The Arsakid World (Anabasis, 10)

Volume 10 (2019) of Anabasis. Studia Classica et Orientalia is now out. This is a special volume, entitled “The Arsakid World: Studies on the History and Culture of Western and Central Asia” edited by Marek Jan Olbrycht and Jeffrey D. Lerner.

Table of Contents:

  • Marek Jan Olbrycht, Jeffrey D. Lerner:
    The Arsakid World and Its Neighbors: An Introduction
  • Alice Borgna:
    Pompeius Trogus and the Romanization of History (Note to Iust. 41.2.1-2)
  • Yasuyuki Mitsuma:
    “General (Who Is) Above the Four Generals” in the Seleucid and Arsacid Period
  • Marek Jan Olbrycht:
    Crisis in Parthia (ca. 90-70/69 BC) and Arsakid Coinages: Preliminary Remarks on Numismatic Evidence
  • Mehdi Mousavinia, Hassan Nami:
    Shahr-Tepeh and Toghei – Two Early Parthian Cities in Northeastern Iran
  • Mohsen Dana, Alireza Nasrabadi, Hadi Sharifan:
    Qal’e Nehbandan: Evidence of the Parthian Period in Eastern Iran
  • Martin Schottky:
    Die arsakidische Nebenlinie in Armenien
  • Anahit Mousheghian:
    Monetary Circulation in Armenia in the Hellenistic and Parthian-Roman Periods (Some Remarks)
  • Jeffrey D. Lerner:
    A Further Note on the Appearance of “Αντειχ” / “Σαναβ” on the So-Called “Heraios” Tetradrachmas of the Kushan King Kujula Kadphises, ca. 30-80 CE
  • Razieh Taasob:
    Khalchayan and Historical Links to the Numismatic and Iconographical Evidence in Central Asia: Some Suggestions for Chronology
  • Udo Hartmann:
    Die Imperiale Politik des Vologaises III. und das Bellum Parthicum des Lucius Verus
  • Jake Nabel:
    Tiridates in the Forum, Peroz on His Knees: Religion and Reputation in Ancient Iranian
  • Valentina I. Mordvintseva:
    Sarmatian Elites of the Lower Volga-and-Don Region and their Relations with the Outside World (3rd c. BC – 3rd c. AD)
  • Aleksander Baliński:
    Nabonidus – Darius the Mede
  • Sabine Müller:
    Persia in Defense, the Athenian Connection, and the Family of Pharnabazos
  • Oleg L. Gabelko, Eugene G. Teytelbaum:
    “Waged War not Only on Men but on Gods”: Polybius’ Views on Religious Crimes in Military Conflicts of the Greek-Roman World
  • Juan Antonio Álvarez-Pedrosa:
    The Peacock’s Arrival in Greece and Rome, or How an Exotic Animal Became an Eschatological Symbol
  • Edward Lipiński:
    L’inscription latino-palmyrénienne de South Shields
  • Martin Schottky
    Ein Neues Buch zu den Regna Minora
  • Aleksandr A. Sinitsyn, Igor E. Surikov:
    A New Collective Work on Herodotus as a Scientist and Narrator
  • Sabine Müller:
    Tonio Hölscher, Mythenbilder und Mentalität in Athen von Kleisthenes zu den Perserkriegen. Ein Versuch zur historischen Psychologie der Griechen, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz 2019
  • Aleksandr A. Sinitsyn:
    In Tribute to the Russian Classical Historian Vladimir Borukhovich (1920–2007) on the
    Centenary of His Birth

End of History and the Last King

Janzen, David. 2021. End of History and the Last King: Achaemenid Ideology and Community Identity in Ezra-Nehemiah. London & New York: Bloomsbury.

This book examines community identity in the post-exilic temple community in Ezra-Nehemiah, and explores the possible influences that the Achaemenids, the ruling Persian dynasty, might have had on its construction. In the book, David Janzen reads Ezra-Nehemiah in dialogue with the Achaemenids’ Old Persian inscriptions, as well as with other media the dynasty used, such as reliefs, seals, coins, architecture, and imperial parks. In addition, he discusses the cultural and religious background of Achaemenid thought, especially its intersections with Zoroastrian beliefs.

Ezra-Nehemiah, Janzen argues, accepts Achaemenid claims for the necessity and beneficence of their hegemony. The result is that Ezra-Nehemiah, like the imperial ideology it mimics, claims that divine and royal wills are entirely aligned. Ezra-Nehemiah reflects the Achaemenid assertion that the peoples they have colonized are incapable of living in peace and happiness without the Persian rule that God established to benefit humanity, and that the dynasty rewards the peoples who do what they desire, since that reflects divine desire.

