This is the list of my major sources for the whole show. I’ll be updating it with more information as we go. I’ll be listing all of the significant primary sources (those from ancient times) first. I can provide links to many of these, as most are public domain or published online somewhere. These are separated into those that originate in the Near East, and those written by Greek or Roman authors (the Romans usually drawing on Greek sources).
Below that are my major secondary sources (those written by modern authors). I’ve divided those into sources primarily focused on ancient Persia, and those that are relevant, but focused on other times and places. I have divided those into subsections too. Persian sources are split between “General” sources that cover the whole history of the empire and “Topical / Biographical” sources that cover a specific aspect or individual within Achaemenid history.
If all of the text is a link, it will take you to a free online version. If only the title is a link, it’s an Amazon affiliate link that will support the show if you purchase the book.
As always please contact me if you have any questions or want some recommendations.
Near Eastern Documents
The Avesta by “Zarathustra/Zoroaster” and Others
The Babylonian Chronicle, Nabonidus-Nabopolassar via Livius.org
Babylonica by Berossus
The Behisutn Inscription
The Cyrus Cylinder
The Jewish Study Bible, The Jewish Publication Society Tanakh Translation
The naophorus of Wedjahor-Resne via Livius.org
New Revised Standard Version Bible
The Persian Verse Account of Nabonidus
Old Persian Texts, via Avesta.org. Mostly based on Old Persian by Roland G. Kent (1953) this is a collection of many old Persian inscriptions, translated to English and freely available online. Fair warning: the grammar is confusingly translated and seems to favor keeping original word order whenever possible.
The Persian Empire: A Corpus of Sources from the Achaemenid Period by Amelie Kuhrt (London: Routledge, 2008). – Rather than a single source, this is a vast collection of sources with modern commentary.
The Administrative Archives – This includes the Fortification and Treasury Archives. They’ve been published in different capacities in different places over the years, so I’ll compile my sources for those here as I go.
“Persepolis Treasury Tablets,” George G. Cameron, 1948.
“Persepolis Fortification Tablets,” Richard T. Hallock, 1969.
“Aramaic Ritual Texts From Persepolis,” Raymond A. Bowman, 1970.
“Administrative realities: The Persepolis Archives and the archaeology of the Achaemenid heartland,” W.F.M Henkelman, 2013.
The Achemenet article and bibliography of Fortification Archive publications.
The Achemenet gallery of Fortification Tablet photos.
University of Chicago PFA Project website.
University of Chicago PFA Project Annual Report Feed
Greek and Roman Documents
Description of Greece by Pausanias
Epitome of Pompeius Trogus’ Phillipic Histories by Justinus
Geographica by Strabo
The Histories by Herodotus of Halicarnassus
Histories by Polybius
The Library of History by Diodorus Siculus
Lives by Plutarch
Persica by Ctesias of Cnidus
Stratagems by Polyaenus
Universal History by Nicholaus of Damascus
Major Secondary Sources – Persian
Achemenet, founded by Pierre Briant
Iranologie.com by Dr. Khodad Rezakhani
Ancient Persia: A Concise History of the Achaemenid Empire, 550-330 BCE, by Matt Waters (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014).
The Cambridge History of Iran edited by Ilya Gershevitch (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985).
The Culture and Social Institutions of Ancient Iran by Muhammad A. Dandamaev and Vladmir G. Lukonin, trans. Philip L. Kohl with D.J. Dadson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989).
From Cyrus to Alexander: A History of the Persian Empire, by Pierre Briant, trans. Peter T.
Daniels, (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns 2002).
History of the Persian Empire, by A.T. Olmstead (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1948).
Kings, Countries, Peoples: Selected Studies on the Achaemenid Empire, by Pierre Briant, trans. Amlie Kuhrt (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2017).
The Persians, by Maria Brosius (New York: Routledge, 2006).
The Persian Empire, by J.M Cook (New York: Schocken Books, 1983).
