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Books

Culinary and Dining Practices in the Greater Iranian World

Farridnejad, Shervin, and Touraj Daryaee (eds). 2022. Food for gods, food for mortals. Culinary and dining practices in the greater Iranian world. University of California, Irvine.

Preparing, serving, and consuming food can be political, as it was arranged in the royal banquet of the great kings. It could also be considered as a ritual, both in the frame of the greater ritual practices in the banquets for the gods, as well as according to a set of family costumes and gestures, which endures from one generation to the next. All these aspects have been one of the major human’s activates during the history of the civilizations and have fascinated the scholars to investigate and decode the culinary customs of the peoples during the history. The contributions of this volume present a small collection of writings, which put focus on various aspects of culinary and dining practices in the Greater Iranian World from the ancient period to the contemporary religious feast of Sufi Orders in the Balkans. They aim to overview the recent developments in the field and discuss selected aspects of the rich variety of culinary practices.

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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

Faster than the Arrow of Ārash: the Long Journey of the Narratives in Iran

Norozi, Nahid (ed.). 2021. Come la freccia di Ārash: il lungo viaggio della narrazione in Iran : forme e motivi dalle origini all’epoca contemporanea (atti del V CoBIran, 22-23 ottobre 2020) (Indo-iranica et orientalia). Milano: Mimesis Edizioni.

The narrative in the multi-millennial Iranian culture has taken many forms in prose and verse and, just as the famous arrow of the Iranian hero-archer Ārash – which according to the myth covered an unusual space flying from the Alborz mountains south of the Caspian Sea to Marv in Central Asia – comes to us miraculously traveling beyond all boundaries in space and time, because the word is “faster in traveling than the arrow of Ārash”. The present volume contains the articles, presented at the “V Convegno Bolognese diIranistica (V CoBIran)” dedicated to “Forms and motives of narration in Iran, from the origins to the contemporary era”.

Table of Contents

1. Aliasghar Mohammadkhani: “Excursus sulla narratologia in Iran”

2. Antonio Clemente Domenico Panaino: “Ǝrəxša’s Death or Self-sacrifice: The Ancient Iranian Saga of the Archer”

3. Ezio Albrile: “Guerre tra Angeli e Demoni. Le origini dello gnosticismo tra Babilonia e Iran”

4. Paolo Ognibene: “L’iscrizione di Dario a Bīsutūn: al di l. dell’interpretazione storico-filologica”

5. Andrea Piras: “La luna di Mani e la luna di al-Moqannaʿ: miracoli carismatici e loro usi politici”

6. Gianfilippo Terribili: “Fabbricazione storiografica e definizione identitaria. La genesi della malvagia religione secondo i teologi zoroastriani (DkIII 227, 229, 288)”

7. Matteo Compareti: “Tipologie eroiche nell’arte narrativa sogdiana e nell’epica persiana: il caso di Rustam e di Isfandyār”

8. Simone Cristoforetti: “La storia del villaggio distrutto e poi riedificato nello Shāhnāma: un brano di polemistica antimazdakita?”

9. Francesco Omar Zamboni: ‘”Avicenna e l’allegoria filosofica – “Ḥayy ibn Yaqẓān”’

10. Nahid Norozi: “Il “Vis e Rāmin” di Gorgāni e il “Bahman-nāme” di Irānshāh: aspetti intertestuali anche in relazione con il “Khosrow e Shirin” di Neẓāmi”

11. Carlo Saccone: “Forme della narrazione dell’Altro nelle lettere persiane, da Ferdowsi a Sa‘di e Nasimi”

12. Hasan Zolfagari: “Analisi narratologica del racconto “La Fata Verde e la Fata Gialla”

13. Fabio Tiddia: “Il motivo “qalandar” nella letteratura mistica persiana”

14. Maurizio Silvio Pistoso: “Guerre del Golfo in salsa safavide. I poemetti persiani dell’enigmatico “Qadri”

15. Stefano Pellò: “Atmosfere indo-persiane: cumulonembi, bolle e avatāra monsonici in Mīrzā ‘Abd al-Qādir Bīdil (1644-1720) e nella sua scuola”

16. Bianca Maria Filippini: “La “spaventosa Tehr.n”: alcune riflessioni sulla rappresentazione della citt. come metafora delle derive della modernit. in Iran”

17. Adone Brandalise: “Sguardo e narrazione nel cinema iraniano”

18. Faezeh Mardani: “Recente letteratura persiana sulla “guerra imposta” con particolare riferimento a tre romanzi tradotti in italiano”

19. Anna Vanzan: “La fortuna di un testo. In margine alle traduzioni de Il Pesciolino Nero di Samad Behrangi”

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Books

Iran and its Histories

Daryaee, Touraj & Robert Rollinger (eds.). 2021. Iran and its histories. From the beginnings through the Achaemenid Empire (Classica et Orientalia 29). Wiesbaden: Harrossowitz.

