Persepolis was the ancient ceremonial capital of the Persian Empire, whose embryonic stages as suggested by the French archaeologist Andre Godard were formulated during the reign of Cyrus the Great around 560 B.C. For the people of ancient Persia, Persepolis was known then as Parsa which meant 'The City of Persians'.
Today's citizens of Iran refer to the city as Takht-e-Jamshid which means 'Throne of Jamshid' after the legendary monarch. Persepolis, in the English-speaking world is derived from the Greek interpretation of Perse (Persian) and polis (city) and whose ruins are located 35 miles northeast of Shiraz, Iran. These magnificent ruins which can be viewed in the following images have been listed by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) as a World Heritage Site.
An examination of the earliest archaeological evidence supports the theory that Darius I began construction on the palatial complex sometime between 518 and 515 B.C. While construction did not continue unabated throughout the Achaemenid Dynasty, majestic buildings were erected during the reigns of Xerxes, Artaxerxes I, Artaxerxes III and may have ended during the reign of Darius III upon the capture of Persepolis by Alexander of Macedonia around 330 B.C.
Persepolis on its own, is a testament to the beauty, majesty and grandeur of the Achaemenid Empire. In the context of the Battle of Thermopylae, Persepolis is an important monument as the ruins provide formidable examples of the appearance of the Persian monarchy and its warriors.
All those associated with '300' have stated that the movie is based on a comic book series and not historically accurate. Therefore, in order to provide a realistic representation of the Persian and Mede warriors of the Achaemenian Dynasty as they actually appeared in 480 B.C., the following images have been included as requested by teachers and their students. As can be seen, these stelae contradict the appearance of the Persian warriors as depicted in the Warner Bros. movie.
I am deeply indebted to Reza Memar for the use of his photos. They are part of his 'Persepolis' pictorial essay, which captured the ruins of the ancient ceremonial capital of the Persian Empire.
Images of Persepolis
All photos by Reza Memar
Please access the following link to see more of Reza Memar's images of Persepolis along with Kourosh Afhami & Wolfgang Gambke'sPersepolis 3-D reconstructions.