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Encyclopedia > Persepolis
This article is about the ancient city. For other uses, see Persepolis (disambiguation).
Persepolis*
UNESCO World Heritage Site

Panorama of Persepolis Ruins
State Party Iran
Type Cultural
Criteria i, iii, vi
Reference 114
Region Asia-Pacific
Inscription History
Inscription 1979  (3rd Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
† Region as classified by UNESCO.

Persepolis (Old Persian: 'Pars', New Persian: تخت جمشید, 'Takht-e Jamshid') was an ancient ceremonial capital of the Persian Empire. It was built during the reign of Cyrus II (Cyrus the Great) around 560 BCE.[citation needed] The largest and most complex building in Persepolis was the audience hall, or Apadana with 72 columns. Persepolis is situated some 70 km northeast of the modern city of Shiraz in the Fars Province of Iran. In contemporary Iran the site is known as Takht-e Jamshid (Throne of Jamshid). To the ancient Persians, the city was known as Parsa, meaning The City of Persians, Persepolis being the Greek interpretation of the name Περσες (meaning Persian)+ πόλις (meaning city). Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... Image File history File links Question_book-3. ... Persepolis is an ancient town in what is now Iran. ... A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a specific site (such as a forest, mountain, lake, desert, monument, building, complex, or city) that has been nominated and confirmed for inclusion on the list maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 State... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 232 pixelsFull resolution (5538 × 1605 pixel, file size: 1. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 232 pixelsFull resolution (5538 × 1605 pixel, file size: 1. ... As of 2006, there are a total of 830 World Heritage Sites located in 138 State Parties. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Iran. ... A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a specific site (such as a forest, mountain, lake, desert, monument, building, complex, or city) that has been nominated and confirmed for inclusion on the list maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 State... This is a list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Asia, Australia and the Pacific (Australasia). ... A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a specific site (such as a forest, mountain, lake, desert, monument, building, complex, or city) that has been nominated and confirmed for inclusion on the list maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 State... Look up Persian in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Persia redirects here. ... See Apadāna for the Pali texts. ... Eram Garden, Shiraz most popular garden. ... Fars (Persian: فارس) is one of the 30 provinces of Iran. ... Jamshid (in Persian: ‎) is a common Persian male first name. ...

Contents

Construction

Location of Persepolis
Location of Persepolis

Archaeological evidence shows the earliest remains of Persepolis date from around 515 BCE. Image File history File links PersepolisMap. ... Image File history File links PersepolisMap. ...


Andre Godard, the French archaeologist who excavated Persepolis in the early 1930s, believed that it was Cyrus the Great who chose the site of Persepolis, but it was Darius the Great who built the terrace and the great palaces. André Godard André Godard (1881, Chaumont — 1965, Paris) was a French born archeologist and architect. ... “Cyrus” redirects here. ... Seal of Darius I, showing the king hunting on his chariot, and the symbol of Ahuramazda Darius the Great (Pers. ...


Darius ordered the construction of Apadana Palace and the Debating hall (Tripylon or the three-gated hall), the main imperial Treasury and its surroundings, which were completed at the time of the reign of his son, King Xerxes I. Further construction of the buildings at the terrace continued until the downfall of the Achaemenid dynasty. See Apadāna for the Pali texts. ... Xerxes I (خشایارشاه), was a Persian king (reigned 485 - 465 BC) of the Achaemenid dynasty. ...


Archaeological research

The first westerner to visit Persepolis was Antonio de Gouveia from Portugal who wrote about cuneiform inscriptions following his visit in 1602. His first written report on Persia, the "Jornada", was published in 1606. The first scientific excavation at Persepolis was carried out by Ernst Herzfeld in 1931, commissioned by the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. He believed the reason behind the construction of Persepolis was the need for a majestic atmosphere, as a symbol for their empire and to celebrate special events, especially the “Nowruz”, (the Iranian New Year held on 21 March). For historical reasons and deep rooted interests it was built on the birthplace of the Achaemenid dynasty, although this was not the centre of their Empire at that time. Look up Cuneiform in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Ernst Emil Herzfeld (July 23, 1879–January 21, 1948) was an German archaeologist and Iranologist. ... Year 1931 (MCMXXXI) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display full 1931 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Oriental Institute (OI) is the University of Chicagos archeology museum and research center for ancient Near Eastern studies. ... For other uses, see University of Chicago (disambiguation). ... Persepolis all nations stair case. ... is the 80th day of the year (81st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


The main characteristic of Persepolitan architecture is its columns, which were made of wood. Only when even the largest cedars of Lebanon or the teak trees of India did not fulfill the required sizes did the architects resort to stone. The bases and the capitals were always of stones, even on wooden shafts, but the existence of wooden capitals is probable.


