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Books

Imagining Xerxes

Bridges, Emma. 2014. Imagining Xerxes: Ancient perspectives on a Persian king. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Imagining Xerxes is a transhistorical analysis that explores the richness and variety of Xerxes’ afterlives within the ancient literary tradition. It examines the earliest representations of the king, in Aeschylus’ tragic play Persians and Herodotus’ historiographical account of the Persian Wars, before tracing the ways in which the image of Xerxes was revisited and adapted in later Greek and Latin texts. The author also looks beyond the Hellenocentric viewpoint to consider the construction of Xerxes’ image in the Persian epigraphic record and the alternative perspectives on the king found in the Jewish written tradition.

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Articles

Textiles and elite tastes

Canepa, Matthew. 2014. Textiles and elite tastes between the Mediterranean, Iran and Asia at the end of antiquity. In Marie-Louise Nosch, Zhao Feng & Lotika Varadarajan (eds.), Global textile encounters (Ancient Textiles Series 20), 1–14. Oxford and Havertown, PA: Oxbow Books.

Read the article here.

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Articles

Religious trends in late ancient and early Islamic Iran

The latest issue  of the journal Iranian Studies 48(1), dated 2015 and entitled Religious trends in late ancient and early Islamic Iran, is a treasure trove of highly recommended articles. This special issue has been edited by Jason Mokhtarian & David Bennett.

Read the editors’ introduction here.

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Articles

The big and beautiful women of Asia

A slightly older but important article by Llewellyn-Jones dealing with the imagery of Achaemenid period seals and gemstones:

Llewellyn-Jones, Lloyd. 2010. The big and beautiful women of Asia: Ethnic conceptions of ideal beauty in Achaemenid period seals and gemstones. In Hales, Shelley & Tamar Hodos (eds.), Material culture and social identities in the ancient world. Cambridge: CUP.

Read the article here.

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Journal

Sociedad de Estudios Iranios y Turanios

Alberto Cantera and his team have launched a new journal, entitled Sociedad de Estudios Iranios y Turanios, with the aim to promote the study of Iran and Central Asia in Spain. The first volume has already been published and is available from academia.edu. A dedicated website is under construction.

The original announcement:

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Articles

Parthians, Greek culture, and beyond

Olbrycht, Mark Jan. 2014. Parthians, Greek culture, and beyond. In Twardowska, Kamilla, Maciej Salamon, Sławomir Sprawski, Michał Stachura & Stanisław Turlej (eds.), Within the circle of ancient ideas and virtues. Studies in honour of Professor Maria Dzielska, 129–142. Kraków.

The Greeks living east of the Euphrates beParthians, Greek Culture, and Beyond, in: Within the Circle of Ancient Ideas and Virtues. Studies in Honour of Professor Maria Dzielska”, eds. K. Twardowska, m. Salamon, S. Sprawski, M. Stachura, S. Turlej, Kraków 2014, 129-142.came an important component of the population of the Arsacid Empire, but they were certainly not its dominant part. At the same time the Parthians appreciated the vivacity of the Greek culture and many of them were its avid enthusiasts. The Arsacids were superbly adroit in combining the preservation of the main components of the Iranian and nomadic culture that made up the core of their ethos with the political pragmatism which may be observed in their pro‑Hellenic propaganda.

Read the article here.

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Books

Inside and out

Dijkstra, Jitse & Greg Fisher (eds.). 2014. Inside and Out: Interactions between Rome and the peoples on the Arabian and Egyptian frontiers in late antiquity (Late Antique History and Religion 8). Leuven: Peeters Publishers.
In recent years, exciting new discoveries of inscriptions and archaeological remains on the Arabian Peninsula have led to a re-evaluation of the peoples on the Arabian frontier, which through their extensive contacts with Rome and Persia are now seen as dynamic participants in the Late Antique world. The present volume contributes to this recent trend by focusing on the contrast between the ‘outside’ sources on the peoples of the frontier – the Roman view – and the ‘inside’ sources, that is, the precious material produced by the Arabs themselves, and by approaching these sources within an anthropological framework of how peripheral peoples face larger powers. For the first time, the situation on the Arabian frontier is also compared with that on the southern Egyptian frontier, where similar sources have been found of peoples such as the Blemmyes and Noubades. Thus, the volume offers a richly-documented examination of the frontier interactions in these two vibrant and critically-important areas of the Late Antique East.
 For more information, see the publisher’s website.
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Journal

Getting to know Sogdian: Major epigraphy

Adam Benkato’s much anticipated second part of his excellent introduction to Sogdian is now online. In this part he talks about Sogdian epigraphy.

Read the second part of the introduction here.

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Articles

Tirazziš or Šīrāz

For this blog, 2014 comes to an end with a little write up by Henkelman on the great city of ŠĪrāz. The blog will resume on 05 January 2015, publishing Adam Benkato’s much anticipated second part on Sogdian. And I have some plans for this blog, which I hope to realise in 2015 with the help of my friends and colleagues.

Happy New Year!

Henkelman, Wouter. 2014. Tirazziš. In Reallexikon der Assyriologie 14(1/2). 59–60.

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Articles

The genealogy of Artabanos II

The last day of 2014 is busier than most other days on this blog:

Olbrycht, Marek Jan. 2014. The genealogy of Artabanos II (AD 8/9–39/40), King of Parthia. Miscellanea Anthropologica et Sociologica 15(3). 92–97.

One of the most controversial issues in the Parthian history of the early 1st century AD is the lineage of Artabanos II. The resolution of this problem determines the image of Parthian history in the 1st century AD, moulded to a large extent by an internecine struggle for the legitimation of rival parties’ claim to power.

Read it here.