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Archiv für Orientforschung 54

The latest volume of Archiv für Orientforschung (2021) is out and contains several papers dealing with aspects of the history and culture of Babylonia in the Achaemenid times. The following selected list covers the ones that may interest scholars of the Achaemenid empire:

  • Johannes Hackl: The Artaxerxes Conundrum – Diplomatics and Its Contribution to Dating Late Achaemenid Legal Documents from Babylonia
  • Karlheinz Kessler: Zu den spätachämenidischen Urkunden in Uruk zwischen Xerxes und Alexander
  • Yuval Levavi and Martina Schmidl: Diplomatics of Neo-Babylonian and Early Achaemenid Letters
  • Louise Quillien: Diachronic Change of the Tablet Format, Layout and Contents in the Textile Dossier of the Ebabbar Temple of Sippar (End of the 7th to Beginning of the 5th Century BC)
  • [review of] Johannes Haubold, Giovanni B. Lanfranchi, Robert Rollinger and John M. Steele (eds.), The World of Berossos. Proceedings of the 4th International Colloquium on »The Ancient Near East between Classical and Ancient Oriental Traditions« (= Classica et Orientalia 5) (Reinhard Pirngruber)
  • [review of] Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones, King and Court in Ancient Persia, 559 to 331 BCE (= Debates and Documents in Ancient History) (Reinhard Pirngruber)
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Books

The Routledge Handbook of the Senses in the Ancient Near East

Neumann, Kiersten & Allison Thomason (eds.). 2021. The Routledge Handbook of the Senses in the Ancient Near East. London: Routledge.

Among other interesting subjects offered in this volume, a number of contributions explicitly deal with the material from ancient Iran:

  • Kiersten Neumann: To touch upon – A tactile exploration of the Apadana reliefs at Persepolis
  • Megan Cifarelli: Dress, sensory assemblages, and identity in the early first millennium bce at Hasanlu, Iran
  • Neville McFerrin: A sense of scale – Proprioception, embodied subjectivities, and the space of kingship at Persepolis
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Books

Epic Iran

Curtis, John, Ina Sarikhani Sandmann &Tim Stanley. 2021. Epic Iran: 5000 Years of culture. London: V&A Publishing.

Iran was the home of some of the greatest civilizations of both the ancient and medieval worlds, but these achievements remain poorly known and largely misunderstood outside the country. Epic Iran tells the story of Iran from pre-Islamic through modern times and provides an opportunity to see pieces from key museum and private collections. This book combines the ancient and Islamic periods and continues the narrative into the contemporary world. It shows how civilized life emerged in Iran around 3,200 BC and how a distinctive Iranian identity formed 2,500 years ago has survived until today, expressed in the Persian language and in religious affiliations.

Lavishly illustrated, some 250 images showcase pieces including goldwork, ceramics, glass, illustrated manuscripts, textiles, carpets, oil paintings, drawings, and photographs. Alongside the historical sweep are examples from contemporary artists and makers, demonstrating the rich antecedents still influencing some modern-day practitioners.

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Books

Introduction to the Avesta

Kellens, Jean, and Céline Redard. 2021. Introduction à l’Avesta: Le récitatif liturgique sacré des zoroastriens. Les Belles Lettres.

Almost all religions of the contemporary world refer to a book that their followers consider sacred. The Avesta, the sacred book of the Zoroastrian communities of Iran, India and the diaspora is one of them, which bears witness to the origins of the pre-Islamic religion of the Iranian peoples.

Something, however, demands a closer look. Often approached as the theoretical expression of a religious doctrine or the mirror of a forgotten history and geography, the Avesta is also a literary engine whose mechanisms can be dismantled, that is, the precise analysis of the mode of transmission, the particularities of structure and the liturgical intentions presided over these textual assemblies.

