Illustrated introduction to Ancient Persia, £8.99
Height: 55.000 cm
Width: 77.000 cm
Gift of the 4th Earl of Aberdeen
On loan to
Stone relief showing a charioteer
Achaemenid Persian, 5th century BC
From Persepolis, south-west Iran
This relief of a charioteer driving his horse comes from the great Achaemenid Persian centre of Persepolis. It was excavated in July 1811 by Robert Gordon who was part of a diplomatic mission to Iran led by Sir Gore Ouseley, British Ambassador to Persia from 1811 to 1814. It originally decorated a staircase on the east wing of the north side of the Apadana or audience hall. This structure, with an adjoining series of private palaces and their ancillary buildings, was built on the western side of a large artificial terrace on the edge of the Marv Dasht plain. To the east lay the many-columned Treasury with adjacent storerooms, offices and barracks. The Apadana reliefs show delegations from many parts of the Persian Empire bringing tribute and gifts.
The citadel terrace of Persepolis was started by Darius I (521-486 BC) in about 500 BC, continued under his son Xerxes I (485-465 BC) and grandson Artaxerxes I (464-425 BC) with further additions and alterations by Artaxerxes III (358-338 BC). The palaces borrowed elements from many traditions - Median, Mesopotamia, Greek and Egyptian. The citadel formed part of a complex including the fortified hill to the east, the royal tombs in the cliff of Naqsh-i Rustam, where Darius and three of his successors were buried, and a series of palaces on the plain below.
J. Curtis, Ancient Persia-1 (London, The British Museum Press, 2000)