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In: Iran and the Caucasus

The present study investigates the intertextual relationship between the Pahlavi “Story of Jōišt ī Friyān” and the biography of Zarathustra, as recorded in pre-modern Zoroastrian sources. The first part of the study contains the presentation and analysis of intertextual fragments within the Pahlavi tale, which can be discerned as referencing the Zoroastrian prophet’s life and deeds, forging an associative link between the central character of the story and the image of Zarathustra. The second part provides an attempt to explain why the author of the story might have considered such a link necessary and what could have inspired him to choose Zarathustra’s image and associate it with his protagonist.

In: Iran and the Caucasus

This is the second part of the contribution published in Iran and the Caucasus, vol. 25(1) (2021): 29–47.

In: Iran and the Caucasus

The oil policy of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is mainly focused on achieving full political independence besides pursuing other interests. The Kurdistan region of Iraq contains approximately one third of the total proven energy resources of the country. This raises the question of why Kurdistan’s oil policy could not be used as a leverage for its independence in the Middle East? The main hypothesis of this research is that the complex system of the Middle East is not in line with the ultimate goal of the KRG, which is separation from Iraq and the establishment of an independent Kurdish state. The research findings show that the independence of the KRG faces severe challenges in the complex sphere of the Middle East. These challenges are mainly rooted in the weakness of the KRG in regional networking and also in the activities of terrorist groups in the region.

In: Iran and the Caucasus

At least five specimens constituting the small group of Chorasmian silver vessels present an image of the Mesopotamian goddess Nana who was very popular in pre-Islamic Central Asia. One silver bowl found in Dagestan at present kept in the State Hermitage Museum is embellished with the image of a deity sitting on a dragon whose identity is not clear. Scholars considered this deity to be a woman because of her clean-shaven face, long hair and garments. However, Kushan rulers had been representing on their coins one Zoroastrian god as a woman since the 2nd century A.D. He was Tir, the god of the planet Mercury who had connections to the Avestan rain god Tishtrya. Despite the problematic associations between Tir and Tishtrya, Central Asian peoples had superimposed this Zoroastrian god to Mesopotamian Nabu who was the patron of scribes and the original “husband” of Nana. Nabu’s symbolic animal was a dragon that is very similar to the one on the Chorasmian bowl from Dagestan. Most likely, Chorasmian artists kept reproducing on their metalwork iconographic elements that originated in Mesopotamia after adapting them to their own religious and cultural sphere.

In: Iran and the Caucasus

This article studies Young Avestan forms in -āiš (formally of a-stems), (formally of ā-stems) and -īš (formally of ī-stems) that are used in contexts where neuter / collective forms in (a-stems) and (consonantstems) are expected. It is argued that these forms in -āiš, , and -īš are secondarily created pluralizations of original neuter collectives in reaction to the syntactic change according to which their original singular verbal concord is in Young Avestan times changed to plural verbal concord. The choice for forming these newly pluralized collectives with the endings -āiš, , and -īš lies in the fact that these are the plural variants of the singular endings ( of a-stems), ( of ā-stems) and ( of ī-stems), respectively, which are formally identical to the collective neuter endings (a-stems) and (consonant-stems). The ‘collective plural’ forms in -āiš, , and -īš can thus be explained through a simple four-part analogy.

Open Access
In: Iran and the Caucasus
Author: Amir Zeyghami

This article is devoted to the analysis of the occurrences of the term Abxāz in Classical Persian literature and Iranian historiography. Under the term Abxāz, generally, Persian poets and writers implied the whole territory of Georgia and not only proper Abkhazia located on the eastern coast of the Black Sea. New points have been made about the word tamūk in Luγat-i furs by Asadī Ṭūsī, as well as the Abkhaz language, based on a quatrain (rubā‘ī) by Xāqānī.

In: Iran and the Caucasus
Author: Peter Knapczyk


This paper examines the changing roles and status of marṡiyah poets within hierarchies of political and religious authority during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. A direct link between the marṡiyah tradition and these institutions was a system of patronage that bound poets to the brokers of power. Although in the early 1700s marṡiyah poets were often dismissed as “inept poets,” in subsequent generations marṡiyah poets were nurtured by the patronage of political rulers and counted among the masters of Urdu literature. The Navābs of Avadh in particular, with their promotion of Shīʿī ritual in their capital Lucknow, helped to widen the audience for the marṡiyah. Such temporal rulers appropriated the marṡiyah’s wide appeal as a strategy for fostering social and cultural cohesion among an otherwise diverse population. The Urdu marṡiyah gave expression to the localized concerns and novel self-understanding of the Navābs as they broke politically and ideologically from Mughal rule. These changes in the systems of patronage for the marṡiyah and the genre’s unique association with Avadh’s political and religious project resulted in marṡiyah poets’ growing status in both literary and religious circles. As marṡiyah poets began to feature prominently in the religious life of Avadh, their authority and pious personas came to strain relations with marṡiyah poets’ more worldly patrons. By the mid-1800s, the growing power and influence of the British had undermined the traditional systems of literary patronage for the marṡiyah. But as marṡiyah poets sought out new sources of patronage, they helped extend Urdu’s popularity to distant regional centers. Across India, marṡiyah poets were instrumental in establishing networks of patronage and creating models of language and performance that were influential in Urdu literary circles well beyond the marṡiyah genre, placing such poets as Mīr Anīs and Mirzā Dabīr at the vanguard of crafting the cosmopolitan orientation of Urdu literary culture.

In: Journal of Urdu Studies
Author: Paul D. Buell


Cinggis-qan (d. 1227) and their successors created the largest empire in history, and although the Mongol hordes have been most famous for rapine, pillage, war, and conquest, their overall reputation has recently achieved a well-deserved and long-awaited rehabilitation, based on Mongol achievements in many other areas than empire building. A new generation of scholars (led by Jack Weatherford) now recognizes that the Mongols, when they were not conquering and setting up empires and states, were often busy spreading cultural, technological and even scientific goods from one part of the world to the other, everything from food to philosophy and medicinals and medical lore, as well as achievements of science and technology.

Paul Buell discusses the transmission of Arabic medicine to China as attested for example in the Huihui yaofang 回回藥方 (HHYF), “Muslim Medicinal Recipes”, or perhaps better, “Western Medicinal Recipes”, so much is after all Greek. It is a unique document one that is Arabic Medicine on the surface but in fact shows many other influences, not just that of mainstream Arabic Medicine.

In: Mathematics and Physics in Classical Islam