Recorded: March 9, 2020
Event: The Biennial Ehsan Yarshater Lecture Series

by Daniel Potts (New York University)

Descent and Marriage in Achaemenid Iran

The fourth lecture begins by examining the use of ethnos and genos in Herodotus’ discussion of Median and Persian ‘tribes.’ It then turns to the genealogy of Darius I; Xerxes’ succession; Sisigambis’ filiation and descent; cross-cousin and parallel cousin marriage in the Achaemenid royal families; uncle-niece marriage; and brother-sister incest.

About the Speaker

Daniel Potts is Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology and History in the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW) at New York University. He received his AB (1975) and PhD (1980) in Anthropology from Harvard University, specializing in Near Eastern archaeology. He taught previously at the Freie Universität Berlin (1981-86), the University of Copenhagen (1980-81, 1986-1991) and the University of Sydney (1991-2012), where he held the Edwin Cuthbert Hall Chair of Middle Eastern Archaeology. His main areas of interest are greater Iran, Mesopotamia, and the Persian Gulf, and as a field archaeologist he has conducted numerous excavations, among others in Iran and Turkey. He is a Corresponding Member of the German Archaeological Institute and ISMEO (Associazione Internazionale di Studi sul Mediterraneo e l’Oriente), and is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.