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Persepolis: Apadana, East Stairs


General view of the eastern Apadana stairs, Persepolis. Photo Marco Prins.
The eastern stairs
Persepolis (Old Persian P‚rsa, 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.
  
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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.
Map of the Persian empire. Design Jona Lendering. The eastern stairs of the Apadana at Persepolis show a procession of people bringing tribute to the Achaemenid king, Darius the Great (r.522-486). The relief consists of three parts: the northern wall, with representations of Achaemenid dignitaries; the center, with eight soldiers; and the southern wall, showing representatives of all subject nations (picture above). The relief miraculously survived the sack of Persepolis by the soldiers of Alexander the Great in 330 BCE.


The Syrians are not entirely identical to the inhabitants of modern Syria. The real name of their satrapy was "across the river" (Euphrates), and it included what is now Lebanon and Israel/Palestine. In the days of Darius, the Syennesis (king) of Cilicia may have been a vazal of the satrap of Syria.
The Syrians have smooth cloaks, which leave the ankles visible, belts, and low shoes. On their heads, they wear wreaths. Their presents are two pair of bowls, a bar of copper in the shape of an animal skin, two beautiful rams, and a garment.
Two Syrians. Eastern stairs of the apadana at Persepolis. Photo Marco Prins. The man to the right carries the copper bar; the next man offers the garment. It has four tassels and he may, therefore, be a Jew (cf. Deuteronomy 22.12: "Make tassels on the four corners of the cloak you wear").


These people are Cappadocians from central Turkey. Like their neighbors, the Armenians (above), they wear horseman's dresses and cloaks.
The Cappadocians wear capes that are closed with a Phrygian fibula, an undergarment, low shoes, and a turban. Their presents are a bridled stallion, an overcoat, a coat, and trousers. This picture shows that the trousers resemble thights. The Sacae offer the same presents (below).
A Cappadocian. Eastern stairs of the apadana at Persepolis. Photo Marco Prins. The turbans of the Cappadocians are tied. If they loosen the knot, they can cover their cheeks.


The Scythians, or, preferrably, Sak‚ tigrakhaud‚ ('nomads with pointed hats'), wear horseman's dresses, cloaks, and the pointed hats that the Greeks called tiara.
Like all delegations, a courtier (in this case, a Mede) leads the first delegate by the hand towards the stairs, and the Apadana itself. The leader of the Sak‚ is fully armed: he has a short sword (an akinakes) and a bow. It is likely that this group represents all nomad tribes of what is now Uzbekistan, including the Sak‚ haumavarg‚ ('haoma-drinking namads'), the Ap‚ Sak‚ ('Water nomads') or -as Herodotus of Halicarnassus calls them- Pausikoi, the M‚h-Sak‚ ('Moon nomads') or Massagetes, the Dah‚, and the Sak‚ paradray‚ ('nomads across the sea') from Ukraine.
Three Sak‚. Eastern stairs of the apadana at Persepolis. Photo Marco Prins. Three Sak‚ tigrakhaud‚. Like the Cappadocians (above), they offer a horse (with a little bell), two decorated rings, an overcoat, a coat, and thight-like trousers.

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

>> part seven >>



History Photos
© Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2004
Revision: 14 June 2010
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