Studia Classica et Orientalia


1 (2010)







Prof. Dr. Muhammad A. Dandamaev (Russia)

Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Chief Research Fellow

Institute of Oriental Manuscripts

of the Russian Academy of Sciences


Šūzubu, a Citizen of Uruk in the Sixth Century

(Keywords: Babylonia, Uruk, Eanna, Šūzubu)


This paper is concerned with the activities of an official of the Eanna temple in the city of Uruk in Babylonia during the period 554–531 B.C. His name was Šūzubu and he was an overseer of the regular offerings in sheep to the Lady-of-Uruk (i.e. Ištar) and other deities. He also performed various other functions typical of the members of the temple personnel.





Professor Boris A. Litvinski (Russia)

Russian Academy of Sciences

Moscow Institute of Oriental Studies


Problems of the History and Culture of Baktria in Light of Archaeological Excavations in Central Asia

(Keywords: Baktria, Takht-i Sangin, Hellenistic period, Oxos, Central Asia)


The Achaemenid conquest of Baktria and its organization into a satrapy resulted in the production of Achaemenid art and other forms of material culture in the region. The Greeks whom the Achaemenids had deported from Ionia appeared in Baktria while it was still a satrapy. It was from this point that Greek culture rapidly spread in all spheres of everyday and spiritual life, stimulated as it were by two essential factors: a high standard of technology, especially in the realm of construction, and the interaction of Greek and Avestan mythology. The processes of adaptation, adoption and assimilation of Achaemenid and Greek culture began in the Achaemenid period and accelerated under the Seleukids and Graeco-Baktrians. Ai Khanoum and the Temple of the Oxos serve as excellent examples.

The formation of an eastern brand of Hellenistic architectural and artistic koine over a vast region of the Orient is seen in the development of fine arts and the subsequent “golden age” of art schools based on a common Achaemenid-Baktrian heritage. It is out of this cultural synthesis of Greeks and Baktrians that the phenomenon that we term “Graeco-Baktrian” emerged to dominate all spheres of everyday life.

The study of the art from the Temple of the Oxos allows us to conclude that it is unquestionably a Baktrian inspired temple, whose adherents included both ordinary and elite Baktrians. In addition, a significant portion of the art assembled in the sanctuary’s repositories originated in Iran, Asia Minor, and the Hellenistic Mediterranean. In the Hellenistic era large Baktrian city centers, including those with temples, like the Temple of the Oxos, served as “melting-pots,” where art, technology and ideas fused to create a new intense historical and cultural synthesis, thereby becoming the Baktrian school of Kushan art. This in its turn co-existed with the school of Indo-Gandhara art. Greek culture had a significant impact on the evolution of culture in Central Asia, including architecture, toreutics, coroplastics, religious and mythological themes and musical instruments among many others.

The degree of Hellenistic and Roman influence fueled by the popularity of Gandhara art in Central Asia increased during the Kushan period. In addition, we also see at this time the influence of Parthian and Palmyran art. By the beginning of the first century A.D., all these elements became so closely and creatively intertwined that it is possible to discuss a fully matured “Baktrian art.” In this context, the complexes of Khalchayan and Tillya-tepe are of paramount importance.

Certain elements of Hellenistic spiritual and material culture survived in Baktria and even in the whole of Central Asia throughout the period of the Kushans and the subsequent Hephtalite Empire until the Arab conquest, while architectural influence remained intact much longer.

Antiquity not only formed the basis of Western European civilization but it also formed the basis of a Central Asian civilization that drew heavily from its Hellenistic (and Hellenistic-Roman) roots.





Tom Boiy (Belgium)

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

OE Nabije Oosten Studies


Between the royal administration and local elite: the ātu in Hellenistic Babylonia as epistates?

(Keywords: Seleucid Babylonia, ātu, epistates, polis, Hellenistic city)


The paper deals with the status of the cities in Hellenistic Babylonia and the nature of the offices called epistates and ātu. The exact authority and legal position of an epistates and a ātu is discussed.





Jeffrey D. Lerner (USA)

Associate Professor

Wake Forest University

Department of History


Revising the Chronologies of the Hellenistic Colonies of Samarkand-Marakanda (Afrasiab II–III) and Aï Khanoum (northeastern Afghanistan)

(Keywords: Afrasiab, Aï Khanoum, Hellenistic, Marakanda, Samarkand)

The current dating system of Hellenistic Samarkand (Marakanda, Afrasiab II) and Aï Khanoum, two Greek cities in the Hellenistic Far East, stems from the 1998 work of B. Lyonnet. The present article questions the basis of her proposed chronology and introduces new evidence for revising it. The article relies primarily on archaeology, ceramics, numismatics, and epigraphy. The result is a different interpretation of how long both sites were under Greek hegemony. In the case of Samarkand, there is not sufficient evidence to warrant Lyonnet’s notion that the Greeks abandoned the city on two different occasions with an interval of about a century separating each event. The archaeological record does not allow for the clear distinction between Hellenistic Samarkand (Afrasiab II) and Samarkand under nomadic control (Afrasiab III). As such, we are compelled to retain the chronology of the site as it was initially conceived in 1950 by Terenozhkin for Afrasiab II-III. In order to place this material in a wider historical context, I have followed Lyonnet’s convention of drawing upon relevant comparisons from Aï Khanoum. The Greeks of both cities may well have enjoyed a political autonomy far longer than is currently believed.