The final chapter of the book argues that Ezra-Nehemiah was produced by an elite group within the Persian-period temple assembly, and shows that Ezra-Nehemiah’s pro-Achaemenid worldview was not widely accepted within that community.


The Herodotus Encyclopedia

Baron, Christopher (Ed.). 2021. The Herodotus Encyclopedia, 3 Volume Set. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.

The first work of its kind, this book offers students and faculty of all levels an easy-to-use, up-to-date reference tool on Herodotus of Halicarnassus (the “Father of History”) and provides Herodotean scholars with a collection of important strands of recent work. Topics include the debt of Greek historical writing to epic poetry (and other genres); narratological analysis of the text; Herodotus’ position vis-à-vis his predecessors and contemporaries; his use of sources; his notion of Greekness; and the growing body of Persian and other Near Eastern evidence for sixth- and fifth century events.

Spanning three volumes, The Herodotus Encyclopedia surveys the current state of knowledge and understanding of Herodotus’ work, and discusses past, current, and emerging approaches to the text. Featuring contributions from an international team of more than 150 scholars, it offers more than 2,500 entries which cover the individuals, peoples, and places Herodotus names in his Histories; the composition and central themes in his work; and the historical, social, intellectual, and literary context of the period. Many entries also explore the text’s scholarship and reception from antiquity up to the present day.  Offers entries for every proper name, group, and region mentioned in Herodotus’ Histories Provides discussions of the history of Herodotean studies and scholarship Considers the historical and cultural contexts within which Herodotus wrote and lived Addresses the reception of Herodotus during antiquity and beyond Incorporates the methods and findings of several different disciplines in the humanities Features maps and illustrations, a user guide, an index, and full bibliographical information in each entry The Herodotus Encyclopedia is an indispensable text for scholars in classics and related fields, instructors who cover Herodotus or Greek history in their courses, research libraries, and students of ancient Greek history and literature.

* Offers entries for every proper name, group, and region mentioned in Herodotus’ Histories

* Provides discussions of the history of Herodotean studies and scholarship

*Considers the historical and cultural contexts within which Herodotus wrote and lived

*Addresses the reception of Herodotus during antiquity and beyond *Incorporates the methods and findings of several different disciplines in the humanities

* Features maps and illustrations, a user guide, an index, and full bibliographical information in each entry

The Herodotus Encyclopedia is an indispensable text for scholars in classics and related fields, instructors who cover Herodotus or Greek history in their courses, research libraries, and students of ancient Greek history and literature.


Studia Iranica 49 (1)

The first issue of Studia Iranica 49 (2020) is out. For a table of contents and access to individual articles, see below or visit this page.

  • Antonio PANAINO & Franco MARTORELLO: The ‘Amphibology’ of the Time in Astrology: The King and the Rebel in Sasanian Astrological Literature
  • Bahman KARGAR, Ali BINANDEH & Behruz KHANMOHAMADI: Excavations at Tepe Qalaychi, a Mannaean Site in Western Azerbaijan, Iran
  • Cyrus NASROLLAHZADEH & Ebrahim QEZELBASH: Une inscription funéraire inédite en moyen-perse tardif (Dašt-e Rum, Yāsuj, Iran)
  • Leila KOOCHAKZADEH: La charte de l’Anjoman-e Ma’āref de 1901: Une source retrouvée de l’histoire de la reforme éducative en Iran
  • Alexandre KAZEROUNI: Ḥājj Ḥoseyn Āqā Malek (1871-1972), sa bibliothèque et son musée à Téhéran: Bourgeoisie marchande pieuse et espaces publics culturels en Iran
  • Comptes rendus

Susa. Stratigraphic survey of the Acropolis 1: Layers 21 to 18 (campaigns 1977-1979)

Le Brun, Alain (with a contribution from Naomi F. Miller). 2020. Suse. Sondage stratigraphique de l’Acropole 1: Couches 21 a 18 (campagnes 1977-1979). Paris: De Boccard.

