Iranian studies referred to as Iranology and Iranistics, is an interdisciplinary field dealing with the study of the history, literature and culture of Iranian peoples. It is a part of the wider field of Oriental studies. Iranian studies is broader than and distinct from Persian studies, the study of the modern Persian language and literature specifically; the discipline of Iranian Studies focuses on broad trends in culture, history and other aspects of not only Persians, but a variety of other contemporary and historical Iranian peoples, such as Azeris, Lurs, Talysh, Pashtuns, Baluchis, Sarmatians, Parthians, Bactrians, etc. The medieval Iranian poet Ferdowsi, author of the Iranian national epic the Shahnameh, can be considered the "founder" of Iranian studies in the sense that in his work he made a deliberate effort to highlight Persian culture prior to the Arab conquests. In this sense Ferdowsi's nationalistic approach can be contrasted with that of Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, the famous ninth-century Iranian historian whose History of the Prophets and Kings reflects a more Islamic perspective.
Ferdowsi's work follows earlier semi-historical works such as the lost Sasanian-era Khwaday-Namag. Persian historiography speaking begins with the Tarikh-i Mas'udi of Abulfazl Bayhaqi, whose fluent prose style was influential on subsequent Persian literature. Persian historical writing reached its peak two centuries with the Jami al-Tawarikh of Rashīd al-Dīn Fadhl-allāh Hamadānī. Other important historical works include the Tarikh-i Jahangushay by Ata-Malik Juvayni and the Zafarnamah of Sharaf ad-Din Ali Yazdi, a history of the Mongolian conqueror Timur. Among the most prominent scholars of Iranian Studies in Iran during the twentieth century may be counted Badiozzaman Forouzanfar, Abdolhossein Zarrinkoub, Zabihollah Safa, Mojtaba Minovi, Mohsen Abolqasemi, Ahmad Tafazzoli, Alireza Shapour Shahbazi,and Fereydoon Joneydi; the Loghat-nameh of Ali-Akbar Dehkhoda is the largest comprehensive Persian dictionary published, in 15 volumes. European scholarly interest in Iranian language and civilization dates back to the late eighteenth century, with the emergence of comparative Indo-European linguistics and the translation of the Avesta by French scholar Abraham Hyacinthe Anquetil-Duperron.
British interest in Persian was spurred by the fact that it was the administrative language of much of India. The major European scholarly organization devoted to Iranian Studies is the Societas Iranologica Europea; the London-based Iran Heritage Foundation supports Iranian studies at several universities and sponsors a wide range of public cultural events. Austria Institut für Iranistik, Universität WienFrance Institut d'études iraniennes, Sorbonne nouvelle Institut supérieur d'études historiques sur l'Iran Mondes iranien et indien, Centre national de recherche scientifiqueGermany Institut für Iranistik, Freie Universität Berlin Seminar für Iranistik, Georg-August-Universität GöttingenPoland Zakład Iranistyki, Jagiellonian University, Poland Zakład Iranistyki UW Warsaw University, PolandScandinavia Scandinavian Society for Iranian StudiesSpain Avestan Digital Archive, University of SalamancaUK British Institute for Persian Studies Arabic and Persian Studies, University of Cambridge Centre for Iranian Cultural Studies, Durham University Iran Heritage Foundation Oriental Institute, Oxford University Institute for Iranian Studies at the University of St Andrews Centre for Iranian Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London Library for Iranian Studies The first major American Iranist was Columbia University Professor A. V. Williams Jackson, a scholar of Indo-Iranian languages, known for producing a grammar of the Avestan language.
During the 1950s Richard Frye developed Iranian Studies at Harvard. An Iranian Studies program was created at UCLA in 1963 in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, established by Wolf Leslau a few years before, in 1959; the doctoral Program at UCLA, was the home institution of Professor emeritus Hanns-Peter Schmidt who used to read Old Iranian and Old Indic, is now led by M. Rahim Shayegan who specializes in Ancient Iran. Other Universities where Iranian Studies are offered include the University of Chicago; the Society for Iranian Studies was founded by a group of Iranian graduate students in 1967 and began producing a journal, Iranian Studies. The field expanded during the 1970s, with a number of Americans having served in the Peace Corps in Iran taking up academic positions. Close relations between Iran and the US facilitated the growth of academic programs as well as the Asia Institute in Shiraz and the American Institute of Iranian Studies; the 1979 revolution reversed this trend.
