus
  • Jake Nabel:
    Tiridates in the Forum, Peroz on His Knees: Religion and Reputation in Ancient Iranian
  • Valentina I. Mordvintseva:
    Sarmatian Elites of the Lower Volga-and-Don Region and their Relations with the Outside World (3rd c. BC – 3rd c. AD)
  • Aleksander Baliński:
    Nabonidus – Darius the Mede
  • Sabine Müller:
    Persia in Defense, the Athenian Connection, and the Family of Pharnabazos
  • Oleg L. Gabelko, Eugene G. Teytelbaum:
    “Waged War not Only on Men but on Gods”: Polybius’ Views on Religious Crimes in Military Conflicts of the Greek-Roman World
  • Juan Antonio Álvarez-Pedrosa:
    The Peacock’s Arrival in Greece and Rome, or How an Exotic Animal Became an Eschatological Symbol
  • Edward Lipiński:
    L’inscription latino-palmyrénienne de South Shields
  • Martin Schottky
    Ein Neues Buch zu den Regna Minora
  • Aleksandr A. Sinitsyn, Igor E. Surikov:
    A New Collective Work on Herodotus as a Scientist and Narrator
  • Sabine Müller:
    Tonio Hölscher, Mythenbilder und Mentalität in Athen von Kleisthenes zu den Perserkriegen. Ein Versuch zur historischen Psychologie der Griechen, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz 2019
  • Aleksandr A. Sinitsyn:
    In Tribute to the Russian Classical Historian Vladimir Borukhovich (1920–2007) on the
    Centenary of His Birth

Exilarchal Propaganda and Zoroastrians in Tenth- to Eleventh-Century Baghdad

Gross, Simcha. 2021. The Curious Case of the Jewish Sasanian Queen Šīšīnduxt: Exilarchal Propaganda and Zoroastrians in Tenth- to Eleventh-Century Baghdad. Journal of the American Oriental Society 141(2). 365–380.

The Provincial Capitals of Ērānšahr, a medieval Zoroastrian Middle Persian text, recounts how the daughter of the Jewish exilarch married the Sasanian king Yazdgird I and gave birth to Wahrām Gōr, his successor. While the historicity of the text has been largely undermined, scant attention has been given to its authorship and purpose. This article proposes that the story’s creators were members of the exilarch’s household in the tenth through eleventh century who internalized the broader concern with (invented) Sasanian pedigree during the period known as the Iranian intermezzo in an effort to appeal to Iranian Jews and other elites alike. Studying this text and its origins provides evidence of contact between Jews and Zoroastrians during this period and offers a new suggestion about the cultural context of the Zoroastrians who produced The Provincial Capitals.


End of History and the Last King

Janzen, David. 2021. End of History and the Last King: Achaemenid Ideology and Community Identity in Ezra-Nehemiah. London & New York: Bloomsbury.

This book examines community identity in the post-exilic temple community in Ezra-Nehemiah, and explores the possible influences that the Achaemenids, the ruling Persian dynasty, might have had on its construction. In the book, David Janzen reads Ezra-Nehemiah in dialogue with the Achaemenids’ Old Persian inscriptions, as well as with other media the dynasty used, such as reliefs, seals, coins, architecture, and imperial parks. In addition, he discusses the cultural and religious background of Achaemenid thought, especially its intersections with Zoroastrian beliefs.

Ezra-Nehemiah, Janzen argues, accepts Achaemenid claims for the necessity and beneficence of their hegemony. The result is that Ezra-Nehemiah, like the imperial ideology it mimics, claims that divine and royal wills are entirely aligned. Ezra-Nehemiah reflects the Achaemenid assertion that the peoples they have colonized are incapable of living in peace and happiness without the Persian rule that God established to benefit humanity, and that the dynasty rewards the peoples who do what they desire, since that reflects divine desire.

The final chapter of the book argues that Ezra-Nehemiah was produced by an elite group within the Persian-period temple assembly, and shows that Ezra-Nehemiah’s pro-Achaemenid worldview was not widely accepted within that community.


The Herodotus Encyclopedia

Baron, Christopher (Ed.). 2021. The Herodotus Encyclopedia, 3 Volume Set. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.

The first work of its kind, this book offers students and faculty of all levels an easy-to-use, up-to-date reference tool on Herodotus of Halicarnassus (the “Father of History”) and provides Herodotean scholars with a collection of important strands of recent work. Topics include the debt of Greek historical writing to epic poetry (and other genres); narratological analysis of the text; Herodotus’ position vis-à-vis his predecessors and contemporaries; his use of sources; his notion of Greekness; and the growing body of Persian and other Near Eastern evidence for sixth- and fifth century events.

