A Companion to the Achaemenid Persian Empire

Jacobs, Bruno & Robert Rollinger (eds.). 2021. A companion to the Achaemenid Persian empire. 2 vols. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.

The Achaemenid Empire is often addressed as the first World Empire. However, its roots are in Near Eastern traditions, some of which have been the subject of recent intensive reevaluation. This book takes a unique and innovative approach to the subject, considering those predecessors to whom the Achaemenid Empire was indebted for its structure, ideology, and self-expression, by examining both written and archaeological sources. It addresses the empire’s legacy, and its contemporary, later, and even modern reception.

A Companion to the Achaemenid Persian Empire takes into account all relevant historical sources, including archaeological ones. It places particular emphasis on looking at the Achaemenid Empire from its different centers, paying just as much attention to the widely neglected eastern parts as to the commonly covered western parts of the empire. The book considers, not only its political history, but also its social, economic, and religious history, institutions, and art and science, in an effort to draw a complete picture of the empire and to foster an appreciation for its lasting reputation.

Table of Contents


  • Bruno Jacobs and Robert Rollinger: Introduction

SECTION II Geography and Demography

  • Daniel T. Potts: Geography and Climate
  • Josef Wiesehöfer: Demoscopy and Demography
  • Jan Tavernier: Peoples and Languages
  • Adriano V. Rossi: Languages and Script
  • Rüdiger Schmitt: Onomastics


A Written Sources

  • Adriano V. Rossi: The Inscriptions of the Achaemenids
  • Matthew W. Stolper: Elamite Sources
  • Michael Jursa: Babylonian Sources
  • Holger Gzella: Aramaic Sources
  • Reinhard G. Kratz: Biblical Sources
  • Josette Elayi: Phoenician Sources
  • Günter Vittmann: Egyptian Sources
  • Ivo Hajnal: Lydian, Carian, and Lycian Sources
  • Reinhold Bichler and Robert Rollinger: Greek and Latin Sources

B Archeological Sources

  • Rémy Boucharlat: Persia (including Khūzestān)
  • Bruno Jacobs and David Stronach: Media
  • Walter Kuntner and Sandra Heinsch: Babylonia and Assyria
  • Astrid Nunn: Syria
  • Anna Cannavò: Cyprus
  • Melanie Wasmuth: Egypt
  • Deniz Kaptan: Asia Minor
  • Florian S. Knauss: Caucasus Region
  • Claude Rapin: The Empire’s Northeast
  • Rémy Boucharlat: The Empire’s Southeast


  • A Predecessors of the Persian Empire and Its Rise
  • Robert Rollinger: The Median Dilemma
  • Mirjo Salvini: Urarṭu
  • Robert Rollinger: From Assurbanipal to Cambyses
  • Javier Álvarez‐Mon: Elamite Traditions
  • Amélie Kuhrt: The Great Conquests

B From Gaumāta to Alexander

  • Gundula Schwinghammer: Imperial Crisis
  • Robert Rollinger and Julian Degen: The Establishment of the Achaemenid Empire: Darius I, Xerxes I, and Artaxerxes I
  • Carsten Binder: From Darius II to Darius III
  • Krzysztof Nawotka: The Conquest by Alexander

C Under Persian Rule

  • Ali Mousavi and Touraj Daryaee: Pārsa and Ūja
  • Bruno Jacobs: Media
  • Robert Rollinger: Babylon
  • Daniel T. Potts: The Persian Gulf
  • David F. Graf and Arnulf Hausleiter: The Arabian World
  • Joachim F. Quack: Egypt
  • Angelika Lohwasser: Nubia
  • Andr. Heller: The Cyrenaica
  • Oskar Kaelin: The Levant
  • Elspeth R.M. Dusinberre: Asia Minor
  • Andreas Mehl: Cyprus and the Mediterranean
  • Mischa Meier: The Greek World
  • Michael Zahrnt: Macedonia
  • Dilyana Boteva‐Boyanova: Thrace
  • Gocha R. Tsetskhladze: The Northern Black Sea
  • Wolfgang Messerschmidt: The Caucasus Region
  • Bruno Jacobs and Birgit Gufler: The Nomads of the Steppes
  • Sören Stark: The Iranian East
  • Kai Ruffing: India

SECTION V Structures and Communication

  • Wouter F.M. Henkelman and Bruno Jacobs: Roads and Communication
  • Jean‐Jacques Glassner: The Interplay of Languages and Communication
  • Bruno Jacobs: Achaemenid Art – Art in the Achaemenid Empire
  • Mark B. Garrison: Seals and Sealing
  • Matthias Hoernes: Royal Coinage
  • Robert Rollinger: Empire, Borders, and Ideology