The Correspondence of Assurbanipal, Part II

Frame, Grant & Simo Parpola. 2023. The Correspondence of Assurbanipal, Part II Letters from Southern Babylonia (State Archives of Assyria 22). Helsinki: Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project.

The present volume completes the critical edition of the political correspondence of Assurbanipal, the first part of which was published in SAA 21. The 163 letters edited here were sent from southern Mesopotamia and Elam, mostly by governors or other high-ranking local administrators and military commanders; almost all are addressed to the Assyrian king, although a few nonroyal letters are also included. As in SAA 21, the bulk of the correspondence dates from the civil war between Assurbanipal and Šamaš-šumu-ukin and provides dramatic eyewitness evidence of this turbulent time.


Neo-Elamite Grain Procurement

Gorris, Elynn. 2023. “Don’t Let the Boats Pass!” Neo-Elamite Grain Procurement in Times of Famine and Drought. Iranian Studies 56(3), 439-456.

This article is concerned with interregional trade dynamics between Elam and Mesopotamia in the early to mid-first millennium BC. During the seventh century BC, two great famines in the Neo-Elamite kingdom, of which climatological changes were a major cause, were documented in the textual records. An era of megadrought made grain procurement from the neighboring regions essential to feed the Neo-Elamite lowland population. This article further explores the impact of the two Neo-Elamite famines and “drought of the century” on the commercial and political mechanisms in the Upper Persian Gulf region.


Iran, Volume 61, Issue 1 (2023)

The table of contents of the latest issue (61/1) of the journal Iran:

  • Ali Khayani & Kamal Aldin Niknami: More Early Bronze Age Seal Impressions from Chogha Maran, Western Central Zagros
  • Yasmina Wicks: Probing the Margins in Search of Elamite Children
  • Davide Salaris: The Equestrian Relief of Hung-e Azhdar: A Historical Memory for the Dynastic Lineages of Elymais
  • Esmaeil Sharahi, Hossein Sedighian & Meisam Nikzad: Excavation at Tahyaq – A Subterranean Rock-Cut Architecture Complex in Khomein, Markazi Province, Iran
  • Saeed Amirhajloo & Hossein Sedighian: Recent Archaeological Research in South Iran: Excavation at the Old City of Sirjan (The Site of Qal’eh Sang)
  • Marc Czarnuszewicz: Challenging Narratives of “Missionary” Ismaʿilism in Buyid Iran: Reconsidering the Sira of al-Muʾayyad fī al-Din al-Shirazi through Socio-economic Contextualisation
  • Denis Hermann & Fabrizio Speziale: Scientific Knowledge and Religious Milieu in Qajar Iran: Negotiating Muslim and European Renaissance Medicine in the Subtleties of Healing
  • Kioumars Ghereghlou: A Forgotten Money Heist: The 1746 Mission of Nadir Shah’s Chief Merchant in Russia Revisited

Susa and Elam II

Tavernier, Jan, Elynn Gorris & Katrien De Graef (eds.). 2023. Susa and Elam II: History, language, religion and culture (MDP 59). Leiden: Brill.

Susa and Elam II: History, Language, Religion and Culture presents 16 contributions on various topics, all related to the history of Susa and Elam, both situated in the southwest of modern-day Iran. More specifically, the volume is the proceedings of an international conference held at the Université catholique de Louvain (Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium) from 6 to 9 July 2015. There are four main sections (history, language, religion, and culture) containing articles by Belgian and internationally renowned researchers, as well as some young scholars, specialized in Susian and Elamite studies. The contributions cover various themes such as royal names, diplomatic history, Elamite weights, and socio-environmental history among others.


An Elamite Duck Weight

Wicks, Yasmina & Javier Álvarez-Mon. 2022. An Elamite Duck Weight in the Susa Museum: New evidence for the Behbahan Plain in the late seventh/early sixth century BCE. Arta 2022.004.

