THE PERSIANS is a definitive new history of the Persian Empire, the world's first superpower.
The Great Kings of Persia ruled over the largest Empire of antiquity, stretching from Libya to the Steppes of Asia, and from Ethiopia to Pakistan. At the heart of the Empire was the fabled palace-city of Persepolis where the Achaemenid monarchs held court in unparalleled grandeur. From here, Cyrus the Great, Darius, Xerxes, and their heirs passed laws, raised armies, and governed their multicultural Empire of enormous diversity.
The Achaemenids, however, were one of the great dysfunctional families of history. Brothers fought brothers for power, wives and concubines plotted to promote their sons to the throne, and eunuchs and courtiers vied for influence and prestige.
Our understanding of the Persian Empire has traditionally come from the histories of Greek writers such as Herodotus - and as such, over many centuries, our perspective has been skewed by ancient political and cultural agendas. Professor Llewellyn-Jones, however, calls upon original Achaemenid sources, including inscriptions, art, and recent archaeological discoveries in Iran, to create an authentic 'Persian Version' of this remarkable first great empire of antiquity - the Age of the Great Kings.
Superb, authoritative, and compelling, a fresh history of the Persian Great Kings that combines exuberant storytelling with outstanding scholarship that is both entertaining and bracing revisionist, filled with a cast of ruthless conquerors, queens, eunuchs and concubines that brings the Persian world blazingly to life through Persian instead of the usual Greek sources. The result is a tour de force.
- Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of JERUSALEM: THE BIOGRAPHY
Born in Cefn Cribwr, Wales, Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones is Professor of Ancient History at Cardiff University and Director of the Ancient Iran Program for the British Institute of Persian Studies.
He has previously taught at Edinburgh University, where he was Professor of Ancient Iranian and Greek History. He has spent extensive time in Iran, and is a specialist in the histories and cultures of Persia, the Near East, and Greece.
He has also appeared on the BBC, Channel 4, in The Times and other media outlets. His previous books include King and Court in Ancient Persia, Ctesias' History of Persia, The Culture of Animals in Antiquity, and Designs on the Past: How Hollywood Created the Ancient World.