6AACH16A Persian Kings and their Territory in the Achaemenid Empire
Credit value: 15
Module convenor/tutor 2018/19: Dr Lindsay Allen
Teaching pattern: 10 x 2-hour classes (weekly) consisting of a mixture of lecture and source discussion, based on preparatory reading.
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year
Assessment: 1 x 3,000 word essay (100%) - with formative commentary submitted for preliminary comment
Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.
The modules offered in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand, there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years.
This module aims to introduce students to the history and rich cultural world of the Achaemenid Persian empire, c.550-330BCE. The weekly topics give a chronological overview of the rise and development of the Persian empire, and its destruction by Alexander of Macedon. As an introduction to this state of unprecedented geographical reach and ethnic variety, the module is designed to give students a case study in comparative historiography and to provide a broader context in which to understand the evolution of the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Asia in the Classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods.
We read widely in Greek historiography (in translation; particularly Herodotus and Xenophon) and begin to explore sources translated from other languages: Aramaic, Akkadian, Egyptian and Old Persian (students write a short, formative commentary on one of these sources in the first half of term). We use material culture – a rich array of which is available in the British Museum for inspection up close – to reconstruct the visual world of the Achaemenid court.
Suggested Introductory Reading
This is suggested reading and purchase of these books is not mandatory.
Recommended source books (held in the library)
Brosius, M. 2000 The Persian Empire from Cyrus II to Artaxerxes I (LACTOR 16)
Kuhrt, A. 2007 The Persian Empire: A Corpus of Sources from the Achaemenid Period Routledge
Allen, L. 2005 The Persian Empire, a history British Museum Press
Waters, M. 2014 Ancient Persia: A Concise History of the Achaemenid Empire, 550-330 BCE Cambridge University Press