Arjan duck-shaped weight, Susa Museum. Photographs kindly provided by: [a, b, d] Ehsan Yaghmaie and [c, e, f] Loghman Ahmadzadeh, courtesy of the Susa World Heritage Base.

The importance of the Behbahan plain within the political framework of Elam was assured by its geographic position as a crossroads of routes connecting Susiana, Fars, and the Persian Gulf. However, the only archaeological cited for this view remains the elite late seventh/early sixth century BCE tomb unearthed near Arjan during the damming of the Marun river in 1982. Another find from the area that adds evidence for the role of the plain at this time is an inscribed limestone duck weight in the Susa Museum, recently published erroneously as coming from Susa. This paper corrects the provenience of the weight, clarifies its date, describes its iconography and manufacture, and contemplates its significance for evaluating the history of the Behbahan plain and the pre-Achaemenid Elamite administration.


Making Peace in the Ancient World

Lanfranchi, Giovanni B., Simonetta Ponchia and Robert Rollinger (eds.). 2022. Making Peace in the Ancient World: Proceedings of the 7th Melammu Workshop, Padova, 5–7 November 2018 (Melammu Workshops and Monographs 5). Münster: Zaphon.

Table of Contents

Giovanni B. Lanfranchi / Simonetta Ponchia / Robert Rollinger: Introduction

Antonio Daniele: Saluto dell’Accademia Galileiana di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti in Padova

I Key Note Lectures

Paolo Matthiae: The Destruction of Cultural Heritage in Syria and Iraq and the Perspective of a Rebirth

Marc Van De Mieroop: Making Peace in the Ancient Near East

Kurt A. Raaflaub: Making and Experiencing Peace in the Ancient World

II Ancient Near East and Egypt

Manfred Bietak: The Antagonism between Animosity and Peace-making in Ancient Egypt: Between Ideology and Practical Foreign Policy: An Extended Synopsis

Seth Richardson: Raiders, Neighbours, and Night-time: “Hybrid Peace” in Babylonia

Stefano de Martino: Making Peace in the Hittite Kingdom

Salvatore Gaspa: Making Peace in the Ancient Near East of the First Millennium BCE: The Case of the Assyrian Empire

Martti Nissinen: Peace and Peacemaking in the Hebrew Bible

Ann C. Gunter: Commemorating the End of Conflict in the Ancient Near East: Material Perspectives

Matthew Waters: Peace in Pieces: Making Peace in Elam

Josef Wiesehöfer: Peace and Views of Peace in Achaemenid Iran

III The Mediterranean Worlds and Beyond

Christoph Schäfer: Making Peace in the Hellenistic World

Wolfgang Spickermann: Problems of Making Peace in the Roman Republic: The Case of Appius Claudius Caecus and King Pyrrhus

Sven Günther: Frames of Making Peace and Treaties in the Roman Empire

Umberto Roberto: Making Peace with the Goths and the Burial of Athanaric in Constantinople (January 381): A Note on Jordanes, Getica 28, 142–145

Johannes Preiser-Kapeller: Many Eyes of the World? Making Peace between Byzantium and Other Empires, 600–1200 CE



The Decipherment of Linear Elamite Writing

Desset, François, Kambiz Tabibzadeh, Matthieu Kervran, Gian Pietro Basello & Gianni Marchesi. 2022. The Decipherment of Linear Elamite Writing. Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und vorderasiatische Archäologie 112 (1), 11-60.

Linear Elamite writing was used in southern Iran in the late 3rd/early 2nd millennium BCE (ca. 2300–1880 BCE). First discovered during the French excavations at Susa from 1903 onwards, it has so far resisted decipherment. The publication of eight inscribed silver beakers in 2018 provided the materials and the starting point for a new attempt; its results are presented in this paper. A full description and analysis of Linear Elamite of writing, employed for recording the Elamite language, is given here for the first time, together with a discussion of Elamite phonology and the biscriptualism that characterizes this language in its earliest documented phase.