Spanning three volumes, The Herodotus Encyclopedia surveys the current state of knowledge and understanding of Herodotus’ work, and discusses past, current, and emerging approaches to the text. Featuring contributions from an international team of more than 150 scholars, it offers more than 2,500 entries which cover the individuals, peoples, and places Herodotus names in his Histories; the composition and central themes in his work; and the historical, social, intellectual, and literary context of the period. Many entries also explore the text’s scholarship and reception from antiquity up to the present day.  Offers entries for every proper name, group, and region mentioned in Herodotus’ Histories Provides discussions of the history of Herodotean studies and scholarship Considers the historical and cultural contexts within which Herodotus wrote and lived Addresses the reception of Herodotus during antiquity and beyond Incorporates the methods and findings of several different disciplines in the humanities Features maps and illustrations, a user guide, an index, and full bibliographical information in each entry The Herodotus Encyclopedia is an indispensable text for scholars in classics and related fields, instructors who cover Herodotus or Greek history in their courses, research libraries, and students of ancient Greek history and literature.

* Offers entries for every proper name, group, and region mentioned in Herodotus’ Histories

* Provides discussions of the history of Herodotean studies and scholarship

*Considers the historical and cultural contexts within which Herodotus wrote and lived

*Addresses the reception of Herodotus during antiquity and beyond *Incorporates the methods and findings of several different disciplines in the humanities

* Features maps and illustrations, a user guide, an index, and full bibliographical information in each entry

The Herodotus Encyclopedia is an indispensable text for scholars in classics and related fields, instructors who cover Herodotus or Greek history in their courses, research libraries, and students of ancient Greek history and literature.


Studia Iranica 49 (1)

The first issue of Studia Iranica 49 (2020) is out. For a table of contents and access to individual articles, see below or visit this page.

  • Antonio PANAINO & Franco MARTORELLO: The ‘Amphibology’ of the Time in Astrology: The King and the Rebel in Sasanian Astrological Literature
  • Bahman KARGAR, Ali BINANDEH & Behruz KHANMOHAMADI: Excavations at Tepe Qalaychi, a Mannaean Site in Western Azerbaijan, Iran
  • Cyrus NASROLLAHZADEH & Ebrahim QEZELBASH: Une inscription funéraire inédite en moyen-perse tardif (Dašt-e Rum, Yāsuj, Iran)
  • Leila KOOCHAKZADEH: La charte de l’Anjoman-e Ma’āref de 1901: Une source retrouvée de l’histoire de la reforme éducative en Iran
  • Alexandre KAZEROUNI: Ḥājj Ḥoseyn Āqā Malek (1871-1972), sa bibliothèque et son musée à Téhéran: Bourgeoisie marchande pieuse et espaces publics culturels en Iran
  • Comptes rendus

Susa. Stratigraphic survey of the Acropolis 1: Layers 21 to 18 (campaigns 1977-1979)

Le Brun, Alain (with a contribution from Naomi F. Miller). 2020. Suse. Sondage stratigraphique de l’Acropole 1: Couches 21 a 18 (campagnes 1977-1979). Paris: De Boccard.

Ouvert en 1969 dans le cadre du programme de recherches stratigraphiques de la Mission de Suse, le chantier dit de l’Acropole I a permis de distinguer trois périodes dans l’histoire de Suse au cours du IVe millénaire. La période I (couches 27 à 23) correspond à la première occupation de Suse. La période II (couches 22 à 17) est une période au cours de laquelle Suse et la Susiane vivent dans la mouvance culturelle et socio-politique de la Mésopotamie. C’est également une période au cours de laquelle se met en place un système complexe de comptabilité. La période III (couches 16 à 14), marquée par l’apparition dès le niveau 16C des premiers documents écrits, traduit le basculement de Suse dans une nouvelle zone d’influence, la zone d’influence proto-élamite. Six campagnes de fouilles ont été conduites entre 1969 et 1979. Les résultats des quatre premières campagnes, 1969-1972, ont été publiés dans les Cahiers de la Délégation archéologique française en Iran. Le présent ouvrage rend compte des campagnes effectuées entre 1977 et 1979 qui avaient porté sur des couches de la période II, les niveaux des couches 21 à 18. Il comprend la description des vestiges architecturaux, du matériel céramique, des documents glyptiques, ainsi que des documents de comptabilité que complète l’analyse d’échantillons archéobotaniques. Incomplète, les événements politiques survenus en Iran en 1979 ayant arrêté ce programme de recherche, cette publication n’en constitue pas moins une contribution utile à la connaissance de Suse et de la Susiane au cours de la seconde moitié du IVe millénaire et, plus largement, du monde urukéen.


Ramat Raḥel VI: The Babylonian-Persian Pit

Lipschits, Oded, Liora Freud, Manfred Oeming, and Yuval Gadot. 2021. Ramat Raḥel VI: The Renewed Excavations by the Tel Aviv–Heidelberg Expedition (2005–2010). The Babylonian-Persian Pit. Pennsylvania: Eisenbrauns.

