Turkic-Iranian relationships: Uighur newcomers of the Qočo kingdom

Piras, Andrea. 2019. Khan uiguri del regno di Qočo (850-1250) nelle fonti di Turfan. In Giorgio Comai, Carlo Frappi, Giovanni Pedrini & Elena Rova (eds.), Armenia, Caucaso e Asia Centrale (Eurasiatica 12), 145–161. Venice: Edizioni Ca’ Foscari.

This article firstly deals with a general survey of the Turkic-Iranian relationships, from the VI century onwards, by the point of view of epigraphic evidences and sparse linguistic references within the Indo-Iranian borderlands and Central Asia. Secondly, it focuses on Turkic words (onomastic, epithets, titles) recorded in Middle Persian texts of the Manichean religion, in order to highlight the cultural contacts between the Uighur newcomers of the Qočo kingdom and the local population, both sharing common religious beliefs such as Manichaeism and Buddhism. Given the Manichaean faith of the Uighur élites, the Middle Persian Manichaean texts show an appreciation of the Turkic rulership, attested by the panegyrical tone of many compositions dedicated to the khans and their entourages.

The Art of Empire in Achaemenid Persia

Dusinberre Elspeth R.M., Mark B. Garrison & Wouter F.M. Henkelman (eds.). 2020. The Art of Empire in Achaemenid Persia: Studies in Honour of Margaret Cool Root (Achaemenid History 16). Leiden: Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten & Leuven: Peeters.

This volume in honour of Margaret Cool Root gathers seventeen contributions on Achaemenid Persian art, ranging from the European re-discovery of Persepolis, via Achaemenid glyphic art, evidence of polychrome sculpture, and Achaemenid impact in the satrapies, to possible reflections of Persepolitan art in Classical Greece. The contributors are colleagues and, in a number of cases, former students of Margaret Root. As a whole, the volume reflects the wide range of Root’s interests and her impact on the field of Achaemenid studies.

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The Neo-Aramaic Verbal Root GŠQ ‘to Look’ and its Middle Iranian Origin

Mutzafi, Hezy. 2020. The Neo-Aramaic Verbal Root GŠQ ‘to Look’ and its Middle Iranian Origin. Le Muséon 133 (1-2), 1-12.

The Neo-Aramaic verbal root gšq ‘to look’, known since the 19th century to occur in the Christian NENA (North-Eastern Neo-Aramaic) dialects of Urmi and Salmas in Iranian Azerbaijan, has thus far remained without an established, or at least plausible, etymology. The etymology proposed in this paper considers gšq to be inherited from an earlier NENA layer, in which it was a denominative derivative of a noun akin to Mandaic gušqa ‘spy’, a Middle Iranian loanword. This etymology is buttressed by parallel cases in Neo-Aramaic and other languages of the world as regards semantic changes and affinities between the meanings ‘to spy’ and ‘to look’, as well as similar processes of word-formation in NENA, namely denominative verbs derived from borrowed nouns and inflected in the neo-pa”el verbal pattern.

Rethinking the Life of Mani

Gardner, Iain. 2020. The Founder of Manichaeism: Rethinking the Life of Mani. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Mani, a third-century preacher, healer and public sage from Sasanian Mesopotamia, lived at a pivotal time and place in the development of the major religions. He frequented the courts of the Persian Empire, debating with rivals from the Judaeo-Christian tradition, philosophers and gnostics, Zoroastrians from Iran and Buddhists from India. The community he founded spread from north Africa to south China and lasted for over a thousand years. Yet the genuine biography of its founder, his life and thought, was in good part lost until a series of spectacular discoveries have begun to transform our knowledge of Mani’s crucial role in the spread of religious ideas and practices along the trade-routes of Eurasia. This book utilises the latest historical and textual research to examine how Mani was remembered by his followers, caricatured by his opponents, and has been invented and re-invented according to the vagaries of scholarly fashion.

Contents

  • Foreword by Jason BeDuhn
  • Introduction to the Many Lives of Mani: Inter-Religious
    Polemic and Scholarly Controversy
  • Mani’s Background and Early Life: Who Was He and
    What Did He Think He Was Doing?
  • Mani’s Career as the ‘Apostle of Jesus Christ’: His Missions
    and the Community He Founded
  • Mani’s Death: Inter-Religious Conflict in Early Sasanian
    Iran and the Memory of the Apostle
  • Appendix A The Dualistic Basis of Mani’s Thought
  • Appendix B The Community in Late-Antique Egypt and the
    Village of Kellis
  • Appendix C Some Comments on the Manichaean Kephalaia and
    the ‘Jesus-Book’ in the Chester Beatty Codex

Artifact, Text, Context

Tang, Li & Dietmar W. Winkler (eds.). 2020. Artifact, text, context: Studies on Syriac Christianity in China and Central Asia (orientalia – patristica – oecumenica 17). LIT Verlag.