Over the past three decades, lack of funding and the difficulty of research travel to Iran have been major obstacles to scholars based in North America. The field has seen some important achievements such as the monumental Encyclopedia Iranica project led by retired Columbia University professor Ehsan Yarshater. In recent years several new centers for Iranian Studies have been established
The Talmud is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law and Jewish theology. Until the advent of modernity, in nearly all Jewish communities, the Talmud was the centerpiece of Jewish cultural life and was foundational to "all Jewish thought and aspirations", serving as "the guide for the daily life" of Jews; the term "Talmud" refers to the collection of writings named the Babylonian Talmud, although there is an earlier collection known as the Jerusalem Talmud. It may traditionally be called Shas, a Hebrew abbreviation of shisha sedarim, or the "six orders" of the Mishnah; the Talmud has two components. The term "Talmud" may refer to either the Gemara alone; the entire Talmud consists of 63 tractates, in standard print is over 6,200 pages long. It is written in Mishnaic Hebrew and Jewish Babylonian Aramaic and contains the teachings and opinions of thousands of rabbis on a variety of subjects, including halakha, Jewish ethics, customs, history and many other topics.
The Talmud is the basis for all codes of Jewish law, is quoted in rabbinic literature. Talmud translates as "instruction, learning", from a root LMD "teach, study". Jewish scholarship was oral. Rabbis expounded and debated the Torah and discussed the Tanakh without the benefit of written works, though some may have made private notes, for example of court decisions; this situation changed drastically as the result of the destruction of the Jewish commonwealth and the Second Temple in the year 70 and the consequent upheaval of Jewish social and legal norms. As the rabbis were required to face a new reality—mainly Judaism without a Temple and Judea without at least partial autonomy—there was a flurry of legal discourse and the old system of oral scholarship could not be maintained, it is during this period. The oldest full manuscript of the Talmud, known as the Munich Talmud, dates from 1342 and is available online; the process of "Gemara" proceeded in what were the two major centers of Jewish scholarship and Babylonia.
Correspondingly, two bodies of analysis developed, two works of Talmud were created. The older compilation is called the Talmud Yerushalmi, it was compiled in the 4th century in Galilee. The Babylonian Talmud was compiled about the year 500; the word "Talmud", when used without qualification refers to the Babylonian Talmud. While the editors of Jerusalem Talmud and Babylonian Talmud each mention the other community, most scholars believe these documents were written independently. Here the argument from silence is convincing." The Jerusalem Talmud known as the Palestinian Talmud, or Talmuda de-Eretz Yisrael, was one of the two compilations of Jewish religious teachings and commentary, transmitted orally for centuries prior to its compilation by Jewish scholars in the Land of Israel. It is a compilation of teachings of the schools of Tiberias and Caesarea, it is written in Jewish Palestinian Aramaic, a Western Aramaic language that differs from its Babylonian counterpart. This Talmud is a synopsis of the analysis of the Mishnah, developed over the course of nearly 200 years by the Academies in Galilee Because of their location, the sages of these Academies devoted considerable attention to analysis of the agricultural laws of the Land of Israel.
Traditionally, this Talmud was thought to have been redacted in about the year 350 by Rav Muna and Rav Yossi in the Land of Israel. It is traditionally known as the Talmud Yerushalmi, but the name is a misnomer, as it was not prepared in Jerusalem, it has more been called "The Talmud of the Land of Israel". Its final redaction belongs to the end of the 4th century, but the individual scholars who brought it to its present form cannot be fixed with assurance. By this time Christianity had become the state religion of the Roman Empire and Jerusalem the holy city of Christendom. In 325, Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor, said "let us have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd." This policy made a Jew an pauper. The compilers of the Jerusalem Talmud lacked the time to produce a work of the quality they had intended; the text is not easy to follow. The apparent cessation of work on the Jerusalem Talmud in the 5th century has been associated with the decision of Theodosius II in 425 to suppress the Patriarchate and put an end to the practice of semikhah, formal scholarly ordination.
