Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The geographical background of the Persepolis tablets
by Arfaee, Abdolmajid, Ph.D., The University of Chicago, 2008, 150; 3300414
Abstract (Summary)

This study treats the historical and administrative geography of the regions of southwestern Iran around the Achaemenid Persian palace complex at Persepolis during the fifth century BC. It relies on the evidence of two groups of administrative documents excavated at Persepolis by the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago: 2,120 published texts and fragments, along with 2,553 unpublished pieces, from the Persepolis Fortification, written in the reign of Darius I, supplemented by 237 published texts and fragments from the Persepolis Treasury, written in the reigns of Xerxes I and Artaxerxes I.

The documents record commodities transported among places around Persepolis, and paid out to support workers, officials, travelers and livestock. Frequently occurring impressions of a few seals used by regional offices make it possible to identify administrative districts. Records of movement and storage make it possible observe networks of connections among the places within the districts. Records of outlays make it possible to infer the hinterlands of some nodes in these networks. Records of supplies for parties of travelers make it possible to establish the sequence of stations along the route connecting Persepolis to Susa in the northwest. At least four securely located places provide points of reference for placing the inferred districts, networks and routes in the geographical realities of southwestern Iran. The evidence of the Achaemenid administrative documents can sometimes be supplemented by medieval and early modern Iranian and Arabic geographers' descriptions of settlement and routes, and sometimes by archaeological evidence of Achaemenid occupation.

The known Achaemenid administrative texts from Persepolis mention 115 places five times or more. Of these, 88 are discussed here, located in three main administrative districts: 50 in a large region centering on Persepolis (Chapter II); 10 in a smaller region to the northwest, around the modern plain of Kamfiruz (Chapter III); and 28 in a region farther to the northwest, along the route that connected Persepolis to Susa, including modern area of Fahliyan (Chapter IV).

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hallock, Richard T.
School: The University of Chicago
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 69/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Ancient languages, Ancient civilizations
Keywords: Administration of Ancient Persia, Elamite language, Geography of Ancient Persia, History of Ancient Persia, Persepolis Fortification Tablets, Persia
Publication Number: 3300414
ISBN: 978-0-549-45054-2
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