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February 2022

Pourdavoud Center Lecture Series: Kianoosh Rezania

February 23 @ 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

How Did the Ancient Iranians Coordinate Space? On the Old Iranian Absolute Frame of Reference For verbal expression and nonverbal cognitive processing of spatial relations between two objects, the speakers of a language use different frames of reference. (Psycho)linguistics classifies these into three main groups: intrinsic, relative, and absolute. This lecture aims to identify the old Iranian absolute frame of reference. After a short explanation of different frames of reference, the presentation will examine four sorts of evidence to this…

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Pourdavoud Center Lecture Series: Céline Redard

February 16 @ 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

Current Trends in Avestan Studies This lecture discusses the major progress made in our understanding of the Avestan corpus/texts in the last years. Based on her recent publication co-written with Jean Kellens, L’introduction à l’Avesta, Céline Redard introduces the new vision of the Avesta, leading to the new editions currently undertaken. The important ritual aspect will also be underlined, with some concrete examples taken from her books The Srōš Drōn – Yasna 3 to 8, and The Gujarati Ritual Directions…

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January 2022

Pourdavoud Center Lecture Series: Eberhard Sauer

January 28 @ 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

From the Gorgan Wall to the Alan Gates/Dariali: The Northern Defenses of the Sasanian Empire A lecture by Eberhard W. Sauer Based on collaborative research with Jebrael Nokandeh, Hamid Omrani Rekavandi, Lana Chologauri and Davit Naskidashvili   It was only in December 2005 that radiocarbon samples established beyond doubt a Sasanian-era construction date for the Gorgan Wall, the longest fort-lined barrier of the late antique world. Until then, majority opinion had favored a date half a millennium before. Over the…

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Pourdavoud Center Lecture Series: John W.I. Lee

January 19 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

Greek ‘Concubines’ and Achaemenid Dynastic Politics The civil war of 401 BC between Cyrus the Younger and his older brother King Artaxerxes II (r. 405/4-359/8 BC) is well known to Achaemenid historians, thanks especially to the famous account of Xenophon’s Anabasis.  While the military aspects of this conflict have been much studied, this lecture focuses on the two Ionian Greek women who accompanied Cyrus on his campaign.   Xenophon describes them as “concubines,” but setting these two women into the broader contexts of Achaemenid court culture and of intermarriage between…

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Pourdavoud Center Lecture Series: James Howard-Johnston

January 7 @ 11:30 am - 1:00 pm

Official Sources and the Reconstruction of History: The Case of the Last Great War of Antiquity The last and longest war of classical antiquity was fought in the early 7th century, opening in 603 when Persian armies launched coordinated attacks across the Roman frontier. For twenty-five years, the conflict raged on an unprecedented scale, and its end brought the classical phase of history to a close. Despite all this, it has left a conspicuous gap in the history of warfare.…

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November 2021

Pourdavoud Center Lecture Series: Bruno Jacobs and Robert Rollinger

November 5, 2021 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

The Achaemenid Persian Empire: A Two-Volume Companion Often called the first world empire, the Achaemenid Empire is rooted in older Near Eastern traditions. A Companion to the Achaemenid Persian Empire offers a perspective in which the history of the empire is embedded in the preceding and subsequent epochs. In this way, the traditions that shaped the Achaemenid Empire become as visible as the powerful impact it had on further historical development. But the work does not only break new ground…

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May 2021

Pourdavoud Center Lecture Series: Almut Hintze

May 21, 2021 @ 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

The Yasna Ritual in Performance Up to the present day Zoroastrian priests perform a millennia old ritual, the Yasna, in which the recitation of ancient Avestan texts accompanies the performance of ritual actions. Using new visual source material of images and film clips, this lecture discusses the performance of the Yasna and its significance for the Zoroastrian tradition. About the Speaker Almut Hintze studied Indo-European philology at the Universities of Heidelberg and Oxford and earned her PhD in Indo-Iranian Studies…

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February 2021

Pourdavoud Center Lecture Series: Carlo G. Cereti

February 19, 2021 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

Narseh’s Diadem: Religion, Royalty, and Power under the Early Sasanians This talk focuses on the Sasanian king Narseh (293-302 CE), who celebrated his accession to the throne through the bilingual inscription (Middle Persian and Parthian) and commemorative monument built in Paikuli, the site currently studied by the archaeological mission of Sapienza-University of Rome: The Italian Archaeological Mission to Iraqi Kurdistan (MAIKI – Missione Archeologica Italiana nel Kurdistan Iracheno). The mission’s work in Paikuli focuses on the reconstruction and preservation of…

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Pourdavoud Center Lecture Series: Nikolaus Overtoom

February 3, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Reconsidering the Emergence of the Parthian State: The Crisis of the 240s-230s BCE in the Hellenistic Middle East Nikolaus Overtoom's study of the rise of the Parthian Empire, Reign of Arrows: The Rise of the Parthian Empire in the Hellenistic Middle East, brings a new perspective to this important development in the history of the Hellenistic Middle East. By emphasizing the changing international-systems elements that led to the expansion of the Arsacid kings, Overtoom allows scholars to develop a more…

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January 2021

Pourdavoud Center Lecture Series: Jason Schlude

January 22, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Book Talk: Rome, Parthia, and the Politics of Peace This volume offers an informed survey of the problematic relationship between the ancient empires of Rome and Parthia from c. 96/95 BCE to 224 CE. Schlude explores the rhythms of this relationship and invites its readers to reconsider the past and our relationship with it. Some have looked to this confrontation to help explain the roots of the long-lived conflict between the West and the Middle East. It is a reading…

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