Iranian Studies from Ravenna, vol. 4

Ognibene, Paolo, Antonio Panaino & Andrea Piras. 2023. Studi Iranici Ravennati IV. Milano; Udine: Mimesis.

The forth volume of the Studi Iranici Ravennati, a collection of research papers on Iranian studies edited by the scholars of Iranian Studies at the University of Bologna in Ravenna.

Table of Contents

  • Matteo Compareti: “The So-Called “Six Kings of theWorld” and Other “Iranian” Elements in Quṣayr ‘Amra Paintings”
  • Gábor Kósa: “Another Hymn scroll? Quotations from an Unknown Collection of Chinese Manichaean Hymns”
  • Richard Foltz: “Vaso Abaev and the Language Gap between the Russian and Western Iranological Traditions”
  • Angelica Gaspari: “Medipers. inscr. plky, Part. inscr. plk. Nuove considerazioni sul monumento sasanide di Pāikūlī”
  • Alberto Merzari: “The Religion of Lichtwesen: A Brief Note on a Controversial Reference to Zoroastrianism in the Phenomenology of Spirit by G.W.F. Hegel”
  • Antonio Panaino: “The Star of Bethlehem, the Great Conjunction, and the Revival of Preposterous Solutions”
  • Antonio Panaino: “A Brief Addendum to The Star of Bethlehem […]”
  • Jeffrey Kotyk: “The Birth of Christ and the Persian Gift Bearers in Medieval Chinese Sources”
  • Stefano Buscherini: “Jupiter and Saturn conjunctions in Abiosus’ Dialogus: demonstrations 3-14″
  • Lorenzo Salvio: “Il rapporto tra l’ideologia turanista e la cultura iranica”
  • Antonio Panaino: “The “Mysterious”Evaporation of the So-Called “Avestan People” and Their Language”
  • Paolo Ognibene: “Alla ricerca di lingue sconosciute, fiori e farfalle: l’altra faccia delle spedizioni militari russe in Asia Centrale e nel Caucaso”
  • Andrea Piras: “Artaserse I Longimanus: riflessi avestici negli epiteti dell’onomastica achemenide”
  • Luca Colliva, Emad Matin: “Land of Persepolis, il rapporto preliminare della Campagna 2019”
  • Aleksej L. Čibirov: “Harold Bailey: a Cherkesska for an English Knight”
  • Antonio Panaino: “Sacred Kingshipin Ancient Iran: The Symbolic Language of Royalty in Achaemenid and Sasanian Ideologies”
  • Maria Francesca Melloni: “Nomen omen: gli antroponimi teoforici Waxšu-dāta– e Waxšu-dāθra– nell’onomastica centro-asiatica”
  • Diana V. Sokaeva: “Сакральныеперсонажи и символы нартовского эпоса осетин: трансформация образов раннихэпох (Сырдон)”
  • Mariano Errichiello: “Reflections on liminality, authority and agency of the Zoroastrian death rituals”
  • Antonio Panaino: “L’idea di Sfera Celeste tra Oriente e Classicità. Sviluppi e annotazioni a completamento di uno studio precedente”
  • Riccardo Pane: “La natività e l’adorazione dei magi nel programma iconologico di tre croci dipietra armene”
  • Boris A. Kaloev: “Il rito della consacrazione del cavallopresso gli Osseti”
  • Adal’bert L. Kun: “Notizie sul popolo Yaghnobi”
  • Š. Akimbetev: “Studisul Kohistan”

The Avestan Priestly College and its Gods: The Indo-Iranian Origins of a Mimetic Tradition

Panaino, Antonio. 2022. Le collège sacerdotal avestique et ses dieux: Aux origines indo-iraniennes d’une tradition mimétique (Mythologica Indo-Iranica II) (Bibliothèque de l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes, Sciences Religieuses 195). Turnhout: Brepols.

