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History of Persia Podcast

Purim: Holiday Special 2021 History of Persia

It's that somewhat random time of year again, where I set aside a bit of time to celebrate a holiday that intersects with our narrative. This year that means Purim, the Jewish celebration of the Book of Esther. Esther tells the story of a Jewish woman turned Achaemenid queen in the court of Ahasuerus (maybe Xerxes, maybe an Artaxerxes, probably a bit of both). Esther and her cousin Mordecai have to foil the genocidal plans of the King's vizier Haman to save their people, and the result is today's festivities. AMA Contact Arcadia – Support Renewable Energy Energy 300 Review In The Words of Zarathustra Patreon | Support Page Twitter | Facebook | Instagram — Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/history-of-perisa/support
  1. Purim: Holiday Special 2021
  2. Episode 49: Breaking Through
  3. Episode 48: What is your profession?
  4. Announcement 2: Darics
  5. Episode 47: Preparing the Way

Purim: Holiday Special 2021

Queen Esther by Edward Long, 1878

It’s that somewhat random time of year again, where I set aside a bit of time to celebrate a holiday that intersects with our narrative. This year that means Purim, the Jewish celebration of the Book of Esther. Esther tells the story of a Jewish woman turned Achaemenid queen in the court of Ahasuerus (maybe Xerxes, maybe an Artaxerxes, probably a bit of both). Esther and her cousin Mordecai have to foil the genocidal plans of the King’s vizier Haman to save their people, and the result is today’s festivities.
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Episode 49: Breaking Through

Late in the summer of 480 BCE, the Persian invasion force under King Xerxes came to blows with the Greek Allies for the first time. The famous twin battles at Thermopylae and Artemisium played out surrounded by a series of smaller sacks and skirmishes. After three days of fighting, the Greek attempt to block the Persians in narrow passes failed and the Persian army pushed south, conquering Phocis, Boeotia, and ultimately: Attica and Athens. By the end of September 480, Xerxes nominally controlled all of Greece north of the Peloponnese.
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Casting Through Ancient Greece

Episode 48: What is your profession?

Promotional image from 300 featuring Gerard Butler’s Leonidas moments before he is killed by the Persians.

Before launching into the actual warfare between the Persian Empire and Greek city states, it’s worth examining how the Greeks prepared for war. Athens prepared by building a navy, everyone prepared by planning to deploy their armies, and we’ll explore the whole history of the famous “300” Spartans.
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Casting Through Ancient Greece

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Announcement 2: Darics

Season’s Greetings, Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Shab-e Yalda Mubarak, or a pleasant solstice festival of your choice. This is not a holiday episode, but a fundraising announcement to tell you about some new features that will appear on the podcast, HistoryOfPersiaPodcast.com, and Patreon going into 2021. Just like last time, I hate to just ask for money, so I’ve included a mini-episode about Persian coinage.
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Episode 47: Preparing The Way

From 484-481 BCE, Xerxes directed his subjects to prepare for war in Greece. This didn’t just mean assembling soldiers and ships, but also preparing the infrastructure of the western empire to receive one of the largest armies ever assembled. 200,000 soldiers from across the Persian empire converged on the Hellespont in the spring of 480 and began the march to Hellas.
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Episode 46: The Persian Emperor

Xerxes as depicted by Ernest Normand, “Esther Denouncing Haman” 1888.

In 486 BCE, Darius the Great died while Egypt was in revolt. Over the following years, Xerxes put his empire back in order. First in Egypt, then twice in Babylon, the new king defeated rebel kings. The traditional nobility of the two most ancient and prestigious satrapies in the empire were punished, and Xerxes asserted himself as the King of Kings.
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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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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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