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Persepolis: Palace of Artaxerxes ("Palace H")


The palace of Artaxerxes I. Photo Marco Prins.
The palace of Artaxerxes I
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 ruins of  the palace of Artaxerxes I Makrocheir ("palace H") are not the most famous part of Persepolis, and it is easy to understand why. Hardly anything is left, especially compared to the palace of Darius I the Great, which is across a little courtyard (perhaps a garden). Artaxerxes III Ochus later added a staircase on the northern side of the palace - inscription A3Pa offers the date - which was meant to mirror the southern staircase of Darius' palace and created a more or less symmetrical court.

Ancient-Warfare.com, the online home of Ancient Warfare magazine
The horns at the terrace wall near the palace of Artaxerxes I. Photo Marco Prins.
The decoration has produced several minor puzzles. One of them is the group of "horns" at the edge of the terrace near the palace of Artaxerxes I. No one knows their significance. Just decoration?

There's also a bearded sphinx that can be dated to the reign of Artaxerxes III Ochus. It is, therefore, almost a century too young. This type of animal usually was facing a colleague, and between must have been the winged figure of Ahuramazda. Where is the rest? Was this sphinx originally in another building, and was it moved to the palace of Artaxerxes I? Or was the palace of Artaxerxes I redecorated? We don't know.

A satellite photo can be seen here..

Inscription A3Pa. Photo Jona Lendering.
A bearded sphinx, originally from Palace G, but found in the palace of Artaxerxes (British Museum) Inscription A3Pa
History Photos
© Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2004
Revision: 15 June 2010
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