Some modern scholars have questioned this connection. Despite its incomplete state, the Jerusalem Talmud remains an indispensable source of knowledge of the development of the Jewish Law in the Holy Land, it was an important resource in the study of the Babylonian Talmud by the Kairouan school of Chana
Marvdasht is a city and the capital of Marvdasht County, Fars Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 123,858, in 29,134 families. Marvdasht is as ancient as the history of the Persian empire, its former capital Persepolis is in the vicinity of the city, few kilometers farther Naqsh-e-Rostam, Naqsh-e Rajab and the ruins of the ancient city of Estakhr are reminiscent of the region's importance in historic times. Archeological excavations have shown that civilized people had been living in the Marvdasht Plains for millennia when Darius chose the plains of mount Rahmat for his royal residence; the modern city of Marvdasht was constructed in the 20th century. After the Pahlavi government built a sugar factory in 1935, the city developed around the factory: More and more people left the nearby villages or abandoned their nomadic life to settle in the developing city. People from farther areas migrated to the city. In the years before the Islamic Revolution Marvdasht became the most important industrial city of Fars province, as other factories such as the petrochemical complex, the Charmineh leather factory, the Fars meat complex and the Dadli biscuit company were constructed.
These required a huge workforce, the population of Marvdasht increased until it became the second most populated city in Fars province. The fertile lands around the city were cultivated to make Marvdasht into the major center of Iranian agriculture, producing more wheat, tomato and other agricultural products than any other region; some historians hold that Marvdasht was the name of one the neighborhoods of the ancient city of Estakhr, until the whole area was called Marvdasht. Others have argued that marv was the name of a plant which grew in the area and the suffix dasht was added to form a descriptive placename. Marvdasht is one of the northern cities and counties of Fars province; the city has an altitude of 1620 meters above the sea level. The county has an area of 3687 square kilometers and neighbors Arsenjan in the east, Pasargad in the north and Eghlid in the northwest, Sepidan in the southwest and Shiraz in the south. There are three cities in the county: Marvdasht and Kamfirouz. Marvdasht as a county is divided into four districts: Central, Kamfirouz and Seydan.
Marvdasht has a cold weather in the hilly areas and moderate climate in other regions. The city has three universities: Islamic Azad University, Fars Science and Research University and Payam-e-Nour university; the Tokyo University Iraq-Iran Archaeological Expedition, headed by Namio Egami, carried out three seasons of excavations in the Marv Dasht plain from 1956 to 1965. The excavations took place at the following prehistoric mounds situated in the vicinity of Marvdasht and Persepolis. Tall-i Bakun A and B Tall-i Gap A Tall-i Jari A and B Tall-i MushkiAt Tall-e Gap many ceramic items were found; the site was identified as an important settlement of the ancient Bakun culture, belonging to the Middle Bakun sub-phase of the 5th millennium BCE Chalcolithic. Marvdasht Islamic Azad University Farsnama in Persian on Marvdasht Marvdasht Marvdasht wall
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois. Founded in 1890 by John D. Rockefeller, the school is located on a 217-acre campus in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood, near Lake Michigan; the University of Chicago holds top-ten positions in various international rankings. The university is composed of an undergraduate college as well as various graduate programs and interdisciplinary committees organized into five academic research divisions. Beyond the arts and sciences, Chicago is well known for its professional schools, which include the Pritzker School of Medicine, the Booth School of Business, the Law School, the School of Social Service Administration, the Harris School of Public Policy Studies, the Divinity School and the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies; the university has additional campuses and centers in London, Beijing and Hong Kong, as well as in downtown Chicago. University of Chicago scholars have played a major role in the development of many academic disciplines, including sociology, economics, literary criticism and the behavioralism school of political science.
Chicago's physics department and the Met Lab helped develop the world's first man-made, self-sustaining nuclear reaction beneath the viewing stands of university's Stagg Field, a key part of the classified Manhattan Project effort of World War II. The university research efforts include administration of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory, as well as the Marine Biological Laboratory; the university is home to the University of Chicago Press, the largest university press in the United States. With an estimated completion date of 2021, the Barack Obama Presidential Center will be housed at the university and include both the Obama presidential library and offices of the Obama Foundation; the University of Chicago has produced faculty members and researchers. As of 2018, 98 Nobel laureates have been affiliated with the university as professors, faculty, or staff, making it a university with one of the highest concentrations of Nobel laureates in the world. 34 faculty members and 18 alumni have been awarded the MacArthur "Genius Grant".
