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The Persian Empire, the Social Sciences, and Ancient Historiography: An Exploratory Workshop - 09-10-11/01/2019, Helsinki (Finland)




Studying the first Persian Empire (550 – 330 BCE) is both frustratingly immense and too restrictive, with extant evidence often not directly answering the questions we wish to ask of it. For social and cultural dynamics, very careful methodology is necessary to tease out more sophisticated understandings. However, it is no longer sufficient merely to mine existing theory that appears to be adaptable; rather, ancient historians need better integration in the broader social scientific discourse.


FECHA/DATE/DATA: 09-10-11/01/2019


LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: University of Helsinki (Helsinki, Finland)




INFO: web - -




Inscripción online / registration online / registrazione online




Wednesday, 9 January – Sociology
0900–1000 Keynote: Julia Jennings (University at Albany, SUNY)

1100–1300 Paper session I

Farzad Abedi. The Philo-Persian Societies in Classical Greece

Nenad Marković. Memphis, Sais, Buto and beyond: Indigenous Priesthood Networks in Persian Egypt (c. 526-484 BCE)

Melanie Wasmuth. Negotiating Authority: The Acceptance of Cambyses as Egyptian Pharaoh as Means of Constructing Elite Identity

1430–1630 Paper session II

Francis Borchardt. Ezra–Nehemiah and Torah as a Product of Social Authority

Maarja Seire. The Authority and Autonomy of Archival Scribes in Mid-First Millennium BCE: the client-scribe relationships in Bēl-rēmanni and Marduk-rēmanni archives

E. V. P. Vanderstraeten. The Social World of Marriage: Power relations prior to and after marriage in the Ea-Ilūtu-bani archive

1700–1820 Paper session III

Jacob Stavis. Monuments and Memory at Pasargadae

Nina Nikki and Lauri Laine. The Promise of Socio-Cognitive Approaches as Middle-Range Theories

1820–1900 Concluding discussion/ response

Response: Petri Ylikoski

1900 Reception

Thursday, 10 January – Political Science

0900–1000 Keynote: Bruce Bueno de Mesquita (New York University)

1100–1300 Paper session I

Ossi Arpe. Political Science Approach Plan

Seán W. Pieper. The Achaemenid Lion: Proto-Heraldry and the Significance of Imagery for Elite Culture

Wu Xin. Drinking from the Old Cups: Elite of Central Asia in the Achaemenid Empire

1430–1630 Paper session II

Kacper Ziemba. Law-Codes and Local Elites: case for the southern Levant

Uzume Z. Wijnsma. Barking Dogs Never Bite? Elite criticism and
quietism in First Persian Period Egypt

Melissa Benson. How do Networks Relate to Ideas of ‘Authority’ and
What Does ‘Authority’ Mean in the Persian Empire, on a Social Level?

1700–1820 Paper session III

Andrew Deloucas. Dancing Around the Akītu: Envisioning a Lost Subject
of the Persian Period

Leila Makvandi. Local Calendars and Problem of their Adaptation in the
Achaemenid Empire Archives

1820–1900 Concluding discussion/ response

1930 Workshop Dinner

Friday, 11 January – Economics

0900–1000 Keynote: Jari Eloranta (University of Helsinki)

1100–1300 Paper session I

Maurits W. Ertsen. Agencies of Empire: a Comparative History of the
Importance of Daily Activities in Building Imperial Power

Melanie Gross. The Conduct of Trade in Babylonian Sippar during the
reign of Darius I

Raz Kletter. Writing the Economies of Judah/ Yehud: Ideologies and Practices

1430–1630 Paper session II

Rhyne King. De-urbanizing Political and Economic Power in the Achaemenid Persian Empire

Caroline Wallis. Taxes as a Nexus: good for me, good for you, good for us? On collective well-being and utilitarianism in the Persian Empire

Jason M. Silverman. Economics without Society or Politics? The interrelation of Assumptions concerning models in the ANE

1700–1800 Final discussion / response



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