The remains including the bas-reliefs and sculptures provide an insight into hearts and beliefs of the ancient Iranians. The buildings at Persepolis are divided into three areas; military quarters, the treasury and the reception and occasional houses for the King of Kings. These included the Great Stairway, the Gate of Nations (Xerxes), the Apadana palace of Darius, the Hall of a Hundred Columns, the Tripylon Hall and Tachara palace of Darius, the Hadish palace of Xerxes, the palace of Artaxerxes III, the Imperial Treasury, the Royal Stables and the Chariot house. Artaxerxes was the name of several rulers of the Achaemenid dynasty of Persia: Artaxerxes I Artaxerxes II Artaxerxes III Arses of Persia is believed to have taken the royal title of Artaxerxes IV. Bessus, the Persian nobleman who murdered Darius III of Persia, renamed himself Artaxerxes when he claimed the...


Site

Persepolis (R)
Persepolis (R)

Persepolis is near the small river Pulwar which flows into the Kur (Kyrus). The site is marked by a large 125,000 square meter terrace, partly artificially constructed and partly cut out of a mountain, with its east side leaning on Kuh-e Rahmet ("the Mountain of Mercy"). The other three sides are formed by retaining walls, which varies in height with the slope of the ground. From 5 to 13 meters on the west side there is a double stair, gently sloping, which leads to the top. To create the level terrace, any depressions that were present were filled up with soil and heavy rocks. They joined the rocks together with metal clips. Download high resolution version (1600x1200, 713 KB)my own picture better resolution File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Download high resolution version (1600x1200, 713 KB)my own picture better resolution File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... A pulwar (also spelled pulouar) is a single handed curved sword from Afghanistan. ... In Sumerian mythology, KUR (Primeval Snake and Dragon) was a monstrous dragon with scaly body and massive wings. ... Structure in the foreground is called a mud box, a type of retaining wall built to hold flood waters in check. ...


Gray limestone was the main material used in building Persepolis. To reach the top terrace, the construction of a broad Stairway, 20 meters above the ground, was planned to be the only main entrance. This was begun around 518 BCE. The dual stairway, known as the Persepolitan stairway, was built in a symmetrical manner on the western side of the Great Wall. The 111 steps were 6.9 meters wide with treads of 31 centimeters and rises of 10 centimeters. Originally the steps were believed to have been constructed to allow for nobles and royalty to ascend by horseback, new theories suggest that this was to allow visiting dignitaries to in fact walk up the stairs while keeping a regal appearance, permissible by the ease in which the stairs could be climbed due to the small distance between each step. For other uses, see Limestone (disambiguation). ...


The top of the stairways led to a small yard in the northeastern side of the terrace, opposite the Gate of Nations. After natural rock had been leveled and the depressions filled in, the terrace was prepared. Major tunnels for sewage were dug underground through the rock. A large elevated water storage tank was carved at the eastern foot of the mountain. Professor Olmstead suggested the cistern was constructed at the same time the construction of the towers began. // Getting water out of a cistern A cistern (Middle English cisterne, from Latin cisterna, from cista, box, from Greek kistê, basket) is a receptacle for holding liquids, usually water. ...


The uneven plan of part of the foundation of the terrace acted like a castle whose angled walls enabled its defenders to target any section of the external front. Diodorus writes that Persepolis had three walls with ramparts, which all had towers to provide protection space for the defense personnel. The first wall was 7 meters tall, the second, 14 meters and the third wall, which covered all four sides, was 27 meters in height, though no presence of the wall exists in modern times. Diodorus Siculus was a Greek historian, born at Agyrium in Sicily (now called Agira, in the province of Enna). ...


Ruins

Persepolis aerial view.
Persepolis aerial view.

On this terrace are the ruins of a number of colossal buildings, all constructed of dark-grey marble from the adjacent mountain. Fifteen of the remaining pillars are still intact, standing in the ruins. Three more have been re-erected since 1970. Several of the buildings were never finished. F. Stolze has shown that in some cases even the mason's rubbish has not been removed. These ruins, for which the name Chehel minar ("the forty columns or minarets"), can be traced back to the 13th century, are now known as Takht-e Jamshid - تخت جمشید ("the throne of Jamshid"). That they represent the Persepolis captured and partly destroyed by Alexander the Great has been beyond dispute at least since the time of Pietro della Valle. Image File history File links AerialViewPersepolis. ... Image File history File links AerialViewPersepolis. ... (12th century - 13th century - 14th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 13th century was that century which lasted from 1201 to 1300. ... Jamshid (in Persian: ‎) is a common Persian male first name. ... For the film of the same name, see Alexander the Great (1956 film). ... Pietro Della Valle Pietro della Valle (April 1586–1652) was an Italian traveler in Asia. ...


