Achaemenid Anatolia

International Symposium
Achaemenid Anatolia: Persian Presence and Influence in the Western Satrapies 546–330 BC
7–8 September 2017
The Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul,

The symposium explores the political, cultural, social, religious and scientific developments in Anatolia during the Achaemenid period. Anatolia was incorporated into the Persian Achaemenid Empire in the middle of the 6th century BC as a result of Cyrus the Great’s conquests and the region was under Persian rule until the end of the Empire, in 330. The period is characterized by a lively exchange between Persians, Greeks and other peoples in areas such as trade, art, architecture, science and religion. Anatolia also served as an important mediator of eastern culture, philosophy and teachings to Athens, a process that was crucial for the continuity in culture development in antiquity.


The symposium brings together distinguished scholars from a variety of disciplines and will address a wide range of perspectives – including archaeology, art and architecture, history, philology, and the history of religion – for evaluating and analysing Persian presence and influence in Anatolia. The key themes of the symposium are ‘administration and local autonomy’, ‘social mobility and cultural diversity’, and ‘cooperation and glocalisation in art, architecture, religion and science’. Research will be presented from on-going excavations related to the Achaemenid period in Labraunda, Daskyleion, Gordion, and Cilicia.

This is the first international symposium to be devoted to Achaemenid Anatolia since 1997 and will provide a rare opportunity for scholars from diverse disciples who are working in the field to meet and exchange ideas. As such, it is hoped, it will be a forum for interdisciplinary discussion on various aspects of the period and engender new approaches of research and advance knowledge in the field.

The symposium is held to honour the Swedish archaeologist Professor Carl Nylander on his 85th birthday.


Symposium Program

Thursday – 7 September

09.15–09.30 Welcome from organizers and introduction (Ashk Dahlén, Johan Mårtelius)
09.30–10.15 From Sardis to Persepolis: Communications and Exchanges between Asia Minor and the Center(s) of the Empire (Pierre Briant)
10.15–11.00 Impacts of Empire in Achaemenid Anatolia (Elspeth R. M. Dusinberre)
11.00–11.30 Coffee
11.30–12.00 Achaemenid Presence or Influence at Labraunda? The Relief Sculpture of a Chariot (Pontus Hellström)
12.00–12.30 What age were you when the Mede came? Cyrus the Great and Anatolia (Lynette Mitchell)
12.30–13.30 Lunch
13.30–14.00 Pillar Tombs and the Beginning of Achaemenid Rule in Lycia (Martin Seyer)
14.00–14.30 The Andron of Maussollos at Labraunda and its Architectural Sculpture. Aesthetic Fluidity and Cultural Allegory in Hekatomnid Karia (Jesper Blid)
14.30–15.00 Coffee
15.00–15.30 Daskyleion in the Achaemenid period: Reflections on Persian Presence and Influence in a Multicultural Society (Kaan İren, Sedef Çokay-Kepçe)
19.00 Dinner for speakers

Friday – 8 September

09.30–10.00 Cilicia, 550–330 BC: Persians and Locals (Charles Gates)
10.00–10.30 The Semiotics of Dress in Achaemenid Anatolia (Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones)
10.30–11.00 Coffee
11.00–11.30 From Communal Feasts to Temple States: Patterns of Persian Religion in Achaemenid and post-Achaemenid Anatolia (Albert De Jong)
11.30–12.00 Xanthus of Lydia and Persian Storytelling (Richard Stoneman)
12.00–13.00 Lunch
13.00–13.30 The Upright Tiara of the Persian King and other Headdresses (Susanne Berndt)
13.30–14.00 From a Local Karian Sanctuary to a Topos of Persian Royal Display: New Thoughts on Labraunda in Karia (Olivier Henry)
14.00–14.30 Coffee
14.30–15.00 Herodotus on Persian Wine Drinking: A Critique of Cultural Sophistication and Luxury Lifestyle? (Ashk Dahlén)
15.00–15.30 Discussion and concluding remarks (Elspeth R. M. Dusinberre)

The conference is hosted by The Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul and generously supported by The Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences.

For more information or if you have any questions, please contact Ashk Dahlén at