Categories
Books

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
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Articles

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.

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Events

Topographies of Rhetoric

Yuhan Sohrab-Dinshaw Vevaina, University of Oxford, will deliver four public lectures at the École Pratique des Hautes Études:

Topographies of Rhetoric and Moral Reasoning in Sasanian and Post-Sasanian Zoroastrianism

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Journal

Estudios Iranios y Turanios (Vol. 6)

Cantera, Alberto, Junajo Ferrer-Losilla & Céline Redard (eds.). 2014. at̰ hōi aōjī zaraϑuštrō paōuruuīm ¿Habló Zaraϑuštra? Homenaje a Jean Kellens en su 80o aniversario (Estudios Iranios y Turanios 6). Girona: Sociedad de estudios iranios y turanios (SEIT).

Estudios Iranios y Turanios 2024, Vol. 6, has now been published. The issue is homage paid to Jean Kellens on his 80th anniversary.

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Books

Iranian Syntax in Classical Armenian

Meyer, Robin. 2023. Iranian syntax in classical Armenian: The Armenian perfect and other cases of pattern replication (Oxford Studies in Diachronic and Historical Linguistics 53). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

A corollary of this linguistic analysis are new insights into the historical social dynamics between Armenian and Parthian speakers: the latter disappear from the region almost without any documentary trace after the fall of the Parthian Empire in 224 CE. This fact and a study of the historical data from surrounding cultures strongly suggest that the Parthians, who made up the ruling class in the Armenian Kingdom for almost four centuries, over the course of time identified with the Armenians and gave up their native tongue.

Abstract
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Journal

Ricerche Linguistiche

Ricerche Linguistiche is a new journal, giving new life to an older version of itself. It is published annually and aims to provide ‘a venue for contributions in the fields of diachronic and historical linguistics concerning all levels of linguistic analysis, with a special focus on ancient Indo-European and Semitic languages, as well as Romance languages and varieties’. You can read more about the journal, its history and goals here. Sadly, the journal does not seem to be open access.

It’s first issue has two articles of interest:

Categories
Books

Studies in Silk Road Archaeology

Xia, Nai. 2024. Studies in Silk Road Archaeology. Wiesbaden: Springer.

This book is a collection of Nai Xia’s quintessential works on Silk Road studies. A key resource in the field of Silk Road Archaeology, it features in-depth content, a broad range of material, careful textual research, and meticulous analysis. With thorough investigations of foreign coinage, silk textiles, and artifacts with foreign styles excavated in different parts of China, it explores the exchange between ancient China and Central Asia, Western Asia, and Europe. In particular, this book provides detailed descriptions of the economic and cultural ties between ancient China, Pre-Islamic Arabia, the Sasanian Empire, and the Byzantine Empire. The research propounds innovative theories on the history and evolution of East-West transportation routes, i.e., the overland Silk Road and the Maritime Silk Road. Based on the study of ancient relics and excavated artifacts, it points out that cultural exchange along the Silk Road was never unilateral, but instead, mutual influence and cooperation were obvious. Since ancient times, countries along the Silk Road have had a tradition of amicable foreign relations and the promotion of common interests. The book is intended for academics, scholars and researchers.

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Articles

The ezāfe-like construction in Old Iranian

Gentile, Simone. 2024. The ezāfe-like construction in Old Iranian: A reassessment. Ricerche Linguistiche 1.

This paper addresses the origins of the (proto-)ezāfe in Old Iranian, challenging traditional analyses that have classified the ‘ezāfe’-like structures in Avestan and Old Persian as adjectival formations. This hypothesis is primarily based on the case agreement between the relative pronoun and the head noun. This paper presents
an alternative interpretation, proposing that these constructions should be viewed as relative clauses (RCs) with omitted copulas. From this perspective, the omission of the copula triggers the so-called attractio relativi, a phenomenon observed in various Indo-European languages, thus challenging prior claims. The idea that
RCs may have served as precursors to the Persian ezāfe and potentially contributed to the formation of definite articles in some Middle Eastern Iranian languages remains compelling. However, in earlier stages, these structures are best understood as reduced RCs, lacking an explicit copula.

Abstract
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Articles

New remarks on §70 of the Bisotun Inscription

Fattori, Marco. 2024. New epigraphic and exegetical remarks on paragraph 70 of the Bisotun inscription, Old Persian version (DB/OP IV ll. 88–92). Ricerche Linguistiche 1. 105–133.

The preprint of the article is available from the author’s Academia page.

This paper aims to provide a new edition of paragraph 70 of the Old Persian version of the Bisotun inscription (DB/OP IV ll. 88-92). Although this badly preserved passage received an enormous scholarly attention, only a few researchers could directly examine the inscription, and their editions differ significantly from one another. In absence of good published photographs, it is currently impossible to critically evaluate the reliability of these editions and propose new readings based on a first-hand inspection of the stone. To overcome this inconvenience, this article includes a full photographic documentation of the passage and a detailed discussion of each reading. Since this new examination of the inscription resulted in the improvement of several readings, the edition is followed by a commentary where a possible interpretation of the newly read words is offered.

Abstract
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Articles

Legal Disputes of Judeans in the Achaemenid Era

Holtz, Shalom E. 2024. Foreign but fair: Legal disputes of Judeans in the Achaemenid era. Orientalia 92 (2): 185-201.

In this study, we present newly discovered duplicates of three significant Old Babylonian literary texts. 1) An unpublished Louvre duplicate (AO 6161) of the Papulegara hymns collection, which is currently housed at the British Museum. 2) A recently published Geneva duplicate (MAH 16069) of the large hymnic ritual commonly referred to as Ištar-Louvre. 3) The Yale prism (YBC 2394), which contains an almost complete version of the Dialogue Between Father and Son. Previously, only a small fragment of this text was known. The paper provides a philological commentary and a thorough discussion of these duplicates, considering the relatively uncommon phenomenon of duplicate literary texts during the Old Babylonian period.