15th Leiden Summer School in Languages and Linguistics

The 15th Leiden Summer School in Languages and Linguistics will take place online from 12–23 July 2021. Registration is now open.

The Leiden Summer School in Languages and Linguistics offers a varied program of specialised courses in Descriptive linguistics, in Chinese, Germanic, Indo-European, Indian, Iranian, Semitic languages and linguistics, as well as a number of introductory linguistic courses.
During these two weeks of intense learning, you will be able to deepen and broaden your knowledge, at the same time enjoy the company of linguistics students and enthusiasts from all over the world.

The summer school includes Avestan, Sogdian, Bactrian and Modern Persian, but also discussions of Indo-European myths and rituals. You will find the programme and registration information by following the link above.

این مدرسه تابستانی شامل کلاسهای اوستایی، سغدی، باختری و فارسی نوین است، و همچنین کلاسهایی در مورد افسانه‌ها و آیین‌های هند و اروپایی. با دنبال کردن پیوند بالا، اطلاعات برنامه و ثبت نام را پیدا خواهید کرد.


نوروز پیروز

We wish all our readers, colleagues and friends a Happy Nowruz. May year 1400 bring us all health and happiness.

برای همه خوانندگان ، دوستان و همکاران سال نویی خوب، سرشار از تندرستی و شادی آرزو میکنیم.

نوروزتان پیروز!


Ethnic Groups along the Silk Road

Reckel, Johannes & Merle Schatz (eds.). 2021. Ancient texts and languages of ethnic groups along the Silk Road. Göttingen: Universitätsverlag Göttingen.

Note: This volume is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License and can be downloaded here.

Central Asia has been dominated by Mongolian and Turkic speaking nations for the past 1300 years. Uyghurs and Uzbeks were the most important traders on the Central Asian Silk Roads. Earlier Sogdians and Tokharians and other ethnic groups speaking Indo-Germanic (Indo-Iranian) languages were active on these ancient trade routes. In the 18th and 19th century a Tungus language, Manchu, became important for Sinkiang, Mongolia and the whole of China. Expansion policy of different realms, comprehensive commercial activities and the spread of religious ideas facilitated the exchange of (cultural) knowledge along the Silk Road. Texts and scripts tell us not only about the different groups that were in contact, but also reflect details of diplomatic, religious, and economic ambitions and the languages that were used for these different forms of communication. Several examples of contact induced language change or specific linguistic influence as a result of contacts along the Silk Road invite us to understand more about the frequency, intensity and intention of contacts that took place in very different regions connected by the Silk Road.


Parthian Coins and Culture

Curtis, Vesta Sarkhosh & Alexandra Magub. 2020. Rivalling Rome: Parthian coins and culture. London: Spink Books.

One hundred years after the conquest of the Persian Empire by Alexander of Macedon a new Iranian dynasty emerged that by 140 BC had extended its rule to Western Iran and Mesopotamia. The Arsacid Parthians, famous for their riding and archery skills, became Rome’s most dangerous enemies east of the River Euphrates. Encounters between Rome and Parthia are vividly described in classical accounts, but these are biased in their nature and, unfortunately, no equivalent sources are available from the Parthian side. Here, the most important primary source is the coinage of the period c. 248 BC – AD 224. 
These coins reveal important information about the development and expansion of the Parthian state, as well as the all-important role of the king, with the ancient Persian title King of Kings adopted under Mithradates II. Rome’s involvement in the region began during this reign and culminated in the devastating defeat of the Roman army under the general Crassus at the Battle of Carrhae in 53 BC. Over the next 300 years these superpowers fought for territorial control in the region, particularly over Mesopotamia and Armenia.

Spink Books website

The Church of the East

Lieu, Samuel & Glen Thompson (eds.). 2020. The Church of the East in Central Asia and China (China and the Mediterranean World 1). Turnhout: Brepols.

Note by BiblioIranica: This is the first volume in the new series China and the Mediterranean World with S. N.C. Lieu and G. Mikkelsen as the general editors.

