Ancient Near East - Resource Bibliography

Publications - Persian Empire

History of the Persian Empire

By A.T. Olmstead
University of Chicago (1959)
670 Pages

Out of a lifetime of study of the ancient Near East, Professor Olmstead has gathered previously unknown material into the story of the life, times, and thought of the Persians, told for the first time from the Persian rather than the traditional Greek point of view.

"The fullest and most reliable presentation of the history of the Persian Empire in existence."—M. Rostovtzeff

The Best Publication on the Persian Empire!

Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West

By Tom Holland
Anchor (2007)
464 pages

The story of how their citizens took on the Great King of Persia, and thereby saved not only themselves but Western civilization as well, is as heart-stopping and fateful as any episode in history. Tom Holland’s brilliant study of these critical Persian Wars skillfully examines a conflict of critical importance to both ancient and modern history.

The Most Exciting Publication on the Persians!

The Persian Expedition

By Xenophon
Penguin Classics
384 Pages

Xenophon’s epic march into the heart of Persia has stirred the imagination of free men for centuries. Possibly written from diaries compiled at the time, there is no doubt that The Persian Expedition is one of the best pictures we have of Greeks confronting the ‘barbarian’ world.


We see the soldiers debate leaders and strategy in open assembly; we see them falling on their knees in superstitious fear; we see them planning a piratical colony on barbarian land. And at the same time we share the rigors of the march to Babylon, the dismay of unexpected defeat, the uncertainty of the long road home through wild Armenia, and the relief at last when the Ten Thousand reach ‘the sea, the sea!’.


A Spartan's March into Persia!

Zoroaster, the Prophet of Ancient Iran

By A. V. Williams Jackson
350 Pages

An Iranian and religious reformer, Zoroaster would found a religion based on a fire god that would define the future major religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.


One man who would influence the world!


The Great Courses - Persian Empire


Documentaries - Persian Empire

Iran – Seven Faces of a Civilization

2007 – Sunrise

Drawing on historical and archeological evidence, this fascinating documentary by Dr. Farzin Rezaeian reconstructs 7,000 years of Iranian history. The film’s advanced animation techniques bring ancient wonders to life, giving an unprecedented look at Iran’s historical and cultural achievements.

Persepolis - Rediscovering the Lost Capital of the Persian Empire

2009 – Kultur

It was probably the greatest construction project of antiquity: in 520 B.C. King Darius I of the Archaemenids had a forty-acre terrace piled up at the foot of the Kuh-e-Rahmat - the Mount of Mercy - in the central Persian plateau. Here the new capital of the Persian Empire was to arise: Parsa, or Persepolis. This program reconstructs the imposing site.

Iran - The Forgotten Glory

2009 – Mystic

Discover the splendor of ancient Persia through this in-depth documentary series, which charts the rise of the Achaemenid and Sassanid empires, visits extraordinary locations, and profiles influential figures like Cyrus the Great, Darius and Xerxes. An illuminating look at the Iranian plateau's rich history and culture, this program features fascinating stops in places like Bishapur, Darab, Persepolis and Firuzabad.

Persepolis Recreated

2004 – Sunrise

Seized and burned by Alexander the Great's conquering army, shaken by uncounted earthquakes, eroded by 25 centuries of rain, fluctuating temperatures and scouring winds, Persepolis-the greatest of the royal residences of ancient Persia-is a definitive ancient ruin. Yet, the place remains an awesomely impressive sight 2,500 years after it was built.

Engineering an Empire – Persia

2006 – History

Hosted by Peter Weller, ENGINEERING AN EMPIRE examines the most magnificent and sophisticated civilizations in history through the lens of their astounding engineering feats. The Persian Empire ruled over a significant portion of the Middle East. Created by Cyrus the Great, the empire was so large it actually had three capitals, Susa, Babylon, and Ecbatana.

Secrets of Archaeology

2005 – History Channel

Take a virtual reality tour of history's most intriguing ancient civilizations. Uncover the secrets of the Hittite Empire and the Phoenicians. We visit Hatti, the ancient ports of Byblos, Rhodes, Tharros, Motya, and the famous Roman naval base at Carthage. SECRETS OF ARCHAEOLOGY makes history come alive!

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