The Coronation Ceremony at Pasargadae

Plutarch of Chaeronea (46-c.122): influential Greek philosopher and author, well known for his biographies and his moral treatises. His biography is here; his Life of Artaxerxes is the only biography not dedicated to a Greek or a Roman, but describes the life of the Persian king Artaxerxes II Mnemon (r. 404-358).

The Persian coronation ceremony took place at Pasargadae. The Greek author Plutarch of Chaeronea (46-120) describes how this happened in his Life of king Artaxerxes, section 3.1. The ritual itself closely resembles a Babylonian ritual. The translation was made by Mr. Oakley and belongs to the Dryden series.


The Coronation Ceremony at Pasargadae

[3.1] It was not long after the decease of Dariusnote that the king, his successor, went to Pasargadae, to have the ceremony of his inauguration consummated by the Persian priests.

[3.2] There is a temple dedicated to a warlike goddess, whom one might liken to Artemis.note The royal person to be initiated must enter it, must strip himself of his own robe, and put on the one that Cyrus the First wore before he was king. Then, having devoured a frail of figs, he must eat turpentine, and drink a cup of sour milk.