Colburn, Henry. 2017. Gemelli Careri’s description of Persepolis. Getty Research Journal 9. 181–190.
This article examines the description of Persepolis, one of the capital cities of the Achaemenid Persian Empire (ca. 550–330 BCE), by Giovanni Francesco Gemelli Careri (1651–1725) in his illustrated travelogue Giro del mondo (1699–1700). Gemelli Careri’s extensive description of the site—some twenty pages of text accompanied by two plates engraved by Andrea Magliar (fl. 1690s)—is compared with the accounts of contemporary travelers and with present-day archaeological knowledge. Gemelli Careri’s visit to and description of Persepolis are now largely forgotten in the modern study of Achaemenid Persia, but they shed light on a transitional moment in the development of a more scientific approach to travel writing about archaeological sites: his work straddles the more imaginative approaches of earlier travel writers and the more scientific approaches of subsequent ones.