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The only book of its kind to cover both the Achaemenid period and the thousand years following Alexander's conquest, The Persians explores the period from the seventh century BC, to the seventh century AD, and presents a comprehensive introduction to ancient Persia. Incorporating recent research, and translated sources from a wide range of corpus material, Maria Brosius explores the history of Persia, and brings a new understanding of Persian society and culture and the structures on which these empires were built: the king and his court; religion and culture; art and architecture. From the lands of Egypt to the Indus River, from the Russian Steppes to the Indian Ocean, Brosius has provided an up-to-date account of the three empires of pre-Islamic Iran, and discussing key topics such as women, religion and art and architecture, she presents a clear survey of the history of these empires. Providing additional reading references along with frequent source citations, students of ancient Persia will find this an invaluable addition to their course studies.
Aeschylus (525-456 BC) brought a new grandeur and epic sweep to the drama of classical Athens, raising it to the status of high art. The Persians, the only Greek tragedy to deal with events from recent Athenian history, depicts the final defeat of Persia in the battle of Salamis, through the eyes of the Persian court of King Xerxes, becoming a tragic lesson in tyranny. In Prometheus Bound, the defiant Titan Prometheus is brutally punished by Zeus for daring to improve the state of wretchedness and servitude in which mankind is kept. Seven Against Thebes shows the inexorable downfall of the last members of the cursed family of Oedipus, while The Suppliants relates the pursuit of the fifty daughters of Danaus by the fifty sons of Aegyptus, and their final rescue by a heroic king.
During the first and second millennia BCE a swathe of nomadic peoples migrated outward from Central Asia into the Eurasian periphery. One group of these people would find themselves encamped in an unpromising, arid region just south of the Caspian Sea. From these modest and uncertain beginnings, they would go on to form one of the most powerful empires in history: the Persian Empire. In this book, Geoffrey and Brenda Parker tell the captivating story of this ancient civilization and its enduring legacy to the world. The authors examine the unique features of Persian life and trace their influence throughout the centuries. They examine the environmental difficulties the early Persians encountered and how, in overcoming them, they were able to develop a unique culture that would culminate in the massive, first empire, the Achaemenid Empire. Extending their influence into the maritime west, they fought the Greeks for mastery of the eastern Mediterranean—one of the most significant geopolitical contests of the ancient world. And the authors paint vivid portraits of Persian cities and their spectacular achievements: intricate and far-reaching roadways, an astonishing irrigation system that created desert paradises, and, above all, an extraordinary reflection of the diverse peoples that inhabited them. Informed and original, this is a history of an incomparable culture whose influence can still be seen, millennia later, in modern-day Iran and the wider Middle East.
This fictionalised account of the life of Esther, Queen of the Persians, draws on the known facts about Esther's life in the Persian Empire in 481BC.
In recent years, Iran has gained attention mostly for negative reasons—its authoritarian religious government, disputed nuclear program, and controversial role in the Middle East—but there is much more to the story of this ancient land than can be gleaned from the news. This authoritative and comprehensive history of Iran, written by Homa Katouzian, an acclaimed expert, covers the entire history of the area from the ancient Persian Empire to today’s Iranian state. Writing from an Iranian rather than a European perspective, Katouzian integrates the significant cultural and literary history of Iran with its political and social history. Some of the greatest poets of human history wrote in Persian—among them Rumi, Omar Khayyam, and Saadi—and Katouzian discusses and occasionally quotes their work. In his thoughtful analysis of Iranian society, Katouzian argues that the absolute and arbitrary power traditionally enjoyed by Persian/Iranian rulers has resulted in an unstable society where fear and short-term thinking dominate. A magisterial history, this book also serves as an excellent background to the role of Iran in the contemporary world.

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