Interview 01: Dr. Michael Bonner

Sassanid plate with a hunting scene from the tale of Bahram Gur and Azadeh

This time I have something a little different. In place of a regular narrative episode this week, I have my recent interview with Dr. Michael Bonner, author of the new book: The Last Empire of Iran. This jumps far ahead of our current point in the narrative story, all the way to the Sassanid Persian Empire of the 4th-8th centuries CE.

Dr. Bonner and I discussed the origins, sources, conflicts, and fall of Iran’s last pre-Islamic dynasty.
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Episode 33: Revenge of the Persians

The Military Campaigns of the Ionian Revolt by Eric Gaba under  GNU Free Documentation License Episode 31-Current

After the shocking attack on Sardis, many more Greek cities joined the Ionian Revolt, despite Persian victory at Ephesus. In 497 BCE, three land campaigns were launched by three Persian generals: Daurises, Hymaies, and Otanes. After a series of lightning victories in early 497, the campaigns began set in to prolonged fighting. Two of the Persian generals were dead by 496, but the Ionians were still losing. Fresh revolts in the Troad and Caria were dealt serious defeats, and Aristagoras of Miletus, once the ringleader of the Ionians, fled into exile.
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Episode 32: Begun, the Greek Wars Have

Bust of Solon the Athenian Lawmaker. Copy from a Greek original (c. 110 BC) from the Farnese Collection via Wikimedia Commons  Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

To prepare ourselves for their role in the coming wars between Persian the Greek city states, I’m explaining the history and politics of Archaic Athens, from their first adoption of oligarchy rather than monarchy, down through the adoption of democracy, the Peisistratid tyrants, and the final restoration of democracy by Cleisthenes. At the end of that long process, the Athenians and their Eretrian allies joined forces with the Ionian Greek cities of Anatolia in their revolt against the Persian Empire. In 498 BCE, the Greek army set out from Ephesus in a lightning raid to attack, and ultimately destroy, the Lydian capital at Sardis.
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Episode 31: The Naxos Incident

Illustration of Histaeos and the Ionians meeting the Scythians by John Steeple Davis, 1900

At the end of the 6th century BCE, a group of exiled aristocrats from the island of Naxos inadvertently set off a chain of events that would eventually lead to such famous battles as Marathon, Thermopylae, and Salamis. They asked the Milesian Tyrant, Aristagoras, to help them retake their home island after being kicked out. Aristagoras went to the Satrap of Lydia, who in turn asked Darius the Great. When Darius gave the go ahead, a Persian fleet invaded, and subsequently retreated from Naxos. Out of money and out of options Aristagoras and the rest of the Ionian Greeks in western Anatolia began hatching a plan to launch an Ionian Revolt against the Persian Empire.
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Achaemenid Nowruz! 2020 Holiday Special

A lion attacking a bull, looking back on the lion. Possibly a symbol of eternity or cyclical time at Persepolis.

To celebrate the Persian New Year’s festival of Nowruz, check out the 2nd Sort-of Annual Holiday Special, exploring the New Year’s celebrations of the Achaemenid Empire. Called Navasarda at that time, many of the traditions associated with the modern holiday were still developing during the Achaemenid period. The origins and original purpose of the holiday season are hazy and changed and developed as Iranian society evolved over centuries.
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Episode 30: Persia City

History of Persia podcast logo, taken from the Apadana north staircase at Persepolis

This time it’s just one episode for a different kind of tour. Explore the early phases of construction at Susa and Persepolis under Darius the Great. The grand Apadana audience halls with their splendid columns. The lavishly decorated palaces built to house Darius throughout the year. The famous works of art and architecture that define the middle Achaemenid period are featured in this episode.
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Avesta.org Old Persian translations

Oliver Stone’s Alexander (2004) on the Hellenistic Age Podcast

Hey everyone! My first collaborative episode is up! I spent some time chatting with Derek of the Hellenistic Age podcast about Oliver Stone’s Alexander (2004 and all the subsequent re-releases). You can check that out on the Hellenistic Age podcast feed (links below)! .

iTunes
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-hellenistic-age-podcast/id1377920930?mt=2

Spotify
https://open.spotify.com/show/3OVlqzoNg4KW987igfhskd

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http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=225541&refid=stpr

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http://feeds.soundcloud.com/users/soundcloud:users:439067766/sounds.rss

Episode 29: The Grand Tour, Part 4

Administrative Divisions of the Achaemenid Empire, 490 BC by Ian Mladjov on Ian Mladjov’s Resources

It’s the final stage of the tour! Our trip through the Persian Empire wraps up with three central provinces of the empire, located in western Iran. This time it’s Susiana, Media, and Parsa itself. We’ll traverse everything from rundown ancient kingdoms, hostile mountain tribes, royal capitals, and one of the wonders of the ancient world. For some of them, we won’t even have to leave the same city. These are the provinces that ruled and defined the Achaemenid Persian Empire.
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Episode 28: The Grand Tour, Part 3

Administrative Divisions of the Achaemenid Empire, 490 BC by Ian Mladjov on Ian Mladjov’s Resources

The tour of the Persian Empire continues. This time I’m going through the empire within the empire to dissect Assyria and Babylonia. Within these two satrapies, there were many important administrative districts and geographic divisions including Judea, Palestine, Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Akkad in addition to Assyria and Babylon themselves. With hindsight’s 20/20 this was obviously one the most important parts of the empire, and we’ll go through it in detail.
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Episode 27: The Grand Tour, Part 2

Administrative Divisions of the Achaemenid Empire, 490 BC by Ian Mladjov on Ian Mladjov’s Resources

The tour of the Persian Empire continues, this time covering the western Satrapies. I’m exploring the details and histories of the Persian provinces starting with Armenia and moving counter clockwise, through Anatolia and Europe, over the Mediterranean, North Africa, Arabia, and Assyria. Based on the maps of Ian Mladjov.
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