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Procopius of Caesarea: The Persian Wars

Greatrex, Geoffrey (ed.). 2022. Procopius of Caesarea: The Persian Wars: Translation, with Introduction and Notes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Procopius was the major historian of the reign of Justinian and one of the most important historians of Late Antiquity. This is the first stand-alone English translation of his work Persian Wars. It offers a new translation, which has at its basis one published fifty years ago by Averil Cameron. The Persian Wars, despite the title, is a wide-ranging work that reports the history and geography not only of Mesopotamia and the Caucasus, but also of southern Arabia and Ethiopia, Iran and Central Asia, and Constantinople itself. This book is equipped with notes, maps and plans, an introduction, and a translation of a further Greek text, that of Nonnosus, which overlaps with Procopius’. It will be of benefit to specialists and the general reader alike.

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Military Diasporas

Christ, G., P. Sänger & M.Carr (Eds.). 2022. Military Diasporas: Building of Empire in the Middle East and Europe (550 BCE-1500 CE). London: Routledge.

Military Diasporas proposes a new research approach to analyse the role of foreign military personnel as composite and partly imagined para-ethnic groups.

Two chapters contribute to ancient Iranian history:

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Études avestiques et mazdéennes vol. 9

Kellens, Jean. 2022. Études avestiques et mazdéennes vol. 9: Complémentarité des deux dernières Gâthâs (Y51 et Y53-54.1) (Persika 24). Leuven: Peeters.

Les principes directeurs qui ont guidé mes articles de 2013 et de 2014 sur la Gâthâ ahunauuaitī, le volume 6 de cette collection sur la Gâthâ uštauuaitī et le volume 7 sur la Gâthâ spentā.mainiiu n’ont pas varié. La Gâthâ toute entière est l’unité textuelle, chacune fait fonction de récitatif liturgique et pratique une combinaison de spectacle et de mobilité du discours qui composent une sorte de dramaturgie.

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The Scythian Empire

Beckwith, Christopher I. 2022. The Scythian Empire: Central Eurasia and the Birth of the Classical Age from Persia to China. Princeton & Oxford: Princeton University Press.

In the late 8th and early 7th centuries BCE, Scythian warriors conquered and unified most of the vast Eurasian continent, creating an innovative empire that would give birth to the age of philosophy and the Classical age across the ancient world—in the West, the Near East, India, and China. Mobile horse herders who lived with their cats in wheeled felt tents, the Scythians made stunning contributions to world civilization—from capital cities and strikingly elegant dress to political organization and the world-changing ideas of Buddha, Zoroaster, and Laotzu—Scythians all. In The Scythian Empire, Christopher I. Beckwith presents a major new history of a fascinating but often forgotten empire that changed the course of history.

At its height, the Scythian Empire stretched west from Mongolia and ancient northeast China to northwest Iran and the Danube River, and in Central Asia reached as far south as the Arabian Sea. The Scythians also ruled Media and Chao, crucial frontier states of ancient Iran and China. By ruling over and marrying the local peoples, the Scythians created new cultures that were creole Scythian in their speech, dress, weaponry, and feudal socio-political structure. As they spread their language, ideas, and culture across the ancient world, the Scythians laid the foundations for the very first Persian, Indian, and Chinese empires.

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The World of the Ancient Silk Road

Liu, Xinru (ed.). 2023. The World of the Ancient Silk Road. London: Routledge.

This volume explores human migration, communication, and cross-cultural exchange on the Silk Road, a complex network of trade routes spanning the Eurasian continent and beyond. It covers thousands of years of human history, from the 3rd millennium BCE to the early 2nd millennium CE.

Consolidating archaeological discoveries, historical analyses, and linguistic studies in one comprehensive volume, The World of the Ancient Silk Road brings to light diverse perspectives from scholars who have lived and worked across this vast region, many of which are published here in English for the first time. It contains extensive references of primary and secondary sources in their original languages and scripts. From Early Bronze Age cultures to the rise of regional Islamic empires, from the Mediterranean to the Yellow River basin, this multidisciplinary volume seeks to offer new insights and expand Silk Road studies to the Anglophone world.

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The Sentiment of Knowledge

Pirart, Éric. Le Sentiment du Savoir. Présentation, analyse, traduction et commentaire de la Spentā.mańiiu Gāθā (Y 47-50). Précédé d’une introduction générale, suivi de quatre Marginales grammaticales et d’une Concordance des textes vieil-avestiques (Acta Iranica 61).

Les cinq Gāθā, avec le Yasna Haptaŋhāiti, sont les seuls témoignages des conceptions zoroastriennes de la première heure: l’archidémon Aŋhra Mańiiu n’était pas encore né. Le Sentiment du Savoir, la conviction des adorateurs qu’Ahura Mazdā sait ce qui est bon et pourra, de ce fait, leur apporter son aide, tel est le sens du titre de la troisième Gāθā, tiré de son incipit. Pour la recherche de la portée primitive des Gāθā de l’Avesta et de leur statut premier, il est pris, dans le présent ouvrage, l’exemple de la troisième qui est alors présentée, étudiée de façon approfondie et traduite. Cette recherche est accompagnée de plusieurs outils grammaticaux.

