All posts by Yazdan Safaee

Studies in Ancient Persia and the Achaemenid Period

Curtis, John (ed.). 2020. Studies in Ancient Persia and the Achaemenid Period. A collection of essays in memory of the curator and scholar Terence Mitchell, exploring the history and archaeology of Ancient Persia. Cambridge: James Clarke & Co. Ltd.

An important collection of eight essays on Ancient Persia (Iran) in the periods of the Achaemenid Empire (539–330 BC), when the Persians established control over the whole of the Ancient Near East, and later the Sasanian Empire. It will be of interest to historians, archaeologists and biblical scholars. Paul Collins writes about stone relief carvings from Persepolis; John Curtis and Christopher Walker illuminate the Achaemenid period in Babylon; Terence Mitchell, Alan Millard and Shahrokh Razmjou draw attention to neglected aspects of biblical archaeology and the books of Daniel and Isaiah; and Mahnaz Moazami and Prudence Harper explore the Sasanian period in Iran (AD 250–650) when Zoroastrianism became the state religion.

Contents
Editor’s Note
Introduction
John Curtis
Terence Mitchell’s Published Works

  1. Five Unpublished Persepolis Relief Fragments in the Ashmolean Museum
    Paul Collins, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
  2. Where Did the Persian Kings Live in Babylon?
    John Curtis, Curator Emeritus, British Museum; Director, Iran Heritage Foundation
  3. The Use of Seals in Babylonia under the Achaemenids
    Christopher Walker, Curator Emeritus, British Museum
  4. An Iranian in the Court of King Nebuchadnezzar
    Alan Millard, Professor Emeritus, University of Liverpool
  5. Biblical Archaeology in the Persian Period
    Terence Mitchell, lately Curator Emeritus, British Museum
  6. The Textual Connections between the Cyrus Cylinder and the Bible, with Particular Reference to Isaiah
    Shahrokh Razmjou, Department of Archaeology, University of Tehran
  7. Interpreting Sasanian Beards: Significant Images in an Interconnected World
    Prudence Harper, Curator Emerita, Metropolitan Museum of Art
  8. Sasanian-Zoroastrian Intellectual Life in the Fifth and Sixth Centuries AD
    Mahnaz Moazami, Associate Editor, Encyclopaedia Iranica, University of Columbia

Index of selected place-names and personal names

From Sardis to Marathon

Stronk, Jan P. 2019. From Sardis to Marathon. Greco-Persian Relations 499-490 BC: A Review. Part two: the Battle of Marathon and its Implications. Talanta 51, 77-226.

The Battle of Marathon in 490 bc, according to Plutarch fought on 6 Boedromiôn (in that year to be equated with September 12 in our calendar and at present still celebrated on that day at Athens), may be regarded as one of the defining moments in the history of the ancient polis of Athens. The battle was the culmination point of developments that started about the middle of the sixth century bc, but really took shape shortly after 500 bc. In this paper, of which the first part was published in Talanta 48-49 (= Stronk 2016-17), we follow(ed) various circumstances and actions involving the Achaemenid Empire (briefly described as Persia) and Greek poleis which ultimately led to the Battle of Marathon. As Persian sources remain largely silent on these occurrences, we shall scrutinise other sources available in order to try and draw a more comprehensive picture of the occurrences surrounding the Battle of Marathon than can be obtained from Herodotus’ account alone, which remains to this day the main literary source for most people. Simultaneously, we will have to look into the matter of how reliable Herodotus’ account really is. In this second part, we shall discuss the occurrences following the fall of Eretria, notably focusing on the Battle of Marathon and its implications.

Iranian Studies (vol. 52, issue 5-6)

Issue 5-6 of Vol. 52 (2019) of the journal Iranian Studies with special interest to the Persian poet Saʿdi has now been published.