Prof. Eduard V. Rtveladze (Uzbekistan)

O´zbekistan Badiiy Akademiyasi. San´atshunoslik Ilmiy-Tadqiqot Instituti

(Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan, Fine Arts Scientific Research Institute)


The Great Indian Road: India – Central Asia – Transcaucasia

(Keywords: Silk Road, trade, India, Central Asia, Transcaucasia)

The Great Silk Road which in ancient times linked the countries of the Far East with the Mediterranean area by way of Central Asia is well known to the learned and general public. Much less known is the other great trade road, also through Central Asia, that ran from India to the Mediterranean shores. Unlike the Silk Road with its predominantly overland routes, the road from India was a compound of land and waterway routes. This road started from Taxila, the capital of Gandhara, in north-western India, and crossed the Hindu Kush range into Baktria. After this it followed the Kokcha, Kunduz Darya, and Balkhab rivers to the Oxus (Amu Darya), and then down the Oxus toward Chorasmia. At Amul, or Chardzhou, a route branched off towards Margiana, Parthyene and the Atrek valley. From Chorasmia the main route continued along the Uzboi channel to the Caspian Sea, and crossing the sea, passed on to the mouth of the Kura river (ancient Cyrus); thence along the river and through modern Azerbaijan (Caucasian Albania) and eastern Georgia (Ancient Iberia) it crossed the Surami Pass to reach the valley of the Rioni river (ancient Phasis). In the lower course of the Phasis (western Georgia, legendary Colchis) was situated a city bearing the same name and inhabited by people of various nationalities, including Baktrians and Indians. Thence by the Euxine the road led to the Greek cities of the Black Sea region and so ultimately to South-East Europe. The available data indicate the importance of the Great Indian Road, and calls for the need for further profound and thorough study of the history of the formation and the operation of this great thoroughfare on the basis of archaeological, literary, and other sources.





Prof. Igor V. Piankov (Russia)

Novgorodskii Gosudarstvennyi Universitet im. Iaroslava Mudrogo

Gumanitarnyi Institut, Katedra vseobshchei istorii

Velikii Novgorod


The Tochari – Who Are They?

(Keywords: Tochari, Yuezhi, Baktria, Central Asia, nomads)


In the article the author tries to explain contradictive information from different sources about the ancient people called the Tochari. He comes to the conclusion that initially the word ‘Tochari’ was the common noun (notion), meaning the structural part of a nomadic "empire", its sedentary factor. And only later this word became known as an ethnic notion.





Aleksei Gorin (Uzbekistan)

Head of the Restoration Department

State Museum of History of Uzbekistan


Parthian Coins from Kampyrtepa

(Keywords: Parthian coins, Baktria, Central Asia, numismatic evidence, nomads)


The ancient settlement of Kampyrtepa (“Hill of the Old Lady” in Uzbek) is situated 30 km south-west of the town of Termez, downstream the Amu Darya River. The history of Kampytepa’s exploration is 30 years old. The Parthian period of the history of the settlement is the least explored. The discovery of coins of allegedly Parthian origin called for distinguishing it as a separate phase. In various publications their number varies from 6 to 12. These publications leave a number of questions still unsolved, including the attribution of the types and the issue and circulation dates. This calls for having a closer look at the Parthian coins from Kampyrtepa.





Jérôme Gaslain (France)

Membre du laboratoire AURORHE

«Archéologie Urbaine de l'Orient Hellénisé»


Mithridates Ier et Suse

(Keywords: Mithradates I, Susa, Seleucia on the Tigris, Philhellenism, Arsacid empire)


During the reign of Mithradates I (165–132 B.C.), the Arsacid kingdom became a great empire, after its conquests in Central Asia, Media, Mesopotamia and part of Iran. This expansion had only been possible because the Arsacid king payed much attention to the method used to lay hands, either militarily or diplomatically, on the cities of these territories. The seizure of Susa offers a good illustration of this point.





