King and Court in Ancient Persia 559 to 331 BCE

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Edinburgh University Press, 2013 - 258 pages

Explores Achaemenid kingship and argues for the centrality of the royal court in elite Persian society

The first Persian Empire (559-331 BCE) was the biggest land empire the world had seen, and seated at the heart of its vast dominions, in the south of modern-day Iran, was the person of the Great King. Hidden behind the walls of his vast palace, and surrounded by the complex rituals of court ceremonial, the Persian monarch was undisputed master of his realm, a god-like figure of awe, majesty, and mystery.Yet the court of the Great King was no simple platform for meaningless theatrical display; at court, presentation mattered: nobles vied for position and prestige, and the royal family attempted to keep a tight grip on dynastic power - in spite of succession struggles, murders, and usurpations, for the court was also the centre of political decision-making and the source of cultural expression.

Key features:

  • Draws on rich Iranian and Classical sources
  • Examines key issues such as royal ideology, court structure, ceremony and ritual, royal migrations, gender, hierarchy, architecture and space and cultural achievements
  • Accesses the rarefied but dangerous world of Persian palace life
  • Includes guides to further reading and web resources to encourage research

About the author (2013)

Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones is Professor of Ancient History at Cardiff University and a specialist in the histories and cultures of ancient Iran and Greece. He also works on dress and gender in antiquity and on the ancient world in popular culture, especially Hollywood cinema. He is the author of Designs on the Past: How Hollywood Created the Ancient World, Aphrodite's Tortoise: The Veiled Woman of Ancient Greece, King and Court in Ancient Persia 559 to 331 BCE and Ctesias' History of Persia. He is editor of Women's Dress in the Ancient Greek World, Greek Notions of the Past in the Archaic and Classical Eras, Creating a Hellenistic World and The Hellenistic Court as well as numerous articles on Greek and Persian culture. He is the series editor of Edinburgh Studies in Ancient Persia and co-series editor of Screening Antiquity.

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