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Persepolis: People


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 large procession of people bringing tribute to the Achaemenid king. The beautiful reliefs were designed in the last decade of the sixth century, and probably executed by Yaunâ artists. We are allowed to identify the king with Darius I the Great (522-486), but we can also say that this relief is an idealization; the king who receives the presents is not a particular ruler, but an embodiment of Persian rule.

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General view of the eastern Apadana stairs, Persepolis. Photo Marco Prins.
The wall next to the stairs. Here, the tribute bearers are represented. It is almost a miracle that these stairs have survived the fire of Persepolis organized by Alexander the Great in 330.
An Arab. Relief on the eastern stairs of the apadana, Persepolis. Photo Marco Prins. An Arachosian. Eastern stairs of the apadana at Persepolis. Photo Marco Prins. An Arian. Eastern stairs of the apadana at Persepolis. Photo Marco Prins. An Armenian. Eastern stairs of the apadana at Persepolis. Photo Marco Prins.
An Arab. The Arabs were never completely subdued by the Persians, but those living near Gaza accepted to pay tribute to king Cambyses (more). An Arachosian. They lived in the valleys of the rivers Helmand and Tarnak in southern Afghanistan. Notice the  tassel (more). An Arian, living near the Kara Kum desert. His turban protects him against dust storms (more). An Armenian. In front of him you can see a horse's tail - the Armenians paid horses as tribute (more).
Two Babylonians. Eastern stairs of the apadana at Persepolis. Photo Marco Prins. A Bactrian. Eastern stairs of the apadana at Persepolis. Photo Marco Prins. A Cappadocian. Eastern stairs of the apadana at Persepolis. Photo Marco Prins. A Carian. Eastern stairs of the apadana at Persepolis. Photo Marco Prins.
Two Babylonians, offering ceramics and a garment (more). A Bactrian, living in northern Afghanistan (more). A Cappadocian from central Turkey (more). A Carian, with the typical round shield (hoplon) that was believed to be a Carian invention (more).
An Elamite. Eastern stairs of the apadana at Persepolis. Photo Marco Prins. A Gandaran. Eastern stairs of the apadana at Persepolis. Photo Marco Prins. An Indian on the eastern Apadana stairs, Persepolis. Photo Marco Prins. A Libyan. Eastern stairs of the apadana at Persepolis. Photo Marco Prins.
An Elamite, offering a lion's cub to the great king (more). A Gandaran, from the valley of the river Cophen (modern Kabul in Afghanistan/Pakistan), with a buffalo (more). An Indian carrying gold. The ancients told lots of tall stories about the proverbial wealth of the Punjab and the valley of the Indus (more). A Libyan (more).
A Lydian. Relief from the eastern apadana stairs, Persepolis. Photo Marco Prins. Two Medians. Eastern stairs of the apadana at Persepolis. Photo Marco Prins. A Nubian. Eastern stairs of the apadana at Persepolis. Photo Marco Prins. A Parthian. Eastern stairs of the apadana at Persepolis. Photo Marco Prins.
A Lydian. The two phials may contain gold from the Pactolus river near Sardes (more). Two Medes (not on the Apadana relief). They were closely related to the Persians and were in fact the co-rulers of the empire (more). A Nubian (or Kushite) with an elephant's tusk (more). A Parthian, living close to the Salt desert, and protecting his face with a part of his turban (more).
A Sagartian. Eastern stairs of the apadana at Persepolis. Photo Marco Prins. Three Sakâ. Eastern stairs of the apadana at Persepolis. Photo Marco Prins. A Sogdian. Eastern stairs of the apadana at Persepolis. Photo Marco Prins. Two Syrians. Eastern stairs of the apadana at Persepolis. Photo Marco Prins.
A Sagartian, living in the area of modern Yazd (more). Three Sakâ tigrakhaudâ ("Sacae with pointed hats"). These nomads were living in what is now called Uzbekistan (more). A badly damaged portrait of a Sogdian, from a city like Nautaca or Maracanda (Samarkand), situated along the Silk road (more). Two Syrians. The man to the left offers a garment with four strings and may be a Jew (cf. Deuteronomy 22.12) (more).
A Thracian. Eastern stairs of the apadana at Persepolis. Photo Marco Prins. A Greek. Eastern stairs of the apadana at Persepolis. Photo Marco Prins.
A Thracian, from what is now Bulgaria and north-eastern Greece (more). A Yaunâ (Greek) offering wool (more).
History Photos
© Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2004
Revision: 15 June 2010
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