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Rare Xerxes-Darius hand gesture rediscovered!- PERSEPOLIS

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  • Kim Noyes
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 29 9:36 AM
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      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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