NABU 2020-4

The latest issue of NABU (Nouvelles Assyriologiques Brèves et Utilitaires), 2020-4 (notes 100-134), is out. Among other interesting notes, three fall in the scope of the Iranian Studies discipline.

129) Ran ZADOK: Four Loanwords in Neo-/Late-Babylonian

130) Gérard GERTOUX: Intercalations during the co-regency of Xerxes with Darius I

131) J. Nicholas REID: A Multi-year Audit Belonging to the Late Achaemenid and Early Hellenistic Esangila Archive: A New Text


Symbols of political authority

Mittertrainer, Anahita Nasrin. 2020. Sinnbilder politischer Autorität? Frühsasanidische Städtebilder im Südwesten Irans. Dortmund: Readbox unipress.

Welche Rolle spielten Stadtgründungen bei der Formation des sasanidischen Reichs? In der Studie Sinnbilder politischer Autorität? Frühsasanidische Städtebilder im Südwesten Irans analysiert Anahita Nasrin Mittertrainer, wie politische Autorität in Städten und ihrem Hinterland im Südwesten Irans von den frühen sasanidischen Herrschern (224–338 n.d.Z.) geschaffen und reproduziert wurde.

Im Jahr 2018 wurden mit Gur und Bišapur zwei frühsasanidische Städte in das UNESCO-Weltkulturerbe aufgenommen. Zeitlich passend wird in dieser Studie auf Grundlage von archäologischem und historischem Datenmaterial eine Reihe von Ergebnissen präsentiert, die auf mehreren Ebenen zu einer grundlegenden Neuinterpretation des frühsasanidischen Städtebaus beitragen. Hierzu zählen revidierte Datierungen von einzelnen Baustrukturen sowie die funktionelle Umdeutung von Gebäuden, die eine zentrale Rolle im jeweiligen Stadtbild einnahmen. Auf makroskopischer Ebene ermöglicht der systematische Stadtvergleich der Städte Gur, Bišapur und Darabgerd Schlussfolgerungen bezüglich sasanidischer Stadtplanung, der Funktionalisierung des Umlands der Städte und des Verhältnisses zwischen Stadt und König.


The Graeco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek World

Mairs, Rachel (ed.). 2021. The Graeco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek world. London & New York: Routledge.

This volume provides a thorough conspectus of the field of Graeco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek studies, mixing theoretical and historical surveys with critical and thought-provoking case studies in archaeology, history, literature and art.

The chapters from this international group of experts showcase innovative methodologies, such as archaeological GIS, as well as providing accessible explanations of specialist techniques such as die studies of coins, and important theoretical perspectives, including postcolonial approaches to the Greeks in India. Chapters cover the region’s archaeology, written and numismatic sources, and a history of scholarship of the subject, as well as culture, identity and interactions with neighbouring empires, including India and China.

The Graeco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek World is the go-to reference work on the field, and fulfils a serious need for an accessible, but also thorough and critically-informed, volume on the Graeco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek kingdoms. It provides an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the Hellenistic East.


Armed force in the Teispid-Achaemenid Empire

Manning, Sean. 2021. Armed Force in the Teispid-Achaemenid Empire: Past Approaches, Future Prospects (Oriens et Occidens, 32). Stuttgart: Fanz Steiner Verlag.

The armies of Cyrus, Xerxes and Darius III are usually understood through the lens of classical literature and stereotypes about the orient. Sean Manning proposes a new understanding based on all kinds of evidence and the study of the ancient Near East. He examines the last century and a half of research in its historical and ideological context. Three core chapters treat Akkadian tablets, Aramaic documents, royal inscriptions, and artifacts as sources in their own right, not compliments to Herodotus. The different perspectives of Iranian philologists, Mesopotamian archaeologists and historians of ancient Greece are considered and addressed. A series of case studies show that the Greek and Latin texts can be read in unfamiliar ways which can survive stronger criticism than traditional interpretations. The king’s troops were not literary foils to show the virtues of Greek hoplites or Scythian horsemen, they were agents of an early world empire which drew on long traditions and the latest innovations to gather money, soldiers, and workers and deploy them at the will of the king.


When the dualists argued

Ruani, Flavia & Mihaela Timus (eds.). 2020. Quand les dualistes polémiquaient: Zoroastriens et manichéens (Orient & Méditerranée, 34). Leuven: Peeters.

The authors of this collected volume show that Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism, which share a dualist vision of the world and the primordial entities, have raised in a similar way to Judaism, Christianity and Islam the question of the relationship of their followers to truth and therefore the error made by others. The volume makes a fundamental contribution to the study of the phenomenon of religious controversy in Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages. It allows us to better understand two Eastern systems of thought, both in what they have in common and in their irreducible individuality.


Zoroastrian family law

Forest, Nicolas. 2020. Successions et Libéralités Dans l’Iran Mazdéen: Droit zoroastrien de la famille. Paris: Editions L’Harmattan.

A l’instar du droit romain, le droit successoral mazdéen distinguait les présomptions simples et irréfragables, connaissait la représentation successorale, la théorie des comourants, le droit d’accession, le rapport des libéralités ; en matière de règlement du passif, il appliquait la règle nemo liberalis nisi liberatus, permettait aux créanciers successoraux de bénéficier du privilège de la séparation des patrimoines, soumettait les cohéritiers débiteurs à une obligation in solidum ; en matière de droit de la filiation, il distinguait l’adoption simple de l’adoption plénière. Tout en décrivant exhaustivement le droit successoral mazdéen, cet ouvrage établit de nombreux parallèles avec d’autres droits de l’Antiquité, ainsi qu’avec le droit français.


