American Oriental Society

FOUNDED 1842

Matthew W. Waters is the Winner of the Jonas Greenfield Prize For Younger Semitists in 2006

The American Oriental Society honors the memory of eminent Semitist and American Oriental Society member, Jonas C. Greenfield (10/30/26-3/13/95). The Greenfield Prize carries a cash award of $3000, and has been granted every two years to a younger scholar for the best published article in any area of Semitic studies that has been published during the most recent two-year period.

The current competition for the Greenfield Prize covers the period from June 2003 through May 2005. According to the stipulations of the donor, candidates for the current competition must be forty years old or younger by June 1, 2005.

The selection of the award-winning article was made by the AOS Greenfield Prize in February 2006. Formal presentation of the award will take place at a ceremony during the 2006 Annual Meeting of the American Oriental Society, March 17-20, in Seattle.


On behalf of the American Oriental Society, the selection committee has awarded the Jonas Greenfield Prize For Younger Semitists to Matthew W. Waters, Assistant Professor of Classics and Ancient History, the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire.

Waters' contribution, "Cyrus and the Achæmenids" in IRAN XLII (2004) 91-102 reviews in detail the current scholarship on the titulary traditions of both Cyrus and Darius, and the complicated historical realities that lie behind the shift from the Persian and Elamite power base of Cyrus the Great to the more broad based (northern and eastern) Iranian support that Darius promoted and enjoyed. He proposes a solution to the problem of Darius' claim to the throne as it relates to Cyrus the Great. Darius traced his own descent from Achæmenes, the eponymous ancestor of the Achæmenids, Darius' own royal house. Since Cyrus married Cassandane, who was also a descendant of Achæmenes, Darius could label Cyrus an Achæmenid even if only by marriage and thereby bolster his claim to the throne of the Persian kingdom. Moreover, the fact that Cambyses was the son of Cyrus and Cassandane, and therefore of true Achæmenid descent, further legitimated Darius' Achæmenid claim to take the throne after the demise of Cambyses.