Table of contents:

  • Julia Caterina Hartley: Saʿdi at Large
  • Daniela Meneghini: Saʿdi-ye Shirāzi and Bono Giamboni in Dialogue: A Comparative Approach to Temperance
  • Lamia Balafrej: Compilations of the Bustān of Saʿdī in Iran, Central Asia, and Turkey, ca. 1470–1550
  • Margaux Whiskin: Between Fantasy and Philosophy: Saʿdi, Translator of Voltaire’s Zadig
  • Pegah Shahbaz: Persian Monshi, Persian Jones: English Translations of Saʿdi’s Golestān from the Late Eighteenth to the Mid-Nineteenth Centuries
  • Mateusz M. Kłagisz & Renata Rusek-Kowalska: Article The Dragoman and the Scholar: Two Polish Translations of Saʿdi’s Golestān
  • Julia Caterina Hartley: Beyond Orientalism: When Marceline Desbordes-Valmore carried Saʿdi’s Roses to France
  • Nina Zandjani: The Social and Literary Context of German Translations of Saʿdi’s Golestān
  • Julia Caterina Hartley, With assistance from Cameron Cross, Samuel Hodgkin, Joseph Lenkart & Nina Zandjani: Saʿdi in European Languages and Literatures: An Annotated Bibliography
  • Betty Hensellek: A Sogdian Drinking Game at Panjikent
  • Saghi Gazerani: Kush-e Pildandān, the Anti-Hero: Polemics of Power in Late Antique Iran
  • Nahid Norozi: The “Metal Army” of Alexander in the War against the Indian King Porus in Three Persian Alexander Books (Tenth‒Fourteenth Centuries)
  • Albert Kaganovitch: The Jewish Communities of Central Asia in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods
  • James White: Reading In, Looking Out: Hermeneutics by Implication in an Early Fifteenth-Century Anthology
  • Mohammad Sadeq Mirza-Abolqasemi: Ibrāhīm Sulṭān’s Muṣḥaf: The Qurʾān Calligraphed by Ibrāhīm Sulṭān in the Pars Museum
  • Li-Chiao Chen: The Signing of the Sino-Iranian Treaty of 1920

Review Essay

  • Stephen Frederic Dale: A History of Persian Literature, Vol. IX, Persian Literature from Outside Iran: The Indian Subcontinent, Anatolia, Central Asia, and in Judeo-Persian

Reviews:

  • Ali Banuazizi: Iraniyat, Melliyat, Qowmiyat
  • Matthew Shannon: The Age of Aryamehr: Late Pahlavi Iran and its Global Entanglements
  • Nasrin Rahimieh: Another Season, A Bilingual Edition with Critical Introduction, Annotations and Archival Material

Obituary

  • Mohammad-Jafar Yahaghi & Translated from the Persian by Cameron Cross: Sayyed Mohammad Dabirsiyāqi (24 February 1920–8 October 2018) Educator, Writer, Editor, and Scholar of Classical Persian Literature

Two Achaemenid toponyms on the canal stelae of Dareios I

Mahlich, Elena. 2020. Zwei achämenidische Toponyme auf den Kanalstelen von Dareios I. Arta 2020.001.

On the canal stelae erected by Dareios I, two residence cities of the Achaemenids are mentioned, which could not be identified beyond doubt until now. In this article, two new identification proposals will be made and explained. In addition, the journey of the Persian ruler mentioned in the stelae is reconstructed.

The Iranian Plateau during the Bronze Age

Meyer, Jan-Waalke, Emmanuelle Vila, Marjan Mashkour, Michèle Casanova & Régis Vallet (eds.). The Iranian plateau during the bronze age: Development of urbanisation, production and trade. Lyon: MOM Éditions.

The book compiles a portion of the contributions presented during the symposium “Urbanisation, commerce, subsistence and production during the third millennium BC on the Iranian Plateau”, which took place at the Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerranée in Lyon, the 29-30 of April, 2014. The twenty papers assembled provide an overview of the recent archaeological research on this region of the Middle East during the Bronze Age. The socio-economic transformation from rural villages to towns and nations has prompted many questions into this evolution of urbanisation. What was the impact of interactions between cultures in the Iranian Plateau and the surrounding regions (Mesopotamia, the South Caucasus, Central Asia, Indus Valley)? What was the overall context during the Bronze Age on the Iranian Plateau? What was the extent and means of the expansion of the Kuro-Araxe culture? How did the Elamite Kingdom become established? What new knowledge has been contributed by the recent excavations and studies undertaken in the east of Iran? What was the influence of the Indus Valley culture, known as an epicentre of urbanisation in South Asia? What are the unique characteristics of the ancient cultures in Iran?

While the urbanisation of early Mesopotamia has been the subject of much debate for several decades, this topic has only recently been raised in respect to the Iranian Plateau. This volume is the product of an international community from Iranian, European, and American institutions, consisting of recognised specialists in the archaeology of the Iranian Bronze Age. It provides an overview of the latest research, including abundant results from current on-going excavations. The current state of archaeological research in Iran, comprising many dynamic questions and perspectives, is presented here in the form of original contributions on the first emergence of towns in the Near and Middle East.