Marek Jan Olbrycht (Poland)

Department of Ancient History and Oriental Studies

University of Rzeszów


The Early Reign of Mithradates II the Great in Partia

(Keywords: Mithradates II, Parthia, Arsakid coinage, Baktria, Babylonia, Media)


Mithradates II (122–88/87 B.C.) is among the greatest Parthian kings, and because of his attainments, some ancient accounts call him “the Great.” Mithradates II rose to the throne after the unexpected death of his paternal uncle Artabanos I. In his early reign, Mithradates II routed a host of the “Guti,” i.e., Tochari, in Baktria, and managed to halt Arab raids in Babylonia. Faced with strong resistance from the Parthians under Artabanos I and Mithradates II, the Sakai wended their way south along the Areios (Harirud) and Margos (Morghab) into Drangiana and the Ariaspian land. Mithradates II pacified and included them in the Arsakid empire. Mithradates’ monetary production in ca. 122–111/110 concentrated in northern Iranian centers: in Ekbatana, Rhaga, and to a lesser extent in Nisa and Merv. Rich Media, and also native Parthia as well as Margiana, became bases of operations for Mithradates II’s great offensives in Central Asia.





Prof. Dr. Vladimir A. Livshits (Russia)

Chief research fellow
Institute of Oriental Manuscripts

of the Russian Academy of Sciences


The Avroman Parchment III in Parthian

(Keywords: Avroman, Parthian language, parchment, Arsacid Iran)


In 1913, three ancient parchments found in a cave near Shahr-e Awrāmān (Avroman), were acquired by the British Museum. Two of the documents, dated 225 and 291 of the Seleukid era (88-87 and 22-21 B.C.) are written in Greek (one with a poorly legible Parthian endorsement). The third, dated 300 of the Arsakid era (A.D. 53), written in Parthian, is a deed of sale of a half part of a vineyard. Several witnesses are named. This article presents a number of new readings and etymologies for Parthian terms used in the document.





Valentina Mordvintseva (Ukraine)

Senior Research Fellow

Crimean Branch of the Institute of Archaeology

Ukrainian National Academy of Science


Tillya-tepe gold jewellery and its relation to the Sarmatian Animal Style of the Northern Black Sea area

(Keywords: Ancient Bactria, Sarmatian culture, nomads, Animal Style)


Since the Tillya-tepe necropolis was excavated, the Gold-turquoise Style seen on its objects has always been connected with the Sarmatian Animal Style of the North Pontic region. A comparison of the stylistic features of both Tillya-tepe and Sarmatian items, however, shows that only few Sarmatian objects may have Bactrian provenance, and not all of them may belong to the Animal Style. The “true” Animal Style images are represented on prestigious items connected with social status of a warrior. The distribution of the Sarmatian Animal Style objects in the North Pontic area enables us to suggest different ways, in which the Tillya-tepe Style objects occurred in various local cultural groups and their different functions in the respective cultures and societies.





Dr. Martin Schottky (Germany)


Armenische Arsakiden zur Zeit der Antonine. Ein Beitrag zur Korrektur der armenischen Königsliste

(Keywords: Parthia, Rome, Antonines, Armenia, Arsacids, Caucasian history)


After Hadrian’s death in mid-138 A.D., the Parthians tried once again to assert their influence in Armenia. King Vologaeses, appointed by Hadrian himself in 117, was driven out and perhaps killed. Hadrian’s successor, emperor Antoninus Pius, was able to repulse the Parthian attack in a diplomatic way and to appoint a new client-king for Armenia. This new ruler was Pacorus, possibly a grandson of his name-sake, the former Parthian great-king. Pacorus’ reign came to an end, when the Parthians seized Armenia in 161 A.D. Following the Roman reconquest, several candidates tried to seize the Armenien throne; their rights were discussed by Marcus Cornelius Fronto, teacher of the new co-emperor L. Verus. Finally, the Roman government neither restituted Pacorus (who later lived at Rome and was adopted into the imperial family), nor respected the hereditary right of Vologaeses, no doubt a son of the king in Hadrian’s time. As a result, there was found one Sohaemus, a scion of a no longer ruling dynasty from Emesa/Homs, whose relationship to the Arsacids (and even to the Achaemenids) was more or less faked. Sohaemus, who is at last mentioned in 172 A.D., may have died in the middle of the decade. Many scholars maintain that his successor may have been Vologaeses II, father of the Armenian king Khosroes in the time of Septimius Severus and Caracalla. This additional Vologaeses is however completly unhistorical. Even the Armenian historical tradition knows only one king Vałarsh during the second century A.D., who is moved from Hadrians’ time to the period of Pius and Marcus Aurelius. So we have to delete this fictitious second Vologaeses from the Armenian king-list and must look for a real Arsacid successor of the pseudo-Arsacid Sohaemus. This was apparently Khosroes himself, a descendant of Vologaeses I., who had disappeared in 138. At the date of his nomination (between approximately 175 and 180) he was still a child and got a bit of sovereignity only after Commodus’ assassination.