Behind Takht-e Jamshid are three sepulchres hewn out of the rock in the hillside. The facades, one of which is incomplete, are richly decorated with reliefs. About 13 km NNE, on the opposite side of the Pulwar, rises a perpendicular wall of rock, in which four similar tombs are cut, at a considerable height from the bottom of the valley. The modern Persians call this place Naqsh-e Rustam - نقش رستام or Nakshi Rostam ("the picture of Rostam"), from the Sassanian reliefs beneath the opening, which they take to be a representation of the mythical hero Rostam. That the occupants of these seven tombs were kings might be inferred from the sculptures, and one of those at Nakshi Rustam is expressly declared in its inscription to be the tomb of Darius Hystaspis, concerning whom Ctesias relates that his grave was in the face of a rock, and could only be reached by the use of ropes. Ctesias mentions further, with regard to a number of Persian kings, either that their remains were brought "to the Persians," or that they died there. NæqÅ¡-e Rostæm, near Shiraz A rock relief at Naqsh-e Rostam, depicting the triumph of Shapur I over three Roman Emperors Valerian, Gordian III and Philip the Arab. ... Rostam Slaying the Dragon- A miniature Painting by Master Mahmoud Farshchian. ... Rostam Slaying the Dragon- A miniature Painting by Master Mahmoud Farshchian. ... Seal of Darius I, showing the king hunting on his chariot, and the symbol of Ahuramazda Darius the Great (Pers. ... Ctesias of Cnidus (in Caria) (Greek ), was a Greek physician and historian, who flourished in the 5th century BC. In early life he was physician to Artaxerxes Mnemon, whom he accompanied in 401 BC on his expedition against his brother Cyrus the Younger. ...


The Gate of All Nations

The Gate of all Nations, referring to subjects of the empire, consisted of a grand hall that was almost 25 square metres, with four columns and its entrance on the Western Wall. There were two more doors, one to the south which opened to the Apadana yard and the other one opened onto a long road to the east. Pivoting devices found on the inner corners of all the doors indicate that they were two-leafed doors, probably made of wood and covered with sheets of ornate metal.


A pair of Lamassu's,which are bulls with the head of a bearded man stand on the western threshold, and another pair with wings and a Persian head (Gopät-Shäh) on the eastern entrance, to reflect the Empire’s power.


Xerxes' name was written in three languages and carved on the entrances, informing everyone that he ordered this to be built.


Apadana Palace

The Apadana Palace, northern stairway (detail)
The Apadana Palace, northern stairway (detail)

Darius the Great built the greatest and most glorious palace at Persepolis in the western side. This palace was named Apadana (the root name for modern "ayvan") and was used for the King of Kings' official audiences. The work began in 515 BCE and was completed 30 years later, by his son Xerxes I. The palace had a grand hall in the shape of a square, each side 60m long with seventy-two columns, thirteen of which still stand on the enormous platform. Each column is 19m high with a square Taurus and plinth. The columns carried the weight of the vast and heavy ceiling. The tops of the columns were made from animal sculptures such as two headed bulls, lions and eagles. The columns were joined to each other with the help of oak and cedar beams, which were brought from Lebanon. The walls were covered with a layer of mud and stucco to a depth of 5cm, which was used for bonding, and then covered with the greenish stucco which is found throughout the palaces. At the western, northern and eastern sides of the palace there was a rectangular veranda which had twelve columns in two rows of six. At the south of the grand hall a series of rooms were built for storage. Two grand Persepolitan stairways were built, symmetrical to each other and connected to the stone foundations. To avoid the roof being eroded by rain vertical drains were built through the brick walls. In the Four Corners of Apadana, facing outwards, four towers were built. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (418x640, 75 KB) The Apadana Palace, Persepolis (Iran), northern stairway File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Persepolis ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (418x640, 75 KB) The Apadana Palace, Persepolis (Iran), northern stairway File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Persepolis ... Seal of Darius I, showing the king hunting on his chariot, and the symbol of Ahuramazda Darius the Great (Pers. ... Species See List of Quercus species The term oak can be used as part of the common name of any of several hundred species of trees and shrubs in the genus Quercus (from Latin oak tree), and some related genera, notably Cyclobalanopsis and Lithocarpus. ... For other uses, see Cedar (disambiguation). ... Stucco is a material made of an aggregate, a binder, and water which is applied wet, and hardens when it dries. ... A verandah is a large balcony on the level of a ground floor. ...


The Walls were tiled and decorated with pictures of lions, bulls, and flowers. Darius ordered his name and the details of his empire to be written in gold and silver on plates, and to place them in covered stone boxes in the foundations under the Four Corners of the palace. Two Persepolitan style symmetrical stairways were built on the northern and eastern sides of Apadana to compensate for a difference in level. There were also two other stairways in the middle of the building. The external front views of the palace were embossed with pictures of the Immortals, the Kings' elite guards. The northern stairway was completed during Darius' reign, but the other stairway was completed much later. A Persian Immortal wielding a spear, wicker shield, dagger, and bow. ...


