DiscoverHistory of Persia
History of Persia

History of Persia

Author: Trevor Culley

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A podcast dedicated to the history of Persia, and the great empires that ruled there beginning with the Achaemenid Empire of Cyrus the Great and the foundation of an imperial legacy that directly impacted ancient civilizations from Rome to China, and everywhere in between. Join me as we explore the cultures, militaries, religions, successes, and failures of some of the greatest empires of the ancient world.

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52 Episodes
In 486 BCE, Darius the Great died and passed the Persian Empire on to his son, Xerxes. With plans to invade Greece in development, and Egypt in open revolt, the Achaemenid house had to pause and deal with the succession. Darius became the first king entombed at Naqsh e Rostam while Xerxes competed with his elder half-brother for power. 50! Q&A Contact Patreon | Lyceum | Support Page | One-time Contribution Arcadia - Support Renewable Energy --- Support this podcast:
This is the second part of the two-part discussion on the life and times of Zoroaster. This time, I discuss the Zoroastrian conception of reality and how it is portrayed in the Gathas as well as the legacy of Zarathustra in Zoroastrianism, Iran, and Europe. Zoroastrianism: An Introduction by Jenny Rose Patreon | Lyceum.FM | Support Page Arcadia Energy – Support Renewable Power Twitter | Facebook | Instagram --- Support this podcast:
By audience demand, we're headed back in time. Before wrapping up the reign of Darius, it's time to look back to the bronze age and talk about Zarathustra Spitama, the prophet more often known in the west as Zoroaster. This is the first of a two part series on the life and teachings of Zoroaster, as presented in the Gathas - 5 hymns to Ahura Mazda believed to be composed by Zoroaster himself. Patreon | Lyceum.FM | Support Page Arcadia Energy - Support Renewable Power Twitter | Facebook | Instagram --- Support this podcast:
Darius the Great is one of Persia's most infamous kings for many reasons. An illegitimate heir who reunified the empire. The king of the first war with Greece. Conqueror of territory at the far reaches of Persian control. He was many things. He was also a reformer and an administrator who oversaw the implementation of new systems of taxation, record keeping, and political organization. Those reforms formed the basis of Persian governance for centuries to come, and may be his longest lasting legacy. Conquerors Podcast Website | Spotify | Apple | RSS Patreon Lyceum Support Page --- Support this podcast:
To round out our series on Darius' royal family, it's only fair to talk about the men of the family. After all, like it or not, the narrative will follow them going forward. Grandpa Arsames, the fascinating Hystaspes, and all of Darius' brothers, sons, and cousins get their own time in the spotlight. Then, it's time to prepare for the competition to become the Greatest. Patreon Lyceum Support Page Audible Free Trial Henrietta and Eleanor Ad: Audible --- Support this podcast:
There were many Duksis (royal women) in Darius' household, and there would be many more in future generations of the Achaemenid family, but three women in particular standout above the rest. Most famously we know of Atossa, daughter of Cyrus and mother of Xerxes, from our Greek sources. Thanks to the documents of the Persepolis Fortification Archive we also know about the remarkable wealth and influence of Artystone and Irdabama as Persian women in the early 5th century BCE. Patreon Support Page --- Support this podcast:
Our sources for Achaemenid history are clearly biased towards the stories of men in the ancient world, but we actually know a lot about Achaemenid women. To fully understand the whole royal family, it's time to get a better understanding of the role Royal Women - the Duksish - played in Persian society. Patreon Support Page Free Trial Ad: --- Support this podcast:
Nearly a decade after Aristagoras first went into revolt, and longer since the Athenians had reneged on their offerings of earth and water, the Persian Army came to take Darius' revenge on Athens. For the first time, a Persian army landed on the Greek mainland. They made their camp on an unremarkable open plain that would soon be seared into Greek history forever: Marathon. Patreon Lyceum 7-Day Free Trial Ad: --- Support this podcast:
Even once the Ionian cities themselves were defeated, the consequences of their Revolt were ongoing. In 492 BCE, a new general, Mardonius, took to the field to settle matters in the Balkans. Two years later, the Persians turned their sites on Athens and Eretria in retribution for the aid they sent to the Ionians. In 490, Artaphernes and Datis launched the first Persian invasion of mainland Greece. Patreon Lyceum A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor An Absolutely Remarkable Thing Ad: Hank Green --- Support this podcast:
Even with Miletus defeated, the other rebel cities in shambles, Cyprus under control, and their armies victorious, the Persians had not heard the last of Ionian resistance. While the Greek rebels were fighting against the Persian Empire, the deposed tyrant Histiaeus was making plans to try and carve out a new niche for himself in Persian territory. Patreon Lyceum Support Page Audible Trial Ad: Audible --- Support this podcast:
It is a dark time for the Ionian Revolt. Although Sardis has been destroyed, Persian troops have driven the Rebel forces from Aeolis and pursued them across Anatolia. Facing the renewed Persian Fleet, a group of Greek cities led by Dionysius of Phocaea has established a new plan on the nearby island of Lade. The Persian satrap Artaphernes, ready to end this rebellion, has dispatched the army and the navy to retake Miletus.... Patreon Lyceum Audible Free Trial Ad: Audible --- Support this podcast:
While three Persian land armies were spreading out over western Anatolia to contain and defeat the Ionian Greek rebels and their allies, a fourth army was headed to the island of Cyprus. The Cypriot King of Salamis, Onesilos had usurped his brother's throne and incited his neighbors to rebellion. In our first "Battle of Salamis" the Persians retake the strange and strategic island. Patreon Support Page --- Support this podcast:
This time I have something a little different. In place of a regular narrative episode this week, I have my recent interview with Dr. Michael Bonner, author of the new book: The Last Empire of Iran. This jumps far ahead of our current point in the narrative story, all the way to the Sassanid Persian Empire of the 4th-8th centuries CE. Dr. Bonner and I discussed the origins, sources, conflicts, and fall of Iran's last pre-Islamic dynasty. The Last Empire of Iran by Michael Bonner Patreon Support Page --- Support this podcast:
Welcome to Lyceum