Dealing with the “history” of Iran is a challenge for many reasons. “Iran” is a term with different meanings through the ages. Today, it refers to the boundaries of modern Iran, but historically and culturally it covers a much larger territory. The western term “Persia” exemplifies these uncertainties for it is used colloquially as a synonym for “Iran,” but can also refer to the Achaemenid, Arsacid or Sasanian Empires and later empires on the Iranian Plateau. Besides these geographical ambiguities there is also the “ethnic” and linguistic dimension of the term “Iran”. Iranian languages are a major branch of the Indo-European language family and people using these languages have played a decisive role in the history of “Iran” since the first millennium BCE. How should we situate the ‘autochthonous՚ civilizations on the plateau, such as those at Konar Sandal (Jiroft), Sialk in Kashan, or for that matter the region of Elam with its longue durée history and influence? So what does it mean when we talk about “Persia” and “Iran” from a historical point of view?

This volume brings together the contributions of the first and second Payravi conferences on Ancient Iranian History, held at the University of California Irvine in 2018 and 2019. The 16 contributions united in this volume tackle various problems of early Iranian history in many ways. They cover a wide range of time, from the Paleolithic to the end of the Achaemenid empire and Alexander III (“the Great”) and give vibrant insights into the dynamic processes of the history of Iran within the framework of the most recent results of scholarly research.

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Books

Afterlives of Ancient Rock-Cut Monuments in the Near East

Ben-Dov, Jonathan & Felipe Rojas (eds.). 2021. Afterlives of ancient rock-cut monuments in the Near East. Brill.

This book concerns the ancient rock-cut monuments carved throughout the Near East, paying particular attention to the fate of these monuments in the centuries after their initial production. As parts of the landscapes in which they were carved, they acquired new meanings in the cultural memory of the people living around them. The volume joins numerous recent studies on the reception of historical texts and artefacts, exploring the peculiar affordances of these long-lasting and often salient monuments. The volume gathers articles by archeologists, art historians, and philologists, covering the entire Near East, from Iran to Lebanon and from Turkey to Egypt. It also analyzes long-lasting textual traditions that aim to explain the origins and meaning of rock-cut monuments and other related carvings.

Three chapters of this volume deals specifically Ancient Iranian rock-cut monuments:

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Books

Safavid Persia in the Age of Empires

Melville, Charles (ed.). 2021. Safavid Persia in the Age of Empires (The Idea of Iran 10). Londn: I.B. Tauris.

The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries saw the establishment of the new Safavid regime in Iran. Along with reuniting the Persian lands under one rule, the Safavids initiated the radical transformation of the religious landscape by introducing Imami Shi’ism as the official state faith and in this as in other ways, laying the foundations of Iran’s modern identity.

In this book, leading scholars of Iranian history, culture and politics examine the meaning of the idea of Iran in the Safavid period by examining contemporary experiences of both insiders and outsiders, asking how modern scholarship defines the distinctive features of the age.

While sometimes viewed as a period of decline from the high points of classical Persian literature and the visual arts of preceding centuries, the chapters of this book demonstrate that the Safavid era was nevertheless a period of great literary and artistic activity in the realms of both secular and theological endeavour.

With the establishment of comparable polities across western, southern and central Asia at broadly the same time, the book explores some of the literary and political interactions with Iran’s Ottoman, Mughal and Uzbek neighbours. As the volume and frequency of European merchants and diplomats visiting Safavid Persia increased, especially in the seventeenth century, and as more Iranians recorded their own travel experiences to surrounding Muslim lands, the Safavid period is the first in which we can document and explore the contours of Iran’s place in an expanding world, and gain insights into how Iranians saw themselves and others saw them.

Table of contents
  • Ali Anooshahr: “The body politic and the rise of the Safavids”
  • Gregory Aldous: “The Qazvin period and the idea of the Safavids”
  • Colin Mitchell: “Man of the Pen, Pillar of the State: Hatem Beg Ordubadi and the Safavid Empire”
  • Rudi Matthee: “The Idea of Iran in the Safavid period. Dynastic pre-eminence and urban pride”
  • Sussan Babaie: “Safavid town-planning in the seventeenth-eighteenth centuries: From Farahabad (Mazandaran) to Farahabad (Isfahan)”
  • Willem Floor: “Commercial relations between Safavid Persia and Western Europe”
  • Aurelie Salesse-Chabrier: “From absolute prince to despot: the political representations of Safavid Iran in seventeenth-century France”
  • Maryam Ala Amjad: “The world is an oyster and Iran, the pearl. Representing Iran in Safavid Persian travel literature”
  • Sunil Sharma: “Local and transregional places in the works of Safavid men of letters”
  • Roy S. Fischel: “Shi’i rulers, Safavid alliance and the religio-political landscape of the Deccan”
  • Florian Schwarz: “The Safavids and the Ozbeks”
  • George Sanikidze: “Particularities of the Safavid policy towards Eastern Georgia”
  • Benedek Péri: “O Mohebbi! You have lit your lamp with Khosrow’s burning passion. Persian poetry as perceived by sixteenth-century Ottoman authors”
  • Frenec Csirkés: “Popular religiosity and vernacular Turkic: A Qizilbash catechism from Safavid Iran”
  • Andrew J. Newman: “Safavids and Shi’ism in the age of Sectarianism”
  • Sajjad Rizvi: “Practicing philosophy: Imagining Iran in the Safavid period”
  • Daniel J. Sheffield: “Universal harmony (sulh-i kull) and political theology in Safavid Iran”
  • Sheila R Canby: “Flora in Safavid paintings from Shah Tahmasp’s Shahnama
  • Negar Habibi: “From Khazana to audience. On the making of new art in the House of Shah Soleyman”
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Books

Handbook of Ancient Afro-Eurasian Economies

Reden, Sitta von (ed.). 2020. Handbook of ancient Afro-Eurasian economies. Volume 1: Contexts. Berlin: De Gruyter.

