Studies in Persian History: Essays in Memory of David M. Lewis.
The thirteen essays in this volume are dedicated to the memory of the late David M. Lewis, Professor of Ancient History at the University of Oxford. Lewis, as described in the "Introduction" by Amelie Kuhrt, was a Greek historian who recognized that the basis for comprehending the history of the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. in the West lay in an understanding of the interactions between the Greeks and the Persians. The interests of Lewis himself, in the widest possible range of "things Persian," are the theme of this volume. The papers thus explore a diversity of historical, religious, economic, linguistic, and art-historical aspects of the Persian Empire, often richly combined. The contributors include former participants in the Achaemenid History Workshops (the proceedings of which are recorded in the first eight volumes of this series), students and colleagues of Lewis at Oxford, as well as colleagues at the Oriental Institute in Chicago.
The opening essay by J. Wiesehofer compares the first-hand descriptions written by the young seventeenth-century traveler J. A. von Mandelslo during his visits to Pasargadae and Persepolis with the edited versions published posthumously by his one-time traveling companion A. Olearius. Wiesehofer demonstrates that some of von Mandelslo's clear descriptions and simple drawings were embellished by Olearius with often less accurate accounts and opinions of earlier travelers to suit the presumed tastes and sensibilities of his readers.
The remainder of the essays, which are ordered seemingly randomly, not alphabetically by author, nor by topic, nor chronologically, explore issues relating to the Persian Empire itself. The late H. Sancisi-Weerdenburg revisits the meaning of Old Persian baji- Bringing together textual and iconographic data, she concludes that the term did not merely designate "tribute' but all dues, including "gifts," to which the king was entitled.
G. G. Aperghis reexamines Achaemenid Elamite Kurmin as used in the Persepolis Fortification Tablets. By retranslating the term as "entrusted to" rather than as "supplied by," Aperghis identifies among the non-ration texts, in addition to the transfers between storehouses, a new category: receipts for commodities supplied directly to storehouses by producers.
C. Tuplin presents his completion of a study begun by Lewis designed to address, by means of the Fortification Tablets, the issue of the purported seasonal movement of the Great King from court to court. Although Tuplin adds additional complementary evidence from Classical sources, he concludes that, aside from confirming summers spent in Media (Ecbatana), a definitive answer to the larger question remains wanting.
M. Garrison considers the impressions of two iconographically nearly identical, yet stylistically quite different seals. The seal owner, Asbazana, was one of Darius I's co-conspirators who later became a prominent Persepolis administrator. Asba zana's first seal, occurring only within the context of the Fortification Tablets (509-494 B.C.), was carved in an "archaizing" Assyro-Babylonian style, while the second, occurring among the slightly later Persepolis Treasury Tablets (492-459 B.C.), is an early example of the well-known Court Style. Garrison hypothesizes that the use of such Court Style seals might have been a mark of status, perhaps granted only by the king.
M. W. Stolper presents some observations on the practice of marking slaves, especially with writing. He also offers an edition of an Akkadian-language cuneiform slave sale from Sippar, dated to the reign of Xerxes. Stolper suggests that the slave in question, a woman with an Egyptian name, who bears a mark on her head "inscribed in Egyptian" might have been seized as plunder following the suppression of the Egyptian revolt of 486/485 B.C.
H. Williamson reevaluates the proposal by the Latvian scholar J. P. Weinberg that Achaemenid Judah might serve as the best-documented model for similar, but less well-documented, "citizen-temple communities" elsewhere in the Empire. Arguing largely from evidence provided by Ezra and Nehemiah, Williamson concludes that although the Jerusalem temple itself may have received special consideration, the Persian authorities treated the Jewish community at large no differently than any other within the province.
E. Tucker tackles the complexities of the Achaemenid Elamite verbal system. She concludes that the differences between the Achaemenid and earlier forms of the language, especially the use of AE "nominal conjugations" to provide transitional forms conveying tense and mood, apparently not important in Middle and Neo-Elamite, were the result of the need to translate such distinctions as existed in Old Persian.
M. Handley-Schachler examines the lan ritual in the context of the Fortification Tablets. Although lan sacrifices are known to have been offered to several named deities by different categories of priests, the focus here is on Magi recipients of flour and wine for use, perhaps monthly, in a strictly Magian ritual to unnamed deities, performed only at certain towns and cities in the center of the Empire.
P. Briant reexamines an inscribed block found during the 1974 excavations at Sardis. The Greek text, an Imperial Romanera copy of an older inscription, describes the dedication of a statue to a deity by one Droaphernes, a Persian official in Lydia during the thirty-ninth year of Artaxerxes; appended to this text are two sets of religious proscriptions. Briant argues against L. Robert's interpretation that the original statue was of Ahura-Mazda and served to substantiate the introduction of cult statues by Artaxerxes II, as maintained by Berossus. Rather, Briant argues that the original statue was of the dedicator himself and that it was placed in a sanctuary before a local deity during the reign of either Artaxerxes I or II, and that the religious proscriptions are unrelated later additions.
M. Brosius reconsiders the widely held notion, most recently restated by Briant, that the goddesses Artemis Persike and Artemis Anaitis, known in Asia Minor from a variety of Greek sources, were hellenized manifestations of the Persian deity Anahita, first introduced into Persia by Artaxerxes II. Reexamining, in particular, relevant passages in Pausanius, Brosius concludes rather that, in fact, these deities were "persianized" manifestations of the cult of Artemis.
R. J. van der Spek treats of the reign of Artaxerxes II from the perspective of the Babylonian cuneiform astronomical diaries. He utilizes their laconic, often fragmentary, references to historical events in an attempt to refine the chronology of Artaxerxes' wars known principally from Classical sources, including the subjection of Salamis (381 B.C.), the expedition against Egypt (373 B.C.), the war against the Cadusians (369 B.C.), and Datames' invasion of Mesopotamia (367 B.C.).
M. C. Root, who is collaborating with Garrison on a catalogue raisonne of the Persepolis Fortification seal impressions (OIP, forthcoming), concludes the volume with her consideration of a group of eight pyramidal stamp seal impressions, identified by their characteristic octagonal bases, among the Fortification Tablets. These particular impressions, six of which are cut in the novel local "Fortification" style first identified by Garrison, display motifs other than the stereotypical Neo-Assyrian and Neo- and Late Babylonian worship scenes. In an effort to show that the adaptation of a characteristically Babylonian seal type to new motifs in new styles began in the Persian heartland, Root reconsiders those Achaemenid-period pyramidal stamp seals with a wide range of motifs and styles first characterized by J. Boardman as the products of Lydian workshops. (Cf. Boardman, Persia and the West: An Archaeological Investigation of the Genesis of Achaemenid Art [London, 2000], 168 and n. 20.)
This well-produced volume is remarkably free of typographical errors. Several of the essays are accompanied by clearly reproduced line drawings and/or photographs. In summary, this latest volume in the Achaemenid History series presents such a wide and stimulating array of topics that at least several of the essays are bound to appeal to virtually everyone with an interest in the Achaemenid Empire.
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|Publication:||The Journal of the American Oriental Society|
|Article Type:||Book Review|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2001|
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