By Susan Pollock, Reinhard Bernbeck
Archaeologies of the center East presents an leading edge advent to the archaeology of this attention-grabbing quarter and a window on either its earlier and current.
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Extra resources for Archaeologies of the Middle East: Critical Perspectives
Anatolia was the scene of various small polities (Armenia, Bithynia, Pontos). The period following Alexander’s conquests is still interpreted in standard literature as a “Hellenization” of the Orient. However, Alexander himself underwent an Orientalization during his short reign, in mundane elements such as clothing as A CULTURAL-HISTORICAL FRAMEWORK 27 well as in administrative policies (satrapies as provincial units, Greek and Aramaic as official languages of the bureaucracy; Frye 1984:142–143; Hauser 1995).
Zoroastrianism became the Sasanian state religion under the high priest Kartir. E. founder of Manichaeism, a syncretistic religion with elements of Zoroastrianism, Chaldaean beliefs, Judaism, early Christianity, and Gnosticism, was killed at the instigation of the magi (Zoroastrian priests; cf. Sundermann 1986:253–268). Manichaeism had spread quickly over a vast area reaching from Spain to China. Syncretistic religions attest to intense interchanges in spiritual matters; eastern ideas, for example, became highly influential for the development of Christian theology.
The capital of the kingdom, Wasˇsˇukanni, has not yet been identified, and other evidence about this polity is scanty. Our limited state of knowledge about them has led to a highly simplified historiography, according to which Hurrian lower classes were ruled by an Indo-Iranian elite. The desire to confirm Mittani domination over Hurrians through archaeology has resulted in misguided, often racist attempts to identify an ethnically distinct “Hurrian” culture (Diakonoff 1972; Kammenhuber 1977; Barrelet 1978; Börker-Klähn 1988).