Sancisi-Weerdenburg 1988; 1994. Kienast 1999 (which I only saw after my own paperwas complete) presents a sceptical treatment based on unpublished seminar and lecture mate-rial from the early 1970s (
66, n. 1). Despite some bibliographical updating, there is no ref-erence to Sancisi-Weerdenburg.
Sancisi-Weerdenburg 1994, 40.
Sancisi-Weerdenburg 1988, 197.
MEDES IN MEDIA, MESOPOTAMIA, AND ANATOLIA:EMPIRE, HEGEMONY, DOMINATION OR ILLUSION?
The nature and even the existence of the Median empire has been the subject of controversy for a number of years. The present article revisits (I) Herodotus’ account,(II) certain items of indirect evidence, and (III) the non-Greek pre-Achaemenid mate-rial provided by texts (neo-Assyrian, neo-Babylonian and Hebrew) and archaeology(especially Anatolian) and argues the legitimacy of belief in Median domination inregions outside lowland Mesopotamia.
Convention postulates a 6th-century Median empire stretching throughAnatolia to the River Halys. To validate this postulate we must validate belief in (a) the Median empire, (b) its westward extension, and (c) the role of theHalys as a frontier (Fig. 1).That this needs validating re
ects Sancisi-Weerdenburg’s probing questionsabout the Median empire.
She argued that there is no substantive direct orindirect non-Herodotean evidence for a Median Empire, and that Herodotus’account (1. 95–130) is not only unhistoric but also too dull, ideologically bar-ren and disinclined to treat Cyaxares as a national hero to be genuine (oral)Median mythistory or presumptive evidence for a Median state of which itcan be the Charter Myth. Rather, it is a Greek construction out of a fewdata available via Babylon. One must stress that Sancisi-Weerdenburg wascontroverting the idea that the Median empire was like the Achaemenid: shecredited a war with Lydia and adduced Herodotus 1. 134 (on Median ‘impe-rial’ rule) as relevant to the situation in which a Lydian war could be waged,but rejected a Median state or bureaucratic imperial structure; and becauseshe was primarily engaged in heuristic hypothesis-making,
she was morespeci
c about what Medes did not have than about what they did. One imme-diately observes that, since she saw the developed Persian empire (what Medesdid not have) as an artefact of Darius
and since Cyrus had an empire, per-haps the Medes did too. But to go any further we need to examine Herodotus’