All posts by Yazdan Safaee

New issue of Electrum

The latest issue of Electrum features a number of articles relevant to Iranian Studies. 

Table of Contents:
  • Frank L Holt, Alexander the Great at Bactra: A Burning Question, 9–15.
  • Laurianne Martinez-Sève, Ai Khanoum and Greek Domination in Central Asia, 17–46.
  • Pierre Leriche, La découverte de l’Ancienne Termez, métropole de la Bactriane du Nord, 47–85.
  • Antonio Panaino, Ὁμόγλωττοι παρὰ μικρον?,  87–106.
  • Touraj Daryaee, Soodabeh MalekzadehKing Huviška, Yima, and the Bird: Observations on a Paradisiacal State, 107–114.
  • Carlo Lippolis, Niccolo Manassero, Storehouses and Storage Practices in Old Nisa (Turkmenistan), 115–142.
  • Vito Messina, Mehr Kian, Lasser-scanner Survey at Kong-e Yār ‘Alīvand. Research of the Iranian-Italian Joint Expedition in Kūzestān, 143–154.
  • Alain Chenevier, Crépuscule de l’Empire parthe – Les dernières drachmes, 155–158.
  • The Syriac Book of the Laws of the Countries, Eusebius’ Preparation for the Gospel, and the Clementine Recognitions: Early Witnesses for Christianity in Central Asia?, 159–171.
  • Omar Coloru, I Am Your Father! Dynasties and Dynastic Legitimacy on Pre-Islamic Coinage between Iran and Northwest India, 173–199.
  • Fabrizio Sinisi, The Deities on the Kushano-Sasanian Coins, 201–225.
  • Nikolaus Schindel, Sakastan in the Fourth and Fifth Century AD. Some Historical Remarks Based on the Numismatic Evidence, 227–248.
  • Paul J. Kosmin, Review: Paul J. Kosmin, The Land of the Elephant Kings: Space, Territory, and Ideology in the Seleucid Empire, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA–London 2014, pp. 423, b/w ill., 9 maps, ISBN 978-0-674-72882-0 (Edward Dąbrowa).


Electrum has been published since 1997 by the Department of Ancient History at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow as a collection of papers and monographs. In 2010 it starts as journal with one issue per year.

Selected Features of Bactrian Grammar

Gholami, Saloumeh. 2014. Selected Features of Bactrian Grammar (Gottinger Orientforschungen, III. Reihe: Iranica 12). Harrassowitz Verlag.

Bactrian, the only Iranian language written in the Greek alphabet, was spoken in ancient Bactria in northern Afghanistan. It is an intermediary Middle Iranian language, possessing the characters of both Eastern and Western Iranian groups, and thus playing a very important role in the dialectology of Iranian Languages.
Saloumeh Gholami’s study deals with various relatively unknown phonological, morphological and syntactical features of Bactrian and includes the following topics: historical phonology of Bactrian; the syntactical position of different kinds of nouns and their relationship in a sentence; the different types of pronouns and their syntactical properties; the function and syntactical position of prepositions and postpositions; adverbs and their formation; proximate and remote deixis adverbs as well as their different syntactic positions; various kinds of conjunctions and their functions; selected aspects of the verb; word order in clauses with transitive or intransitive verbs, and an investigation of double object constructions; as well as the different types of compounds.

For more information see the ToC of this volume.

The Parthian nobility in Xusrō I Anōšīrvān court

Maksymiuk, Katarzyna. 2015. The Parthian nobility in Xusrō I Anōšīrvān court. In Piotr Briks (ed.), Elites in the Ancient World (Szczecińskie Studia nad Starożytnością II), 189–198. Wydawnictwo Naukowe.

Sources rewritten by order of Persian rulers (Pārsīg) in 6th century diminish the role of the Parthians (Pahlav) in the official history of Iran. In Xwadāy Nāmag a method of the Parthian reign recalculation to half of its actual duration was applied. Propaganda forgery of Xusrō I (531–579) so called Nāma-ye Tansar, shows Iran before power takeover by the Sasanian dynasty as a decentralized and corrupted state but even as “heretical” one. Contrast to the weak power of the Arsacid royal house had to be kingship of Šāhānšāh Ardašīr (224–242) who centralized administration relying on the Mazdean.
This paper is aimed at showing dominant role of the Parthian nobility in Persian government system. This is also attempt to answer the question whether administrative reforms initiated by Kawād I (488–496,498–531) and continued by his son Xusrō I Anōšīrvān were directed against status of the Parthian noblemen in Iran.

