Category Archives: Articles

An Inscription of Darius I from Phanagoria

Shavarebi, Ehsan. 2019. An Inscription of Darius I from Phanagoria (DFa): Preliminary report of a work in progress. Arta 2019. 005.

The present paper is a preliminary study of an Achaemenid fragmentary inscription recently discovered from Phanagoria, southwestern Russia. After a brief introduction to the discovery of the inscription, the preserved Old Persian text will be analysed and reconstructed.

L’ère kouchane des documents bactriens

De la Vaissière, Étienne. 2018. L’ère kouchane des documents bactriens. Journal Asiatique 306(2). 281–284.

A new Achaemenid building-complex in Kerman

Atayi, Mohammad and Shahram Zare. 2019. A new Achaemenid building-complex in Kerman. Evidence from Mahdiābād-e Oliā. ARTA 2019. 003.

The present note provides a general overview of the site of Mahdiābād-e Oliā, 250 km SE of the city of Kerman, discussing objects exposed by the flood in 2017 as well as its architectural remains, with special attention to a complex that includes a square structure, inviting comparison with Achaemenid palaces.

The Chronology of and Sources for Egypt’s Second Revolt (ca. 487-484 BC)

Wijnsma, Uzume. 2019. “And in the fourth year Egypt rebelled …” The Chronology of and Sources for Egypt’s Second Revolt (ca. 487-484 BC),” Journal of Ancient History 7 (1): 32-61.

Scholars continue to give different dates for Egypt’s second revolt against the Persians: Classicists generally date the revolt to 487-485 or 487/ 486-485/484 BC; Egyptologists and historians of the Achaemenid Empire generally date it to 486-485/484; while some scholars date it to 486/485-485/484. Such chronological differences may sound small, but they have important consequences for the way the rebellion is understood. The purpose of the present article is therefore twofold: first, it aims to clarify what we can and cannot know about the rebellion’s exact chronology. After a review of the relevant evidence, it will be argued that the best chronological framework for the rebellion remains the one provided by Herodotus’s Histories, which places the rebellion in ca. 487-484. Second , the article will show how this chronology influences our understanding of the geographical extent and social impact of the rebellion. The adoption of Herodotus’s chronological framework, for example, results in a larger number of Egyptian sources that can be connected to the period of revolt than was previously recognized. These sources, it will be argued, suggest that some people in the country remained loyal to the Persian regime while others were already fighting against it. Moreover, they indicate that the revolt reached Upper Egypt and that it may have affected the important city of Thebes.

Transition of Classification Patterns of Ancient Iran History in Qajar Era

Ordou, Reza. 2018. Transition of classification patterns of ancient Iran history in Qajar era. Historical Perspective & Historiography 21: 7-31.

Qajar era was a period which academic historical researches translated from European languages to Persian and archaeological excavations in Iran besides deciphering ancient inscriptions by European orientalists and Iranologists took place. Confronting these excavations and texts made Iranian historians and also Iranians – who had epic perception from their ancient history – to have contradictory feelings about their past. This article tries to answer this question that how historians in Qajar era managed to solve these incompatible narratives. For this purpose, historical texts about ancient Iran, which have been written or translated in Qajar era, have been scrutinized. This article shows that in early Qajar era epic viewpoint about ancient Iran history was totally dominant so that historians would rather ignore factual history, provided by excavations and inscriptions, or interpret them in epic context. By expanding historical researches, factual history of ancient Iran gradually became an authentic narrative beside epic one and historians tried to connect these narratives in order to solve the duality. Eventually in later Qajar era, epic narrative considered fictional and the history, based on archaeological excavations and ancient texts, became valid.

In original:

اردو، رضا. 1397. تحول الگوهای تقسیم‌بندی تاریخ ایران باستان در عصر قاجار. تاریخ‌نگری و تاریخ‌نگاری 21: 7-31

The Achaemenid Messenger System and the Ionian Revolt

Hyland, John. 2019. The Achaemenid Messenger System and the Ionian Revolt: New Evidence from the Persepolis Fortification Archive. Historia 68(2), 150-169.

The express messenger (pirradaziš) system attested in the Persepolis Fortification Archives played a crucial role in Achaemenid Persia’s control of a widespread provincial administrative system.  Its potential relevance for Persian military operations is illustrated by a series of tablets, some previously unpublished, recording multiple messengers’ journeys between the court of Darius I and his brother Artaphernes at Sardis in 495-494 BCE.  The timing and locations of their travel suggest a connection with the Persian offensive against Miletos and the suppression of the Ionian Revolt.

The Cult of the “Eternal” Fire in the Rituals in Avesta

Cantera, Alberto. 2019. Fire, the greatest god (ātarš … mazišta yazata). The cult of the “eternal” fire in the rituals in Avestan. Indo-Iranian Journal 62(1), 19–61.

