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Naqsh-e Rustam
Rustam
(Persian: نقش رستم‎ [ˌnæɣʃeɾosˈtʰæm]) is an ancient necropolis located about 12 km northwest of Persepolis, in Fars Province, Iran. In Naghsh-e Rostam we can see four tombs and one building from Achaemenid dynasty
Achaemenid dynasty
with a group of ancient Iranian rock reliefs cut into the cliff, from Sassanid
Sassanid
dynasty; the last important relief is from Elam
Elam
dynasty and it dates back to 1000 BC. Naqsh-e Rustam
Rustam
is the necropolis of the Achaemenid dynasty
Achaemenid dynasty
(500–330 BC), with four large tombs cut high into the cliff face. These have mainly architectural decoration, but the facades include large panels over the doorways, each very similar in content, with figures of the king being invested by a god, above a zone with rows of smaller figures bearing tribute, with soldiers and officials. The three classes of figures are sharply differentiated in size. The entrance to each tomb is at the center of each cross, which opens onto a small chamber, where the king lay in a sarcophagus.[1] Well below the Achaemenid
Achaemenid
tombs, near ground level, are rock reliefs with large figures of Sassanian
Sassanian
kings, some meeting gods, others in combat. The most famous shows the Sassanian
Sassanian
king Shapur I
Shapur I
on horseback, with the Roman Emperor Valerian bowing to him in submission, and Philip the Arab
Philip the Arab
(an earlier emperor who paid Shapur tribute) holding Shapur's horse, while the dead Emperor Gordian III, killed in battle, lies beneath it (other identifications have been suggested). This commemorates the Battle of Edessa
Battle of Edessa
in 260 AD, when Valerian became the only Roman Emperor who was captured as a prisoner of war, a lasting humiliation for the Romans. The placing of these reliefs clearly suggests the Sassanid
Sassanid
intention to link themselves with the glories of the earlier Achaemenid
Achaemenid
Empire.[2]

Panorama of Naqsh-e Rustam

Map of the archaeological site of Naqsh-e Rustam

Contents

1 Monuments

1.1 Achaemenid
Achaemenid
tombs 1.2 Ka'ba-ye Zartosht 1.3 Sassanid
Sassanid
reliefs

1.3.1 Investiture relief of Ardashir I, c. 226-242 1.3.2 Triumph of Shapur I, c. 241-272) 1.3.3 "Grandee" relief of Bahram II, c. 276-293 1.3.4 Two equestrian reliefs of Bahram II, c. 276-293 1.3.5 Investiture of Narseh, c. 293-303 1.3.6 Equestrian relief of Hormizd II, c 303-309

2 Archaeology 3 See also 4 Notes 5 References 6 External links

Monuments[edit]

Upper register of the Achaemenid
Achaemenid
Tomb of Xerxes I

The oldest relief at Naqsh-e Rustam
Rustam
dates back to c. 1000 BC. Though it is severely damaged, 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 Rustam
Rustam
(" Rustam
Rustam
Relief" or "Relief of Rustam"), because the relief was locally believed to be a depiction of the mythical hero Rustam. Achaemenid
Achaemenid
tombs[edit] Four tombs belonging to Achaemenid
Achaemenid
kings are carved out of the rock face at a considerable height above the ground. The tombs are sometimes known as the Persian crosses, after the shape of the facades of the tombs. The entrance to each tomb is at the center of each cross, which opens onto 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 a Persepolitan entrance. One of the tombs is explicitly identified, by an accompanying inscription (“parsa parsahya puthra ariya ariyachitra”, meaning, “a Parsi, the son of a Parsi, an Aryan, of Aryan family),[3] as the tomb of Darius I
Darius I
(c. 522-486 BC). The other three tombs are believed to be those of Xerxes I
Xerxes I
(c. 486-465 BC), Artaxerxes I (c. 465-424 BC), and Darius II
Darius II
(c. 423-404 BC) respectively. The order of the tombs in Naqsh-e Rustam
Rustam
follows (left to right): Darius II, Artaxerxes I, Darius I, Xerxes I. The matching of the other kings to tombs is somewhat speculative; the relief figures are not intended as individualized portraits.[1] 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
Darius III
(c. 336-330 BC), the last king of the Achaemenid
Achaemenid
Dynasts. The tombs were looted following the conquest of the Achaemenid Empire
Achaemenid Empire
by Alexander the Great. Ka'ba-ye Zartosht[edit]

