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Books

The Herodotus Encyclopedia

Baron, Christopher (Ed.). 2021. The Herodotus Encyclopedia, 3 Volume Set. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.

The first work of its kind, this book offers students and faculty of all levels an easy-to-use, up-to-date reference tool on Herodotus of Halicarnassus (the “Father of History”) and provides Herodotean scholars with a collection of important strands of recent work. Topics include the debt of Greek historical writing to epic poetry (and other genres); narratological analysis of the text; Herodotus’ position vis-à-vis his predecessors and contemporaries; his use of sources; his notion of Greekness; and the growing body of Persian and other Near Eastern evidence for sixth- and fifth century events.

Spanning three volumes, The Herodotus Encyclopedia surveys the current state of knowledge and understanding of Herodotus’ work, and discusses past, current, and emerging approaches to the text. Featuring contributions from an international team of more than 150 scholars, it offers more than 2,500 entries which cover the individuals, peoples, and places Herodotus names in his Histories; the composition and central themes in his work; and the historical, social, intellectual, and literary context of the period. Many entries also explore the text’s scholarship and reception from antiquity up to the present day.  Offers entries for every proper name, group, and region mentioned in Herodotus’ Histories Provides discussions of the history of Herodotean studies and scholarship Considers the historical and cultural contexts within which Herodotus wrote and lived Addresses the reception of Herodotus during antiquity and beyond Incorporates the methods and findings of several different disciplines in the humanities Features maps and illustrations, a user guide, an index, and full bibliographical information in each entry The Herodotus Encyclopedia is an indispensable text for scholars in classics and related fields, instructors who cover Herodotus or Greek history in their courses, research libraries, and students of ancient Greek history and literature.

* Offers entries for every proper name, group, and region mentioned in Herodotus’ Histories

* Provides discussions of the history of Herodotean studies and scholarship

*Considers the historical and cultural contexts within which Herodotus wrote and lived

*Addresses the reception of Herodotus during antiquity and beyond *Incorporates the methods and findings of several different disciplines in the humanities

* Features maps and illustrations, a user guide, an index, and full bibliographical information in each entry

The Herodotus Encyclopedia is an indispensable text for scholars in classics and related fields, instructors who cover Herodotus or Greek history in their courses, research libraries, and students of ancient Greek history and literature.

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Articles

The Notion of Harem and its Irrelevance to Women of the Persian Court

Lenfant, Dominique. 2020. The Notion of Harem and its Irrelevance to Women of the Persian Court. Ancient Society 50, 13-27.

It has become controversial to use the word ‘harem’ to designate the wives and concubines of the Great King of the Persian Empire, but differing attitudes may be observed among scholars, from rejecting this term to claiming it for use, most often without a detailed justification. Although it seems at first sight to be helpful, the present paper argues against using the word ‘harem’ by highlighting its major interpretative drawbacks: (1) its definition is unstable and unclear; (2) it creates confusion between the different categories of women who are distinguished in our evidence; (3) it is misleading, since it imposes on antiquity western representations mainly linked with Ottoman sultans; (4) it has strong modern connotations, and implies value judgments which are not suitable for a sound historical analysis; (5) it feeds a form of orientalism, since it fosters the idea that the Orient does exist, that it is the opposite of the Occident of the western speaker, and that it has not changed for more than two thousand years. It is lastly argued that this notion of a Persian ‘harem’ does not date back to the Greeks, who had neither a similar word nor similar representations and value judgments, nor the same feeling of otherness in respect to the Persians.

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Books

Deportations in the Persian Empire

Matarese, Chiara. 2021. Deportationen im Perserreich in teispidisch-achaimenidischer Zeit (Classica et Orientalia, 27). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

Die Studie beleuchtet das Phänomen von Deportationen in Persien in der Zeit vor Alexander dem Großen. Das Sujet ist aus mehreren Gründen herausfordernd und anspruchsvoll und entbehrte deshalb lange der wissenschaftlichen Aufarbeitung. Zum einen ist die Quellenlage problematisch: Neben dem Mangel an indigenen Überlieferungen sind die zur Verfügung stehenden gräko-römischen Quellen von zahlreichen Klischees geprägt, die es zunächst auszuräumen gilt. Zum anderen muss das Phänomen der Deportation theoretisch erfasst und von anderen Migrationsprozessen unterschieden werden.

Chiara Matarese gelingt es durch eine detaillierte und kritische Analyse der Quellen, die Auslöser und die Ziele der persischen Deportationen deutlich zu machen und die Komplexität dieses vielfältigen Phänomens darzustellen. Die Autorin beantwortet zusätzlich entscheidende Fragen beispielsweise danach, ob die Deportierten zu Sklaven gemacht wurden, oder zu ihrem Identitätsverständnis nach der Umsiedlung. Dabei wird deutlich dass sich die Perser in Praxis und Herrschaftsauffassung in vielem als gelehrige Nachfolger der Herrscher des Neuassyrischen und des Neubabylonischen Reiches zeigten. Die Deportationspraxis stellte hier keine Ausnahme dar.

