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Persepolis: Apadana, East Stairs


General view of the eastern Apadana stairs, Persepolis. Photo Marco Prins. Persepolis (Old Persian Pârsa, modern Takht-e Jamshid): Greek name of one of the capitals of the ancient Achaemenid empire, founded by the great king Darius (522-486 BCE). There were several satellite sites, like Naqš-i Rustam and Takht-e Rostam.
  
History Photos

The eastern stairs of the Apadana at Persepolis show a procession of people bringing tribute to the Achaemenid king. The reliefs were made in the last years of the sixth century, and probably executed by Yaunâ artists. We are allowed to identify the king on the central scene with Darius the Great (r. 522-486), but the relief is also an idealization: the king who receives the presents is not a particular individual, but embodies Persian rule.
Ancient-Warfare.com, the online home of Ancient Warfare magazine
Inscription XPb, near the eastern stairs of the Apadana of Persepolis. Photo Marco Prins.
XPb
 

The relief, which has miraculously survived the sack of Persepolis by the soldiers of Alexander the Great in 330 BCE, consists of three parts and is flanked by the Old Persian inscription known as XPb:

  1. The northern wall: representations of all kinds of Persian dignitaries, horsemen, and chariots.
  2. The center: eight soldiers and the sun god.
  3. The southern wall (picture above): all nations of the Persian Empire, in the following arrangement:
Thracians
Sagartians
Bactrians
Egyptians*
Arians
Parthians
Elamites
Medes
Carians
Arabs
Sogdians
Gandarans
Sacae
Syrians
Babylonians
Armenians
Nubians
Libyans
LION/BULL
Indians
Arachosians
Greeks
Cappadocians
Lydians
*The Egyptians are badly damaged.

You can find pictures of the faces of all the represented people here.

>> part two >>

History Photos
© Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2004
Revision: 14 June 2010
Livius.Org Anatolia Carthage Egypt Germ. Inf. Greece Judaea Mesopotamia Persia Rome Other