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Persepolis - Harem

Unless otherwise indicated, pictures on this page © Marco Prins and Jona Lendering. Photos can be downloaded and used for non-commercial purposes, but you have to acknowledge Livius.
The harem of Persepolis. Photo Marco Prins. This picture shows the southern part of the Harem of Persepolis, built between 480 and 470, during the reign of king Xerxes. The name "Harem" is modern, and it should be stressed that Achaemenid harems never existed and are in fact an invention by western scholars. Europeans knew about the harem of the Ottoman sultan, read about polygamous Persians, and projected their own ideas and obsessions on the ancient Near East. The rooms on this picture are almost certainly store rooms. Here you can see a satellite photo of the Queen's Apartements.
Ancient-Warfare.com, the online home of Ancient Warfare magazine
The store rooms again. They were built on the lower part of the terrace, out of sight from the palaces. (The same applies for the villa of the Roman emperor Hadrian at Tivoli: the store rooms and slaves' appartments are at a lower level.)
A famous inscription (the "harem inscription" or XPf) was found in what is called the Queen's apartment. It deals with Xerxes' succesion and mentions rival candidates:
My father Darius had other sons, but -thus was Ahuramazda's desire- my father Darius made me the largest [mathišta] after himself. When my father Darius went away from the throne, by the grace of Ahuramazda I became king on my father's throne.
This is in the Archaeological Museum of Tehran. Another copy of the same text is in the museum of Persepolis.

In 2006, the discovery of a part of the floor of the Queen's quarters was announced.


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