Prof. em. Dr. Dieter Metzler (Germany)

Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

Institut für Didaktik der Geschichte


Arsakiden und andere parthische Fürsten als Anhänger fremder Religionen

(Keywords: Arsakids, Parthian Iran, buddhism, manicheism, christianity)


The paper deals with several personalities of the Arsakid and post-Arsakid periods known as representing or supporting different religions, including Mani, Abgars in Edessa (followers of Christianity), Gregory the Illuminator in Armenia (called the Apostle of Armenia), Izates in Adiabene (a convert to Judaism), An Shigao (a Buddhist missionary in China), and Vologaises (a mysterious priest in Thracia).





Touraj Daryaee (USA)

Howard C. Baskerville Professor in the History of Iran and the Persianate World,

History School of Humanities Associate Director,

Dr. Samuel M. Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture School of Humanities

University of California, Irvine History Departament


Ardaxšīr and the Sasanians’ Rise to Power

(Keywords: Ardaxšīr, Sasanian Iran, Sāsān, Fars, Istakhr)


The author deals with the rise to power of Ardaxšīr ī Pābagān and his family origins. The sources are either late (Perso-Arabic), or foreign and hostile (Greek and Armenian), or concerned with external religious matters (Syriac) which tend to be helpful mainly for chronology. Material culture, specifically coinage along with the rock reliefs are of the utmost importance to this investigation, and it is these sources that need to be juxtaposed with the literary documents to achieve a more balanced view of the origins of the Sasanians.





Daryoosh Akbarzadeh (Iran)

Head of the Inscriptions Department

National Museum of Iran


A New Collection of Sasanian Coins in the National Museum of Iran

(Keywords: Sasanians, coinage, Sayfi collection, Tehran’s National Museum)


The Sayfi Collection is one of the most important collections at the National Museum of Iran, Tehran, consisting of over 80 thousand Iranian traditional artistic objects from pre-historic times to the modern period. The collection includes about 500 coins from the pre-Islamic period; the bulk of them is datable to the Sasanian period (300 to 350) and the rest comes from the Parthian period (100 to 150). The Sasanian coins mostly belong to the rule of Khosrow II in the late sixth/early seventh century CE.





Valery P. Nikonorov (Russia)

Senior research fellow

Department of Archaeology of Central Asia

and the Caucasus

Institute of the History of Material Culture

of the Russian Academy of Sciences


“Like a Certain Tornado of Peoples”: Warfare of the European Huns in the Light of Graeco-Latin Literary Tradition

(Keywords: European Huns, Greek and Latin sources, arms, armour, strategy, tactics, poliorcetics, military organization, Attyla)


The paper deals with the art of warfare of the Huns, who invaded Southeast Europe in the last third of the 4th century A.D. and dominated there through the third quarter of the 5th century. It is described on the basis of all the available Greek and Latin written sources. Matters of the author’s consideration are arms and armour, horse equipment, armed forces, strategy and tactics, siegecraft and the structure of military organization. Some part of the paper contains critics of R. P. Lindner’s theory about the “dismounting” of the majority of Hun cavalry troops at least by the time of the great ruler Attila.





Hubertus von Gall (Germany)


Ein Kopf des Darius am ehemaligen Postfuhramt in Berlin

(Keywords: Achaemenids, Darius, Persia, post, modern art)


The article is dealing with the reception of Achaemenid art and history in modern European art. Starting point is a relief medaillon with the representation of Darius, son of Hystaspes (522–486 B.C.), which is part of the sculptural decoration of the Postfuhramt (postal carriage office) in Berlin, erected about 1881. The sculpture is placed at the beginning of 25 relief portraits of famous discoverers, explorers and scientists, which have intensively promoted traffic and communication by their work from the earliest times until the that-time present period. The choice of Darius I. at the beginning of a series of historical personages is unique and unprecedented in European art of the 19th century and after and needs a specific explanation. Since in regard to the other personages represented political and military achievements can be ruled out, one has to look for a motivation in the field of culture and communication. In a representation in the General Post Office in Berlin, which was about ten years older than the Postfuhramt but is, unfortunately, no longer existing, the contributions of the different peoples to the development of the post were shown in 12 paintings. The fourth of these figured two Persian horsemen in the act of passing a message from one to the other. This was evidently an allegorical rendering of the courier system carried out on the royal roads and described by Herodotus 8.98. This 'effectively earliest postal system in the world' (M. Brosius) was evidently the reason for placing the Persians, personified by Darius, son of Hystaspes, at the beginning of an ancestral gallery of the men who promoted the progress of post and communication through the ages. Consequently the artist, in relying partly on a reconstruction proposal of Charles Texier (1852) and partly on Assyrian reliefs from Khorsabad put considerable efforts into the representation of the Persian Great King Darius I. as exactly as this was possible in his time.