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History of Persia Podcast

Episode 45: Xerxes Porphyrogennetos History of Persia

In 486 BCE, Darius the Great died and passed the Persian Empire on to his son, Xerxes. With plans to invade Greece in development, and Egypt in open revolt, the Achaemenid house had to pause and deal with the succession. Darius became the first king entombed at Naqsh e Rostam while Xerxes competed with his elder half-brother for power. 50! Q&A Contact Patreon | Lyceum | Support Page | One-time Contribution Arcadia – Support Renewable Energy — Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/history-of-perisa/support
  1. Episode 45: Xerxes Porphyrogennetos
  2. Episode 44: Also Sprach Zarathustra
  3. Episode 43: Thus Spoke Zarathustra
  4. Episode 42: Darius the Shopkeeper
  5. Episode 41: The Greatest

Episode 45: Xerxes Porphyrogennetos

The Tomb of Darius (top left), the upper register of Darius’ tomb (bottom left), and a possible relief of Xerxes (right) via Wikimedia Commons

In 486 BCE, Darius the Great died and passed the Persian Empire on to his son, Xerxes. With plans to invade Greece in development, and Egypt in open revolt, the Achaemenid house had to pause and deal with the succession. Darius became the first king entombed at Naqsh e Rostam while Xerxes competed with his elder half-brother for power.
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Episode 44: Also Sprach Zarathustra

This is the second part of the two-part discussion on the life and times of Zoroaster. This time, I discuss the Zoroastrian conception of reality and how it is portrayed in the Gathas as well as the legacy of Zarathustra in Zoroastrianism, Iran, and Europe.
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Zoroastrianism: An Introduction by Jenny Rose

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Episode 43: Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Zoroaster as depicted in a 19th-century sketch from a Parsi Community in India via Wikimedia Commons

By audience demand, we’re headed back in time. Before wrapping up the reign of Darius, it’s time to look back to the bronze age and talk about Zarathustra Spitama, the prophet more often known in the west as Zoroaster. This is the first of a two part series on the life and teachings of Zoroaster, as presented in the Gathas – 5 hymns to Ahura Mazda believed to be composed by Zoroaster himself.
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Episode 42: Darius the Shopkeeper

Bas reliefs on the Apadana stairs at Persepolis show various peoples of the Achaemenid Empire carrying tribute to the Great King via Wikimedia Commons

Darius the Great is one of Persia’s most infamous kings for many reasons. An illegitimate heir who reunified the empire. The king of the first war with Greece. Conqueror of territory at the far reaches of Persian control. He was many things. He was also a reformer and an administrator who oversaw the implementation of new systems of taxation, record keeping, and political organization. Those reforms formed the basis of Persian governance for centuries to come, and may be his longest lasting legacy.
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Conquerors Podcast
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Episode 41: The Greatest

Head of an Achaemenid nobleman or prince via Wikimedia Commons

To round out our series on Darius’ royal family, it’s only fair to talk about the men of the family. After all, like it or not, the narrative will follow them going forward. Grandpa Arsames, the fascinating Hystaspes, and all of Darius’ brothers, sons, and cousins get their own time in the spotlight. Then, it’s time to prepare for the competition to become the Greatest.
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Episode 40: Heiresses to the Empire

Cylinder Seal of Irdabama’s steward, Rashda. Depicting a royal woman and her servants in Neo-Elamite style (Brosius, 2006).

There were many Duksish (royal women) in Darius’ household, and there would be many more in future generations of the Achaemenid family, but three women in particular standout above the rest. Most famously we know of Atossa, daughter of Cyrus and mother of Xerxes, from our Greek sources. Thanks to the documents of the Persepolis Fortification Archive we also know about the remarkable wealth and influence of Artystone and Irdabama as Persian women in the early 5th century BCE.
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Episode 39: Rise of Achaemeneis

The head of a bronze statue often used to represent Achaemenid women (though it may actually be a beardless man) via Livius

Our sources for Achaemenid history are clearly biased towards the stories of men in the ancient world, but we actually know a lot about Achaemenid women. To fully understand the whole royal family, it’s time to get a better understanding of the role Royal Women – the Duksish – played in Persian society.
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Episode 38: The Last Battle

Nearly a decade after Aristagoras first went into revolt, and longer since the Athenians had reneged on their offerings of earth and water, the Persian Army came to take Darius’ revenge on Athens. For the first time, a Persian army landed on the Greek mainland. They made their camp on an unremarkable open plain that would soon be seared into Greek history forever: Marathon.
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Episode 37: Greece Awakens

A map of all the major Persian offensives against Greeks. Mardonius’ Thraco-Macedonian campaign is marked in green. The Greek campaign of Artaphernes and Datis is marked in brown. Via Wikimedia Commons

Even once the Ionian cities themselves were defeated, the consequences of their Revolt were ongoing. In 492 BCE, a new general, Mardonius, took to the field to settle matters in the Balkans. Two years later, the Persians turned their sites on Athens and Eretria in retribution for the aid they sent to the Ionians. In 490, Artaphernes and Datis launched the first Persian invasion of mainland Greece.
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