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Showing papers in "Journal of Persianate Studies in 2022"


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TL;DR: The concept of apocatastasis as mentioned in this paper was introduced by the prophet of the end of the world and the annihilation of Hell in the context of the Zoroastrian doctrine of the End of the World.
Abstract: This article focuses on the central importance of the concept of apocatastasis (or apokatastasis)—the full regeneration of the world and the annihilation of hell—within the framework of the Zoroastrian doctrine of the end of the world, as well as its origin and development. This study insists strongly on a necessary distinction between this idea and the more frequently-encountered doctrine of apocalypse, which does not strictly concern the end of the millennial Mazdæan cycle, but marks only an historical phase of crisis. The idea of apocatastasis does not belong to the earliest Iranian tradition, but was the product of a slow process of adaptation of new theological ideas, partly of Christian origin, that emerged during a period of social crisis. The final synthesis represented a transformation of the theological and philosophical perception of the annihilation of hell in a new universally-optimistic cosmological perspective.

1 citations


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TL;DR: In this paper , the authors compare the Zoroastrian and Syriac Christian traditions, and find evidence describing a phenomenological complex that includes the manifestation of celestial entities through a revelatory dream or vision and the consequent awakening of the individual consciousness.
Abstract: Similarities between the two celestial entities, the Zoroastrian Srōš (or Sraoša) and the Christian St. Sergius, have occasionally been mentioned in studies on late-antique and medieval Iran. Comparing the Zoroastrian and Syriac Christian traditions, the study will deal with evidence describing a phenomenological complex that includes the manifestation of celestial entities through a revelatory dream or vision and the consequent awakening of the individual consciousness. The parallelisms will be viewed in the perspective of historical and cultural dynamics that characterized the socio-political horizon of the late Sasanian Empire, especially during the reign of Khosrow II Parviz (Husraw II Parvēz). The heterogeneous society of the frontier zone between Rome and Iran determined the development of trans-cultural elements fostering dialogue among different components of the population. This phenomenon, along with the increasing integration of the Christian community in late Sasanian society, favored processes of assimilation and hybridization of narrative motifs connected to the representation of salvific and protective figures extremely popular at that time.

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TL;DR: In this paper , the life and activities of Ali al-Aʿlā (d. 1419/822), the principal successor of the founder of Horufism, Fazlollāh Astarābādi, and early Horufi history are examined.
Abstract: This article examines the life and activities of ʿAli al-Aʿlā (d. 1419/822), the principal successor of the founder of Horufism, Fazlollāh Astarābādi (d. 1394/796), and early Horufi history. Widely known as “Khalifatollāh (Vice-gerent of God)” in Horufi literature, the prolific ʿAli al-Aʿlā compiled five Persian books in the first two decades of the fifteenth century, namely the Korsi-nāma, Towhid-nāma, Qeyāmat-nāma, Ferāq-nāma, and Mahshar-nāma. By principally working on ʿAli al-Aʿlā’s corpus, I construct his biography, as well as explore Fazlollāh’s life and his Horufi doctrine. By critically engaging with the modern scholarship on Horufism, I discuss the crisis among Horufis following the execution of Fazlollāh, their political positioning among different political entities in western Asia, e.g., the Timurids and Qara Qoyunlus, and Horufi missionary activities in Syria, Anatolia, and the Ottoman Balkans in the first decades of the fifteenth century. By doing so, I attempt to add another dimension to the existing Horufi literature.


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TL;DR: In this paper , the main theme of Dēnkard is identified as the main compositional techniques that form the internal structure of the narrative, with the aim of understanding the literary tricks that allow flow from one episode to another and from one chapter to another.
Abstract: In his important 1963 study, Marijan Molé (1924–63) argued that Dēnkard VII does not provide an objective and complete biography of Zoroaster, but rather reflects a later Zoroastrian conception of him as a prophet at the time of its writing. Following his approach, the present article examines the text as a cultural product and a narrative fabrication of late Antique Zoroastrianism. This study attempts first to identify the main theme of Dēnkard VII, since, although it is generally considered the book of the “legend of Zoroaster,” the protagonist appears in only five out of eleven chapters—less than half of the material. Furthermore, this paper analyses also some of the main compositional techniques that form the internal structure of the narrative, with the aim of understanding the literary tricks that allow flow from one episode to another and from one chapter to another.