The Pahlav-Mehrān family faithful allies of Xusrō I Anōšīrvān

Maksymiuk, Katarzyna. 2015. The Pahlav-Mehrān family faithful allies of Xusrō I AnōšīrvānМетаморфозы истории 6, 163-179.

The article describes the role of the members of the Parthian Mehrān played from the second half of the 5th century on Sasanian courts. It must be assumed that the Sasanian kings ruled their coun-try with the help of Parthian aristocracy. The reforms of the 6th cen-tury could not be directed against the status of the Parthian noblemen in Iran, because neither Kawād nor Xusrō could carry them without the assistance of Parthian wuzurgān.

Political memory in and after the Persian Empire

Silverman, Jason M. & Caroline Waerzeggers. 2015. Political memory in and after the Persian Empire (Ancient Near East Monographs 13). Atlanta: SBL Press.

Various disciplines that deal with Achaemenid rule offer starkly different assessments of Persian kingship. While Assyriologists treat Cyrus’s heirs as legitimate successors of the Babylonian kings, biblical scholars often speak of a kingless era; in which the priesthood took over the function of the Davidic monarch. Egyptologists see their land as uniquely independently minded despite conquests, while Hellenistic scholarship tends to evaluate the interface between Hellenism and native traditions without reference to the previous two centuries of Persian rule. This volume brings together in dialogue a broad array of scholars with the goal of seeking a broader context for assessing Persian kingship through the anthropological concept of political memory.

A PDF of the volume is available here.

Jason M. Silverman is a Post-doctoral Researcher at the University of Helsinki. He is the editor of Opening Heaven’s Floodgates: The Genesis Flood Narrative, Its Contexts and Reception (Gorgias Press) and the author of Persepolis and Jerusalem: Iranian Influence on the Apocalyptic Hermeneutic (T&T Clark).

Caroline Waerzeggers is Associate Professor at Leiden University. She is the author of Marduk-remanni: Local Networks and Imperial Politics in Achaemenid Babylonia (Peeters) and The Ezida Temple of Borsippa: Priesthood, Cult, Archives (Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten).

Persian gods and Avestan gods

Pirart, Éric. 2015. Dieux perses et dieux avestiquesJournal Asiatique 303 (1), 47–58.

If we pick up the significant differences they show, the detailed examination of the Old Persian and Avestan theonyms enables us to say that the Zoroastrian Mazdeism of the ancient Persians did not fit into the same tradition as the Avesta.

Truth, falsehood and lies in the Indo-Iranian world

Haudry, Jean. 2014. Vérité, fausseté et mensonge dans le monde indo-iranien. Journal Asiatique 302 (2), 349–364.

Aside from the inherited designation of truth and its contrary by means of the root of the verb ‘to be’, *sánt-, *satyá-: *ásant-, *asatyá-, Indo-Iranian has an antonymic couple of notions whose expression is asymmetrical: one, *árta-/*ṛtá-, is purely nominal; the other expressed by the root*dhr(a)ugh- furnishes both nominal and verbal forms. Since this root is generally considered to mean ‘to deceive’, *árta-/*ṛtá-, whose meaning is much debated must, one way or another, be linked with the idea of ‘truth’. The original operative field of those notions may be found. In a non dogmatic conception of religion, it cannot be the doctrine. The frequent meaning of ‘to do harm, to prejudice’ of the representatives of the root *dhr(a)ugh- points to the notions of ‘truthfulness’, ‘loyalty’ with their opposites, in a state of the society in which those values and the behaviours which are connected to them are essential.


La Gâthâ Ahunauuaitī dans l’attente de l’aube

Kellens, Jean. 2014.  La Gâthâ Ahunauuaitī dans l’attente de l’aubeJournal Asiatique 302 (2), 259–302.


Scythian messages for Darius the Great

Delpech, François. 2015. Objets sacrées et armes parlantes: Le message des Scythes à Darius entre le mythe d’origine et l’historiographieJournal Asiatique 303 (1),  25–46.

Mehrgān at Persepolis

Bahadori, Ali. 2015.  Persepolitan ceremonies: The case of Mehrgān. Ancient West & East 14. 51–71.

The celebration of the Mehrgān at Persepolis is a hypothesis that has never been discussed in detail. The present paper explores evidence for the presence of the Mithra cult at the Achaemenid court and, consequently, for celebration of the Mehrgān at Persepolis.