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Darius (550—486 bc)

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In Persis, a residence of the Achaemenid kings. Alexander 2 the Great in 331 bc took and looted Persepolis and set fire to the palaces; this served to bake a number of clay sealings. The royal quarters, built on a hill‐terrace, contained a treasury and symmetrically planned palaces with immense square columnar halls.

Excavations have revealed that Darius I levelled the rock‐terrace and began the great apadana (audience hall), the main palace‐buildings, and the ‘harem’. These were completed by Xerxes; Artaxerxes 1 I finished the Hall of a Hundred Pillars and built his own palace. Around the whole complex was a fortification wall, and a great gate and stairway led up to the terrace. The bas‐reliefs of these palaces are among the finest extant examples of Achaemenid art. These include the Audience reliefs originally flanked by lions attacking bulls, and 23 delegations of tribute‐bearers. The tombs of the Achaemenid kings are near by (see naqš‐i rustam). In the palace and walls two collections of thousands of administrative texts written in Elamite have been found.

Subjects: Archaeology — Classical Studies.

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