Zoroastrian Iconographies from Pre-Islamic Persia and Central Asia

Compareti, Matteo. 2024. Studies on Zoroastrian Iconographies from Pre-Islamic Persia and Central Asia. Roma: WriteUp.

Sogdiana was an Eastern Iranian land situated in the territories of modern Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. It never formed a significant political or military force although, between the 6th-9th centuries, Sogdians became the main actors in the caravan and maritime trade networks commonly called the “Silk Road”. Most of archaeological and artistic materials about Sogdians come from excavations in ex-Soviet Central Asia, especially the site of Penjikent (Tajikistan). Wall paintings from this important Sogdian site show a native polytheistic faith with Zoroastrian background, which is still puzzling experts of Iranian studies. During the centuries, local artists adopted external cultural elements that – once individuated – could help to shed light on unidentified deities of the Sogdian pantheon. Their comparison with Zoroastrian deities depicted in pre-Islamic Persian arts represents an invaluable instrument to improving our knowledge of this fascinating but still enigmatic field of studies.


Landscapes, Scriptures, Symbols and Architectures of Ancient Iran

The volume 26 of the journal ISIMU is now out and it is dedicated to aspects of ancient Iranian architecture and culture: Landscapes, Scriptures, Symbols and Architectures of Ancient Iran.

  • Fernando Escribano Martín, Carmen del Cerro Linares, Carlos Fernández Rodríguez y Francisco L. Borrego Gallardo: Presentación
  • Silvia Balatti: I materiali scrittori dell’Iran achemenide
  • Pierfrancesco Callieri: Babilonesi a Persepoli. Nuovi studi sull’architettura dell’Antica Persia
  • Fernando Escribano Martín: El jardín persa, intento de explicación y búsqueda de orígenes y trascendencias
  • Carlos Fernández Rodríguez: La gestión del agua y la habitabilidad del sur de Irán durante la Edad del Hierro
  • Zahara Gharehkhani: Criaturas híbridas de la Persia preislámica. Reflexiones y simbolismo
  • Sébastien Gondet: Observations on the environmental setting of the agricultural development and occupational history of Achaemenid Persepolis
  • Alireza Khounani: The Vineyards of Parthian Arsacid Nisa (151–15 BCE): Rent Farming and Cash Crop Agriculture from the Perspective of the Ostraca
  • Giulio Maresca: An overview of the pottery from Sistan in the Late Iron Age/Achaemenid period
  • Negin Miri and Cyrus Nasrollahzadeh: Another bulla of Weh-Šāpur, ĒrānSpāhbed of Kust-i-Nēmrōz from the Treasury of Mostazafan Foundation’s Cultural Institution of Museums in Tehran
  • Davide Salaris and Roberto Dan: Exploring the archaeology and significance of Masjed-e Soleyman: a reassessment of the Elymaean Temple and its socio-cultural context in southwestern Iran

Iranian Art

Blair, Sheila, Jonathan M. Bloom & Sandra Williams (eds.). 2024. Iranian art from the Sasanians to the Islamic Republic. Essays in honour of Linda Komaroff (Edinburgh Studies in Islamic Art). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Introduces Iranian art from classical to contemporary media, showing how art can be a source for history and politics

  • Takes a broad view of the Persianate world
  • Opens a traditional field in new directions
  • Presents a combination of senior scholars and younger voices, and includes perspectives from Asia, Europe and the USA
  • Combines views from the academy, the museum and the laboratory, ranging from the practical to the theoretical

Contextualizing Herodotus

Degen, Julian, Hilmar Klinkott, Robert Rollinger, Kai Ruffing & Truschnegg Brigitte (eds.). 2024. Ancient World in Perspective: Contextualizing Herodotus (Philippika 150). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

This volume is a collection of papers presented at a workshop commemorating the 20th anniversary of Reinhold Bichler’s monograph Herodots Welt.

It convenes a group of international specialists discussing Herodotus’ work from different perspectives. From the backdrop of ongoing scholarly debates, this volume seeks to offer a fresh look on the Histories. The various contributions present a nuanced portrayal of Herodotus as an author and the Histories as a literary cosmos, enhancing our comprehension of one of the most significant surviving texts from the Classical period. The topics cover a wide range of themes, including the structure of Herodotus’ historiographical narrative, his responses to the politics of Athens as well as the Achaemenid Empire, and the reception of his work. Finally, Herodotus’ description of the “world”, his conceptual ideas on regions and human culture and also the ongoing problems of how to deal with the Histories as a historical source are central questions addressed in this volume.

For a ToC, click here.


