Achaemenid Impact in the Black Sea: Communication of Powers. Black Sea Studies 11

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For 200 years, from the second half of the sixth century to the decades before 330 BC, the Persian dynasty of the Achaemenids ruled an enormous empire stretching from the Mediterranean Sea to Afghanistan and India. The Great Kings Dareios I and Xerxes I even tried to conquer Greece and the northern Black Sea territories. Although they failed, parts of Thrace did become part of their dominion for a short period. The question always rises as to why the Great Kings were interested in the western and northern Pontic zones. In contrast to some of the other satrapies, such as Egypt, Phoenicia and Syria, the Black Sea had no prosperous cities or provinces to offer. One possible answer might be the desire to conquer every part of the known world. After 479 BC, it seems that the Great Kings acknowledged the fact that the coast and the Caucasus formed the natural borders of their Empire. The satraps, on the other hand, could not avoid becoming involved in the affairs of the Black Sea region in order to safeguard the frontiers they had established. They had to incorporate the Greeks, as accepted inhabitants of their province, into the Persian administrative system. Possibly they achieved this by granting them the monopoly in sea trade and using the Anatolian Greeks as the main active bearers and transmitters of Persian customs and culture. More research into this chapter of Persian history is still required.

Transcript of Achaemenid Impact in the Black Sea: Communication of Powers. Black Sea Studies 11

  • ACHAEMENID IMPACT IN THE BLACK SEACOMMUNICATION OF POWERS

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  • BLACK SEA STUDIES

    11

    THE DANISH NATIONAL RESEARCH FOUNDATIONSCENTRE FOR BLACK SEA STUDIES

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  • AARHUS UNIVERSITY PRESS a

    ACHAEMENID IMPACT IN THE BLACK SEA

    COMMUNICATION OF POWERS

    Edited byJens Nieling and Ellen Rehm

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  • Achaemenid Impact in the Black Sea Communication of Powers Aarhus University Press 2010Cover Design by Jens NielingPrinted in Denmark by Narayana Press, Gylling

    ISBN 978 87 7934 431 0

    Aarhus University PressLangelandsgade 177DK-8200 Aarhus N

    White Cross MillsLancaster LA1 4XSEngland

    Box 511Oakville, CT 06779USA

    www.unipress.dk

    The publication of this volume has been made possible by agenerous grant from The Danish National Research Foundationand The Aarhus University Research Foundation

    Danish National Research FoundationsCentre for Black Sea StudiesBuilding 1451University of AarhusDK-8000 Aarhus Cwww.pontos.dk

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  • Contents

    Jens Nieling & Ellen RehmIntroduction 7

    Adele BillAchaemenids in the Caucasus? 15

    Maria BrosiusPax Persica and the Peoples of the Black Sea Region: Extent and Limits of Achaemenid Imperial Ideology 29

    Anne Marie CarstensThe Labraunda Sphinxes 41

    Vladimir R. ErlikhRecent Investigations of the Ulski Kurgans 47

    Diana GergovaOrphic Thrace and Achaemenid Persia 67

    Vladimir GoroncharovskijA Silver Rhyton with a Representation of a Winged Ibex from the Fourth Semibratniy Tumulus 87

    Tatiana N. SmekalovaGeomagnetic Surveys in the Territory of Labrys (Semibratnee Townsite) in 2006-2008 103

    Florian Knauss, Iulon Gagoshidze & Ilias BabaevA Persian Propyleion in AzerbaijanExcavations at Karacamirli 111

    Jens NielingPersian Imperial Policy Behind the Rise and Fall of the Cimmerian Bosporus in the Last Quarter of the Sixth to the Beginning of the Fifth Century BC 123

    Ellen RehmThe Impact of the Achaemenids on Thrace: A Historical Review 137

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  • 6

    Ellen RehmThe Classification of Objects from the Black Sea Region Made or Influenced by the Achaemenids 161

    Ltife Summerer & Alexander von KienlinAchaemenid Impact in Paphlagonia:Rupestral Tombs in the Amnias Valley 195

    Mikhail TreisterAchaemenid and Achaemenid-inspired Goldware and Silverware, Jewellery and Arms and their Imitations to the North of the Achaemenid Empire 223

