This sumptuous book traces the rise and fall of one of the ancient world's largest and richest empires. Encompassing a rich diversity of different peoples and cultures, Persia's Achaeminid Empire flourished between 550 and 331 B.C. The empire originated with Cyrus the Great (559-530 B.C.) and expanded under his successors, who ruled from the royal capitals of Susa and Persepolis, until at its peak it stretched from the
Indus Valley to Greece and from the Caspian Sea to Egypt. The Achaeminids acted as a bridge between the earlier Near Eastern cultures and the later Classical world of the Mediterranean and had a profound influence on Greece in political, military, economic, and cultural fields. Forgotten Empire was created in association with the British Museum, which is mounting the most comprehensive exhibit ever staged on the Achaeminids. This book opens a window onto the wealth and splendor of Persian societyits rich palaces, exquisite craftsmanship, and sophisticated learning. Showcasing an unprecedented loan of unique material from the National Museum of Tehranmost of which has never before been presented outside of Iranthis beautifully illustrated and produced book demonstrates why the sculpture, glazed panels, gold vessels, and jewelry of the Achaeminids rank among the finest ever produced.
Because the palace was central to imperial life, remains from the royal sites of Susa and Persepolis are a major focus. Forgotten Empire is divided into sections such as the expansion of the Persian Empire, arms and warfare, trade and commerce, writing, luxury dinner services, jewelry, religious and burial customs, and the rediscovery of ancient Persia.
Copub: British Museum
Eventually conquered by Alexander the Great after centuries of stability, Persia's Achaemenid Empire (550-331 B.C.E.) stretched from the Indus Valley to beyond the Nile and left a trail of treasures in its wake. In collaboration with the National Museum of Teheran, the British Museum (BM) in London held the largest ever display of these Achaemenid artifacts (it ended Jan. 8 but can be viewed virtually at http://www.thebritishmuseum.ac.uk/persia/). Editors Curtis and Tallis, the keeper of the Ancient Near Eastern department and the special assistant in that department at the BM, respectively, oversee chapters written by scholars from various universities and museums that focus on facets of life under the dynastic rulers. Although a great deal of scholarship went into the text, the photos of the vases, jewelry, and assorted other artifacts generated between the sixth and fourth centuries B.C.E.-complete with descriptions-are the book's real focus. A glossary, concordance of BM object numbers, and bibliography are provided; however, there is no index. This is not a scholarly history of the Achaemenid Empire; for that, readers should look to Lindsay Allen's The Persian Empire. Readers, in fact, need not have extensive knowledge of this time period to enjoy Forgotten Empire. Recommended for academic and large public libraries.-Sean Michael Fleming, Lebanon P.L., NH Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.