Daryaee, Touraj, Ali Mousavi & Khodadad Rezakhani (eds.). 2014. Excavating an Empire:Achaemenid Persia in Longue Durée. Costa Mesa California: Mazda Publisher.
Study of empires and imperial power within the context of world history is a relatively recent subject within a field which itself is quite young. With the ever present discussions on the issue of globalization and increased contact among modern nation-states, a need to understand the long term trends in human and material interaction, and the means of controlling them, is increasingly felt in academia. Empires, as large units of administration which are often posited to have had an abusive relationship with their peripheries, are deemed viable subjects of study and inquiry in the pre-modern, pre-globalized world. On the other hand, the imposed frame work of modern nation-states on historiography, and the long trend in national, and often nationalistic historiography, similarly has encouraged a study of the empires which are thought to be ancestors of modern nations, from Italy and Rome to China and the Qing Empire. Among these, the Achaemenid Empire which ruled the Near East, and occasionally parts of North Africa, for about two centuries (late sixth to late fourth century BCE) is a curious and commonly neglected case. Often fitted within the national historiography of Iran, it is nonetheless acknowledged to have had a wider impact on the region beyond the borders of the modern nation-state.
Waerzeggers, Caroline. 2015. Babylonian Kingship in the Persian Period: Performance and Reception. In J. Stökl & C. Waerzeggers (eds.), Exile and Return: The Babylonian Context, 181-222. Berlin: De Gruyter.
The Persian conquest of Babylon set in motion a chain of events that eventually led to the partial return of Judah’s exilic community and to the rebuilding of the temple of Jerusalem. Despite Cyrus’ prominent role in the biblical narrative about these events – and despite the historical reality of Yehud’s place within the Persian Empire – the Hebrew Bible constructs the context of the return as a kingless arena which required a profound reworking and re-interpretation of the traditional alignments between the Davidic king and Yahweh.¹ In this paper, I will contextualize these reflections by asking how Babylonian audiences responded to their loss of indigenous kingship following the Persian conquest – for, even though the institution of ‘King of Babylon’ with its rituals and symbols survived into the Persian period, there is evidence of profound change during the Empire’s two hundred years of existence. After an introduction, the first part of this paper deals with contemporary responses to Persian rule in Babylonia; the second part moves on to a discussion of the reception of Persian period kingship by later generations of Babylonians.
McInerney, Jeremy (ed.). 2014. A companion to ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean. Wiley-Blackwell.
A Companion to Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean presents a comprehensive collection of essays contributed by Classical Studies scholars that explore questions relating to ethnicity in the ancient Mediterranean world.
- Covers topics of ethnicity in civilizations ranging from ancient Egypt and Israel, to Greece and Rome, and into Late Antiquity
- Features cutting-edge research on ethnicity relating to Philistine, Etruscan, and Phoenician identities
- Reveals the explicit relationships between ancient and modern ethnicities
- Introduces an interpretation of ethnicity as an active component of social identity
- Represents a fundamental questioning of formally accepted and fixed categories in the field
This volume contains an article by Jennifer Gates-Foster entitled Achaemenids, royal power, and Persian ethnicity.
Llewellyn-Jones, Lloyd. 2015. “That My Body is Strong”: The Physique and Appearance of Achaemenid Monarchy. in Dietrich Boschung, Alan Shapiro & Frank Waschek (eds.), Bodies in Transition: Dissolving the Boundaries of Embodied Knowledge. Fink Wilhelm Gmbh. 213-250.
The body of the Persian Great King was carefully and skilfully constructed through text and image as a series of signs to be decoded and read. Placing the Persian royal body within the context of general Near Eastern ideologies of the monarchic body, this chapter explores the codified meanings of, firstly, the royal head because the Great King’s eyes, nose, beard, and hair are rich in cultural and symbolic meaning. But more than anything it is the clothed body of the king that speaks in a uniquely ‘Persian voice’. The chapter explores how the monarch’s clothed body is a site of representation, an emblem of his power, potency, legitimacy, and strength.
Imanpour, Mohammad-Taqi. 2015. Re-establishment of Achaemenid History and its Development in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Iranian Studies. 48(4), 515-530.
Iranians were aware of Sasanian history through traditional historical writings, but they knew nothing about Achaemenid history. Following European travelers to Persia from the fifteenth century, who were well prepared by reading the classical and biblical texts, Persepolis and Pasargadae were rediscovered and Achaemenid history re-established in the nineteenth century. The rise of Reza Khan to power and his grand emphasis on nationalism and ancient Iran that characterized his reign also left a deeper impact on Achaemenid studies in this period. In this paper the re-establishment of Achaemenid history and its development in nineteenth and twentieth centuries are discussed and reviewed.
Mohammad-Taqi Imanpour is Associate Professor of Ancient History of Iran at Ferdowsi University of Masshad, Iran.
Dan, Roberto. 2015. From the Armenian Highland to Iran: A Study on the Relations between the Kingdom of Urartu and the Achaemenid Empire, Serie Orientale Roma 4, Roma: Scienze e Lettere.
This work by Roberto Dan, in which he provides a systematic and in depth analysis of the complex question of the possible connections that may have existed between Urartian culture and that of the Achaemenids, is an important achievement in this area of research. The book is divided into two parts, one of which is historical in approach and provides the necessary background to set the scene for the manner and timing of the interactions between these two protagonists (outlining a situation which has diverse implications), and one that is archaeological, which constitutes the real core
of the work.
Table of contents is available here.