This volume focuses on the period between the conquest of the Achaemenid empire by Alexander the Great and the advent of Islam, dominated in the central regions of the Near East by the Seleucid, the Parthian and the finally the Sasanian dynasties. Historiographically speaking, these periods have traditionally been dealt with by specialists in Classical archaeology, ancient history and late Antiquity. Much of the sense in which these periods represented a continuation of ancient Near Eastern traditions has thereby been lost. Many specialists in the 'late' periods have little awareness of scholarship on the very same regions and issues as dealt with by generations of scholars for the pre-Hellenistic Near East, while many students of the earlier periods fail to see that the processes and problems specific to the post-Hellenistic, pre-Islamic period in the region form part and parcel of the greater story of the ancient Near East through time. Brought together here are studies on the historical geography of Kerman and Khuzestan in the Seleucid period; the Greek and Parthian presence in Babylonia; popular religion and burial practice in Iran, Mesopotamia, and Arabia and the extent to which these do or do not reflect Zoroastrian orthodoxy; Roman, Parthian, Characene and Sasanian political influence, and its archaeological and iconographic manifestation, in the Arabian peninsula; and Nestorian Christianity in eastern Arabia. These studies demonstrate how extraordinarily rich a field exists for the further investigation of Mesopotamia, Iran and Arabia in the later pre-Islamic era.
D.T. Potts is Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology and History at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University, USA
Contents: Preface; An ass for Ares; Madaktu and Badace; Trans-Arabian routes of the pre-Islamic period; Seleucid Karmania; Elamite Ula , Akkadian Ulaya and Greek Choapses: a solution to the Eulaios problem; Occidental and Oriental elements in the religions of Babylonia and Iran during the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC; Disposal of the dead in Planquadrat U/V XVIII at Uruk: a Parthian enigma?; Five episodes in the history of Elymais, 145-124 BC: new data from the astronomical diaries; Foundation houses, fire altars and the frataraka: interpreting the iconography of some post-Achaemenid Persian coins; Arabia and the kingdom of Characene; The Roman relationship with the Persicus sinus from the rise of Spasinou Charax (127 BC) to the reign of Shapur II (309-379 AD); Augustus, Aelius Gallus and the Periplus: a re-interpretation of the coinage of San'Ac' Class B; Gundeshapur and the Gondeisos; The deacon and the dove: on some early Christian (?) grave stelae from al-Maqsha and Shakura (Bahrain); Nabataean finds from Thaj and Qatif; The Sasanian relationship with South Arabia: literary, epigraphic and oral historical perspectives; A re-examination of the late period graves at Yorgan Tepe (Nuzi); Late Sasanian armament from southeastern Arabia; Nestorian crosses from Jabal Berri; A Sasanian lead horse from northeastern Arabia; Index.