The new episodes of the podcast are on their way. In the meantime, I invite the readers to check out the blog of my friend and colleague Arash Zeini, now a collective effort of him and several other friends, which is dedicated to introducing the new publications in Iranian Studies. The blog is a great resource and I will use it from here on as a resource for the podcast and for the History Page. Check it out here!
Finally we arrive at the tale of Cyrus, what you have all been waiting for. Get the episode from here…
This is the introduction to the history of Cyrus, looking at the world in which he started his career. I go from the Mediterranean to China and back to Mesopotamia, surveying the Eurasian world in 550 BCE or so, as well as making some preliminary remarks about Cyrus himself.
Check out the Bibliography for items added for this subject.
You can download the new episode form this link…
As usual, the feed is here.
Names of the characters mentioned
Dioces: the “founder” of the Median Empire according to Herodotus (possibly inspired by the Mannean Diakku, mentioned in Assyrian annales)
Phraortes: his son, possibly the chief Kashtariti mentioned in the chronicle of Essarhaddon
Cyaxares: the greatest of the Median kings, according to Herodotus, and the “conqueror” of Assyria. Possibly Umakishtar who is mentioned in the Gadd Chronicle and said by the Babylonian chronicles to be the person who sacked Assur/Ashur.
Astyages: the last of the Median Emperors, possibly Ishtumigu of the Babylonian chronicles.
Medes are on their way…
One of the dear readers of this weblog, and listeners to the podcast, suggested that I make a list of the names I so much enjoy pronouncing. I think it is a good idea, except someone has already done it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_rulers_of_Elam (for the chaps mentioned this week, scroll down to the Neo-Elamite period).
You should notice that pronunciation occasionally vary. Some of the Elamite pronunciations are being perfected. Temti-Human-Inshushinak now seems to be more like Tepti-Humban-Inshushinak (which is the way I say it). Some are better known (if you can say that about anything Elamite) by their Akkadian names. Shutruk-Nahunte is sometimes written Shutruk-nakhunte or Shutruk-Nahhunte. These are attempts at rendering Elamite in English. The sound /h/ in his name is a laryngeal sound which does not exist in English, similar to Arabic ح.
Apart from these Elamites, I mentioned a few Assyrians and some Babylonians. Sargon II, Esarhaddon, Sennacherib, and Ashurbanipal are the Assyrian ones. Merodach-Baladan the Chaldean was really the only “Babylonian” I mentioned.
I will post a similar list from the next episode on.
This episode goes back to the Elamites and their adventures with the Neo-Assyrians, and their murky last century.
This, sort of, is just the beginning. The Indo-European, the Aryan, and the Indo-Iranian languages and terms are such thorny issues, and I cannot even pretend to have answered them all. Hopefully this will set the stage for future discussions, and some questions, comments, and discussions here.
Notice that I tend to spell the word Ariia in order to name the “Indo-Iranians” as they are, and to distinguish it from the Aryan, which is used in a modern, political sense.
Check out the Bibliography for some book and article suggestions…
If you are interested to know a little more about the people I talked about in episode 6, please follow these links:
The Lullubi: an article from Encylopaedia Iranica. Some images of the relief of Anubanini at Sar-e Pol-e Zahab. If you have a sense of humour, then read my attempt at being funny with the Lullubi, which I published a few years ago online!
The Gutians: the entry on Gutians from the EIr. Gutian Sumer, in digested form! You’ll see what I mean about people deciding how folk looked 4,000 years ago when you read this, arguing for a ‘Black’ origin of the Sumerians, or this one which has decided that they were Caucasian. This ‘Kurdish argument‘ is not actually half-bad in camparison…
I was planning to post regular bibliographies for each episode, but a lot of them proved to be from the same set of books. So, I thought is is more useful to create a bibliography page and slowly update it as we go along. Check out the Bibliography after each episode to get some suggestions on what to read if you wish to know more about the subject.
I am stopping our chronological progression to talk a bit about the people we have been concerned with. I am going through a list of the civilisations, cultures, and languages of western Iran. We know of most of these through Assyrian and Sumerian, and occasionally Babylonian sources. I will talk a bit more about the Elamite culture, the Kassites and the Gutians, the Lullubi, and finally the Manneans. This will set up the scene for the whole “Indo-Iranian” migration story which seems to be overshadowing so much of early Iranian history.
I talk about the Loristan Bronzes in this episode. Here is an example of a couple of anthropomorphic horses from the BM. They are very common, so much so that you can even buy some of them on the Ebay! (I STRONGLY discourage you from doing this. Do NOT encourage looters and dealers!).