Naqš-e Rustam, Achaemenid tomb I


Naqš-e Rustam: archaeological site in Fars (Iran), best known for its Achaemenid tombs and rock reliefs made in the Sasanian age.

Achaemenid Tomb I (Darius II Nothus?)

Achaemenid Tombs I and II

Although Tomb I (left on the photo) and Tomb II (right) have no inscriptions that may help us identify its owners, minor stylistic details allow us to assume that they probably belonged to Darius II Nothus (r.423-404) and to Artaxerxes I Makrocheir (r.465-424). Like Tomb IV, which is generally attributed to king Xerxes (r.486-465), they are almost exact copies of the final resting place of Darius the Great, who, as founder of the Achaemenid dynasty, had set an example for later kings to be followed.

Achaemenid Tomb I

The upper register of Tomb I is therefore identical to the relief of Darius' tomb: the king is standing in front of an altar, praying to the supreme Ahuramazda, and sacrificing to the holy fire. In his right hand, the king has his bow, the royal attribute par excellence. Again, the plaform is carried by people that represent the subject nations. The symbol in the upper right corner represents the moon.

The Sasanian relief below Tomb I commemorates an equestrian victory by king Bahram II (r.276-293).


Louis Vanden Berghe, Reliefs rupestres de l' Iran ancien (1983 Brussels), #23.