Tag Archives: Ancient Iran

Iran through German Eyes

Gheiby, Bijan. 2012. Persien oder Iran? Die Deutschen entdecken das Land Zarathustras. Philipp von Zabern.
Although the book “Persia or Iran? The Germans discovering the land of Zarathustra” is not directly engaged with answering this question, the reader can acquire here the necessary background knowledge regarding the discovering of Ancient Iran by Germans, which enables him to make an informed opinion. “Persia or Iran” deals with the reception of the Iranian culture within the German-speaking world from its beginning in the 15th century to the present. In various chapters, it is presented, how the Germans came into contact with the Iranian culture and how they grappled with this culture. This book is both a reference work in which, both the German (forgotten) historical figures and their works are re-discovered and completely described. Thus, this volume aimes to address the interests of not only the general readership, but also the historians, Germanists, religious scholars, Orientalists and Iranists.
About the Author:
Bijan Gheiby was born in Teheran in 1954. He studied media in Tehran and in Long Beach as well as Iranian Studies in Hamburg and Göttingen, where he received his doctorate. He is an independent researcher of Zoroastrianism and ancient Iranian Studies.

A Cultural History of Zoroastrianism

Gheiby, Bijan. 2014. Zarathustras Feuer: Eine Kulturgeschichte des Zoroastrismus. Darmstadt: Philipp von Zabern.
This volume amis to present a culture-historical introduction to Zoroastrianism. The author dicusses the emergence, the development, the decline and the current status of this religion. It also deals with the neoZoroastrian movement(s), that is formed in response to the Islamization of Iran, and according to the author, assessed the chances of a revival of Zoroastrianism in the future. The book is divided into ten chapters. The first three chapters deal more with historical aspects of the faith, among others, the history of the Persian empire and the life of Zaraθuštra. In the fourth and fifth chapters, the contents and principles of religion are explained. The sixth section is dealing with the siruation of Zoroastrianism under the Sassanian. The chapters seven and eight deal with the Zoroastrian scriptures, literature and cults. The ninth chapter deals with the decline of religion and the final chapter dicusses the phenomenon of neo-Zoroastrianism.
About the Author:
Bijan Gheiby was born in Teheran in 1954. He studied media in Tehran and in Long Beach as well as Iranian Studies in Hamburg and Göttingen, where he received his doctorate. He is an independent researcher of Zoroastrianism and ancient Iranian Studies.

Ideology, power and religious change in antiquity

Plakat_IPRCA2015Ideology, Power and Religious Change in Antiquity, 3000 BC – AD 600 (IPRCA)

International Summer School organized by Graduate School of Humanities Göttingen (GSGG)

20 – 24 July 2015, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen (Archäologisches Institut und Sammlung der Gipsabgüsse)

In the modern world, political as well as religious leaders make use of ideological messages to legitimize and advertise their power. Especially during periods of transformation and change, it is important for leaders to demonstrate their strengths and capacities in order to unify their subjects. By presenting themselves as the right men in the right place they could win their subjects’ loyalty and thus legitimize and safeguard their own positions. This practice is however not a modern invention, it is rooted in ancient traditions and habits.

The summer school focuses on ideological messages communicated by leaders in the ancient world (Ancient Near East, Greece and Rome, c. 3000 BC – AD 600) during periods of religious change (periods characterized by the rise, expansion or dominance of new religions, specific religious factions, sects or cults that caused changes in or threatened existing social, religious and/or power structures). Which messages were communicated by central and local authorities as well as specific religious authorities in these epochs? What do these messages tell us about the nature of power exercised by leaders?

The pre-arranged sessions to discusse the different subjects and questions are:

  • Session 1 Ancient Mesopotamia
  • Session 2 Ancient Anatolia, Levant and Iran
  • Session 3 Classical Greece and the Hellenistic World
  • Session 4 Roman Republic and Empire
  • Session 5 The Byzantine Empire


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A manual for Iranian Studies

Paul, Ludwig (ed.). 2013. Handbuch der Iranistik. Wiesbaden: Ludwig Reichert Verlag.
This manual for Iranian Studies  presents a comprehensive survey of status and trends of current research in the filed of Iranian Studies.  In 34 contributions, the most important disciplines of the field, namely history, literature, religion and language were examined by 33 authors on almost 500 pages. It comprised both the current state of Iran as well as  the Iranian cultural sphere in its geographic breadth and historical depth, from Anatolia to Central Asia and from the early history (7th millennium BC) Until today. The manual aims to provide a methodical presentation of research developments and tries to answer the questions such as: what research questions are fresh and interesting? why and in which research contexts they are important?
All contributions of the manual are divided into three sections A, B and C.  The section A guides the reader through fundamental and self-reflexive methodological considerations to approach the subject. The section B provides a research overview, and the section C gives an alphabetical bibliography on each subject.

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