Balatti, Silvia, Hilmar Klinkott, Josef Wiesehöfer (eds.). 2021. Paleopersepolis: Environment, Landscape and Society in Ancient Fars (Oriens et Occidens, 33). Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag.

Pārsa, approximately corresponding to the modern-day Iranian province of Fars, can reasonably be considered to occupy a prominent place in the history of Ancient Iran. Indeed, it was the heartland of the Persian empires of the Teispids, Achaemenids and Sasanians. The spectacular archaeological remains of Fars are well known – we need only think, for example, of the monumental remains of Persepolis. Much less is known about life outside of the royal palaces and about human-environment interactions in this region. In recent decades, a new interest in socio-environmental issues in the humanities, the use of innovative scientific methods in archaeology, and the rapid expansion of the field of paleoenvironmental studies have vastly increased the potential for investigating this topic from an interdisciplinary perspective. The contributions to this volume are the result of a scholarly effort to investigate the landscape and society of ancient Fars using an integrative approach, which benefits from the contributions from the humanities and the natural and technological sciences.


The Greco-Persian Wars

Jensen, Erik. 2021. The Greco-Persian Wars: A Short History with Documents. Cambridge: Hackett Publishing.

Hackett’s Passages: Key Moments in History series titles include original-source documents in accessible editions, intended for the student-user or general audience. This edition, The Greco-Persian Wars, taps our knowledge of the Persian Empire and its interactions with the Greek world. The sources examined were created in different times and places, for different purposes, and with different intended audiences. Using these sources effectively requires recognizing their distinct characteristics. A general introduction about the Greco-Persian wars is included to provide historical background and an overview of the information contained in the original-source documents. Also included are a glossary of terms, a chronology, insightful headnotes to each document, and an index.


Semiramis: From Antiquity to the Modern Times

Droß-Krüpe, Kerstin. 2020. Semiramis, de qua innumerabilia narrantur: Rezeption und Verargumentierung der Königin von Babylon von der Antike bis in die opera seria des Barock (Classica et Orientalia, 25). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

Semiramis, die legendäre Königin von Babylon, gehörte bis in das 20. Jahrhundert hinein zu den bekanntesten und am stärksten rezipierten Gestalten der antiken Welt. Als Frau, die von Babylon aus das Großreich der Assyrer regierte und erfolgreiche Eroberungskriege führte, wurde sie in einer Vielzahl antiker Quellentexte teils mit Bewunderung, teils mit tiefer Abscheu beschrieben. Schnell avancierte sie so zum Paradigma – einerseits für das weibliche Geschlecht, andererseits für die Ausübung von Macht, aber auch für den antiken ‚Orient‘ im Allgemeinen. Semiramis findet sich in der Folge in nahezu allen Literatur- und Kunstgattungen der Spätantike, des Mittelalters, der Renaissance und der Frühen Neuzeit und erhielt so einen festen Platz im kulturellen Gedächtnis der westlichen Welt. An ihr wurden über die Epochen hinweg Weiblichkeit und Herrschaft miteinander verknüpft, Transgressionen von weiblichen Handlungsräumen thematisiert, Geschlechterordnungen und Geschlechternormen verhandelt und Handlungsspielräume für das weibliche Geschlecht reflektiert.

Kerstin Droß-Krüpe folgt den Spuren der Semiramis durch die Jahrhunderte – von der griechischen Historiographie des 5. Jahrhunderts v.Chr. bis auf die Opernbühnen des Barock. Sie kombiniert so eine historisch-kritische Aufarbeitung des in den antiken Quellentexten präsentierten Semiramisbildes mit der späteren Wahrnehmung, Aneignung und Verargumentierung der Semiramis als Figur der Erinnerung.

For the table of contents, click here.


