Transl(iter)ation games

During the course of the 20th century, the official alphabet of the Azerbaijani language changed multiple times— from an Perso-Arabic script used before 1922, to one version of a Latin script used from ’22-’39, and then several iterations of Cyrillic between ’39 and ’91, and finally a new Latin script after the fall of the Soviet Union. Every day in Baku, though, I walk past this … Continue reading Transl(iter)ation games

Starosselsky, Coins and the South Caucasus

Last summer, I was at the American Numismatic Society as part of their graduate student Summer Seminar. One of the great parts about this experience was getting to spend time with coins from the ANS collection: for me, this meant lots of trays of coins from the Caucasus. In the trays, I kept seeing stamps reading “STAROSSELSKY” or “GEN. STARO” on the bottom of the coin boxes, … Continue reading Starosselsky, Coins and the South Caucasus

The Caspian Path: Early archaeology

In 1722, Peter the Great led a Russian military campaign southwards along the western shores of the Caspian Sea through Dagestan and Azerbaijan towards Persia. This was the start of the short-lived Russo-Persian war (1722-23) that ended with Russian territorial gains in the Caucasus and heightened Russian-Ottoman tensions. Along on the journey with Peter the Great’s army was Dimitrie Cantemir, a polymath scholar, historian and twice … Continue reading The Caspian Path: Early archaeology

Georgian Bronzes of the Medieval Golden Age

During the late 11th and 12th centuries, the mountainous South Caucasus kingdom of Georgia flourished. It strategically exploited its position on the edge of the declining Byzantine and Seljuk empires, and succeeded in extending its sphere of influence from the northern coast of Anatolia all the way to the Caspian Sea. A remarkable series of rulers from the Bagrationi dynasty oversaw this, including Georgi III … Continue reading Georgian Bronzes of the Medieval Golden Age