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Fearless

Zubani, Alessia (ed.). 2022. Abēbīm “fearless”. Who was afraid of the end of the millennium? New approaches to the interpretation of the traditional date of Zoroaster. Bologna: Mimesis.

The present volume deals with the hidden meaning of the traditional date of Zoroaster, customarily placed 258 years before Alexander. But despite all the confusing appearances, the synchronism with the acme of the Iranian prophet was paradoxically anchored to the beginning of the Seleucid era (312/311 BCE). This solution gave Zoroaster a (pseudo)-historical character, removing him from the clouds of an undetermined past, although with a number of inevitable consequences, which this book tries to analyze. This study also shows that the early Sasanians had no fear of their future and that their religious chronology did not suffer a temporal reduction in order to avoid the risks of the approaching turn of the millennium. On the contrary, Zoroastrian millennialism was optimistic, despite the emergence of later apocalyptic doctrines, which, in any case, never countered the diffusion of a kind of eschatology based on the idea of the apocatastasis, which promised peace and salvation to everybody, including all the sinners in hell. The volume contains four additional contributions by Domenico Agostini (Tel Aviv University), Jeffrey Kotyk (University of British Columbia/University of Bologna), Paolo Ognibene (University of Bologna) and Alessia Zubani (Labex Hastec – École Pratique des Hautes Études), which develop some particular problems connected with the main subject of the present research.

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The Sasanian Empire at War

Decker, Michael J. 2022. The Sasanian Empire at War. Persia, Rome, and the Rise of Islam, 224–651. Yardley: Westholme Publishing.

The Sasanian Empire at War: Persia, Rome, and the Rise of Islam, 224–651 is the first comprehensive study in English examining war and society in one of the most important empires in world history: the Persian Empire of 224-651 AD, ruled by the Sasanian clan. At its height the Sasanians governed lands from the Indus River in the east to Egypt and the Mediterranean in the west. Adversaries of Rome, they also faced grave challenges from nomadic powers from Central Asia, notably the Huns and Turks. The Sasanians were able to maintain their empire for hundreds of years through nearly constant warfare, but when their expansion was checked in the north by the Byzantines at Constantinople in 626, and with the Muslim invasions to their south and west beginning in the 630s, the empire could no longer be sustained, and it finally collapsed.

In this book, Michael J. Decker examines Sasanian warfare, including military capabilities, major confrontations, organization and weapons of the Persian army. In addition to providing a comprehensive overview of the conflicts that marked this vital period in the history of Eurasia, The Sasanian Empire at War challenges long cherished notions of the inferiority of Sasanian military capabilities and renders a new image of a sophisticated, confident culture astride the heart of Eurasia at the end of the ancient world and birth of the Silk Road. Persian arms were among the many features of their culture that drew widespread admiration and was one of the keys to the survival of Iranian culture beyond the Arab Conquest and into the present day.

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Les Céramiques Buff de Nishapur

Samavaki, Sheila. 2021. Les Céramiques Buff de Nishapur: L’étude iconographique des céramiques polychromes à décor figuratif, IXe-Xe siècles. Editions KPD.

En 1935, les fouilles entreprises par les chercheurs du Metropolitan Museum of Art de New York ont révélé une série de céramiques très caractéristiques dans les ruines de la ville médiévale de Nishapur au nord-est de l’Iran. Ces céramiques étaient particulièrement distinctives pour leur représentation de scènes à figures humaines, animales et d’oiseaux, souvent sur un fond jaune vif, agrémenté des couleurs vert, noir et parfois rouge. Du fait de la couleur beige-jaunâtre de leur pâte, elles ont été appelées céramiques animate buff ware ou céramiques polychromes (rangârang en persan) pour la variété des couleurs. Elles ont été attribuées à Nishapur aux IXe-Xe siècle.

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Agreeable News from Persia

Potts, Daniel. 2022. Agreeable News from Persia: Iran in the Colonial and Early Republican American Press, 1712-1848. Wiesbaden: Springer.

Eighteenth and nineteenth century European, British and American newspapers constitute a rich and largely untapped source of contemporary, often eyewitness accounts of historical events and opinions concerning Iran from the late Safavid (1712) through the Qajar (c. 1797-1920) period. This study collects and annotates thousands of articles published in the Colonial and early Republican American newspapers, from the first mention of events in Persia in the American press (1712) to the death of Mohammad Shah (1848), unlocking for the first time a wealth of information on Iran and its place in the world during the 18th and early 19th century.