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Three Women from Elam

Rafiei-Alavi, Babak, Faranak Bahrololoumi & Sabine Klein. 2022. Three Women from Elam: A Revision of the Haft Tappeh Metal Plaque. BASOR 387, 171-180.

Top: new drawing of the metal plaque of Haft Tappeh, bottom: old drawing. (Drawings by B. Rafiei-Alavi, bottom drawing after Negahban 1991: Ill. 4)

The metal plaque of Haft Tappeh was found more than 60 years ago, and except for a few scenes on terracotta plaques and cylinder seals from both Elam and Mesopotamia with similar but not identical settings, it still has no known parallels in metal and remains a unique example of Elamite art. The present article is a study of this object from the heartland of the Elamite kingdom in the Khuzestan Plain. It revisits the scenic plaque and attempts to correct some of the misunderstandings regarding the identification of its iconography and symbology based on new photos, X-ray images, and lab analysis. The article also tries to place the plaque in its proper spatial and temporal context, using comparative methods and chemical and isotope analysis.

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The Intersection of Gods and Kings in Achaemenid Iran

Tuplin, Christopher. 2022. The intersection of gods and kings in Achaemenid Iran. In: Eleni Pachoumi (ed.), Conceptualising divine unions in the Greek and Near Eastern worlds, 45-73. Leiden & Boston: Brill.

From the introduction of the chapter:

I start with two premises. First, among conceptions of divinity those around royal divinity have a strong claim to interest. Second, there is no evidence that the Achaemenid king was categorized or worshipped as a god in the imperial heartland. The (rather few) Greek sources that directly suggested this were wrong. (The ones that spoke of an isotheos king or skated round the issue in other ways are, of course, another matter.) But our business here is with intersections between king and divinity other than simple identification of the king as a god or attribution of his success to the help of a god. Is Achaemenid royal exceptionalism due not just to divine favour but to an inherent divine quality? There has been a growing tendency to perceive mitigations of the king’s human status, even in the heartland. I have discussed these matters in an earlier essay (Tuplin 2017). Here I elaborate on some material that appears more briefly there. I do so in three sections: (1) A tale of two statues. (2) Royal rhetoric in the heartland religious environment. (3) Image, light and daimōn: royal divine aura in Greek texts.

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The Elamite Version of XPl?

Delshad, Soheil. 2022. An unpublished stone fragment in Achaemenid Elamite: The Elamite version of XPl? Arta 2022.001.

Description, edition, and identification of an inscribed grey limestone tablet in the reserves of the Persepolis Museum. The author argues that the fragment’s text belongs to the Elamite version of XPl. In addition, some problems of the Elamite version of DNb are discussed.

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The Image of the Zoroastrian God Srōsh

Grenet, Frantz & Michele Minardi. 2021. The image of the Zoroastrian god Srōsh: New elements. Ancient Civilizations from Scythia to Siberia 27, 154-173.

Sogdian ossuary from Samarkand, ca. 7th century AD photo: F. Grenet

This paper presents new and decisive evidence relative to the identification of one of the colossal depictions of deities discovered by the Karakalpak-Australian Expedition (KAE) at Akchakhan-kala with the Avestan yazata Sraosha. Besides the therianthropic Sraošāvarez, the explicit Zoroastrian symbol that decorates the tunic of this god, new iconographic details are seen. One is the sraošō.caranā, which is a whip, “the instrument of Srōsh”, held in the hands of one of these “bird-priests” instead of the customary barsom. The symbols are presented and discussed in their historical context.

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An Early Judeo-Persian Letter from the Cairo Genizah

Paul, Ludwig. 2021. The early Judeo-Persian letter L3 from the Cairo Genizah (Cambridge University Library T-S 18J3.16). Journal of Jewish Languages 9(1). 77–99.

Detail of the Early Judeo-Persian letter L3 from the Cairo Genizah (Cambridge University Library T-S18J3.16), recto

The article presents the edition and translation of an Early Judeo-Persian (EJP) private-commercial letter that was probably written around the late 10th or early 11th century C.E. It is the best-preserved and, with 51 lines, the longest from the ca. 25 EJP documents that were found in the Cairo Genizah. It is written in a cursive form of the Hebrew script and shows typical EJP archaic and dialectal features, as compared to the contemporaneous Early New Persian works that were written in Arabic script. Today, the letter is kept in Cambridge University Library as part of the Taylor-Schaechter collection.

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Journal of the Canadian Society for Syriac Studies

Volume 21(1) of the Journal of the Canadian Society for Syriac Studies, published in 2021, has a number of articles related to Christianity and Sasanian Iran.

Jcsss 21 (2021) contains six articles that were presented online at the University of Ottawa, Department of Classics, on November 14, 2020. The symposium theme was the Christians within the Sassanian period. I am thankful to Professor Geof-frey Greatrex for leading this symposium in his Department and to George Amanatidis-Saadé for his great help in this symposium. I am also thankful to both of them for editing the papers published here. Two more papers were submitted by members of the CSSS, one on ancient bronze lamps and another, a note on Corpus Juris of Īshō‛-bokht.

From the Editor
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Accounting for Fruit in the PFA

Stolper, Matthew W. 2021. From the Persepolis Fortification Archive Project 7: Accounting for fruit in the PFA. Arta 2021.001.

Abstract: Editions of Persepolis Fortification documents that compile multiple records of fruit, a category (provisionally labeled C1/W) postulated by Henkelman & Stolper Persika 21, p. 169ff.; editions of selected tabular accounts of fruit (Category W) cited in the same article; a hypothesis about connections among C1, C1/W, and W records of fruit in information processing at Persepolis; a hypothesis about underlying practices of fruit production on terms comparable to those of contemporary Babylonia; appendixes on some Elamite words connected with fruit orchards, fruit processing, and wine.

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The Administration of Syria under Alexander the Great

Kholod, Maxim. 2021. The administration of Syria under Alexander the Great. Klio 103(2). 505–537.

The author is of the opinion that as a result of Alexander the Great’s conquest of Syria (late 333–332 BC), which had been a single administrative entity under the Achaemenids, it was divided into two satrapies – the northern and the southern one. He believes that Menon, son of Cerdimmas, was appointed as the first head of the northern satrapy (winter 333/332), to be replaced by Arimmas (early spring 331), who, in his turn, was succeeded by Asclepiodorus, son of Eunicus (late summer 331). Besides, it seems that Andromachus became the first head of the southern satrapy (shortly before winter 332/331), and after he was killed, Menon, transferred from the north to the south, took his place (early spring 331). Already in Alexander’s lifetime, probably in 329/328, Syria was once again merged into one satrapy. It is unclear who was installed as satrap of the unified region. At any rate, it could not have been Menes, son of Dionysius: the hypothesis that in winter 331/330 he was made satrap of the new province including Syria and Cilicia does not stand scrutiny. In the author’s view, the main task Alexander assigned to Menes was to take control and then to keep open and organized the sea communications with the coast of Syria, Phoenicia and Cilicia, and in the matters concerning these activities Menes was fully independent of the local satraps.

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Eunuchs as guardians of women in Achaemenid Persia

Lenfant, Dominique. 2021. Eunuchs as guardians of women in Achaemenid Persia. Orientalism and occidentalism in modern scholarship. Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 61(4), 456-474.

Ancient Greek authors did not see eunuchs in Persia as servants of the ‘harem’, an image projected onto the past under the influence of a modern Orientalist stereotype.

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Vostok (issue 5)

Issue 5 of Vostok (Oriens), published on 29.10.2021, has a couple of articles that relate to the Sasanian era, and others related to areas and eras covered by BiblioIranica: