A Darwin® Book



Parsa (to its Aryan builders) or Persepolis (to contemporary Greeks) was the national and spiritual sanctuary of the Achaemenid empire that stretched from Greece into India. Nine major structures were spread over an extensive leveled stone platform. Work was undertaken by Darius I about 515. B.C. and carried forward by his son Xerxes I. Burned by Alexander the Great in 330 B.C., the masses of flaming debris melted the brick walls of the structures and, along with the wind-blown sand, actually preserved the stone columns, gates, and bas-reliefs from desecration during the ensuing centuries.

     Archaeological excavations have been carried on for many years and have uncovered royal treasures and some 30,000 cuneiform tablets in three ancient languages. The reliefs display 3,000 human figures, including the ruler as hero-king worshipped by his people and by delegates from the twenty-four lands of the empire bearing their distinctive tributes. Parsa still remains one of the marvels of the ancient world.

     Aside from the scarce and unwieldy reports of the excavations, this lavishly illustrated volume is the only comprehensive account of the site and its history. And Dr. Wilber solves the great mystery of the site: Standing in majesty for many centuries, why is there no evidence of human occupation?