The Throne Hall

Ruins of Throne Hall

Next to the Apadana, second largest building of the Terrace and the final edifices, is the Throne Hall or the Imperial Army's hall of honour (also called the "Hundred-Columns Palace). This 70x70 square meter hall was started by Xerxes and completed by his son Artaxerxes I by the end of the fifth century BCE. Its eight stone doorways are decorated on the south and north with reliefs of throne scenes and on the east and west with scenes depicting the king in combat with monsters. In addition, the northern portico of the building is flanked by two colossal stone bulls. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (597x606, 122 KB) This photo was taken by Asana Mashouf If used outside Wikipedia, please credit: Photo by Asana Mashouf Persepolis File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (597x606, 122 KB) This photo was taken by Asana Mashouf If used outside Wikipedia, please credit: Photo by Asana Mashouf Persepolis File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Xerxes may refer to these Persian kings: Xerxes I, reigned 485–465 BC, also known as Xerxes the Great. ... Artaxerxes was the name of several rulers of the Achaemenid dynasty of Persia: Artaxerxes I Artaxerxes II Artaxerxes III Arses of Persia is believed to have taken the royal title of Artaxerxes IV. Bessus, the Persian nobleman who murdered Darius III of Persia, renamed himself Artaxerxes when he claimed the...


In the beginning of Xerxes's reign the Throne Hall was used mainly for receptions for military commanders and representatives of all the subject nations of the empire, but later the Throne Hall served to be as an imperial museum.


Other palaces and structures

There were other palaces built, these included the Tachara palace which was built under Darius I, the Imperial treasury which was started by Darius in 510 BCE and finished by Xerxes in 480 BCE. The Hadish palace by Xerxes I, which occupies the highest level of terrace and stand on the living rock. The Council Hall, the Tryplion Hall, The Palaces of D, G, H, Storerooms, Stables and quarters, Unfinished Gateway and a few Miscellaneous Structures at Persepolis near the south-east corner of the Terrace, at the foot of the mountain.


Tombs of King of Kings

Apadana Hall, Persian and Median soldiers
Apadana Hall, Persian and Median soldiers

It is commonly accepted that Cyrus the Great was buried at Pasargadae. If there is any truth in the statement that the body of Cambyses II was brought home "to the Persians", his burying-place must be sought somewhere beside that of his father. Ctesias assumes that it was the custom for a king to prepare his own tomb during his lifetime. Hence the kings buried at Naghsh-e Rustam are probably Darius the Great, Xerxes I, Artaxerxes I and Darius II. Xerxes II, who reigned for a very short time, could scarcely have obtained so splendid a monument, and still less could the usurper Sogdianus (Secydianus). The two completed graves behind Takhti Jamshid would then belong to Artaxerxes II and Artaxerxes III. The unfinished one is perhaps that of Arses of Persia, who reigned at the longest two years, or, if not his, then that of Darius III (Codomannus), who is one of those whose bodies are said to have been brought "to the Persians." Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1908x1284, 1051 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Persepolis User:Arad Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added from the digital camera or scanner used... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1908x1284, 1051 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Persepolis User:Arad Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added from the digital camera or scanner used... “Cyrus” redirects here. ... Pasargadae (Persian: پاسارگاد) was a city in ancient Persia, and is today an archaeological site and one of Irans UNESCO World Heritage Sites. ... Cambyses II (Persian Kambujiya), was the name borne by the son of Cyrus the Great. ... Seal of Darius I, showing the king hunting on his chariot, and the symbol of Ahuramazda Darius the Great (Pers. ... Xerxes I (خشایارشاه), was a Persian king (reigned 485 - 465 BC) of the Achaemenid dynasty. ... Artaxerxes I was king of Persia from 464 BC to 424 BC. He belonged to the Achaemenid dynasty and was the successor of Xerxes I. He is mentioned in two books of the Bible, Ezra and Nehemiah. ... Darius II, originally called Ochus and often surnamed Nothus (from Greek νοθος, meaning bastard), was king of the Persian Empire from 423 BC to 404 BC. Artaxerxes I, who died shortly after December 24, 424 BC, was followed by his son Xerxes II. After a month and a half Xerxes II... Xerxes II was a Persian king and the son and successor of Artaxerxes I. After a reign of forty-five days, he was assassinated in 424 BC by his brother Sogdianus, who in turn was murdered by Darius II. He is an obscure historical figure known primarily from the writings... Sogdianus , king of Persia (424 - 423 BC). ... Artaxerxes II (c. ... Artaxerxes III ruled Persia from 358 BC to 338 BC. He was the son of Artaxerxes II and was succeeded by Arses of Persia (also known as Artaxerxes IV). ... Artaxerxes IV Bumcheeks, King of Persia between 338 BC and 336 BC. He was the youngest son of King Artaxerxes III and was not expected to succeed to the throne of Persia. ... Darius III or Codomannus (c. ...


Another small group of ruins in the same style is found at the village of Hajjiäbäd, on the Pulwar, a good hour's walk above Takhti Jamshid. These formed a single building, which was still intact 900 years ago, and was used as the mosque of the then existing city of Istakhr. The Masjid al-Haram in Mecca as it exists today A mosque is a place of worship for followers of the Islamic faith. ... Istakhr(Ǐ-stáxÇœr), also known as Stakhr, is a city located in southern Iran close to Persepolis and Zohak. ...


Since Cyrus the great was buried in Pasargadae, which is mentioned by Ctesias as his own city, and since, to judge from the inscriptions, the buildings of Persepolis commenced with Darius I, it was probably under this king, with whom the sceptre passed to a new branch of the royal house, that Persepolis became the capital of Persia proper. As a residence, however, for the rulers of the empire, a remote place in a difficult alpine region was far from convenient, and the real capitals were Susa, Babylon and Ecbatana. This accounts for the fact that the Greeks were not acquainted with the city until it was taken and plundered by Alexander the Great. “Cyrus” redirects here. ... Pasargadae (Persian: پاسارگاد) was a city in ancient Persia, and is today an archaeological site and one of Irans UNESCO World Heritage Sites. ... Ctesias of Cnidus (in Caria) (Greek ), was a Greek physician and historian, who flourished in the 5th century BC. In early life he was physician to Artaxerxes Mnemon, whom he accompanied in 401 BC on his expedition against his brother Cyrus the Younger. ... Darius the Great (c. ... Anthem SorÅ«d-e MellÄ«-e Īrān Â² Capital (and largest city) Tehran Official languages Persian Demonym Iranian Government Islamic Republic  -  Supreme Leader  -  President Unification  -  Unified by Cyrus the Great 559 BCE   -  Parthian (Arsacid) dynastic empire (first reunification) 248 BCE-224 CE   -  Sassanid dynastic empire 224–651 CE   -  Safavid dynasty... Winged sphinx from the palace of Darius the Great at Susa. ... For other uses, see Babylon (disambiguation). ... Golden Rhyton from Irans Achaemenid period. ... For the film of the same name, see Alexander the Great (1956 film). ...


It has been universally admitted that "the palaces" or "the palace" burned down by Alexander are those now in ruins at Takhti Jamshid. From Stolze's investigations it appears that at least one of these, the castle built by Xerxes, bears evident traces of having been destroyed by fire. The locality described by Diodorus after Cleitarchus corresponds in important particulars with Takhti Jamshid, for example, in being supported by the mountain on the east. Diodorus Siculus was a Greek historian, born at Agyrium in Sicily (now called Agira, in the province of Enna). ... Cleitarchus, one of the historians of Alexander the Great, son of Demon, also an historian, was possibly a native of Egypt, or at least spent a considerable time at the court of Ptolemy Lagus. ...


Ancient texts

[[Image:Persian- Ancient Texts.jpg|thumb|right|270px|Ancient texts found in Persepolis The relevant passages from ancient scholars on the subject are set out below:

(Diod. 17.70.1-73.2) 17.70 (1) Persepolis was the capital of the Persian kingdom. Alexander described it to the Macedonians as the most hateful of the cities of Asia, and gave it over to his soldiers to plunder, all but the palaces. (2) +It was the richest city under the sun and the private houses had been furnished with every sort of wealth over the years. The Macedonians raced into it slaughtering all the men whom they met and plundering the residences; many of the houses belonged to the common people and were abundantly supplied with furniture and wearing apparel of every kind….
72 (1) Alexander held games in honour of his victories. He performed costly sacrifices to the gods and entertained his friends bountifully. While they were feasting and the drinking was far advanced, as they began to be drunken a madness took possession of the minds of the intoxicated guests. (2) At this point one of the women present, Thais by name and Attic by origin, said that for Alexander it would be the finest of all his feats in Asia if he joined them in a triumphal procession, set fire to the palaces, and permitted women's hands in a minute to extinguish the famed accomplishments of the Persians. (3) This was said to men who were still young and giddy with wine, and so, as would be expected, someone shouted out to form up and to light torches, and urged all to take vengeance for the destruction of the Greek temples. (4) Others took up the cry and said that this was a deed worthy of Alexander alone. When the king had caught fire at their words, all leaped up from their couches and passed the word along to form a victory procession [epinikion komon] in honour of Dionysius.
(5) Promptly many torches were gathered. Female musicians were present at the banquet, so the king led them all out for the komos to the sound of voices and flutes and pipes, Thais the courtesan leading the whole performance. (6) She was the first, after the king, to hurl her blazing torch into the palace. As the others all did the same, immediately the entire palace area was consumed, so great was the conflagration. It was most remarkable that the impious act of Xerxes, king of the Persians, against the acropolis at Athens should have been repaid in kind after many years by one woman, a citizen of the land which had suffered it, and in sport.
(Curt. 5.6.1-7.12) 5.6 (1) On the following day the king called together the leaders of his forces and informed them that "no city was more mischievous to the Greeks than the seat of the ancient kings of Persia . . . by its destruction they ought to offer sacrifice to the spirits of their forefathers."…
7 (1) But Alexander's great mental endowments, that noble disposition, in which he surpassed all kings, that intrepidity in encountering dangers, his promptness in forming and carrying out plans, his good faith towards those who submitted to him, merciful treatment of his prisoners, temperance even in lawful and usual pleasures, were sullied by an excessive love of wine. (2) At the very time when his enemy and his rival for a throne was preparing to renew the war, when those whom he had conquered were but lately subdued and were hostile to the new rule, he took part in prolonged banquets at which women were present, not indeed those whom it would be a crime to violate, but, to be sure, harlots who were accustomed to live with armed men with more licence than was fitting.
(3) One of these, Thais by name, herself also drunken, declared that the king would win most favour among all the Greeks, if he should order the palace of the Persians to be set on fire; that this was expected by those whose cities the barbarians had destroyed. (4) When a drunken strumpet had given her opinion on a matter of such moment, one or two, themselves also loaded with wine, agreed. The king, too, more greedy for wine than able to carry it, cried: "Why do we not, then, avenge Greece and apply torches to the city?" 5) All had become heated with wine, and so thy arose when drunk to fire the city which they had spared when armed. The king was the first to throw a firebrand upon the palace, then the guests and the servants and courtesans. The palace had been built largely of cedar, which quickly took fire and spread the conflagration widely. (6) When the army, which was encamped not far from the city, saw the fire, thinking it accidental, they rushed to bear aid. (7) But when they came to the vestibule of the palace, they saw the king himself piling on firebrands. Therefore, they left the water which they had brought, and they too began to throw dry wood upon the burning building.
(8) Such was the end of the capital of the entire Orient. . . .
(10) The Macedonians were ashamed that so renowned a city had been destroyed by their king in a drunken revel; therefore the act was taken as earnest, and they forced themselves to believe that it was right that it should be wiped out in exactly that manner.
(Cleitarchus, FGrHist. 137, F. 11 (= Athenaeus 13. 576d-e))

