Patricia Crone’s Collected Studies in Three Volumes brings together a number of her published, unpublished, and revised writings on Near Eastern and Islamic history, arranged around three distinct but interconnected themes. Volume 2, The Iranian Reception of Islam: The Non-Traditionalist Strands, examines the reception of pre-Islamic legacies in Islam, above all that of the Iranians. Volume 1, The Qurʾānic Pagans and Related Matters, pursues the reconstruction of the religious environment in which Islam arose and develops an intertextual approach to studying the Qurʾānic religious milieu. Volume 3, Islam, the Ancient Near East and Varieties of Godlessness, places the rise of Islam in the context of the ancient Near East and investigates sceptical and subversive ideas in the Islamic world.
Some nifty and original observations by my colleague and friend Shervin Farridnejad on a passage in the Nērangestān, discussing the priestly duty concerning the care of xrafstars, commonly referred to as obnoxious creatures:
In the Pahlavi documents we find a sequence of characters that are commonly transliterated as 〈nc〉, representing Middle Persian namāz `reverence’. The vocalisation as namāz, a word most commonly found in the greeting formulae of letters, is not disputed. The question is rather whether these characters stand for a phonetic, albeit abbreviated, spelling of namāz or whether they constitute an abbreviation that developed out of the heterogram 〈ʿSGDH〉.
In light of recent developments in the field and the rather sizeable evidence, I will revisit the arguments brought forward thus far and propose a new interpretation.
Religious Studies presents: “Learning from the Magi: Zoroastrianism and the New Movement in Talmud Study” with Shai Secunda | Taube Center for Jewish Studies
Friday, May 15, 2015 – 12:15pm – 1:30pm
The lecture is part of a Zoroastrianism Studies Lecture Series sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies, Stanford University. For questions about the series, please contact Dr. Yuhan Vevaina (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The paper focuses on the Sasanian Empire’s impact on its surrounding world and explores the question of why its cultural achievements had such a long-lasting influence far beyond the borders of the Iranian lands, even after the decline of the dynasty. This relates to the role of the Sasanians in international trade and their political aim of controlling the land and maritime trade networks that connected Iran with the Mediterranean world, Central Asia, China, India, and the Arabian Peninsula.
In this paper a unique gold coin of Shāpūr I, first published by Michael Alram, is reexamined from some iconographic details as well as from an epigraphic point of view, comparing the legend of the coin’s obverse with the Sasanian royal inscriptions.
I haven’t seen the ToC of this book, but know that Matthew Canepa has a chapter here, entitled Dynastic sanctuaries and the transformation of Iranian kingship between Alexander and Islam, focusing on the ‘Middle Iranian’ period. It is an excellent article and will hopefully be available soon.
Since the Shah went into exile and the Islamic Republic was established in 1979 in the wake of the Iranian Revolution, the very idea of monarchy in Iran has been contentious. Yet, as Persian Kingship and Architecture argues, the institution of kingship has historically played a pivotal role in articulating the abstract notion of ‘Iran’ since antiquity. These ideas surrounding kingship and nation have, in turn, served as a unifying cultural force despite shifting political and religious allegiances. Through analyses of palaces, mausolea, art, architectural decoration and urban design the authors show how architecture was appropriated by different rulers as an integral part of their strategies of legitimising power. They refer to a variety of examples, from the monuments of Persepolis under the Achamenids, the Sassanian palaces at Kish, the Safavid public squares of Isfahan, the Qajar palaces at Shiraz and to the modernisation and urban agendas of the Pahlavis. Drawing on archaeology, ancient, medieval, early and modern architectural history, both Islamic and secular, this book is indispensable for all those interested in Iranian studies and visual culture.
Lecture by François de Blois, University College London, at the Ancient India and Iran Trust, Cambridge, Friday 06March, 5.30pm.
François de Blois has published widely on Semitic and Iranian languages and on the history of religions in the Near East in pre-modern times. Notably, he contributed to the multi-volume work Persian Literature, which had been initiated by C.A. Storey and published by the Royal Asiatic Society. He served as Professor of Iranian Studies at Hamburg University from 2002 to 2003. Currently he is a research fellow at University College London where he is engaged in a major project on al-Biruni’s Chronology and other Arabic texts on non-Islamic calendars. He is also a teaching fellow for Aramaic and Middle Iranian languages at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He has been a frequent contributor to the Encyclopaedia of Islam.
All welcome. Refreshments from 5pm.
Ancient India & Iran Trust
23 Brooklands Avenue, Cambridge CB2 8BG
An important article by Heidemann, Riederer and Weber on a hoard of coins from the final years of the empire. I personally find the dipinti on the coins very interesting. Heidemann’s discussion of the hoard, his conclusions and Dieter Weber’s decipherment of the graffito are fascinating:
The analysis of a hoard from the time of the collapse of the Sasanian Empire offers new insights into the administrative situation within the realm of Yazdgard III during his presence in Kirmān. Interpreting die chains using old or newly engraved dies with the then anachronistic name of the previous shāhānshāh Khusrō II, and finding an unlikely variety of mint abbreviations and dates within one workshop, allows us to infer the processing of huge amounts of silver in an unregulated way, compared with the orderly mint administration before the battle of al-Qādisiyya. A rigorous numismatic conclusion makes the change to a centralised minting in Kirmān likely where coins, rather than the dies, were sent to the districts. The key dates of the hoard coincide with the battle of Nihāvand 642 and the beginning of the invasion of Kirmān. Many of the coins bear dipinti with legible Pahlavī inscriptions, highlighting a cultural way of marking coins at the end of the Sasanian Empire.