Vestnik drevnei istorii

The Vestnik drevnei istorii (VDI, Journal of Ancient History, Revue d’Histoire Ancienne) is a leading Russian academic journal in the field of ancient history and related disciplines. Founded in 1937, the VDI is Russia’s oldest scholarly history journal that continues to be published. From the autumn of 1937 till March of 1941, it also accepted papers on the history of the Slavs, Byzantium, and Ancient Russia. After a break during the World War, it has been appearing quarterly since 1946.

Since 1938, the journal has been edited in the Institute of History (since 1968, Institute of World History) of the Soviet (since 1991, Russian) Academy of Sciences. It was published by the United State Publishing House [OGIZ] (1937–1941) and the Publishing House of the Soviet/Russian Academy of Sciences [“Nauka”] (1946 – present).

The editors-in-chief were Alexander Svanidze (1937), Alexander Mishulin (1938-1948), Sergey Kiselyov (1949-1962), Vassily Struve (1962-1965), Sergey Utchenko (1965-1976), Zinaida Udaltsova (1976-1987), Gregory Bongard-Levin (1988-2008), Askold Ivantchik (2009 – present).

In 1937-1947, the VDI had the French subtitle Revue d’histoire ancienne and summaries in French. Since 1967 it has the English subtitle Journal of Ancient History and summaries in English.

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Vol 83, No 1 (2023)

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“Daiva Inscription” of Xerxes: Historical Account, Ideological Statement, or Propaganda?
Yakubovich I.S.

The so-called “Daiva inscription” of Xerxes found in Persepolis addresses the activity of this Achaemenid Persian king in two lands, one of which is said to have been in commotion, while the other is alluded to have been characterized by unacceptable religious practices. Xerxes stresses his involvement in the restoration of order in both countries but does not mention their names. Egypt, Babylon, Greece and Bactria were all adduced as candidates by 20th-century scholars, while the recent mainstream scholarship tends to interpret the same accounts as abstract ideological statements without an anchor in time or space. The new approach advocated in this paper assumes that Xerxes resorted to historical narratives only in order to provide his own apologetic version of embarrassing events. In particular, his self-professed involvement in the destruction of the cults of evil gods is to be interpreted as a twisted account of the destruction of the Acropolis of Athens by the Persian army in 480 BCE. In the wake of the disastrous war against the Greeks, Xerxes strove to present it as a successful special operation against the Greek deities.

Vestnik drevnei istorii. 2023;83(1):5-26
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P. Oxy. 2180 and the Text of Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus. Part II. Incorrect Readings
Nikolsky B.M.

The second part of the article deals with those readings in P. Oxy. 2180 that should be considered mistakes. It is argued that the value of the papyrus evidence about the text of Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus is overestimated. Certain papyrus readings accepted by contemporary scholars are in fact incorrect. Despite its age the papyrus does not have any special weight in establishing the text of the tragedy, since majority of variant readings date back to the time preceding the creation of the papyrus. But at the same time, the discussion of the papyrus readings raises some general questions, both palaeographic (about the number of lines in a column of papyrus) and linguistic (about Sophocles' appeal to archaic forms known to him from the epic tradition), and questions about stage conventions (e.g., about the presentation of characters when they appear on stage).

Vestnik drevnei istorii. 2023;83(1):27-53
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Subsections of the Motivation Clause in Honorific Decrees from Olbia, Istros, Odessos and Apollonia Pontica
Eliseeva L.G.

It is suggested that some kind of markers could be used to show the sequence of events in extensive motivation clauses of biographical honorific decrees, especially from the Hellenistic period. In order to find such markers, we analysed the most fully preserved honorary decrees from Olbia, Istros, Odessos and Apollonia Pontica. An attempt is made to determine how such markers were used by authors of policy decisions.

Vestnik drevnei istorii. 2023;83(1):54-71
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Two-Sided Glass Gems from the Sarmatian Burials of the Lower Volga Region
Treister М.Y.
The phenomenon of two-sided gems in ancient glyptics is discussed in the article with special attention paid to cast glass gems, often called "litics" in Russian publications, which were cast from impressions in molds taken from real engraved gemstones, while the color of the glass often imitated the color of the original stone. Such glass gems were quite widespread, both in the Scythian burials of the Dnieper region and in the Maiotian burials of the Kuban region.  Specifically, the article examines such gems with double-sided images found in the Sarmatian burials of the 1st – first half of the 2nd century AD in the Lower Volga region, which were used as elements of necklaces or bracelets. As in the Scythian burials of the Dnieper region, glass gems in the kurgan of the “Bogomol’nye peski-I” group were found in a child's burial and in the necropolis Verbovskiy-I in the burial of a young woman and a child. They were considered by their owners as items of jewelry and amulets, and not as a means for imprinting images. It is worth noting that the images on the sides of the same gem are rarely semantically related to each other, but rather give the impression of a rather random choice of subjects. In many cases, the motives go back to gems of the late Classical and Hellenistic periods. The uniqueness of two-sided glass gems, on the one hand, and their distribution in the North Pontic region in the 6th–4th centuries BC, on the other hand, give grounds to suggest the possibility of the origin of finds originating from the Sarmatian burials of the Lower Volga region from the workshops of the North Black Sea region, possibly of the Bosporan Kingdom.
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Disciplina Etrusca and the Development of the Roman Orthogonal Land Surveying
Kirillova M.N.