In addition, Chicago's alumni and faculty include 54 Rhodes Scholars, 26 Marshall Scholars, 9 Fields Medalists, 4 Turing Award Winners, 24 Pulitzer Prize winners, 20 National Humanities Medalists, 16 billionaire graduates and a plethora of members of the United States Congress and heads of state of countries all over the world. The University of Chicago was incorporated as a coeducational institution in 1890 by the American Baptist Education Society, using $400,000 donated to the ABES to match a $600,000 donation from Baptist oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, including land donated by Marshall Field. While the Rockefeller donation provided money for academic operations and long-term endowment, it was stipulated that such money could not be used for buildings; the Hyde Park campus was financed by donations from wealthy Chicagoans like Silas B. Cobb who provided the funds for the campus' first building, Cobb Lecture Hall, matched Marshall Field's pledge of $100,000. Other early benefactors included businessmen Charles L. Hutchinson, Martin A. Ryerson Adolphus Clay Bartlett and Leon Mandel, who funded the construction of the gymnasium and assembly hall, George C. Walker of the Walker Museum, a relative of Cobb who encouraged his inaugural donation for facilities.
The Hyde Park campus continued the legacy of the original university of the same name, which had closed in 1880s after its campus was foreclosed on. What became known as the Old University of Chicago had been founded by a small group of Baptist educators in 1856 through a land endowment from Senator Stephen A. Douglas. After a fire, it closed in 1886. Alumni from the Old University of Chicago are recognized as alumni of the present University of Chicago; the university's depiction on its coat of arms of a phoenix rising from the ashes is a reference to the fire and demolition of the Old University of Chicago campus. As an homage to this pre-1890 legacy, a single stone from the rubble of the original Douglas Hall on 34th Place was brought to the current Hyde Park location and set into the wall of the Classics Building; these connections have led the Dean of the College and University of Chicago and Professor of History John Boyer to conclude that the University of Chicago has, "a plausible genealogy as a pre–Civil War institution".
William Rainey Harper became the university's president on July 1, 1891 and the Hyde Park campus opened for classes on October 1, 1892. Harper worked on building up the faculty and in two years he had a faculty of 120, including eight former university or college presidents. Harper was an accomplished scholar and a member of the Baptist clergy who believed that a great university should maintain the study of faith as a central focus. To fulfill this commitment, he brought the Old University of Chicago's Seminary to Hyde Park; this became the Divinity School in the first professional school at the University of Chicago. Harper recruited acclaimed Yale baseball and football player Amos Alonzo Stagg from the Young Men's Christian Association training Shool at Springfield to coach the school's football program. Stagg was given a position on the first such athletic position in the United States. While coaching at the University, Stagg invented the numbered football jersey, the huddle, the lighted playing field.
Stagg is the namesake of the university's Stagg
Fars Province known as Pars or Persia in the Greek sources in historical context, is one of the thirty-one provinces of Iran and known as the cultural capital of the country. It is in the south of the country, in Iran's Region 2, its administrative center is Shiraz, it has an area of 122,400 km². In 2011, this province had a population of 4.6 million people, of which 67.6% were registered as urban dwellers, 32.1% villagers, 0.3% nomad tribes. The etymology of the word Persian, found in many ancient names associated with Iran, is derived from the historical importance of this region. Fars Province is the original homeland of the Persian people; the Persian word Fârs is the Arabized form of the earlier form Pârs, in turn derived from Pârsâ, the Old Persian name for the Persis region. The ancient Persians were present in the region from about the 10th century BC, became the rulers of the largest empire the world had yet seen under the Achaemenid dynasty, established in the mid 6th century BC, at its peak stretching from Thrace-Macedonia, Bulgaria-Paeonia and Eastern Europe proper in the west, to the Indus Valley in its far east.
