By Josef Wiesehofer
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Additional resources for Ancient Persia: From 550 BC to 650 AD
In Persepolis, however, the bringing of gifts (not the paying of tribute) is actually a characteristic of Achaemenid kingship (see Plate IV): typical products of each of the peoples, or luxury goods, are brought to the king and thus symbolize the solidarity between sovereign and subjects, whether this is felt as genuine or prescribed by the monarch. e. the sovereign sitting on his throne, a huge piece of furniture (Greek diphros, OP gaθu ) supported by representatives of the empire’s peoples (Plate V), is another eye-catching theme of Persepolis relief art and, like the ‘giftbearers’, symbolizes royal authority in the empire as a whole.
This custom of the great king has rightly been compared with the sojourns of medieval German rulers in the residences (‘Pfalzen’) of the empire. With this comparison, in fact, a political feature of ‘travelling kingship’ also becomes apparent. On top of his imperial affairs, in the various parts of his realm the king tackled the specific problems of each region, and at the same time established contact with his subjects (or their representatives). Such actions by Persian kings are recorded in many ancient testimonies, which go into great detail about their journeys, their reception at important places on their itinerary and in the residences themselves, and even about the onlookers in the streets.
The relief was evidently created first, that is, with the first eight ‘liar kings’, but without Skunkha, the Scythian with the pointed hood. ]), for its beginning differs in several minor but significant formulations from that of the royal protocol of the large Elamite inscription produced later. A second phase saw the creation of the older Elamite version of the inscription in four columns with lines on the right-hand side of the relief and the Elamite legends for the rebels (DBb–j). The asymmetrical Figure Bisutun, Darius relief.