Categories
Books

Iranian Studies from Ravenna, vol. 4

Ognibene, Paolo, Antonio Panaino & Andrea Piras. 2023. Studi Iranici Ravennati IV. Milano; Udine: Mimesis.

The forth volume of the Studi Iranici Ravennati, a collection of research papers on Iranian studies edited by the scholars of Iranian Studies at the University of Bologna in Ravenna.

Table of Contents

  • Matteo Compareti: “The So-Called “Six Kings of theWorld” and Other “Iranian” Elements in Quṣayr ‘Amra Paintings”
  • Gábor Kósa: “Another Hymn scroll? Quotations from an Unknown Collection of Chinese Manichaean Hymns”
  • Richard Foltz: “Vaso Abaev and the Language Gap between the Russian and Western Iranological Traditions”
  • Angelica Gaspari: “Medipers. inscr. plky, Part. inscr. plk. Nuove considerazioni sul monumento sasanide di Pāikūlī”
  • Alberto Merzari: “The Religion of Lichtwesen: A Brief Note on a Controversial Reference to Zoroastrianism in the Phenomenology of Spirit by G.W.F. Hegel”
  • Antonio Panaino: “The Star of Bethlehem, the Great Conjunction, and the Revival of Preposterous Solutions”
  • Antonio Panaino: “A Brief Addendum to The Star of Bethlehem […]”
  • Jeffrey Kotyk: “The Birth of Christ and the Persian Gift Bearers in Medieval Chinese Sources”
  • Stefano Buscherini: “Jupiter and Saturn conjunctions in Abiosus’ Dialogus: demonstrations 3-14″
  • Lorenzo Salvio: “Il rapporto tra l’ideologia turanista e la cultura iranica”
  • Antonio Panaino: “The “Mysterious”Evaporation of the So-Called “Avestan People” and Their Language”
  • Paolo Ognibene: “Alla ricerca di lingue sconosciute, fiori e farfalle: l’altra faccia delle spedizioni militari russe in Asia Centrale e nel Caucaso”
  • Andrea Piras: “Artaserse I Longimanus: riflessi avestici negli epiteti dell’onomastica achemenide”
  • Luca Colliva, Emad Matin: “Land of Persepolis, il rapporto preliminare della Campagna 2019”
  • Aleksej L. Čibirov: “Harold Bailey: a Cherkesska for an English Knight”
  • Antonio Panaino: “Sacred Kingshipin Ancient Iran: The Symbolic Language of Royalty in Achaemenid and Sasanian Ideologies”
  • Maria Francesca Melloni: “Nomen omen: gli antroponimi teoforici Waxšu-dāta– e Waxšu-dāθra– nell’onomastica centro-asiatica”
  • Diana V. Sokaeva: “Сакральныеперсонажи и символы нартовского эпоса осетин: трансформация образов раннихэпох (Сырдон)”
  • Mariano Errichiello: “Reflections on liminality, authority and agency of the Zoroastrian death rituals”
  • Antonio Panaino: “L’idea di Sfera Celeste tra Oriente e Classicità. Sviluppi e annotazioni a completamento di uno studio precedente”
  • Riccardo Pane: “La natività e l’adorazione dei magi nel programma iconologico di tre croci dipietra armene”
  • Boris A. Kaloev: “Il rito della consacrazione del cavallopresso gli Osseti”
  • Adal’bert L. Kun: “Notizie sul popolo Yaghnobi”
  • Š. Akimbetev: “Studisul Kohistan”
Categories
Books

The Avestan Priestly College and its Gods: The Indo-Iranian Origins of a Mimetic Tradition

Panaino, Antonio. 2022. Le collège sacerdotal avestique et ses dieux: Aux origines indo-iraniennes d’une tradition mimétique (Mythologica Indo-Iranica II) (Bibliothèque de l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes, Sciences Religieuses 195). Turnhout: Brepols.

In this monograph, the author proposes a general reflection on the metaphysics of the Zoroastrian priestly organization in the light of the Indo-Iranian context and starting from the preparation of the sacrifice and the installation of the seven assistant priests in the solemn Zoroastrian liturgy under the direction of their chief-priest, the zaōtar-. The relationship between priests and gods is analysed in the light of the symbolism endorsed by the priestly college, which is “activated” as a mimetic double of the divine world. Thus, names, functions and liturgical correspondences between the eight priests (seven plus the zaōtar-) and the college of Aməṣ̌a Spəṇtas headed by Ahura Mazdā himself (as zaōtar-) are discussed. On the other hand, the book analyses the functional correspondences of the activated priestly team in the Vedic field. The author also develops a discussion concerning the unbroken chain of sacrificial rituality as a structure of the cosmic and temporal order. Within this framework, he highlights the importance of the deinstallation or deactivation of the sacrificial college before the end of the Yasna in the long liturgy, a theme that is linked to the question of the reinstallation of another college in the unbroken chain of cosmic liturgy. This study also sheds light on the question of the purpose of the sacrifice and that of the bloody sacrifice. Finally, it proposes a return to Kerdīr through an analysis of the “vision” of the High Priest, this time explained as an esoteric liturgy of the encounter with the feminine double.

Table of Contents

PARTIE I : PRÉPARATION DU SACRIFICE ET INSTALLATION DU COLLÈGE SACERDOTAL

Chapitre premier. — Préparation du sacrifice et installation des sept prêtres : témoignages avestiques

PARTIE II : PRÊTRES ET DIEUX : SYMBOLISME DU COLLÈGE SACERDOTAL

Chapitre II. — Noms et fonctions des sept prêtres assistants
2.1. Considérations sur la disposition des assistants lors des cérémonies longues
2.2. Appendice 1 : Nērangestān 54-59
2.3. Appendice 2 : Nērangestān 60-61
2.4. Appendice 3 : disposition des prêtres selon le Nērangestān et le Visprad
2.5. Appendice 4 : symbolique de l’andarag

Chapitre III. — Les prêtres avestiques : traditions récentes

Chapitre IV. — Composition du collège sacerdotal gāθique et avestique récent à la lumière de la comparaison indo-iranienne : dieux et prêtres

Chapitre V. — Le collège sacerdotal et les Aməṣ̌a Spəṇtas
5.1. Appendice 5 : les autres listes de prêtres
5.2. Appendice 6 : avestique kauui-

PARTIE III : TEMPS RITUEL ET INTÉGRITÉ DE L’ORDRE COSMIQUE

Chapitre VI. — La chaîne ininterrompue de la liturgie du sacrifice
6.1. Réflexions sur le signifié de l’avestique ratu-

Chapitre VII. — Encore Y. 58 : désinstallation ou désengagement du collège sacerdotal ?
7.1. Appendice 7 : remarques sur le prêtre pasuuāzah-

PARTIE IV : KERDĪR ET SA LITURGIE OU DE LA MIMÊSIS RITUELLE

Chapitre VIII. — À propos de l’avestique ratu-, raθβiia-, du pehlevi rad, radīg, rāspīg et du moyen-perse épigraphique rehīg [lysyk]
8.1. Appendice 8 : les lysyk de Kerdīr

Chapitre IX. — Jouer avec les dieux, jouer comme un dieu : le prêtre sraōšāuuarəza

Conclusions 

Categories
Books

Medieval Muslim Mirrors for Princes

Marlow, Louise. 2023. Medieval Muslim mirrors for princes: An anthology of Arabic, Persian and Turkish political advice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

The ‘mirror for princes’ genre of literature offers advice to a ruler, or ruler-to-be, concerning the exercise of royal power and the wellbeing of the body politic. This anthology presents selections from the ‘mirror literature’ produced in the Islamic Early Middle Period (roughly the tenth to twelfth centuries CE), newly translated from the original Arabic and Persian, as well as a previously translated Turkish example. In these texts, authors advise on a host of political issues which remain compelling to our contemporary world: political legitimacy and the ruler’s responsibilities, the limits of the ruler’s power and the limits of the subjects’ duty of obedience, the maintenance of social stability, causes of unrest, licit and illicit uses of force, the functions of governmental offices and the status and rights of diverse social groups. Medieval Muslim Mirrors for Princes is a unique introduction to this important body of literature, showing how these texts reflect and respond to the circumstances and conditions of their era, and of ours.

Categories
Articles

Towards a Manifesto for Middle Iranian Philology

Zeini, Arash. 2023. Towards a manifesto for Middle Iranian philology. Berkeley Working Papers in Middle Iranian Philology 0. 1–12.

The purpose of this manifesto is to raise broad questions about philological inquiry as a background to the purpose of this occasional journal. It reflects both on general questions of philology (Section 2) and delves into an example from the Middle Persian translations (Zand) of the Avesta in which can be seen a clash between the traditional approach in that field and the type of inquiry that I advocate here (Section 3).

Categories
Books

Studies on the History of Rationality in Ancient Iran. Vol. 2

König, Götz. 2022. Studien zur Rationalitätsgeschichte im älteren Iran. Band II (Iranica 28). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.

While the first volume of A History of Rationality in Ancient Iran aims both to determine the significance of ancient Iran within the framework of the theory of the Axial Age (German Achsenzeit) and to point to some of the basic figures of a history of rationality that can be recognised in the Iranian materials and still extends to the present day, the second volume shown here serves above all to extend this analysis of figures into thematic fields that are essential for the understanding of Iran.

In three sections – “Substance and Spirit”, “Explorations of the World. The Becoming of History”, “The Path to Truth” – a total of 16 texts are brought together which, on the one hand, outline basic constellations and concepts of thought, as they characterise the (older and younger) Avesta in particular, and, on the other hand, trace the movements which emanate from precisely these formations of thought.

The second volume is preceded, as it were, by a counterpoint to the discussion of the axial perspective in the first volume, by a critique of the historical-philosophical definition and classification of Iran and Zoroastrianism, as developed by Hegel in his various series of lectures and as it has since then sustainably guided the view of Iran in ancient studies.

Categories
Books

The Sentiment of Knowledge

Pirart, Éric. Le Sentiment du Savoir. Présentation, analyse, traduction et commentaire de la Spentā.mańiiu Gāθā (Y 47-50). Précédé d’une introduction générale, suivi de quatre Marginales grammaticales et d’une Concordance des textes vieil-avestiques (Acta Iranica 61).

Les cinq Gāθā, avec le Yasna Haptaŋhāiti, sont les seuls témoignages des conceptions zoroastriennes de la première heure: l’archidémon Aŋhra Mańiiu n’était pas encore né. Le Sentiment du Savoir, la conviction des adorateurs qu’Ahura Mazdā sait ce qui est bon et pourra, de ce fait, leur apporter son aide, tel est le sens du titre de la troisième Gāθā, tiré de son incipit. Pour la recherche de la portée primitive des Gāθā de l’Avesta et de leur statut premier, il est pris, dans le présent ouvrage, l’exemple de la troisième qui est alors présentée, étudiée de façon approfondie et traduite. Cette recherche est accompagnée de plusieurs outils grammaticaux.

Categories
Books

The Sasanian Empire at War

Decker, Michael J. 2022. The Sasanian Empire at War. Persia, Rome, and the Rise of Islam, 224–651. Yardley: Westholme Publishing.

The Sasanian Empire at War: Persia, Rome, and the Rise of Islam, 224–651 is the first comprehensive study in English examining war and society in one of the most important empires in world history: the Persian Empire of 224-651 AD, ruled by the Sasanian clan. At its height the Sasanians governed lands from the Indus River in the east to Egypt and the Mediterranean in the west. Adversaries of Rome, they also faced grave challenges from nomadic powers from Central Asia, notably the Huns and Turks. The Sasanians were able to maintain their empire for hundreds of years through nearly constant warfare, but when their expansion was checked in the north by the Byzantines at Constantinople in 626, and with the Muslim invasions to their south and west beginning in the 630s, the empire could no longer be sustained, and it finally collapsed.

In this book, Michael J. Decker examines Sasanian warfare, including military capabilities, major confrontations, organization and weapons of the Persian army. In addition to providing a comprehensive overview of the conflicts that marked this vital period in the history of Eurasia, The Sasanian Empire at War challenges long cherished notions of the inferiority of Sasanian military capabilities and renders a new image of a sophisticated, confident culture astride the heart of Eurasia at the end of the ancient world and birth of the Silk Road. Persian arms were among the many features of their culture that drew widespread admiration and was one of the keys to the survival of Iranian culture beyond the Arab Conquest and into the present day.

Categories
Books

Jews of Iran: A Photographic Chronicle

Sarbakhshian, Hassan, Lior B. Sternfeld & Parvaneh Vahidmanesh. 2022. Jews of Iran: A Photographic Chronicle (Dimyonot : Jews and the Cultural Imagination 13). Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania State University Press.

This book reveals one of the most beautiful and complicated untold stories of our time.

Westerners often imagine Jews in Iran as a captive and oppressed community, alienated within their home nation yet restricted from leaving it. The reality is much more complex. Jews of Iran is a photographic journey through twenty-first-century Iran, providing a unique view of the country’s Jewish community in situations typically unknown to the Western world. Photojournalist Hassan Sarbakhshian spent two years living among Iran’s Jewish communities, joining them for holidays, family gatherings, and travels, and—with the help of fellow journalist Parvaneh Vahidmanesh—documenting how they lived. Moving beyond the well-known state and regional confrontations, the photos that Sarbakhshian took tell a broader story about a community of people who live in the figurative and literal middle. They are Iranian nationals by birth and by choice, and they are Jews by religious affiliation. Full loyalty to their country is expected, even as their ancestral homeland is at odds with their political homeland. This photographic chronicle illuminates the grey zone that they inhabit.

Featuring over one hundred full-color photos, contextualized with extensive annotations, and accompanied by a substantive introduction written by historian Lior B. Sternfeld, Jews of Iran calls into question Western views of this religious community.

Categories
Articles

An Unknown Illuminated Judeo-Persian Manuscript of Nizāmī’s Khosrow and Shīrīn

Khosrow Discovers Shīrīn Bathing, From Pictorial Cycle of Eight Poetic Subjects, mid 18th century. Brooklyn Museum.

Carmeli, Orit. 2021. An Unknown Illuminated Judeo-Persian Manuscript of Nizāmī’s Khosrow and Shīrīn. Ars Judaica. The Bar Ilan Journal of Jewish Art 17(1). 131–140.

This is a brief presentation of the mid-seventeenth-century illuminated Judeo-Persian copy of Nizāmī’s Khosrow and Shīrīn from the collection of the Museum for Islamic Art in Jerusalem. The Khamsa of Nizāmī Ganjavi (d. 1209) is one of the most famous medieval Persian love stories and one of the most admired poetical works ever written in the Persian language. Khosrow and Shīrīn (composed 1175/6-1191) is the second book in the Quinary and recounts the tragic love story of the Sasanian king Khosrow II Parviz and the Armenian princess Shīrīn. Nizāmī’s poetry, in addition to other works of Persian classical masters, was regarded by the Jews of Iran as an integral part of their literary and cultural heritage. Over the years these renowned poetical works were largely transliterated into Judeo-Persian and copies of the texts can be found in various public and private collections. The manuscript in question and other illuminated Judeo-Persian manuscripts clearly testify to their owners and patrons’ awareness of long-established Persian artistic tradition and cultural conventions, representing Jewish-Persian encounter in text and image.

Categories
Books

Mélanges: James Howard-Johnston

Booth, Phil & Mary Whitby (eds.). 2022. Mélanges: James Howard-Johnston (Travaux et mémoires 26). Paris: Association des Amis du centre d’histoire et civilisation de Byzance.

Apart from a brief stint as a Junior Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, in 1968-9, James Howard-Johnston spent his entire academic career at Oxford University. After a period as Junior Research Lecturer at Christ Church from 1966-71, he was then University Lecturer in Byzantine Studies and a Fellow of Corpus Christi College until his retirement almost forty years later in 2009. In the mid-2000s he served briefly as interim president of Corpus. From 1972 to 1987 he was also passionately involved in local politics, serving as an Oxford City Councillor and Oxfordshire County Councillor. His retirement from politics was accompanied by a stream of publications that has continued to the present day.

Throughout his career, James cultivated a number of interests, for example, the political and military history of Byzantium, the Eurasian steppe, and the Sassanid empire; Byzantine historiography; medieval law and commerce; and, perhaps most importantly, the history of warfare, and in particular the “world crisis” that dramatically and permanently reorganized the Middle East during the seventh century. Readers of James’s bibliography through 2022, which we include at the beginning of this volume, will perceive the simultaneous cultivation of all these interests, but also a growing preoccupation with the seventh century, which intensified from the 1990s onward and culminated in two masterpieces of scholarship produced during his retirement-or, as James would put it in his typical self-deprecating style, his “defuncation.” The first, Witnesses to a world crisis, represents the distillation of many years of deep reflection on the various sources of seventh-century political history, as well as a profound reflection on the rise of Islam and the Arab conquests. The second (of which Witnesses is in many ways the prequel), The Last Great War of Antiquity, is now the first comprehensive history of the final conflict between the Roman and Iranian empires, a great subject of which James has long been the acknowledged master.

Some related contributions to the Iranian Studies in this volume:

Ainslie, Roger, Mohammad Arman Ershadi & Davit Naskidashvili: Qalʿeh Kharabeh in northern Iran: a Sasanian military tent city for ten thousand mounted soldiers?

Booth, Phil: Egypt under the Sasanians (619–29): “stability, continuity, and tolerance”?

Greenwood, Tim: Adontz, Armenia and Iran in late antiquity.

Gyselen, Rika: La géographie administrative de l’Empire sassanide: ce que le Šahrestānīha-ye Ērānšahr ne dit pas.

McLynn, Neil: Ammianus Marcellinus and the making of Persian strategy.

Taylor, David G. K.: The Syriac version of Strategios’ History of the Persian conquest of Jerusalem.

Vevaina, Yuhan Sohrab-Dinshaw: The Coals Which Were His Guardians…’: The Hermeneutics of Heraclius’ Persian Campaign and a Faint Trace of the ‘Last Great War’ in Zoroastrian Literature.

Wiesehöfer, Josef: Alfred von Gutschmid, Theodor Nöldeke and the beginnings of the Sasanian Empire.

Zychowicz-Coghill, Edward: The Byzantinist of Isfahan: Ḥamza ibn al-Ḥasan on Greek and Roman history.