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A Universal History from the Late Sasanian Empire

Häberl, Charles G. 2022. The book of kings and the explanations of this world. A universal history from the late Sasanian Empire. Liverpool University Press.

The Mandaeans of Iraq and Iran are adherents of the last surviving Gnostic tradition from the period of Late Antiquity, and the Book of Kings is the capstone to one of their most sacred scriptures. A universal history in four parts, it concisely outlines the entire 480,000 year span of the material world, from its creation to its destruction in the maw of the great Leviathan, with details including a succession of antediluvian cataclysms that have previously wiped out all human life, the reigns of the kings who have reigned over humanity and are still yet to reign, a lament on the end of pagan antiquity under the reign of the Arabs, and the apocalyptic drama attending those who have the misfortune to live at the end of the world era. For the first time ever, this work appears in English in its entirety, complete and unabridged, and directly translated from original Mandaic manuscripts, with the events mentioned within it coordinated with our calendar. It also includes an extensive commentary illustrating its relationship to contemporary historical writing and with the sacred literature of Zoroastrians, Jews, Christians, Muslims, and other neighbouring religious communities living under Sasanian rule.

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A Companion to Procopius of Caesarea

Meier, Mischa & Federico Montinaro (eds.). 2021. A companion to Procopius of Caesarea (Brill’s Companions to the Byzantine World 11). Leiden: Brill.

This volume offers an extensive introduction to 6th-century Byzantine historian Procopius of Caesarea, widely regarded as one of the last great historians of Antiquity. Procopius’ monumental oeuvre is our main contemporary source for an array of highly significant historical developments during the reign of Justinian I (527-565), ranging from warfare with Persia in the East and the reconquest of large parts of the Western Empire from the Goths and Vandals to aspects of social and economic history.

From the publisher website

Henning Börm has made the uncorrected proof of his article, Procopius and the East, available.

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Books Journal

Sometimes Sasanian, Always Ēr

Gyselen, Rika (ed.). 2022. Sometimes Sasanian, Always Ēr (Res Orientales 29). Bures-sur-Yvette: Groupe pour l’Étude de la Civilisation du Moyen-Orient.

Volume 29 of the Res Orientales, edited by Rika Gyselen is now published. The preface to this volume is available online here.

Table of Contents:

Rika Gyselen: “Un objet insolite avec une inscription moyen-perse”

Mateusz M. P. Klagisz: “Bābāye Dehqān in Central Asian ethnography , and the literary and iconographic motif of the ploughman with two oxen in Sasanian times”

Yousef Moradi an d Almut Hintze: “The main administrative seal of the sanctuary of A.dur Gusnasp and some other sealings from Takt-e Solayman”

L’archive du Tabarestan (VIII° siècle de notre ère)

Dieter Weber: “Pahlavi Legal Documents from Tabarestan: The Documents Tab.16, 19, 20, 22bis and 25: A Philological Approach”

Maria Macuch: “Pahlavi Legal Docun1ents from Tabarestan: The Juristic Context of Tab.16, 19, 20, 22bis and 25”

Maria Macuch: “Pahlavi Legal Documents from Tabarestan: The Juristic Context of Tab.12 and 26”

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Books Journal

Sasanian Studies: Late Antique Iranian World

Farridnejad, Shervin & Touraj Daryaee (eds.). 2022. Sasanian studies: Late antique Iranian world | Sasanidische Studien: Spätantike iranische Welt. Vol. 1. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.

The first issue of the Sasanian Studies: Late Antique Iranian World is now published. The Sasanian Studies is a refereed journal that publishes papers on any aspect of the Sasanian Empire and ist neighboring late antiquity civilizations. The journal welcomes essays on archaeology, art history, epigraphy, history, numismatics, religion and any other disciplines which focuses on the Sasanian world. This annual publication focuses especially on recent discoveries in the field, historiographical studies, as well as editions and translations of texts and inscriptions. We aim to facilitate dialogue and contact among scholars of Sasanian Studies around the world.

