Elam

Episode 12: One more on Cyrus and the Origins of His Empire

Episode 12 is out… download it from here, or subscribe to the History of Iran Podcast via your favourite podcast catcher. Here is the feed for it.

… and here are some pictures and maps to help with visualisation. Also, look at this Achaemenid Daric (Achaemenid gold coin) which is very close to the Lydian prototype.

A (bit fanciful) map of the conquests of Cyrus.

A (bit fanciful) map of the conquests of Cyrus.

A famous vase showing Croesus on his "suicide" pyre...

A famous vase showing Croesus on his “suicide” pyre…

A Lydian coin... notice that the reverse is just a hollow blank.

A Lydian coin… notice that the reverse is just a hollow blank.

View of a part of Pasargadae

View of a part of Pasargadae

Tol-e Takht, the old citadel of Pasargadae

Tol-e Takht, the old citadel of Pasargadae

Ruins of one of the palaces in Pasargadae

Ruins of one of the palaces in Pasargadae

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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.

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”

Elamite names “galore”

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. 

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

 

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 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!)

mesoiranmap