This book presents the picture of Achaemenian religion, politics, and culture based on painstaking examination of virtually all the relevant primary texts in a variety of languages, together with a few choice pieces of iconographic evidence. This chapter reports a historical overview, a sketch of the sources, and a few words on method, before engaging the issues and primary source materials on Achaemenian religion, politics, and culture. The older Persian Empire is commonly referred to as “Achaemenian.” A properly “Achaemenian” dynasty was founded by Darius. Darius implicitly claimed to have established the conditions for an enduring state of well-being in Persia and its domains. It is hoped to explore how certain Achaemenian religious constructs that resemble those found elsewhere helped inspire the project of empire and informed even its most brutally violent aspects.
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