Categories
Articles Books

Canon of Ancient Iranian Art

Colburn, Henry. 2020. The canon of ancient Iranian art: From grand narratives to local perspectives. In Amy Gansell and Ann Shafer (eds.), Testing the canon of ancient Near Eastern art and archaeology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

The canon of ancient Iranian art coalesced during the heyday of archaeological research in Iran during the 1950s and 1960s. Scholars sought to reconcile both excavated material from a series of type sites and unexcavated objects, with a sequence of historical and cultural phases from Proto-Elamite to Sasanian. Consequently, the canon has some notable weaknesses. First, the term “Iranian” can refer to geography or people, either of which excludes important material. Second, the periodization of the canon relies on Mesopotamian and Mediterranean history, which is not always a good fit for Iran. Third, the use of style to assign material to these periods relies on the problematic assumption that multiple artistic styles cannot coexist at the same time and place. This chapter argues that it is useful to adopt an approach that focuses instead on individual sites or micro-regions, thus better reflecting the richness and diversity of ancient Iranian art.

Categories
Books

The Elamite World

Álvarez-Mon, Javier, Gian Pietro Basello & Yasmina Wicks (eds.). 2018. The Elamite World (Routledge Worlds). London: Routledge.

Amongst the civilizations to participate in the dynamic processes of contact and interchange that gave rise to complex societies in the ancient Near East, Elam has remained one of the most obscure, at times languishing in the background of scholarly inquiry. In recent years, however, an increasing body of academic publications have suggested that the legacy of Elam was more considerable and long-lasting than previously estimated.

The Elamite World assembles a group of forty international scholars to contribute their expertise to the production of a solid, lavishly illustrated, English language treatment of Elamite civilization, covering topics such as its physical setting, historical development, languages and people, material culture, art, science, religion and society. Also treated are the legacy of Elam in the Persian empire and its presence in the modern world.

This comprehensive and ambitious survey seeks for Elam, hardly a household name, a noteworthy place in our shared cultural heritage. It will be both a valuable introductory text for a general audience and a definitive reference source for students and academics.

Categories
Books

Women in the Ancient Near East

Stol, Marten. 2016. Women in the Ancient Near East. De Gruyter.

Women in the Ancient Near East offers a lucid account of the daily life of women in Mesopotamia from the third millennium BCE until the beginning of the Hellenistic period. The book systematically presents the lives of women emerging from the available cuneiform material and discusses modern scholarly opinion. Stol’s book is the first full-scale treatment of the history of women in the Ancient Near East.

Marten Stol is a professor at the Free University, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

This is an open access publication. The volume is available from the above link.

Categories
Books

The Star of Bethlehem and the Magi

Barthel, Peter & George van Kooten (eds.). 2015. The star of Bethlehem and the Magi. Interdisciplinary perspectives from experts on the ancient Near East, the Greco-Roman world, and modern astronomy (Themes in Biblical Narrative 19). Leiden: Brill.

This book is the fruit of the first ever interdisciplinary international scientific conference on Matthew’s story of the Star of Bethlehem and the Magi, held in 2014 at the University of Groningen, and attended by world-leading specialists in all relevant fields: modern astronomy, the ancient near-eastern and Greco-Roman worlds, the history of science, and religion. The scholarly discussions and the exchange of the interdisciplinary views proved to be immensely fruitful and resulted in the present book. Its twenty chapters describe the various aspects of The Star: the history of its interpretation, ancient near-eastern astronomy and astrology and the Magi, astrology in the Greco-Roman and the Jewish worlds, and the early Christian world – at a generally accessible level. An epilogue summarizes the fact-fiction balance of the most famous star which has ever shone.

Table of contents

Categories
Books

History and Culture of the Ancient Near East

DiwanBinder, Carsten, Henning Börm & Andreas Luther (eds.). 2016. Diwan. Untersuchungen zu Geschichte und Kultur des Nahen Ostens und des östlichen Mittelmeerraumes im Altertum. Festschrift für Josef Wiesehöfer zum 65. Geburtstag. Duisburg: Wellem Verlag.

This volume presents a collection of 32 articles contributed by historians, numismatists and scholar of Ancient Near East history and historiography in celebration of Josef Wiesehöfer 65th birthday.

Table of Contents:
Categories
Books

Military Operations of Rome and Sasanian Iran

Katarzyna Maksymiuk 2015Maksymiuk, Katarzyna. Geography of Roman-Iranian Wars. Military Operations of Rome and Sasanian Iran. Siedlce: Instytut Historii i Stosunków Międzynarodowych Uniwersytetu Przyrodniczo-Humanistycznego w Siedlcach, 2015.
Until the second half of the second century AD the border between Rome and Iran was marked by the Euphrates, with Mesopotamia regarded as an integral part of the Parthian state. In 224 AD the power in Iran was taken over by the Sasanians, who sought to regain influence over the territory previously ruled by the Parthians. The change of the dynasty in Iran was perceived as a threat to the position of Rome in the Near East. It has result a series of conflicts resumed shortly after the overthrow of Parthian rule and Ardašīr I’s foundation of the Sassanid Empire, known as Roman–Sasanian Wars.
This book is an expanded english translation of the in 2012 published original Geografia wojen rzymsko-irańskich. Działania Rzymu i Iranu w okresie sasanidzkim in Polish. The present work is primarily addressed to students and scholars of history. It presents a valuable collection of designing maps depicting topography of Roman-Iranian armed conflicts. The maps have been created on the basis of source texts reporting wars waged by Rome against the Sasanian Iran and only the towns and provinces which were mentioned by ancient writers while reporting specific conflicts have been marked. Moreover, the present work contains only maps of military operations in which Roman and Iranian armies directly participated.