[[Image:Persia.jpg|thumb|right|270px|Scene from Persian mythology in Apadana Hall: Angra Mainyu kills the primeval bull, whose seed is rescued by Mah, the moon, as the source for all other animals.]] Diodorus Siculus was a Greek historian, born at Agyrium in Sicily (now called Agira, in the province of Enna). ... The Greeks began to build monumental temples in the first half of the 8th century BC. The temples of Hera at Samos and of Poseidon at Isthmia were among the first erected. ... Komos or Chorus?, revellry scene from an Attic Komast cup, ca. ... Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker, better known as FGrH (Fragments of the Greek Historians), is a monumental collection by Felix Jacoby of the works of those ancient Greek historians whose works have been lost, but we have citations, extracts or summaries. ... See Apadāna for the Pali texts. ... Angra Mainyu is the Avestan language name of the hypostasis of the destructive spirit. The Middle Persian equivalent is Ahriman. ... Apadana Hall, Persepolis: Angra Mainyu kills the primeval bull, whose seed is rescued by Mah, the moon, as the source for all other animals. ...

And did not Alexander the Great have with him Thais, the Athenian hetaira? Cleitarchus speaks of her as having been the cause for the burning of the palace at Persepolis. After Alexander's death, this same Thais was married to Ptolemy, the first king of Egypt.

There is, however, one formidable difficulty. Diodorus says that the rock at the back of the palace containing the royal sepulchres is so steep that the bodies could be raised to their last resting-place only by mechanical appliances. This is not true of the graves behind Takhti Jamshid, to which, as F. Stolze expressly observes, one can easily ride up; on the other hand, it is strictly true of the graves at Nakshi Rustam. Stolze accordingly started the theory that the royal castle of Persepolis stood close by Nakshi Rustam, and has sunk in course of time to shapeless heaps of earth, under which the remains may be concealed. The vast ruins, however, of Takhti Jamshid, and the terrace constructed with so much labour, can hardly be anything else than the ruins of palaces; as for temples, the Persians had no such thing, at least in the time of Darius and Xerxes. Moreover, Persian tradition at a very remote period knew of only three architectural wonders in that region, which it attributed to the fabulous queen Humgi (Khumái)--the. grave of Cyrus at Pasargadae, the building at HäjjIãbãd, and those on the great terrace. Diodorus Siculus was a Greek historian, born at Agyrium in Sicily (now called Agira, in the province of Enna). ... The Persian name Jamshid or Jam Shid is derived from the combination of jam, meaning glory and pure water, and shid, meaning sunlight. ... NæqÅ¡-e Rostæm, near Shiraz Tomb of Naksh-i Rustam (modern Persian NæqÅ¡-e Rostæm) is an archaeological site in Iran. ... Pasargadae (Persian: پاسارگاد) was a city in ancient Persia, and is today an archaeological site and one of Irans UNESCO World Heritage Sites. ...


