Chapter

Center and Periphery

in Religion, Empire, and Torture

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2007 | ISBN: 9780226481968
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226481913 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226481913.003.0002
Center and Periphery

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This chapter explores how the Persians orient themselves in space, and how this impacted upon their dealings with other peoples. Both the vertical and the horizontal axes center on the figure of Darius, who triumphs over Gaumata with the Wise Lord's aid and leads the Persians to triumph over other peoples. The writing of history actually begins in the West when Herodotus felt moved to narrate the wars between the Persians and the Greeks. The Achaemenian inscriptions offer very little data addressing Persian attitudes toward the Greeks, but the position assigned the latter in the lists of lands/peoples that were compiled at different times tells some things worth knowing. All imperial powers find it easier to undertake projects of conquest when they are able to recode their aggression as benevolence and their victims as their beneficiaries.

Keywords: Persians; Darius; Achaemenian inscriptions; Greeks; imperial powers; aggression; Herodotus

Chapter.  5556 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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