Persian Centres

Card Set Information

Persian Centres
2014-03-02 18:04:42

Show Answers:

    • Pasargadae
    • 6thC BC
    • Cyrus' tomb
    • Compare with other Persian monuments (Harpae?)

    Cyrus’ palace same sort of date - colonnade and columns on stepped bases just like Corinthian ones.

    The tomb has 6 steps

    Sepulchre just over 2m high

    Rosette design on gable

    Pasargadae (where Cyrus’ tomb lies)

    Cyrus had a permanent residence here

    Huge gatehouse with winged bulls


    Audience-hall, hypostyle

    Would have been quite impressive amongst other buildings set about the complex.

    • The dynastic capital of  Pasargadae was built by Cyrus the Great in the 6th century BC with
    • contributions from different peoples of the empire created by him. It became a fundamental phase in the evolution of the classic Persian art and architecture. With its palaces, gardens, and the tomb of the founder of the dynasty, Cyrus the Great, Pasargadae
    • represents exceptional testimony to the Achaemenid civilisation in
    • Persia.

    • The position of the town is also denoted in its name: 'the camp of Persia'. The core area contains many monuments: the Mausoleum of Cyrus the Great is built from white
    • limestone around 540-530 BCE. The mausoleum chamber, on the top, has the
    • form of a simple gable house with a small opening from the west.
    • The Tall-e Takht refers to the great fortified terrace platform built on a hill at the northern
    • limit of Pasargadae.

    • The first phase of the construction was built by Cyrus the Great, halted at his death in 530 BCE. The second phase was built under Darius the Great (522-486 BCE), using
    • mud brick construction.
    • The royal ensemble occupies the central area of Pasargadae. It consists of several palaces
    • originally located within a garden ensemble

    • The main body of the palaces is formed of a hypostyle hall, to which are attached
    • porticoes. The Audience Hall was built around 539 BCE. Its hypostyle hall has two rows of four columns. Some of the bas-reliefs of the doorways are
    • preserved, showing human figures and monsters.
    • The Residential Palace
    • of Cyrus II was built 535-530 BCE
    • The Gate House stands at the eastern limit of the core zone.
    • Bisitun Inscription
    • c520-19
    • Submission of rebel kings to Darius: Gaumata is prostrated, and
    • the others are roped together at the neck. Bisotun
    • 520-19BC
    • Subjugated kings!
    • The king has vanquished his opponents
    • Extremely high up - no-one could have read it, surely!
    • The king is bigger than all other figures
    • Beaded hair and beard
    • Draped, sleeved garment
    • Jewellery
    • Bow (and spear)
    • King has as bow!

    • 4 inscriptions
    • Top left is Babylonian
    • Top right is Elamite (first)
    • Bottom left is Elamite (second)
    • Bottom right is Persian

    • Rock-relief of Darius
    • at Bisotun, 520-519 BC

    • 300 feet up on the
    • road to Ekbatana

    • 6th year of
    • Darius’ reign

    • Victory over rebel
    • kings


    • Also, empire too
    • massive for oral transmission of such stories – written is necessary and we
    • know this was reproduced elsewhere
    • Glazed bricks relief:
    • Persians with spear from Susa, c.480

    • Susa inscription notes all the peoples
    • involved and where each element came from (all over the empire)

    • Many styles combined into a coherent,
    • ‘Persian’ whole

    Susa was designated the administrative centre of the empire by Darius. The king received embassies there.

    Persai is set here. The Bisitun Inscription is along the road from Susa to Sardis (much closer to Susa)

    • The palace is some 15 metres above ground,
    • and the elevation is only partly natural.

    • A procession route articulated by three
    • monumental gateways (30x40m).

    • Both Apadana (audience hall) and the gates
    • here resembled the architecture of Persepolis.

    • Larger Apadana than at Persepolis. Ambassadors from Greece received here. Earliest one known. Built by
    • Darius.
    • Square hypostyle (roof supported by columns) hall. 6 rows of 6 stone columns, 15-20m high. Towers at the 4 corners, porticoes on N, E and W sides.

    Platform for the throne would have been set up as in ‘Treasury reliefs’ at Persepolis.

