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Faster than the Arrow of Ārash: the Long Journey of the Narratives in Iran

Norozi, Nahid (ed.). 2021. Come la freccia di Ārash: il lungo viaggio della narrazione in Iran : forme e motivi dalle origini all’epoca contemporanea (atti del V CoBIran, 22-23 ottobre 2020) (Indo-iranica et orientalia). Milano: Mimesis Edizioni.

The narrative in the multi-millennial Iranian culture has taken many forms in prose and verse and, just as the famous arrow of the Iranian hero-archer Ārash – which according to the myth covered an unusual space flying from the Alborz mountains south of the Caspian Sea to Marv in Central Asia – comes to us miraculously traveling beyond all boundaries in space and time, because the word is “faster in traveling than the arrow of Ārash”. The present volume contains the articles, presented at the “V Convegno Bolognese diIranistica (V CoBIran)” dedicated to “Forms and motives of narration in Iran, from the origins to the contemporary era”.

Table of Contents

1. Aliasghar Mohammadkhani: “Excursus sulla narratologia in Iran”

2. Antonio Clemente Domenico Panaino: “Ǝrəxša’s Death or Self-sacrifice: The Ancient Iranian Saga of the Archer”

3. Ezio Albrile: “Guerre tra Angeli e Demoni. Le origini dello gnosticismo tra Babilonia e Iran”

4. Paolo Ognibene: “L’iscrizione di Dario a Bīsutūn: al di l. dell’interpretazione storico-filologica”

5. Andrea Piras: “La luna di Mani e la luna di al-Moqannaʿ: miracoli carismatici e loro usi politici”

6. Gianfilippo Terribili: “Fabbricazione storiografica e definizione identitaria. La genesi della malvagia religione secondo i teologi zoroastriani (DkIII 227, 229, 288)”

7. Matteo Compareti: “Tipologie eroiche nell’arte narrativa sogdiana e nell’epica persiana: il caso di Rustam e di Isfandyār”

8. Simone Cristoforetti: “La storia del villaggio distrutto e poi riedificato nello Shāhnāma: un brano di polemistica antimazdakita?”

9. Francesco Omar Zamboni: ‘”Avicenna e l’allegoria filosofica – “Ḥayy ibn Yaqẓān”’

10. Nahid Norozi: “Il “Vis e Rāmin” di Gorgāni e il “Bahman-nāme” di Irānshāh: aspetti intertestuali anche in relazione con il “Khosrow e Shirin” di Neẓāmi”

11. Carlo Saccone: “Forme della narrazione dell’Altro nelle lettere persiane, da Ferdowsi a Sa‘di e Nasimi”

12. Hasan Zolfagari: “Analisi narratologica del racconto “La Fata Verde e la Fata Gialla”

13. Fabio Tiddia: “Il motivo “qalandar” nella letteratura mistica persiana”

14. Maurizio Silvio Pistoso: “Guerre del Golfo in salsa safavide. I poemetti persiani dell’enigmatico “Qadri”

15. Stefano Pellò: “Atmosfere indo-persiane: cumulonembi, bolle e avatāra monsonici in Mīrzā ‘Abd al-Qādir Bīdil (1644-1720) e nella sua scuola”

16. Bianca Maria Filippini: “La “spaventosa Tehr.n”: alcune riflessioni sulla rappresentazione della citt. come metafora delle derive della modernit. in Iran”

17. Adone Brandalise: “Sguardo e narrazione nel cinema iraniano”

18. Faezeh Mardani: “Recente letteratura persiana sulla “guerra imposta” con particolare riferimento a tre romanzi tradotti in italiano”

19. Anna Vanzan: “La fortuna di un testo. In margine alle traduzioni de Il Pesciolino Nero di Samad Behrangi”

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Books

Individuals and Institutions in the Ancient Near East

Gabbay, Uri & Shai Gordin (eds.). 2021. Individuals and Institutions in the Ancient Near East: A Tribute to Ran Zadok (Studies in Ancient Near Eastern Records 27). Berlin: De Gruyter.

This volume honors Ran Zadok’s work by focusing on his sustained interest in Mesopotamian social history. It brings together a rich array of scholarship on ancient names, deities, individuals, and institutions, from Persepolis to the Levant. Building on Zadok’s intellectual concerns, this book includes contributions that expand our understanding of the diverse tapestry of the peoples who inhabited the Ancient Near East.

Among the other interesting contributions, those in the first section of the volume (“The Persian Period”) stand in the discipline of studies related to the history of ancient Iran:

  • Matthew W. Stolper: Numbered Tablets in the Persepolis Fortification Archive
  • Caroline Waerzeggers: The Day Before Cyrus Entered Babylon
  • Stefan Zawadzki: Contribution to the Persian Nobility in Babylonia

See the full table of contents in publisher’s website.

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Iranianate and Syriac Christianity

Barbati, Chiara & Vittorio Berti (eds.). 2021. Iranianate and Syriac Christianity (5th‒11th Centuries) in late antiquity and the early Islamic period (Veröffentlichungen zur Iranistik 87). Vienna: Verlag der österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften.

