The Persian Empire
A Corpus of Sources from the Achaemenid Period
By Amélie Kuhrt
Routledge – 2008 – 1,072 pages
Routledge – 2008 – 1,072 pages
The Achaemenid dynasty (550-330 BC) ruled over the first and largest 'world empire' in history: the Persian empire extended from the Babylonians in the east to the Jews and Greeks in the west, with fingers of control in the fringes of the Indian subcontinent and elsewhere. Its sheer size was a factor in its destruction by Alexander the Great, yet long after its dismemberment its influence can be seen in the development of Judaism, the Old Testament of the Bible, and the formation of classical Greece.
Studying Achaemenid history has therefore 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 prejudiced and often inaccurate Greek and Roman sources.
Amélie Kuhrt presents here an unprecedented collection of key texts to form a complete and balanced representation of all aspects of the empire, in her own 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 examining evidence from 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 the ultimate resource for any student of Persian history, from undergraduate level to the most advanced scholar.
'Amelie 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
1. The Sources Part I. Prehistory and Formation of the Empire (c.750-520) 2. The Medes 3. Cyrus the Great 4. The Reign of Cambyses 5. From Cambyses to Darius I Part II. Achaemenid History and its Problems 6. The Empire under Darius I: Expansion, Revolt, Consolidation 7. The Reign of Xerxes 8. From Artaxerxes I to Darius II's Last Years 9. Artaxerxes II and Artaxerxes III 10. The Fall of the Achaemenid Empire Part III. Kings and Kingship 11. Images of Empire, Royal Ideology and the Cultic Framework 12. The Organisation of the Court 13. Mechanisms of Power Part IV. Achaemenid Imperial Organisation 14. Tribute, Tax, Imposts 15. Routes and Communication Networks 16. Bureaucracy, Production, Settlement 17. Unity and Diversity
Amelie Kuhrt is an Ancient Historian specialising in the Middle East, particularly the history of Mesopotamia and Iran in the first millennium BC. She is Professor of Ancient Near Eastern History at UCL and Fellow of the British Academy.