Persepolis (Iran): Parsa was renamed after the Achaemenid period

Source -


Part of the ruins of Persepolis, an ancient capital of Persia (IRNA/Reza Qaderi)

An Iranian archaeologist has said that Parsa, an ancient capital of the Achaemenids, had been renamed Persepolis by local rulers after the Achaemenid period.

“A Parsi tribe was living in the location, where Cyrus (the Great) founded the city,” Alireza Asgari Chaverdi, the director of a team of Iranian and Italian archaeologists working in the ancient city of Parsa, told the Persian service of CHN on Monday.

“Since Cyrus was a member of the tribe, he selected the name of Parsa for the city. Darius (the Great) added the Throne Hall to the city later. In the post-Achaemenid period, the city under some local Parsi rulers gained independence from the Seleucids and was renamed Persepolis,” he added.

Asgari Chaverdi said that the team has carried out 28 carbon-14 dating tests to determine the exact dates for the periods of settlement in the region.

“By these tests, the archaeologists have learned that the city was founded during the early days of the Achaemenid dynasty by Cyrus and was developed during the reigns of Darius and other Achaemenid kings,” he stated.

Asgari Chaverdi announced last week that the team has excavated the ruins of a huge building, which is surmised to be a temple constructed by Babylonian artisans during the reign of Cyrus the Great, in Parsa.

Thousands of glazed bricks bearing bas-reliefs of the mythical animal motifs of Persia and Mesopotamia have been used in the construction of the building.

Most of the bas-reliefs are similar to those that were used on the Ishtar Gate, the eighth gate to the inner city of Babylon in Mesopotamia.

“The designs and skills used to embellish the bricks, the widespread use of tar in the construction of the building, the use of various colors and mythical motifs such as Mushussu, a snake-dragon shaped symbol of Marduk (the chief of the Babylonian deities), and various lotus designs, all show that the structure was built during the reign of Cyrus the Great,” Asgari Chaverdi said.

“Cyrus conquered Babylonia in 539 BC. Babylonian priests chose Marduk, which also was the god of the sky and the Earth during the Neo-Babylonian Empire. When Cyrus conquered Babylonia, Marduk was the most influential deity in Mesopotamia.

“According to archaeologists, groups of Babylonian priests and artisans were taken to this region after the conquest of Babylonia by Cyrus, and he allowed them to build a structure in the region where the ideological source of the Achaemenids was located. The building was constructed by Babylonian artisans with the same religious designs they used to create the mythical symbols like Mushussu.”

The team, which also includes Professor Pierfrancesco Callieri of the University of Bologna and a number of his colleagues, will complete this season of excavation at the site next week.