Studies in Iranian Philology

Barbera, Gerardo, Matteo De Chiara, Alessandro Del Tomba, Bhikkhunī Dhammadinnā, Federico Dragoni & Paola Orsatti (eds.). 2024. Siddham. Studies in Iranian philology in honour of Mauro Maggi. Wiesbaden: Ludwig Reichert Verlag.

This volume is a tribute to Mauro Maggi, celebrating his distinguished career and significant contributions in the fields of Iranian, Indo-Aryan, and Central Asian philology and linguistics. It features a diverse collection of papers presented by colleagues, former students, and friends, reflecting the broad spectrum of Mauro Maggi’s research interests. This collection not only honours Mauro Maggi’s extensive scholarly contributions but also serves as a valuable resource for researchers in Iranian, Indo-Aryan, and Central Asian studies. It will be of interest and value to scholars of Iranian philology and linguistics, as well as those in Indo-European linguistics, Central Asian philology, and Buddhist literature. Through this comprehensive tribute, the volume underscores the lasting impact of Mauro Maggi’s work and his enduring legacy in the field.

Table of Content

  • Gerardo Barbera: A fool’s story in a South Bashkardi sub-dialect text
  • Stefan Baums: The four origins of beings in the Gāndhārī Saṃgītisūtra commentary
  • Carlo G. Cereti: The end of times in Zoroastrian tradition
  • Chen Ruixuan: The wind does not overcome a mountain: Book of Zambasta 2.66 revisited
  • Claudia A. Ciancaglini: A pavillon in the garden: The disputed source of a Middle Persian loanword in Mishnaic Hebrew
  • Matteo De Chiara: A Tale types and narrative motifs of the Khotanese Sudhanāvadāna
  • Almuth Degener: Translation technique in Khotanese Buddhist texts
  • Alessandro Del Tomba: Allomorphic variation in the Khotanese adjectival declension: The nominative-accusative plural masculine
  • Bhikkhunī Dhammadinnā: The simile of the cloth and the king’s attainment of anulomikakṣānti in Book of Zambasta 5.86
  • Federico Dragoni: Washing, bathing and soaking: Proto-Iranian *snaH– in Khotanese
  • Desmond Durkin-Meisterernst: Between scripts: Dating the Kārnāmag ī Ardašīr ī Pābagān
  • Ela Filippone: On ‘eyelid’ and ‘eyelashes’ in Khotanese and other Iranian languages with some reflections on fuzziness in linguistic categorisation and conceptual boundaries
  • Jens-Uwe Hartmann: Teaching many with one utterance: The elusive concept of ekā vāc
  • Mohammad Hasandust: Notes on some words pertaining to the non-literary variety of Persian
  • Ramin Hassanzadeh-Nodehi & Paola Orsatti: The Early New Persian directional prepositions bāz ‘back to’ and ‘towards’
  • Doug Hitch: Moraic shifting in Old Khotanese meter
  • Kumamoto Hiroshi: Indian elements in Khotanese
  • Silvia Luzzietti: Two ingredients in the Piṇḍaśāstra: jbdrre and arūva
  • Maria Macuch: The Tabarestān documents on legal proceedings
  • Enrico Morano: The sermon on the three poisons: An unpublished Manichaean Sogdian page in Sogdian script
  • Ogihara Hirotoshi & Ching Chao-jung: Miscellany on the Tumshuqese documents (III): Words relating to cereals
  • Pan Tao: Comparative study of the Tocharian Rāma story
  • Antonio Panaino: Tištar and the ‘good’ Tīr: The reasons behind the endurance of their association
  • Enrico G. Raffaelli: Characterizing the Dahmā Āfriti and its personification: A study of the Avestan and Pahlavi sources
  • Rong Xinjiang & Ching Chao-jung: Khotanese names in Chinese documents: A new set of Gaysāta inhabitants
  • Adriano V. Rossi: Iranian juniper and Indian juniper
  • Nicholas Sims-Williams: A missing chapter of the Book of Zambasta
  • Majid Tame: An etymological study of some words from the dialects of Kâshân and Natanz counties
  • Yoshida Yutaka: Notes on Sogdian Buddhist texts (II)

The succession of world empires

Oellig, Marie. 2023. Die Sukzession von Weltreichen: Zu den antiken Wurzeln einer geschichtsmächtigen Idee (Oriens et Occidens 38). Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag.

Aufstieg und Niedergang großer Reiche haben die Menschen über Jahrtausende hinweg beschäftigt und fasziniert. So wurden im antiken Mesopotamien bereits um 2000 v. Chr. Vorstellungen von Weltherrschaft entwickelt und Reflexionen über die Entstehung und den Verfall von Macht angestellt. Als besonders wirkmächtig erwies sich ein Konzept, das seit dem fünften Jahrhundert v. Chr. in der griechischen Historiographie greifbar wird: die Sukzession der ‘Weltreiche’ Assyrien, Medien und Persien. Dieses Modell wurde in der Folge durch das makedonische Alexanderreich sowie das Imperium Romanum erweitert und fand schließlich Eingang in das Alte Testament. Über das Buch Daniel, das das Ende des vierten Weltreiches – später als das römische gedeutet – mit der Apokalypse in Verbindung bringt, wirkte die Sukzessionstheorie maßgeblich auf das Geschichtsdenken des Mittelalters (Translatio Imperii) ein und blieb bis in die frühe Neuzeit hinein ein zentrales Prinzip historischer Periodisierung.

