Iranian Diaspora and Persian Heritage in Asia Minor after the Achaemenids

Klingenberg, Andreas. 2021. Die ›Iranische Diaspora‹ in Kleinasien: Kontinuität und Wandel des persischen Erbes nach dem Ende der achaimenidischen Herrschaft (Asia Minor Studien 97). Bonn: Habelt.

Ancient Asia Minor was part of the Persian Empire for more than 200 years under the rule of the Achaimenid dynasty. It was only with the conquest of the Persian Empire by the Macedonian king Alexander the Great that Persian hegemony came to an end, and manifold political and cultural upheavals began in the former Persian territories. But what became of the numerous Persians and other Iranians who had come to Asia Minor in the course of establishing and consolidating their rule? What remained of two centuries of Persian rule? Researchers have long debated whether and in what form an ‘Iranian diaspora’ could survive beyond the fall of the Persian Empire. What previous research has had in common is the restriction to isolated testimonies or a limited selection of source documents. This book is the first comprehensive account of this topic that takes into account all available sources and, on this basis, arrives at a new assessment and reliable results: a notable ‘Iranian diaspora’ survived all the upheavals after the end of the Persian Empire, which in some places held on to its cultural traditions for many centuries afterwards and emerged as an independent group. In almost all parts of Asia Minor, traces of the former Persian presence can be discerned in personal and cultural continuities that prove a lasting, comprehensive “Achaimenid impact”. These traces are particularly evident in place and field names, in the spread of Iranian personal names, in the continued existence of Iranian sanctuaries and the worship of Iranian deities, as well as in the Iranian dynasties of the two kingdoms of Cappadocia and Pontos. An extensive section of material (registers) provides access to the scattered epigraphic findings on Iranian personal names and the religious elements dating back to the Persians, which have never been fully recorded.