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Journal

NABU 2020-4

The latest issue of NABU (Nouvelles Assyriologiques Brèves et Utilitaires), 2020-4 (notes 100-134), is out. Among other interesting notes, three fall in the scope of the Iranian Studies discipline.

129) Ran ZADOK: Four Loanwords in Neo-/Late-Babylonian

130) Gérard GERTOUX: Intercalations during the co-regency of Xerxes with Darius I

131) J. Nicholas REID: A Multi-year Audit Belonging to the Late Achaemenid and Early Hellenistic Esangila Archive: A New Text

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Books

Armed force in the Teispid-Achaemenid Empire

Manning, Sean. 2021. Armed Force in the Teispid-Achaemenid Empire: Past Approaches, Future Prospects (Oriens et Occidens, 32). Stuttgart: Fanz Steiner Verlag.

The armies of Cyrus, Xerxes and Darius III are usually understood through the lens of classical literature and stereotypes about the orient. Sean Manning proposes a new understanding based on all kinds of evidence and the study of the ancient Near East. He examines the last century and a half of research in its historical and ideological context. Three core chapters treat Akkadian tablets, Aramaic documents, royal inscriptions, and artifacts as sources in their own right, not compliments to Herodotus. The different perspectives of Iranian philologists, Mesopotamian archaeologists and historians of ancient Greece are considered and addressed. A series of case studies show that the Greek and Latin texts can be read in unfamiliar ways which can survive stronger criticism than traditional interpretations. The king’s troops were not literary foils to show the virtues of Greek hoplites or Scythian horsemen, they were agents of an early world empire which drew on long traditions and the latest innovations to gather money, soldiers, and workers and deploy them at the will of the king.

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Books

Identity in Persian Egypt

Becking, Bob. 2020. Identity in Persian Egypt: The Fate of the Yehudite Community of Elephantine. Pennsylvania: Eisenbrauns.

In this book, Bob Becking provides a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of the origins, lives, and eventual fate of the Yehudites, or Judeans, at Elephantine, framed within the greater history of the rise and fall of the Persian Empire.

The Yehudites were among those mercenaries recruited by the Persians to defend the southwestern border of the empire in the fifth century BCE. Becking argues that this group, whom some label as the first “Jews,” lived on the island of Elephantine in relative peace with other ethnic groups under the aegis of the pax persica. Drawing on Aramaic and Demotic texts discovered during excavations on the island and at Syene on the adjacent shore of the Nile, Becking finds evidence of intermarriage, trade cooperation, and even a limited acceptance of one another’s gods between the various ethnic groups at Elephantine. His analysis of the Elephantine Yehudites’ unorthodox form of Yahwism provides valuable insight into the group’s religious beliefs and practices.

An important contribution to the study of Yehudite life in the diaspora, this accessibly written and sweeping history enhances our understanding of the varieties of early Jewish life and how these contributed to the construction of Judaism.

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Journal

Udjahorresnet and His World

The latest issue of Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections (vol. 26) is dedicated to the research about the famous Egyptian physician: Udjahorresnet.

This volume, edited by Melanie Wasmuth and Pearce Paul Creasman, is open access (see here).

Table of Contents:

  • Melanie Wasmuth and the other contributors to this volume: Introduction: Udjahorresnet and His World: a Key Figure of Cross-regional Relations Reconsidered
  • Alex Ilari Aissaoui: Diplomacy in Ancient Times: The Figure of Udjahorresnet: An International Relations Perspective
  • Reinhold Bichler: Herodotus’s Perspective on the Situation of Egypt in the Persian Period from the Last Saite Kings to Xerxes’ First Years
  • Henry P. Colburn: Udjahorresnet the Persian: Being an Essay on the Archaeology of Identity
  • Francis Joannès: Les Soutiens de Cambyse en Babylonie, de 539 à 522 av. è. c. (The Supports of Cambyses in Babylonia, from 539 to 522 BCE)
  • Ivan Ladynin: Udjahorresnet and the Royal Name of Cambyses: The “Derivative Sacrality” of Achaemenids in Egypt
  • Francesco Lopez: Udjahorresnet, Democedes, and Darius I: The Reform of the House of Life as Consequence of the Egyptian Physicians’ Failure to Heal the Achaemenid ruler
  • Nenad Marković : Udjahorresnet’s Family and His Social Background
  • Alison McCoskey: Fight the Power: Udjahorresnet and Petosiris as Agents of Resistance
  • Cristina Ruggero: Udjahorresnet’s Naoforo Vaticano: Acquisition and Exhibition
  • Alexander Schütze: On the Originality of Udjahorresnet’s Biographical Inscriptions
  • Květa Smoláriková and Ladislav Bareš: The Shaft Tomb of Udjahorresnet at Abusir
  • Marissa Stevens: Neith as Legitimator: Persian Religious Strategy and Udjahorresnet
  • Melanie Wasmuth: The Statues of Udjahorresnet as Archaeological Artifacts
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Books