In this monograph, the author proposes a general reflection on the metaphysics of the Zoroastrian priestly organization in the light of the Indo-Iranian context and starting from the preparation of the sacrifice and the installation of the seven assistant priests in the solemn Zoroastrian liturgy under the direction of their chief-priest, the zaōtar-. The relationship between priests and gods is analysed in the light of the symbolism endorsed by the priestly college, which is “activated” as a mimetic double of the divine world. Thus, names, functions and liturgical correspondences between the eight priests (seven plus the zaōtar-) and the college of Aməṣ̌a Spəṇtas headed by Ahura Mazdā himself (as zaōtar-) are discussed. On the other hand, the book analyses the functional correspondences of the activated priestly team in the Vedic field. The author also develops a discussion concerning the unbroken chain of sacrificial rituality as a structure of the cosmic and temporal order. Within this framework, he highlights the importance of the deinstallation or deactivation of the sacrificial college before the end of the Yasna in the long liturgy, a theme that is linked to the question of the reinstallation of another college in the unbroken chain of cosmic liturgy. This study also sheds light on the question of the purpose of the sacrifice and that of the bloody sacrifice. Finally, it proposes a return to Kerdīr through an analysis of the “vision” of the High Priest, this time explained as an esoteric liturgy of the encounter with the feminine double.

Table of Contents


Chapitre premier. — Préparation du sacrifice et installation des sept prêtres : témoignages avestiques


Chapitre II. — Noms et fonctions des sept prêtres assistants
2.1. Considérations sur la disposition des assistants lors des cérémonies longues
2.2. Appendice 1 : Nērangestān 54-59
2.3. Appendice 2 : Nērangestān 60-61
2.4. Appendice 3 : disposition des prêtres selon le Nērangestān et le Visprad
2.5. Appendice 4 : symbolique de l’andarag

Chapitre III. — Les prêtres avestiques : traditions récentes

Chapitre IV. — Composition du collège sacerdotal gāθique et avestique récent à la lumière de la comparaison indo-iranienne : dieux et prêtres

Chapitre V. — Le collège sacerdotal et les Aməṣ̌a Spəṇtas
5.1. Appendice 5 : les autres listes de prêtres
5.2. Appendice 6 : avestique kauui-


Chapitre VI. — La chaîne ininterrompue de la liturgie du sacrifice
6.1. Réflexions sur le signifié de l’avestique ratu-

Chapitre VII. — Encore Y. 58 : désinstallation ou désengagement du collège sacerdotal ?
7.1. Appendice 7 : remarques sur le prêtre pasuuāzah-


Chapitre VIII. — À propos de l’avestique ratu-, raθβiia-, du pehlevi rad, radīg, rāspīg et du moyen-perse épigraphique rehīg [lysyk]
8.1. Appendice 8 : les lysyk de Kerdīr

Chapitre IX. — Jouer avec les dieux, jouer comme un dieu : le prêtre sraōšāuuarəza



Studies on the History of Rationality in Ancient Iran. Vol. 2

König, Götz. 2022. Studien zur Rationalitätsgeschichte im älteren Iran. Band II (Iranica 28). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.

While the first volume of A History of Rationality in Ancient Iran aims both to determine the significance of ancient Iran within the framework of the theory of the Axial Age (German Achsenzeit) and to point to some of the basic figures of a history of rationality that can be recognised in the Iranian materials and still extends to the present day, the second volume shown here serves above all to extend this analysis of figures into thematic fields that are essential for the understanding of Iran.

In three sections – “Substance and Spirit”, “Explorations of the World. The Becoming of History”, “The Path to Truth” – a total of 16 texts are brought together which, on the one hand, outline basic constellations and concepts of thought, as they characterise the (older and younger) Avesta in particular, and, on the other hand, trace the movements which emanate from precisely these formations of thought.

The second volume is preceded, as it were, by a counterpoint to the discussion of the axial perspective in the first volume, by a critique of the historical-philosophical definition and classification of Iran and Zoroastrianism, as developed by Hegel in his various series of lectures and as it has since then sustainably guided the view of Iran in ancient studies.


The birth of the abestāg

Lecture by Arash Zeini: The birth of the abestāg from the spirit of philology. Please register online for Zoom participation.

زایش «اَبِستاگ» از روح فقه اللغة. سخنران: آرش زینی. برای شرکت در زوم لطفا آنلاین ثبت نام کنید.

Date: 11 January 2023; Time: 11:00 am – 1:00 pm Pacific time.

تاریخ و زمان: ۱۱ ژانویه ۲۰۲۳، ساعت ۲۲:۳۰ به وقت ایران

Pourdavoud Center Lecture Series


Zoroastrians in Early Islamic History

Magnusson, Andrew D. 2023. Zoroastrians in early Islamic history: Accommodation and memory. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Examines debates about the inclusion or exclusion of Zoroastrians in Islamic society circa 600-1000 C.E.

