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Biblical Archaeology: Persia
Significant Archaeological Discoveries and the Bible.

Darius the Great at Persepolis Is this stone carving a portrait of Darius the King mentioned in the Book of Ezra? Darius the Great is seated on his throne in his reception chamber while an audience of delegates from provinces around his mighty empire approach him to bring him tribute. This particular dignitary is raising one hand to his mouth as a token of respect and honor and with the other hand he holds his staff of office showing that he was a commander and prime minister of the Medes, as seen by his round cap and uniform. Behind him are two Persian attendants holding a spear and a container of incense. Notice Darius the Great is holding his sceptre of authority in his right hand and a budding flower in his left. Behind Darius is standing the crown-prince Xerxes. This relief of king Darius I Seated is an important discovery in Biblical Archaeology and confirms what the Bible says regarding Darius and the Persian Empire. "They sent a letter unto him, wherein was written thus; Unto Darius the king, all peace." Ezra 5:7 Esther 4:11 "All the king's servants, and the people of the king's provinces, do know, that whosoever, whether man or women, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live: but I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days." Esther 5:2 "And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favour in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre."
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/persia/darius-seated-close.html

Darius the Great Relief Could Queen Esther have touched this same golden scepter held by Darius? Darius the Great is seated on his throne in his reception chamber while an audience of delegates from provinces around his mighty empire approach him to bring him tribute. This particular dignitary is raising one hand to his mouth as a token of respect and honor and with the other hand he holds his staff of office showing that he was a commander and prime minister of the Medes, as seen by his round cap and uniform. Behind him are two Persian attendants holding a spear and a container of incense. Notice Darius the Great is holding his scepter of authority in his right hand and a budding flower in his left. Behind Darius stands the crown-prince Xerxes. This relief of king Darius I Seated is an important discovery in Biblical Archaeology and confirms what the Bible says regarding Darius and the Persian Empire. "They sent a letter unto him, wherein was written thus; Unto Darius the king, all peace." Ezra 5:7 Esther 4:11 "All the king's servants, and the people of the king's provinces, do know, that whosoever, whether man or women, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live: but I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days." Esther 5:2 "And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favour in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre."
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/persia/darius-seated.html

Immortal Guard Were these soldiers part of the 10,000 Immortals faced by Alexander the Great? These 5 foot tall archers were the royal Immortal Guard from the palace of Darius at Susa (ancient Shushan). These archers are seen wearing colorful ceremonial clothing decorated with tiny stars, from their woven and twisted headbands, hair and beards, even to their shoes. Their clothes are decorated with tiny stars. Their bows, arrows and spears were gold and silver. The bright colored enameled tiles used to line the entire walls, bringing to life the illustrious and lavish celebrations that existed at the palace of the kings of ancient Persia. All the colors seen here are reminiscent of the lavish banquet mentioned in the Book of Esther in the Bible (white, green, blue, purple, silver, gold), when the king of Persia invited nobles and princes from all over his empire to a feast at his palace. Guests would ascend a wide stone staircase entering a gate into the courtyard. All along the path there were the elaborate carvings along the walls, of nobles and princes, royal guards, horses and chariots. Representatives from the lands and provinces of the Persian Empire bringing tribute to the ruler of the world, king Darius (522-486 B.C.). Their destination was the great audience hall and palace of the king, a place of tremendous wealth and luxury. According to history when Alexander the Great marched into Susa he took 40,000 talents of gold which was about 1200 tons. Alexander the Great faced hordes of soldiers like the archers shown here when he conquered the world of the Persians. The Persian Empire was vast, extending from India to Greece, and down to Ethiopia. These archers of the royal guard revealed on these brilliantly glazed ceramic tiles of blue and gold discovered at Susa are important discovery in the study of Biblical archaeology. It shows us the enemies of Alexander the Great who is alluded to in the Book of Daniel, and the luxurious wealth of the Persians as mentioned in the Book of Esther regarding the royal banquet of the king of Persia. Esther 1:6-7 "Where were white, green, and blue, hangings, fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rings and pillars of marble: the beds were of gold and silver, upon a pavement of red, and blue, and white, and black, marble. And they gave them drink in vessels of gold, (the vessels being diverse one from another,) and royal wine in abundance, according to the state of the king." Ezra 5:7 "They sent a letter unto him, wherein was written thus; Unto Darius the king, all peace." Esther 1:2-5 "in those days, when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace, In the third year of his reign, he made a feast unto all his princes and his servants; the power of Persia and Media, the nobles and princes of the provinces, being before him: When he shewed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honour of his excellent majesty many days, even an hundred and fourscore days. And when these days were expired, the king made a feast unto all the people that were present in Shushan the palace, both unto great and small, seven days, in the court of the garden of the king's palace;
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/greece/2-persian-soldiers-bb.html

Lion and Bull Battle Relief Could this ancient battle symbolize Darius the Persian mentioned in the Bible? This relief of a lion battling a bull is seen at the ancient throne room of Darius in his palace at Persepolis, the seat of his vast Achaemenid Empire. The lion is seen in Persepolis as the symbol of absolute power and heroic triumph. The bull is also a symbol of power in ancient Persia and is seen throughout Persepolis on top of columns and guarding gates. The magnificent palace complex at Persepolis was founded by Darius the Great around 518 BC., although more than a century passed before it was finally completed. Persepolis was called by the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus "the richest city under the sun, with storehouses filled with gold, silver, and all kinds of riches." When Alexander the Great and his army looted and burned Persepolis in 331 B.C. they did a very thorough job. According to the Greek historian Plutarch Alexander carried away the treasures of Persepolis on "20,000 mules and 5,000 camels." The Persepolis Lion and Bull Combat is important in the study of Biblical Archaeology and the Persian Period. "And Ahuramazda was of such a mind, together with all the other gods, that this fortress be built, and then I built it, and I built it secure and beautiful and adequate, just as I was intending to." - Darius Inscription "The Levites in the days of Eliashib, Joiada, and Johanan, and Jaddua, were recorded chief of the fathers: also the priests, to the reign of Darius the Persian." Nehemiah 12:22
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/persia/persepolis-lion.html