Iran 59 (1)

Volume 59, issue 1 of Iran, Journal of the British Institute of Persian Studies is out. Here is the table of contents:

  • Michael Roaf & Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis: Professor David B. Stronach, OBE 1931–2020
  • Kyle G. Olson & Christopher P. Thornton: Tureng Tepe, a Bronze Age Centre in Northeastern Iran Revisited
  • Sepideh Maziar & Ali Zalaghi: Exploring Beyond the River and Inside the Valleys: Settlement Development and Cultural Landscape of the Araxes River Basin Through Time
  • Sheler Amelirad & Eghbal Azizi: Kani Koter, Iron Age Cemetery From Iranian Kurdistan
  • Yaghoub Mohamadifar, Esmail Hemati Azandaryani, Alireza Dailar, Somayeh Hasanlou & Javad Babapiri: Parthian Burials in the Hamedan City, Western Iran
  • Mitra Panahipour: Land Use and Environment in a Zone of Uncertainty: A Case of the Sasanian Expansion in Eastern Iraq – Western Iran
  • Amir-Hossein Karimy & Parviz Holakooei: Looking Like Silver: Mica as a Pigment in Mid-Seventeenth Century Persian Wall Decorations
  • Massoumeh (Nahid) Assemi: The Panel of Dervishes at the Tekkiyeh Moʿaven al-Molk in Kermanshah (Figure 1)
  • Mojtaba Ebrahimian: Vaqaye‘-e Ettefaqiyeh (1851–1861) and the Education of the Iranian Nation in the Middle of the Nineteenth Century

Early Arsakid Parthia (ca. 250-165 B.C.)

Olbrycht, Marek Jan. 2021. Early Arsakid Parthia (ca. 250-165 B.C.): At the crossroads of Iranian, Hellenistic, and Central Asian history (Mnemosyne, Supplements 4040). Leiden: Brill.

In his new monograph Early Arsakid Parthia (ca. 250-165 B.C.): At the Crossroads of Iranian, Hellenistic, and Central Asian History, Marek Jan Olbrycht explores the early history of the Arsakid Parthian state. Making use of literary and epigraphic evidence as well numismatic and archaeological sources, Olbrycht convincingly depicts how the Arsakid dynasty created a kingdom (248 B.C.-A.D. 226), small at first, which, within a century after its founding, came to dominate the Iranian Plateau and portions of Central Asia as well as Mesopotamia. The “Parthian genius” lay in the Arsakids’ ability to have blended their steppe legacy with that of sedentary Iranians, and to have absorbed post-Achaemenid Iranian and Seleukid socio-economic, political, and cultural traditions.


15th Leiden Summer School in Languages and Linguistics

The 15th Leiden Summer School in Languages and Linguistics will take place online from 12–23 July 2021. Registration is now open.

The Leiden Summer School in Languages and Linguistics offers a varied program of specialised courses in Descriptive linguistics, in Chinese, Germanic, Indo-European, Indian, Iranian, Semitic languages and linguistics, as well as a number of introductory linguistic courses.
During these two weeks of intense learning, you will be able to deepen and broaden your knowledge, at the same time enjoy the company of linguistics students and enthusiasts from all over the world.

The summer school includes Avestan, Sogdian, Bactrian and Modern Persian, but also discussions of Indo-European myths and rituals. You will find the programme and registration information by following the link above.

این مدرسه تابستانی شامل کلاسهای اوستایی، سغدی، باختری و فارسی نوین است، و همچنین کلاسهایی در مورد افسانه‌ها و آیین‌های هند و اروپایی. با دنبال کردن پیوند بالا، اطلاعات برنامه و ثبت نام را پیدا خواهید کرد.


Simurgh and Pseudo-Simurgh in Iranian Arts

Compareti, Matteo. 2021. The elusive Persian Phoenix. Simurgh and Pseudo-Simurgh in Iranian arts (Studia Persica 3). Bologna: Paolo Emilio Persiani.

