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date: 27 October 2020

Achaemenid artlocked

  • Michael Vickers

Extract

The official sculpture of the Persian empire was made in a distinctive style which owed much to Mesopotamian forerunners, and like them tended to the glorification of the ruler. It used to be thought that the style arose from the presence of particular groups of foreign craftsmen, notably Ionian Greeks, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that the Median, Persian, Babylonian, Sardian, Egyptian, and Ionian artisans who worked on the great palace complexes subordinated any indigenous traits to an international style devised to articulate the ideology of Achaemenid kings.Only a few sculptured reliefs are preserved from *Pasargadae, the city of *Cyrus (1). *Darius I is shown triumphant over a prostrate usurper in the *Bisutun relief, while *Ahuramazda hovers above. A colossal statue of Darius in Egyptian granite found at *Susa presents many problems: was it (and its lost pair) originally made for an Egyptian setting, or were they commissioned for Darius' Susan palace? The tombs of Darius and his successors at *Naqš-i Rustam show a royal personage on a platform borne by personifications of the lands of the empire.

Subjects

  • Middle Eastern History

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