Many people have asked about a Bibliography for the podcast. I did include some bibliography in the earlier episodes, but I thought this might be useful as a list. I will slowly add items to it as we go ahead with the episodes.


These are some of the titles which cover the whole of Iranian history. They are the books I think are both scholarly sound and at the same time accessible.

The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History, edited by Touraj Daryaee, OUP, 2012: this is a very good collection of essays by some of the leading scholars of Iranian history, covering anything from the Paleolithic to the Islamic Republic.

Josef Wiesehofer, Ancient Persia, IB Tauris, 2001: a great introduction to the history of Iran before AD 700, written by one of my favourite historians.

Michael Axworthy, A History of Iran: Empire of Mind, Basic Books, 2010: an interesting, culturally oriented book.

M. A. Homayoun Katouzian, the Persians: Ancient, Medieval and Modern Iran, Yale UP, 2010, the name says it all, doesn’t it? A grand attempt at theorizing the whole of Iranian history.

Elam and Ancient Iran

These are the books on which much of the narrative of the early episodes has been built. I love them all!

D. T. Potts, The Archaeology of Elam, CUP, 1999: very interesting read. Much more of history than archaeology, despite the fact that Dan Potts himself is one of the greatest archaeologists of ancient Iran. A gripping narrative, if there ever was one.

D. T. Potts (ed.), the Oxford Handbook of Ancient Iran, OUP, 2013: a collection of great articles covering anything from the paleolithic to early Islam, and including a contribution by myself.

J. Alvarez-Mon and Mark B. Garrison (eds.), Elam and Persia, Eisenbrauns, 2011: a collection of interesting articles by some of the leading historians and archaeologists of Elam, focusing on the transition from the Elamite to the Persian period.

Marc van de Mieroop, a History of the Ancient Near East, 2nd ed., Blackwell, 2006: a short, accessible introduction, although it might not appeal to those who need more detail!

Amelie Kuhrt, the Ancient Near East, 3000-330 BCE, Routledge, 1997: a much more complete narrative of the ancient Near East up to the coming of Alexander. A great work.

Indo-Europeans, Indo-Iranians, and Ariians!

JP Mallory, In Search of Indo-Europeans, Thames & Hudson, 1991: A convenient summary of almost all opinions regarding the matter of IE theories (philological and archaeological)…

Elena E. Kuzmina, the Prehistory of the Silk Road, UP Press, 2007: Despite a misleading title, a great summary of the Indo-Iranian migration and spread issues.

Benjamin Fortson, Indo-European Language and Culture, Wiley-Blackwell, 2009 (2nd ed.): a nice introduction to the languages, and what we know of them as far as culture is involved.

Reza Zia-Ebrahimi, “Self-Orientalization and Dislocation: The Uses and Abuses of the “Aryan” Discourse in Iran Iranian Studies 44/4, 2001: 445-472: a by-now quite famous argument by a close friend…

Medians (or Not?)

Helm, Peyton R. “Herodotus'” Mêdikos Logos” and Median History.” Iran (1981): 85-90.

Jursa, Michael. “Observations on the Problem of the Median ‘Empire’on the Basis of Babylonian Sources.” in Continuity of Empire. Assyria, Media and Persia, Padova (2003): 169-179.

Lanfranchi, Giovanni B., Michael Roaf, and Robert Rollinger, eds. Continuity of Empire: Assyria, Media, Persia. Vol. 5. Padova: Sargon editrice e libreria, 2003. (the book that tries to dispel the myth of a Herodotian Median Empire).

Rollinger, Robert. “The Median “Empire”, the End of Urartu and Cyrus’ the Great Campaign in 547 BC (Nabonidus Chronicle II 16).” AncientEast and West 7 (2008): 51-65.

Sancisi-Weerdenburg, Heleen. “Was there ever a Median Empire.” Achaemenid History 3 (1988): 197-212.

Cyrus and the Early Achaemenids

Beaulieu, Paul-Alain, and Paul-Alain Beaulieu. The Reign of Nabonidus, King of Babylon, 556-539 BC. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1989.

Lewy, Julius. “The Late Assyro-Babylonian Cult of the Moon and its Culmination at the Time of Nabonidus.” Hebrew Union College Annual (1945): 405-489.

Mallowan, Max. “Cyrus the Great (558-529 BC).” Iran (1972): 1-17.

Potts, Daniel T. “Cyrus the Great and the Kingdom of Anshan.” Birth of the Persian Empire 1 (2005): 7-28.

Vanderhooft, David Stephen. The Neo-Babylonian Empire and Babylon in the latter prophets. Vol. 59. Atlanta: Scholars press, 1999.

Woolley, Leonard and Max Edgar Lucien Mallowan. Ur Excavations, Volumes Vol. IX. The Neo-Babylonian and Persian Periods. London: British Museum, 1962.

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