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Events

The Arsacids

Payravi Conference on Ancient Iranian History IV: Contextualizing Iranian History: The Arsacids (ca. 250 BC – 224 AD)

Poster © Kourosh Beigpour

Payravi Conference on Ancient Iranian History IV: “Contextualizing Iranian History: The Arsacids” organized by Touraj Daryaee, Matthew Canepa, and Robert Rollinger, will take place Feb. 28-March 2, 2022 and focus on the archaeology, history, numismatics, and religions of the Arsacid Empire. The event will be held in-person at the University of California, Irvine’s Jordan Center for Persian Studies with several options to participate remotely, either through the livestream on the UCI Jordan Center for Persian Studies & Culture‘s FB page or through the webinar: https://bit.ly/UCIPayravi2022

Conference Program

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Books

Handbook of Ancient Afro-Eurasian Economies

Reden, Sitta von (ed.). 2021. Handbook of ancient Afro-Eurasian economies. Volume 2: Local, Regional, and Imperial Economies. Berlin: De Gruyter.

The second volume of the Handbook describes different extractive economies in the world regions that have been outlined in the first volume. A wide range of economic actors – from kings and armies to cities and producers – are discussed within different imperial settings as well as the tools, which enabled and constrained economic outcomes. A central focus are nodes of consumption that are visible in the archaeological and textual records of royal capitals, cities, religious centers, and armies that were stationed, in some cases permanently, in imperial frontier zones. Complementary to the multipolar concentrations of consumption are the fiscal-tributary structures of the empires vis-à-vis other institutions that had the capacity to extract, mobilize, and concentrate resources and wealth. Larger volumes of state-issued coinage in various metals show the new role of coinage in taxation, local economic activities, and social practices, even where textual evidence is absent. Given the overwhelming importance of agriculture, the volume also analyses forms of agrarian development, especially around cities and in imperial frontier zones. Special consideration is given to road- and water-management systems for which there is now sufficient archaeological and documentary evidence to enable cross-disciplinary comparative research.

This is an open-access volume. For information on the first volume, see here.

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Articles Online resources

Orodes II

Olbrycht, Marek. 2021. Orodes II. In Encyclopædia Iranica Online, edited by Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York.

ORODES II (r. 58/57-37 BCE), king of Parthia, son of Phraates III (r. 70-57 BCE), and father of Phraates IV (q.v.). During his reign, the empire of the Arsacids (q.v.) reached the zenith of its power and scored significant victories against Rome.

From the entry
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Journal

The Arsakid World (Anabasis, 10)

Volume 10 (2019) of Anabasis. Studia Classica et Orientalia is now out. This is a special volume, entitled “The Arsakid World: Studies on the History and Culture of Western and Central Asia” edited by Marek Jan Olbrycht and Jeffrey D. Lerner.

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Books

Parthian Coins and Culture

Curtis, Vesta Sarkhosh & Alexandra Magub. 2020. Rivalling Rome: Parthian coins and culture. London: Spink Books.

One hundred years after the conquest of the Persian Empire by Alexander of Macedon a new Iranian dynasty emerged that by 140 BC had extended its rule to Western Iran and Mesopotamia. The Arsacid Parthians, famous for their riding and archery skills, became Rome’s most dangerous enemies east of the River Euphrates. Encounters between Rome and Parthia are vividly described in classical accounts, but these are biased in their nature and, unfortunately, no equivalent sources are available from the Parthian side. Here, the most important primary source is the coinage of the period c. 248 BC – AD 224. 
These coins reveal important information about the development and expansion of the Parthian state, as well as the all-important role of the king, with the ancient Persian title King of Kings adopted under Mithradates II. Rome’s involvement in the region began during this reign and culminated in the devastating defeat of the Roman army under the general Crassus at the Battle of Carrhae in 53 BC. Over the next 300 years these superpowers fought for territorial control in the region, particularly over Mesopotamia and Armenia.

Spink Books website
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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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Journal

Parthica (VOL. 21)

Volume 21 of the journal “Parthica” (2019) contains several contributions of relevance to Iranian Studies.

