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Journal:   PAZHOHESH-HA-YE BASTANSHENASI IRAN   fall 2017 , Volume 7 , Number 14 ; Page(s) 59 To 78.

Historical Data In The Ostraca From Nisa

Author(s):  Mohammadi Nosudi Sohayb, Tamari Nazanin*
The Arsacids Kings, reigned gradually from 247 B. C. to 224 A. D., over a great multi – cultural and multi-ethnic empire. From 1948 onwards, following the excavations in the primary home of Parthian kings, in Nisa (in Turkmenistan, near the present Ashgabat) by a team of Soviet and Italian archaeologists and excavators, more than 2500 Ostraca with 2758 texts from a “ record – office” Was excavated. These mainly provide details about wine deliveries to palaces from the vineyards of various estates, temples or private people. This discovery took place while the historical data of early Arsacids most were poor, confusing and derived from Classical sources. The special place of Nisa’ s Ostraca in the history of this era, indicates their hidden valuable information. The ostraca from Nisa that are written in the Parthian language, considered as the old written testimonies of this language. These documents as Parthian records, provide historical data such as; taxation system, Military Structure, religious issues and most important the genealogy and chronology of this time of the early Arsacid kings. A large number of names of employees in this documents, provide us to know more about administrative system and the court of the early Arsacid kings. Furthermore, obtaining these records from the initial center of the Parthian kings, represent a wealthy kingdom, immediately after the end of the Hellenistic period in Nisa, that has established Iranian spirit in the region. In the present research, the authors attempt to take a step to confirm the importance of the Ostraca from Nisa, as first – hand, reliable and Iranian sources about Arsacid kingdom, by surveying the Historical data in these documents and by comparing the information obtained from them with the data from the coinage of this period, for the first time in the present study by combining this evidences prove an important hypothesis in the Arsacid political history. Also it is shown that the simultaneously presence and absence of of the Ostraca from Nisa and coinage documents in the eastern parts of the Arsacid empire can never be considered accidentally. With regard to the central government’ s attention to the west of the kingdom, the feudal aristocracy takes control of the eastern regions. in fact, the growth of the powerful aristocracy in the empire, has gradually destroyed the resources of wealth and power of the central government, and as a result, they destroyed its authority and integrity. Indeed, it can be said that, at the end of the Arsacid period, nothing can be imagined as an empire and monolithic monarchy. Therefore, the idea that the Arsacid empire from the beginning to the end of this dynasty has always had the power, coherence and integrity has been abandoned and in this regard will survey the growth of feudal aristocracy in this empire. In this research, the authors assume that Nisa has also been removed from the empire’ s control in the same way. Due to the historical data from these Ostraca the existing analyzes of the political situation of the Parthian empre in the middle of this period according to these documents, are reviewed for the first time in the present study, and the efforts of the authors of this study is to provide a documented and reasonable response to the following questions; What are the most important data and historical information that can be derived from Ostraca from Nisa? How much these data could confirm and modify other sources of Parthian period? And also trying to rely on these Ostraca from Nisa and compare the data which obtained from them with numismatic evidences, investigate and prove a hypothesis about the role of the aristocracy and royal families as one of the causes of the decline and fall of the Arsacid kingdom.
Keyword(s): Historical Data,Ostraca,Nisa,Arsacids
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APA: Copy

Mohammadi Nosudi, s., & TAMARI, N. (2017). Historical Data in the Ostraca from Nisa. PAZHOHESH-HA-YE BASTANSHENASI IRAN, 7(14 ), 59-78.

Vancouver: Copy

Mohammadi Nosudi sohayb, TAMARI NAZANIN. Historical Data in the Ostraca from Nisa. PAZHOHESH-HA-YE BASTANSHENASI IRAN. 2017 [cited 2022May21];7(14 ):59-78. Available from:

IEEE: Copy

Mohammadi Nosudi, s., TAMARI, N., 2017. Historical Data in the Ostraca from Nisa. PAZHOHESH-HA-YE BASTANSHENASI IRAN, [online] 7(14 ), pp.59-78. Available:

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