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12503RE: [ANE-2] Re: The World of Achaemenid Persia: History, Art and Society in Iran and the Ancient Near East

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  • Clark Whelton
    May 25, 2010
      Liz Fried wrote:
      >>>>>>>>>I don't know what you consider to be "material evidence."

      Evidence of material culture, such as pottery, weapons, graves, grave goods, temples, cultic objects, foundation stones, roads, palaces, gates, commercial infrastructure, etc.

      >>>>>>We have inscriptions which yield numerous Persian names overseeing canals, etc. in
      >Babylon - see the work of Dandamaev. Thousands of contracts and receipts
      >from Mesopotamia are dated according to the Persian kings. We now have an
      >archive from the satrap of Bactria containing copies of letters to a
      >governor of his in a city on the border of present-day Afghanistan dated to
      >the years of Artaxerxes (III). The difficulty is that people began to use
      >perishable papyri rather than clay tablets, but we have enough anyway to
      >confirm the Greek texts.

      It must have been a very rich prize that lured Alexander so far east. I ask about material culture because I find it hard to accept that there is so little evidence of the people who lived and worked in the Persian satrapy along the Indus. Now I'm wondering what we know about the material culture of Bactria.

      Clark Whelton
      New York

      > _____
      >From: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
      >Graham Hagens
      >Sent: Friday, May 21, 2010 1:54 PM
      >To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
      >Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Re: The World of Achaemenid Persia: History, Art and
      >Society in Iran and the Ancient Near East
      >It is not very good, and much evidence is literary, second or third hand.
      >However most historians of the Achaemenid period concede that there was a
      >Persian 'presence' in the northern Indian sub-continent west of the Indus
      >from the time of Darius. Including Briant (2002: 756): 'The reality of
      >Achaemenid power in the countries on the west bank of the Indus can hardly
      >be doubted. Archaeology also appears to support those sources which
      >identified Taxila as one of the capitals of Gandhara.
      >Most importantly however, the existence of a Persian presence in Gandhara,
      >an important centre of Vedic, Upanishadic and Hindu culture, would help
      >clarify how ideas were exchanged between East and West during the so called
      >Axial Age. The mechanism of this process has long been something of a
      >Graham Hagens
      >Hamilton, Ontario
      >--- On Mon, 5/17/10, Clark Whelton <cwhelton@...
      ><mailto:cwhelton%40mindspring.com> > wrote:
      >From: Clark Whelton <cwhelton@...
      ><mailto:cwhelton%40mindspring.com> >
      >Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Re: The World of Achaemenid Persia: History, Art and
      >Society in Iran and the Ancient Near East
      >To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>
      >Date: Monday, May 17, 2010, 12:35 PM
      >Subject: [ANE-2] Re: The World of Achaemenid Persia: History, Art and
      >Society in Iran and the Ancient Near East
      >Graham Hagens wrote:
      >>>>>>>>>Thanks for this Liz. I look forward to getting a copy.
      >That two century Achaemenid period was arguably one of the most creative in
      >the long history of what we like to call civilization.
      >In a forthcoming article in the classics journal Mouseion I argue that the
      >Achaemenid satrapies in Gandhara played a pivotal role in the emergence of
      >western and eastern (Greek, Buddhist, Upanishad, Jain) philosophies.
      >Syncretic evidence supports the seldom cited 5th century BCE chronology of
      >Siddartha Gautama and major Upanishad teachers suggesting that they like
      >Herodotus, Democritus, Isaiah II/III, Nehemiah etc. were all at one time
      >subjects of the same empire, and enjoyed similar degress of freedom to
      >explore new ideas.
      >As noted before on ANE, material evidence of the Persian Empire is missing
      >in the archaeological records of Assyria and the Indus, two satrapies cited
      >by Herodotus as producers of great wealth for the Persian treasury. What
      >material evidence in there in Gandhara of the people who lived and worked
      >there under Persian rule?
      >Clark Whelton
      >New York
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