Achaemenid Persia occupies a very important place among the great civilizations of the ancient world.
In 550 BC., Cyrus, one of those rare leaders towards whom one cannot help but gravitate, laid the foundation of the largest empire the world had ever seen. His empire was quite unique because it was built on a model of tolerance and respect for other cultures and religions. So much so that the Old Testament regards Cyrus as the savior of the Jews from Babylonian captivity; while Xenophon, the 4th century BC Greek historian, refers to him as a man of wisdom, resilient spirit and guilelessness.After Cyrus, Darius the Great elevated the Persian Empire to its zenith. The Empire now extended from the borders of India east to Greece on the Mediterranean, down to Egypt and Ethiopia in Africa and up to what is now Russia and Eastern Europe.
Twenty-eight different nations were brought together under the rule of a man who was hailed as “the King of the Kings.” It was under his rule that for the first time a standard weighing system was devised, Old Persian cuneiform script was invented, and gold and silver coins were minted and used throughout the Empire. As an administrator and a builder, Darius was brilliant. In Egypt, he had a canal dug between the Nile and the Red Sea, anticipating the modern Suez Canal.
In order to govern their vast empire, the Achaemenid kings established not one but four capitals cities in various strategic region: Babylon, Susa, Ecbatana and finally the most magnificent of them, Parsa or Persepolis, which was known in its day as the “richest city under the sun.”
A dream in which one tries to visualize the beauty and dazzling splendor of Persepolitan palaces before their sad destruction. “Persepolis Recreated” is the name of the most recent documentary-animated film on DVD, COLOR-41 min. and the companion FULL COLOR book, produced by Sunrise film and distributed by N.E.J. International Pictures Corp.