  • Makes a significant contribution to the literature on interfaith relations in Islamic history
  • Demonstrates the role of advocacy in shaping early Islamic policy
  • Argues against the assumption that Zoroastrians were People of the Book
  • Engages theories of accommodation and of memory, from North America, the Middle East and Europe
  • Utilises archival material from Ireland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States

The second Muslim caliph, Umar ibn al-Khattab, once reportedly exclaimed, ‘I do not know how to treat Zoroastrians!’ He and other Muslims encountered Zoroastrians during the conquest of Arabia but struggled to formulate a consistent policy toward the adherents of a religion that was neither biblical nor polytheistic. Some Muslims saw Zoroastrians as pagans and sought to limit interaction with them. Others found ways to incorporate them within the empire of Islamic law. Andrew D. Magnusson describes the struggle between advocates of inclusion and exclusion, the ultimate accommodation of Zoroastrians, and the reasons that Muslim historians have subsequently buried the memory of this relationship.

Events Online resources

2022 Society of Scholars of Zoroastrianism Conference

This is an online event (3 hours): The History of Zoroastrian Priesthood, The bond between the Avesta and Persian Literature & The Forgotten Sources of Medieval Zoroastrianism

Sat, November 19, 2022, 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM CST

Morning Session – Scholarly Symposium

9:30 – Opening Address: – Prof. Dan Sheffield introduced by Zal Taleyarkhan

10:00 – Dr. Kerman Daruwalla The History of Training Zoroastrian Priests in India

10:45 – Dr. Benedikt PeschlZoroastrian Middle Persian Literature and its Relation to the

Avesta: current research perspectives

11:30 – Prof. Dan SheffieldThe Pahlavi Book of Religious Decrees: a Forgotten Source for the

History of Medieval Zoroastrianism


The Sentiment of Knowledge

Pirart, Éric. Le Sentiment du Savoir. Présentation, analyse, traduction et commentaire de la Spentā.mańiiu Gāθā (Y 47-50). Précédé d’une introduction générale, suivi de quatre Marginales grammaticales et d’une Concordance des textes vieil-avestiques (Acta Iranica 61).

Les cinq Gāθā, avec le Yasna Haptaŋhāiti, sont les seuls témoignages des conceptions zoroastriennes de la première heure: l’archidémon Aŋhra Mańiiu n’était pas encore né. Le Sentiment du Savoir, la conviction des adorateurs qu’Ahura Mazdā sait ce qui est bon et pourra, de ce fait, leur apporter son aide, tel est le sens du titre de la troisième Gāθā, tiré de son incipit. Pour la recherche de la portée primitive des Gāθā de l’Avesta et de leur statut premier, il est pris, dans le présent ouvrage, l’exemple de la troisième qui est alors présentée, étudiée de façon approfondie et traduite. Cette recherche est accompagnée de plusieurs outils grammaticaux.



Zubani, Alessia (ed.). 2022. Abēbīm “fearless”. Who was afraid of the end of the millennium? New approaches to the interpretation of the traditional date of Zoroaster. Bologna: Mimesis.

The present volume deals with the hidden meaning of the traditional date of Zoroaster, customarily placed 258 years before Alexander. But despite all the confusing appearances, the synchronism with the acme of the Iranian prophet was paradoxically anchored to the beginning of the Seleucid era (312/311 BCE). This solution gave Zoroaster a (pseudo)-historical character, removing him from the clouds of an undetermined past, although with a number of inevitable consequences, which this book tries to analyze. This study also shows that the early Sasanians had no fear of their future and that their religious chronology did not suffer a temporal reduction in order to avoid the risks of the approaching turn of the millennium. On the contrary, Zoroastrian millennialism was optimistic, despite the emergence of later apocalyptic doctrines, which, in any case, never countered the diffusion of a kind of eschatology based on the idea of the apocatastasis, which promised peace and salvation to everybody, including all the sinners in hell. The volume contains four additional contributions by Domenico Agostini (Tel Aviv University), Jeffrey Kotyk (University of British Columbia/University of Bologna), Paolo Ognibene (University of Bologna) and Alessia Zubani (Labex Hastec – École Pratique des Hautes Études), which develop some particular problems connected with the main subject of the present research.


Journal of Persianate Studies

The Journal of Persianate Studies is a peer-reviewed publication of the Association for the Study of Persianate Societies.

The vol. 14 of the journal contains a group of contributions from the study of Zoroastrianism together with other articles.