Table of contents:

  • K. ABDULLAEV: Symbols associated with temples and altars in the Middle East and Iran
  • L. OVERTOOM: A Reconsideration of Mithridates II’s Early Reign: A “Savior” Restores the Eastern Frontier of the Parthian Empire
  • R. MENEGAZZI: Beyond terracotta: observations on the bone and stone figurines from Seleucia on the Tigris
  • E. PAPPALARDO, V. MESSINA: The Maenad and the muse connectivity and appropriation of models in Hellenizing Mesopotamia and Parthia. Two case-studies from Seleucia on the Tigris and Old Nisa
  • W. AL-SALIHI: Remarks on the plan of the Temple of the Triad at Hatra
  • C. LIPPOLIS: Le acque di Nisa – Mitridatocerta (Turkmenistan)
  • C. LIPPOLIS, M. MAMEDOV, J. BRUNO, G. PATRUCCO: Preliminary note on the 2019 archaeological campaign of the Italian-Turkmen archaeological expedition to Old Nisa (Turkmenistan)
  • E. PAPPALARDO Il viaggio del Centauro. Arcesilao e la circolazione di modelli fra oriente e occidente
  • Y. MORADI Epigraphical and iconographical analysis of a Parthian bas-relief from Javanroud, Western Iran (with a note on the inscription by Seiro Haruta)
  • S. STARK, D. MIRZAAKHMEDOV, F. KIDD, S. MIRZAAKHMEDOV: New finds of terracotta figurines from Western (Bukharan) Sogdiana
  • Y. MORADI, M. COMPARETI: A Sasanian figured relief plaque from Taq-e Bostan
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Books

Methods and models in ancient history

Mæhle, Ingvar, Per Bjarne Ravnå & Eivind Heldaas Seland (eds.). 2020. Methods and models in ancient history: Essays in honor of Jørgen Christian Meyer (Papers and Monographs from the Norwegian Institute at Athens 9). Athens: Norwegian Institute at Athens.

According to the institute, the publications of the Norwegian Institute at Athens are available on-line at the digital collection of the Bergen University Library. However, we have been unable to find a download link for the above volume. Please check the above website for updates.

Two papers of closer interest to scholars of Iranian Studies are available from the authors’ academia.edu pages:

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Books

Reign of Arrows

Overtoom, Nikolaus Leo. 2020. Reign of Arrows: The Rise of the Parthian Empire in the Hellenistic Middle East. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

From its origins as a minor nomadic tribe to its status as a major world empire, the rise of the Parthian state in the ancient world is nothing short of remarkable. In their early history, the Parthians benefitted from strong leadership, a flexible and accommodating cultural identity, and innovative military characteristics that allowed them to compete against and even overcome Greek, Persian, Central Asian, and eventually Roman rivals. Reign of Arrows provides the first comprehensive study, in almost a century, dedicated entirely to early Parthian history. Assimilating a wide array of especially recent scholarship across numerous fields of study, Nikolaus Overtoom presents the most cogent, well rounded, and up-to-date account of the Parthian empire in its wider context of Hellenistic history. It explains the political and military encounters that shaped the international environment of the Hellenistic Middle East from the middle third to the early first centuries BCE. This study combines traditional historical approaches, such as source criticism and the integration of material evidence, with the incorporation of modern international relations theory to better examine the emergence and expansion of Parthian power. Relevant to historians, classicists, political scientists, and general readers interested in the ancient world and military history, Reign of Arrows reimagines and reconstructs the rise of the Parthians within the hotly contested and dangerously competitive international environment of the Hellenistic world.

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Books

Making Mesopotamia: Geography and Empire in a Romano-Iranian Borderland

Cameron, Hamish. 2019. Making Mesopotamia: Geography and Empire in a Romano-Iranian Borderland (Impact of Empire, 32). Leiden: Brill.

In Making Mesopotamia: Geography and Empire in a Romano-Iranian Borderland, Hamish Cameron examines the representation of the Mesopotamian Borderland in the geographical writing of Strabo, Pliny the Elder, Claudius Ptolemy, the anonymous Expositio Totius Mundi, and Ammianus Marcellinus. This inter-imperial borderland between the Roman Empire and the Arsacid and Sasanid Empires provided fertile ground for Roman geographical writers to articulate their ideas about space, boundaries, and imperial power. By examining these geographical descriptions, Hamish Cameron shows how each author constructed an image of Mesopotamia in keeping with the goals and context of their own work, while collectively creating a vision of Mesopotamia as a borderland space of movement, inter-imperial tension, and global engagement.