By Josef Wiesehofer
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Extra info for Ancient Persia: From 550 BC to 650 AD
Scholars have puzzled over the occasion and reasons for setting up the statue(s) in Egypt and later transporting them to Susa. A last centre of Achaemenid kingship to be described is Naqp-i Rustam (‘picture of Rustam’). The name of the place, which derives from a much later tradition, alludes to reliefs from the Sasanian period (see below), which were believed to represent Rustam, the great hero of Iranian folklore. In the Achaemenid period, this rock face (see Plate IX), about km north-northwest of Persepolis, which had already been used for reliefs by the Elamites, was the burial place of kings who had themselves entombed in monumental cruciform rock graves decorated with reliefs.
Even if, to establish his sovereignty, Cyrus had to urge the Persians to rise against the Medes, as Herodotus insists, even if Darius had to concede certain privileges to his six fellow conspirators against Gaumata (and their families), neither of them could have succeeded in those situations without wielding power and authority. Both the inscriptions and the reliefs lack any allusions to certain dependences or certain considerations, apart from the fact that the men who stand around the king on the relief are clearly separated from the representatives of the subject peoples.
Figure Bisutun, Monument of Darius I (drawing) placing of the large inscription next to the relief and the above-mentioned changes in the wording of its first section point to a revision or elaboration of the text and the monument as a whole. The third phase marks the creation of the lines in the Babylonian version of the inscription on the left of the relief, as well as the Babylonian legends (DBb–j). Since this version had evidently not been planned to start with, room had to be found on the ledge to the left of the relief.
Ancient Persia: From 550 BC to 650 AD by Josef Wiesehofer