Rayy: from its Origins to the Mongol Invasion

An Archaeological and Historiographical Study

Series:

This book offers a new history of the ancient city of Rayy. Based on the results of the latest excavations on the Citadel and the Shahrestan (the political and administrative nucleus of the city in all periods), the study of historical and geographical texts and on surveys carried out between 2005 and 2007 by the author and the Iranian archaeologist, Ghadir Afround, the complete occupation sequence of the city, from its foundation in the Iron Age and the Parthian reconstructions (2nd to 1st centuries BC), up to the Mongol invasions and rapid depopulation in the 13th century CE, comes to light.
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Biographical Note

Rocco Rante, Ph. D. (Aix en Provence, 2009), Aix Marseille Université, is an archaeologist at the Musée du Louvre and the director of the Archaeological Mission of the Bukhara Oasis in Central Asia. A specialist on the Khorasan region, he has published Nishapur Revisited with Annabelle Collinet, (Oxford 2013).

Review Quotes

"This attractive volume,…, presents an archaeological survey of Rayy’s urban and material culture on the basis of 2005 and 2007 excavations of that ancient city (now a suburb of Tehran), with special reference to historical and numismatic data.. Though of particular utility to students of Islamic archaeology, this work should not be overlooked by those who would seek a deeper appreciation of the early Islamic settlement of Iran… One is reminded here how important it is that students of the Islamic world renew their interest in its urban development, as the subject clearly transcends disciplinary fault lines. Those who study Islamic religious, political, or/and social history would be well advised to heed what their colleagues can tell them in this regard, even as the archaeologist is compelled to use historical sources to shed light on what excavations can no longer reveal. Indeed, the very topography of the Muslim urban center speaks no less as a document of humanity than the literary sources we find at our disposal, and sets the bar for the verisimilitude of our historical reconstructions of the past."

Rodrigo Adem in Al-Abhath 60-61 (2012-2013), p. 181-182.

Table of contents

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

PREFACE BY RENATA HOLOD

TRANSLITERATION SYSTEM

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

INTRODUCTION

1. GEOGRAPHICAL SETTING

2. HISTORICAL SETTING

Pre-Islamic era
Islamic era
The first conquest of Rayy and the first caliphs
The Umayyad period
The ʿAbbāsid period
The Sāmānīd period
The Būyid period
The Ġaznawid period
The Salğūq period
The Mongol invasion


3. PREVIOUS WORKS AT RAYY

Plans of Rayy in the 19th century
Pascal Coste’s Plan of Rayy
Pascal Coste’s Views of Rayy (1840)
Eastern elevation (folio 62bis)
Western elevation (folio 63)
Previous Archaeological Works at Rayy

4. TOPOGRAPHY OF RAYY

Topography of Rayy
The Citadel
The Šahrestān
Rayy Today: Between Modern Urbanisation and Preservation of the Site

5. EXCAVATIONS AT RAYY

The šahrestān Rampart
Test T1
Tests T3 and T4
Test T2: šahrestān
The Mosque
Citadel Excavation (in Collaboration with Ghadir Afround)
The West Fortress
The East Fortress

6. THE CERAMICS OF THE EXCAVATION (2006-2007)

Analysis of the Ceramics
Description of the fabrics
Chronological Study of the Ceramics: Synthesis and Interpretation

7. URBAN DEVELOPMENT

The Urban Framework at the Origins of Rayy
Urban Development during the Parthian Period
Urban Development during the Sasanian Period
Urban Development in the Islamic Period
A glimpse of the urban development of some major Iranian cities

CONCLUSION

APPENDIX

BIBLIOGRAPHY

INDEX

Readership

All interested in the history of Iran, Islamic and pre-Islamic archaeology, and the history of the Islamic World.