Naghsh Rostam

نقش رستم

See Also:Naqsh-e Rustam

ID:7474 Section: Place

Updated:Tuesday 8th September 2009

Naghsh Rostam Definition

Naqsh-e Rostam is an archaeological site located about 12 km northwest of Persepolis, in Fars province, Iran. Naqsh-e Rostam lies a few hundred meters from Naqsh-e Rajab.The oldest relief at Naqsh-e Rostam is severely damaged and dates to c. 1000 BC. It depicts a faint image of a man with unusual head-gear and is thought to be Elamite in origin. The depiction is part of a larger mural, most of which was removed at the command of Bahram II. The man with the unusual cap gives the site its name, Naqsh-e Rostam, "Picture of Rostam", because the relief was locally believed to be a depiction of the mythical hero Rostam.Four tombs belonging to Achaemenid kings are carved out of the rock face. They are all at a considerable height above the ground.The tombs are known locally as the 'Persian crosses', after the shape of the facades of the tombs. The site is known as salib in Arabic, perhaps a corruption of the Persian word chalipa, "cross". The entrance to each tomb is at the center of each cross, which opens onto to a small chamber, where the king lay in a sarcophagus. The horizontal beam of each of the tomb's facades is believed to be a replica of the entrance of the palace at Persepolis.One of the tombs is explicitly identified by an accompanying inscription to be the tomb of Darius I the Great (r. 522-486 BC). The other three tombs are believed to be those of Xerxes I (r. 486-465 BC), Artaxerxes I (r. 465-424 BC), and Darius II (r. 423-404 BC) respectively. A fifth unfinished one might be that of Artaxerxes III, who reigned at the longest two years, but is more likely that of Darius III (r. 336-330 BC), last of the Achaemenid dynasts.The tombs were looted following the conquest of the Achaemenid Empire by Gojastak Alexander.In 1923, the German archaeologist Ernst Herzfeld used wet squeezing to make negatives of the inscriptions on the tomb of Darius I. Since 1946, these squeezes are held in the archives of the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, in the District of Columbia.Sassanid reliefsSeven oversized rock reliefs at Naqsh-e Rostam depict monarchs of the Sassanid period. The founder of the Sassanid Empire is seen being handed the ring of kingship by Ahura Mazda. In the inscription, which also bears the oldest attested use of the term 'Iran', Ardashir admits to betraying his pledge to Artabanus V (the Persians having been a vassal state of the Arsacid Parthians), but legitimizes his action on the grounds that Ahura Mazda had wanted him to do so.The triumph of Shapour I (r. 241-272) : This is the most famous of the Sassanid rock reliefs, and depicts Shapour's victory over two Roman emperors, Valerian and Philip the Arab. A more elaborate version of this rock relief is at Bishabour.The "grandee" relief of Bahram II (r. 276-293) : On each side of the king, who is depicted with an oversized sword, figures face the king. On the left stand five figures, perhaps members of the king's family (three having diadems, suggesting they were royalty). On the right stand three courtiers, one of which may be

Tags:Achaemenid, Achaemenid Empire, Ahura Mazda, Arab, Arabic, Arsacid, Artabanus, Artabanus V, Artaxerxes, Bishabour, Columbia, Darius I, Darius II, Darius III, Elamite, Fars, German, Gojastak, Iran, Naghsh Rostam, Persepolis, Persian, Roman, Sassanid, Shapour, Valerian, Xerxes

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