The absolute absence of chronicle sources from the pre-Islamic Persian Empire is one of the great historiographical lacunae that frustrates our attempt to grasp a complete picture of Near Eastern antiquity. Famous archaeological finds such as the Cyrus Cylinder and the rock inscriptions at Behistun may be exceptions; however, these are necessarily limited in their scope to early events in the Persian story, and unmistakably propagandistic in nature. Most of the historical writings about the Persian Empire and Persian society in our possession, then, come from the pens of outsiders and foreigners: Greeks such as Herodotus, and the authors of later books of the Jewish scriptures such as Daniel and Isaiah,...

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