Recorded: February 18, 2020
Event: Contextualizing Iranian Religions in the Ancient World - 14th Melammu Symposium
Citation: Gaspa, Salvatore. "Constructing Religious Identities in the Age of the Empires: Remarks on the “Imperial Religion(s)” of the Early Achaemenid Period," Contextualizing Iranian Religions in the Ancient World - 14th Melammu Symposium. February 18, 2020.
by Salvatore Gaspa (University of Padua)
Constructing Religious Identities in the Age of the Empires: Remarks on the “Imperial Religion(s)” of the Early Achaemenid Period
Recent scholarship has shown that our understanding of the Achaemenid religious landscape requires not only a reassessment of the current knowledge of interactions between the Iranian world and the adjacent millennium-old civilizations of the Near East, but also a reconsideration of the methodological approach we follow to study processes of cultural interaction, assimilation, and differentiation. If previous studies on Achaemenid Persian religion predominantly followed a philological approach, couched in Indo-European linguistics, ongoing research of the last decades has shown the merits of investigating the imperial religion(s) of the early Achaemenids in light of the rich documentary evidence from the Achaemenid archives and in conjunction with the rich religious traditions of Assyria, Babylonia, and Elam. This presentation will address these topics in order to contribute to the current scholarly debate on the formation of early Achaemenid religion from the perspective of Mesopotamian and Elamite precedents.
About the Speaker
SALVATORE GASPA (1975) graduated in Ancient Near Eastern History at the University of Padua in 2002. He holds two PhDs, one in Semitics, obtained at the University of Florence in 2007, and one in Ancient Near Eastern Studies, achieved at the University of Naples “L’Orientale” in 2011. In 2003-2004 he worked as a researcher at the Institute for Asian and African Studies (Department of Assyriology) of the University of Helsinki for research on the Neo-Assyrian texts with the support of two Finnish Government Fellowships. In 2006-2012, as “Cultore della materia” and short-term contract researcher, he worked in the framework of research activities for the Chair of Ancient Near Eastern History under the guidance of Prof. G.B. Lanfranchi. In the years 2009-2010 and 2013-2014 he collaborated with the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa for the project “Mnamon. Ancient Writing Systems of the Mediterranean” (sections of cuneiform writing), directed by professors C. Ampolo and A. Santoni. In 2013-2015 he was Marie Curie Intra-European Fellow and Associate Professor at the University of Copenhagen in the framework of the European Commission’s Research Programme “7th Framework Programme of the European Union-People-Call 2012” and in the joined programs of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique – Archéologies et Sciences de l’Antiquité, Maison de l’Archéologie et de l’Ethnologie “René Ginouvès”, Nanterre, and of the Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre for Textile Research, University of Copenhagen. From 2019 to 2021 he worked as an A-level researcher at the DiSSGeA.