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TL;DR: In this article , the authors describe the forms and the effects of the onslaught of Ahriman and his evil creatures, and how Zoroastrians explained the nature and the presence of evil and its real influence on the good creation and creatures of Ohrmazd as found in the Bundahišn.
Abstract: The Bundahišn (Primal Creation) is one of the most important surviving Zoroastrian works in Pahlavi Middle Persian. In this book, the evil spirit Ahriman and his demons play a crucial role in the cosmogonic drama from creation until the end of times, according to the well-known Zoroastrian dualistic system. This article describes the forms and the effects of the onslaught of Ahriman and his evil creatures, and how Zoroastrians explained the nature and the presence of evil and its real influence on the good creation and creatures of Ohrmazd as found in the Bundahišn.


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TL;DR: In this article , the authors present selections of verses (mostly translated into English for the first time) of selected poets, while contextualizing their work within Ottoman Bosnia and also survey Persian works in manuscript collections in the libraries of Bosnia and Herzegovina, showing that the Persian cultural ādāb (literature) of the past has continued to reverberate intellectually and culturally even today in Bosnia and its environs.
Abstract: Numerous Bosnian intellectuals during the centuries of Ottoman rule were authors of works in the Persian language. Mostly, they produced poems and divāns (poetic anthologies) under the strong influence of the Persian literary canon. After a brief and introductory overview of the Persian literary canon, its origins, and its presence in the Ottoman realms, this article presents selections of verses (mostly translated into English for the first time) of selected poets, while contextualizing their work within Ottoman Bosnia. In addition, this study surveys Persian works in manuscript collections in the libraries of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It can clearly be seen that the Persian cultural ādāb (literature) of the past has continued to reverberate intellectually and culturally even today in Bosnia and its environs.

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TL;DR: This article provided a translation and analysis of Fakhr al-Din Rāzi's previously untranslated Persian panegyric ode (qasidat al-madh) entitled "Fi al-manteq va-ʾl-tabiʿa va- ǫ-l-el al-hi va-maddh al-soltān (On Logic, Physics, and Metaphysics, and Praise of the Sultan).
Abstract: While Fakhr al-Din Rāzi’s (d. 1210/606) works of philosophical theology are well known, his poetry has been largely ignored by scholars to date. This article provides a translation and analysis of Rāzi’s previously untranslated Persian panegyric ode (qasidat al-madh) entitled “Fi al-manteq va-ʾl-tabiʿa va-ʾl-elāhi va-madh al-soltān (On Logic, Physics, and Metaphysics, and Praise of the Sultan).” Combining a historical and literary approach, I argue that Rāzi strategically employs both the didactic and the panegyric genres in his attempt to regain the favor of the Khvārazmian crown prince, Nāser al-Din Malekshāh (d. 1196–7/593). In addition to demonstrating Rāzi’s belief in the soteriological value of knowledge, the poem adds further evidence for elite support of Islamic philosophy after Ebn Sīnā—in this case, in the eastern lands of the Islamic empire.

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TL;DR: In this article , a corpus of Persian and Marathi bilingual inscriptions is analyzed to examine whether they are actually translations that achieve equivalence of content or whether localized texts were created to address the needs of the audiences in different languages, perhaps as "idiomatic bilinguals".
Abstract: Bilingual inscriptions in Marathi and Persian are known through the period of the Deccan sultanates. This paper investigates whether the inscriptional programs, usually with Persian as the dominant language, can provide greater cultural context and meaning to processes such as translation and multilingualism in the period. Bi- and multi-lingual inscriptions are intended usually for public display and demonstrate the relative prestige and power of languages and cultures. The corpus of Persian and Marathi bilingual inscriptions will be analyzed to examine whether they are actually translations that achieve equivalence of content or whether localized texts were created to address the needs of the audiences in different languages, perhaps as “idiomatic bilinguals.”

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TL;DR: In this article , the purpose and practice of divorce in late Antique Iran, by reconstructing the rationale for and procedure of divorce based on extant legal cases using a socio-historical approach.
Abstract: Many scholarly works aim to identify and explain the continued survival of pre-Islamic social phenomena and institutions deep into the Islamic age. To understand the historical roots of Iranian social issues more profoundly and accurately, it seems necessary to examine the social structure and institutions of the Sasanian era. Such a study enables us to trace their subsequent development and identify the ways in which they transformed. This paper attempts to clarify the purpose and practice of divorce in late Antique Iran, by reconstructing the rationale for and procedure of divorce in Sasanian society based on extant legal cases using a socio-historical approach. It also tries to show the different types of divorce in Sasanian and post-Sasanian sources, emphasizing the controversy and contradictions among Zoroastrian jurisconsults and legal texts to identify different legally-sanctioned perspectives regarding divorce.

