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Landscape with ruined city and stone columns in Persepolis. UNESCO World Heritage Site. Source: radiokafka/Adobe Stock

What Contributed to the Downfall of Persepolis? (Video)


Persepolis, the jewel of the Achaemenid Empire, rose to prominence under the reign of Darius the Great in the late 6th century BC. Strategically located in a mountainous region, Persepolis served as the ceremonial capital, showcasing the empire's wealth and power. Its construction spanned generations, with Darius initiating the monumental task of building, followed by Xerxes, who expanded and adorned it with elaborate structures like the Hall of a Hundred Columns.

The city's fate was inexorably tied to the empire's military campaigns. Darius' aspirations for expansion led to conflicts with Greece, setting off the Greco-Persian Wars. Despite initial victories, the empire faced setbacks, notably the defeat at the Battle of Salamis, which weakened its hold over the region. Xerxes' subsequent invasion of Greece further strained resources and manpower, hastening the empire's decline.

Alexander the Great's conquest of Persia marked the final chapter for Persepolis. While his admiration for Persian culture is well-documented, the city's destruction in 330 BC remains a controversial episode. Accounts suggest a fiery end orchestrated during a drunken revelry, possibly driven by a desire for vengeance or political expediency.

Persepolis' ruins, discovered centuries later, offered a glimpse into ancient governance and administration. The preserved clay tablets, detailing administrative functions and construction projects, provided invaluable insights into the empire's inner workings.

In the annals of history, Persepolis stands as a reminder of the ebb and flow of power, its grandeur overshadowed by the ambitions and conflicts of empires.

Top image: Landscape with ruined city and stone columns in Persepolis. UNESCO World Heritage Site. Source: radiokafka/Adobe Stock                                             

By Robbie Mitchell

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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