The notion of the “Silk Road” that the German geographer Ferdinand von Richthofen invented in the 19th century has lost attraction to scholars in light of large amounts of new evidence and new approaches. The handbook suggests new conceptual and methodological tools for researching ancient economic exchange in a global perspective with a strong focus on recent debates on the nature of pre-modern empires.The interdisciplinary team of Chinese, Indian and Graeco-Roman historians, archaeologists and anthropologists that has written this handbook compares different forms of economic development in agrarian and steppe regions in a period of accelerated empire formation during 300 BCE and 300 CE. It investigates inter-imperial zones and networks of exchange which were crucial for ancient Eurasian connections.Volume I provides a comparative history of the most important empires forming in Northern Africa, Europe and Asia between 300 BCE and 300 CE. It surveys a wide range of evidence that can be brought to bear on economic development in the these empires, and takes stock of the ways academic traditions have shaped different understandings of economic and imperial development as well as Silk-Road exchange in Russia, China, India and Western Graeco-Roman history.

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Books

Short-term Empires in World History

Rollinger,Robert, Julian Degen & Michael Gehler (eds.). 2020. Short-term empires in world history. Wiesbaden: Springer.

The volume will focus on a comparative level on a specific group of states that are commonly labelled as “empires” and that we encounter through all historical periods. Although they are very successful at the very beginning, like most empires are, this success is very ephemeral and transient. The era of conquest is never followed by a period of consolidation. Collapse and/or reduction to much smaller dimension run as fast as the process of wide-ranging conquest and expansion. The volume singles out a series of such “short-term empires” and aims to provide a methodologically clearly structured as well as a uniform and consistent approach by developing a general set of questions that guarantee the possibility to compare and distinguish. This way it intends to examine not only already well established empires but also to illuminate forgotten ones.

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Books

Music of a Thousand Years

Lucas, Ann. 2019. Music of a thousand years: A new history of Persian musical traditions. Oakland: University of California Press.

Iran’s particular system of traditional Persian art music has been long treated as the product of an ever-evolving, ancient Persian culture. In Music of a Thousand Years, Ann E. Lucas argues that this music is a modern phenomenon indelibly tied to changing notions of Iran’s national history. Rather than considering a single Persian music history, Lucas demonstrates cultural dissimilarity and discontinuity over time, bringing to light two different notions of music-making in relation to premodern and modern musical norms. An important corrective to the history of Persian music, Music of a Thousand Years is the first work to align understandings of Middle Eastern music history with current understandings of the region’s political history.

Source: Music of a Thousand Years by Ann E. Lucas | University of California Press

Ann E. Lucas is Assistant Professor of ethnomusicology in the Department of Music at Boston College, where she also teaches in the Islamic Civilizations and Societies Program. She is recognized for her work on music historiography of the Middle East.

A free open access ebook will be available upon publication of the book. Visit this link to find out more: www.luminosoa.org.

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Events

The Idea of Iran: The Safavid Era

The Idea of Iran: The Safavid Era

27 October 2018, Brunei Gallery, SOAS London

The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries saw the establishment of the new Safavid regime in Iran, heir not only to the succession of leadership of the Safavid sufi order, but also to the Aq Qoyunlu dispensation of western Iran and more remotely to the Timurid Empire in the East. Along with reuniting the Persian lands under one rule, the Safavids initiated the radical transformation of the religious landscape by introducing Imami Shi‘ism as the official state faith and in this as in other ways, laying the foundations of Iran’s modern identity. While sometimes viewed as a period of decline from the highpoints of classical Persian literature and the visual arts of preceding centuries, the Safavid era was nevertheless a period of great literary and artistic activity in the realms of both secular and theological endeavour. In addition, with the establishment of comparable polities in across western, southern and central Asia at broadly the same time, interactions with Ottoman, Mughal and Uzbek neighbours ensured fruitful interactions with other Muslim states also making the transition for the medieval to the modern world. Finally, European encounters with these worlds provide rich new layers of information and evidence of material and intellectual transmission.What does the Idea of Iran mean at this period? Can we discern the ways that contemporaries viewed their traditions and their environment (natural or built); what was the view of outsiders, and how does modern scholarship define the distinctive aspects of the period? These are some of the questions we hope to explore in the symposium dedicated to this rich and highly productive period that took Iran to the eve of modernity.Convened by Sarah Stewart, SOAS and Charles Melville, University of Cambridge.