The World of Achaemenid Persia: History, Art and Society in Iran and the Ancient Near East


Interest and fascination in Achaemenid Persia has burgeoned in recent years. It is time for a major new appraisal of the glorious civilization founded by Cyrus the Great and continued by his successors, the Great Kings Darius I, Xerxes and Artaxerxes I. This volume offers precisely that: a sustained and comprehensive overview of the field of Achaemenid studies by leading scholars and experts. It discusses all aspects of Achaemenid history and archaeology between 550 BCE and 330 BCE, and embraces the whole vast ...

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Interest and fascination in Achaemenid Persia has burgeoned in recent years. It is time for a major new appraisal of the glorious civilization founded by Cyrus the Great and continued by his successors, the Great Kings Darius I, Xerxes and Artaxerxes I. This volume offers precisely that: a sustained and comprehensive overview of the field of Achaemenid studies by leading scholars and experts. It discusses all aspects of Achaemenid history and archaeology between 550 BCE and 330 BCE, and embraces the whole vast territory of the Persian Empire from North Africa to India and from Central Asia to the Persian Gulf. Topics covered include aspects of Achaemenid religion, administration, material culture, ethnicity, gender and the survival of Achaemenid traditions. The publication of the book is an event: it represents a watershed not only in better appreciation and understanding of the rich and complex cultural heritage established by Cyrus, but also of the lasting significance of the Achaemenid kings and the impact that their remarkable civilization has had on wider Persian and Middle Eastern history.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This timely book represents an outstanding contribution to the state of research on the first actual world empire in history. There can be no doubt that many of its thought-provoking articles will make a strong impact on our views of ancient Persia, and of its society and culture." -- Josef Wiesehöfer, Professor of Ancient History, Kiel University

"The Achaemenid era constitutes the most brilliant period of Persia’s long history: a period during which all of Western Asia and part of North Africa were brought together in a vast empire under the suzerainty of the Achaemenid kings. A great deal of research has gone into the elucidation of the various aspects of the dynasty and the empire. It is wonderful now to have such an up-to-date, competent, and comprehensive history and culture of Achaemenid Persia between two covers."--Ehsan Yarshater, Hagop Kevorkian Professor Emeritus of Iranian Studies, Columbia University

"The Persian Empire has never been out of the news, but since the great British Museum exhibition, and a spate of publications on the subject, it is more in the eyes and minds of archaeologists and historians of the ancient world than hitherto. This welcome volume offers a major guide to and an explanation of the whole phenomenon, from the acknowledged experts. It will be used and referred to more than most such compendia, and for very good reason."--Sir John Boardman, FBA, Lincoln Professor Emeritus of Classical Art and Archaeology, University of Oxford

"This attractive and authoritative volume provides an unusually complete assessment of the multiple accomplishments of the Achaemenid Persians. The range of topics that is covered is quite exceptional; and the long list of contributors includes most of the principal scholars who are active in Achaemenid and ancient Persian studies at the present moment."-- David Stronach, Emeritus Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology, University of California, Berkeley

"A valuable asset to those interested in Archaemenid and Persian studies...comprehensive and authoritative, addressing important historical and cultural concerns. Often, in works such as this, the bibliography and index are lacking or non-existent. This one is an exception...[the bibliography and index] make an already splendid volume much more enjoyable." -- Iran and the Caucasus

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781848853461
  • Publisher: I. B.Tauris & Company, Limited
  • Publication date: 5/11/2010
  • Pages: 624
  • Sales rank: 1,267,623
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 10.70 (h) x 2.00 (d)

Meet the Author

John Curtis is Keeper of the Middle East Collections at the British Museum and St John Simpson is Curator of Ancient Iran and Arabia, also at the British Museum.

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Table of Contents

Editors' Introduction

Part 1 History and Historiography

1 The Theme of "Persian Decadence" in Eighteenth-Century European Historiography: Remarks on the Genesis of a Myth Pierre Briant Briant, Pierre 3

2 Cyrus the Mede and Darius the Achaemenid? Richard Nelson Frye Frye, Richard Nelson 17

3 Reinventing Achaemenid Perisa Thomas Harrison Harrison, Thomas 21

4 Portraits of the Achaemenid Kings in English Drama: Sixteenth-Eighteenth Centuries Parvin Loloi Loloi, Parvin 33

5 Light from Aramaic Documents Anke Joisten-Pruschke Joisten-Pruschke, Anke 41

6 All the King's Men Christopher Tuplin Tuplin, Christopher 51

7 Cyrus and the Medes Matt Waters Waters, Matt 63

Part 2 Religion

8 The Achaemenian Practice of Primary Burial: An Argument against their Zoroastrianism? or a Testimony of their Religious Tolerance? Oric Basirov Basirov, Oric 75

9 Ahura Mazda the Creator Albert de Jong de Jong, Albert 85

10 From Gabled Hut to Rock-Cut Tomb: A Religious and Cultural Break between Cyrus and Darius? Bruno Jacobs Jacobs, Bruno 91

11 Zoroastrianism under the Achaemenians: A Non-Essentialist Approach Philip G. Kreyenbrock Kreyenbrock, Philip G. 103

12 The Formation of Achaemenid Imperial Ideology and its Impact on the Avesta Abolala Soudavar Soudavar, Abolala 111

Part 3 Gender Studies

13 The Royal Audience Scene Reconsidered Maria Brosius Brosius, Maria 141

14 An Achaemenid Cylinder Seal of a Woman Enthroned Judith A. Lerner Lerner, Judith A. 153

15 The Big and Beautiful Women of Asia: Picturing Female Sexuality in Greco-Persian Seals Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones Llewellyn-Jones, Lloyd 165

