Pre-modern globalization and the rediscovery of Iranian antiquity

Authored by: Daniel T. Potts

The Routledge Handbook of Archaeology and Globalization

Print publication date:  November  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415841306
eBook ISBN: 9781315449005
Adobe ISBN:


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The term globalization has a distinctly modern connotation, suggestive of a world ever more tightly integrated by late capitalist modes of economy, transport and communication. Yet periods of geographically broad and culturally diverse integration – in other words, a species of proto-globalization – occurred during the pre-modern era in many parts of the world (this volume: Feinman, Jennings and Knappett). Prior to the spread of Islam, a number of early empires with their capitals in the Near East facilitated contact on many levels over vast distances that, through indirect relationships with neighbouring states, created social and economic networks extending from the Mediterranean to the Korean peninsula. But the purpose of this chapter is not to review the distribution of exotica across the pre-modern empires of the Near East that illustrate pre-modern globalization. Rather, its purpose is to look at how knowledge production about one ancient empire – that of the Achaemenids – saw Iran and Iranian antiquity become part of a phenomenon of knowledge globalization, pre-dating and post-dating the European Enlightenment, by both European and Iranian intellectuals.

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