The Discussions of the Textbook “History of Ancient Orient” by V.I. Avdiev in the late 1940s – early 1950s.
Ivan A. Ladynin (Moscow), Natalia S. Timofeeva (Moscow)
The paper is built on the documents from the archives (the Russian Academy of Sciences; the Department of Ancient History, Faculty of History, Lomonosov Moscow State University; the Russian State Archive for the Social and Political History – RGASPI) added with the published reviews. It shows that the notorious failures and omissions in the textbook by Avdiev (its first and second editions of 1948 and 1953) were well demonstrated in the discussions of its manuscript and in the immediate reviews. The character of the criticism directed against the textbook shows that in the epoch of the “Stalinist empire style” (1940s) academic competence, and not the loyalty and orthodoxy of theoretical schemes became again the accepted criterion for evaluating a research or a university course.
The article deals with the description of a ancient Egyptian magic and healing statue in the Statue in Medieval Arab Anonymous Akhbār al-zamān (Pseudomasudi / Ibn Wasif Shah, 10th‑12th cent.). Though the whole story is greatly influenced by folklore motifs, it is clear that the description refers to Isis lactans, popular iconographic type of late Greco-Roman time. On one hand, this demonstrates survivability and importance of Isis’ cult in the Coptic period (the Arab tradition reflects corresponding Coptic tradition), even in a depersonalized manner (the statue is not denoted by any name). On the other hand, this statue should be considered together with many others mentioned in the text; in one words, this can be regarded not only as the hellenization of Isis’ image in the Graeco-Roman period but also as its subsequent later arabisation.