Iranian Religions and the Alexander Romance

Published: February 20, 2020

Iranian Religions and the Alexander Romance The Alexander Romance attributed to Pseudo-Callisthenes is the encomiastic biography of Alexander the Great, who is depicted as the champion of Greek culture and way of life. It frequently references non-Greek religions and cultures, often used as a foil that enforces the superior nature of Greek cultural values. Reference…

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Reevaluating Divine Imagery in Late Antique Iranian Metalwork

Published: February 20, 2020

Reevaluating Divine Imagery in Late Antique Iranian Metalwork Most late antique Iranian silver vessels are decorated with either royal imagery or stereotyped ornamental and figural imagery related to wine drinking and the ritual environment of the bazm. While there is some overlap, a small corpus of such luxury vessels integrate what scholarship might identify as…

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Religion of Parthian Iran: A Matter of Complexity – New Evidence from Ancient Elymais

Published: February 20, 2020

Religion of Parthian Iran: A Matter of Complexity – New Evidence from Ancient Elymais Literary, epigraphic, and archaeological evidence all demonstrate that the religions of Arsacid Iran is a matter of complexity. The attested religious beliefs and practices reflect the cultural variability of a global empire, encompassing different regions, populations, backgrounds, and even languages. Within…

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Laodike III and Seleucid Royal Cult

Published: February 20, 2020

Laodike III and Seleucid Royal Cult In 193 BCE, the Seleucid king Antiochus III, perhaps in anticipation of his upcoming campaign in the Greek west, established a new royal cult for his queen, Laodike III. Details of the queen’s cult suggest it was intended to equal the cult of Antiochus III himself in prestige, yet…

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The Marriage of Antiochos and Nanaia: Empire and Religion in Hellenistic Iran

Published: February 20, 2020

The Marriage of Antiochos and Nanaia: Empire and Religion in Hellenistic Iran Starting with the example of Antiochos IV Epiphanes’ (intended) sacred marriage with the goddess Nanaia in Elam (2 Macc. 1.13–17), this paper explores the Seleucid empire’s relation with Iranian sanctuaries. Following the example of the Achaemenids, the Seleucid king and court interacted with…

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The Deportation of Gods – Between Persian Policy and Ptolemaic Ideology

Published: February 19, 2020

The Deportation of Gods – Between Persian Policy and Ptolemaic Ideology In early Hellenistic Egypt, a set of Ptolemaic inscriptions reported on an intriguing phenomenon, namely, Ptolemaic kings bringing back “all the gods of the country,” which supposedly the Persians had once taken away from their sanctuaries. On the strength of these epigraphic testimonies, scholars…

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The Magus in Hell

Published: February 19, 2020

The Magus in Hell This paper looks at Lucian’s satirical dialogue, Menippus, which prominently features a man called Mithrobarzanes, ‘one of the Magi, Zoroaster’s disciples and successors.’ With the help of this man, the protagonist of the dialogue descends to the underworld and there learns what truly matters in human life. Scholars have long compared…

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Into the Ashes: Punishment at the Achaemenid Court

Published: February 19, 2020

Into the Ashes: Punishment at the Achaemenid Court In Ctesias’ Persika, written in the early 4th century BCE, a number of elite Persians are sent to their deaths as a result of court intrigues. At least five of these victims are “thrown into the ashes” (εἰς τὴν σποδὸν ἐμβάλλειν). In this lecture, I will examine…

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