    • Colossal statues of Darius and Xerxes
    • framed the passageway – clear iconographic links with Persepolis
    • Late 6th C BC
    • Susa
    • Statue of Darius

    First known large-scale free-standing sculpture of this time made for specific propagandistic purposes by Egyptians.

    • Palace of Darius
    • Statue within
    • Egyptian statue of Darius 3m tall
    • Here is the image of stone that King Darius ordered to be mad win Egypt. That’s why, he who later sees it, will know the man of Persia held Egypt
    • Draped garments, elaborate folds, rigid stance, one foot forward (Egyptian style)
    • Stacked pleats = close to Archaic period
    • Persepolis
    • The treasury reliefs are given as circa 500BC
    • Remember to say it was prob started by Darius and then took three kings to finish it

    Remember the audience relief characters

    The king's feet do NOT touch the ground. 

    • Xerxes is behind Darius – both are larger
    • than everyone else ‘hierarchic scaling’

    Two incense burners before the king

    • The two figures behind are high court
    • officials – were on either side, in fact, but are depicted as behind

    • L – The Bearer of the Royal Weapons – his
    • scabbard is in fact intricately detailed

    R – possibly the Bearer of the Royal Cup

    • A Mede is received (see smooth garments,
    • trousers, cap) – maybe commander of the Immortals (who gave daily reports to
    • the king). Kisses hand - correct way to approach king.

    • Bookended by spearmen (below) (cf glazed
    • bricks at Susa)

    NB this scene is not the only one - it is repeated elsewhere
    • Apadana - reception hall with columns
    • Reliefs at palace
    • Huge palace - grew over time
    • Columns

    • This is the Apadana (the audience hall of
    • Darius I)

    • First hall after walking through the
    • gatehouse

    • Square rooms a feature of Achaemenid
    • Architecture

    • Said to have been able to accommodate
    • 10,000.

    • The stairways were decorated with a great
    • procession of tribute bearers

    • Reliefs:
    • Guards
    • Warriors 
    • row upon row, 
    • war-chariots, 
    • weapons, 
    • large quivers. 
    • Soldiers one after another in lines, repetition avoided through use of different stances
    • Lion motif, attacking bulls - v. popular in East, lion representing the king. Greek idea of Herakles wearing lion skin?
    • Tribute bearers. 
    • Important part of King’s power - rule over other kings. 
    • Goods. Drinking vessels, other offerings.
    • Led by a herald
    • Same attire, but different regions - slightly different head-gear
    • Greek cities also bring tribute. Cloth, expensive clothes.
    • Trees to indicate the landscape
    • Persian art more stylised than Greek.

    • The sculptures at Persepolis would have
    • glittered in bright colours. Bright bricks did the job at Susa. 

    • Guardsmen
    • Vast numbers – demonstration of power? 

    • Above, see the design to the right: Medes
    • and Persians plus chariots

    • Left side = empire nations bringing
    • ‘obligatory’ presents

    • Repetition is of the essence!
    • Stylised trees separate and create order

    • Poses barely vary
    • Accoutrements do

    • So the design, though repetitive and part
    • of a homogeneous whole, has some breaks to the monotony.

    The function is to be ornamental

    Larger usher-led tribute groups rendered small above lion and bull scene – another type of repetition

    • These reliefs do not tell a story
    • They do not express feeling

    But these are in places to be passed-by, not waited in and perused

    Decorations are subservient – this is so inkeeping with Persian identity! A story would transcend decoration in some sense

    Persians directed foreign craftsmen

    They liked rich, decorative design

    • The Immortals (and see below for detail)
    • Frankfort says Ionian (Greek) sculptors
    • employed on Persepolis

    • Their skill in rendering the figures and
    • the drapery clear but not given free reign to depict all thus:

    • Persians and Medes alternate
    • Medes: cap, coat, trousers, smooth garments – no folds. 
    • Folded garments are reserved for Persian
    • ushers – sign of sophistication
    • They carry flowers
    • Above, king’s horses and chariots

    • Ideal social order? Everyone under control,
    • in order, bringing the correct offerings, exhibiting correct behaviours and
    • wearing correct national dress

    In Herodotos we hear of the Persian kings giving gifts often - suit of Median clothes mentioned several times, for example

    • Drinking bowl-bearers:
    • Soft, felt head-covering tiara, patterned sleeved chiton, anaxyrides trousers (Hdt 7.61 and 62)