Author: KhodadadRezakhani

I am a late antique historian and the author of

Episode 5: the Middle Elamite Kingdoms

The new episode is out. As usual, you can get it directly from here or subscribe to it from FeedBurner

I owe everyone an apology. I have moved for the year from Europe to North America, and the move proved more overwhelming that I imagined. I had to arrange too many things, teach, and do much writing. I have everything under control now, and will be sticking to a real schedule henceforth.

As for the episode, it is full of weird names, so here is something to orient you (and here is a useful list of all Elamite rulers, real and fictional!):


Kidinu: founder of the first dynasty (Middle Elamite I: Kidinuids)

Tepti-Ahar: the Kidinuid king who founded the site of Haft Tepe (Kabnak) near Susa, where his tomb also is.

Igi-halki: the founder of the second dynasty (Middle Elamite II: the Igihalkids)

Untash-Napirisha: the most important king of the Igihalkids, a maternal grandson of Kurigalzu I of Babylonia (of the Kassite dynasty).

Kidin-Hutran III: the Igilhakid who removed Assyrian puppets from the Babylonian throne.

Tukulti-Nimurta: the Assyrian king who removed the legitimate line of Kassite kings; they were later restored

Shutruk-Nahhunte: the founder and greatest ruler of the Middle Elamite III dynasty, the Shutrukids. He conquered Babylonia and put and end to the rule of the Kassites.

Kutir-Nahhunte: son and successor of Shutruk-Nahhunte

Shilhak-Inshushinak: brother and successor of Kutir-Nahhunte and the last great king of the Shutrukids


Susa: Shusha; the low-land capital of Elam

Anshan/Anzan: the highland capital of Elam

Haft Tepe/Kabnak: site east of Susa; tomb of Tepti-Ahar

Al-Untash-Napirisaha: the archaeological site of Chogha Zanbil, with its impressive Ziggurat; the religious and political centre of the Igilhakids, near Deh-e Now, their home town.

Nebuchadnezzar I: the fourth king of the Babylonian dynasty of the Sealand and the bane of the Shutrukids

Hutelutush-Inshushinak: the last of the Shutrukids; he escaped Nebuchadnezzar and took refuge in Anshan/Anzan; also reliefs at Kul-e Farah in Izeh.

Middle Elamite relief from Kul-e Farah (Izeh)

Middle Elamite relief from Kul-e Farah (Izeh)

The Ziggurat of Chogha Zanbil

The Ziggurat of Chogha Zanbil

The aerial view of Chogha Zanbil/Al-Untash-Napirisha

The aerial view of Chogha Zanbil/Al-Untash-Napirisha

Episode 4: the Sukkalmah

This episode is about the Golden Age of the Old Elamite period, the period often associated with the title of Sukkalmah. Lasting between about 1950-1600 BCE, this is the height of Old Elamite power, when the Elamite king is known as the elder statesman of Mesopotamia and even Shamshi Adad and Hammurabi call Siwe-palar-huppak, “father”. The episode talks about the issues of ethnic make up of Elam, the highland vs. lowland duality, and prepares the scene for the Middle Elamite period, that of the Kings of Anshan and Susa (or Susa and Anshan, if you are reading the Babylonian texts!).

You can download the episode from here. You can also subscribe, using your favourite subscription tool!

Apologies for the long delay in releasing this episode. A series of life-crises prevented me from doing it any earlier. The episodes will be released on a weekly basis for the foreseeable future, at least until I catch up with the original schedule. Check in often, and please tell me what you think.

Old Elamite Statue

An Old Elamite statue with Linear Elamite writing

the Old Elamite relief at Kurangan

the Old Elamite relief at Kurangan

Map of the major sites in Elam and Sumer

Map of the major sites in Elam and Sumer

Some Bibliography:

The Archaeology of Early Egypt: Social Transformations in North-East Africa, c.10,000 to 2,650 BC (Cambridge World Archaeology)

Ancestor of the West : Writing, Reasoning, and Religion in Mesopotamia, Elam, and Greece

The Oxford Handbook of Ancient Iran (Oxford Handbooks)

Episode 3: From Pre-History to History

— This is episode three, out after some mishaps… Download/Stream it from here

— As usual, subscribe via Feedburner here, and you can always look for it on the iTunes and other podcast directories (Podbay?).

— I promised a list of terms and names I was using, so here they are.

Chalcolithic = the so-called “copper” age, or the coper-stone period

Elam = The civilisation I talked about the most, and will continue talking about for the next episode

Tepe Sialk = Archaeological site in central-northern part of the plateau

Tepe Hissar= Archaeological site on the northeast of the Iranian Plateau

Shahr-e Sukhte = the Burnt City, site on the east side of the plateau, by the Helmand River

Sargon of Agade = the first king of the Empire of Agade/Akkad (2332 BCE).

