Saturday, April 14, 2018

Review of Marciak, Sophene, Gordyene, and Adiabene

BRYN MAYR CLASSICAL REVIEW: Michal Marciak, Sophene, Gordyene, and Adiabene: Three 'Regna Minora' of Northern Mesopotamia between East and West. Impact of empire, 26. Leiden: Brill, 2017. Pp. xv, 581. ISBN 9789004350700. $184.00. Reviewed by David Woods, University College Cork (
This book is a result of research funded by the National Science Centre in Poland and conducted at the University of Rzeszów from 2012 to 2015. It does exactly what the title suggests, discussing the geography and history of the three neighbouring regions of Sophene, Gordyene, and Adiabene in northern Mesopotamia during the period from about 200 BC to about AD 600. There is no single, overarching argument, and the result is essentially a reference work for anyone interested in the development of these regions. Many of the chapters have already been published in a variety of academic journals during the period from 2011 to 2016. However, the journals were sometimes relatively obscure, and it is good to have revised versions of the original papers drawn together to form a larger, coherent whole. The author draws upon a wide range of literary sources in a number of languages, primarily in Greek, Latin, Syriac, and Armenian. He also draws upon a wide range of material sources and the latest archaeological data. The result is an indispensable tool for anyone interested in the geography and history of northern Mesopotamia.

The material on Adibene (modern day Erbil) will be of particular interest to PaleoJudaica readers. The ruler of the kingdom of Adiabene, Queen Helena, converted to Judaism in the first century CE. Background here and links.

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