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Articles

The Mystery of the Central Stone Slab in the Tripylon Gate of Persepolis

Razmjou, Shahrokh. 2015-2016. “The Mystery of the Central Stone Slab in the Tripylon Gate of Persepolis”, Journal of Archaeological Studies 7(2), 69-83.

It has been proposed that some structures at Persepolis served as calendrical or astronomical mechanisms. Despite a general lack of evidence of such functionality at the site, a stone slab in the Central Palace (the Tripylon Gate) has been claimed as evidence supporting this theory. The chiselled signs on this slab have been interpreted as symbols indicating the precise time of the spring equinox (March 21) marking the beginning of the new year. The suggestion that the Central Palace served as an ancient observatory, however, requires a closer inspection. To properly interpret the intended function of this stone and its mysterious signs, it must be studied in the context of archaeological and architectural investigations.

In original:
رزمجو، شاهرخ. 1394. «معمای سنگ میانی در کاخ مرکزی تخت جمشید»، مطالعات باستان‌شناسی، دورۀ 7، شمارۀ 2، صفحات 69-83.

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Articles

Images of Daēnā and Mithra on Two Seals

Shenkar, Michael. 2015. “Images of Daēnā and Mithra on Two Seals from the Indo-Iranian Borderlands“, Studia Iranica 44(1), 99-117.

The article discusses two seals from the recently published collection of Aman Ur Rahman that depict previously unrecognized images of Iranian deities. It is suggested that the first seal, of eastern Sasanian manufacture, depicts a unique image of the Daēnā accompanied by two dogs. The second seal shows a well-known motif of a chariot of Mithra. The inscription connects it with the Pārata kings and helps to date the seal to the third-fourth centuries CE.

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Articles Online resources

Parthian kingship

Edward Dąbrowa, “Kingship ii. Parthian Period,” Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2016, available at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/kingship-02-parthian-period (accessed on 25 July 2016).

Parthian kingship started with the Arsacids monarchy and was an original form of Oriental kingship. The royal ideology was created by combining elements of different provenance; Greek elements were systematically removed or relegated to be replaced by Iranian traditions.

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Books

The Star of Bethlehem and the Magi

Barthel, Peter & George van Kooten (eds.). 2015. The star of Bethlehem and the Magi. Interdisciplinary perspectives from experts on the ancient Near East, the Greco-Roman world, and modern astronomy (Themes in Biblical Narrative 19). Leiden: Brill.

This book is the fruit of the first ever interdisciplinary international scientific conference on Matthew’s story of the Star of Bethlehem and the Magi, held in 2014 at the University of Groningen, and attended by world-leading specialists in all relevant fields: modern astronomy, the ancient near-eastern and Greco-Roman worlds, the history of science, and religion. The scholarly discussions and the exchange of the interdisciplinary views proved to be immensely fruitful and resulted in the present book. Its twenty chapters describe the various aspects of The Star: the history of its interpretation, ancient near-eastern astronomy and astrology and the Magi, astrology in the Greco-Roman and the Jewish worlds, and the early Christian world – at a generally accessible level. An epilogue summarizes the fact-fiction balance of the most famous star which has ever shone.

Table of contents

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Articles

Vermin and poison in Zoroastrian thought

Lincoln, Bruce. 2015. Toward a more materialistic ethics: Vermin and poison in Zoroastrian thoughtStudia Iranica 44(1). 83–98.

Absent from the Older Avesta, vermin and poison first appear in a few verses of the Younger Avesta, whose authors misinterpreted Yasna 34.5c (where they mistook adjectival xrafstra- for a substantive) and Yasna 49.11c (whose ‘evil foods’ [akāiš xvarəθāiš] they took to be poison [viša-]). The Pahlavi texts take the argument further, developing a narrative in which these creatures and substances become prime weapons of Ahriman in his assault on Ohrmazd’s Good Creation. Speculation along these lines introduced novel understandings of evil as a lethal substance, rather than a destructive disposition or spirit, moving questions of morality from metaphysics to physics.

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Articles

Repetitions or Omissions? Different Versions of Widēwdād 22

Ferrer-Losilla, Juanjo. 2015. Repetitions or omissions? Different versions of Widēwdād 22. Studia Iranica 44 (2).  207–225.

