Darius Of Persia by jermainedayvis

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									                                                                                                                                                                           asphalt layer of waterproofing. Although Koldewey believed these rooms served as
                                                                                                                                                                           the foundations of the Hanging Gardens, the evidence is sketchy. More certain is the
                                                                                                                                                                           site of the Temple of Marduk, about 1 km south, along the processional avenue.
                                                                                                                                                                           According to Greek historians, who were occasionally known to exaggerate, the
                                                                                                                                                                           god’s statue and associated cult equipment involved the melting of 20 tonnes of gold.
                                                                                                                                                                           They claimed that two tonnes of frankincense were used every year.
                                                                                                                                                                               The glories of Babylon did not last. Within 23 years of Nebuchadnezzar’s son,
                                                                                                                                                                           Amel-Marduk, succeeding to the throne, Cyrus the Great’s Persian army had
                                                                                                                                                                           captured the city. Later still, in 330 BC, it fell to Alexander the Great, who dreamed
                                                                                                                                                                           of making it the central capital of his empire. But Alexander died before his plan
                                                                                                                                                                           could be realised, and for the next thousand years Babylon’s importance steadily
                                                                                                                                                                           declined until, by the rise of Islam in the seventh century AD, it was almost an
                                                                                                                                                                           afterthought on ancient maps.
Reconstruction of the Precinct of
Esagila, enclosing the great ziggurat
of E-temen-anki on the left and the                                                                                                                                        Persepolis Persia’s story set in stone
temple of Marduk on the right, with
priestly accommodation beyond. The                    The triple wall merged in the northeast with the palace of Tell Babil, while to the                                  AT NAQSH-E-RUSTAM, near the city of Persepolis in southwest Iran, a cliff face is
ziggurat is associated with the Tower of          west it connected to the inner sector housing the core of Nebuchadnezzar’s                                               adorned with a series of spectacular royal tombs carved from the rock. This is the
Babel. According to the Old Testament,            powerbase. Here lay the sacred and royal chambers, protected by their own defences                                       burial ground of the Persian (Achaemenid) kings, a royal dynasty that rose during
the tower was built by the descendants            and set at the head of a processional route leading to the Ishtar Gate.The gate, named                                   the sixth century BC to create an immense empire stretching from Egypt and western
of Noah on Babylonia’s Plain of Shinar.           after the goddess of love and war, was decorated with moulded and glazed coloured                                        Turkey to central Asia. Although they made Babylon their capital, they never
The aim was to make it reach Heaven,              bricks. These provided a bright background for the dragon and bull shapes that                                           shunned their roots, and both Persepolis and its older neighbour, Pasargadae, were                                  Darius the Great’s attendants shade the
but such arrogance infuriated Jehovah,            adorned the sides of a high arch.                                                                                        designed to accommodate ceremonial needs, such as coronations and state funerals.                                   king from the sun and, below, his tomb
who caused the builders to speak in                   Robert Koldewey also found the museum where Nebuchadnezzar kept his much-                                                The founder of the empire, Cyrus the Great, built a palace retreat at Pasargadae                                (right) and that of Artaxerxes I at
hitherto-unknown tongues. He then                 prized Mesopotamian antiques, and a                                                                                      in a period when his forces had underlined their superiority with victories over the                                Naqsh-e-Rustam. Between them is the
scattered them across the face of the             complex of underground rooms with                                                                                        Medes, Lydians and Babylonians. Cyrus was succeeded by Cambyses, who added                                          carving of the first Sassanid king
earth – a neat explanation for the                vaulted ceilings, wells and an                                                                                           Egypt to this clutch of dominions, and then Darius, who took the crown under                                        Shapur I’s ‘victory’ over Roman
spread of languages. Some scholars                                                                                                                                         obscure and slightly suspicious circumstances. It was Darius who crushed civil                                      emperors Philip and Valerian.
believe the story was inspired by the                                                                                                                                      unrest and established a more organised administrative regime in which Persia was
collapse of the ziggurat in Babylon,                                                                                                                                       divided into satrapies, or provinces. He also
later restored by Nabopolassar and                                                                                                                                         commissioned the construction of Persepolis.
Nebuchadnezzar II.                                                                                                                                                             The new city was built on a series of platforms
                                                                                                                                                                           and sweeping staircases centred on a huge terrace
                                                                                                                                                                           measuring 435 by 310m. On this were set the main
                                                                                                                                                                           royal and government buildings, such as the
                                                                                                                                                                           Treasury and Apadana (meeting hall). These were
                                                                                                                                                                           impressive, pillared structures decorated with the
                                                                                                                                                                           statues of winged bulls around doorways, an idea
                                                                                                                                                                           borrowed from the earlier Assyrians. Elsewhere,
                                                                                                                                                                           intricate stone reliefs paid tribute to the king with
                                                                                                                                                                           illustrations of his court, senior officials, armies and
Coloured                                                                                                                                                                   a submissive troop of ambassadors of vassal regions
brick wall from                                                                                                                                                            bearing tributes. This use of monumental masonry
Babylon’s processional way, rebuilt in                                                                                                                                     to bolster royal pride was a feature of the regime.
the Pergamon Museum, Berlin.                                                                                                                                               Darius even used a cliff at Behistun in western Iran

609 BC                525–404 BC            480 BC             413 BC                343–332 BC            c.330 BC              c.330 BC              323 BC              290 BC            247 BC               224 BC               c.200 BC               165 BC            c.138 BC            36–30 BC            4 BC
Egypt allies with     First period of       Xerxes defeats a   Persians under        Second period of      Babylon falls under   End of Persian        Death of            Roman conquest of Arsaces I founds     Colossus of          Possible origin date   Jerusalem         Central Asia        King Herod’s        Death of King
Assyria against       Persian occupation    Spartan army at    Darius II ally with   Persian occupation    Alexander the         nation state.         Alexander the       central Italy.    the kingdom of       Rhodes, one of the   of oldest Dead Sea     recaptured from   explored by Chang   summer palace       Herod.
Babylonia and         of Egypt, from King   Thermopylae and    Sparta against        of Egypt, from King   Great’s control.      Alexander the Great   Great in Babylon.                     Parthia in Persia.   Seven Wonders of     Scrolls.               Greeks by Judas   Chien.              constructed at Rock
Judah at the battle   Cambyses to           sacks Athens.      Athens.               Artaxerxes III to                           occupies and                                                                     the Ancient World,                          Maccabaeus.                           of Masada, on west
of Megiddo.           Darius II.                                                     Darius III.                                 torches Persepolis.                                                              destroyed in                                                                      coast of Dead Sea.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  earthquake.


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