This volume is a collection of papers highlighting recent researches on Syriac Christianity in China and Central Asia. The topics range from artifacts to texts and their historical contexts, covering the period from the 7th to the 18th century. As the studies on Syriac Christianity in China and Central advance, focus has shifted from a general historical survey and textual translation to a more micro and meticulous study of specific concepts and terms and particular names of persons and places.

Achaemenid Anatolia

Dahlén, Ashk P. (ed). 2020. Achaemenid anatolia: Persian presence and impact in the Western Satrapies 546-330 BC. Proceedings of an international symposium at the Swedish Research Institure in Istanbul, 7-8 September, 2017. Boreas: Uppsala Studies in Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Civilizations.

The mid-sixth century bc saw the formation of one of the ancient world’s largest and richest empires, the first Persian Empire under the Achaemenid dynasty. After the conquests of Cyrus the Great its vast realms stretched from the Aegean Sea in the west to the Jaxartes River in the east. The empire’s cosmopolitan policies, based on a shared economic relationship and a pluralistic administrative structure, heralded a period of astonishing cross-cultural fertilisation and innovation in different spheres of culture, trade and learning. These new developments were embraced and carried out in, among other regions, the highly multicultural setting of Achaemenid Anatolia.

Achaemenid Anatolia contains twelve articles from an international symposium (2017) on the relationships between the Iranian world and Anatolia in the Achaemenid period with an emphasis on Persian structures, presence and impacts on local populations and cultures. The contributions discuss a wide range of topics and address a variety of perspectives, from material culture, archaeology, architecture, and art history to philology, history, literature, numismatics, and religion.

Table of contents

  • P. Briant, On “Achaemenid impact” in Anatolia (reading notes)
  • E.R.M. Dusinberre, Impacts of empire in Achaemenid Anatolia
  • S. Berndt, The upright tiara of the Persian king
  • J. Blid, The andron of Maussollos at Labraunda and its architectural sculpture
  • A.P. Dahlén, Living the Iranian dolce vita: Herodotus on wine drinking and luxury among the Persians
  • C. Gates, Cilicia, 550–330 BC: Persians and locals
  • P. Hellström, A chariot at Labraunda
  • A. Hultgård, Invoking Anāhitā ‒ from Iran to Asia Minor
  • J. Köster, Failed ambitions: Herodotus’ account of the Ionian revolt and its motivation
  • L.G. Mitchell, “What age were you when the Mede came?” Cyrus the Great and Western Anatolia
  • M. Seyer, Pillar tombs and the Achaemenid rule in Lycia
  • R. Stoneman, Xanthus of Lydia, Aesop and Persian storytelling
  • E.R.M. Dusinberre, Concluding remarks

Short-term Empires in World History

Rollinger,Robert, Julian Degen & Michael Gehler (eds.). 2020. Short-term Empires in World History. Wiesbaden: Springer.

The volume will focus on a comparative level on a specific group of states that are commonly labelled as “empires” and that we encounter through all historical periods. Although they are very successful at the very beginning, like most empires are, this success is very ephemeral and transient. The era of conquest is never followed by a period of consolidation. Collapse and/or reduction to much smaller dimension run as fast as the process of wide-ranging conquest and expansion. The volume singles out a series of such “short-term empires” and aims to provide a methodologically clearly structured as well as a uniform and consistent approach by developing a general set of questions that guarantee the possibility to compare and distinguish. This way it intends to examine not only already well established empires but also to illuminate forgotten ones.

Table of contents:

  • Robert Rollinger, Julian Degen, Michael Gehler: Approaching Short-Term Empires in World History, a First Attempt
  • Michael Gehler: The European Union: A Short-Term Empire?
  • Peter Heather: The Hunnic Empire of Attila
  • Beatrice F. Manz: The Timurid Empire
  • Ekaterini Mitsiou: The Latin Empire of Constantinople (1204–1261): Rise and Fall of a Short-Term State in the Romania
  • Sabine Müller: Mithradates VI and the Pontic Empire
  • Lucian Reinfandt: The Ghaznavids of Eastern Iran, a Postcolonial Muslim Empire
  • Seth Richardson: Because Empire Means Forever: Babylon and Imperial Disposition
  • Robert Rollinger: The Medes of the 7th and 6th c. BCE: A Short-Term Empire or Rather a Short-Term Confederacy?
  • Giorgio Rota: In a League of Its Own? Nāder Šāh and His Empire
  • Kai Ruffing: The Barcids and Hannibal
  • Christoph Schäfer: Theoderic and the Ostrogoths—a Short-Term Empire? Decapitated or Defective?
  • Arnold Suppan: The Rise of Hitler’s Empire and Its Apex (1933–1942)
  • Marc Van De Mieroop: From Warlord to Emperor: The Careers of Shamshi-Adad and Hammurabi
  • Josef Wiesehöfer, Robert Rollinger: The ‘Empire’ of the Hephthalites

