T. C. Rising/Sonia Halliday photograph

The glory that was Persia. Mighty fluted columns, topped by bull- and lion-shaped capitals, rise 60 feet skyward at the royal palace in Persepolis. The building was begun by Darius I (who ruled from 521 to 486 B.C.E.), continued by his son Xerxes I (485–465 B.C.E.) and completed by his son Artaxerxes I (464–425 B.C.E.). The events in the Book of Esther are recorded as having taken place in Susa, the royal winter residence. Susa, too, boasted a huge palace with a vast columned hall that was as imposing as its counterpart in Persepolis.