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TL;DR: In this paper , the authors explored the differences between the two structures, along with burial-related terms used by ancient Persians, by examining ancient and medieval Iranian manuscripts and by conducting a field study of surviving artifacts from ancient times.
Abstract: The terms dakhma (open-air tomb) and astodān (ossuary) are often used interchangeably despite the fact that they refer to two distinct structures with different meanings in pre-Islamic Iranian burial practices. The present study explores the differences between the two structures, along with burial-related terms used by ancient Persians, by examining ancient and medieval Iranian manuscripts and by conducting a field study of surviving artifacts from ancient times. The results show that dakhma (or dakhmagāh) was a general term referring to the entire burial site and its constituent elements—as opposed to the specific astodān. Both of these structures should be differentiated from small hollowed ledges on the edges or surfaces of mountains, which were engraved as late as the early Islamic period (seventh to ninth centuries), even though the terms dakhma and astodān appear in their inscriptions. Although the latter have led some scholars to conflate the terms, the present study finds that these small stone structures and hollows are neither dakhma nor astodān, but rather served as a symbolic memorial to the departed. Furthermore, other burial-related structures in the environs of the dakhma, including mortar-shaped hollowed stones (sang-ābs) and cascade-like stone grooves (called sor-sor-e hāy-e sangi), which have received scant attention, can be traced back to Zoroastrian rituals in Avestan texts and point to the presence of a dakhma. Finally, the present field study, which explored ancient burial sites in the Marvdasht plain in Fars Province, includes unique information and details that are presented here for the first time.

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TL;DR: In this article , the authors investigate whether there is a form of linguistic continuity between the languages of the Scythians, Sarmatians, and Alans at different times in the region of the Black Sea.
Abstract: Classical sources give evidence for the presence of Scythians, Sarmatians, and Alans at different times in the region north of the Black Sea. While not all scholars agree with Abaev’s idea of “strict continuity” in the languages of these peoples, none deny the existence of at least some form of linguistic continuity between them. The aim of this article is to investigate whether we can suppose another form of continuity relating to their religious systems. While we know that Zoroastrianism had not spread to these peoples, can we still find common elements in their religious systems? If so, we can imagine that they resembled one another not only in terms of language and way of life, but also in terms of religious belief.

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TL;DR: In this paper , an attempt is made to bring together primary and secondary sources to define better the role that the province of Ray played during the Sasanian period, during which it was host, among others, to a huge military camp crucial to manning the northern and eastern frontier.
Abstract: Ray—located near present-day Tehran—is among the most important historical areas in Iran and the plains to the south of Tehran have always been densely inhabited and intensely cultivated thanks to the waters coming from Mount Tochal and the Alborz Mountains. Historical records and archeological data for the early history of the city in the Median, Achæmenid, Seleucid, and even Parthian periods are not exhaustive. In the present study, an attempt is made to bring together primary and secondary sources to define better the role that the province of Ray played during the Sasanian period, during which it was host, among others, to a huge military camp crucial to manning the northern and eastern frontier. Combined archeological and historical evidence shows that Ray has played an important and pivotal role in the history of Iran from the first years of the formation of the Sasanian Empire to the very last years of the empire, leaving a lasting memory in the Islamic literary tradition.

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TL;DR: The Journal of Persianate Societies (JOS) as discussed by the authors was published during the workshop organized at Sapienza University of Rome on 21 November 2019 to celebrate the opening of the Mediterranean regional branch of the Association for the Study of Persianates (ASPS) based at the Research Centre for Cooperation with Eurasia, the Mediterranean, and Sub-Saharan Africa (CEMAS), and the beginning of a new series of seminars entitled “Parlane con Sasso, Uno Sguardo Oltre, dedicated to the societies and history of the Middle East and North Africa.
Abstract: The papers published in this volume of the Journal of Persianate Societies were read during the workshop organized at Sapienza University of Rome on 21 November 2019 to celebrate the opening of the Mediterranean regional branch of the Association for the Study of Persianate Societies (ASPS) based at the Research Centre for Cooperation with Eurasia, the Mediterranean, and Sub-Saharan Africa (CEMAS) at the Sapienza University of Rome and the beginning of a new series of seminars entitled “Parlane con Sapienza, Uno Sguardo Oltre,” dedicated to the societies and history of the Middle East and North Africa. These lectures were meant to foster our university’s “third mis-sion” activities, by targeting diverse audiences. The Mediterranean regional branch will both strengthen the scientific debate and expand the international academic network of ASPS by engaging scholars interested in studying the vast territory stretching from the Mediterranean to the Indo-Gangetic plains from Antiquity to the modern period. At the same time, the cycle of conferences on the Middle East will allow us to better under-stand the complexity of regions and societies in continuous transformation by opening a dialogue that goes beyond the boundaries of the academic world and involves different constituents of the civil society. On the occasion of the first workshop, scholars in the field of Iranian Studies have delivered lectures focusing on religious diversity in late Antique and early Medieval Iran. The multi-faceted approaches characteristic of the paper that were submitted for publication will provide an in-depth perspective on such a challenging socio-cultural context.

