Studies in Persian History: Essays in Memory of David M. Lewis.

Author:Wallenfels, Ronald
Position:Review
 
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Studies in Persian History: Essays in Memory of David M. Lewis. Edited by MARIA BROSIUS and AMELIE KUHRT. Achaemenid History, vol. 11. Leiden: NEDERLANDS INSTITUUT VOOR HET NABIJE OOSTEN, 1998. Pp. xi + 306, illus, HFI 129, $68.

The thirteen essays in this volume are dedicated to the memory of the late David M. Lewis, Professor of Ancient History at the University of Oxford. Lewis, as described in the "Introduction" by Amelie Kuhrt, was a Greek historian who recognized that the basis for comprehending the history of the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. in the West lay in an understanding of the interactions between the Greeks and the Persians. The interests of Lewis himself, in the widest possible range of "things Persian," are the theme of this volume. The papers thus explore a diversity of historical, religious, economic, linguistic, and art-historical aspects of the Persian Empire, often richly combined. The contributors include former participants in the Achaemenid History Workshops (the proceedings of which are recorded in the first eight volumes of this series), students and colleagues of Lewis at Oxford, as well as colleagues at the Oriental Institute in Chicago.

The opening essay by J. Wiesehofer compares the first-hand descriptions written by the young seventeenth-century traveler J. A. von Mandelslo during his visits to Pasargadae and Persepolis with the edited versions published posthumously by his one-time traveling companion A. Olearius. Wiesehofer demonstrates that some of von Mandelslo's clear descriptions and simple drawings were embellished by Olearius with often less accurate accounts and opinions of earlier travelers to suit the presumed tastes and sensibilities of his readers.

The remainder of the essays, which are ordered seemingly randomly, not alphabetically by author, nor by topic, nor chronologically, explore issues relating to the Persian Empire itself. The late H. Sancisi-Weerdenburg revisits the meaning of Old Persian baji- Bringing together textual and iconographic data, she concludes that the term did not merely designate "tribute' but all dues, including "gifts," to which the king was entitled.

G. G. Aperghis reexamines Achaemenid Elamite Kurmin as used in the Persepolis Fortification Tablets. By retranslating the term as "entrusted to" rather than as "supplied by," Aperghis identifies among the non-ration texts, in addition to the transfers between storehouses, a new category: receipts for commodities supplied directly...

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