Persepolis (Daniel 10)

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Illustration: Ruins of the Tachara, Persepolis

Persepolis (meaning “Persian city”) was a capital of the Achaemenid kings. Its remains, known as Takht-i-Jamshid, are located northeast of Shiraz, Iran, 226 km inland from the Persian Gulf. Trilingual inscriptions on the site report the building activities of several generations of Persian monarchs. Darius I (522-486 B.C.) began construction of the city after having created a platform of 33 acres, 12,2 m above the plain. He erected fortifications, a monumental stairway to the platform, a palace, an audience hall and other buildings. The audience hall, or Apadana, employed 72 stone columns, each 20 m in height, of which 13 still stand. Its eastern stairway was decorated with images of delegations of Persians, Medes, Egyptians, Assyrians, Greeks and others bearing tribute and in their customary dress.

Xerxes I (ruled 486-465 B.C.) added a larger palace, harem and treasury. He began the “throne-hall of 100 columns” and built the “Gate of All Nations”, ornamented with colossal winged and human headed bulls. Thousands of Elamite tablets from the reigns of Darius, Xerxes and Artaxerxes I were recovered from the treasury, among which are featured a number of Jewish names, including Baruch, Zechariah, Abijah and Hezeki(ah). Artaxerxes (465-425 B.C.) completed the throne-hall, and Artaxerxes III (359-338 B.C.) added a staircase to Darius’ palace. Alexander the Great destroyed the city in 330 B.C. as retribution for Xerxes’ destruction of Athens in 408 B.C. Tombs of the Achaemenid kings, cut into cliffs at Naqsh-i-Rustam, are located 5,7 km north of the city.


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