From Cyrus to Seleukos: Studies in Achaemenid and Hellenistic History

Briant, Pierre. 2018. From Cyrus to Seleukos: Studies in Achaemenid and Hellenistic history (Ancient Iran Series). UCI Jordan Center for Persian Studies.

The present volume is a collection of articles published in English by Professor Pierre Briant of the Collège de France, in various forms over the past three decades. Pierre Briant has been instrumental in the recent revival of Achaemenid history, and the way in which he has achieved this is instructive for the future generations of historians to come. One can state that Briant’s approach to history is very much in the French tradition: it engages with both narration and a thorough historiographical methodology, making his work so distinctively rigorous and compelling at the same time. Another important contribution made by Briant’s work concerns the changing scholarly interpretations of the relations between the Achaemenids and Alexander in the longue durée. Since the major corpus of Pierre Briant’s work was originally composed in French, I thought that it would be beneficial to many English-speaking students, as well as educated readers and experts in the field, to have access to these important essays in a single volume. I have tried to keep articles in their original publication format and style, wherever possible. This volume is a special tribute to an important historian of our time, from which current and future students of Persia will have much to learn.

Table of Contents:

Forward by Touraj Daryaee
Introduction by Pierre Briant

Part 1: History and Historiography
Chapter 1: ‘Alexander the Great and the Enlightenment: William Robertson (1721-1793), the Empire and the road to India’, Cromohs (2005): 1-9.
Chapter 2: ‘Alexander and the Persian Empire, between “Decline” and “Renovation”. History and Historiography’, in W.Heckel/L.A. Tritle (eds.), Alexander the Great. A New History, Oxford (2009): 171-18.
Chapter 3: ‘The Theme of ‘Persian Decadence’ in Eighteenth-Century European Historiography: Remarks on the Genesis of a Myth’, in: J. Curtis/St John Simpson (eds.), The World of Achaemenid Persia, London (2010): 3-15.
Chapter 4: ‘Grote on Alexander the Great’. in: K. Demetriou (ed.), Brill’s Companion to George Grote and the Classical Tradition, Leiden-Boston (2014): 329-365.
Chapter 5: ‘Milestones in the Development of Achaemenid Historiography in the Era of Ernst Herzfeld’, in: A. Gunter/S. Hauser (eds.), Ernst Herzfeld and the Development of Near Eastern Studies 1900-1950, Leiden-Boston (2005): 263-280.
Chapter 6: ‘Michael Rostovtzeff, Elias J. Bickerman and the “Hellenization of Asia”: from Alexander the Great to World War II’, in: J. G. Manning (ed.), Writing History in Time of War, Michael Rostovtzeff, Elias J. Bickerman and the “Hellenization of Asia”, Franz Steiner Verlag (2015): 13-32.

Part 2: From Cyrus to Seleukos
Chapter 7:
‘Cyrus the Great’, in T. Daryaee (ed.), Cyrus the Great, Afshar (2013): 1-15.
Chapter 8: ‘The Empire of Darius III in Perspective’, in: W. Heckel/L.A. Tritle (eds.), Alexander the Great. A New History, Oxford, (2009): 141-170.
Chapter 9: The Seleucid Kingdom, the Achaemenid Empire and the History of the Near-East in the First Millennium B.C.’, in: P. Bilde et al. (eds.), Religion and Religious Practices in the Seleucid Kingdom, Aarhus (1990): 40-65.

Part 3: War and Peace in the Achaemenid Empire
Chapter 10: ‘The Achaemenid Empire’, in: K. Raaflaub/N. Rosenstein (eds.), War and Society in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds: Asia, The Mediterranean, Europe, and Mesoamerica, Cambridge MA (1999): 106-128.
Chapter 11: ‘From the Indus to the Mediterranean: The Administrative Organization and Logistics of the Great roads of the Achaemenid Empire’, in: S. Alcock, J. Bodel & R.T. Talbert (eds.), Highways, Byways and Road Systems in the Pre-modern World, Wiley-Blackwell (2012): 185-201.
Chapter 12: ‘Susa and Elam in the Achaemenid Empire’, in: J. Perrot (ed.), The Palace of Darius at Susa. The Great Royal Residence of Achaemenid Persian, London (2013): 3-35.
Chapter 13: ‘New Trends in Achaemenid History’, AHB (2003) 17: 33-47.
Chapter 14: ‘Persia and Persians’, in: B.T. Arnold/B. Strawn (eds.), The World around the Old Testament. The People and Places of the Ancient Newr East, Grand Rapids (2016): 379-415.