It is by now widely acknowledged that between late antiquity and the first centuries of Islam, Syriac-speaking Christian communities were more than just scattered minority communities with little impact in geographical areas strongly shaped by the Iranian element. “Iranianate and Syriac Christianity” bridges across different specialized disciplines, first and foremost Iranian Studies and Syriac Studies and the History of Christianity, and assembles a range of authoritative voices on the subject. The 14 contributions are arranged in two sections: Mission, Conversion and Power and Languages, Texts and Concepts, representing a wide range of approaches and reflecting the complexity of the religious, political and cultural history of the Christian communities in the Eurasian area up to the year 1000 and beyond.

Abstract from the website
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Aspects of the memory of the Persian Wars

Proietti, Giorgia. 2021. Prima di Erodoto: Aspetti della memoria delle Guerre persiane (Hermes 120). Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag.

This book concerns the memory of the Persian Wars in Athens, in relation to the Panhellenic scenario, from the immediate post Marathon to the so-called ‘First Peloponnesian War’ (461–446). It analyzes all the pre-historiographic forms of memory (poetry, inscriptions, monuments, topography, theater, rites, cults, festivals, public discourse) through which the Persian Wars were remembered and represented before Herodotus told them in historiographic form.

Filling a gap in current research, the book starts from the awareness that the Persian Wars as told in the Stories of Herodotus do not exactly correspond to factual history, but are instead the result of a multiform and stratified process of memorialization, which decade after decade has reshaped events in the light of present needs. Combining a philological approach to literary, epigraphic and archaeological documentation with a theoretical and methodological landscape influenced by cultural anthropology and memory studies, it reconstructs the images and meanings associated with each layer of this process, thus offering a sort of stratigraphy of the memory of the Persian Wars before Herodotus.

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Handbook of Ancient Afro-Eurasian Economies

Reden, Sitta von (ed.). 2021. Handbook of ancient Afro-Eurasian economies. Volume 2: Local, Regional, and Imperial Economies. Berlin: De Gruyter.

The second volume of the Handbook describes different extractive economies in the world regions that have been outlined in the first volume. A wide range of economic actors – from kings and armies to cities and producers – are discussed within different imperial settings as well as the tools, which enabled and constrained economic outcomes. A central focus are nodes of consumption that are visible in the archaeological and textual records of royal capitals, cities, religious centers, and armies that were stationed, in some cases permanently, in imperial frontier zones. Complementary to the multipolar concentrations of consumption are the fiscal-tributary structures of the empires vis-à-vis other institutions that had the capacity to extract, mobilize, and concentrate resources and wealth. Larger volumes of state-issued coinage in various metals show the new role of coinage in taxation, local economic activities, and social practices, even where textual evidence is absent. Given the overwhelming importance of agriculture, the volume also analyses forms of agrarian development, especially around cities and in imperial frontier zones. Special consideration is given to road- and water-management systems for which there is now sufficient archaeological and documentary evidence to enable cross-disciplinary comparative research.

This is an open-access volume. For information on the first volume, see here.

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The Persian revival

Grigor, Talinn. 2021. The Persian revival: The imperialism of the copy in Iranian and Parsi architecture. University Park, PA : Penn State University Press.

One of the most heated scholarly controversies of the early twentieth century, the Orient-or-Rome debate turned on whether art historians should trace the origin of all Western—and especially Gothic—architecture to Roman ingenuity or to the Indo-Germanic Geist. Focusing on the discourses around this debate, Talinn Grigor considers the Persian Revival movement in light of imperial strategies of power and identity in British India and in Qajar-Pahlavi Iran.

The Persian Revival examines Europe’s discovery of ancient Iran, first in literature and then in art history. Tracing Western visual discourse about ancient Iran from 1699 on, Grigor parses the invention and use of a revivalist architectural style from the Afsharid and Zand successors to the Safavid throne and the rise of the Parsi industrialists as cosmopolitan subjects of British India. Drawing on a wide range of Persian revival narratives bound to architectural history, Grigor foregrounds the complexities and magnitude of artistic appropriations of Western art history in order to grapple with colonial ambivalence and imperial aspirations. She argues that while Western imperialism was instrumental in shaping high art as mercantile-bourgeois ethos, it was also a project that destabilized the hegemony of a Eurocentric historiography of taste.

An important reconsideration of the Persian Revival, this book will be of vital interest to art and architectural historians and intellectual historians, particularly those working in the areas of international modernism, Iranian studies, and historiography.

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Iran and its Histories

Daryaee, Touraj & Robert Rollinger (eds.). 2021. Iran and its histories. From the beginnings through the Achaemenid Empire (Classica et Orientalia 29). Wiesbaden: Harrossowitz.