Identity in Persian Egypt

Becking, Bob. 2020. Identity in Persian Egypt: The Fate of the Yehudite Community of Elephantine. Pennsylvania: Eisenbrauns.

In this book, Bob Becking provides a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of the origins, lives, and eventual fate of the Yehudites, or Judeans, at Elephantine, framed within the greater history of the rise and fall of the Persian Empire.

The Yehudites were among those mercenaries recruited by the Persians to defend the southwestern border of the empire in the fifth century BCE. Becking argues that this group, whom some label as the first “Jews,” lived on the island of Elephantine in relative peace with other ethnic groups under the aegis of the pax persica. Drawing on Aramaic and Demotic texts discovered during excavations on the island and at Syene on the adjacent shore of the Nile, Becking finds evidence of intermarriage, trade cooperation, and even a limited acceptance of one another’s gods between the various ethnic groups at Elephantine. His analysis of the Elephantine Yehudites’ unorthodox form of Yahwism provides valuable insight into the group’s religious beliefs and practices.

An important contribution to the study of Yehudite life in the diaspora, this accessibly written and sweeping history enhances our understanding of the varieties of early Jewish life and how these contributed to the construction of Judaism.


Advances in Iranian Linguistics

Larson, Richard K., Sedigheh Moradi & Vida Samiian (eds.). 2020. Advances in Iranian Linguistics (Current Issues in Linguistic Theory, 351). Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

This volume brings together selected papers from the first North American Conference in Iranian Linguistics, which was organized by the linguistics department at Stony Brook University. Papers were selected to illustrate the range of frameworks, diverse areas of research and how the boundaries of linguistic analysis of Iranian languages have expanded over the years. The contributions collected in this volume address advancing research and complex methodological explorations in a broad range of topics in Persian syntax, morphology, phonology, semantics, typology and classification, as well as historical linguistics. Some of the papers also investigate less-studied and endangered Iranian languages such as Tat, Gilaki and Mazandarani, Sorani and Kurmanji Kurdish, and Zazaki. The volume will be of value to scholars in theoretical frameworks as well as those with typological and diachronic perspectives, and in particular to those working in Iranian linguistics.


The World of the Oxus Civilization

Lyonnet, Bertille & Nadezhda A Dubova (eds.). 2021. The World of the Oxus Civilization. London & New York: Routledge.

This collection of essays presents a synthesis of current research on the Oxus Civilization, which rose and developed at the turn of the 3rd to 2nd millennia BC in Central Asia.

First discovered in the 1970s, the Oxus Civilization, or the Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex (BMAC), has engendered many different interpretations, which are explored in this volume by an international group of archaeologists and researchers. Contributors cover all aspects of this fascinating Bronze Age culture: architecture; material culture; grave goods; religion; migrations; and trade and interactions with neighboring civilizations, from Mesopotamia to the Indus, and the Gulf to the northern steppes. Chapters also examine the Oxus Civilization’s roots in previous local cultures, explore its environmental and chronological context, or the possibly coveted metal sources, and look into the reasons for its decline.

The World of the Oxus Civilization offers a broad and fascinating examination of this society, and provides an invaluable updated resource for anyone working on the culture, history, and archaeology of this region and on the multiple interactions at work at that time in the ancient Near East.


Udjahorresnet and His World

The latest issue of Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections (vol. 26) is dedicated to the research about the famous Egyptian physician: Udjahorresnet.

This volume, edited by Melanie Wasmuth and Pearce Paul Creasman, is open access (see here).

Table of Contents:

  • Melanie Wasmuth and the other contributors to this volume: Introduction: Udjahorresnet and His World: a Key Figure of Cross-regional Relations Reconsidered
  • Alex Ilari Aissaoui: Diplomacy in Ancient Times: The Figure of Udjahorresnet: An International Relations Perspective
  • Reinhold Bichler: Herodotus’s Perspective on the Situation of Egypt in the Persian Period from the Last Saite Kings to Xerxes’ First Years
  • Henry P. Colburn: Udjahorresnet the Persian: Being an Essay on the Archaeology of Identity
  • Francis Joannès: Les Soutiens de Cambyse en Babylonie, de 539 à 522 av. è. c. (The Supports of Cambyses in Babylonia, from 539 to 522 BCE)
  • Ivan Ladynin: Udjahorresnet and the Royal Name of Cambyses: The “Derivative Sacrality” of Achaemenids in Egypt
  • Francesco Lopez: Udjahorresnet, Democedes, and Darius I: The Reform of the House of Life as Consequence of the Egyptian Physicians’ Failure to Heal the Achaemenid ruler
  • Nenad Marković : Udjahorresnet’s Family and His Social Background
  • Alison McCoskey: Fight the Power: Udjahorresnet and Petosiris as Agents of Resistance
  • Cristina Ruggero: Udjahorresnet’s Naoforo Vaticano: Acquisition and Exhibition
  • Alexander Schütze: On the Originality of Udjahorresnet’s Biographical Inscriptions
  • Květa Smoláriková and Ladislav Bareš: The Shaft Tomb of Udjahorresnet at Abusir
  • Marissa Stevens: Neith as Legitimator: Persian Religious Strategy and Udjahorresnet
  • Melanie Wasmuth: The Statues of Udjahorresnet as Archaeological Artifacts