Gutians and Lulubians = mountain tribes/confederations to the north of Elam

Jiroft = archaeological side on the central eastern part of the plateau

Naram-Sin= Grandson of Sargon

Ur-Namma (2112-2095) = the founder of the Third Dynasty of Ur

Puzur Inshushinak = contemporary of Ur-Namma, king of Awan, the first Elamite ever mentioned

Shimashki= the dominant city of Elam after 2004 BC

Sukkalmah=the title of the “governor” of Elam under Larsa’s dominance; later the most powerful rulers in the region

Gungunum of Larsa (1932-1906) = the founder of the dynasty of Larsa

And here is a map (note that Malyan is Anshan!)


Introducing the Podcast

This is the first home of the History of Iran Podcast. The idea is to eventually house the podcast and this associated weblog at a domain name of its own. However, at this point I think it will be a good idea to tell you a bit about what is coming up.

The point of the podcast is to give a certain amount of freedom to both the podcaster and the listeners. There are so many more things one can say in a podcast, and it is so much easier to do so as well. In a podcast, I can also invite a guest expert to help is with some episodes, and I can also try to answer your questions every now and then. In fact, I think I will include a question and answer episode every now and then, just to achieve this.

I thought it will be good to tell you what the first few episodes will be about. As you can see, I am not going to give you a usual, dynastic based history of Iran (you know, Achaemenids to the present deal!). I am going to keep the dynastic framework as a useful way of organising the narrative, but I am also going to stop at certain points and explain and elaborate on certain points. So, do expect episodes dedicated to a specific point, to a subject of interested, or to a matter of historiography or sources. I will also add episodes on subjects that might come up out of your questions and other discussions. That is the beauty of podcasting: I can add to the episodes, and of course, you are free to skip over what does not interest you! If you don’t like something, wait a little, and something interesting will come up!

Now, here are the episodes as I see them:

Episode 0: the Pilot Episode: Why ‘the History of Iran’?

— in this episode, we will discuss why I am doing a history podcast at all, why a history of Iran, and why Iran? Why not Persia? What is Iran anyway, and what is Persia? You know, all the pesky issues!

Episode 1: the Mesopotamian Prelude

— this will be a quick survey of the Old and Middle periods of the history of Mesopotamia. I believe that the history of Iran really only makes sense in the context of Mesopotamian history. I cannot go through all of that though, so I am only going to bring the story down to about the year 1000 BC.

Episode 2: Peoples and Polities of the Iranian Plateau

— I am here defining a bit of the natural and topological history of Iran, and I will talk about the evidence we have of the people who lived on the Iranian Plateau. Hopefully this will give us some sort of anchor for the future episodes.

Episode 3: Indo-Europeans, Indo-Iranians, and Iranians: Why is this all so confusing?

— this would be the episode to talk about all the ‘Arian/Aryan’ myth you have always heard about! What is that? I will talk about the Indo-European homeland theory, Indo-Iranians and their language family, and where all this fits in history, or does it?

Episode 4: The End of the Mesopotamian World Order

— this episode is about all the ‘neos’: Neo-Elamites, Neo-Assyrians, and the Neo-Babylonians. It will talk about a possible shift, a little bit of political and social change in a world that already had thousands of years of civilisation

Episode 5: Cyrus of Anshan and his Empire

— this is what people have been waiting for, the story of the founding father! Well, prepare to be surprised.

Episode 6: Successors of the Cyrus and the Achaemenids

— here we continue the political history, and how the dynasty of Cyrus became the Achaemenid Dynasty

Episode 7: A Matter of Sources

— in this episode, I am going to take a pause from political history and talk about sources. This will have a lot about what kind of sources we have, and I will elaborate on the issue of inscriptions, cylinders, and other sort of sources that are unconventional to the writing of history

Episode 8: Darius and His Empire

— I think the greatest contribution of the Achaemenid Empire to world history is their administration. So, we shall discuss that here!

Episode 9: Religion from Mesopotamia to the Achaemenids

— I think we have a very exaggerated idea of religion, and tend to be very anachronistic about it. I am going to make another pause and talk about how religion was conceived of in this world. I will probably bring a friend or an expert to help me with this one.

Episode 10: Xerxes? What kind of name is that?

— No, he was not the creator of the Xerox machine, and his name (or its Greek version), is rather unusual. I will talk about who he is, what he did, and if we should only remember him for not managing to conquer Greece… oh wait, he did!