Tags » Achaemenid Empire

Fragrant-Horse or Having Intelligent Horses

Academics get very excited when we find typos, perhaps because it gives us a break when reading through hundreds of pages like this:

*baudāspa- N. pr.

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Rationalizing Cunaxa

At the battle of Cunaxa, two claimants to the Persian throne lined up their armies. One of them had a large force of Greek infantry, and both kings had men in their armies who went on to become famous writers. 1,379 more words


The Size of Achaemenid Armies

In the chapter of my dissertation on the Greek sources, I had to talk about the size of Persian armies. One of the few details about Persian armies which most Greek writers give is that they had a specific and very large number of men, and no other kind of evidence lets us estimate the size of armies in the field (the Behistun inscription lists the number of enemies killed and taken alive in various battles, and it is possible to estimate how many bow estates or temple soldiers were available in some parts of Babylonia, but neither is a reliable guide to the size of royal armies in the field). 859 more words


Cotton from Dilmun

In Achaemenid studies, Wouter Henkelman’s book The Other Gods Who Are is famous for using some very difficult sources to argue that we should not think about Iranians replacing and subjugating Elamites, but that the ancient Persians we know were the product of hundreds of years of interaction between Iranian-speakers and Elamite-speakers sharing the highlands of Fars, so that by the time of Cyrus or Darius it was hard to say what was Iranian and what was Elamite. 655 more words


The Linen Karballatu

Some years ago, I made up one of the famous Persian hoods in red linen cloth. I machine-sewed it and bag-lined it, and did not have sources other than reliefs, the Darius Mosaic, the bonnet from one of the Pazyryk tombs, and an interesting woodcut which Jona Lendering showed me. 446 more words


Remembering Sinuhe and the Women of Sidon

Egyptian scribes liked to tell the story of Sinuhe, who would have lived around 2000 BCE but is only known through this tale, which is translated by… 443 more words


Bandits in the Achaemenid and Roman Empires

Achaemenid historians with a background in classics are often impressed by the references to revolts and ungoverned areas in the Greek sources. Pierre Briant published a number of works in French on the subject of unruly mountaineers in the Zagros. 867 more words