Royal Road

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Herodotus describes what he calls the Royal Road, running from Sardis to Susa, with its rest‐houses and guard‐posts. By comparing this with an Aramaic letter of the satrap Arshama and tablets from Persepolis (the so‐called ‘travel texts’), it is possible to refine and broaden analysis of the system. Although the most often cited journeys are those between Persepolis and Susa, the archive shows that all the imperial provinces were part of a network linking the royal residences from the Indus to Sardis. Authorized travellers carried a sealed document, which gave them the right to draw on the rations held in the official storehouses. This system also explains the existence of fast couriers, which so impressed the Greeks. See roads.

Subjects: Classical Studies.

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