    Christopher TuplinRevisiting Dareios Scythian Expedition 281

    Indices 313Contributors 323

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  • Introduction

    Jens Nieling & Ellen Rehm

    A short historical overview

    For 200 years, from the second half of the sixth century to the decades before 330 BC, the Persian dynasty of the Achaemenids ruled Anatolia and Arme-nia as part of an enormous empire stretching from the Mediterranean Sea to Afghanistan and India. The Great Kings Dareios I and Xerxes I even tried to conquer Greece and the northern Black Sea territories. Although they failed, parts of Thrace did become part of their dominion for a short period. The Pontic Greeks were able to take advantage of the situation by aligning them-selves with Persian supremacy, which might have been a tempting alternative to joining the Athenian-led Delian League. As the Great Kings in Persepolis lost interest in their northwestern border, their satraps had to handle the situation, maintaining the balance of power by entering into various alliances with Greek and probably also Scythian fac-tions. This was a stable solution and the satraps became so adept at playing this Anatolian plan that a desire for independence arose. From 400 BC onwards, with the rebellion of Cyrus the Younger, as docu-mented by Xenophon, a series of internal struggles started to weaken parts of the Empire. This situation was beneficial to the peripheries, for example, the Bosporan Kingdom, and led to a new level of acculturation at the expense of the Persians in the first half of the fourth century. In a kind of globalization effect, the established Greek polis communities were also destabilized during the same period, so that, finally, nobody could resist the new rising power of the Macedonians. In contrast to some of the other satrapies, such as Egypt, Phoenicia and Syria, the Black Sea had no prosperous cities or provinces to offer. The question always rises as to why the Great Kings were interested in the western and northern Pontic zones. One possible answer might be the desire to conquer every part of the known world. After 479 BC, it seems that the Great Kings acknowledged the fact that the coast and the Caucasus formed the natural borders of their Empire. The satraps, on the other hand, could not avoid becoming involved in the affairs of the Black Sea region in order to safeguard the frontiers they had established. They had to incorporate the Greeks, as accepted inhabitants of their province, into the Persian adminis-

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  • Jens Nieling & Ellen Rehm8

    trative system. Possibly they achieved this by granting them the monopoly in sea trade and using the Anatolian Greeks as the main active bearers and transmitters of Persian customs and culture. More research into this chapter of Persian history is still required.

    The development of research

    Over the past few years, the breadth of research into the Persians has ex-panded. Usually only considered by historians, and then only from the view-point of Greek writers, the Achaemenid period is generally a marginal area of the archaeological disciplines. Whereas for Classical archaeologists the Persian Empire lies in the far east and most of them are not well acquainted with its eastern cultural background, for many ancient Near Eastern archaeologists the destruction of Nineveh in 612 BC marks the end of the great cultures of the ancient Near East. In addition, they are often not well acquainted with the cultural history of the west. Historically, each of the disciplines has devel-oped independently, adopting different approaches and even using different language. On the one hand, these presuppositions make dealing with such a marginal area of study as the Achaemenid period particularly interesting, but, on the other hand, they also make it particularly difficult. Nevertheless, several years ago a few scholars who were closely intercon-nected, especially through dealing with a particular geographical region, took up this challenge. As a result, several important international conferences oc-curred. While the conference held in Paris in 2003, which published the report Colloque sur larchologie de lempire achmnide (Persika 6, 2005), was devoted to the whole Achaemenid Empire, a conference held in Istanbul in 2005 (The Achaemenid Impact on Local Populations and Cultures in Anatolia. (6th 4th Cen-turies BC)) restricted itself mainly to the monuments of Anatolia. However, in this way, it provided a perspective on the types of influence that affected the shores of the Black Sea. Further important information on the Achaemenids in the region of the Black Sea can be found in the publications of the Vani conferences held regularly in Georgia.

    A new Aarhus project

    The Aarhus Centre for Black Sea Studies is currently working on the accultura-tion process from a distinctly Pontic perspective. The new project is devoted to the most significant phases of the Persian period. As in other regions, new meanings and values were introduced by the Persians which had a defining influence on the region in this period. This is evident in the precious objects found in Thracian, Scythian and Caucasian surroundings that reflect this influence. In all these regions on the edge of the Empire, a process of state formation took place to a certain degree, and this is documented by other indicators as well as the presence of Persian-influenced precious objects. The

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  • Introduction 9

    project is interested not only in the areas which belonged to the Persian Em-pire as satrapies but also in the neighbouring regions, which were or might have been in close contact with the Persians. One of the aims of the project is to establish the different positions that the various regions held both geo-graphically and politically. To determine which elements influenced these widespread regions might be the first step in identifying the different cultural mechanisms at work during this important period.

    The historical sources

    Apart from the important Bisitun inscription of Dareios the Great, which in-forms us about his rise and his amazing reorganization of the Persian Empire, there is little political evidence from Persia itself. There are, however, large and important groups of various types of texts, especially from the mainland but also from Babylonia and Egypt, which throw light on the organization of the Achaemenid Empire. They also provide us with details of daily life. But there are no written sources originating from the west-ern and northern parts of the Empire and from neighbouring regions. We are, therefore, dependent on written records composed by Greek authors. In his Histories, Herodotos describes the