The Bīsotūn Inscription – A Jeopardy of Achaemenid History

Ahmadi, Amir. 2020. The Bīsotūn Inscription – A Jeopardy of Achaemenid History. The Journal of Archaeology and Ancient History 27. 3–56.

Darius the Great (r. 522–486 BC)
Behistūn Relief

According to the currently favoured view among historians of the Persian Empire, the Bīsotūn Inscription is a deceitful piece of propaganda whose purpose was to resolve Darius’s legitimacy problem. To this effect, Darius cobbles a family relation with Cyrus and fabricates the story of a magus who impersonates Smerdis, son of Cyrus, and usurps the throne. This view, however, contradicts not only the Bīsotūn Inscription but also the ancient Greek testimonies. This article examines the arguments historians have given for their position. Since allviews of the two issues in question are necessarily interpretations of the relevant sources that rely on argumentation, reasons and inferences must stand up to critical scrutiny.

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Books

Egyptian objects from the Achaemenid period in Iran

Qahéri, Sépideh. 2020. Objets égyptiens et égyptianisants d’époque achéménide conservés en Iran (Persika, 20). Leuven: Peeters.

Par son rayonnement politico-économique, l’Égypte saïte constitue le plus grand pouvoir des royaumes méditerranéens des 7e-6e siècles av. J.-C. et une source d’inspiration dans la composition multiethnique de l’Empire achéménide. Au-delà des sources écrites, notre compréhension de la réelle position de l’Égypte dans le développement culturel du pouvoir perse est notamment tributaire de l’étude approfondie des témoignages archéologiques révélant l’activité ou l’installation des communautés égyptiennes au centre de l’Empire. Les anciennes fouilles menées dans les principales capitales achéménides (en Perse et Élam) ont mis au jour d’importants vestiges, qui demeuraient jusqu’à ce jour peu connus, voire ignorés pour certains. Les objets égyptiens et égyptianisants issus de ces sites appartiennent majoritairement au contexte royal et attestent l’appropriation des modèles pharaoniques dans la conception de la culture palatiale perse. Ils confirment en somme la contribution de divers corps de métiers égyptiens au fonctionnement de la vie de cour des Grands Rois mais aussi à l’essor architectural de leurs résidences. Le présent catalogue réunit pour la première fois une partie de ces découvertes: celles réparties dans les collections iraniennes. Il offre ainsi une source de référence pour de futures recherches sur les aegyptiaca de Perse conservés à l’extérieur de l’Iran mais aussi pour toutes les études portant sur les relations égypto-perses sous l’Empire achéménide.

La première partie de cet ouvrage est consacrée à la présentation des principaux sites archéologiques d’où proviennent les objets étudiés et à l’historique des fouilles. Dans une deuxième partie les données textuelles connues sur la présence égyptienne en Perse sont décrites. La troisième partie aborde les principaux musées iraniens conservant les pièces égyptiennes et égyptianisantes. Le catalogue des objets représente la quatrième et la plus grande partie du volume et propose un classement raisonné des découvertes sous quatre groupes typologiques.

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Books

The Edict of Cyrus and Notions of Restoration in Ezra-Nehemiah and Chronicles

Gilhooley, Andrew M. 2020. The edict of Cyrus and notions of restoration in Ezra-Nehemiah and chronicles. Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press.

The Edict of Cyrus, both opening Ezra-Nehemiah (Ezra 1:1-4) and closing Chronicles (2 Chron. 36:22-23), serves a different role in each book. In Ezra–Nehemiah, it is a command resulting in a restoration event that has failed, whereas in Chronicles it is a command anticipating a successful future restoration event. In the context of canon, these different uses of the edict are theologically significant, especially in formulating ideas of hope for the future in Chronicles.