The ruins of Persepolis and Pasargadae, two of the four capitals of the Achaemenid Empire, are located in Fars. The Achaemenid Empire was defeated by Alexander the Great in 333 BC, incorporating most of their vast empire. Shortly after this the Seleucid Empire was established; however it never extended its power in Fars beyond the main trade routes, by the reign of Antiochus I or later Persis emerged as an independent state that minted its own coins. The Seleucid Empire was subsequently defeated by the Parthians in 238 BC, but by 205 BC, the Seleucid king Antiochus III had extended his authority into Persis and it ceased to be an independent state. Babak was the ruler of a small town called Kheir. Babak's efforts in gaining local power at the time escaped the attention of Artabanus IV, the Parthian Arsacid Emperor of the time. Babak and his eldest son Shapur; the subsequent events are due to the sketchy nature of the sources. It is however certain that following the death of Babak around 220, Ardashir who at the time was the governor of Darabgird, got involved in a power struggle of his own with his elder brother Shapur.
The sources tell us. At this point, Ardashir moved his capital further to the south of Persis and founded a capital at Ardashir-Khwarrah. After establishing his rule over Persis, Ardashir I extended the territory of his Sassanid Persian Empire, demanding fealty from the local princes of Fars, gaining control over the neighboring provinces of Kerman, Isfahan and Mesene. Artabanus marched a second time against Ardashir I in 224, their armies clashed at Hormizdegan. Ardashir was crowned in 226 at Ctesiphon as the sole ruler of Persia, bringing the 400-year-old Parthian Empire to an end, starting the equally long rule of the Sassanian Empire, over an larger territory, once again making Persia a leading power in the known world, only this time along with its arch-rival and successor to Persia's earlier opponents; the Sassanids ruled for 425 years. Afterwards, the Persians started to convert to Islam, this making it much easier for the new Muslim empire to continue the expansion of Islam. Persis passed hand to hand through numerous dynasties, leaving behind numerous historical and ancient monuments.
The ruins of Bishapur and Firouzabad are all reminders of this. Arab invaders brought about a decline of Zoroastrian rule and made Islam ascendant from the 7th century. Fars province is located in the south of Iran, it neighbours Bushehr Province to the west, Hormozgān Province to the south and Yazd provinces to the east, Isfahan province to the north and Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province to the northwest. According to the latest divisions, the province contains the following counties: Abadeh, Jahrom, Rostam, Darab, Bavanat, Larestan and Karzin, Lamerd, Fasa, Zarrin Dasht, Shiraz, Sepidan, Pasargad, Khonj, Gerash, Mohr. There are three distinct climatic regions in the Fars Province. First, the mountainous area of the north and northwest with moderate cold winters and mild summers. Secondly, the central regions, with rainy mild winters, hot dry summers; the third region located in the south and southeast, has cold winters with hot summers. The average temperature of Shiraz is 16.8 °C, ranging between 4.7 °C and 29.2 °C.
The geographical and climatic variation of the province causes varieties of plants. Additional to the native animals of the province, many kinds of birds migrate to the province every year. Many kinds of ducks and swallows migrate to this province in an annual parade; the main native animals of the province are gazelle, mountain wild goat, ram and many kinds of birds. In the past, like in Khuzestan Plain, the Persian lion had occurred here; the province of Fars includes many protected wildlife zones. The most important protected zones are: Toot Siah Hunt Forbidden Zone, whi
Shiraz is the fifth-most-populous city of Iran and the capital of Fars Province. At the 2016 census, the population of the city was 1,869,001 and its built-up area with "Shahr-e Jadid-e Sadra" was home to 1,565,572 inhabitants. Shiraz is located in the southwest of Iran on the "Rudkhaneye Khoshk" seasonal river, it has been a regional trade center for over a thousand years. Shiraz is one of the oldest cities of ancient Persia; the earliest reference to the city, as Tiraziš, is on Elamite clay tablets dated to 2000 BC. In the 13th century, Shiraz became a leading center of the arts and letters, due to the encouragement of its ruler and the presence of many Persian scholars and artists, it was the capital of Persia during the Zand dynasty from 1750 until 1800. Two famous poets of Iran and Saadi, are from Shiraz, whose tombs are on the north side of the current city boundaries. Shiraz is known as the city of poets, literature and flowers, it is considered by many Iranians to be the city of gardens, due to the many gardens and fruit trees that can be seen in the city, for example Eram Garden.