Cube of Zoroaster, a cube-shaped construction in the foreground, against the backdrop of Naqsh-e Rustam

Main article: Ka'ba-ye Zartosht Ka'ba-ye Zartosht
Ka'ba-ye Zartosht
(meaning the "Cube of Zoroaster") is a 5th-century B.C Achaemenid
Achaemenid
square tower. The structure is a copy of a sister building at Pasargadae, the "Prison of Solomon" (Zendān-e Solaymān). It was built either by Darius I
Darius I
(r. 521–486 BCE) when he moved to Persepolis, by Artaxerxes II
Artaxerxes II
(r. 404–358 BCE) or Artaxerxes III
Artaxerxes III
(r. 358–338 BCE). The building at Pasargadae
Pasargadae
is a few decades older. There in inscription in three languages from Sassanian
Sassanian
time on the walls of this place, its considered as one of the most important inscription from Sassanid
Sassanid
time Several theories exist regarding the purpose of the Ka'ba-ye Zartosht structure.[4] Sassanid
Sassanid
reliefs[edit] Seven over-life sized rock reliefs at Naqsh-e Rustam
Rustam
depict monarchs of the Sassanid
Sassanid
period. Their approximate dates range from 225 to 310 AD, and they show subjects including investiture scenes and battles.

The investiture of Ardashir I

The triumph of Shapur I
Shapur I
over the Roman emperors Valerian and Philip the Arab

Investiture relief of Ardashir I, c. 226-242[edit] Main article: Ahura Mazda and Ardashir I The founder of the Sassanid
Sassanid
Empire is seen being handed the ring of kingship by Ohrmazd. In the inscription, which also bears the oldest attested use of the term Iran, Ardashir admits to betraying his pledge to Artabanus IV
Artabanus IV
(the Persians having been a vassal state of the Arsacid Parthians), but legitimizes his action on the grounds that Ohrmazd
Ohrmazd
had wanted him to do so. The word ērān is first attested in the inscriptions that accompany the investiture relief of Ardashir I
Ardashir I
(r. 224–242) at Naqsh-e Rustam. In this bilingual inscription, the king calls himself "Ardashir, king of kings of the Iranians" (Middle Persian: ardašīr šāhān šāh ī ērān; Parthian: ardašīr šāhān šāh ī aryān). Triumph of Shapur I, c. 241-272)[edit] This is the most famous of the Sassanid
Sassanid
rock reliefs, and depicts the victory of Shapur I
Shapur I
over two Roman emperors, Valerian and Philip the Arab. Behind the king stands Kirtir, the mūbadān mūbad ('high priest'), the most powerful of the Zoroastrian Magi during the history of Iran.[5] A more elaborate version of this rock relief is at Bishapur. "Grandee" relief of Bahram II, c. 276-293[edit]

The grandee relief of Bahram II

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 Kartir. This relief is to the immediate right of the investiture inscription of Ardashir, and partially replaces the much older relief that gives the name of Naqsh-e Rustam. Two equestrian reliefs of Bahram II, c. 276-293[edit] The first equestrian relief, located immediately below the fourth tomb (perhaps that of Darius II), depicts the king battling a mounted Roman enemy. The second equestrian relief, located immediately below the tomb of Darius I, is divided into two registers, an upper and a lower one. In the upper register, the king appears to be forcing a Roman enemy, probably Roman emperor Carus
Carus
from his horse. In the lower register, the king is again battling a mounted enemy wearing a headgear shaped as an animal’s head, thought to be the vanquished Indo- Sassanian
Sassanian
ruler Hormizd I Kushanshah.[6] Both reliefs depict a dead enemy under the hooves of the king's horse.

First equestrian relief.