Marie Oellig untersucht die Entstehung und die Genese des Konzepts im Altertum auf breiter Quellengrundlage und kann mithilfe eines interdisziplinären Ansatzes elementare Verbindungslinien zwischen ‘orientalischen’ und ‘griechischen’ Vorstellungswelten aufzeigen.


Cultural contacts and cultural developments in Lorestān

Neumann, Georg. 2024. Kulturkontakte und Kulturentwicklungen in Lorestān (West-Iran) im 3. Jahrtausend v. Chr. Münster: Zaphon.

In the 3rd millennium BC Lorestān (Western Iran) was characterized by diverse cultural developments. The subject of this study is the cultural development of early societies and their network of relationships, i.e. their cultural contacts. To structure the diversity of these relationships, the region has been divided into 6 zones (with a total of 46 sites) and three temporal phases – phase 1: time after the collapse of Late Chalcolithic complexes; Phase 2: period of Sumerian city-states and their economic “expansion”; Phase 3: time of the first larger territorial states in Mesopotamia. By evaluating both the excavations and the survey findings and taking into account written sources, it was possible to create a comprehensive, data-based and culturally geographically meaningful picture of the region. To achieve comparability of the extensive material, it was necessary to develop a uniform vocabulary of terms based on objective criteria that could be linked to the EWI chronology developed as part of the ARCANE project. As a result, it is possible to stabilize Lorestān’s chronology and to create diachronically comparative analyses. Overall, based on the finds and findings in Lorestān in the 3rd millennium BC. It is clear from that the specific “cultural contacts” are characterized in their complexity by different economic and social networks, some of which overlap and influence each other. The respective “cultural developments” are also based on such a network of relationships, which is equally influenced by internal and external political and economic developments. In addition, it was possible to demonstrate that a study that takes into account the local topography of a region makes it easier to establish “settlement chambers”, to better relate archaeological findings to one another and, accordingly, to understand historical (topographical) and associated cultural developments.


Stereotypes and Identity Creation in the Ancient World

Forsén, Björn & Antti Lampinen (eds.). 2024. Oriental Mirages: Stereotypes and Identity Creation in the Ancient World (Oriens et Occidens 42). Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag.

Edward Said, in his seminal book Orientalism, perceived clear links between the ancient Greek and Roman stereotypes of the East and the prejudiced European nineteenth-century picture of the Muslim world, which was considered exotic, backward, uncivilised, degenerate, and dangerous, in contrast with the Western societies that were seen as developed, rational, flexible, and, above all, superior. However, the reality is much more complex – shaped by both the imperialist perceptions of defeated enemies embraced by all Middle Eastern empires going back at least to the Assyrians, and the intermixed admiration and jealousy of the old ‘Eastern’ traditions of learning. Part of the Greek and Roman stereotypes of the East are rooted in the interaction with eastern imperial ideals, being taken over and further developed to strengthen common Hellenic and Roman identities. Due to the subsequent free borrowing of these stereotypes and their application to different societies, the Orient has always been a moving ‘(n)everwhere’ with each culture constructing their own Oriental mirages.


Caspian: Volume 1, Issue 1

Caspian is an international, peer reviewed journal, publishing high-quality, original research. Caspian is a journal devoted to archaeology, anthropology, history, art, linguistics, religion, epigraphy, and numismatics of the Caspian Sea region, encompassing both prehistoric and historic periods. The journal’s geographic range spans Caspian Sea Region, Caucasus, and Transoxiana.

Table of contents:

  • Shahin Aryamanesh: Introduction to the Inaugural Issue of Caspian
  • Shahin Aryamanesh: Obituary: Philippe Gignoux
  • Mehdi Rahbar: Miniature Motifs on the Ossuaries of the Bandian Dargaz Fire Temple
  • Seyed Rasoul Mousavi Haji; Mohammad Hasan Zaal; Mona Mousavi: The Study of the Factors Considered in Locating Eastern Guilan Castles (Case Study: Amlash Castles)
  • Arshak Iravanian: Archaeology and History of Nowshahr, Iran
  • Ajdar Mehriban Xosbext: Middle Persian Inscriptions of the Era of Khosrow Anushirvan in Darband, Caucasus (Dagestan)

Another bulla of Weh-Šāpur

Miri, Negin & Cyrus Nasrollahzadeh. 2023. Another bulla of Weh-Šāpur, Ērān- Spāhbed of Kust-i-Nēmrōz from the Treasury of Mostazafan Foundation’s Cultural Institution of Museums in Tehran. ISIMU 26: 145-155.