Part 4 Art and Architecture

16 The Social Dimensions of Babylonian Domestic Architecture in the Neo-Babylonian and Achaemenid Periods Heather D. Baker Baker, Heather D. 179

17 Why Columned Halls? Hilary Gopnik Gopnik, Hilary 195

18 A Reassessment of Brick Motifs and Brick-Building Techniques at Achaemenid Susa Sabrina Maras Maras, Sabrina 207

19 Empire Encapsulated: The Persepolis Apadana Foundation Deposits C. L. Nimchuk Nimchuk, C. L. 221

20 Persepolis: A Reinterpretation of Palaces and their Function Shahrokh Razmjou Razmjou, Shahrokh 231

21 The Role of the Medes in the Architecture of the Achaemenids Michael Roaf Roaf, Michael 247

22 Changes in Achaemenid Royal Dress N. V. Sekunda Sekunda, N. V. 255

Part 5 Archaeology

23 The Passing of the Throne from Xerxes to Artaxerxes I, or how an Archaeological Observation can be a Potential Contribution to Achaemenid Historiography Kamyar Abdi Abdi, Kamyar 275

24 Cultural Transition in Iranian Azerbaijan through the Iron Age III-Achaemenid Period Based on Recent Archaeological Survey and Excavations (Abstract) Bahram Adjerloo Adjerloo, Bahram 285

25 Archaeological Evidence for Achaemenid Settlement within the Mamasani Valleys, Western Fars, Iran Mohsen Zaidi Zaidi, Mohsen 287

26 A Review of Research and Restoration Activities at Parsa-Pasargadae: Analysis, Evaluation and Future Perspectives Mohammad Hassan Talebian Talebian, Mohammad Hassan 299

27 The Achaemenid Army in a Near Eastern Context Nigel Tallis Tallis, Nigel 309

28 The Origins of the Achaemenids (Abstract) Abbas Yalvaee Yalvaee, Abbas 315

29 Excavations in Dashtestan (Borazjan, Iran) (Abstract) Ehsan Yaghmaee Yaghmaee, Ehsan 317

Part 6 Seals and Coins

30 An Analytical Investigation on the Coin Hoard of the Oxus Treasure (Abstract) Mehdi Daryaie Daryaie, Mehdi 321

31 Anatolian Crossroads: Achaemenid Seals from Sardis and Gordion Elspeth R.M. Dusinberre Dusinberre, Elspeth R. M. 323

32 Archers at Persepolis: The Emergence of Royal Ideology at the Heart of the Empire Mark B. Garrison Garrison, Mark B. 337

33 Clay Tags from Seyitomer Hoyuk in Phrygia Deniz Kaptan Kaptan, Deniz 361

34 The Archer Coins: A Closer Examination of Achaemenid Art in Asia Minor Yannick Lintz Lintz, Yannick 369

35 The Frataraka Coins of Persis: Bridging the Gap between Achaemenid and Sasanian Persia Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis Curtis, Vesta Sarkhosh 379

Part 7 Gold, Silver, Glass, and Faience

36 Technological Aspects of Selected Gold Objects in the Oxus Treasure Barbara R. Armbruster Armbruster, Barbara R. 397

37 From Susa to Egypt: Viterous Materials from the Achaemenid Period Annie Caubet Caubet, Annie 409

38 Prestige Drinking: Rhyta with Animal Foreparts from Persia to Greece (Abstract) Susanne Ebbinghaus Ebbinghaus, Susanne 417

39 Achaemenid and Greek Colourless Glass Despina Ignatiadou Ignatiadou, Despina 419

40 Documentary Aspects of Persepolis and the Oxus Treasure (Abstract) Shapur Shahbazi Shahbazi, Shapur 427

41 Achaemenid Silver, T. L. Jacks and the Mazanderan Connection S. La Niece La Niece, S. 429

Part 8 Regional Studies

42 Achaemenid Arabia: A Landscape-Oriented Model of Cultural Interaction Bjorn Anderson Anderson, Bjorn 445

43 Because of the Dread Upon Them Lisbeth S. Fried Fried, Lisbeth S. 457

44 Xerxes and the Tower of Babel A. R. George George, A. R. 471

45 "Judges of the King" in Achaemenid Mesopotamia Shalom E. Holtz Holtz, Shalom E. 481

46 Xerxes and the Babylonian Temples: A Restatement of the Case Amelie Kuhrt Kuhrt, Amelie 491

47 The Role of Babylonian Temples in Contributing to the Army in the Early Achaemenid Empire John MacGinnis MacGinnis, John 495

48 West of the Indus---East of the Empire: The Archaeology of the Pre-Achaemenid and Achaemenid Periods in Baluchistan and the North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan Cameron A. Petrie Petrie, Cameron A. 503

49 Achaemenid Interests in the Persian Gulf D. T. Potts Potts, D. T. 523

50 Integration of Foreigners---New Insights from the Stela Found in Saqqara in 1994 Melanie Wasmuth Wasmuth, Melanie 535

51 Enemies of Empire: A Historical Reconstruction of Political Conflicts between Central Asians and the Persian Empire Wu Xin Wu, Xin 545

Bibliography 565

Index 607

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