Chogha Zanbil // چغازنبیل

مفیدی نصرآبادی، بهزاد. ۱۴۰۰. چغازنبیل: بافت شهری و جنبه‌های معماری در ایلام باستان. تهران: انتشارات دکتر محمود افشار.

Mofidi Nasrabadi, Behzad. 2022. Chogh Zanbil: Bāft-e shahrī va janbah-hā-ye meʻmārī dar Īlām-e bāstān [Chogha Zanbil: The Urban Environment and Architectural Features in Ancient Elam]. Tehran: Dr. Mahmoud Afshar Publication.

کتاب چغازنبیل: بافت شهری و جنبه‌های معماری در ایلام باستان شرح مفصلی از ساختار بناها در چغازنبیل از جمله زیگورات، معابد خدایان گوناگون، کاخ‌ها و دیگر فضاهای موجود در این محوطه را به دست می‌دهد. این اثر که پژوهش‌های پیشین نویسنده در این خصوص به زبان آلمانی را گرد آورده و آنها را به زبان فارسی ارائه می‌دهد، ملاحظاتی مفید نحوه سکونت و اقتصاد شهری و همچنین طراحی و برآورد حجم کارهای ساختمانی اجراشده را نیز شامل می‌شود. علاوه بر آن، زمینه‌های تاریخی، جغرافیایی و آیینی شکل‌گیری فضای شهری در چغازنبیل نیز به طرز مبسوطی به بحث گذاشته شده است. کتاب حاضر از حیث ارائه تصویری کامل از موضوع مورد بحث حائز اهمیت است.


Three Women from Elam

Rafiei-Alavi, Babak, Faranak Bahrololoumi & Sabine Klein. 2022. Three women from Elam: A revision of the Haft Tappeh metal plaque. BASOR 387, 171-180.

Top: new drawing of the metal plaque of Haft Tappeh, bottom: old drawing. (Drawings by B. Rafiei-Alavi, bottom drawing after Negahban 1991: Ill. 4)

The metal plaque of Haft Tappeh was found more than 60 years ago, and except for a few scenes on terracotta plaques and cylinder seals from both Elam and Mesopotamia with similar but not identical settings, it still has no known parallels in metal and remains a unique example of Elamite art. The present article is a study of this object from the heartland of the Elamite kingdom in the Khuzestan Plain. It revisits the scenic plaque and attempts to correct some of the misunderstandings regarding the identification of its iconography and symbology based on new photos, X-ray images, and lab analysis. The article also tries to place the plaque in its proper spatial and temporal context, using comparative methods and chemical and isotope analysis.


Power and Politics in the Neo-Elamite Kingdom

Gorris, Elynn. 2020. Power and Politics in the Neo-Elamite Kingdom (Acta Iranica, 60). Leuven: Peeters.

Power and Politics in the Neo-Elamite Kingdom (c. 1100-520 BC) documents one of the most obscure episodes in the political history of ancient southwestern Iran. Elam’s strategic position between the Mesopotamian alluvial plain, the Persian Gulf and the Iranian highlands made it a target for territorial expansion of the Neo-Assyrian empire. However, the ability of the Neo-Elamite kings to engage in a political alliance with the Neo-Babylonian kingdom, the flexibility of the Neo-Elamite government system and the dynamics between the various ethnic and social groups living within the multiple valleys of Elam protected the Elamite heartland for centuries against the continuous military threat. Elam became an indisputable partner in an inter-regional network of Mesopotamian states until the emergence of the Persian empire reshaped the political landscape of the Ancient Near East.

By re-evaluating the dynastic lineage of Neo-Elamite kings, the geopolitical power of the Neo-Elamite kingdom and the (trans-)formation the Elamite government system in the 1st millennium BC through written and archaeological evidence, this book aims to improve our understanding of the last centuries of Elam.