Shiraz has had major Christian communities. The crafts of Shiraz consist of inlaid mosaic work of triangular design. In Shiraz industries such as cement production, fertilizers, textile products, wood products and rugs dominate. Shirāz has a major oil refinery and is a major center for Iran's electronic industries: 53% of Iran's electronic investment has been centered in Shiraz. Shiraz is home to Iran's first solar power plant; the city's first wind turbine has been installed above Babakuhi mountain near the city. The earliest reference to the city is on Elamite clay tablets dated to 2000 BCE, found in June 1970, while digging to make a kiln for a brick factory in the south western corner of the city; the tablets written in ancient Elamite name a city called Tiraziš. Phonetically, this is interpreted as /tiračis/ or /ćiračis/; this name became Old Persian /širājiš/. The name Shiraz appears on clay sealings found at a 2nd-century CE Sassanid ruin, east of the city. By some of the native writers, the name Shiraz has derived from a son of Tahmuras, the third Shāh of the world according to Ferdowsi's Shāhnāma.
Shiraz is most more than 6,000 years old. The name Shiraz is mentioned in cuneiform inscriptions from around 2000 BC found in southwestern corner of the city. According to some Iranian mythological traditions, it was erected by Tahmuras Diveband, afterward fell to ruin. In the Achaemenian era, Shiraz was on the way from Susa to Pasargadae. In Ferdowsi's Shāhnāma it has been said that Artabanus V, the Parthian Emperor of Iran, expanded his control over Shiraz. Ghasre Abu-Nasr, from Parthian era is situated in this area. During the Sassanid era, Shiraz was in between the way, connecting Bishapur and Gur to Istakhr. Shiraz was an important regional center under the Sassanians; the city became a provincial capital in 693, after Arab invaders conquered Istakhr, the nearby Sassanian capital. As Istakhr fell into decline, Shiraz grew in importance under several local dynasties; the Buwayhid empire made it their capital, building mosques, palaces, a library and an extended city wall. It was ruled by the Seljuks and the Khwarezmians before the Mongol conquest.
The city was spared destruction by the invading Mongols, when its local ruler offered tributes and submission to Genghis Khan. Shiraz was again spared by Tamerlane, when in 1382 the local monarch, Shah Shoja agreed to submit to the invader. In the 13th century, Shiraz became a leading center of the arts and letters, thanks to the encouragement of its ruler and the presence of many Persian scholars and artists. For this reason the city was named by classical geographers Dar al - ` the House of Knowledge. Among the Iranian poets and philosophers born in Shiraz were the poets Sa'di and Hafiz, the mystic Ruzbehan, the philosopher Mulla Sadra, thus Shiraz has been nicknamed "The Athens of Iran". As early as the 11th century, several hundred thousand people inhabited Shiraz. In the 14th century Shiraz had sixty thousand inhabitants. During the 16th century it had a population of 200,000 people, which by the mid-18th century had decreased to only 55,000. In 1504, Shiraz was captured by the forces of the founder of the Safavid dynasty.
Throughout the Safavid empire Shiraz remained a provincial capital and Emam Qoli Khan, the governor of Fars under Shah Abbas I, constructed many palaces and ornate buildings in the same style as those built during the same period in Isfahan, the capital of the Empire. After the fall of the Safavids, Shiraz suffered a period of decline, worsened by the raids of the Afghans and the rebellion of its governor against Nader Shah; the city was besieged for many months and sacked. At the time of Nader Shah's murder in 1747, most of the historical buildings of the city were damaged or ruined, its population fell to 50,000, one-quarter of that during the 16th century. Shiraz soon returned to prosperity under the rule of Karim Khan Zand, who made it his capital in 1762. Employing more than 12,000 workers, he constructed a royal district with a fortress, many administrative buildings, a mosque and one of the finest covered bazaars in Iran, he had a moat built around the city
Persepolis was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire. It is situated 60 km northeast of the city of Shiraz in Iran; the earliest remains of Persepolis date back to 515 BCE. It exemplifies the Achaemenid style of architecture. UNESCO declared the ruins of Persepolis a World Heritage Site in 1979; the English word Persepolis is derived from Greek Persépolis, a compound of Pérsēs and pólis, meaning "the Persian city" or "the city of the Persians". To the ancient Persians, the city was known as Pārsa, the word for the region of Persia. An inscription left by Sasanian prince Shapur Sakanshah, the son of Hormizd II, refers to the site as Sad-stūn, meaning "Hundred Pillars"; because medieval Persians attributed the site to Jamshid, an Iranian mythological king, it has been referred to as Takht-e-Jamshid meaning "Throne of Jamshid". Another name given to the site in the medieval period was Čehel Menār meaning "Forty Minarets". Persepolis is near the small river Pulvar; the site includes a 125,000 square meter terrace artificially constructed and cut out of a mountain, with its east side leaning on Rahmat Mountain.
