Classics > Research > Completed Projects > Communication, Language and Power in the Achaemenid Empire

Communication, Language and Power in the Achaemenid Empire: The correspondence of the satrap Arshama

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The essential aim of this project (funded by the AHRC Research Networking scheme) is to provide the opportunity for detailed, hands-on involvement with one of the most exciting fields in ancient history, Achaemenid Studies. The method adopted will be to push on multiple fronts: the teaching of basic language skills, the exploration of how to look at Achaemenid art, the presentation and discussion of regions or particular bodies of material— with the goal of fostering conversations between archaeologists and philologists, Classicists and Orientalists, graduates and established Achaemenid specialists.

In pursuit of this aim, we propose an interdisciplinary programme of research-centred events, around the corpus of contemporary documents, textual and visual, associated with Arshama, satrap in Egypt in the later years of the fifth century BC. These fascinating documents offer a vivid snapshot of linguistic, social, economic, cultural, organisational and political aspects of the Achaemenid empire as lived by a member of the elite and his entourage. These include land-holding, the extraction and storage of resources, corvée labour, cross-regional ethnic movement, ideologically-driven iconography, religious language and belief, accountancy-culture, long-distance travel, and military systems. The challenge is to examine such topics in detail, but also in the light of the recent advances in the field of Achaemenid studies.

Further details

Director: Dr John Ma


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