Embedded Alterity: Material Hybridity As an Achaemenid Strategy

Recorded: April 12, 2023
Event: Achaemenid Workshop 1
Citation: Allen, Lindsay. "Embedded Alterity: Material Hybridity As an Achaemenid Strategy." Pourdavoud Center: Achaemenid Workshop 1 (April 12, 2023).

by Lindsay Allen (King's College London)

This paper reflects upon both historic and recent discussions of Achaemenid material culture as a constellation of objects and practices implicated in the propagation of imperial networks. Regional case studies have illuminated the impact of aspects of Achaemenid court culture on elites who were incorporated into networks of mutual interest or control, as well as systems of wealth generation or extraction. Such analysis depends on distinguishing a material repertoire associated with the regions traditionally perceived as the Achaemenid imperial heartland and their close hinterland. This material culture itself derived from diverse sources. This paper then explores the intentionality of “embedded alterity” as a phenomenon of Achaemenid self-definition in material and textual formats.

About the Speaker

Lindsay Allen is Senior Lecturer in Greek and Near Eastern History at King’s College London. Interested primarily in the Achaemenid Persian empire and pre-Islamic Iran, her work explores the texts and material culture of Achaemenid kingship and the history of scholarship and reception, particularly in relation to Persian history, the ancient Near East, and Alexander of Macedon. Her most recent publication explores the reception of pre-Islamic culture, specifically Persepolitan reliefs, in seventeenth-century Iran. She is currently working on a catalogue of stone fragments from Persepolis that were removed from the site in the eighteenth century.