The other three sides are formed by retaining walls, which vary in height with the slope of the ground. Rising from 5–13 metres on the west side was a double stair. From there, it slopes to the top. To create the level terrace, depressions were filled with soil and heavy rocks, which were joined together with metal clips. Archaeological evidence shows that the earliest remains of Persepolis date back to 515 BC. André Godard, the French archaeologist who excavated Persepolis in the early 1930s, believed that it was Cyrus the Great who chose the site of Persepolis, but that it was Darius I who built the terrace and the palaces. Inscriptions on these buildings support the belief. With Darius I, the scepter passed to a new branch of the royal house. Persepolis became the capital of Persia proper during his reign. However, the city's location in a remote and mountainous region made it an inconvenient residence for the rulers of the empire; the country's true capitals were Susa and Ecbatana. This may be why the Greeks were not acquainted with the city until Alexander the Great took and plundered it.
Darius I's construction of Persepolis were carried out parallel to those of the Palace of Susa. According to Gene R. Garthwaite, the Susa Palace served as Darius' model for Persepolis. Darius I ordered the construction of the Apadana and the Council Hall, as well as the main imperial Treasury and its surroundings; these were completed during the reign of his son, Xerxes I. Further construction of the buildings on the terrace continued until the downfall of the Achaemenid Empire. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, the Greek historian Ctesias mentioned that Darius I's grave was in a cliff face that could be reached with an apparatus of ropes. Around 519 BC, construction of a broad stairway was begun; the stairway was planned to be the main entrance to the terrace 20 metres above the ground. The dual stairway, known as the Persepolitan Stairway, was built symmetrically on the western side of the Great Wall; the 111 steps measured 6.9 metres wide, with treads of 31 centimetres and rises of 10 centimetres.
The steps were believed to have been constructed to allow for nobles and royalty to ascend by horseback. New theories, suggest that the shallow risers allowed visiting dignitaries to maintain a regal appearance while ascending; the top of the stairways led to a small yard in the north-eastern side of the terrace, opposite the Gate of All Nations. Grey limestone was the main building material used at Persepolis. After natural rock had been leveled and the depressions filled in, the terrace was prepared. Major tunnels for sewage were dug underground through the rock. A large elevated water storage tank was carved at the eastern foot of the mountain. Professor Olmstead suggested the cistern was constructed at the same time that construction of the towers began; the uneven plan of the terrace, including the foundation, acted like a castle, whose angled walls enabled its defenders to target any section of the external front. Diodorus Siculus writes that Persepolis had three walls with ramparts, which all had towers to provide a protected space for the defense personnel.
The first wall was 7 metres tall, the second, 14 metres and the third wall, which covered all four sides, was 27 metres in height, though no presence of the wall exists in modern times. The function of Persepolis remains rather unclear, it was not one of the largest cities in Persia, let alone the rest of the empire, but appears to have been a grand ceremonial complex, only occupied seasonally. Until recent challenges, most archaeologists held that it was used for celebrating Nowruz, the Persian New Year, held at the spring equinox, still an important annual festivity in modern Iran; the Iranian nobility and the tributary parts of the empire came to present gifts to the king, as represented in the stairway reliefs. After invading Achaemenid Persia in 330 BC, Alexander the Great sent the main force of his army to Persepolis by the Royal Road, he stormed a pass through modern-day Zagros Mountains. There Ariobarzanes of Persis ambushed Alexander the Great's army, inflicting heavy casualties. After being held off for 30 days, Alexander t