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520 – 465BC

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Kirstie Bordignon

on 10 June 2014

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Transcript of 520 – 465BC

Modern and ancient sources represent and present Xerxes differently. It is hard to come to a conclusion on Xerxes and his effectiveness on ruling his empire as sources aren't 100% reliable and sometimes can be bias.

Most of the ancient representations and evidence are from inscriptions, coins, reliefs and from Xerxes palace in-which are all found in Persepolis. In many of the reliefs, Xerxes is shown larger, to demonstrate and show his importance. Xerxes is always higher and in a strong position compared to his servants. This represent kingship, leadership and that he is a ‘Great King’

The Deave inscription describes Xerxes as a good leader as he was a religious reformer and a law giver, but also describes Xerxes as a religious zealot who was prejudiced of other gods.

The inscription ‘Daeva’ tells modern archaeologists and historians that:
1) Xerxes was establishing religious improvements designed to strengthen the cult of Ahura-mazda.
2) Xerxes planned to stop the worship of other gods
3) Xerxes thoughts on the imperial policy.

Apadana Palace, Persepolis
Shows Xerxes of Higher Status
520 – 465BC Xerxes was the grandson of the Cryus the Great, founder of the Persian empire and son of the king and Queen Dairus I and Atossa. After his father died in 486BC, Xerxes took the prominent role from his father, and became the king of the Persian Achaemenid Empire. Xerxes was around 35 years old when he took the responsibilities of the throne and reigned for 21 years.

Multiple Reliefs were found at Xerxes building program.

It shows Xerxes being followed by two attendants carrying a parasol and fly-whisk. This represents how powerful the Persians considered Xerxes to be.

Reliable ?
Valid ?
There are a number of inscriptions, reliefs and sculptures that show the physical marks of Xerxes existence.
- His buildings – palace
- The Athos canal
- Inscriptions on his tomb, in-which list the countries under his control.

By building the canal, Herodotus believed that it is how he showed his power, and that the Persian empire would have something to remember him by. He goes on further to say that “There would have been no difficulty at all in getting the ships hailed across the Isthmus on land; yet he ordered the construction of a channel for the sea broad enough for two ships to be rowed abreast”
Inscriptions found near Persepolis describe Xerxes as a great hunter, warrior and a hero. An inscription stated: “While there were other sons of his… Darius my father, after himself made me great”. This inscription illustrates that Xerxes was chosen over his brothers causing him to be 'king of all kings'. Inscriptions similar to these help him keep his status and control his empire.

Xerxes transmission to the throne was extremely ‘smooth’ as there was no challenges to Xerxes claim to the throne.
Although according to Ctesias, Ariamenes, Xerxes Brother, fought for the throne but was won over by gifts and the promise that he would be second in the kingdom after Xerxes. Herodotus tells a different view, he believed that there was a violent disagreement between the brothers over the succession of the throne.

Ancient Interpretations & Representations
In order to asses the ways Xerxes has been represented, we can examine his:
- Religious Policy
- Building plan
- Legacy

Religion and politics were strongly linked in Xerxes religious policy. Historians can establish ways in-which Xerxes has been represented through his policy according to sources.

Modern Interpretations
Early Scholars: debauched

Later Scholars: Have a more balanced opinion and make conclusions according to the time & culture

520BC - 465BC
What the inscriptions and sculptures describe Xerxes as

'The 300 Spartans'
- Rudolph Mate
The representation of Xerxes has changed. Although come customs are the same; velvet robes and tunics, head wear

'300: Rise of the Empire'
- Noam Murro
Xerxes is represented extremely different in the updated move ‘300: Rise of an Empire’. The color of Xerxes skin was rather dark, he was a towering bald giant with earrings in his ears, face and nose.
Although Xerxes was a great leader, movies are creating the wrong image, exaggerating who he really was an his image. These movies have created a larger than life character which resemble nothing of what he was.
The depiction of Xerxes is more modern (western and American) it is more imagination than reality.

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