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Journal

Iranica Antiqua, Volume 55

The table of contents of the latest issue (55) of the journal Iranica Antiqua:

  • ESKANDARI, N., DESSET, F., HESSARI, M., SHAHSAVARI, M., SHAFIEE, M., VIDALE, M.: A Late 4th to Early 3rd Millennium BC Grave in Hajjiabad-Varamin (Jiroft, South-Eastern Iran): Defining a New Period of the Halil Rud Archaeological Sequence
  • NIKZAD, Meisam, REZAIE, Iraj, KHALILI, Mehdi: Dog Burials in Ancient Iran
  • WICKS, Yasmina, DADFAR, Faezeh: An Axe to Grind? Another Look at the So-called ‘Atta-hushu’ Axes
  • BASAFA, Hassan, HEDAYATI, Zahra: The Iron Age in the Dargaz Plain (Northeast Khorasan): The Site of Kohne Ghale, a Case Study
  • DAN, Roberto: Tille Höyük Level X: A ‘Median’ or Achaemenid Period Citadel in the Euphrates Valley?
  • KHOSROWZADEH, Alireza, NOROUZI, Aliashgar, GYSELEN, Rika, HABIBI, Hossein: Administrative Bullae from Tappe Bardnakoon, a Newly Found Late Sasanian Administrative Centre
  • RASOULI, Arezoo, ABAI, Andia: Darius a-t-il dit la vérité à Behistun?
  • IRANNEJAD, A. Mani: Kavis in the Ancient National Iranian Tradition
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Books

The Greco-Persian Wars

Jensen, Erik. 2021. The Greco-Persian Wars: A Short History with Documents. Cambridge: Hackett Publishing.

Hackett’s Passages: Key Moments in History series titles include original-source documents in accessible editions, intended for the student-user or general audience. This edition, The Greco-Persian Wars, taps our knowledge of the Persian Empire and its interactions with the Greek world. The sources examined were created in different times and places, for different purposes, and with different intended audiences. Using these sources effectively requires recognizing their distinct characteristics. A general introduction about the Greco-Persian wars is included to provide historical background and an overview of the information contained in the original-source documents. Also included are a glossary of terms, a chronology, insightful headnotes to each document, and an index.

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Articles

Weather and the Greek–Persian “Naval Battle of Salamis”

Zerefos, Christos, Stavros Solomos, Dimitris Melas, John Kapsomenakis and Christos Repapis. 2020. The Role of Weather during the Greek–Persian “Naval Battle of Salamis” in 480 B.C. Atmosphere 11, 838.

The Battle of Salamis in 480 B.C. is one of the most important naval battles of all times. This work examines in detail the climatically prevailing weather conditions during the Persian invasion in Greece. We perform a climatological analysis of the wind regime in the narrow straits of Salamis, where this historic battle took place, based on available station measurements, reanalysis and modeling simulations (ERA5, WRF) spanning through the period of 1960–2019. Our results are compared to ancient sources before and during the course of the conflict and can be summarized as follows: (i) Our climatological station measurements and model runs describing the prevailing winds in the area of interest are consistent with the eyewitness descriptions reported by ancient historians and (ii) The ancient Greeks and particularly Themistocles must have been aware of the local wind climatology since their strategic plan was carefully designed and implemented to take advantage of the diurnal wind variation. The combination of northwest wind during the night and early morning, converging with a south sea breeze after 10:00 A.M., formed a “pincer” that aided the Greeks at the beginning of the clash in the morning, while it brought turmoil to the Persian fleet and prevented them to escape to the open sea in the early afternoon hours. View Full-Text.

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Books

Persia (552 BCE-758 CE). Primary Sources, Old and New

Gyselen, Rika (ed.). 2020. Persia (552 BCE-758 CE). Primary Sources, Old and New (Res Orientales 28). Bures-sur-Yvette: Groupe pour l’Étude de la Civilisation du Moyen-Orient (GECMO).

The articles in this volume present, comment on and interpret primary sources from different eras: Achaemenid, Sasanian and post-Sasanian. While most of these sources were discovered in the 21st century, a few were already known. Recent Iranian surveys and excavations have uncovered: (1) new Sasanian sites in the region of Sar Mashad in the Pars, (2) Sasanian administrative bullae on Tappe Barnakoon, west of Isfahan, (3) a clay sealing with the impression of a royal seal of Peroz in Taxt-e Soleiman. New data for Sasanian numismatics come from unpublished coins in the Johnson collection. Three documents from the “Tabarestan Archive”, published in recent years, have been re-read and interpreted in the context of Zoroastrian law. Also, sources known from much longer have been the subject of new “readings”. They highlight that the message these inscriptions and royal objects convey is strongly conditioned by the type of ‘public’ to which it is addressed.

Table of Contents

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Books

Women and Monarchy in Ancient Iran

Carney, Elizabeth Donnelly & Sabine Müller (eds.). 2021. The Routledge Companion to Women and Monarchy in the Ancient Mediterranean World. London: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.

Portrait of Shapur III’s Wife. ca. 383-388 C.E. Onyx. BnF – Bibliothèque nationale de France (20.A.1)

This volume offers the first comprehensive look at the role of women in the monarchies of the ancient Mediterranean. It consistently addresses certain issues across all dynasties: title; role in succession; the situation of mothers, wives, and daughters of kings; regnant and co-regnant women; role in cult and in dynastic image; and examines a sampling of the careers of individual women while placing them within broader contexts. Written by an international group of experts, this collection is based on the assumption that women played a fundamental role in ancient monarchy, that they were part of, not apart from it, and that it is necessary to understand their role to understand ancient monarchies. This is a crucial resource for anyone interested in the role of women in antiquity.

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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

The Art of Empire in Achaemenid Persia

Dusinberre Elspeth R.M., Mark B. Garrison & Wouter Henkelman (eds.). 2020. The Art of empire in Achaemenid Persia: Studies in honour of Margaret Cool Root (Achaemenid History 16). Leiden: Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten & Leuven: Peeters.

This volume in honour of Margaret Cool Root gathers seventeen contributions on Achaemenid Persian art, ranging from the European re-discovery of Persepolis, via Achaemenid glyphic art, evidence of polychrome sculpture, and Achaemenid impact in the satrapies, to possible reflections of Persepolitan art in Classical Greece. The contributors are colleagues and, in a number of cases, former students of Margaret Root. As a whole, the volume reflects the wide range of Root’s interests and her impact on the field of Achaemenid studies.