Tag Archives: Sasanian History

Zoroastrian Dualism in Jewish, Christian, and Manichaean Perspective

Volume 96, issue 2 (2020) of Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses is dedicated to the subject of Zoroastrian dualism in Jewish, Christian, and Manichaean perspectives.

Table of Contents

  • Jan Dochhorn: Zu den religionsgeschichtilichen Hintergründen der jüdischen und christlichen Satanologie. Eine Antwort auf John J. Collins, zugleich Sondierungen zum Verhältnis zwischen der Zwei-Geister-Lehre in 1 Q S III,13-IV,26 und dualistischen Konzepten iranischer Herkunft.
  • Benjamin Gleede: More Zoroastrian than Zoroaster? The Problem of Zoroastrian Influence on Manichaeism Illustrated by a Version of the Manichaean Myth Preserved in Severus of Antioch, Titus of Bostra and Theodoret of Cyrus.
  • Nestor Kavvadas: Sasanian Creed or Byzantine Projection? The Zurvanite Myth and Theodore of Mopsuestia’s Contra Magos.
  • Alexander M. Schilling: Ahreman in Armenien. Untersuchungen zu den christlich-orientalischen Zurwān-Texten.
  • Fazel Pakzad: Deus filius temporis? Divine Derivations and the Nature of Zoroastrian Dualism

Pregnancy in Middle-Persian Zoroastrian Literature

Delaini, Paolo. 2019. Pregnancy in Middle-Persian Zoroastrian Literature: The Exchange of Knowledge between India, Iran, and Greece in Late Antiquity. In Costanza Gislon Dopfel, Alessandra Foscati & Charles Burnett (eds.), Pregnancy and Childbirth in the Premodern World, 29–51. Turnhout: Brepols Publishers.

In Late Antiquity Sasanian court patronage attracted philosophers, medical doctors, and teachers from the former Roman Empire. Contemporary observers noted that the court of the Sasanian King Xusraw I (AD 531–79) was a meeting place open to philosophical debates and to the diffusion of medical knowledge. According to tradition, King Xusraw welcomed the Greek philosopher Damascius and the ‘seven sages of Byzantium’ to his ancient capital of Ctesiphon at the time of their expulsion from Athens’s school of philosophy. It seems that this king was deeply interested in medicine; he invited and hosted numerous Byzantine doctors and financially supported Abraham of Beth Rabban, director of the influential Nisibis School, in his endeavour to build a hospital (xenodocheion).

Delaini offers in his article a cross-cultural analysis of pregnancy and childbirth traditions in Middle Persian Zoroastrian Literature.

The law code of Simeon, Bishop of Rev-Ardashir

Harrak, Amir (ed.). 2020. The law code of Simeon, Bishop of Rev-Ardashir (Texts from Christian Late Antiquity 57). Piscataway: Gorgias Press LLC.

The Law Code of Simeon of Rev-Ardashir, originally written in Persian, was translated into Syriac by an anonymous monk of Bēṭ-Qatrāyē. The Code’s author, possibly to be identified with a rebellious metropolitan mentioned in the letters of Patriarch Īšoʿ-yahb III (the early 7th cuntary), aims to clarify theoretical scriptural law, and to address family matters including inheritance and the role of slave. Presented in the form of questions and answers, the law book consists of 22 chapters and begins with some reflections on the sources of Christian law, for which the author gives priority to the tradition of the Fathers. The new edition is based on a single manuscript housed at the Vatican Library. This Law Code had been previously published by Sachau with German translation and noted and comments (1914). 

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Outline
  • Law of Moses
  • Acts of Synods
  • Code of Īšōʿ-yahb the Catholicos
  • Consensus
  • Equivalent Retaliation (lex talionis)
  • Manuscript
  • Previous Editions and Translations
  • Summary
  • Text and Translation
  • The apology of the One who was Asked by Him (=Bishop Simeon) to Translate this Book from Persian to Syriac
  • Forward of the Book: Justification (of Simeon) Addressed to the One Who Requested from Him to Put in Writing the Book
  • Chapter One: What Goal Does the Teaching of Our Lord Have, and Why He did not Lay Down Any Law Concerning Juridical Decisions?
  • Chapter Two: Why Do We Not Practice Law on the Basis of Mosaic Law?
  • (Chapter Three): Concerning the Origins of Past and Present Laws Practiced in the Church
  • Beginning of All Laws
  • Bibliography of Works Cited

Amir Harrak is full professor at the University of Toronto. His specialty is Aramaic and Syriac languages and literatures. His many publications deal with Syriac epigraphy, chronography, and cataloguing of manuscripts.

