Podcast Episode

cyrus_carpet

Episode 11: The Kingdom of Anshan and Cyrus the Great

You can download Episode 11 from here… you can also check out the feed or try your favourite podcast index.

This episode will explain the local (mainly Anshanite) context for the rise of Cyrus, as well as telling a bit about the version of the story of the birth of Cyrus told by Herodotus.

1- Cyrus’ genealogy:

  • Cyrus’ name is written as Kurush (II) son of Kambujia (Cambyses I) son of Kurush (I) son of Chish-pish (Tespes).
  • He is said to be the son of Mandane (daughter of Astyages of Media) by Herodotus.

2- Here is a useful article on the site of Malyan/Malian (ancient Anshan) and the archaeological excavations of it.

3- Another article on the description of Cyrus as presented in Herodotus’ History.

Map showing the extent of the Achaemenid Empire, with the region of Persis showing in dark green,

Map showing the extent of the Achaemenid Empire, with the region of Persis showing in dark green,

Drawing of the archaeological site of Malyan (Anshan)

Drawing of the archaeological site of Malyan (Anshan)

Arial view of Malyan

Arial view of Malyan

This, often presented as

This, often presented as “portrait of Cyrus” is nothing but a fanciful drawing, based loosely on…

... this relief at Pasargadae. This is known as the Winged Guardian and is actually a composite image.

… this relief at Pasargadae. This is known as the Winged Guardian and is actually a composite image.

Achaemenid seal

Episode 10: the World that Cyrus Conquered

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.

The world in the sixth century BCE (a bit idealistic, but gives you some ideas)

The world in the sixth century BCE (a bit idealistic, but gives you some ideas)

Map of the Neo-Babylonian (Chaldean) Empire

Map of the Neo-Babylonian (Chaldean) Empire

Cylinder of Nabonidus

Cylinder of Nabonidus

A gold coin from Lydia

A gold coin from Lydia

Episode 9, the Disappearing Kingdom: Medes and the Median Empire

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.

median_empire_map chaldeamap

Modern, Artist's imagination of the "Hanging Gardens of Babylon"

Modern, Artist’s imagination of the “Hanging Gardens of Babylon”

Episode 8: the Neo-Elamite Kingdom

Well, here it is FINALLY! I got things to work, and meanwhile everything has changed (the feed is still the same)

This episode goes back to the Elamites and their adventures with the Neo-Assyrians, and their murky last century.

Here are a couple of more readings, one on the chronology of the Neo-Elamite period based on newer finds, and the second on Neo-Elamite “acculturation.”

A book on the Arjan Tomb, an important late Elamite discovery (you can read a condensed version with detailed interpretations here)

A map of Mesopotamia in the first century BCE

A map of Mesopotamia in the first century BCE

Seal of Humban-Kitin, son of Shutruk-Nahhunte II

Seal of Humban-Kitin, son of Shutruk-Nahhunte II

Eshkaft-e Salman in Izeh/Malamir

Eshkaft-e Salman in Izeh/Malamir

Hani, the "eastern" Elamite ruler, along with his wife and child, Eshkaft-e Salman, Izeh

Hani, the “eastern” Elamite ruler, along with his wife and child, Eshkaft-e Salman, Izeh

Neo-Elamite beaker, probably from Susa

Neo-Elamite beaker, probably from Susa

Assyrian victory relief of Ashirbanipal, showing Elamites being deported

Assyrian victory relief of Ashirbanipal, showing Elamites being deported

the bowl from the Arjan Tomb

the bowl from the Arjan Tomb

 

GodessesBactriaAfghanistan2000-1800BCE

Episode 7: Indo-Europeans and Indo-Iranians

Here is the link to the episode, and the feed

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…

Schematic map of major Indo-European language groups

Schematic map of major Indo-European language groups

Map showing the extent of the Andronovo and BMAC cultures

Map showing the extent of the Andronovo and BMAC cultures

For further reading…

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!

Kassites: Again, the entry from EIr. A map of Kassite Babylonia. Here is a bit on Kassites which talks about their origin. Interesting proposal, and a huge bibliography, on Kassite Nippur.

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…

The Manneans: the entry on Mannea from the EIr. Very good review of the Mannean pieces at the Met Museum (it’s a PDF).

Happy reading!

Episode 6: Peoples and Languages of Iran in the Early Iron Age

Well, here is Episode 6 for you, and the feed too…

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!).

Naram-Sin and the Lullubi

Stele of Naram-Sin showing his victory over the Lullubi

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!)

mesoiranmap

Episode 2: Geography

Episode 2 is released… download or stream it from here

Of course, you can subscribe from here too!

Here is the map for the episode

Topographic Map

Topographic Map of Central and West Asia