Persian Guards Could these Persian soldiers have served Queen Esther of the Bible? Here we see a group of Persian soldiers on a wall relief armed with spears and shields from a stairway at the ruins of ancient Persepolis. It reveals soldiers of the Achaemenid Empire (From Xerxes to Darius II) which was composed of two great groups: the Persians and the Medes. This relief depicts Persian warriors because they wear a grooved tiara as their head covering. Medes wore a big round felt hat. This scene is part of a wall relief discovered at the Apadana which was the largest and most magnificent building of the Achaemenid Empire. The Apadana was originally started by Darius and it was Xerxes who finished it. There is a scene on two monumental stairways adorned with awesome reliefs of the New Year's festival with processions of delegates from 23 subject nations within the empire, all uniquely dressed. They are bringing tribute and gifts to the Persian king as a token of their loyalty, gifts of silver, gold, jewelry, weapons and many other things. The Ancient Persian Soldiers discovery at Persepolis is important in the study of Biblical Archaeology and the age of the Persian Empire. Esther 1:2-4 "In the third year of his reign, he made a feast unto all his princes and his servants; the power of Persia and Media, the nobles and princes of the provinces, being before him: When he shewed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honour of his excellent majesty many days, even an hundred and fourscore days."
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/persia/persian-soldiers.html

The Cyrus Cylinder Did Cyrus the Persian praise the Jewish God? The Cyrus Cylinder is an important discovery in the study of Biblical Archaeology because it speaks of Cyrus the Persian and his conquest of Babylon in 539 BC. as mentioned in Scripture. Cyrus II, the Great was the founder and ruler of the vast Persian Empire from 539 B.C. until his death in 530 B.C. Once Cyrus had defeated the Median king, Astyages and took Ecbatana he expanded his kingdom defeating Croesus, king of Lydia in 546 BC, and then conquered Babylon in 539 BC overthrowing Nabonidus, the last king of Babylon. The Persian Empire was formed. Cyrus was a generous ruler allowing various captives to return to their homelands, as recorded on the Cyrus Cylinder. Xenophon, Nabonidus and many others gave Cyrus praise for his generous leadership. Judea had remained a Persian province for the next two hundred years until the time that the Bible records "the decree of Cyrus" giving permission to the Hebrew captives to go back to Jerusalem to rebuild their Temple. Cyrus also restored the vessels of the House of the Lord which Nebuchadnezzar II had taken to Babylon, and provided the funds to bring cedar trees from Lebanon. "Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is among you of all His people? May the LORD his God be with him, and let him go up!" - 2 Chronicles 36:22-23 "Who says of Cyrus, 'He is My shepherd, And he shall perform all My pleasure, Saying to Jerusalem, "You shall be built," And to the temple, "Your foundation shall be laid." ' - Isaiah 44:28 "King Cyrus also brought out the articles of the house of the LORD, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem and put in the temple of his gods; and Cyrus king of Persia brought them out by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah. This is the number of them: thirty gold platters, one thousand silver platters, twenty-nine knives, thirty gold basins, four hundred and ten silver basins of a similar kind, and one thousand other articles. All the articles of gold and silver were five thousand four hundred. All these Sheshbazzar took with the captives who were brought from Babylon to Jerusalem." - Ezra 1:7-11
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/persia/cyrus-cylinder.html

Tomb of Cyrus the Great Was this king most famous because of his kind treatment to the Jews? Cyrus II also known as "Cyrus the Great" was one of the greatest monarchs of all time. He conquered in 539 B.C. and ruled Persia until his death in 530 B.C. His wisdom and generosity was known throughout the ancient world. His capital was at Pasargadae in the land of Parsa (ancient Iran). He was chosen by the Lord to release the Jews from their captivity and allow them to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their city and their Temple. Cyrus was slain in battle in 530 B.C. and buried in this tomb which lies at the site of ancient Pasargadae (SW Iran). Inside was placed a golden sarcophagus and according to the historian Plutarch who wrote of it in 90 A.D. the tomb bore this inscription by Cyrus himself, "O man, whoever you are and wherever you come from, for I know that you will come--I am Cyrus, son of Cambyses, who founded the Empire of the Persians and was king of the East. Do not grudge me this spot of earth which covers my body." The Tomb of Cyrus at Pasargadae, Persia, from the 6th century B.C. is important in the subject of Biblical Archaeology because it reveals the existence of Cyrus, who made the decree for the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their city. This decree was prophesied by Daniel and began the countdown for the 69 weeks when Messiah would be cut off. "Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut." Isaiah 45:1
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/persia/tomb-of-cyrus.html

Two Royal Persian Servants Did these ancient Persian servants protect the harem of Xerxes? These two royal Persian attendants are depicted in a relief scene at the great hall of Xerxes from the Harem of Xerxes at Persepolis. This discovery of ancient Persian servants of Xerxes from the 5th century BC is important in the study of Biblical Archaeology and the Persian Period. "Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus, (this is Ahasuerus which reigned, from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces:) That in those days, when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace, In the third year of his reign, he made a feast unto all his princes and his servants; the power of Persia and Media, the nobles and princes of the provinces, being before him: When he shewed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honour of his excellent majesty many days, even an hundred and fourscore days." ESTHER 1:1-4
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/persia/persians.html



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