Following on a number of individual descriptions of the phonology and morphology of the languages Middle Persian and Parthian and an attempt to place aspects of the syntax of both languages side-by-side, the Grammatik des Westmitteliranischen (Parthisch und Mittelpersisch) [Grammar of Western Middle Iranian (Parthian and Middle Persian)] is the first attempt to describe all areas of the two languages Middle Persian and Parthian together in a meaningful and balanced way. After an overview of the extant material, the scripts used for these languages are described. Chapters on phonology, morphology and syntax follow. The common history of these neighbouring and closely related languages during about a thousand years means that it is very useful to deal with them together, because in the epigraphical testimonies of the 3rd century and in the Manichaean material from Turfan on the Silk Road (9th and 10th-century copies of originals from the 3rd up to the 7th century) these languages are attested together and with interaction. These source groups offer an excellent and very reliable basis for the description. Literary, mostly Zoroastrian, Middle Persian from the Sasanian Empire and era was also consulted; but not the “scholastic” Zoroastrian literature of the 9th century which follows its own rules. The depiction is well-organized, the quotations are clearly marked for language. In the extensive chapter on syntax the quotations are presented in a clear transcription; the originals (in transliteration) are given in a separate listing and are made accessible by an index. Scholars and students of Iranian linguistic, cultural and religious history, Manichaeologists, those interested in Central Asia and Indoeuropeanists will consult this book.
Ferrer-Losilla, Juanjo. 2014. Final -y in Non-Manichaean Parthian and the Proto-Parthian ‘rhytmic law’ (Cahiers de Studia Iranica 52). Peeters Publishers.
This work traces the uses of the co-called “final -y” in Inscriptional Parthian, and provides the distributional rules that govern its presence or absence in certain words. Following the introduction, the bulk of this study consists of three main headings involving, firstly, the presentation of the Aramaeographic forms and the words outside the nominal inflexion, secondly, the classification of the nominal forms in connection with the final -y and, finally, a feasible history of the Parthian nominal inflection.
Gregoratti, Leonardo. 2015. Palmyra: trade families, city and territory through the epigraphic sources. In Giorgio Affanni, Cristina Baccarin, Laura Cordera, Angelo Di Michele & Katia Gavagnin (eds.), Broadening Horizons 4, Conference of young researchers working in the Ancient Near East, Egypt and Central Asia, University of Torino, October 2011 (British Archaeological Reports International Series 2698), 55–59 . Oxford: Archaeopress.
Gregoratti, Leonardo. 2015. In the land West of the Euphrates: The Parthians in the Roman Empire. In Pietro Maria Militello & Hakan Öniz (eds.), Proceedings of the 15th symposium on Mediterranean archaeology, held at the University of Catania 3–5 March 2011, vol. II (British Archaeological Reports International Series 2695), 731–735. Oxford: Archaeopress.
Olbrycht, Mark Jan. 2014. Parthians, Greek culture, and beyond. In Twardowska, Kamilla, Maciej Salamon, Sławomir Sprawski, Michał Stachura & Stanisław Turlej (eds.), Within the circle of ancient ideas and virtues. Studies in honour of Professor Maria Dzielska, 129–142. Kraków.
The Greeks living east of the Euphrates beParthians, Greek Culture, and Beyond, in: Within the Circle of Ancient Ideas and Virtues. Studies in Honour of Professor Maria Dzielska”, eds. K. Twardowska, m. Salamon, S. Sprawski, M. Stachura, S. Turlej, Kraków 2014, 129-142.came an important component of the population of the Arsacid Empire, but they were certainly not its dominant part. At the same time the Parthians appreciated the vivacity of the Greek culture and many of them were its avid enthusiasts. The Arsacids were superbly adroit in combining the preservation of the main components of the Iranian and nomadic culture that made up the core of their ethos with the political pragmatism which may be observed in their pro‑Hellenic propaganda.
Read the article here.
The last day of 2014 is busier than most other days on this blog:
Olbrycht, Marek Jan. 2014. The genealogy of Artabanos II (AD 8/9–39/40), King of Parthia. Miscellanea Anthropologica et Sociologica 15(3). 92–97.
One of the most controversial issues in the Parthian history of the early 1st century AD is the lineage of Artabanos II. The resolution of this problem determines the image of Parthian history in the 1st century AD, moulded to a large extent by an internecine struggle for the legitimation of rival parties’ claim to power.
Read it here.
Durkin-Meisterernst, Desmond (ed.). 2014. Miscellaneous hymns: Middle Persian and Parthian hymns in the Turfan Collection (Berliner Turfantexte 31). Brepols Publishers.
This is an edition of a large number of fragments of Middle Persian and Parthian Manichaean hymns in the Berlin Turfan Collection. M. Boyce in the register of her 1960 Catalogue of the Iranian Manuscripts in Manichaean script in the German Turfan Collection identified fragments of hymns ‘to the Third Messenger’ (group 44); ‘Parthian hymns written in couplets, unclassified’ (group 58) and ‘Hymns, unclassified, including poems’ (group 81). Though some of these fragments have been published in the meantime and others are very small, this yields more than 250 previously unpublished fragments, many of considerable size. The fragments are presented in diplomatic edition together with a transcription and translation into English. Since most of the hymns are abecedarian they are presented as far as possible in strophic form. An extensive introduction, notes, a complete glossary and facsimiles of joined fragments accompany the edition.
For more information, see the publisher’s website.
Pourshariati, Parvaneh. 2013. The ethics and praxis of Mehr and Mithras and the social institution of the ʿayyārs in the epic romance of Samak-e ʿayyār*. Journal of Persianate Studies 6. 15–38.
Giving a very brief and introductory summary of the many avatars of the Iranian god, Mithra, throughout Eurasia, as well as the primordial functions of the god, this article proceeds to discuss the Iranian Mithraic world-view, as seen in the ethics and practices of the “chivalrous” brother-hoods and sisterhoods of the ʿayyārs. Through a preliminary examination of the Parthian epic romance of Samak-e ʿayyār, we shall argue here that this literary epic provides us with a fascinating template for decoding not only; 1) the ethics, “ideal” social mores and praxes and the ideo-logical super-structures of the “chivalrous” brotherhood, or ʿayyars, of Iran, but also; 2) what was in effect the ethics of Mithraic brotherhoods and sisterhoods of the Iranian world.
Read the article here.
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Wójcikowski, Robert S. 2013. The graffito from Dura-Europos: Hybrid armor in Parthian-Sasanian Iran. Anabasis 4. 233–248.
Read the article here. Abstract:
The graffito from Dura-Europos depicting a heavily armored cavalryman is one of the most important sources used to reconstruct the armament of Iranian cavalry units seen in the middle of the third century A.D. The graffito presents a hybrid cuirass that is composed of mail and lamellas. It was probably originally an Iranian construction. The use of hybrid armor should be connected with the process of the adaptation of mail in the Parthian empire and then adjusting this new type of body armor to the realities of cavalry combat. The new hybrid cuirass served its purpose well. It not only survived the Parthian era but also the Arabic conquest of Sasanian Iran in the middle of the seventh century A.D., which is evidently demonstrated by the fact that it was present in the military equipment of Muslim armies in the 16th and 17th centuries A.D.