Welcome to Lyceum


The History of Persia is now on Lyceum! Lyceum is a new podcast app with a hand-curated catalog of high quality educational podcasts ranging from history to science to politics to arts. It's a really awesome app that I personally recommend. It is also a new venue to access Bonus episodes and ad free listening previously only available through Patreon. Listen now in the App Store and Google Play or at --- Support this podcast:
After the shocking attack on Sardis, many more Greek cities joined the Ionian Revolt, despite Persian victory at Ephesus. In 497 BCE, three land campaigns were launched by three Persian generals: Daurises, Hymaies, and Otanes. After a series of lightning victories in early 497, the campaigns began set in to prolonged fighting. Two of the Persian generals were dead by 496, but the Ionians were still losing. Fresh revolts in the Troad and Caria were dealt serious defeats, and Aristagoras of Miletus, once the ringleader of the Ionians, fled into exile. Timur Podcast Apple | Spotify | Stitcher |  RSS Patreon --- Support this podcast:
To prepare ourselves for their role in the coming wars between Persian the Greek city states, I'm explaining the history and politics of Archaic Athens, from their first adoption of oligarchy rather than monarchy, down through the adoption of democracy, the Peisistratid tyrants, and the final restoration of democracy by Cleisthenes. At the end of that long process, the Athenians and their Eretrian allies joined forces with the Ionian Greek cities of Anatolia in their revolt against the Persian Empire. In 498 BCE, the Greek army set out from Ephesus in a lightning raid to attack, and ultimately destroy, the Lydian capital at Sardis.  Patreon Amazon Fresh Amazon Prime Casting Through Ancient Greece Ancient Persia: A Concise History of the Achaemenid Empire by Matt Waters Ad: Amazon --- Support this podcast:
At the end of the 6th century BCE, a group of exiled aristocrats from the island of Naxos inadvertently set off a chain of events that would eventually lead to such famous battles as Marathon, Thermopylae, and Salamis. They asked the Milesian Tyrant, Aristagoras, to help them retake their home island after being kicked out. Aristagoras went to the Satrap of Lydia, who in turn asked Darius the Great. When Darius gave the go ahead, a Persian fleet invaded, and subsequently retreated from Naxos. Out of money and out of options Aristagoras and the rest of the Ionian Greeks in western Anatolia began hatching a plan to launch an Ionian Revolt against the Persian Empire. Audible Sticker Contact Patreon Support Page Ad: Audbile --- Support this podcast:
To celebrate the Persian New Year's festival of Nowruz, check out the 2nd Sort-of Annual Holiday Special, exploring the New Year's celebrations of the Achaemenid Empire. Called Navasarda at that time, many of the traditions associated with the modern holiday were still developing during the Achaemenid period. The origins and original purpose of the holiday season are hazy and changed and developed as Iranian society evolved over centuries. Patreon --- Support this podcast:
Episode 30: Persia City

Episode 30: Persia City


This time it's just one episode for a different kind of tour. Explore the early phases of construction at Susa and Persepolis under Darius the Great. The grand Apadana audience halls with their splendid columns. The lavishly decorated palaces built to house Darius throughout the year. The famous works of art and architecture that define the middle Achaemenid period are featured in this episode. Patreon! Support Page! Sticker Giveaway Contact Inscribed Door Handle Old Persian translations --- Support this podcast:
It's the final stage of the tour! Our trip through the Persian Empire wraps up with three central provinces of the empire, located in western Iran. This time it's Susiana, Media, and Parsa itself. We'll traverse everything from rundown ancient kingdoms, hostile mountain tribes, royal capitals, and one of the wonders of the ancient world. For some of them, we won't even have to leave the same city. These are the provinces that ruled and defined the Achaemenid Persian Empire.  Patreon Audible Legion vs Phalanx Audible | Print Ad: Audible --- Support this podcast:
Comments (4)

Ali Maleki

Linothorax is a modern madeup name Hoplite armor was probably made of leather rather than expensive linen

Nov 27th

Mohammad I. Nassiri

wow, you said in the cylinder, Cyrus (kurosh in Persian) the great has asserted that all people are sent to where their habitant were and you have drawn that it implies Jewish people have been released to their homeland juda. Thus why don't you draw a same realization here about another sentence written in the cylinder; he says: I've restored all the gods. this action as you explained was unlike other conquerers at the time which stole all the gods and their statues. it means he allowed everyone worship whatever they desire. he allowed everyone wherever they desire to go.

Jul 6th

Mohammad I. Nassiri

why would you pronounce "Iranian" such that "not-iranian"?

Jun 30th

Mohammad I. Nassiri

I've just started to listen to your podcast. I'm so excited to continuing it.

Jun 29th
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