• Orientalism, Postcolonialism, and the Achaemenid Empire: Meditations on Bruce Lincoln's Religion, Empire, and Torture

    Author(s):
    Henry Colburn (see profile)
    Date:
    2011
    Group(s):
    Archaeology, History
    Subject(s):
    Ancient history, Methodology
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    archaeology, classics, Greek historiography, Persian Studies
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6V900
    Abstract:
    In his recent study of religion and imperialism in the Achaemenid Persian Empire, Bruce Lincoln depicts the Achaemenids as savage and decadent in order to make a point about contemporary American foreign policy. This paper challenges Lincoln's vision of the empire by examining the severe methodological flaws that underlie it, especially his untested assumptions about the nature of Achaemenid religion and his uncritical use of Greek sources for the practice of torture. These flaws contribute to the reification of an orientalist stereotype of the Persians that scholars of the Achaemenid Empire have long worked to overcome, and that is itself at odds with Lincoln's decidedly postcolonial aims. This paper also considers the roles played by orientalism and postcolonialism in Achaemenid historiography with a view towards understanding how they can and do inform the study of the empire.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    2 years ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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