A Cylinder Seal with an Amorite Name from Tepe Musiyan, Deh Luran Plain

Zeynivand, Mohsen. 2019. A cylinder seal with an amorite name from Tepe Musiyan, Deh Luran plain. Journal of Cuneiform Studies 71, 77-83.

Cylinder seal and impression from Musiyan. Photographs by M. Zeynivand; drawing by Z. Qasemi.

The archeology of the Deh Luran plain was documented by the work of Frank Hole and his associates in 1960s and 1970s. While these investigations were mostly dedicated to the study of the village periods, the presence of early state formations on the plain was also documented by their surface surveys. Tepe Farukhabad was an exception, but because it was only a small settlement in the third and second millennia BCE, the excavations there did not yield fruitful results for this period. Based on their systematic surface study of Tepe Musiyan, Wright and Neely argued that during the third and second millennia BCE, this settlement played a central role in this strategic plain due to its location on the route from Susa to Der (Badra in Iraq). Recently, our team again surveyed the Deh Luran Plain. Our visit to Musiyan provided us with a cylinder seal discovered by one of the locals. The inscription reveals the owner as a person with an Amorite name who may have been present in Musiyan sometime during the early centuries of the second millennium BCE, contemporary with the end of the Šimaški period, which in Mesopotamia extends from late in the Third Dynasty of Ur until the early Old Babylonian period.

Dynasties of Persia and figurative art

Compareti, Matteo. 2019. Dinastie di Persia e arte figurativa. Bibliografia ragionata per/un millennio e mezzo di iconografie iraniche. Bologna: edito da Paolo Emilio Persiani.

Dinastie di Persia e arte figurativa – Scopo di quest’opera è quello di fornire una bibliografia quanto più aggiornata e circostanziata possibile sulla produzione artistica persiana dall’epoca antica fino all’arrivo dei turchi selgiuchidi. Il testo si presenta quindi come una rassegna relativa a un periodo di tempo molto lungo, dalla metà del I millennio a.C. circa alla fine del I millennio d.C. Il volume – probabilmente tra i lavori più esaustivi per ciò che riguarda lo studio della civiltà e dell’arte persiana – può essere collocato tra le pietre miliari del settore. Obiettivo principale è quello di agevolare un’indagine quanto più documentata possibile della fase tardo-antica dell’arte iranica, con particolare riguardo all’epoca sasanide, secondo alcuni una sorta di “età dell’oro” persiana.
L’iconografia occupa un ruolo privilegiato all’interno della rassegna in senso ampio e onnicomprensivo, senza però sottrarre importanza a quelli che sono gli elementi di fondo mesopotamici e – a partire da una certa epoca – ellenistici, determinanti per la formazione della cultura iranica antica.
Saggio di natura storico-artistica, il lavoro di Compareti è eclettico e minuzioso anche per quanto concerne l’utilizzo delle fonti scritte (mesopotamiche, classiche, medio-iraniche, siriache, cinesi, islamiche, ecc.) atte a proporre identificazioni e letture altrimenti estremamente ardue. Lo studio è preceduto da un’introduzione del noto iranista e islamista Gianroberto Scarcia, da sempre attento testimone di ogni aspetto culturale prodotto in terra d’Iran.

Rome, Persia, and Arabia

Fisher, Greg. 2019. Rome, Persia, and Arabia: Shaping the Middle East from Pompey to Muhammad. London and New York: Routledge.

Rome, Persia, and Arabia traces the enormous impact that the Great Powers of antiquity exerted on Arabia and the Arabs, between the arrival of Roman forces in the Middle East in 63 BC and the death of the Prophet Muhammad in AD 632.

Richly illustrated and covering a vast area from the fertile lands of South Arabia to the bleak deserts of Iraq and Syria, this book provides a detailed and captivating narrative of the way that the empires of antiquity affected the politics, culture, and religion of the Arabs. It examines Rome’s first tentative contacts in the Syrian steppe and the controversial mission of Aelius Gallus to Yemen, and takes in the city states, kingdoms, and tribes caught up in the struggle for supremacy between Rome and Persia, including the city state of Hatra, one of the many archaeological sites in the Middle East that have suffered deliberate vandalism at the hands of the ‘Islamic State’. The development of an Arab Christianity spanning the Middle East, the emergence of Arab fiefdoms at the edges of imperial power, and the crucial appearance of strong Arab leadership in the century before Islam provide a clear picture of the importance of pre-Islamic Arabia and the Arabs to understanding world and regional history.