An Armenian Futūh Narrative

La Porta, Sergio & Alison M. Vacca. 2023. An Armenian Futūh Narrative: Łewond’s Eighth-Century History of the Caliphate (Late Antique and Medieval Islamic near East 4). Chicago: Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures of the University of Chicago.

The History of the Armenian priest Łewond is an important source for the history of early Islamic rule and the only contemporary chronicle of second/eighth-century caliphal rule in Armenia. This volume presents a diplomatic edition and new English translation of Łewond’s text, which describes events that took place during the century and a half following the Prophet Muḥammad’s death in AH 11/632 CE. The authors address Łewond’s account as a work of caliphal history, written in Armenian, from within the Caliphate. As such, this book provides a critical reading of the Caliphate from one of its most significant provinces. Reading notes clarify many aspects of the period covered to make the text understandable to students and specialists alike. Extensive commentary elucidates Łewond’s narrative objectives and situates his History in a broader Near Eastern historiographical context by bringing the text into new conversations with a constellation of Arabic, Greek, and Syriac works that cover the same period. The book thus stresses the multiplicity of voices operating in the Caliphate in this pivotal period of Near Eastern history.  


Iranica Antiqua, Volume 58

The table of contents of the latest issue (58) of the journal Iranica Antiqua:

  • Enrico ASCALONE, Pierfrancesco VECCHIO: Shahr-i Sokhta New Revised Sequence
  • Roberto DAN, Annarita S. BONFANTI: Seals and Sealing in Bia/Urartu. The Inscribed Seal
  • Hanna VERTIIENKO: A ‘Rooster-Man’ on the Gold Plate from Soboleva Mohyla
  • Eduard RUNG: On Metonomasia in the Achaemenid Dynasty
  • Marco FERRARIO: Just Send me Words. The Imperial Political Economies of Ancient Bactria
  • Rika GYSELEN, Hamid ZOHOORIAN: Deux sceaux sassanides avec le motif de l’autel du feu et la formule ātaxš … deh nišāst
  • D.T. Potts: The Antiquity and Nature of Horseshoeing in Iran
  • Clélia PALADRE: Rediscovering Mudbrick Architecture in Susa Fantasy or Reality?

Festschrift Pierfrancesco Callieri

Colliva, Luca, Anna Filigenzi & Luca Maria Olivieri (eds.). 2023. Le forme della città: Iran, Gandhāra e Asia Centrale. Scritti offerti a Pierfrancesco Callieri in occasione del suo 65° compleanno (Serie Orientale Roma, Nuova Serie 34). Roma: ISMEO – Ass. Internazionale di Studi sul Mediterraneo e l’Oriente.

This Festschrift volume is dedicated to Pierfrancesco Callieri, honoring their distinguished contributions to the fields of Iranian Studies. This collection brings together an array of essays by eminent scholars, covering a wide range of topics that reflect the depth and breadth of Callieri’s academic impact. From historical analyses and cultural studies to religious and linguistic explorations and archaeological insights, each contribution not only celebrates Callieri’s legacy but also advances our understanding of these richly diverse regions.

Table of Contents


  • Askari Chaverdi, M. Hasan Talebian, An Analysis on the Functionof Kabah-Ye Zardosht in Naqsh-e Rostam in the ArchaeologicalContext of Shahr-E-Parseh
  • A. Askari Chaverdi, From Seminar to World Heritage List. ArchaeologicalLandscape of Sasanian Fars: Firuzabad, Bishapur, andSarvestan
  • L. Colliva, Dal monumento alla città, una “via mediana” per l’archeologia
  • J. Cuny, Nouvelles « Épaves » de la vaisselle perse en pierre : deuxmortiers de Suse
  • B. Genito, Remains of Domestic Buildings of Probable AchaemenidDate in Eastern Iran
  • S. Gondet, R. Boucharlat, The Firuzi Area within the ArchaeologicalContext of Persepolis: a Reappraisal, Based on Mapping andChronological Remarks
  • W.F.M. Henkelman, Pitch and “All Happiness.” Bitumen in the PersepolisArchives
  • D. Huff, Remarks on the Development of Sasanian Fire Temples
  • E. Matin, From Tol-e Takht to the Persian Gulf. Pierfrancesco Callieriand the Landscapes of Ancient Fars
  • D.T. Potts, Race and Racialism in Ancient Elam: some Observationson the Archers Frieze at Susa
  • M. Rahbar, The Sasanian Tower of Silence at Bandian: a Refutationof the Excarnation Theory
  • E.W. Sauer, J. Nokandeh, H.O. Rekavandi, The Military Origins ofCities on the Sasanian Empire’s Northern Frontiers
  • .J. Wiesehöfer, Iran: Remarks on the Importance of a Major Area between550 BCE and 650 CE.