Ouvert en 1969 dans le cadre du programme de recherches stratigraphiques de la Mission de Suse, le chantier dit de l’Acropole I a permis de distinguer trois périodes dans l’histoire de Suse au cours du IVe millénaire. La période I (couches 27 à 23) correspond à la première occupation de Suse. La période II (couches 22 à 17) est une période au cours de laquelle Suse et la Susiane vivent dans la mouvance culturelle et socio-politique de la Mésopotamie. C’est également une période au cours de laquelle se met en place un système complexe de comptabilité. La période III (couches 16 à 14), marquée par l’apparition dès le niveau 16C des premiers documents écrits, traduit le basculement de Suse dans une nouvelle zone d’influence, la zone d’influence proto-élamite. Six campagnes de fouilles ont été conduites entre 1969 et 1979. Les résultats des quatre premières campagnes, 1969-1972, ont été publiés dans les Cahiers de la Délégation archéologique française en Iran. Le présent ouvrage rend compte des campagnes effectuées entre 1977 et 1979 qui avaient porté sur des couches de la période II, les niveaux des couches 21 à 18. Il comprend la description des vestiges architecturaux, du matériel céramique, des documents glyptiques, ainsi que des documents de comptabilité que complète l’analyse d’échantillons archéobotaniques. Incomplète, les événements politiques survenus en Iran en 1979 ayant arrêté ce programme de recherche, cette publication n’en constitue pas moins une contribution utile à la connaissance de Suse et de la Susiane au cours de la seconde moitié du IVe millénaire et, plus largement, du monde urukéen.


Ramat Raḥel VI: The Babylonian-Persian Pit

Lipschits, Oded, Liora Freud, Manfred Oeming, and Yuval Gadot. 2021. Ramat Raḥel VI: The Renewed Excavations by the Tel Aviv–Heidelberg Expedition (2005–2010). The Babylonian-Persian Pit. Pennsylvania: Eisenbrauns.

This is part of a three-volume final report of the renewed excavations at Ramat Raḥel by the Tel Aviv–Heidelberg Expedition (2005−2010). It presents the finds from the Babylonian-Persian pit, one of the most dramatic find-spots at Ramat Raḥel. The pit yielded a rich assemblage of pottery vessels and yhwd, lion, and sixth-century “private” stamp impressions, including, for the first time, complete restored stamped jars, jars bearing two handles stamped with different yhwd impressions, and jars bearing both lion and “private” stamp impressions on their bodies. Residue analysis was conducted on many of the vessels excavated from the pit to analyze their contents, yielding surprising results. The finds contribute to our understanding of the pottery of the Babylonian and early Persian periods (6th−5th centuries BCE) and to the study of the development of the stamped-jar administration in the province of Yehud under Babylonian and Persian rule.


The Notion of Harem and its Irrelevance to Women of the Persian Court

Lenfant, Dominique. 2020. The Notion of Harem and its Irrelevance to Women of the Persian Court. Ancient Society 50, 13-27.

It has become controversial to use the word ‘harem’ to designate the wives and concubines of the Great King of the Persian Empire, but differing attitudes may be observed among scholars, from rejecting this term to claiming it for use, most often without a detailed justification. Although it seems at first sight to be helpful, the present paper argues against using the word ‘harem’ by highlighting its major interpretative drawbacks: (1) its definition is unstable and unclear; (2) it creates confusion between the different categories of women who are distinguished in our evidence; (3) it is misleading, since it imposes on antiquity western representations mainly linked with Ottoman sultans; (4) it has strong modern connotations, and implies value judgments which are not suitable for a sound historical analysis; (5) it feeds a form of orientalism, since it fosters the idea that the Orient does exist, that it is the opposite of the Occident of the western speaker, and that it has not changed for more than two thousand years. It is lastly argued that this notion of a Persian ‘harem’ does not date back to the Greeks, who had neither a similar word nor similar representations and value judgments, nor the same feeling of otherness in respect to the Persians.


Deportations in the Persian Empire

Matarese, Chiara. 2021. Deportationen im Perserreich in teispidisch-achaimenidischer Zeit (Classica et Orientalia, 27). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

Die Studie beleuchtet das Phänomen von Deportationen in Persien in der Zeit vor Alexander dem Großen. Das Sujet ist aus mehreren Gründen herausfordernd und anspruchsvoll und entbehrte deshalb lange der wissenschaftlichen Aufarbeitung. Zum einen ist die Quellenlage problematisch: Neben dem Mangel an indigenen Überlieferungen sind die zur Verfügung stehenden gräko-römischen Quellen von zahlreichen Klischees geprägt, die es zunächst auszuräumen gilt. Zum anderen muss das Phänomen der Deportation theoretisch erfasst und von anderen Migrationsprozessen unterschieden werden.