Table of Contents (PDF):

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Articles Journal

Journal of the Canadian Society for Syriac Studies

Volume 21(1) of the Journal of the Canadian Society for Syriac Studies, published in 2021, has a number of articles related to Christianity and Sasanian Iran.

Jcsss 21 (2021) contains six articles that were presented online at the University of Ottawa, Department of Classics, on November 14, 2020. The symposium theme was the Christians within the Sassanian period. I am thankful to Professor Geof-frey Greatrex for leading this symposium in his Department and to George Amanatidis-Saadé for his great help in this symposium. I am also thankful to both of them for editing the papers published here. Two more papers were submitted by members of the CSSS, one on ancient bronze lamps and another, a note on Corpus Juris of Īshō‛-bokht.

From the Editor
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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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Articles Journal

Vostok (issue 5)

Issue 5 of Vostok (Oriens), published on 29.10.2021, has a couple of articles that relate to the Sasanian era, and others related to areas and eras covered by BiblioIranica:

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Constructions of Gender

Towers, Susanna. 2019. Constructions of gender in late antique Manichaean cosmological narrative (Studia Traditionis Theologiae 34).

Manichaeism emerged from Sasanian Persia in the third century CE and flourished in Persia, the Roman Empire, Central Asia and beyond until succumbing to persecution from rival faiths in the eighth to ninth century. Its founder, Mani, claimed to be the final embodiment of a series of prophets sent over time to expound divine wisdom.
This monograph explores the constructions of gender embedded in Mani’s colourful dualist cosmological narrative, in which a series of gendered divinities are in conflict with the demonic beings of the Kingdom of Darkness. The Jewish and Gnostic roots of Mani’s literary constructions of gender are examined in parallel with Sasanian societal expectations. Reconstructions of gender in subsequent Manichaean literature reflect the changing circumstances of the Manichaean community.
As the first major study of gender in Manichaean literature, this monograph draws upon established approaches to the study of gender in late antique religious literature, to present a portrait of a historically maligned and persecuted religious community.

Table of Contents

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Religion, Culture, and Politics in Pre-Islamic Iran

Lincoln, Bruce. 2021. Religion, culture, and politics in pre-Islamic Iran: collected essays (Ancient Iran Series 14). Leiden; Boston: Brill.

In Religion, Culture, and Politics in Pre-Islamic Iran, Bruce Lincoln offers a vast overview on different aspects of the Indo-Iranian, Zoroastrian and Pre-Islamic mythologies, religions and cultural issues. The book is organized in four sections according to the body of evidence they engage most directly: Avestan, Old Persian, Pahlavi, and Iranian materials in comparison with other data, including studies of myths, especially those with cosmogonic implications, ritual practices, cosmological constructions of space and time, points of intersection between religion, ethics, law, and politics, ideological aspects of scientific and medical theorizing, social organization and gender relations, and other diverse topics.

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Books

The Last Great War of Antiquity

Howard-Johnston, James. 2021. The last great war of antiquity. Oxford University Press.

The last and longest war of classical antiquity was fought in the early seventh century. It was ideologically charged and fought along the full length of the Persian-Roman frontier, drawing in all the available resources and great powers of the steppe world. The conflict raged on an unprecedented scale, and its end brought the classical phase of history to a close. Despite all this, it has left a conspicuous gap in the history of warfare. This book aims to finally fill that gap.
The war opened in summer 603 when Persian armies launched co-ordinated attacks across the Roman frontier. Twenty-five years later the fighting stopped after the final, forlorn counteroffensive thrusts of the Emperor Heraclius into the Persians’ Mesopotamian heartland. James Howard-Johnston pieces together the scattered and fragmentary evidence of this period to form a coherent story of the dramatic events, as well as an introduction to key players-Turks, Arabs, and Avars, as well as Persians and Romans- and a tour of the vast lands over which the fighting took place. The decisions and actions of individuals-particularly Heraclius, a general of rare talent-and the various immaterial factors affecting morale take centre stage, yet due attention is also given to the underlying structures in both belligerent empires and to the Middle East under Persian occupation in the 620s. The result is a solidly founded, critical history of a conflict of immense significance in the final episode of classical history.

OUP Website