Armenia, Iraq & Centra Asia

  • Badalyan, Some Notes on the Statues of a Bull and a Cow with ItsCalf in the Haldi Temple of Musasir
  • H.-P. Francort, Sur les traces de sphinx centrasiatiques en Bactriane,dans l’Altaï, au Xinjiang, et du Martichoras en Bactriane et enInde (IVe Siècle BCE-I/IIe Siècle CE)
  • A. Invernizzi, The Adiabenian Rider. A Note on the Parthian Rock Reliefat Khinis-Bavian
  • A. Ivantchik, Iranians in the Bosporus: a New Inscription of the Roman Period
  • B. Kaim, Stucco Decoration in the Fire Temple at Mele Hairam
  • C. Lippolis, The Layout of Parthian Nisa: an Updated Overview
  • C. Lo Muzio, The “Red Hall” Murals in the Varakhsha Palace(Bukhara Oasis): Hints for a New Reading
  • P.B. Lurje, A Worship Scene on the Wall of Hisorak Palace
  • B. Lyonnet, Questions on the Origin of the Iron Age Circular Fortressesin Central Asia and of Monumental Architecture in Sogdiana
  • V. Messina, Polis o Cosmopoli? Percezioni e realtà della città anticoorientaledi età ellenistica
  • C. Rapin, Sources antiques sur Maracanda-Zariaspa (La Sogdianeentre Spitamène et Alexandre Le Grand)
  • F. Sinisi, Cesura e innovazione nella glittica e nella numismatica del Nord-Ovest indiano tra epoca saka-pahlava e kushana
  • G. Vignato, Boundaries and Gates in Rock Monasteries Kucha as a Case Study


  • Ashraf Khan, T. Saeed, The Contribution of the Italian ArchaeologicalMission in Swat (Pakistan): a Tribute to Pierfrancesco Callieri
  • S. Baums, The Dharmarājika Bowl and Slab from Butkara I
  • P. Brancaccio, Between Storytelling and Performance. The Narrativeof the Buddha’s Life in Urbanized Gandhara
  • O. Coloru, Demetrio Rex Indorum, Menandro I e Barikot. Un’ipotesidi lavoro
  • A. Filigenzi, Il Tempio Vishnuita di Barikot: nuovi dati archeologicie qualche riflessione sul paesaggio identitario
  • Ghani-ur-Rahman, A Fitting Tribute to Pierfrancesco Callieri
  • E. Iori, The Achaemenid “Mirage” in Gandhāra: a Study of the 5th-4th Century BCE Pottery from Barikot
  • L.M. Olivieri, M. Minardi, Scavare a Barikot. Le fasi tardo-antiche
  • C.A. Petrie, Regional Variations in the Ceramic Assemblages of theBorderlands of Pakistan during the Hindu-Shahi and Early IslamicPeriods. Some Observations about Barikot and Akra, and theBroader Patterns They Reveal
  • M. Vidale, R. Micheli, Out of Context, but Part of a Broader Picture.A Hand-Axe from Late Bronze Age Barikot

Sasanian Administrations and Officials

Gyselen, Rika (ed.). 2024. Administrations et préposés d’époque sassanide. Nouvelles données à la mémoire de Philippe Gignoux (Cahiers de Studica Iranica 66). Paris: Association pour l’Avancement des études iraniennes.

This volume brings together studies based on primary sources, often unpublished, which highlight important aspects of the administration of the Sasanian Empire. Some complete our knowledge on the territorial establishment of the various administrations and of the mints, others deal with the actors of these institutions such as the magi and the scribes. The sources used are mainly seals and seal impressions on clay bullae.


The Oxford Handbook of Palmyra

Raja, Rubina (ed.). 2024. The Oxford handbook of Palmyra. New York: Oxford University Press.

The monumental remains of Palmyra (also known as Tadmor) have fascinated travelers and scholars for centuries. The Oxford Handbook of Palmyra gives a detailed analysis of the archaeology and history of this ancient oasis city in the Syrian Desert, spanning evidence from several millennia. With contributions from thirty archaeologists, epigraphists, historians, and philologists, this book covers the city’s archaeological findings and history from its earliest mentions in the pre-Roman era to the destruction of many of its monuments during the Syrian Civil War and the subsequent looting. The authors recap evidence and present significant new findings and analyses from fieldwork they or others undertook in Palmyra prior to the 2011 conflict and discuss the recent occupation by ISIS and calls to defend the site’s remains from current and future threats.


Iran and the Caucasus 28 (1-2)

The first and second issues of volume 28 of Iran and the Caucasus are published and contain several interesting contributions. Below are listed the articles that deal with ancient Iran: