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Books

Cultural contacts and cultural developments in Lorestān

Neumann, Georg. 2024. Kulturkontakte und Kulturentwicklungen in Lorestān (West-Iran) im 3. Jahrtausend v. Chr. Münster: Zaphon.

In the 3rd millennium BC Lorestān (Western Iran) was characterized by diverse cultural developments. The subject of this study is the cultural development of early societies and their network of relationships, i.e. their cultural contacts. To structure the diversity of these relationships, the region has been divided into 6 zones (with a total of 46 sites) and three temporal phases – phase 1: time after the collapse of Late Chalcolithic complexes; Phase 2: period of Sumerian city-states and their economic “expansion”; Phase 3: time of the first larger territorial states in Mesopotamia. By evaluating both the excavations and the survey findings and taking into account written sources, it was possible to create a comprehensive, data-based and culturally geographically meaningful picture of the region. To achieve comparability of the extensive material, it was necessary to develop a uniform vocabulary of terms based on objective criteria that could be linked to the EWI chronology developed as part of the ARCANE project. As a result, it is possible to stabilize Lorestān’s chronology and to create diachronically comparative analyses. Overall, based on the finds and findings in Lorestān in the 3rd millennium BC. It is clear from that the specific “cultural contacts” are characterized in their complexity by different economic and social networks, some of which overlap and influence each other. The respective “cultural developments” are also based on such a network of relationships, which is equally influenced by internal and external political and economic developments. In addition, it was possible to demonstrate that a study that takes into account the local topography of a region makes it easier to establish “settlement chambers”, to better relate archaeological findings to one another and, accordingly, to understand historical (topographical) and associated cultural developments.

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Books

Stereotypes and Identity Creation in the Ancient World

Forsén, Björn & Antti Lampinen (eds.). 2024. Oriental Mirages: Stereotypes and Identity Creation in the Ancient World (Oriens et Occidens 42). Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag.

Edward Said, in his seminal book Orientalism, perceived clear links between the ancient Greek and Roman stereotypes of the East and the prejudiced European nineteenth-century picture of the Muslim world, which was considered exotic, backward, uncivilised, degenerate, and dangerous, in contrast with the Western societies that were seen as developed, rational, flexible, and, above all, superior. However, the reality is much more complex – shaped by both the imperialist perceptions of defeated enemies embraced by all Middle Eastern empires going back at least to the Assyrians, and the intermixed admiration and jealousy of the old ‘Eastern’ traditions of learning. Part of the Greek and Roman stereotypes of the East are rooted in the interaction with eastern imperial ideals, being taken over and further developed to strengthen common Hellenic and Roman identities. Due to the subsequent free borrowing of these stereotypes and their application to different societies, the Orient has always been a moving ‘(n)everwhere’ with each culture constructing their own Oriental mirages.

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Journal

Caspian: Volume 1, Issue 1

Caspian is an international, peer reviewed journal, publishing high-quality, original research. Caspian is a journal devoted to archaeology, anthropology, history, art, linguistics, religion, epigraphy, and numismatics of the Caspian Sea region, encompassing both prehistoric and historic periods. The journal’s geographic range spans Caspian Sea Region, Caucasus, and Transoxiana.

Table of contents:

  • Shahin Aryamanesh: Introduction to the Inaugural Issue of Caspian
  • Shahin Aryamanesh: Obituary: Philippe Gignoux
  • Mehdi Rahbar: Miniature Motifs on the Ossuaries of the Bandian Dargaz Fire Temple
  • Seyed Rasoul Mousavi Haji; Mohammad Hasan Zaal; Mona Mousavi: The Study of the Factors Considered in Locating Eastern Guilan Castles (Case Study: Amlash Castles)
  • Arshak Iravanian: Archaeology and History of Nowshahr, Iran
  • Ajdar Mehriban Xosbext: Middle Persian Inscriptions of the Era of Khosrow Anushirvan in Darband, Caucasus (Dagestan)
Categories
Articles

Another bulla of Weh-Šāpur

Miri, Negin & Cyrus Nasrollahzadeh. 2023. Another bulla of Weh-Šāpur, Ērān- Spāhbed of Kust-i-Nēmrōz from the Treasury of Mostazafan Foundation’s Cultural Institution of Museums in Tehran. ISIMU 26: 145-155.

This paper introduces a newly-found Sasanian bulla that has two seal impressions, the major of which belongs to Wēh-šāpur, military chief or Ērān-spāhbed of kust-ī-nēmrōz or the south-southeast side of the Sasanian Empire during the reign of Ḵosrow I (539-579 AD). Since 2001 a number of spāhbed bullae have been identified and published. These significant objects confirmed the validity of historical narrations regarding quadripartition of military organization of the Sasanian Empire recorded in late and post-Sasanian literary sources. This sealing is part of a bullae collection kept in the treasury of Mostazafan Foundation’s Cultural Institution of Museums in Tehran and offers the fifth example of spāhbed Wēh-šābuhr seal impression so far known and published.

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Articles

The Kushan Pantheon and the Significance of the Kushan Goddess Nana

Cribb, Joe, Aman Ur Rahman & Pankaj Tandon. 2023. The Kushan pantheon and the significance of the Kushan goddess Nana, in the light of new numismatic evidence of iconography and identity. Journal Asiatique 311(2). 247–266.

Numismatic evidence has played a large role in the study of Kushan religion. The earliest assessments recognised the Iranian nature of Kushan religion, but later focus on elements of naming and iconography from other culture particularly Greece and India have obscured this early analysis. Recently found inscriptions and coins allow a reassessment re-establishing a clearer view of the nature of Kushan religion and its expression in coin designs, contemporary art and architecture. The opportunity presented by the discovery of new numismatic imagery of the goddess Nana allows a reappraisal of her place in the pantheon and a review of the current perspectives on Kushan religion.

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Books

The Correspondence of Assurbanipal, Part II

Frame, Grant & Simo Parpola. 2023. The Correspondence of Assurbanipal, Part II Letters from Southern Babylonia (State Archives of Assyria 22). Helsinki: Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project.

The present volume completes the critical edition of the political correspondence of Assurbanipal, the first part of which was published in SAA 21. The 163 letters edited here were sent from southern Mesopotamia and Elam, mostly by governors or other high-ranking local administrators and military commanders; almost all are addressed to the Assyrian king, although a few nonroyal letters are also included. As in SAA 21, the bulk of the correspondence dates from the civil war between Assurbanipal and Šamaš-šumu-ukin and provides dramatic eyewitness evidence of this turbulent time.

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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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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

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

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.