Thank you to @CaribenxMarciaX for an excellent talk.
I learned SO much,

Don't forget, friends - 8pm UTC we will be learning about an empire and the 15 languages related to it

Day Five is off to an amazing start. I can't wait to see how it ends!


@Cyborgneticz @CaribenxMarciaX I have cuneiform! papyri! maps! inscriptions! (assuming screen sharing works OK, I am new to group videoconferences)

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@bookandswordblog it does ok, but its weird to get used to via one screen. good learning experience tho

@bookandswordblog Thank you for sharing your time and expertise with us, I know I'm not alone in my gratitude!

I didn't trust myself to ask earlier—in the Sinosphere, the succession of dynasties is a well known concept (there's a song to help remember them :).

In contrast, the Babylonian, Hittite, Assyrian, Neo-Babylonian, Achaemenid, Alexandrian, Selucid, &c &c succession in Iraq/Iran is AFAIK not well known at all. Why? Is this continuity less valid than the Chinese?

@22 good question! You can find that idea in Mesopotamia (the Sumerian King list ) and in the book of Daniel which is probably a few hundred years after Alexander the Great. 1/n

@22 but then in Iran there were disruptions in tradition after the Arab conquest. What we get in Ferdawsi's Shahnameh in the 10th century is odd ...some of the Achaemenids, not so much about Elam or the Babylonians or the Assyrians, and a Kayanid dynasty we don't know anywhere else 2/n

@22 and in recent times there were a lot of people who really did not want to associate noble Persians with weird Elamites or Semites or see continuity from the Near Eastern empires into Hellenistic times. It is only with the publication of the Elamite texts at Persepolis after WW II that people started to say "there is stuff here which is very Near Eastern and imperial and not so specifically Indo-European or Zoroastrian" 3/n

@bookandswordblog This question comes from two places

1—despite good history coursework in school, I'd never heard of the Achaemenid empire until reading Toynbee when I was 20. I was shocked I didn't know the name of the empire of Cyrus and Darius (despite knowing their story via Herodotus).

2—I work with my spouse to prepare non-Eurocentric homeschool curricula, and the Shang-Zhou-Qin-Han song is a cornerstone in it. I wonder if the Iraq/Iran succession of kingdoms is as valid.

@22 one thing I am trying to work on is that until 1000 BCE there are no states we know of much larger than modern Egypt, then with the Neo-Assyrians and the Achaemenids there is this giant leap in size, and by the year 1 you can ride from the Yellow River to the Loire and only need three types of money. So something happened with the way people organize themselves in the Iron Age.

@22 I know people who are working on linking the Achaemenids to earlier kingdoms, but the other end is harder, there was a big argument 10 or 20 years ago about whether Alexander the Great was the last of the Achaemenids. I don't know of any big broad books that just focus on the Iron Age (versus the Barry Cunliffe "agricultural revolution to Genghis Khan" or Oswald Spengler or Toynbee kind of book)

@22 I also think we need to do more to spread the new understanding of ancient Iran and late Babylonia outside the tiny community of specialist researchers, but I am just a new PhD looking for work ... we do have Amélie Kuhrt's great sourcebook, a textbook by Josef Wiesehöfer, and the Encyclopedia Iranica Online but we need the bestsellers and the chapters in broad books

@bookandswordblog thank you so much for this!

Jack Weatherford's two books, "Genghis Khan" and "Mongol Queens", published in the last fifteen years, did so much to popularize and spread information about the Mongol empire and its descendant empires—something like that is what I hunger for when it comes to this region.

Of course it might be that we're far from such a synthesis (which is why I alluded to the Chinese dynastic cycle concept, which sweeps much complexity under the rug).

@22 Matt Riggsby's "GURPS Hot Spots: The Silk Road" has a good bibliography in English on early trade across central Asia but that gets started around 200 BCE

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