Dealing with the “history” of Iran is a challenge for many reasons. “Iran” is a term with different meanings through the ages. Today, it refers to the boundaries of modern Iran, but historically and culturally it covers a much larger territory. The western term “Persia” exemplifies these uncertainties for it is used colloquially as a synonym for “Iran,” but can also refer to the Achaemenid, Arsacid or Sasanian Empires and later empires on the Iranian Plateau. Besides these geographical ambiguities there is also the “ethnic” and linguistic dimension of the term “Iran”. Iranian languages are a major branch of the Indo-European language family and people using these languages have played a decisive role in the history of “Iran” since the first millennium BCE. How should we situate the ‘autochthonous՚ civilizations on the plateau, such as those at Konar Sandal (Jiroft), Sialk in Kashan, or for that matter the region of Elam with its longue durée history and influence? So what does it mean when we talk about “Persia” and “Iran” from a historical point of view?

This volume brings together the contributions of the first and second Payravi conferences on Ancient Iranian History, held at the University of California Irvine in 2018 and 2019. The 16 contributions united in this volume tackle various problems of early Iranian history in many ways. They cover a wide range of time, from the Paleolithic to the end of the Achaemenid empire and Alexander III (“the Great”) and give vibrant insights into the dynamic processes of the history of Iran within the framework of the most recent results of scholarly research.

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Afterlives of Ancient Rock-Cut Monuments in the Near East

Ben-Dov, Jonathan & Felipe Rojas (eds.). 2021. Afterlives of ancient rock-cut monuments in the Near East. Brill.

This book concerns the ancient rock-cut monuments carved throughout the Near East, paying particular attention to the fate of these monuments in the centuries after their initial production. As parts of the landscapes in which they were carved, they acquired new meanings in the cultural memory of the people living around them. The volume joins numerous recent studies on the reception of historical texts and artefacts, exploring the peculiar affordances of these long-lasting and often salient monuments. The volume gathers articles by archeologists, art historians, and philologists, covering the entire Near East, from Iran to Lebanon and from Turkey to Egypt. It also analyzes long-lasting textual traditions that aim to explain the origins and meaning of rock-cut monuments and other related carvings.

Three chapters of this volume deals specifically Ancient Iranian rock-cut monuments:

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The legacy, life and work of Geo Widengren

Larsson, Göran (ed.). 2021. The legacy, life and work of Geo Widengren and the study of the history of religions after World War II. Brill.

Professor Geo Widengren (1907–1996), holder of the chair in History of Religions and Psychology of Religions at Uppsala University between 1940 and 1973, is one of Sweden’s best-known scholars in the field of religious studies. His involvement in the start of the IAHR and publications on topics such as the phenomenology of religions, Iranian studies and Middle Eastern Religions make Widengren one of the founding fathers of the History of Religions as an academic discipline. This volume pays tribute to Widengren’s academic achievements and critically discusses his work in light of the latest academic findings and research.

Three chapters of this volume are specifically dedicated to the works and legacy of Geo Widengren regarding the Iranian Cultures, Languages and Religions:

  • Anders Hultgård: “Geo Widengren and the Study of Iranian Religion”
  • Albert de Jong: “The Eclipse of Geo Widengren in the Study of Iranian Religions”
  • Mihaela Timuş: “King and Saviour”: Geo Widengren’s Early Contributions (1938–1955) to the History of Iranian Religions

See here the table of contents of this volume.

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Books Translation

شاه و نخبگان در شاهنشاهی هخامنشی

به کوشش ووتر ف. م. هنکلمن. ۱۴۰۰. شاه و نخبگان در شاهنشاهی هخامنشی: گزیده مقالاتی در باب بایگانی باروی هخامنشی . ترجمه از یزدان صفایی و حمیدرضا نیک‌روش. تهران: موزه ملی ایران.

Henkelman, W.F.M. (ed.). 2021. King and Elite in the Achaemenid Empire: Selected Studies based on the Persepolis Fortification Archive (Treasures of Ancient Iran 1). Translated by Yazdan Safaee & Hamidreza Nikravesh. Tehran: National Museum of Iran.

کتاب شاه و نخبگان در شاهنشاهی هخامنشی مقالاتی را شامل می‌شود که موضوع آنها بر شبکه روابط میان شاه و گروه نخبگان اطراف او تمرکز دارد. این مقالات عمدتاً ماحصل تحقیق بر روی متون بایگانی باروی تخت‌جمشید هستند، یعنی یکی از مهم‌ترین منابع برای شناخت تاریخ هخامنشیان. مقالات مذکور در اصل به انگلیسی منتشر شده بودند و ترجمه فارسی آنها در این کتاب با هدف انتشار بخشی از نتایج پروژه بایگانی باروی تخت‌جمشید در دسترس قرار گرفته است. از این روی کتاب فوق‌الذکر مجموعه‌ای از مقالات محققان پیشتازی است که در این پروژه مشغول به تحقیق هستند: آنالیزا آتزونی، مارک گریسون، ووتر هنکلمن و متیو استولپر.

کتاب حاضر مجلد نخست از مجموعه‌ای است به نام گنج‌آمار ایران باستان: منابع و مطالعات فرهنگ و تاریخ آغازین ایران که به همت موزه ملی ایران منتشر می‌شود که هدف آن انتشار ترجمه‌هایی فارسی از تحقیقات جدید در مورد ایران باستان است.