The following paper is concerned with a comparison between the Vedic hymn RV VII 55 and the Vīdēvdād chapter XVIII 16. It is argued that little lullaby-themes, aimed at quieting men as well as animals, have come to be included into sacral and religious texts from popular sources (e.g. magical charms to be performed on sleepless babies), revealing Proto-Indo-European formulae and stylistic patterns that can be reconstructed. A Hittite text and some fragments of Greek poems by Simonides and Alcman are also included in the list of the passages to be compared.

Khargāh and Other Terms for Tents in Firdawsī’s Shāh-nāmah

Durand-Guédy, David. 2018. Khargāh and other terms for tents in Firdawsī’s Shāh-nāmah. Iranian Studies 51(6), 819–849.

This article aims to contribute to the wider debate on the historicity of the Shāh-nāmahby focusing on the way Firdawsī uses the word khargāh. The word, which is first attested in Rūdakī poetry, has not been dealt with adequately in previous scholarship dedicated to the Shāh-nāmah. An analysis of all the occurrences in the text provides results consistent with those obtained from contemporary sources: the khargāhappeared in Central Asia (here, Tūrān); it was the standard dwelling of Turkic-speaking pastoral nomads (here, Tūrānians), whatever their social rank; and it was adopted later as a status symbol by non-Turkish elites (here, during Kay-Khusraw’s reign). In Firdawsī’s Shāh-nāmah khargāh should therefore also be understood as the type of framed tent known as “trellis tent” (the so-called yurt).

Āmul/Āmū(ye): die nordöstlichste Münzstätte des Sasanidenreiches im 5. Jahrhundert n. Chr.

Shavarebi, Ehsan. 2019. Āmul/Āmū(ye): die nordöstlichste Münzstätte des Sasanidenreiches im 5. Jahrhundert n. Chr. in: M. Stermitz (Hrsg.), Sammlungen und Sammler: Tagungsband zum 8. Österreichischen Numismatikertag [Kärntner Museumsschriften 86], Klagenfurt am Wörthersee: Landesmuseum für Kärnten, 2019, S. 173-179.

Bei den sowjetischen archäologischen Ausgrabungen von Marw kamen zum ersten Mal etliche Bronzemünzen des sasanidischen Königs Pērōz (457–484) zum Vorschein, auf deren Rückseite die Münzstättensigle AMW belegt ist. S. D. Loginov und A. B. Nikitin identifizierten diese Sigle mit der Provinzhauptstadt Āmol in Tabaristān. Die erste sichere Münzen vom Münzamt Āmol in Tabaristān sind jedoch während der ersten Regierung des Kawād I. (488–496) mit der Signatur AM geprägt. Laut historischen Quellen war Tabaristān seit dem Anfang der Sasanidenzeit bis zum Ende der Regierung des Pērōz ein fast unabhängiges Fürstentum unter der lokalen Herrscherfamilie der Gušnaspiden, die von Kawād gestürzt wurde. Die unter Pērōz mit der Münzstättensignatur AMW geprägte Bronzemünzen sind eigentlich bisher nur in Marw gefunden und daher kann man diese Münzstätte nicht in Tabaristān, sondern in einem gleichnamigen Ort in Zentralasien, östlich von Marw, lokalisieren. Aber warum prägte Pērōz Bronzemünzen in diesem Ort und wieso hatte diese Münzstätte nach der Regierung des Pērōz keine Aktivität mehr?

Between Highlands and Lowlands

Wicks, Yasmina. 2019. Between highlands and lowlands. The Ram Hormuz Plain in the neo-Elamite and early Achaemenid periods, and comments on five burials from the Fort Mound at Tal-i Ghazir. Arta 2019.002.


The plain of Ram Hormuz was a strategically important area of southwest Iran connecting the Susiana lowlands with the Zagros highlands, and undoubtedly a critical zone of Elamite and Iranian interaction in the centuries leading up to the emergence of the Persian Empire. Its archaeological remains must therefore be regarded as a vital key to our comprehension of the processes of acculturation that gave rise to the Elamo Persian culture of the early Achaemenid period. While the plain has been extensively surveyed, its only excavated site remains Tal-i Ghazir where just two seasons of excavation were conducted in 1948/49 by Donald E. McCown under the auspices of the Oriental Institute. McCown worked in three separate mounds— Mounds A and B, and the so-called Fort Mound—but he never published his results. Almost half a century later, Elizabeth Carter (1994) published a series of burials in the Fort Mound from his field notes, and another two decades later, Abbas Alizadeh (2014) published the complete records of the Tal-i Ghazir excavations. The purpose of this paper is to outline the evidence for the Neo-Elamite (ca. 1000 525 BCE) and Achaemenid periods (ca. 525-330 BCE) collected during the surveys across the Ram Hormuz plain and the excavations at Tal-i Ghazir, with special attention to the burials in the Fort Mound.