It is safest therefore to identify these last with the royal palaces destroyed by Alexander. Cleitarchus, who can scarcely have visited the place himself, with his usual recklessness of statement, confounded the tombs behind the palaces with those of Nakshi Rustam; indeed he appears to imagine that all the royal sepulchres were at the same place.


Destruction

After invading Persia, Alexander of Macedonia sent the main force of his army to Persepolis in the year 330 BCE. By the Royal Road, Alexander stormed the Persian Gates (in the modern Zagros Mountains), then quickly captured Persepolis before its treasury could be looted. After several months Alexander allowed his troops to loot Persepolis. A fire broke out in the eastern palace of Xerxes and spread to the rest of the city. It is not clear if it had been a drunken accident, or a deliberate act of revenge for the burning of the Acropolis of Athens during the Second Hellenic-Persian War. Although many historians argue that while Alexander's army were celebrating with a symposium they decided to take revenge against Persians in which case it would be a combination of the two. The Book of Arda Wiraz, a Zoroastrian work composed in the 3rd or 4th century CE, also describes archives containing "all the Avesta and Zand, written upon prepared cow-skins, and with gold ink" that were destroyed. Alexander the Great (Greek: ),[1] Megas Alexandros; July 356 BC–June 11, 323 BC), also known as Alexander III, king of Macedon (336–323 BC), was one of, if not the most successful military commanders in history, conquering most of the known world before his death; he is regarded as... The map of Achaemenid Empire and the Royal Road. ... Persian Gates: ancient name of the pass now known as Tang-e Meyran, north of modern Yasuj in Iran. ... The Zagros Mountains (Kurdish: زنجیره‌ چیاکانی زاگروس), make up Irans and Iraqs largest mountain range. ... The term treasury was first used in classical times to describe the votive buildings erected to house gifts to the gods, such as the Siphnian Treasury in Delphi or the many buildings put up in Olympia, Greece by competing city-states, to impress each other during the Ancient Olympic Games. ... Xerxes may refer to these Persian kings: Xerxes I, reigned 485–465 BC, also known as Xerxes the Great. ... The Acropolis of Athens is the best known acropolis (high city, The Sacred Rock) in the world. ... Symposium originally referred to a drinking party (the Greek verb sympotein means to drink together) but has since come to refer to any academic conference, whether or not drinking takes place. ... See Avesta Municipality for the Swedish town Yasna 28. ...


After the fall of Ancient Persia

Persepolis, 1878 engraving by Frederick Stacpoole ARA (1813–1907).

In 316 BCE Persepolis was still the capital of Persia as a province of the great Macedonian Empire (see Diod. xix, 21 seq., 46 ; probably after Hieronymus of Cardia, who was living about 316). The city must have gradually declined in the course of time; but the ruins of the Achaemenidae remained as a witness to its ancient glory. It is probable that the principal town of the country, or at least of the district, was always in this neighborhood. Image File history File links Persepolis_engraving. ... Image File history File links Persepolis_engraving. ... Centuries: 5th century BC - 4th century BC - 3rd century BC Decades: 360s BC 350s BC 340s BC 330s BC 320s BC 310s BC 300s BC 290s BC 280s BC 270s BC 260s BC 321 BC 320 BC 319 BC 318 BC 317 BC 316 BC 315 BC 314 BC 313... Hieronymus of Cardia, Greek general and historian, contemporary of Alexander the Great. ... Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Dynasty was a dynasty in the ancient Persian Empire, including Cyrus II the Great, Darius I and Xerxes I. At the height of their power, the Achaemenid rulers of Persia ruled over territories roughly emcompassing some parts of todays Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon...


About 200 CE we find the city Istakhr (properly Stakhr), five kilometers north of Persepolis, as the seat of the local governors. There the foundations of the second great Persian Empire were laid, and Istakhr acquired special importance as the center of priestly wisdom and orthodoxy. The Sassanian kings have covered the face of the rocks in this neighborhood, and in part even the Achaemenian ruins, with their sculptures and inscriptions, and must themselves have built largely here, although never on the same scale of magnificence as their ancient predecessors. The Romans knew as little about Istakhr as the Greeks had done about Persepolis--and this in spite of the fact that for four hundred years the Sassanians maintained relations, friendly or hostile, with the empire. For other uses, see number 200. ... Istakhr(Ǐ-stáxǜr), also known as Stakhr, is a city located in southern Iran close to Persepolis and Zohak. ... Head of king Shapur II (Sasanian dynasty A.D. 4th century). ...

Persepolis ruins after 2500 years
Persepolis ruins after 2500 years

At the time of the Arabian conquest Istakhr offered a desperate resistance, but the city was still a place of considerable importance in the first century of Islam, although its greatness was speedily eclipsed by the new metropolis Shiraz. In the 10th century Istakhr had become an utterly insignificant place, as may be seen from the descriptions of Istakhr, a native (c. 950), and of Mukaddasi (c. 985). During the following centuries Istakhr gradually declines, until, as a city, it ceased to exist. This fruitful region, however, was covered with villages till the frightful devastations of the 18th century; and even now it is, comparatively speaking, well cultivated. The "castle of Istakhr" played a conspicuous part several times during the Muslim period as a strong fortress. It was the middlemost and the highest of the three steep crags which rise from the valley of the Kur, at some distance to the west or north-west of Nakshi Rustam. Image File history File links Parsa7. ... Image File history File links Parsa7. ... For people named Islam, see Islam (name). ... For other uses, see Shiraz (disambiguation). ... As a means of recording the passage of time, the 10th century was that century which lasted from 901 to 1000. ... Muhammad ibn Ahmad Shamsuddin Al-Muqaddasi (or Al-Maqdisi) was a notable medieval Arab geographer, author of Ahsan at-Taqasim fi Ma`rifat il-Aqalim (The Best Divisions for Knowledge of the Regions). ... In Sumerian mythology, KUR (Primeval Snake and Dragon) was a monstrous dragon with scaly body and massive wings. ... Næqš-e Rostæm, near Shiraz Tomb of Naksh-i Rustam (modern Persian Næqš-e Rostæm) is an archaeological site in Iran. ...


We learn from Asian writers that one of the Buyid (Buwaihid) sultans in the 10th century of the Flight constructed the great cisterns, which may yet be seen, and have been visited, amongst others, by James Morier and E. Flandin. W. Ouseley points out that this castle was still used in the 16th century, at least as a state prison. But when Pietro della Valle was there in 1621 it was already in ruins. Sultan (Arabic: سلطان) is an Islamic title, with several historical meanings. ...


Modern events

The UNESCO declared the citadel of Persepolis a World Heritage Site in 1979. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) is a specialized agency of the United Nations established in 1945. ... A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a specific site (such as a forest, mountain, lake, desert, monument, building, complex, or city) that has been nominated and confirmed for inclusion on the list maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 State...


Persepolis is also one of the 80 treasures featured on Around the World in 80 Treasures presented by Dan Cruickshank. Around the World in 80 Treasures is a 10 episode series by the BBC and presented by Dan Cruickshank originally aired in February, March, and April 2005. ... Dan Cruickshank Professor Dan Cruickshank (born 1949) is an architectural historian and television presenter, currently working for the BBC, and lives in Spitalfields, London. ...


In 1971, Persepolis was the main staging ground for the 2,500 year celebration of Iran's monarchy. Year 1971 (MCMLXXI) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the 1971 Gregorian calendar. ... Symbol of 2,500 Year Celebration, Cyrus Cylinder in Center The 2,500 year celebration of Iran’s monarchy consisted of an elaborate set of festivities that took place October 12-16, 1971 on the occasion of the 2,500th anniversary of the founding of the Iranian monarchy by Cyrus...


See also

Persian guards
Persian guards
Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Category:Persepolis

Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1675x1107, 527 KB) [edit] Summary Persépolis (Iran). ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1675x1107, 527 KB) [edit] Summary Persépolis (Iran). ... Persia redirects here. ... The Persepolis Ruins The Achaemenid dynasty (Old Persian:Hakamanishiya, Persian: هخامنشیان) - was a dynasty in the ancient Persian Empire. ... Seal of Darius I, showing the king hunting on his chariot, and the symbol of Ahuramazda Darius the Great (Pers. ... “Cyrus” redirects here. ... David Stronach is a renowned British archeologist of ancient Iran and Iraq. ... Erich Frederich Schmidt (b. ... This article is about the the graphic novel. ... Naqsh-e Rustam (in Persian: نقش رستم Nāqš-e Rostām) is an archaeological site located about 12 km northwest of Persepolis, in Fars province, Iran. ... Image File history File links Commons-logo. ...

External links

The Oriental Institute (OI) is the University of Chicagos archeology museum and research center for ancient Near Eastern studies. ... For other uses, see University of Chicago (disambiguation). ... Iran Cultural Heritage, Handcrafts and Tourism Organization (سازمان میراث فرهنگي، صنايع دستي و گردشگري) is an educational and research institution overseeing numerous associated museum complexes throughout Iran. ...

References

This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain. Encyclopædia Britannica, the eleventh edition The Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition (1910–1911) is perhaps the most famous edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. ... The public domain comprises the body of all creative works and other knowledge—writing, artwork, music, science, inventions, and others—in which no person or organization has any proprietary interest. ...


Further reading

  • Curtis, J. and Tallis, N. (eds). (2005). Forgotten Empire: The World of Ancient Persia. University of California Press. ISBN 0520247310.
  • Wilber, Donald Newton. (1989). Persepolis: The Archaeology of Parsa, Seat of the Persian Kings. Darwin Press. Revised edition ISBN 0878500626.

Coordinates: 29°56′04″N, 52°53′29″E Image File history File links Flag_of_Iran. ... Map of Earth showing lines of latitude (horizontally) and longitude (vertically), Eckert VI projection; large version (pdf, 1. ...


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