The Achaemenids, the Black Sea and Beyond

Tsetskhladze, Gosha R. (eds.). 2023. The Achaemenids, the Black Sea and Beyond: New Evidence and Studies (Colloquia Antiqua, 40). Leuven: Peeters.

The Achaemenids, the Black Sea and Beyond, a short and well-illustrated volume, presents some of the papers due to have been presented at a small conference in Constanta in 2020 that became victim to the public policy response to Covid. It is dedicated to Alexandru Avram, one of the intended participants, who died before submitting his paper. The remaining nine papers, with a balance towards the northern and southern Black Sea, are supplemented by an introduction from the editor in the form of a cut and reworked paper of 2019 (the full version appeared in Ancient West and East); he too died before he could complete his proper introduction. Two deaths have given life to this volume. It may appear a little uneven in its coverage of the Black Sea’s four shores, but it is a child of circumstance. The abstracts of some, but not all, of those who did not submit papers are included as an appendix.


Gandharan Art and the Classical World

Stewart, Peter. 2024. Gandharan Art and the Classical World: A Short Introduction. Oxford: Archaeopress.

This book offers an introduction to Gandharan art and the mystery of its relationship with the Graeco-Roman world of the Mediterranean. It presents an accessible explanation of the ancient and modern contexts of Gandharan art, the state of scholarship on the subject, and guidance for further, in-depth study.

In the early centuries AD, the small region of Gandhara (centred on what is now northern Pakistan) produced an extraordinary tradition of Buddhist art which eventually had an immense influence across Asia. Mainly produced to adorn monasteries and shrines, Gandharan sculptures celebrate the Buddha himself, the stories of his life and the many sacred characters of the Buddhist cosmos. Since this imagery was rediscovered in the nineteenth century, one of its most fascinating and puzzling aspects is the extent to which it draws on the conventions of Greek and Roman art, which originated thousands of kilometres to the west.

Inspired by the Gandhara Connections project at Oxford University’s Classical Art Research Centre, this book offers an introduction to Gandharan art and the mystery of its relationship with the Graeco-Roman world of the Mediterranean. It presents an accessible explanation of the ancient and modern contexts of Gandharan art, the state of scholarship on the subject, and guidance for further, in-depth study.


The Cambridge Companion to Alexander the Great

Ogden, Daniel (ed.). 2024. The Cambridge companion to Alexander the Great. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Has any ancient figure captivated the imagination of people over the centuries so much as Alexander the Great? In less than a decade he created an empire stretching across much of the Near East as far as India, which led to Greek culture becoming dominant in much of this region for a millennium. Here, an international team of experts clearly explains the life and career of one of the most significant figures in world history. They introduce key themes of his campaign as well as describing aspects of his court and government and exploring the very different natures of his engagements with the various peoples he encountered and their responses to him. The reader is also introduced to the key sources, including the more important fragmentary historians, especially Ptolemy, Aristobulus and Clitarchus, with their different perspectives. The book closes by considering how Alexander’s image was manipulated in antiquity itself.


Studies on Persian objects from Greece

Fleischmann, Kristina Esther. 2023. Die Faszination des Orientalischen. Studien zu persischen Objekten aus Griechenland und zum Einfluss der persischen auf die griechische Kultur 550–330 v. Chr. (AOAT 52). Münster: Ugarit.


Persian Cultures of Power

Canepa, Matthew P. (ed.). 2024. Persian cultures of power and the entanglement of the Afro-Eurasian world. Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute.

A cutting-edge analysis of 2,500 years of Persian visual, architectural, and material cultures of power and their role in connecting the world.

With the rise of the Achaemenid Empire (550–330 BCE), Persian institutions of kingship became the model for legitimacy, authority, and prestige across three continents. Despite enormous upheavals, Iranian visual and political cultures connected an ever-wider swath of Afro-Eurasia over the next two millennia, exerting influence at key historical junctures. This book provides the first critical exploration of the role Persian cultures played in articulating the myriad ways power was expressed across Afro-Eurasia between the sixth century BCE and the nineteenth century CE.

Exploring topics such as royal cosmologies, fashion, banqueting, manuscript cultures, sacred landscapes, and inscriptions, the volume’s essays analyze the intellectual and political exchanges of art, architecture, ritual, and luxury material within and beyond the Persian world. They show how Perso-Iranian cultures offered neighbors and competitors raw material with which to formulate their own imperial aspirations. Unique among studies of Persia and Iran, this volume explores issues of change, renovation, and interconnectivity in these cultures over the longue durée.