The reign of the Sasanian Dynasty (224–651 AD) received great attention in the works of Muslim authors who usually referred to this period as the “golden age” of pre-Islamic Persia. It is however worth noting that artifacts incontrovertibly attributable to the Sasanians are not very numerous. Among recent finds of dubious origin, some ongoing archeological excavations uncovered Sasanian coins and seals that in some cases showed fabulous creatures composed of parts of different animals. Starting from the ambiguity of these creatures, some scholars proposed to identify them according to ancient Persian mythology and literature. A composite winged creature with a dog’s head, lion’s paws, and a peacock’s tail that is considered to be typically Sasanian, was said to be the “Iranian phoenix” (Avestan saena marega, Middle Persian senmurv, Persian simurgh). As it can be observed on seventh century pre-Islamic Central Asian coins, this composite winged creature was quite explicitly associated with the Iranian concept of glory that was imported into Persia at the end of the Sasanian period from a region between modern Afghanistan and Tajikistan. Slightly later that creature started to appear in western arts too, going from the Byzantine Empire and the Islamic Caliphate to the whole of Europe until the early 13th century. Its exact meaning among Muslims is still a matter of debate although it was definitely considered by Christians as a very appropriate decoration for religious and secular purposes. Eighth-century Sogdian mural paintings from Penjikent and Mongol period Islamic book illustrations seem to support the identifications proposed in this study.


The Parthians: The Forgotten Empire

Ellerbrock, Uwe. 2021. The Parthians: The forgotten empire. London & New York: Routledge.

This volume provides a comprehensive overview of the history and culture of the Parthian Empire, which existed for almost 500 years from 247 BC to 224 AD.

The Parthians were Rome’s great opponents in the east, but comparatively little is known about them. The Parthians focuses on the rise, expansion, flowering and decline of the Parthian Empire and covers both the wars with the Romans in the west and the nomads in the east. Sources include the small amount from the Empire itself, as well as those from outside the Parthian world, such as Greek, Roman and Chinese documents. Ellerbrock also explores the Parthian military, social history, religions, art, architecture and numismatics, all supported by a great number of images and maps.

The Parthians is an invaluable resource for those studying the Ancient Near East during the period of the Parthian Empire, as well as for more general readers interested in this era.

Table of Contents:


Études offertes à Pierre Briant

Agut-Labordère, Damien, Rémy Boucharlat, Francis Joannès, Amélie Kuhrt & Matthew W. Stolper (éds). 2021. Achemenet. Vingt ans après: Études offertes à Pierre Briant à l’occasion des vingt ans du Programme Achemenet (Persika 21). Leuven: Peeters.

En créant le programme international Achemenet en 2000, l’année où il inaugurait la chaire «Histoire et civilisation du monde achéménide et de l’empire d’Alexandre» au Collège de France, Pierre Briant avait pour objectif de rassembler les données primaires sur l’Empire perse achéménide à travers les territoires immenses qu’il a couverts en Orient. Vingt ans après, le site met à la disposition des spécialistes, des étudiants et du grand public une dizaine de milliers de textes, des données archéologiques et près de cent mille images d’objets conservés dans une vingtaine de musées du monde entier.

À ces vastes corpus documentaires sont venues s’ajouter la collection Persika, en 2001, dont ce volume porte le numéro 21, et une revue en ligne, ARTA (Achaemenid Research on Texts and Archaeology), seul périodique consacré aux études achéménides.

Les auteurs de cet ouvrage célèbrent les vingt ans d’Achemenet et rendent, du même coup, hommage à son fondateur. Tous sont des spécialistes dans différents domaines des recherches achéménides et leurs contributions illustrent l’immensité géographique de cet empire-monde et la diversité des disciplines que requiert son étude.

For the table of contents, see here.


The Gujarati ritual directions of the Paragnā, Yasna and Visperad

Redard, Céline and Kerman Dadi Daruwalla (eds.). 2021. The Gujarati ritual directions of the Paragnā, Yasna and Visperad ceremonies: Transcription, translation and glossary of Anklesaria 1888 (Corpus Avesticum 2). Leiden: Brill.

This edition gives a transcription of Anklesaria’s text, an English translation, a Gujarati-English glossary, an introduction to Gujarati-language works on ritual directions and a study on the relationship between Anklesaria’s text and the liturgical manuscripts in Yasna 3–8. Unlocking the meaning and performative aspects in this first-ever edition in any European language, of these core Zoroastrian rituals in India, Céline Redard and Kerman Dadi Daruwalla open up the Indian tradition for future research and highlight its importance.