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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Ancient Persia: A Concise History of the Achaemenid Empire, 550–330 BCE
Waters, Matt

New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014 pp. xx + 252. $28.99


Description: The Achaemenid Persian Empire, at its greatest territorial extent under Darius I (r. 522–486 BCE), held sway over territory stretching from the Indus River Valley to southeastern Europe and from the western Himalayas to northeast Africa. In this book, Matt Waters gives a detailed historical overview of the Achaemenid period while considering the manifold interpretive problems historians face in constructing and understanding its history. This book offers a Persian perspective even when relying on Greek textual sources and archaeological evidence. Waters situates the story of the Achaemenid Persians in the context of their predecessors in the mid-first millennium BCE and through their successors after the Macedonian conquest, constructing a compelling narrative of how the empire retained its vitality for more than two hundred years (c. 550–330 BCE) and left a massive imprint on Middle Eastern as well as Greek and European history.

Subjects: Ancient Near East, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches

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Review by Jason Silverman
Published 6/18/2015
Citation: Jason Silverman, review of Matt Waters, Ancient Persia: A Concise History of the Achaemenid Empire, 550–330 BCE, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2015).


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