Table of contents:

  • Front matter
  • Carlo Giovanni Cereti: Introduction: Religious Diversity in Late Antique and Early Medieval Iran
  • Carlo Giovanni Cereti, Mehdi Mousavi Nia, and Mohammad Reza Neʿmati: Ray and Pahlaw in the Context of Sasanian Iran
  • Mojtaba Doroodi and Farrokh Hajiani: A Clarification of the Terms Dakhma and Astodān on the Basis of Literary Records and Archeological Research in Fars Province
  • Amin Shayeste Doust and Carlo Giovanni Cereti: The Purpose and Practice of Divorce in Sasanian and Post-Sasanian Texts
  • Antonio Clemente Panaino: Ohrmazd’s Divine Mercy and the End of the World between Apocatastasis and Apocalypse
  • Domenico Agostini: Some Observations on Ahriman and his Miscreation in the Bundahišn
  • Massimiliano Vassalli: How to Develop a Fabula: The Case of DēnkardVII
  • Paolo Ognibene: Restricted Access Linguistic and Religious Continuity in Outer Iran
  • Gianfilippo Terribili: Restricted Access Visitation and Awakening: Cross-Cultural and Functional Parallelisms between the Zoroastrian Srōš and Christian St. Sergius
  • Andrea Piras: Apocalyptic Imagery and Royal Propaganda in Khosrow II’s Letter to the Byzantine Emperor Maurice
  • Saïd Amir Arjomand: Manichæism as a World Religion of Salvation and Its Influence on Islam
  • Michael Vahidirad and Marjan Borhani: Restricted Access The Agricultural Economics of the Allied Occupation of Iran in the Second World War
  • Back matter

In Search of Iranian Continuity: From the Zoroastrian Tradition to the Islamic Mysticism

Azarnouche, Samra (ed.). 2022. À la recherche de la continuité iranienne: de la tradition zoroastrienne à la mystique islamique. Recueil de textes autour de l’œuvre de Marijan Molé (1924-1963). Turnhout: Brepols.

The work of the Polish-Slovenian Iranian scholar Marijan Molé (1924-1963) has had a profound influence on the religious sciences that can be observed to this day. In barely fifteen years (1948-1963), he was able to give unprecedented impetus to Iranian studies, thanks to the meticulous study of corpora ranging from the Avesta and Middle Persian Zoroastrian literature to treatises on Islamic mysticism, including Persian epics and mythical gestures. Too soon interrupted, the vast project that he had begun during his years of study in Krakow and which he pursued in Paris and Tehran had as its main axis the uncovering of a unitary system that would underpin the evolution of a religious doctrine over the long term, an “Iranian continuity”.

The recent discovery of his Nachlass (IRHT and BULAC, Paris) provides us with the opportunity to take stock of his legacy and to try to highlight the originality of his approach and his contribution to the history of ideas and to the intellectual debate on the religions of Iran, by identifying both the achievements and the dead ends, the innovations and the extensions.

The present volume gathers the contributions on Zoroastrianism and Islamic mysticism, presented at the international study day entitled “Between Mazdeism and Islam”, dedicated to the work of Marijan Molé, which was held on 24 June 2016 in Paris.

Table of Contents

  • Chronologie de la vie de Marijan Molé (1924-1963)
  • Bibliographie de Marijan Molé
  • Gianroberto Scarcia: “Souvenir de Marijan Molé”
  • Anna Krasnowolska: “Marijan Molé’s Early Works and his Study of Persian Epics
  • Jean Kellens: “1956-1964: Le printemps des études gâthiques”
  • Philippe Swennen: “Marijan Molé à l’aube du nouveau comparatisme indo-iranien”
  • Shaul Shaked: “A Zoroastrian Anthropological Theology”
  • Antonio Panaino: “Le gētīg dans le mēnōg et le système chiliadique mazdéen selon la réflexion de Marijan Molé
  • Pierre lory: “Marijan Molé, ‘Azîz Nasafî et l’Homme Parfait”
  • Michel Tardieu: “Les Mystiques musulmans de Marijan Molé: contextes et enjeux”.
    • Appendice: Note brève sur le messalianisme
  • Florence Somer: “Marijan Molé et la «tradition jamaspienne»: le traité apocalyptique inédit des Aḥkām ī Jāmāsp”
  • Alexey Khismatulin: “Destiny of the Unpublished Works by Marijan Molé on the Naqshbandiya”.
    • Appendice: Description of “fonds Molé” (IRHT, Paris)
  • Appendice I: Marijan Molé: “Les origines de la geste sistanienne”
  • Appendice II: Correspondances
  • Appendice III: Description du fonds Marijan Molé (BULAC)