The Persian Empire
A Corpus of Sources from the Achaemenid Period
By Amélie Kuhrt
Routledge – 2008
This lavish set of books contains the most complete collection of raw material for reconstructing the history of the Achaemenid Persian Empire to date. Studying Achaemenid history has been difficult in the past because original sources include texts from hugely disparate origins, many different languages and various periods in history; the risk is to rely too heavily on biased and often inaccurate Greek and Roman sources. Amelie Kuhrt presents here an unprecedented collection of key texts to form a balanced representation of all aspects of the Empire, in translations from their original Greek, Old Persian, Akkadian, Hebrew, Aramaic, Egyptian or Latin. Kuhrt selects from classical writers, the Old Testament, royal inscriptions, administrative documents and Babylonian historical writing, as well as the evidence of monuments, artefacts and archaeological sites. All material is accompanied by a detailed introduction to the sources and guidelines to their interpretation. A truly monumental achievement, this collection will prove to be a major resource for any student of Persian history, from undergraduate level to the advanced scholar.
'… anyone interested in ancient Persia will greet her two-volume compendium of sources from the Archaemenid period with a sigh of relief. As a scholarly achievement, it sets the seal on what, for the past thirty years, has been one of the most dramatic feats of resurrection in the whole field of ancient history … To anyone interested in making the attempt, Amélie Kuhrt is an invaluable guide. Not only has she assembled all the material on the Archaemenids that most historians will ever need, but she has also provided commentaries on it that are models of informed and balanced scholarship.' – Times Literary Supplement
'[T]he books do indeed constitute the most complete collection of source material for Achaemenid history that has yet been assembled… Kuhrt’s volumes will be an indispensable tool for all those interested in the Persian Empire for a very long time to come. The author is to be congratulated on a magnificent achievement that makes a fundamental contribution to studies of the Achaemenid period. This was recently recognized by the award to Amélie Kuhrt by the Islamic Republic of Iran of a Book of the Year prize for 2010.' - Palestine Exploration Quarterly