This book announcements is prepeared and written by Hossein Sheikh-Bostanabad (independent scholar).

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.

The Problem of Respect in Sasanid-Roman Relations

Maksymiuk, Katarzyna. 2018.The two eyes of the earth: The problem of respect in Sasanid-Roman relations. Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 58, 591–606.

The diplomatic exchanges of the two powers need not express mutual respect, as the language and the rituals used by one side need not have been interpreted by the other as intended.

The Military History of the Third Century Iran

Syvänne, Ilkka & Katarzyna Maksymiuk. 2018. The Military History of the Third Century Iran. Siedlce: Scientific Publishing House of Siedlce University of Natural Sciences and Humanities.

The book The Military History of the Third Century Iran is the result of several years of collaboration between the authors who undertake daily research on the history of pre-Islamic Iran. The present work is primarily addressed to students of history who acquire their first experiences in exploring the history of the Near East. We hope that it will help readers with a fascinating topic and will encourage them to continue their studies on ancient military.

ANABASIS. STUDIA CLASSICA ET ORIENTALIA Volume 8 (2017)

Volume eight of “Anabasis“, edited by Marek Jan Olbrycht is out now. Several papers and reviews of this issue are related to ancient Iran:

Continue reading ANABASIS. STUDIA CLASSICA ET ORIENTALIA Volume 8 (2017)

The Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity

Nicholson, Oliver (ed.). 2018. The Oxford dictionary of late antiquity. Oxford University Press.

The first comprehensive, multi-disciplinary reference work covering every aspect of history, culture, religion, and life in Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Near East (including the Persian Empire and Central Asia) between c. AD 250 to 750, the era now generally known as Late Antiquity. This period saw the re-establishment of the Roman Empire, its conversion to Christianity and its replacement in the West by Germanic kingdoms, the continuing Roman Empire in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Persian Sassanian Empire, and the rise of Islam.

Consisting of more than 1.5 million words, drawing on the latest scholarship, and written by more than 400 contributors, it bridges a significant period of history between those covered by the acclaimed Oxford Classical Dictionary and The Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages, and aims to establish itself as the essential reference companion to this period.

The so-called ‘Thronfolgerprägungen’ of Ardashīr I reconsidered

Shavarebi, Ehsan. 2017. The so-called ‘Thronfolgerprägungen’ of Ardashīr I reconsidered. In Maria Caccamo Caltabiano, et al (eds.), XV International Numismatic Congress Taormina 2015 Proceedings, Vol. 1, 627–630, Roma-Messina: Arbor Sapientiae Editore.

The Sasanian Navy revisited

Dmitriev, Vladimir. 2017. The Sasanian navy revisited: An unwritten chapter in Iran’s military history. International Journal of Maritime History 29(4), 727-737.

In modern historiography, Sasanian Iran is commonly perceived as a land power. However, various primary sources indicate that the Sasanian navy played an important role in the military efforts of the Persians in late antiquity. The Sasanian navy was established to ensure the external security of the Persian state by exerting control over the sea lanes in the Persian Gulf region, and based on the aspiration of the Sasanid authorities to enhance their military and political, as well as commercial, influence in the northern part of the Indian Ocean. The most dynamic phase of the Persian navy’s activities occurred during the reign of Khosrow Anushirwan (531–579 CE), when fleet operations enabled the Persians to conquer Yemen and there was an attempt to establish the navy in the Black Sea basin. The last phase of Sasanian naval activity took place during the Byzantine–Persian war of 602–628 CE. In this conflict, the Persian fleet initially achieved some success in the Mediterranean Sea, but eventually it was completely defeated by the more skillful Byzantine navy. The main areas of the Persian navy’s activities were the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea. The Sasanids’ attempts to establish fleets in the Black Sea in the 540s and Mediterranean in the 620s were ended by Byzantium. After the fall of the Sasanian Empire, Persian ships became part of the Arabian armed forces and for some time continued to participate in wars on the side of the Arabs, whose victories over the Byzantines were, to some extent, due to the naval experience of the Persians.