Built some 2500 years ago by King Darius the Great, Persepolis was known as “the richest city under the sun” and ruled as the capital of the Achaemenid Empire. It stretched all the way from the borders of present day India to Greece, Egypt and Russia. Regarded as “the King of Kings,” Darius the Great ruled over 28 other kingdoms within his realm. Him and his successors were surprisingly tolerant for the times, too. Within the empire, any religion was allowed and women had much more rights than in contemporary states. The city of Persepolis currently lies in ruins, pillaged and burnt to the ground by Alexander the Great in 330 BCE. But back in its heyday this metropolis was like no other


Apadana relief showing Armenians bringing gifts for Darius during Nowruz Ceremony at Persepolis ceremonial capital of Achaemenid Empire 500 BC. 

The Armenians are wearing horseman’s dresses and cloaks. Their tribute consists of a/o a bridled stallion, which more or less confirms the statement by the Greek geographer Strabo of Amasia that the Armenians paid 20,000 colts. The detail is a relief of Armenian tribute bearer carrying a metal vessel with griffin handles. From the eastern stairs of the Apadana in Persepolis.

“For a short time there ensued a hand-to-hand fight; but when the Macedonian cavalry, commanded by Alexander himself, pressed on vigorously, thrusting themselves against the Persians and striking their faces with their spears…all things together appeared full of terror to Darius, who had already long been in a state of fear, so that he was the first to turn and flee.” -Arrian of Nicomedia

October 1, 331 BC- Alexander the Great inflicts his final defeat on Darius III and his Persian army at the Battle of Gaugamela. As Darius fled east to raise another army, he was murdered by Bessus, one of his satraps, ending the 220 year old Achaemenid Empire. 

Picture- Battle of Gaugamela, unknown artist, 18th century

Persian conquests and the fact that the empire united dozens of peoples helped its subjects to broaden their intellectual and geographical horizons. The Achaemenid period was one of intensive ethnic mingling and syncretism in cultures and beliefs. The prime reason was that contacts between different parts of the empire had become more regular than in the previous period. More specifically, the sources report frequent visits by state functionaries from Arachosia, Haraiva, Gandh¯ara, Bactria and other eastern Iranian or Central Asian countries to Susa and Persepolis.

Iran, which had since time immemorial acted as an intermediary in East-West cultural exchange, maintained its historical role under the Achacmenids. At the same time, the Iranians created their own original and sophisticated civilization. One of its achievements was the adaptation of the cuneiform script for writing Old Persian. The chief official written language was Aramaic; under the Achaemenids, standard formulae were devised to render Aramaic terms and clerical expressions into the different Iranian languages; and from the official written Aramaic of the Achaemenids, the later written forms of Parthian, Middle Persian, Sogdian and Chorasmian were derived. It was in this period that the peoples of Central Asia first became acquainted with Aramaic script. This, too, was the period when a number of Old Iranian words – chiefly socio-economic, military and administrative terms – were borrowed by Indian languages.

Among the outstanding achievements of Old Iranian civilization was Achaemenid art, which is known above all from the monuments of Pasargadac, Persepolis and Susa, the Bisutun rock reliefs, the Persian royal tombs at Naqsh-i Rustam, and from large quantities of metal and stone carvings. The subjects may be military triumphs or hunting exploits by Persian kings and warriors, combat between heroic monarchs and various monsters symbolizing vil, or palace and religious rituals. It was the characteristics of this art that took shape at the turn of the sixth and fifth centuries b.c.

—  History of Civilizations of Central Asia Volume II: The Development of Sedentary and Nomadic Civilizations: 700 B.C. to A.D. 250

The Throne Of Jamshid (Persian: Takhte Jamshid) was part of Persepolis which was one of the four capitals of the ancient Persian Empire. Persepolis was the spring capital and the center of of all the celebrations in the empire. The palaces have been burnt down by Alexander The Great and not much of it remains, so I had to do lots of digging before even start painting. Many thanks to Pascal Coste’s reconstruction of the place, since I photo referenced his work in my painting and that saved me a good 20 hours of extra work. So this is actually quite historically accurate, I did lots of research for the color pallet which I used and the overall structure of the palace, however I did make some changes for the sake of composition, but the overall picture is accurate and precise. And I have to say with all the research it took forever to finish, by my standards which is maximum of 2 hours for a painting. 

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Golden necklace with Bes 

This necklace is decorated with an image of the god Bes in the center but the style is Achaemenid. The other animals are horses. It is 85.6cm long (14 1/8 inch.) 

Achaemenid, from Iran, 600 - 400 BC. 

Source: Metropolitan Museum