A Political History of the Achaemenid Empire by M. A. Dandamaev, trans. W.J. Vogelsang, (Leiden: Brill, 1989).
Topical / Biographies
The Achaemenid Persian Army by Duncan Head, (Stockport, UK: Montvert Publications 1992).
Aspects of History and Epic in Ancient Iran: From Gaumāta to Wahnām by M. Rahim Shayegan (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012).
The Cambridge History of Greek and Roman Warfare, Volume 1: Greece, the Hellenistic World, and the Rise of Rome edited by Philip Sabin, Hans Van Wees, and Michael Whitby (Cambridge: Cambrdige University Press, 2008).
Cyrus the Great: Life and Lore, edited by M. Rahim Shayegan, (Boston: Ilex Foundation 2018).
The Greco-Persian Wars, by Peter Green, (Berkeley: University of California Press 1996).
Happiness for All Mankind: Achaemenian Religion and the Imperial Project by Lincoln Bruce (Leuven: Peeters, 2012).
A History of Zoroastrianism. Vols. 1-2 by Mary Boyce (Leiden: E.J. Brill 1982).
Volume 1 Affiliate Link
The King and Kingship in Achaemenid Art: Essays on the Creation of an Iconography of Empire by Margaret Cool Root, (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1979).
Memoir on Cuneiform Inscription by Sir Henry Rawlinson (1849).
A Memoir of Major-General Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson by George Rawlinson (London: Longmans, Green, and Co, 1898).
The Spirit of Zoroastrianism by Prods Oktor Skjærvø (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011).
The Wars of the Ancient Greeks by Victor Davis Hanson (London: Cassell, 1999).
When Zarathustra Spoke: The Reformation Of Neolithic Culture And Religion by Mary Settegast (Costa Mesa: Mazda Publishers Inc. 2005).
The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Zoroastrianism edited by Mihcael Stausber, Yuhan Sohrab-Nishaw Vevaina, and Anna Tessman (West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2015).
Zarathustra and Zoroastrianism by Michael Stausberg (Sheffield: Equinox Publishing, 2008).
Zoroastrianism: An Introduction by Jenny Rose (London: I.B. Tuaris, 2011).
Zoroastrianism: Its Antiquity and Constant Vigour by Mar Boyce (Costa Mesa: Mazda Publishers, 1992).
Zoroastrians: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices by Mary Boyce (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979).
Major Secondary Sources – Non-Persian
The Bronze Age and Pre-Persian Near East
1177 BC The Year Civilization Collapsed, by Eric H. Cline, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014).
The Ancient Near East, c. 3000-330 BC by Amelie Kurht (London: Routledge, 1997).
The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism, edited by Gavin Flood, (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing ltd, 2003).
The Elamite World, edited by Javier Alvarez-Mon, Gian Pietro Basello, and Yasmina Wicks (London: Routlege, 2018).
A History of Babylon, 2200 BC – AD 75 by Paul-Alain Beaulieu (West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2018).
History of the Ancient Near East, by Marc Van De Mieroop, (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2004).
The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders From the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World, by David W. Anthony (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007).
A Short History of The Phoenicians by Mark Woolmer (New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017).
The Twilight of Ancient Egypt: 1st Millennium B.C. by Karol Mysliwiec, trans. David Lorton, (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2000).
The Ugaritic Baal Cycle: Introduction With Text, Translation and Commentary by Mark Smith (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1994).
A Companion to Archaic Greece, edited by Kurt A. Raaflaub and Hans van Wees (West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009).
A Companion to the Classical Greek World, edited by Konrad H. Kinzl (West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2006).
Creators, Conquerors, and Citizens: A History of Ancient Greece by Robin Waterfield (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018).
A History of the Classical Greek World: 478-323 BC by P.J. Rhodes (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2006).
Introducing the Ancient Greeks: From Bronze Age Seafarers to Navigators of the Western Mind, by Edith Hall (New York: Random House, 2015).