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Persepolis: Treasury


The Treasury of Persepolis. Photo Ab Langereis.
The Treasury seen from the northwest
Persepolis (Old Persian Pārsa, 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 Treasury of Persepolis (map #2) belongs to the oldest building phase of Persepolis, the great design by king Darius I the Great. The other main element was the Apadana, where the great king received tribute from all the nations in the Achaemenid Empire, and gave presents in return. 

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The Treasury of Persepolis.
The Treasury seen from the west

This exchange of gifts was one of the central elements in the Persian royal ideology, and the Treasury (here seen from the northwest) was, therefore, one of the most important symbols of the great king's power. It is no coincidence that Alexander the Great, in 330, selected the Apadana and the Treasury to be destroyed, together with the Palace of Xerxes.

Many people were employed to keep the gold and silver shining: from the Fortification tablets, it is known that in 467 BCE, no less than 1348 people were employed in the Treasury (here seen from the southeast). It was rebuilt several times.

The Treasury of Persepolis, from the southeast. Photo Marco Prins.
The Treasury seen from the east

In the Treasury, two almost identical reliefs were found, which once decorated the eastern and northern stairs of the Apadana. It is not known why they were removed.

Several weights were found as well: large, heavy blocks of diorite with an inscription. Below, you can see weights of 120 and 60 karša. The inscriptions, which mention king Darius, are known as DWc and DWd. The statue to the left is a marble Penelope, which may have been taken away from Greece during the Persian expedition of 480-479. Of course it can have been a diplomatic gift as well.

Among the other finds are the Persepolis Treasury Tablets.

You can find a satellite photo here.

Statue of Penelope from Athens, found at Persepolis. Probably part of the booty that Mardonius took away from Athens. Photo Marco Prins. The weight known as DWc. National Archaeological Museum, Tehran (Iran). Photo Jona Lendering. The weight known as DWd. Photo Chicago Oriental Institute. Pharnaces paying honor ('proskynesis') to king Darius the Great. Relief from Persepolis. Archaeological museum of Tehran (Iran). Photo Marco Prins.
"Penelope" (Archaeological Museum, Tehran) The weight known as DWc  (Archaeological Museum, Tehran) The weight known as DWd (©!!!) Chicago Oriental Institute Relief from the northern stairs of the Apadana (Archaeological Museum, Tehran)

History Photos
© Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2004
Revision: 18 July 2010
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