This paper introduces a newly-found Sasanian bulla that has two seal impressions, the major of which belongs to Wēh-šāpur, military chief or Ērān-spāhbed of kust-ī-nēmrōz or the south-southeast side of the Sasanian Empire during the reign of Ḵosrow I (539-579 AD). Since 2001 a number of spāhbed bullae have been identified and published. These significant objects confirmed the validity of historical narrations regarding quadripartition of military organization of the Sasanian Empire recorded in late and post-Sasanian literary sources. This sealing is part of a bullae collection kept in the treasury of Mostazafan Foundation’s Cultural Institution of Museums in Tehran and offers the fifth example of spāhbed Wēh-šābuhr seal impression so far known and published.


The Kushan Pantheon and the Significance of the Kushan Goddess Nana

Cribb, Joe, Aman Ur Rahman & Pankaj Tandon. 2023. The Kushan pantheon and the significance of the Kushan goddess Nana, in the light of new numismatic evidence of iconography and identity. Journal Asiatique 311(2). 247–266.

Numismatic evidence has played a large role in the study of Kushan religion. The earliest assessments recognised the Iranian nature of Kushan religion, but later focus on elements of naming and iconography from other culture particularly Greece and India have obscured this early analysis. Recently found inscriptions and coins allow a reassessment re-establishing a clearer view of the nature of Kushan religion and its expression in coin designs, contemporary art and architecture. The opportunity presented by the discovery of new numismatic imagery of the goddess Nana allows a reappraisal of her place in the pantheon and a review of the current perspectives on Kushan religion.


The Correspondence of Assurbanipal, Part II

Frame, Grant & Simo Parpola. 2023. The Correspondence of Assurbanipal, Part II Letters from Southern Babylonia (State Archives of Assyria 22). Helsinki: Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project.

The present volume completes the critical edition of the political correspondence of Assurbanipal, the first part of which was published in SAA 21. The 163 letters edited here were sent from southern Mesopotamia and Elam, mostly by governors or other high-ranking local administrators and military commanders; almost all are addressed to the Assyrian king, although a few nonroyal letters are also included. As in SAA 21, the bulk of the correspondence dates from the civil war between Assurbanipal and Šamaš-šumu-ukin and provides dramatic eyewitness evidence of this turbulent time.


The Afterlife of Avestan Manuscripts

Gholami, Saloumeh. 2023. The afterlife of Avestan manuscripts: Colophons and marginal notes. Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag.

The book is also available as open access e-book.

This study investigates the role of paratext in Zoroastrian scribal tradition, with a focus on the Avesta manuscripts. It examines how paratexts, such as colophons and marginal notes, contribute to organizing and interpreting the content of these manuscripts. These elements not only structure the knowledge but also reflect the roles and activities of individuals involved in the manuscript’s lifecycle, from creation to reception. Additionally, the study explores how paratexts facilitate access to the main text, acting as a bridge that documents the history of each manuscript, its actors, and interaction with society. The analysis includes a diverse range of colophons and marginal notes, examining their structure, content, and relationship to their respective manuscripts.

Short summary

Painting Materials in the Sasanian City of Ardaxšīr Khwarrah

Amadori, Maria Letizia, Valeria Mengacci Pierfrancesco Callieri, Alireza Askari Chaverdi, Matteo Bartolucci, Negar Eftekhari, Alessia Andreotti and Parviz Holakooei. 2024. Integrated investigations of painting materials in the Sasanian city of Ardaxšīr Khwarrah, near Firuzabad (Southern Iran). Heritage 7, 1202-1220.

Ancient Ardaxšīr Khwarrah, today known as Shahr-e Gur, situated near the modern town of Firuzabad in Fars, Iran, holds historical significance as the inaugural capital city of the Sasanian Empire. During archaeological excavations conducted in 2005 by an Iranian–German team directed by Mas‘oud Azarnoush and Dietrich Huff, a mud-brick complex was uncovered, revealing a remarkably well-preserved stretch of wall painting and a polychrome painted floor. The discovery prompted the hypothesis of a potential funerary context dating back to the Sasanian period. Both the wall painting and painted floor have suffered extensive deterioration attributed to the environmental conditions of the archaeological site, which was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2020. To address the urgent need for preservation and further understanding of the site’s artistic and structural elements, an emergency diagnostic project was initiated. Non-invasive investigations were carried out on the wall and floor by optical digital microscopy and portable energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence. Additionally, representative minute samples underwent analysis through various techniques, including micro-X-ray fluorescence, polarised light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, micro-Raman spectroscopy, micro-Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and pyrolysis coupled with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The palette of the floor and mural paintings were identified to contain red and yellow ochres, lead-based pigments, carbon black and bone white. The unexpected presence of Egyptian blue mixed with green earth was recognised in the green hues of the wall painting. The detection of protein material in both the wall painting and polychrome floor indicates the use of “a secco” technique, thereby shedding light on the artistic practices employed in Ardaxšīr Khwarrah.