King and Court in Ancient Persia, 559 to 331 BCE – Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones
Edinburgh University Press | 2013 | PDF
The first Persian Empire (559-331 BCE) was the biggest land empire the world had seen, and seated at the heart of its vast dominions, in the south of modern-day Iran, was the person of the Great King. Immortalized in Greek literature as despotic tyrants, a new vision of Persian monarchy is emerging from Iranian, and other, sources (literary, visual, and archaeological), which show the Kings in a very different light. Inscriptions of Cyrus, Darius, Xerxes, and their heirs present an image of Persian rulers as liberators, peace-makers, valiant warriors, righteous god-fearing judges, and law-makers.
Around them the Kings established lavish and sophisticated courts, the centres of political decision-making and cultural achievements in which the image of monarchy was endorsed and advanced by an almost theatrical display of grandeur and power.
This book explores the representation of Persian monarchy and the court of the Achaemenid Great Kings from the point of view of the ancient Iranians themselves and through the sometimes distorted prism of Classical authors.
Llewellyn-Jones is a skilled philologist and has a special interest in ancient dress and gender studies. His study of the Achamenids is given extra depth by his knowledge of contemporary Iran. Llewllyn-Jones blends an easy mastery of widely disparate sources with a clear-cut, jargon-free prose style. — Peter Green, Professor Emeritus, University of Texas at Austin, London Review of Books
King and Court in Ancient Persia, a book that usefully provides numerous excerpts from ancient written sources as well as photographs and line drawings, would also earn a place in your luggage if travelling to Persepolis. — Shaun Sheehan, Dublin Review of Books