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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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Microcosms, Wonders, Paradise

Microcosms, Wonders, Paradise

(p.67) 5 Microcosms, Wonders, Paradise
Religion, Empire, and Torture
University of Chicago Press

This chapter explains the ideals that the empire pursues, and how it worked to realize them. Zoroastrian myths treat unity as a prime feature of the Wise Lord's original creation. As in the Zoroastrian myths, the construction of historical conflict pits unity against diversity, truth against the Lie, with the empire defending the interests of God, morality, and progress. The throne-bearer relief is a trope of empire and a microcosmic representation of its current political power and geographic expanse. Alongside the throne-bearer image, the Achaemenians had several other favored models that they constructed as microcosmic representations of the empire as world. Achaemenian gardens appeared to complement and parallel the wonder built at Susa. The salvific project that the Wise Lord entrusted to the Achaemenian kings remained incomplete.

Keywords:   empire, Zoroastrian myths, Wise Lord, God, morality, political power, Achaemenian gardens, Achaemenian kings

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