Rare Xerxes-Darius hand gesture rediscovered!- PERSEPOLIS
- Posted at AncientBibleHistory group:
Posted by: "siaxares"
Sun Nov25,2007 10:01am (PST)
Maybe I'm the only one who really lost track of this bas-relief from
Persepolis but I have recently rediscovered it. It shows Xerxes
with Darius, as usual, but with Xerxes' hand holding onto the back of
the throne of Darius. This lends to the concept of a co-rulership
between the two kings besides the other indicates as noted by some
scholars, which is the heads of equal height, identical clothing and the
exaggerated size in comparison with others.
(Xerxes, palm down)
Apparently a more complete display of everything at Persepolis is
now presented for us at Oriental Museum's webpage as above. What
is interesting here is discussion and consideration of the meaning
of the hand on back of the throne, palm down, and why it is not
depicted that way in two other bas-reliefs where the hand is turned
vertically and seen from both sides.
(matching ipsilateral vertical back of hand)
(matching ipsilateral vertical palm side of hand)
The DISCUSSION issues are:
1) The gesture holding onto the back of the throne
suggesting "sharing" the throne and thus the co-rulership some
believe is being represented.
2) Why was the gesture changed to a vertical position, with a less
symbolic reference of sharing the throne compared to actually
holding onto the throne; and
3) Why was this alternative vertical hand position shown from both sides
rather than simply duplicated?
While Xerxes holding onto the back of the throne seems a fairly logical
symbolism for sharing the throne as a co-ruler, that gesture might have
been preempted if it were important to display the hand
vertically from both sides. That would make sense if this right hand
were unusual in some way, such as being longer than the left hand. That
presumption becomes pertinently interesting, of course, since the Bible
suggests that our historical "Xerxes" was the same king as "Artaxerxes."
Thus the alternative gesture was done to
preserve this already famous longer right hand of Xerxes for all to see.
This, of course, would tend to support the idea that Xerxes and
Artaxerxes were actually the same king, regardless of what later
records claimed as is evidenced in the artwork and the focus on this
right hand. If this is truly the unusual longer right hand of
Artaxerxes, only while he was still Xerxes, then it would explain
completely the differnt hand gestures. Of course, as part of the
expansion of the Persian Period, the co-rulership got swept under the
rug as well.
The reconstructed timeline based upon the redating of the Peloponnesian
War to 403 BCE would establish a 4-year co-rulership between Darius and
Xerxes, with Darius dying in his sixth year. The
bas-reliefs at Persepolis certainly would support this, since Darius
barely finished his palace which he begun in his 4th year, leaving
several other buildings to be completed by Xerxes, even though the
Throne Hall was completed by "Artaxerxes." This would just
represent the customary name adoption when the Persian king took the
throne as sole ruler ( i.e. Darius II was Nothus, Artaxerxes II was
Mnemon, Artaxerxes III was Nothus, and Darius III was Cadomannus, etc.)
This is of archaeological interest, since if there was just a name
change, then the completion of the Throne Hall in year 7
of "Artaxerxes" would have only been a mere 3 years after the death
of Darius in his 6th year per Ezra 6:14,15. That is opposed to the 7th
year of Artaxerxes completing this building begun by Xerxes and Darius
beginning the 4th year of Darius, remaining "under
contruction" for the next 34 years under Darius, and the next 21 years
under Xerxes, only to be completed after 7 years by Artaxerxes. So you
have a single building that took either potentially 5-6 years to build
vs 62 years to complete. The palace Darius built for Xerxes at Babylon
is confirmed to have only taken 2
years to build. An entire double wall around Jerusalem with
substantially less people plus a temple at Jerusalem was completed after
only 16 and 22 years, respectively, with a short 2-year
interruption in the construction of the temple. So that's 20 years of
building involved versus 62 years for just one building?
So the question is, did the Throne Hall just take 6 years to build or
did it take 62 years to build?
Any and all comments are welcome. Thanks.
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