74: The Temple of Yahweh

The Aramaic letter formally requesting funds to rebuild the Temple of Yaho in Elephantine

No, the other one. In Egypt. The best source of information on events Egypt under Darius II comes from the letters of the Jewish diaspora community in southern Egypt and their temple on the island of Elephantine. They also tell the story of a dramatic confrontation between the Jews and their Egyptian neighbors that ended in forced reconciliation.
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68: The Other Gods That Are

Cosmetic jar in the shape of the god Bes, from Achaemenid Egypt via Wikimedia

Any discussion of Achaemenid religion is bound to be fascinating, but that discussion isn’t bound to Zoroastrianism. This one’s abut all the other gods worshipped in Persia itself.
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64: Fight to the End

A cylinder seal depicting the Achaemenid King executing an Egyptian Pharaoh, usually identified with Cambyses, Artaxerxes I, or Artaxerxes III via Wikimedia

The city of Memphis spent almost five years under siege from 459-454 BCE, as the rebel Pharaoh Inaros tried to take the Egyptian capital and oust the Persian government with the aid of the Athenians. When Persian reinforcements arrived, the rebellion was swept aside with apparent ease. Inaros was captured and Athens was sent reeling, only to make one final attempt on Persian territory in Cyprus.
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63: The Little Pharaoh That Could(n’t)

After Artaxerxes I came to power in 465 BCE, a minor rebellion broke out in western Egypt led by the would-be Pharaoh Inaros II. Inaros quickly came to a stalemate with the local satrap, but in 460 BCE the Egyptian rebel reached out to Athens for aid. The Athenians came in force, broke the stalemate, killed the satrap (and Artaxerxes’ uncle), and joined Inaros as he marched on Memphis.
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59: Holy War

An Old Persian copy of the Daiva Inscription discovered at Persepolis, via Livius.org

Early in Xerxes’ reign, an infamous and dramatic story of religious conflict was inscribed at Persepolis. When Xerxes became king he put down a rebellion, but in the process encountered a community dedicated to a god or gods he considered false and immoral. As consequence he destroyed their sanctuary and worshiped Ahura Mazda in their place.
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58: Persia’s First Family

Xerxes depicted in Guillaume Rouillé’s Promptuarium Iconum Insigniorum, 1553

As the reign of another king draw’s toward a close, it’s time to look at the royal family. Xerxes’ household was like a microcosm of early Achaemenid history. His mother, Atossa, drew a direct connection back to Cyrus, his uncles, cousins, and siblings were woven into the political scene of his reign. Herodotus’ catalog of Persian commander’s is also a catalog of the Great King’s family, and many of them held positions of power as Satraps across the empire. The royal family is also an opportunity to look forward, and introduce the next generation of kings, satraps, generals, and rebels.
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Interview: Uzume Wijnsma

I sat down with an interview with Uzume Wijnsma, a researcher and PhD candidate at the University of Leiden, whose research has proved invaluable to the podcast on a few occasions. Her research focuses on Babylonian and Egyptian resistance to Achaemenid rule, and she is part of the Persia & Babylonia project at Leiden.
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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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Re- Introducing The Persian Royal Family Tree Project

I am pleased to announce some big developments in the ongoing family tree project. First and foremost, I was finally able to eliminate the confusing Dropbox-download and online Geneanet options. The full family tree is now completely online. Unfortunately I still can’t host it here because of the limitations enforced by WordPress. Instead, I’ve created a dedicated Wix site just for the family tree. See here or the Family Tree tab of the menu above.

The second major announcement is that I have completed the Achaemenid Family tree. Everyone from Achaemenes to Darius III and Alexander is now included. In the Complete 700-700 version of the tree (see here), this extends to most of the foreign dynasties with marriage-connections to the Achaemenids. There are some some further branches of the Argead Macedonian family to add, but the Achaemenid portions are complete.

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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