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TL;DR: According to Ammianus Marcellinus, elephants substituted, to some extent, siege towers; he describes wooden towers on the backs of the animals, armed with Persian warriors who attacked the defenders of a fortress as discussed by the authors .
Abstract: According to Ammianus Marcellinus, elephants substituted, to some extent, siege towers; he describes wooden towers on the backs of the animals, armed with Persian warriors who attacked the defenders of a fortress. Certainly, elephants may have served as an element of ancient psychological warfare. But, at the same time, it appears that the Sasanians employed elephants in their battle fighting, bearing warriors who attacked their enemies with various missiles. In open-field battles, elephants, as a rule, were introduced into the battle in an offensive situation. Ammianus Marcellinus does not offer any evidence as to elephants functioning as beasts of burden or draught animals; on the contrary, he always stresses the fact that they were military animals who posed a real danger to the Romans in battle.

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TL;DR: The correspondence of March 590, from the Iranian shah Khosrow II Parviz (r. 591-628) and addressed to the Byzantine emperor Maurice as discussed by the authors , exhibits a particular style, focused on the ideological oppositions of order and disorder and legitimacy and usurpation.
Abstract: The Byzantine historian Theophylact Simocatta (fl. 620s) records an exchange of letters with the Sasanian Empire. The correspondence of March 590, from the Iranian shah Khosrow II Parviz (r. 591–628) and addressed to the Byzantine emperor Maurice (r. 582–602), exhibits a particular style, focused on the ideological oppositions of order and disorder and legitimacy and usurpation. This paper suggests that Khosrow’s claims to his kingdom made use of a discourse of catastrophic motifs that reflected common Sasanian apocalyptic beliefs. Thus, the chaotic situation provoked by the inversion of the rightful order elicited, from a Zoroastrian perspective, a response that stressed the dualistic nuance of demonic anarchy in order to stigmatize the risk of deposition. For these reasons, apocalyptic doctrines and royal propaganda share a common language: a political discourse based on the justification of kingship and the demonization of the enemy.

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TL;DR: The influence of Manichæism as a salvific faith on Islam is evident in the Qurʾan's prophetology and Christology, its conceptions of wisdom and knowledge, and the idea of the salvation of the soul through light as discussed by the authors .
Abstract: Māni created a new religion of salvation out of the Mazdæan religion of ancient Iran and named himself as its final prophet. The decisive impact of Manichæism as a salvific faith on Islam is evident in the Qurʾan’s prophetology and Christology, its conceptions of wisdom and knowledge, and the idea of the salvation of the soul through light. Just like Māni, Mohammad in the Qurʾan is the “Seal of the Prophets (khātem al-nabiyyin),” though he is formally designated as the Messenger (rasul) of God. Moving beyond Mohammad and the Qurʾan, the subsequent independent influence of Manichæism on the emergence of Sufism in Iran is traced alongside the development of light symbolism in the Sufi conception of the journey of the soul in the realm of light as the final stage of mystical union with God and in the formulation of the Sufi doctrine of the Mohammadan Light (nur-e mohammadi).

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TL;DR: In this article , a range of contemporary government records and newspapers are used to reconstruct the history of these early Persian newspapers, most of them for the first time; a preliminary attempt is made to understand the impact of these newspapers and the motivations of their Parsi, Hindu, and Muslim editors.
Abstract: While the study of the history of print culture in India is still at an early stage, languages moribund in India, like Persian, have been all but ignored in this narrative. Persian newspapers of the nineteenth century, especially from its first half, played an important role in the development of the Indian public sphere. To a certain extent, they continued in the vein of the pre-British akhbārs, while on the other hand, they took on gradually the character of a modern newspaper. Bombay (Mumbai), for historical and geographical reasons, emerged as a center of Persian language activity during this period and its rapidly burgeoning printing infrastructure facilitated the development of Persian, as a language for books and newspapers. Using a range of contemporary government records and newspapers, an attempt is made here to reconstruct the history of these early Persian newspapers. Over a dozen Persian newspapers are identified, most of them for the first time; a preliminary attempt is made to understand the impact of these newspapers and the motivations of their Parsi, Hindu, and Muslim editors.