Of all the great civilizations of the ancient world, that of Persia is one of the most remarkable but least understood. This is a study of the country's origins and why it collapsed so dramatically with the Arab invasions of the seventh century. Josef Wiesehofer, provides a comprehensive survey of the Persian Empire under the Achaeminids, the Parthians and the Sassanians. By focusing on the primary Persian sources - written, archaeological and numismatic evidence from Persia - he avoids the traditional Western approach which has tended to rely so heavily on inaccurate, and sometimes prejudiced, Greek and Roman sources.
Josef Wiesehofer is Professor of Ancient History at the Institut fur Klassische Altertumskunde at the University of Kiel, Germany, and is the author of numerous books.
Part 1 Introduction: the beginnings of Iranian supremacy in the ancient Near East. Part 2 Iran from Cyprus to Alexander the Great - the reign of the Achaemenids: the testimonies; the king and his subjects; Xsaca, Dahyava and Bagi - the kingdom, the peoples and the tributes paid to the king; everyday life in Achaemenid Persis. Part 3 Macedonian domination over Iran. Part 4 Iran from Arsaces I to Artabanus IV: the Parthian reign; the testimonies; the king and his subjects; satraps, traders, soldiers and priests - administration, economy, the army and cults in Arsacid Iran. Part 5 Iran from Ardashir I to Yazdgird III - the reign of the Sasanians: the testimonies, the king and his subjects; Eranshahr - the empire, its inhabitants and their way of life. Part 6 Conclusion: the survival and rediscovery of ancient Iran.