Rome, Persia, and Arabia includes discussions of heritage destruction in the Middle East, the emergence of Islam, and modern research into the anthropology of ancient tribal societies and their relationship with the states around them. This comprehensive and wide-ranging book delivers an authoritative chronicle of a crucial but little known era in world history, and is for any reader with an interest in the ancient Middle East, Arabia, and the Roman and Persian empires.

Ceramics and the Archaeological Achaemenid Horizon

Genito, Bruno & Giulio Maresca (eds.). 2019. Ceramics and the Archaeological Achaemenid Horizon: Near East, Iran and Central Asia. Napoli: Unior Press.

The book collects the proceedings of a workshop entitled “The Achaemenid Horizon in the Light of Ceramic Data: Production-related Issues and Cultural Interactions from the Ancient Near East to Central Asia” held at the Dipartimento Asia, Africa e Mediterraneo of the Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale” on January, 25th 2016. The idea was to organise a scientific colloquium to deal with the issue of the cultural interactions within the broad geographic area subject to the political control of the Achaemenid dynasty in the light of recent researches on the ceramic evidence from archaeological contexts both in “central” and “peripheral” territories of the Empire. The Organisers felt this was a particularly important task, since pottery production in this vast area during the Achaemenid period has always been an issue only partially known and, however, never addressed in a comprehensive way. Several reasons can be taken into account to explain this point. First of all the circumstance that the complex dynamics leading to the formation and to the development of the Achaemenid political and administrative entity, although quite well documented from an historical point of view, are in some cases somewhat evanescent if one tries to evaluate their material consistency on the field. In addition, the possibility to relate specific traces of the material culture to a cultural horizon clearly recognizable as “Achaemenid” seems to be an even more difficult task.
The workshop was conceived as a one-day colloquium having also the aim to develop a network to confront experiences, to share information, to open new research scenarios and to foster scientific cooperation.

Table of contents:

  • BRUNO GENITO, Introductory Issues on Archaeological Achaemenid Horizon
  • ALESSANDRO POGGIO, A Multi-Horizon Perspective. Western Anatolian Material Evidence in the Persian Period
  • ROCCO PALERMO, After the Empire. Archaeology of the Achaemenid and Early Hellenistic Period in the Heartland of Assyria
  • ROBERTO DAN, PRISCILLA VITOLO, MANUEL CASTELLUCCIA, ROWENA GIURA, From Urartu to “Media”. A Reassessment of socalled “Post-Urartian” or “Median” Pottery: 1. Vases with two Horned Handles
  • MANUEL CASTELLUCCIA, Some Remarks on Achaemenid Era Pottery. Assemblages from Transcaucasia
  • JACOPO BRUNO, Between the Iranian Plateau and Central Asia: the Ceramic Complex of the Upper Atrek Valley during the Achaemenid Period
  • GIULIO MARESCA, The Achaemenid Ceramic Horizon as seen from Ancient Zranka: an Overview
  • FABIANA RAIANO, Searching an Achaemenid Horizon in Sogdiana according to the Archaeological Evidences from the South-western Area of Samarkand
  • GIAN LUCA BONORA, The Cultural Persian and Achaemenid Evidence in the Inner Syrdarya Delta
  • ELISA IORI, Mind the Gap. Local Persistence and Iranian Legacy in Gandhara: New Evidence from Swat
  • Rémy BOUCHARLAT, Concluding Remarks

STUDIA IRANICA 48(1)

The first issue of Studia Iranica 48 (2019) has been published. For a table of contents and access to individual articles, see below or visit this page.

  • Alisher BEGMATOV: Commodity Terms in the Languages of Central Eurasia. New Interpretations from Mugh Document A-1
  • Mihaela TIMUŞ: Pōryōtkēšān versus Kēšdārān. L’autorité religieuse contre les tenants d’autres doctrines
  • Nikolaus OVERTOOM: Considering the Failures of the Parthians against the Invasions of the Central Asian Tribal Confederations in the 120s BC
  • Étienne DE LA VAISSIÈRE: Al-Mu’taṣim et l’Ayādgār ī Jāmāspīg
  • Jean-Pierre DIGARD: Un pan méconnu de la civilisation iranienne. Son «système domesticatoire»
  • Comptes rendus