Such is the ambition of this book, which traces the evolution of research from its origins to the advances of the 21st century, when our understanding of the Avesta was revolutionised.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction
  • Chapitre 1. Formation de la philologie avestique
  • Chapitre 2. La mise par écrit de l’Avesta
  • Chapitre 3. Le matériel manuscrit
  • Chapitre 4. Le texte transmis : l’Avesta
  • Chapitre 5. Analyse interne des textes constitutifs de l’Avesta
  • En guise de conclusion : un essai de chronologie
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Books

Iran’s Conversion to Islam

Pohl, Walter & Daniel Mahoney (eds.). 2021. Historiography and identity IV: Writing history across Medieval Eurasia. Brepols.

Explores the social function of historical writing from across various world regions from Europe through the Islamic world to China, around the turn of the millennium, and how they construct and shape identities, as well as communicate ‘visions of community’ and legitimate political claims.

Historical writing has shaped identities in various ways and to different extents. This volume explores this multiplicity by looking at case studies from Europe, Byzantium, the Islamic World, and China around the turn of the first millennium. The chapters in this volume address official histories and polemical critique, traditional genres and experimental forms, ancient traditions and emerging territories, empires and barbarians. The authors do not take the identities highlighted in the texts for granted, but examine the complex strategies of identification that they employ. This volume thus explores how historiographical works in diverse contexts construct and shape identities, as well as legitimate political claims and communicate ‘visions of community’.

Two chapters of this volume touch on subjects of Iranian studies:

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Books

The Srōš Drōn – Yasna 3 to 8

Redard, Céline. 2021. The Srōš Drōn – Yasna 3 to 8. A Critical Edition with Ritual Commentaries and Glossary (Corpus Avesticum 3). Leiden: Brill.

This book is a multi-faceted study of the Srōš Drōn, comprising chapters 3 to 8 of the Yasna ceremony, the core ritual of the Zoroastrian religion. It provides a critical edition produced with the electronic tools of the project The Multimedia Yasna, and a study of the performative aspects of the Srōš Drōn both through the lens of the ritual directions and in comparison with the Drōn Yašt ceremony.
By analysing the Srōš Drōn both as a text attested in manuscripts and as a ritual performance, Céline Redard applies a new approach to unlock the meaning of these chapters of the Yasna.

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Articles Online resources

Orodes II

Olbrycht, Marek. 2021. Orodes II. In Encyclopædia Iranica Online, edited by Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York.

ORODES II (r. 58/57-37 BCE), king of Parthia, son of Phraates III (r. 70-57 BCE), and father of Phraates IV (q.v.). During his reign, the empire of the Arsacids (q.v.) reached the zenith of its power and scored significant victories against Rome.

From the entry
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Books

Commagene in its Local, Regional and Global Hellenistic Context

Blömer, Michael, Stefan Riedel, Miguel John Versluys & Engelbert Winter (eds.). 2021. Common dwelling place of all the gods: Commagene in its local, regional and global Hellenistic context (Oriens et Occidens Band 34). Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag.

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Online resources

Zoroastrianism: History, Religion, and Belief

SOAS is offering an online course that explores ‘the ancient religion of Zoroastrianism, its languages, and the challenges faced by Zoroastrian communities today’. The course is taught by Dr Sarah Stewart and Dr Celine Redard.

یک دوره چهار هفته‌ای برای آشنایی با دین زرتشتی، زبان‌های وابسته و چالش‌هایی که جوامع زرتشتی امروز با آنها روبرو هستند.

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Articles

Medes in the desert

Potts, Daniel. 2021. Medes in the desert: Thoughts on the mounted archer near Taymā’. In: Claudia Bührig et al. (eds.), Klänge der Archäologie: Festschrift für Ricardo Eichmann, 335-342. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

Detail of petroglyph of equestrian figure near Tayma’

The equestrian figure engraved on a rock outcrop near Taymā’ is analyzed. Details of the horse and rider are discussed which support the identification of the horse as an Assyrianizing image, and the rider as a Mede. The significance of the image is treated in light of the tradition of rapid overland communication in the Achaemenid empire.