Indian storytelling and the romance genre in Persian and Urdu

Khan, Pasha M. 2019. The broken spell: Indian storytelling and the romance genre in Persian and Urdu (Series in Fairy-Tale Studies). Detroit: Wayne State University Press.

The Broken Spell: Indian Storytelling and the Romance Genre in Persian and Urdu is a monograph on the rise and fall in popularity of “romances” (qissah)—tales of wonder and magic told by storytellers at princely courts and in public spaces in India from the sixteenth century to the twentieth. Using literary genre theory, author Pasha M. Khan points to the worldviews underlying the popularity of Urdu and Persian romances, before pre-existing Islamicate rationalist traditions gained traction and Western colonialism came to prominence in India.

In the introduction, Khan explains that it was around the end of the nineteenth century that these marvelous tales became devalued by Orientalists and intellectually colonized Indian elites, while at the same time a new genre, the novel, gained legitimacy. Khan goes on to narrate the life histories of professional storytellers, many of them émigrés from Iran to Mughal-ruled India, and considers how they raised their own worth and that of the romance in the face of changes in the economics, culture, and patronage of India. Khan shows the methods whereby such storytellers performed and how they promoted themselves and their art. The dividing line between marvelous tales and history is examined, showing how and why the boundary was porous. The study historicizes the Western understanding of the qissah as a local manifestation of a worldwide romance genre, showing that this genre equation had profound ideological effects. The book’s appendix contains a translation of an important text for understanding Iranian and Indian storytelling methods: the unpublished introductory portions to Fakhr al-Zamani’s manual for storytellers.

Iran and the Deccan

Keelan Overton (ed.). 2019. Iran and the Deccan: Persianate art, culture, and talent in circulation, 1400-1700. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Beginning in the early 1400s, large numbers of Iranian elites began migrating to the Deccan plateau of southern India. Lured to the region for many reasons, these poets, traders, statesmen, and artists of all kinds left an indelible mark on the Islamic sultanates that ruled the Deccan until the late seventeenth century. The result was the creation of a robust transregional Persianate network linking such distant cities as Bidar and Shiraz, Bijapur and Isfahan, and Golconda and Mashhad.
Iran and the Deccan explores the circulation of art, culture, and talent between Iran and the Deccan over a three hundred year period. Its interdisciplinary contributions consider the factors that prompted migration, the physical and intellectual poles of connectivity between the two regions, and processes of adaptation and response. Placing the Deccan at the center of Indo-Persian and early modern global history, Iran and the Deccan reveals how mobility, liminality, and cultural translation nuance the traditional methods and boundaries of the humanities.

Source: Iran and the Deccan

Keelan Overton is an independent scholar and historian of art specializing in the eastern Islamic world from Iran to South Asia. She is author of “Book Culture, Royal Libraries, and Persianate Painting in Bijapur, circa 1580-1630” in Muqarnas and “Filming, Photographing and Purveying in ‘the New Iran:’ The Legacy of Stephen H. Nyman, ca. 1937–42” in Arthur Upham Pope and A New Survey of Persian Art.

Persianate Art, Culture, and Talent in Circulation

Overton, Keelan (ed.). 2020. Iran and the Deccan: Persianate art, culture, and talent in circulation, 1400-1700. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press.

In the early 1400s, Iranian elites began migrating to the Deccan plateau of southern India. Lured to the region for many reasons, these poets, traders, statesmen, and artists of all kinds left an indelible mark on the Islamic sultanates that ruled the Deccan until the late seventeenth century. The result was the creation of a robust transregional Persianate network linking such distant cities as Bidar and Shiraz, Bijapur and Isfahan, and Golconda and Mashhad.

Iran and the Deccan explores the circulation of art, culture, and talent between Iran and the Deccan over a three-hundred-year period. Its interdisciplinary contributions consider the factors that prompted migration, the physical and intellectual poles of connectivity between the two regions, and processes of adaptation and response. Placing the Deccan at the center of Indo-Persian and early modern global history, Iran and the Deccan reveals how mobility, liminality, and cultural translation nuance the traditional methods and boundaries of the humanities.

Contents

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