According to Roman surveyors, history of the most common system of Roman orthogonal surveying – limitatio – goes back to the disciplina etrusca, a complex of Etruscan rituals. There is no consensus among specialists regarding the degree of Etruscan influence on Roman surveying, since the Etruscan achievements in orthogonal surveying are scarcely known and the orthogonal plans of the Greek colonies in Southern Italy are much more famous. The archaeological evidence, in particular, the research of the Etruscan colony in Marzabotto, shows that there are traces of orthogonal surveying on the territory of the Etruscan cities. The organization of these settlements is close to the Greek cities with orthogonal surveying; however, there are also some features, which can be explained by the influence of disciplina etrusca. Some of them (the apparent orientation of the main roads of the settlement to the cardinal points, the presence of special signs at the roads’ intersection) were also important for the imperial surveyors, even though they recognized a need to take into account features of landscape and other practical considerations. The earliest traces of Roman land surveys, close to limitatio, date back to the 3rd century B.C. It can be explained by a closer knowledge of the disciplina etrusca, which became possible after the conquest of the main Etruscan religious centers.

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Ancient Coins from the N. K. Minko’s Collection (State Historical Museum of the Southern Urals). Part I. Asia and Egypt
Abramzon M.G., Zakharov E.V., Nikitin A.B., Smirnov S.V.

This is the first publication of ancient coins from the collection of Chelyabinsk archaeologist Nikolay K. Minko (1880–1920), stored in the State Historical Museum of the Southern Urals (Chelyabinsk). This significant collection of coins (854 pieces), mostly of silver, has not been investigated yet. Forty-nine eastern Greek coins in the Minko’s collection are of particular interest, including the coinages of centers of Asia Minor, the Seleucids, Arsacids (Parthian and Elymaean), Sasanids, Ptolemies, as well as the Roman provinces of Syria and Egypt. This material expands the corpus of Seleucid, Ptolemaic, Parthian, Elymaean, and other Greek coins in the collections of Russian museums.

Vestnik drevnei istorii. 2023;83(1):114-133
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Greek Papyri from the Collection of the Perm University History Museum (P. Perm.)
Chepel E.Y., Shavrin J.A.

This article contains the editio princeps of the Greek papyri held at the History Museum of Perm State University. The majority of these papyri were glued and pressed together as a means of strengthening a book cover. These papyri can be dated to the Byzantine or early Islamic period since they were pressed together with Pahlavi and Arabic fragments. Two papyri can be dated to IV AD. In total, twenty-six papyri are published.

Vestnik drevnei istorii. 2023;83(1):134-163
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The Masks of Sacred Falcons with the Image of a King in the Egyptian Collection of the A. S. Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts
Ladynin I.A.

The article contains a publication and a tentative interpretation of a group of artifacts from the Egyptian collection of the A.S. Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow (ГМИИ I.1a.5001, 4688, 4687, 4689, 4691, 4690–5005). Those are the masks placed on the mummies of sacred falcons and representing an Egyptian king. No analogies to them are known. The analysis shows that the masks’ images correspond to the standard of royal iconography used in the 3rd and the 4th centuries B.C. and that they can be attributed with enough certainty to Ptolemy II Philadelphus (282–246 B.C.). The masks belonged initially to the collection of Vladimir Golenischev, their provenance and the circumstances of their acquisition are unknown but one can suggest they originate from the necropolis of sacred falcons at North Saqqara. They could have been in use there in the reign of Ptolemy II, intended to stress the incorporation of divinity in him and his sacral legitimacy.

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“Now We Have either to Restore… or to Ruin it Completely”: The Introduction and Rapid Abolition of Latin in Soviet Schools (Late 1940s – First Half of the 1950s)
Skvortsov A.M.

The introduction of Latin in Soviet schools remains an unexplored topic today. There are only brief accounts of this experiment in the memoirs of contemporaries. This article reconstructs the course of the reform on the basis of normative and legal documents, records, and memoirs, in which the most active phases can be distinguished: 1944–1948 and 1952–1954. The author manages to determine that A.V. Mishulin and N.F. Deratani had the greatest influence on the promotion of the idea of introducing Latin in school. However, the inconsistent implementation of the initiative, the lack of proper organization and methodological work and the lack of measures to explain the innovations to the general public led to the rapid curtailment of the reform. As a decisive reason for the exclusion of Latin from the curricula of Soviet schools the abolition of separate education in 1954 is called.