Personal Names in Cuneiform Texts from Babylonia

Waerzeggers, Caroline & Melanie M. Groß (eds.). 2024. Personal names in cuneiform texts from Babylonia. An introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Personal names provide fascinating testimony to Babylonia’s multi-ethnic society. This volume offers a practical introduction to the repertoire of personal names recorded in cuneiform texts from Babylonia in the first millennium BCE. In this period, individuals moved freely as well as involuntarily across the ancient Middle East, leaving traces of their presence in the archives of institutions and private persons in southern Mesopotamia. The multilingual nature of this name material poses challenges for students and researchers who want to access these data as part of their exploration of the social history of the region in the period. This volume offers guidelines and tools that will help readers navigate this difficult material. The title is also available Open Access on Cambridge Core.


Miscellanea Epigraphica Susiana

Fattori, Marco. 2023. Miscellanea Epigraphica Susiana. Textual Observations on some Achaemenid Inscriptions from Susa. Arta 2023.003.

This article presents some new philological observations on three Achaemenid texts from Susa (DSe, DSi, A2Se) based on a new inspection of the inscriptions. These include the edition of previously unpublished fragments and the attribution of previously misplaced fragments to the texts under examination. For each inscription, a brief epigraphic, philological and linguistic commentary is provided.


Phoenix (vol. 76)

The volume 76 (2022) of the journal Phoenix is out. It contains several papers about numismatics especially within the economy of Achaemenid empire.

  • Andrew Meadows, Jarosław Bodzek: Preface
  • Andrew Meadows: Coinage in Imperial Space: Ps.-Aristotle Oikonomika and the Place of Monetary Production
  • Peter van Alfen: Payment, Profit, or Prestige? The Political Economy of Achaemenid Coin Production
  • François de Callataÿ: Pseudo-Civic not Civic: The Abundant Double Sigloi Struck by Pamphylian and Cilician Cities (ca 460–333 B.C.E.)
  • Jarosław Bodzek: Kings, Satraps, Local Dynasts, and Cities in Achaemenid Imperial Space: Pseudo-Aristotle’s Oikonomika and Numismatic Reality
  • Christopher J. Tuplin: Of Darics, Staters, and Disks: Some Issues in Achaemenid
  • Selene E. Psoma: The ΣYN Coinage: Agesilaus versus Lysander
  • Aneurin Ellis-Evans, Jonathan Kagan: Bimetallism, Coinage, and Empire in Persian Anatolia
  • Frédérique Duyrat: Money in Southern Transeuphratene during the Fourth Century B.C.E.
  • Haim Gitler, Oren Tal: Indigenous Coinages in Palestine: Towards an Understanding of the Persian-Hellenistic Transitional Monetary Phase
  • Evangeline Markou: The Coinage of the Kings of Cyprus From Achaemenid to Hellenistic Rule: An Autonomous Royal Coinage?
  • Marek Jan Olbrycht: The India-Related Tetradrachms of Alexander the Great
  • Karsten Dahmen: Money and Legitimacy after Alexander

The Torah in the Persian Period

Achenbach, Reinhard. 2023. Tora in der Perserzeit: Gesammelte Studien zu Theologie und Rechtsgeschichte Judas (Forschungen zum Alten Testament 173). Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.

Reinhard Achenbach offers a collection of studies on the redactional composition of the Pentateuch, the history of institutions, on concepts of international law, and the rights of foreigners in the scribal tradition of Judah during the Second Temple Period in the Persian Empire (539–333 B.C.E.). He examines the changes in theological ideas, priestly institutions, sacral rules, and purity law in the tension between the pursuit for religious autonomy in the community and Jewish monotheism’s claim of universal significance.


Indo-Sasanian Trade

Kumar, Ashish. 2023. Beyond Borders: Indo-Sasanian Trade and Its Central Indian Connections (Circa CE 300–700). Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

This book examines the economic history of ancient South Asia by situating the Malwa region of Central India within Afro-Eurasian trade networks to illuminate the role of traders in the political, religious and economic processes connected with the Indo-Sasanian trade in the period of five centuries, circa CE 300-700. The book challenges the long-held centrality of the Roman factor in the South Asian economy by locating the Indo-Sasanian interactions in long distance economic networks with trade as a central feature. It considers the role and influence of traders as an understudied group affecting the contribution of the Indian economy to the world system. Amidst rapidly changing political landscapes, traders of Indian and Sasanian origins are studied as conscious political beings, who formed ties with varieties of polities and religious communities to secure their commercial interests. In addition, their commercial interactions with their Sogdian (Central Asia) and Aksumite (East Africa) counterparts are analyzed. The book also considers the nature of trade routes and the specific connections between mercantile and religious networks, including patterns of construction of religious shrines and temples along trade routes. Integrating epigraphic, numismatic, literary and archaeological evidence, this book moves away from a marginal treatment of the Indo-Sasanian trade in Indian history, and demonstrates how regional economic history must address a plurality of causes, actors, and processes in its assessment of the regional economy. The book will be of interest to students and academics of Indian economic history, as well as the ancient economies of South Asia more broadly.