While Chronicles is aware that a historical restoration transpired sometime in the past (1 Chron. 3:19-24; 9:2-44), it shares the sentiment of Ezra–Nehemiah, that the return was something of a failure. Through compositional analysis, Gilhooley argues that the edict closing Chronicles portrays the true, or rather, complete restoration not as a past event to be reflected upon but rather one to be anticipated sometime in the future—at a time when Israel was expected to see the establishment of a new glorified temple, political independence, release from servitude, and the blessings of new creation and of new cultic order.

Reading Chronicles as the last book of the Old Testament in accordance with various Jewish witnesses, we find that the edict is transformed into a programmatic conclusion to the canon. Accordingly, the eschatological return to Zion and reconstruction of the temple appear to be dominating concerns of the canonical editors. These verses that bring to an end both Chronicles and the Old Testament as a whole may also be read in dialogue with canon-conscious structural markers elsewhere and, therefore, could be formative in constructing a canonical theology.

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Books

Iranian Studies in Honour of Adriano V. Rossi

Badalkhan, Sabir, Gian Pietro Basello and Matteo de Chiara (eds.). 2020. Iranian studies in honour of Adriano V. Rossi. Napoli: UniorPress.

Iranian Studies in Honour of Adriano V. Rossi collects more than fifty essays by foremost scholars and young researchers from South Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the USA. The topics range from Iranian philology and linguistics to history and archaeology. This two-part Festschrift is offered to Adriano V. Rossi by the Department of Asian, African and Mediterranean Studies of “L’Orientale” University of Naples (Italy) and is introduced with a foreword by Elda Morlicchio (Rector) and Michele Bernardini (Head of the Depart ment).

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Books

Societies at War

Ruffing, Kai, Kerstin Dross-Krüpe, Sebastian Fink & Robert Rollinger (Eds.). 2020. Societies at war: Proceedings of the 10th symposium of the Melammu project held in Kassel September 26-28 2016 & Proceedings of the 8th symposium of the Melammu project held in Kiel November 11-15 2014 (MELAMMU, 10). Vienna: Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften.

War and war-related issues have attracted an increasing attention within current historical and archaeological research, not least in response to recent global political events. Another reason for this growing interest is probably a general trend towards Modern Military History that has drawn academic attention to war-related issues through all cultures and epochs, going beyond Clausewitz’s argument of war as a continuation of politics by other means. The present vol-ume is committed to this broad approach by examining and comparing phenomena related to ancient warfare from the perspective of Ancient Near Eastern Studies and Classical Studies. Due to unforeseeable circumstances, which prevented the organizers from editing their own proceedings, some papers of the 8th Symposium of the Melammu Project, held at Kiel on the subject “Iranian Worlds”, have been added to this volume in their own section.

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Books

The Limits of Empire in Ancient Afghanistan

Payne, Richard & Rhyne King (eds.). 2020. The limits of empire in ancient Afghanistan: Rule and resistance in the Hindu Kush, circa 600 BCE–600 CE (Classica et Orientalia 24). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

The territory of modern Afghanistan provided a center – and sometimes the center – for a succession of empires, from the Achaemenid Persians in the 6th century BCE until the Sasanian Iranians in the 7th century CE. And yet these regions most frequently appear as comprising a “crossroads” in accounts of their premodern history.

This volume explores how successive imperial regimes established enduring forms of domination spanning the highlands of the Hindu Kush, essentially ungovernable territories in the absence of the technologies of the modern state. The modern term “Afghanistan” likely has its origins in an ancient word for highland regions and peoples resistant to outside rule. The volume’s contributors approach the challenge of explaining the success of imperial projects within a highland political ecology from a variety of disciplinary perspectives with their respective evidentiary corpora, notably history, anthropology, archaeology, numismatics, and philology. The Limits of Empire models the kind of interdisciplinary collaboration necessary to produce persuasive accounts of an ancient Afghanistan whose surviving material and literary evidence remains comparatively limited. It shows how Afghan-centered imperial projects co-opted local elites, communicated in the idioms of local cultures, and created administrative archipelagoes rather than continuous territories. Above all, the volume makes plain the interest and utility in placing Afghanistan at the center, rather than the periphery, of the history of ancient empires in West Asia.