Recent scholarship has begun to unveil the culturally rich and dynamic landscape of southwest Iran during the first half of the first millennium BCE (aka the Neo-Elamite period) and its significance as the incubation ground for the Persian Empire. In Profiling Death. Neo-Elamite Mortuary Practices, Afterlife Beliefs, and Entanglements with Ancestors, Yasmina Wicks continues the investigation of this critical epoch from the perspective of the mortuary record, bringing forth fascinating clues as to the ritual practices, beliefs, social structures and individual identities of Elam’s lowland and highland inhabitants. Enmeshed with its neighbours, yet in many ways culturally distinct, Elam receives its due treatment here as a core component of the ancient Near East.
Le devin historien en Mesopotamie is a combined study of divination and historiography. More than mere custodians of historical memory, diviners approached omens as written signs and developed a sophisticated semiology to recognize and order them. Diviners perceived omens as potentially rich in various meanings and cultivated an elaborate hermeneutic for working these out using hypothetical and inductive reasoning. Even if omens were removed from the recorded facts, diviners endowed them with a wide range of possibilities. Divination sought to establish links among historical, cosmic, and natural events because it investigated at once the past, present, and future. The first study of its kind since 1946, when only about 60 historical omens were known, this work presents 385 in a comprehensive edition.
Cultural Memory Reinterpreted
In The Arabic Life of Antony Attributed to Serapion of Thmuis, Elizabeth Agaiby demonstrates how the redacted Life of Antony, the “Father of all monks and star of the wilderness”, gained widespread acceptance within Egypt shortly after its composition in the 13th century and dominated Coptic liturgical texts on Antony for over 600 years – the influence of which is still felt up to the present day. By providing a first edition and translation, Agaiby demonstrates how the Arabic Life bears witness to the reinterpretation of the religious memory of Antony in the Coptic Orthodox Church.