Chiara Matarese gelingt es durch eine detaillierte und kritische Analyse der Quellen, die Auslöser und die Ziele der persischen Deportationen deutlich zu machen und die Komplexität dieses vielfältigen Phänomens darzustellen. Die Autorin beantwortet zusätzlich entscheidende Fragen beispielsweise danach, ob die Deportierten zu Sklaven gemacht wurden, oder zu ihrem Identitätsverständnis nach der Umsiedlung. Dabei wird deutlich dass sich die Perser in Praxis und Herrschaftsauffassung in vielem als gelehrige Nachfolger der Herrscher des Neuassyrischen und des Neubabylonischen Reiches zeigten. Die Deportationspraxis stellte hier keine Ausnahme dar.


East and West (vol. 60)

East and West (New Series) resumes its publications, after almost a decade of silence, with this first issue of the 2020 volume. This is exactly seventy years after Giuseppe Tucci, in his quality of President of IsMEO, began, with his foreword contained in the first pages of the first issue of East and West 1 (1950), his dialogue between East and West.

Table of contents of No.1:

  • Foreword by Adriano V. Rossi
  • G. Gnoli: More on the “Traditional Date of Zoroaster:” the Arsacid Era and Other Topics
  • S. Ferdinandi: Mons Thabor: status questiones
  • G. Buffon: Mount Tabor and the Politics of Archaeology in the Holy Places (1858-1924). The Custody of the Holy Land’s Defence of Property Rights, Excavation Campaigns and Building Work on the Mount of Transfiguration
  • A. Taddei: The Skeuophylakion of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople: Events of the Fourth to Sixth Centuries CE
  • M. Baldi: From Meroe to Modern Sudan: the Kushite Building Techniques in the Present Vernacular Architecture in the Area of Begrawiya
  • F. Desset, M. Vidale, N. Eskandari, K. Caulfield: Distaffs and “Temple” in Early Bronze Age Iran
  • A. Askari Chaverdi, P. Callieri: Tol-e Ajori and Takht-e Jamshid: a Sequence of Imperial Projects in the Persepolis Area
  • A. Filigenzi: A Space of Mobility: the Interregional Dynamics of Buddhist Artistic Production as Reflected in Archaeological Evidence

Table of contents of No. 2:

  • S. Morra: Rethinking mālūf, Arab Andalusian Music in Tunisia
  • G. Banti: Some Further Remarks on the Old Harari Kitāb alfarāyid
  • N. Mahzounzadeh, E. Bortolini: Beyond Shape: a New Perspective on the Classification of Arrowheads from the Historical Pre-Islamic Period in Iran
  • B. Genito: The State/Imperial Political Formation of the Achaemenid Dynasty, an Archaeological Question
  • C.G. Cereti: MAIKI Activities on the Paikuli Monument and Its Surroundings
  • E. Matin: The Achaemenid Settlement of Dashtestan (Borazjan): A View from Persepolis
  • F. Sinisi: Iconography of the Elite in post-Greek Bactria and North-West India and Its Transmission from the Saka to the Yuezhi
  • O. Nalesini: Old Tibetan <ʼbrong>, Burmese and Old Mon
  • S. Vignato, Motherly Landscapes: Matrifocality, Marriage, Islam and the Change of Generation in Post-Conflict, Post-Tsunami Aceh


Iranica Antiqua, Volume 55

The table of contents of the latest issue (55) of the journal Iranica Antiqua:

  • ESKANDARI, N., DESSET, F., HESSARI, M., SHAHSAVARI, M., SHAFIEE, M., VIDALE, M.: A Late 4th to Early 3rd Millennium BC Grave in Hajjiabad-Varamin (Jiroft, South-Eastern Iran): Defining a New Period of the Halil Rud Archaeological Sequence
  • NIKZAD, Meisam, REZAIE, Iraj, KHALILI, Mehdi: Dog Burials in Ancient Iran
  • WICKS, Yasmina, DADFAR, Faezeh: An Axe to Grind? Another Look at the So-called ‘Atta-hushu’ Axes
  • BASAFA, Hassan, HEDAYATI, Zahra: The Iron Age in the Dargaz Plain (Northeast Khorasan): The Site of Kohne Ghale, a Case Study
  • DAN, Roberto: Tille Höyük Level X: A ‘Median’ or Achaemenid Period Citadel in the Euphrates Valley?
  • KHOSROWZADEH, Alireza, NOROUZI, Aliashgar, GYSELEN, Rika, HABIBI, Hossein: Administrative Bullae from Tappe Bardnakoon, a Newly Found Late Sasanian Administrative Centre
  • RASOULI, Arezoo, ABAI, Andia: Darius a-t-il dit la vérité à Behistun?
  • IRANNEJAD, A. Mani: Kavis in the Ancient National Iranian Tradition