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Forgotten Empire: The World of Ancient Persia Hardcover – 7 Nov 2005


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (7 Nov 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520247310
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520247314
  • Product Dimensions: 29.2 x 2.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,501,040 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Like walking through a museum with expert scholars giving live commentary; this book has all the perks one could ask for."--Theo Philogue Blog

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First Sentence
The origins of the Persian people and the stages which led to the creation of the first ancient world empire remain shrouded in mystery, or at least beset by uncertainties. Read the first page
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By F. Aetius on 2 July 2008
Format: Paperback
In 2005 I visited The Forgotten Empire exhibition at the British Museum in London, where for a very brief time some of the treasures of the Achaemenid Persian Empire were put on display.
This book is essentially a full colour glossy catalogue of those items that were displayed in the museum.

The book opens up with a few short essays about the Persians by various scholars and experts. These topics cover everything from recent archaeological excavations to religion and burial customs, to Persian coinage and seal stamps. The book also finishes with a few short essays on Persia's Legacy and its relationship with Classical Greece.

The majority of the book consists of full colour photographs of Persian cups, bowls, coins, stone stele and statues, jewellery and tools.
As such it is an invaluable list of Archaeological remians, but it's of very little use to the amateur or layman who wishes to explore this remarkable ancient culture.

That said, some of the essays included made for fascinating reading, especially those covering Ancient Persia's Zoroastrian religion.
This book is an absolute must buy for dedicated fans of the Ancient Near East or the Greco-Persian Wars. Those who are looking for an introductory text on the Persians should look elsewhere.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Torben Retboll on 19 Mar 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In 2005, the British Museum in London presented a special exhibition about the Achaemenid dynasty of ancient Persia (ca. 530-330 BC). Some of the items on display came from the British Museum itself. Others came from the Louvre in Paris and the National Museum of Iran. In fact, the exhibition was a joint venture between the three museums. For the occasion the British Museum Press published a book entitled "Forgotten Empire: The World of Ancient Persia," edited by John Curtis and Nigel Tallis.

There are two sets of illustrations here. In the first, we have pictures of the items that were on display during the exhibition. They are marked "cat" for "catalogue." There are 473 pictures in this category. In the second set, we have pictures of other items. They are marked "fig" for "figure." There are 75 pictures in this category. At first, this is a bit confusing, but after a while you realise what is what, and it is not a problem.

Many illustrations are in colour, and many (but not all) are printed in a large size. Some items appear two times, first as a colour photo and then as a black-and-white drawing. This is a good idea, because it makes it easier to understand the details of the motive. A case in point is the rock relief of Darius I at Bisutun: figure 2 is a photo of this relief, while figure 6 is a drawing of the relief with small labels explaining who is who.

The structure of the book is not chronological but thematic.
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Format: Paperback
Paperback large glossy format catalogue of British Museum exhibition with a lot of history and general information on ancient Persia as well as detailed descriptions of art, architecture and artifacts with many illustrations, beautifully produced. 263 pages. Date of exhibition not given. I did not know this was an exhibition catalogue, which would have been helpful information as I was looking for history. However the text is so full and the pages of history so detailed and well written that I am very happy with it.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By G.I.Forbes on 26 Oct 2008
Format: Paperback
This excellent book from the British Museum is the catalogue that accompanied the 2005 exhibition.It deals with the Achaemenid Persian Empire (550-330bc)which covered the whole of the Middle East stretching into North Africa,Europe and Asia.Exhibits from the National Museum of Iran,the Louvre and the British Museum are included but the Oriental Institute of Tha University Of Chicago did not participate.
The book details the history,language,cuneforms,archeology,palace,royal table,jewellery,religion,administration,transport, warfare and relations with Greece of the Empire.
The pictures,diagrams,and maps are generally good but quite a number require enhancing particularly those of Persepolis.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 13 reviews
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Scholarly but still easy to read 5 April 2006
By Jason M. Silverman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
As the above mention, the book does contain very well reproduced photographs of a large selection of archaeological artefacts. But, for the scholar or student looking to get into the study of the Achaemenid Empire, it also contains a wealth of bibliographic materials related to those artefacts in particular, or the history around them in general. The book contains links to more in-depth discussion while keeping the basics easy to find and understand.
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful 11 Jan 2006
By G.Reed - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I was devastated that I could not see this exhibit in the British Museum in London. Forgotten Empire: The World of Ancient Persia, is truthfully, the largest collection of Persian art that there ever has been. Made up of the British Museum's immense collection, the dazzling artifacts from the Louvre in Paris, and most amazing and wonderfully- the National Museum of Iran, and the Persepolis Museum. If you have seen the exhibit, (I am murderously jealous of you), and this book is the perfect way to remember this once in ten life times experience. If, like me, you weren't fortunate enough to see the exhibit, then this book is the next best thing.

How can I describe it. Its wonderful. Handsomely illustrated with hundreds of gorgeous color photographs, not only of the artifacts themselves, including jewelry, vases, statues, pillars, stone reliefs, goblets, swords, and coins, but also the beautiful archeological remains of the sites from which they originate (ie. the administrative capital of Susa, the Pleasure Palace at Persepolis). I particularly love the rhytons, the silver or gold drinking horns, and the glazed tiles from Susa. The pictures detailing the tombs and palace complexes of Persepolis are stunning. This book recreates the doomed, beautifully tragic, golden society of ancient Persia.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Remembering The Persian Empire 2 Sep 2006
By J. Tavakoli - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is an excellent introduction to the Persian Empire; the world's first true empire. From developing new forms of political administration, building roads that would inspire Rome, fromulating monotheism and fostering cultural tolerance, the Persians were innovators in every sense of the word. Sadly this world is all too often forgotten or only mentioned in passing. This is an excellent beginning for anyone interested in the history of Iran, whose people trace their roots- both ethnically and culturally- to the world of ancient Persia.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
excellent work 26 May 2006
By Niloofar Gheissari - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I loved the book. There are hundreds of excellent quality photos, lots of descriptions, wonderful articles, and useful maps to help understanding the old Persia. It covers every aspect of life in ancient Persia: the government, the financial system and daily life. I have watched the photos every day and still want to watch them more. Articles are academically sound, easy to read and the book is well structured.

Another good thing about it is that, it reveals the bias introduced to the Ancient history by Greeks.
25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
A LITTLE POSTSCRIPT 24 Jan 2006
By I. W. Gittleman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
There is little to add to what has been previously written, except:

(1) This is NO cocktail table book. Its text is unusually complete and detailed.

(2) Sorry that they omitted to give the qualifications of the contributors.

A most excellent book; but remember it only confines itself to the Achaemenid Empire.
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