Vestnik drevnei istorii. 2023;83(1):185-201
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J. A. Rosenblitt. Rome after Sulla. London–New York, 2019
Korolenkov A.V.

As far as we know, there were no monographs dedicated specifically to the first years of post-Mullanite Rome until recently, and the publication of the work in question by Oxford University lecturer Alison Rosenblit can only be welcomed. The author presents his work to the reader in this way: "This book is about the fragility of the Sullan settlement. Therefore, on the one hand, this is a story about the 70s and especially those that followed immediately after the autocracy of Sulla, 1979-1977.

Vestnik drevnei istorii. 2023;83(1):202-206
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R. Gagné. Cosmography and the Idea of Hyperborea in Ancient Greece. A Philology of Worlds. Cambridge, 2021
Podossinov A.V.

The book by Renaud Gagnier, a professor at the University of Cambridge, continues his series of works in the field of ancient literature and religion. This work, as can be seen from the title, is devoted to the image of the Hyperboreans and the idea of Hyperborea in ancient literature, as well as to the philological understanding of the cosmographic aspects of this mythological discourse.

Vestnik drevnei istorii. 2023;83(1):207-215
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Problems of the History of Ancient Empires at the International Research Symposium “On the Shoulders of Giants: Peter the Great and the Imperial Experience of Russia in the Context of World History” (Kazan, September 26–28, 2022)
Shadrina N.A., Rung E.V., Venidiktova E.A.

The symposium organized by Kazan (Volga Region) Federal University in cooperation with the Russian Historical Society (branch in the Republic of Tatarstan), the Russian Society of Intellectual History (Kazan Branch), the Russian Association of Antiquaries and the Institute of General History of the Russian Academy of Sciences was dedicated to the 350th anniversary of the birth of Peter I (1672) and the 1100th anniversary of the adoption of Islam by the Volga Bulgaria (922).

Vestnik drevnei istorii. 2023;83(1):216-218
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The Academic Conference in Memory of the Honorary Professor of the Moscow University Ija Leonidovna Majak (1922–2018) (Moscow, September 30 – October 1, 2022)
Bugaeva N.V.

September 27, 2022 marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Honored Professor of Lomonosov Moscow State University, Doctor of Historical Sciences, I. Leonidovna Mayak. In memory of the great scientist, teacher and organizer of science, an anniversary conference was held at Moscow University with the support of the IVI RAS and the Russian Association of Antiquaries.

Vestnik drevnei istorii. 2023;83(1):219-223
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The 24th Zhebelev Conference at the St. Petersburg State University (Saint Petersburg, October 26–28, 2022)
Klimov O.Y., Kulishova O.V., Panteleev A.D., Zhestokanov S.M.

On October 26-28, 2022, the All-Russian Scientific Conference "Zhebelev Readings-XXIV" was held at the Institute of History of St. Petersburg State University. The conference was attended by more than 80 scientists from universities, research institutes and museums in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Kaliningrad, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Samara, Saratov, Surgut, Yaroslavl, as well as from Belarus, Germany and Mexico.

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Yuli Berkovich Tsirkin (1935–2022)
Editors V.
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Alexandr Borisovich Nikitin (1956–2022)
Smirnova L.O., Lurje P.B.

Alexander Borisovich Nikitin was born in Moscow. His mother, Valentina Ivanovna, taught at the Moscow Architectural Institute, his father, Boris Semenovich, was a captain of the first rank, the author of a documentary story about the everyday life of intelligence "Green Sleeves". Being an excellent musician, after retiring, he became interested in the history of music and published two books devoted to the biographies of P.I. Tchaikovsky and S.V. Rachmaninov.

Vestnik drevnei istorii. 2023;83(1):234-236
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Vladimir Ivanovich Katz (1937–2023)
Monakhov S.Y.

Just five years ago, in 2017, we dedicated the XVIII issue of the scientific collection "The Ancient World and Archaeology" to the 80th anniversary of our colleague and teacher, classical scholar and patriarch of ancient archaeology Vladimir Ivanovich Katz. And now we have to write about the fact that he is not with us. It is bitter and insulting, so much still needed to be done, coordinated with him, consulted, especially since he was distinguished by an excellent memory, efficiency and a reasonable attitude to life until the very end.

Vestnik drevnei istorii. 2023;83(1):237-239
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Coptic Martyrdom of Stephen (P. Duke. inv. 438). Introduction, Translation from Coptic and Commentary by A. A. Voytenko
Voytenko A.A.

In 1995, in the journal "Analecta Bollandiana", P. van Minnen published a text preserved on papyrus from the collection of Duke University (Durham, North Carolina). This text is the earliest hagiographic evidence of the martyrs preserved in the Coptic language, and is of interest by this very fact. But no less interesting is the story of the wanderings of the papyrus R. Duke. inv. 438 in modern times.

Vestnik drevnei istorii. 2023;83(1):240-247
pages 240-247 views

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