Recorded: November 11, 2018
Event: Pourdavoud Center Lecture Series
Citation: Garrison, Mark. "Deities and Ritual at Persepolis: The Evidence from the Persepolis Fortification and Treasury Archives," Pourdavoud Center Lecture Series. November 11, 2018.
by Mark Garrison (Trinity College)
Deities and Ritual at Persepolis: The Evidence from the Persepolis Fortification and Treasury Archives
The texts and seals preserved as impressions from two large archives of administrative tablets at Persepolis reveal remarkable rich and varied evidence for religion and religious ritual at and near Persepolis in the reign of Darius I (522-486 BC). The archives are known today as the Persepolis Fortification archive (509–493 BC) and the Persepolis Treasury archive (492–457 BC).
This lecture will focus principally on the glyptic imagery preserved from the two archives. The visual record is striking, original, and complex. These images raise multiple questions concerning how we approach the traditionally contentious topics of religion, religious iconography, and the depiction of ritual in the early Achaemenid period. Of particular interest is the manner in which this evidence compels us to re-visit the famous relief on Darius’ tomb façade at Naqš-e Rostam, a monument generally considered one of the premier visual expressions of Achaemenid imperial ideology.
About the Speaker
Mark B. Garrison holds the Alice Pratt Brown Distinguished Professorship in Art History in the Department of Art and Art History at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, USA. His primary research interests are the glyptic arts of ancient Iran and Iraq in the first half of the first millennium BC. He specializes in the glyptic preserved on two large archives from Persepolis, the Persepolis Fortification archive and the Persepolis Treasury archive. With Margaret Cool Root, he is author of Seals on the Persepolis Fortification Tablets, Volume I: Images of Heroic Encounter, Oriental Institute Publications 117 (The Oriental Institute: Chicago, 2001). In addition to the documentary work represented in that publication, his research has focused upon social aspects of glyptic production in workshops in Persepolis, especially the issues surrounding the impact of individuals of high status and/or administrative rank on the development of glyptic style and iconography in the early Achaemenid period. His publications have also addressed the emergence and development of royal ideology in glyptic at Persepolis, religious imagery in Achaemenid art, and the relationship of glyptic of the Achaemenid period with earlier glyptic traditions in Assyria, Babylonia, and Elam. His most recent books are: The Ritual Landscape at Persepolis: Glyptic Imagery from the Persepolis Fortification and Treasury Archives (Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization 72, Chicago: The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, 2017), which won the 2018 Ehsan Yarshater Book Award; Communication, Language and Power in the Achaemenid Empire: Volume 2: The Seals and Bullae of the Satrap Aršāma (Oxford: Oxford University Press, in press, co-author with W.F.M. Henkelman); The Art of Empire in Achaemenid Persia: Festschrift in Honor of Margaret Cool Root (Achaemenid History. Leiden: Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten, in press, co-editor with E.R.M. Dusinberre and W.F.M. Henkelman).