See “Deciphering Darius” (an excerpt from Henry Creswicke Rawlinson on the Bisitun Inscription), Past Perfect, Archaeology Odyssey, September/October 2005.


Darius also took other measures to secure his legitimacy, such as marrying Cyrus’s daughters Atossa and Artystone (Herodotus, History 3.88). This ensured that all later Achaemenid kings—indeed all the kings who ruled the Persian empire save Darius himself—could trace their bloodline directly to Cyrus the Great.


The earliest Zoroastrian scriptures, collectively known as the Avesta, consist of hymns attributed to a prophet named Zoroaster, who may have lived in the sixth century B.C.


For Persian influence in the East, see Rekha Morris, “Imagining Buddha,” and Frank Holt, “Alexander in the East,” Archaeology Odyssey, July/August 2001; Frantz Grenet, “Old Samarkand: Nexus of the Ancient World,” Archaeology Odyssey, September/October 2003; and Elizabeth Rosen Stone, “East Meets West: How Greek Art Influenced Monumental Pillars of India’s Emperor Ashoka,” March/April 2005.


See Harrison Eiteljorg, “Antiquity’s High Holy Place: The Athenian Acropolis,” Archaeology Odyssey, November/December 2004.



Excerpted from Darius, Bisitun, §12–14; Darius claimed that Cambyses killed his own brother in DB §10. Translations from the Old Persian are adapted from R.G. Kent, Old Persian: Grammar, Texts, Lexicon (New Haven, 1953); and R. Schmitt, Bisitun: Old Persian Text (London, 1991). Subsequent references to the Bisitun Inscription will be cited in the text, abbreviated “DB” with the paragraph (§) number. Parts of this article are adapted from the author’s “Cyrus and the Achaemenids,” published in Iran 42 (2004), 91–102.


See Book 3 of Herodotus’s History.


See, for example, P. Briant, From Cyrus to Alexander: A History of the Persian Empire, trans. P. Daniels (Winona Lake: Indiana, 2002), p. 111; and A. Kuhrt, The Ancient Near East c. 3000–300 BC (London, 1995), vol. 2, p. 665.


See Briant, Persian Empire, pp. 111, 138.


For an overview of archaeological evidence for Anshan and the problems of interpretation associated with this site, see Yeki bud, yeki nabud: Essays on the Archaeology of Iran in Honor of William M. Sumner, ed. N. Miller and K. Abdi (Los Angeles, 2003), especially the articles by T.C. Young, David Stronach and R. Boucharlat (Chapters 22–24).


See David Stronach, Pasargadae. A report on the excavations conducted by the British Institute of Persian Studies from 1961 to 1963 (Oxford, 1978), pp. 95–97; and “On the Genesis of the Old Persian Cuneiform Script,” in Contribution à l’histoire de l’Iran: mélanges offerts à Jean Perrot, ed. F. Vallat (Paris, 1990), pp. 195–203.


Darius’s claim to have created the Old Persian script has been a contentious issue in modern scholarship, but most scholars accept Darius’s claim. See Briant, Persian Empire, pp. 111, 138; and Stronach, “Darius at Pasargadae: A Neglected Source for the History of Early Persia,” Topoi: Orient-Occident, Suppl. 1 (Lyon, 1997), pp. 351–363.


For discussion and references, see Elizabeth Carter, “Bridging the gap between the Elamites and the Persians in Southeastern Khuzistan,” Achaemenid History VIII: Continuity and Change, ed. H. Sancisi-Weerdenburg, A. Kuhrt, and Margaret Root (Leiden, 1994), pp. 65–95.


Column iii, lines 22–24. After A.K. Grayson, Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles, Texts from Cuneiform Sources (Locust Valley, NY, 1975), vol. 5, pp. 110–111 and J.-J. Glassner, Mesopotamian Chronicles, SBL Writings from the Ancient World (Atlanta, 2004), pp. 238–239.


Darius, Susa f §3b and Xerxes, Persepolis f §3; see Kent, Old Persian, pp. 144 and 150; and Schmitt, The Old Persian Inscriptions of Naqsh-i Rustam and Persepolis (London, 2000), 84.


For DNc (Naqsh-i Rustam) see Kent, Old Persian, p. 140; and Schmitt, Old Persian Inscriptions, p. 45 and plate 22a.


Aelian, Varia Historia XII.43, identified Darius as a “quiver-bearer” (pharetrophoron) for Cyrus.


(DNa §2) and Susa (DSe §2) and of Xerxes at Persepolis (XPh §2). See Kent, Old Persian, pp. 138 and 142; and Schmitt, Old Persian Inscriptions, 25 and 30 (DNa §2).


See Briant, Persian Empire, pp. 619 and 685–86.