Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Kirsty Mason on Thomas Harrison, Writing Ancient Persia. Classical essays

In Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2012.02.29  Kirsty Mason reviews:

Thomas Harrison, Writing Ancient Persia. Classical essays. London; New York: Bristol Classical Press, 2011. Pp. 190. ISBN 9780715639177. $24.00 (pb).

She cites Harrison's discussion of the use of Persepolis Fortification Archive materials:
"Looking at Persian sources, primarily the Persepolis tablets, Harrison discusses the problems with this source of information: namely that they derive from a very specific time period (late 6th and early 5th centuries) and location and are written in Elamite and thus do not reflect the entire empire".

"When discussing royal women, who are often depicted as crueller than the Persian kings, Harrison notes two things: first: that Classical depictions show Persian royal women acting primarily in the interests of their families, holding vast power and demonstrating masculine traits. However, Achaemenid scholarship views such depictions as clich├ęd and the result of misogyny or ignorance and, therefore, to be dismissed. Second: that despite the above opinions dismissing Greek accounts, most Greek sources do loosely support Persian sources, in particular the Persepolis tablets which show "enterprising and resolute" Persian royal women. It is surmised that Achaemenid scholarship has too great a desire to reverse the negative reputation of Persian women noting that it is not only Persian women in Greek sources who are depicted as cruel in the interests of their families".
There has already been a response to the review.

Persepolis in Pleiades

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


A pair of articles appeared in a recent issue of Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies.  Accessible on line to anyone whose institution licenses the journal:

Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies

Cover image for Vol. 54 Issue 2

December 2011

Volume 54, Issue 2

Persepolis in Pleiades

Friday, February 03, 2012

NIAC Alert: Persepolis Tablets Threatened By Senate Sanctions Bill

 National Iranian American Council (NIAC) has posted the following:

Alert: Persepolis Tablets Threatened By Senate Sanctions Bill
Persepolis TabletsA Senate committee voted yesterday to make it easier for individuals to seize and auction off priceless ancient Persian antiquities held by American museums and universities in order to collect court judgments against the Iranian government.  Already, lawyers are in court trying to seize the Persepolis Tablets – priceless 2,500 year-old artifacts that provide a unique first-hand account of life in the Persian Empire under Darius the Great.  If this proposal becomes law, the Persepolis Tablets are almost certain to be confiscated from the universities and museums and sold to the highest bidders.
The Persepolis Tablets are a part of our rich heritage that should continue to be shared at museums and universities, not auctioned off like cheap items on eBay. 
Take action now to protect our heritage!
This proposal by Senator Menendez (D-NJ) will soon be considered by the full Senate as part of its latest Iran sanctions bill – which builds on the broad Central Bank of Iran sanctions spearheaded by Senator Menendez just last December.  This is perhaps one of the starkest examples yet of how broad sanctions punish ordinary Iranians and Iranian Americans, not the Iranian government. 
With the Iranian people facing unprecedented repression at home and economic warfare from abroad, we must stand united against collective punishment and the looting of our very heritage.
The Iranian government has harmed many innocent lives, and its victims should receive just compensation.  But we must be able to protect the rights of victims without attacking our Iranian heritage.
Take action now to stop Congress from looting our history!
NIAC has led the Iranian-American community’s efforts to protect the Tablets, fighting in the courts, the Congress, and even the White House to protect them. In order to permanently secure these and all other priceless Persian artifacts under threat, NIAC has called on Congress to change the law to protect all cultural artifacts held by American museums and universities so our heritage will never again come under attack
Persepolis in Pleiades