This is part of a three-volume final report of the renewed excavations at Ramat Raḥel by the Tel Aviv–Heidelberg Expedition (2005−2010). It presents the finds from the Babylonian-Persian pit, one of the most dramatic find-spots at Ramat Raḥel. The pit yielded a rich assemblage of pottery vessels and yhwd, lion, and sixth-century “private” stamp impressions, including, for the first time, complete restored stamped jars, jars bearing two handles stamped with different yhwd impressions, and jars bearing both lion and “private” stamp impressions on their bodies. Residue analysis was conducted on many of the vessels excavated from the pit to analyze their contents, yielding surprising results. The finds contribute to our understanding of the pottery of the Babylonian and early Persian periods (6th−5th centuries BCE) and to the study of the development of the stamped-jar administration in the province of Yehud under Babylonian and Persian rule.


A Relative Chronology of Persian

Korn, Agnes. 2021. Contributions to a relative chronology of Persian: The non-change of postconsonantal y and w in Middle Persian in context. Indo-European Linguistics 1–43.

Old Persian shows a change of postconsonantal y, w to iy, uw, respectively. However, if one applies (pre-)Middle Persian sound changes to the Old Persian forms, the result is at variance with certain Middle Persian forms. If one were to assume a syncope reversing the Old Persian change of y, w to iy, uw, this would also affect old cases of iy, uw and likewise yield incorrect results for Middle Persian. The Old Persian change can thus not have operated in the prehistory of Middle Persian, and there is a dialectal difference between attested Old Persian and the later stages of the language, which is to be added to those already noted. The paper also discusses some sound changes that are connected to the Old Persian change in one way or the other. Cases in point are the processes called Epenthesis and Umlaut in previous scholarship, which this article suggests to interpret as occurring in different contexts and in different periods. The former is limited to Vry, which yields Vir and feeds into a monophthongisation that, as shown by some late Old Persian word forms, occurred within Achaemenid times, giving ēr and īr from ary and əry. Epenthesis did not occur in the prehistory of Parthian, whereas the monophthongisation did. The Appendix presents a tentative sequence of the processes discussed in this article, which is intended as a contribution to the relative chronology of Persian historical phonology.


The Last Great War of Antiquity

Howard-Johnston, James. 2021. The last great war of antiquity. Oxford University Press.

The last and longest war of classical antiquity was fought in the early seventh century. It was ideologically charged and fought along the full length of the Persian-Roman frontier, drawing in all the available resources and great powers of the steppe world. The conflict raged on an unprecedented scale, and its end brought the classical phase of history to a close. Despite all this, it has left a conspicuous gap in the history of warfare. This book aims to finally fill that gap.
The war opened in summer 603 when Persian armies launched co-ordinated attacks across the Roman frontier. Twenty-five years later the fighting stopped after the final, forlorn counteroffensive thrusts of the Emperor Heraclius into the Persians’ Mesopotamian heartland. James Howard-Johnston pieces together the scattered and fragmentary evidence of this period to form a coherent story of the dramatic events, as well as an introduction to key players-Turks, Arabs, and Avars, as well as Persians and Romans- and a tour of the vast lands over which the fighting took place. The decisions and actions of individuals-particularly Heraclius, a general of rare talent-and the various immaterial factors affecting morale take centre stage, yet due attention is also given to the underlying structures in both belligerent empires and to the Middle East under Persian occupation in the 620s. The result is a solidly founded, critical history of a conflict of immense significance in the final episode of classical history.

OUP Website

From Avestan to Armenian

Jouravel, Anna & Audrey Mathys (eds.). 2021. Wort- und Formenvielfalt. Festschrift fur Christoph Koch zum 80. Geburtstag (Studies on Language and Culture in Central and Eastern Europe 37). Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

This Festschrift in honour of Christoph Koch, Professor of Comparative and Indo-Germanic Linguistics at the Free University of Berlin on the occation of his 80th birthday, contains some contributions relevant for Iranian Studies:

After an exhaustive analysis of the attestation of the Avestan letter ń in the Iranian manuscripts of the Long Liturgy, it is concluded that this letter appears only before , but not before i or e with the exception of the group °niuuV, where ń is also regular. Concerning the use of the epenthesis or not, it is concluded that the epenthesis is regular before ń, except when ń appears after initial a (e.g. ańiia– vs. maińiiu– ). The comparison of ainīm to ańiiō and rest of the forms of the paradigm leads us to the conclusion that two successive waves of epenthesis have to be assumed: the first one affected only syllables before and was prior to the transformation of n > ń. The second one affected the syllables before i or final e and is posterior to the evolution n > ń.

  • Durkin-Meisterernst, Desmond: “Does a two-dimensional system fit into a one-dimensional system? Considering the Armenian alphabet.”

This article describes how the Armenian alphabet combined the Syriac/Aramaic and Greek alphabets to build an alphabet for Classical Armenian. It shows how the system of six affricates was built into this in a two-dimensional way.

  • Forssman, Bernhard: “Jungavestisch ərəduuafšnī-, Sanskrit ūrdhvastanī-“.

The archaic Young Avestan compound ərəduuafšnī– ‘with erected breasts’ has the genetic equivalent ūrdhvastanī– in Sanskrit, formally modernised and attested only in the more recent language, but nevertheless of early origin, as can be inferred from the Vedic antonym lambastanī– ‘with pendulous breasts’.