Category Archives: Books

Extraction and control

Michael Kozuh, Wouter F. M. Henkelman, Charles E. Jones & Christopher Woods (eds.). 2014. Extraction & control: Studies in honor of Matthew W. Stolper (Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization 68). Chicago: The Oriental Institute.

Matthew Wolfgang Stolper began working for the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary in 1978 and became full professor in the Oriental Institute 1987, focusing on Neo-Babylonian and Middle Elamite. Matt has worked tirelessly to raise the necessary funding, to assemble a team of scholars, to promote the importance of the Persepolis Fortification Archive to academic and popular audiences, and most significantly, to concisely, passionately, and convincingly place the Persepolis Archives in their Achaemenid, ancient Near Eastern, and modern geo-political contexts. The twenty-six papers from Stolper’s colleagues, friends, and students show the breadth of his interests.

Download the book here.

Rayy: Origins and the Mongol invasion

Rante, Rocco. 2014. Rayy: from its origins to the Mongol invasion. Leiden, Boston: Brill.

This book offers a new history of the ancient city of Rayy. Based on the results of the latest excavations on the Citadel and the Shahrestan (the political and administrative nucleus of the city in all periods), the study of historical and geographical texts and on surveys carried out between 2005 and 2007 by the author and the Iranian archaeologist, Ghadir Afround, the complete occupation sequence of the city, from its foundation in the Iron Age and the Parthian reconstructions (2nd to 1st centuries BC), up to the Mongol invasions and rapid depopulation in the 13th century CE, comes to light.

For more information, see here.

Iran: A very short introduction

Ansari, Ali. 2014. Iran: A very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Iran: A VSIThis Very Short Introduction presents a radical reinterpretation of Iranian history and politics, placing the Islamic Revolution in the context of a century of political change and social transformation. By considering the various factors that have contributed towards the construction of the idea of Iran and the complex identity of Iranians themselves, Ali Ansari steers a clear path towards a more realistic understanding for us all.

See here for more information.

The ancient world in an age of globalization

This is an important publication and the ancient Iranian world is represented through contributions by Panaino, Sadovski and Gariboldi.

Geller, Markham (ed.). 2014. Melammu: The ancient world in an age of globalization (Proceedings 7). Edition Open Access.

The present Melammu volume extends from Greece to India, with articles on Phrygia and Armenia, also viewing texts from ancient Israel, Egypt, and Mesopotamia. The globalization described in this volume extends over language barriers and literatures, showing how texts as well as goods can travel between societies and regions. This collection of papers offer new insights and perspectives into connections between the Mediterranean World, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Persia and India.

The book is available for download.

Cosmopolitanism in the Tang dynasty

Since most of this week’s posts relate to Eastern Iranian regions, I thought I would also post this announcement for a forthcoming publication by Valenstein, who has previously published Cultural Convergence in the Northern Qi Period: A flamboyant Chinese ceramic container. The forthcoming volume was already announced in 2012, but publication seems to now be imminent:

Valenstein, Suzanne. 2014. Cosmopolitanism in the Tang dynasty: A Chinese ceramic figure of a Sogdian wine-merchant. Los Angeles: Bridge21 Publications. Distributed by Transaction Publishers in Piscataway, NJ.

The Hellenistic settlements in the east

Cohen, Getzel. 2013. The Hellenistic settlements in the east from Armenia and Mesopotamia to Bactria and India.

Through the conquests of Alexander the Great, his successors and others, Greek and Macedonian culture spread deep into Asia, with colonists settling as far away as Bactria and India. In this book, Cohen provides historical narratives, detailed references, citations, and commentaries on all the Graeco-Macedonian settlements founded (or refounded) in the East.

For more information, see here.

The Hellenistic Far East

Mairs, Rachel. 2014. The Hellenistic Far East: Archaeology, language, and identity in Greek Central Asia. California: University of California Press.

Significant and original, The Hellenistic Far East will highlight Bactrian studies as an important part of our understanding of the ancient world.

For more information, see here.

Ancient settlement systems and cultures in the Ram Hormuz plain

Alizadeh, Abbas. 2014. Ancient settlement systems and cultures in the Ram Hormuz plain, Southwestern Iran: Excavations at Tall-e Geser and regional survey of the Ram Hormuz area (Oriental Institute Publications 140). Chicago: The Oriental Institute. With contributions by Loghman Ahmadzadeh and Mehdi Omidfar, and appendices by John R. Alden, Leah Minc, Jacques Connan, John Zumberge and Kendra Imbus.

For more information see the AWOL announcement. Download the book here.

The Jews of Iran

Houman Sarshar (ed.). 2014. The Jews of Iran: The history, religion and culture of a community in the Islamic world. London: I.B.Tauris

Living continuously in Iran for over 2700 years, Jews have played an integral role in the history of the country. Frequently understood as a passive minority group, and often marginalized by the Zoroastrian and succeeding Muslim hegemony, the Jews of Iran are instead portrayed in this book as having had an active role in the development of Iranian history, society, and culture. Examining ancient texts, objects, and art from a wide range of times and places throughout Iranian history, as well as the medieval trade routes along which these would have travelled, The Jews of Iran offers in-depth analysis of the material and visual culture of this community.

To find out more, see here.

Intangible spirits and graven images

Congratulations to Michael Shenkar for publishing his book, which is already being endorsed by many scholars.

Shenkar, Michael. 2014. Intangible spirits and graven images: The iconography of deities in the pre-Islamic Iranian world. Leiden: Brill.

In Intangible Spirits and Graven Images, Michael Shenkar investigates the perception of ancient Iranian deities and their representation in the Iranian cults. This ground-breaking study traces the evolution of the images of these deities, analyses the origin of their iconography, and evaluates their significance. Shenkar also explores the perception of anthropomorphism and aniconism in ancient Iranian religious imagery, with reference to the material evidence and the written sources, and reassesses the value of the Avestan and Middle Persian texts that are traditionally employed to illuminate Iranian religious imagery. In doing so, this book provides important new insights into the religion and culture of ancient Iran prior to the Islamic conquest.

See here for more.