The present paper analyses two versions that appear in the 22nd chapter of an intercalated text of the Zoroastrian Long Liturgy, the Widēwdād: a longer version in the Iranian manuscripts and a shorter in the Indian ones. It is shown that we stand before two different real versions in the ritual praxis of this ceremony, though it is difficult to evaluate the date in which each version appeared or whether one version could arise from the other after the beginning of the written transmission. Other passages of the Widēwdād containing similar problems are analysed in a brief appendix.

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Articles

Middle Persian abāz-handāxtan

Saadat, Yusef. 2014. “Middle Persian abāz-handāxtan,” Journal of persianate studies 7, 137-148.

The verb abāz-handāxtan is used in Dēnkard IV. Different definitions of the verb caused two divergent interpretations of the history of the Zoroastrians scriptures during Sasanian era. This article does not attempt to provide a third category of meaning, but tries to suggest a kind of modification to the traditionally accepted meaning of ‘to collate’. The new proposed meaning is derived from New Persian texts, which include similar usage of the verb and were written not much later than Middle Persian ones. The suggested meaning is ‘to (re-)measure’.

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Articles

Assyrianizing Contexts at Hasanlu Tepe IVb

Danti, M. D. and M. Cifarelli. 2016. “Assyrianizing Contexts at Hasanlu Tepe IVb?: Materiality and Identity in Northwest Iran,” In J. MacGinnis, D. Wicke & T. Greenfield (eds.), The Provincial Archaeology of the Assyrian Empire. (Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research), 357-370, The Provincial Archaeology of the Assyrian Empire.

In this paper, the author briefly surveys and reappraises some of the evidence for Neo-Assyrian contact at the Iron II (1050–800 BC) settlement of Hasanlu Tepe in the southern Lake Urmia Basin, located east of Assyria in the western Zagros Mountains of Iran

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Books

A Political History of the Achaemenid Empire, new edition

Dandamaev, M. A. 2015. A political history of the Achaemenid Empire (Historical Library). Saint Petersburg: Academy of Cultural Studies. 3rd (2nd Russian) Edition.

The first edition of this book was published in 1985 in Russian. It was translated into English in 1989. The second Russian edition of this classic work deals with the political history of the Achaemenid Empire in a chronological manner. The volume draws on the main primary sources and secondary literature in its attempt to offer a comprehensive discussion of the political history of the Achaemenid Empire, which arose in the sixth century BC and lasted more than two centuries.  The book’s English translation received eight reviews, including Briant’s critical article, which Dandamaev discusses in the preface. The author has updated his book, considering the reviews and the scholarship that have been published in the past two decades.

The table of contents and preface are here.

In general:

М.А. Дандамаев. Политическая история Ахеменидской державы. 3-е (2-е русское) изд. СПб: «Академия Исследования Культуры». 2015 (Историческая библиотека).

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Books

The Archaeology of Kurdistan

Kopanias, Konstantinos & John MacGinnis (eds.). 2016. The Archaeology of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and Adjacent Regions.  Archaeopress Publishing Ltd.

Kurdistan is home to some of the most important archaeological sites in the world, ranging from the Stone Age to the most recent past. While in earlier decades this exceptional potential did not receive the degree of attention which it merited, the past ten years has seen a burgeoning of cutting edge archaeological field projects across the region. This volume, the outcome of a conference held at the University of Athens in November 2013, presents the results of this research. For the first time the archaeological inventory of the region is being systematically documented, laying the foundations for intensive study of the region’s settlement history. At the same time the area has seen a flourishing of excavations investigating every phase of human occupation. Together these endeavours are generating basic new data which is leading to a new understanding of the arrival of mankind, the development of agriculture, the emergence of cities, the evolution of complex societies and the forging of the great empires in this crucible of mankind.

See here the ToC of this book.

About the Editors:
Dr. Konstantinos Kopanias studied at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Paris- Lodron University of Salzburg and the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen. He worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Athens, as adjunct faculty at the University of Crete and as an Allgemeiner Referent at the German Archaeological Institute in Athens.

Dr. John MacGinnis did both his degree and his PhD at Cambridge University and is a specialist in the archaeology and inscriptions of ancient Babylonia and Assyria, on which he has published extensively. He has worked on sites across the middle east, including Cyprus, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Sudan and Turkey.