Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Forgotten Empire (a Review)

Most of us who are interested in Near Eastern Archaeology are familiar with Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations. A smaller number of us are interested in the Hittites. But the Near Eastern civilization that attracts the least attention is probably the Persian Empire.

"The Forgotten Empire" is the beautifully done catalogue for an exhibit of the same name. The book not only is filled with gorgeous photographs, but it also has a series of excellent articles written by experts in the field. The articles include a brief history of the Persian Empire, the story of the decipherment of Old Persian and Elamite, an overview of the known archaeological sites (with special emphasis on Persepolis), gold work (jewellery and "dinnerware"), religion and burial customs, warfare and an overview of Persia's "relationship" with the Greeks.

This is a good book which contains a better text than many museum exhibit catalogs, and I recommend it to anyone who would like to learn more about the Persian Empire.

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