The two-panel equestrian relief.

Hormizd I Kushanshah
Hormizd I Kushanshah
on the lower panel.[6]

Investiture of Narseh, c. 293-303[edit]

The investiture of Narseh

In this relief, the king is depicted as receiving the ring of kingship from a female figure that is frequently assumed to be the divinity Aredvi Sura Anahita. However, the king is not depicted in a pose that would be expected in the presence of a divinity, and it is hence likely that the woman is a relative, perhaps Queen Shapurdokhtak. Equestrian relief of Hormizd II, c 303-309[edit]

The equestrian relief of Hormizd II

This relief is below tomb 3 (perhaps that of Artaxerxes I) and depicts Hormizd forcing an enemy (perhaps Papak of Armenia) from his horse. Immediately above the relief and below the tomb is a badly damaged relief of what appears to be Shapur II
Shapur II
(c. 309-379) accompanied by courtiers. Archaeology[edit]

Ka'ba-ye Zartosht
Ka'ba-ye Zartosht
in foreground, with behind the Tomb of Darius II above Sassanid
Sassanid
equestrian relief of Bahram II.

In 1923, the German archaeologist Ernst Herzfeld
Ernst Herzfeld
made casts of the inscriptions on the tomb of Darius I. Since 1946, these casts have been held in the archives of the Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, DC. Naqsh-e Rustam
Rustam
was excavated for several seasons between 1936 and 1939 by a team from the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, led by Erich Schmidt.[7] See also[edit]

Essaqwand Rock Tombs Persepolis Qadamgah (ancient site) Pasargadae
Pasargadae
and Tomb of Cyrus the Great Behistun Inscription Bishapur Istakhr Taq-e Bostan
Taq-e Bostan
(rock reliefs of various Sassanid
Sassanid
kings) List of colossal sculpture in situ Valley of the Kings Naqsh-e Rajab

Notes[edit]

^ a b Cotterell, 162; Canepa, 57–59, 65–68 ^ Herrmann and Curtis; Canepa, 62, 65–68 ^ "I am Darius".  ^ http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/kaba-ye-zardost ^ Rome in the East: The Transformation of an Empire. Warwick Ball. page 120. Psychology Press, 16 Jan 2001. ^ a b Encyclopedia Iranica HORMOZD KUŠĀNŠĀH article ^ [1] E. F. Schmidt, Persepolis
Persepolis
III: The Royal Tombs and Other Monuments, Oriental Institute Publications 70, University of Chicago Press, 1970, ISBN 0-226-62170-7

References[edit]

Canepa, Matthew P., "Topographies of Power, Theorizing the Visual, Spatial and Ritual Contexts of Rock Reliefs in Ancient Iran", in Harmanşah (2014), google books Cotterell, Arthur (ed), The Penguin Encyclopedia of Classical Civilizations, 1993, Penguin, ISBN 0670826995 Herrmann, G. & Curtis, V. S. (2003). "Sasanian Rock Reliefs". Encyclopedia Iranica. Costa Mesa: Mazda.  Hubertus von Gall "NAQŠ-E ROSTAM" in Encyclopædia Iranica [2] Lendering, Jona (2009). "Naqsh-i Rustam". Amsterdam: Livius.  Unknown (2005). "Naghsh-e-Rostam". 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Naqsh-e Rustam.

Ernst Herzfeld
Ernst Herzfeld
Papers, Series 5: Drawings and Maps, Records of Naqsh-i Rustam
Rustam
Collections Search Center, S.I.R.I.S., Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

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Fars Province

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Landmarks

Afif-Abad Garden Amir's dam Arg of Karim Khan Barmdelak lagoon Bishapur Delgosha Garden Eram Garden Istakhr Ghal'eh Dokhtar Ka'ba-ye Zartosht Kazerun
Kazerun
fire temple Lake Parishan Naqsh-e Rajab Naqsh-e Rustam Palace of Ardashir Pars Museum Pasargadae Persepolis Qavam House Qur'an Gate Saadi's mausoleum Sarvestan
Sarvestan
Sassanian
Sassanian
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