A collection of papers on the history of Christianity along the Silk Road and in pre-modern China, pushing back the frontier of knowledge in a fast developing new area of research.
The diffusion of Christianity along the Silk Road from Iraq and Iran to China in the premodern era has attracted scholarly attention in the West since the discovery of the famous Xian (Nestorian) Monument c. 1623. This initial discovery was dismissed as a Jesuit forgery by Voltaire, Edward Gibbon and many other scholars of the Enlightenment. However, its authenticity has been more than vindicated by the discovery of genuine (Nestorian / Jingjiao) Christian texts in Chinese from Dunhuang and in Syriac, Sogdian and Old Turkish from Turfan (Bulayq) at the beginning of the last century. Besides confirming the existence of a Tang era Chinese Christian church (Jingjiao), additional archaeological and literary evidence has accumulated of a Christian presence in China during the later Song and Yuan periods (Yelikewenjiao). These churches were the subject of a conference of international specialists in Hong Kong in 2015. The current volume of eleven articles has grown out of the papers presented there.


Genetics and the Middle East

The study of ancient DNA and genetics may at first seem tangential to Iranian Studies and our work here, but has much to contribute to questions pertaining to migration, language families and Iranian nationalism. The following two volumes discuss these topics from different vantage points but both include Iran.

Burton, Elise. 2020. Genetic crossroads. The Middle East and the science of human heredity. Stanford: Stanford University Press.


Elite responses to the rise of Achaemenid Persia

Medenieks, Selga (ed.). 2018. Elite responses to the rise of Achaemenid Persia. Special issue of Hermathena 204 & 205.

This issue of Hermathena was published in December 2020 and currently has no website. The digital version of the journal will soon be available on JSTOR. Until such time, orders and inquiries can be directed to: ~AZ

Table of Contents

HERMATHENA (2018) 204-205

Elite responses to the rise of Achaemenid Persia
Edited by Dr Selga Medenieks
(Department of Classics, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland)

Selga Medenieks 5

Articles Journal

Iranian Studies (vol. 53, issue 5–6)

Vol. 53 (2020), issues 5–6, of Iranian Studies has now been published, containing a number of articles and reviews related to the pre-Islamic era.

2020 is the fifty-third year anniversary of Iranian Studies. With its broad international reception it currently stands as the leading scholarly periodical in the field of Iranian studies. This achievement is due to an outstanding pool of scholars worldwide whose contributions have expanded the field of Iranian studies in depth and breadth, and also to the journal’s successive editorial teams for their commitment and dedicated hard work. As the journal editor I have been particularly privileged to work with an exemplary team of both current and former core editorial colleagues whose command of their respective fields of specialization combined with erudition, professionalism, and collegiality has been instrumental in making a highly demanding and complex operation into a pleasant and rewarding experience. I would like to take this opportunity to record my deep gratitude to my colleagues in the editorial office, individually and collectively.

From the “Editorial Note

Slings and slingers in ancient Iran

Potts, Daniel. 2020. Slings and slingers in ancient Iran. In Stephan Blum, Turan Efe, Tobias Kienlin & Ernst Pernicka (eds.), From past to present. Studies in memory of Manfred O. Korfmann (Studia Troica Monographien 11). Bonn: Verlag Dr. Rudolf Habelt GMBH.

In 1973 Manfred Korfmann wrote, ›it is clear that archaeological work in the future must pay more attention to the sling as a prehistoric weapon of major significance, not only in the Near East but also elsewhere in the world. Even with our present limited knowledge it is clear that the slinger and the archer were equals for thousands of years‹ (Korfmann 1973, 42). Although slings and slingers in ancient Mesopotamia have been studied (e.g. Eichler 1983; Schrakamp 2010, 19), no study specifically dedicated to the use of the sling in ancient Iran has, to my knowledge, ever been published and it is my hope that this modest effort would have pleased Manfred Korfmann, whose attention to the topic (Korfmann 1972; 1973) was the inspiration for my own foray into this fascinating field.


Perfects in Indo-European Languages

Robert Crellin & Jügel, Thomas (eds.). 2020. Perfects in Indo-European languages and beyond (Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 352). Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

This volume provides a detailed investigation of perfects from all the branches of the Indo-European language family, in some cases representing the first ever comprehensive description. Thorough philological examinations result in empirically well-founded analyses illustrated with over 940 examples. The unique temporal depth and diatopic breadth of attested Indo-European languages permits the investigation of both TAME (Tense-Aspect-Mood-Evidentiality) systems over time and recurring cycles of change, as well as synchronic patterns of areal distribution and contact phenomena. These possibilities are fully exploited in the volume. Furthermore, the cross-linguistic perspective adopted by many authors, as well as the inclusion of contributions which go beyond the boundaries of the Indo-European family per se, facilitates typological comparison. As such, the volume is intended to serve as a springboard for future research both into the semantics of the perfect in Indo-European itself, and verb systems across the world’s languages.