mentioned only in 2 Macc. 9:2, was the capital of Persia proper, and the occasional residence of the Persian court from the time of Darius Hystaspes, who seems to have been its founder, to the invasion of Alexander. Its wanton destruction by that conqueror is well known. Its site is now called the Chehl-Minar
, or Forty Pillars. Here, on a platform hewn out of the solid rock the sides of which face the four cardinal points, are the remains of two great palaces, built respectively by Darius Hytaspes and his son Xerxes, besides a number of other edifices, chiefly temples. They are of great extent and magnificence, covering an area of many acres.
- per-sep'-o-lis (2 Macc 9:2; Persepolis, Persaipolis, in Ptolemy Persopolis; original Persian name unknown; Pahlavi Stakhr, now Ictakhr and Shihil Minar, "Forty Turrets"):
The ruins of Persepolis lie about 35 miles Northeast of Shiraz and some 40 miles South of the ruins of Pasargadae.
The magnificent palace of which such striking remains are still visible (Takht i Jamshid) was built by Darius and Xerxes of white marble and black stone. The city was captured, pillaged and burnt by Alexander in 324 BC, most of the inhabitants being massacred or enslaved. Much of the treasure of the Persian kings was found there. Curtius says the palace was never rebuilt. Antioehus Epiphanes (166 BC) tried but failed to plunder the temple (of Anaitis, Anihita?) there (2 Macc 9:2; perhaps this is the incident referred to in 1 Macc 6:1 ff, and Polyb. xxxi.11). At Persepolis were the sepulchers of the Achemenian kings (except Cyrus). Long and important inscriptions of Darius and Xerxes are found at Persepolis and the neighboring Naqsh i Rustam, in cuneiform characters and in the Aehaemenian Persian, Assyrian and neo-Susian tongues (published by Spiegel, Rawlinson and Weisbaeh). Clitarehus first among Europeans mentions the city. The writer of this article visited it in 1892. Not now inhabited.
Inscriptions (as above), Arrian, Curtius, Polybius, Pliny, Diod. Siculus, medieval and modern travelers.
W. St. Clair Tisdall