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Religion, Empire, and TortureThe Case of Achaemenian Persia, with a Postscript on Abu Ghraib$
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Bruce Lincoln

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780226481968

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226481913.001.0001

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Center and Periphery

Center and Periphery

(p.17) 2 Center and Periphery
Religion, Empire, and Torture
University of Chicago Press

This chapter explores how the Persians orient themselves in space, and how this impacted upon their dealings with other peoples. Both the vertical and the horizontal axes center on the figure of Darius, who triumphs over Gaumata with the Wise Lord's aid and leads the Persians to triumph over other peoples. The writing of history actually begins in the West when Herodotus felt moved to narrate the wars between the Persians and the Greeks. The Achaemenian inscriptions offer very little data addressing Persian attitudes toward the Greeks, but the position assigned the latter in the lists of lands/peoples that were compiled at different times tells some things worth knowing. All imperial powers find it easier to undertake projects of conquest when they are able to recode their aggression as benevolence and their victims as their beneficiaries.

Keywords:   Persians, Darius, Achaemenian inscriptions, Greeks, imperial powers, aggression, Herodotus

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