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Publisher's Summary

A stunning portrait of the magnificent splendor and enduring legacy of ancient Persia 

The Achaemenid Persian kings ruled over the largest empire of antiquity, stretching from Libya to the steppes of Asia and from Ethiopia to Pakistan. From the palace-city of Persepolis, Cyrus the Great, Darius, Xerxes, and their heirs reigned supreme for centuries until the conquests of Alexander of Macedon brought the empire to a swift and unexpected end in the late 330s BCE.  

In Persians, historian Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones tells the epic story of this dynasty and the world it ruled. Drawing on Iranian inscriptions, cuneiform tablets, art, and archaeology, he shows how the Achaemenid Persian Empire was the world’s first superpower—one built, despite its imperial ambition, on cooperation and tolerance. This is the definitive history of the Achaemenid dynasty and its legacies in modern-day Iran, a book that completely reshapes our understanding of the ancient world.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2022 Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones (P)2022 Basic Books
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

“There is a long legacy of misinformation around ancient Persian empires, the lives of its leaders, and greater Persian society. However, by examining the artifacts and monuments that remain, historian Llewellyn-Jones brings forth a view of ancient Persia that is rich in tradition and historical significance.”—Library Journal
“Immersive… Llewellyn-Jones expertly illuminates the decentralized, multicultural nature of the Achaemenid empire and offers valuable perspective on the modern Middle East, where the great kings of ancient Persia still feature in Iran’s national self-image. This is a valuable contribution to the understanding of ‘history’s first great superpower.’—Publishers Marketplace
“This is an engaging, pacy account of the Persian Empire which is based on a rich range of sources. Going right up to the use of Cyrus the Great in modern Iran, the ‘Persian Version’ on which Professor Lloyd-Jones focuses has much to tell us about how different cultures create history and use it to tell their stories.”—Helen King, professor emerita, Classical Studies, The Open University

What listeners say about Persians

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Good History and Historiography

Good counter to the multiple Histories on Classical Greece.
It’s hard to see the Persians when most of our sources on them are Greek.
This book attempts to amend that. The author is clearly passionate about the topic and this shows in his book.
I wanted a good book on the Persian Empire in Audible format and that is what this book is.

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A blissful, white-washed history of Persia

The author makes no pretense of presenting an objective history. Any comparisons with other empires or cultures are flawed and based on a unsophisticated, stereotypical, pejorative view of those cultures.

Some chapters are really good, but any time the author returns to his pro-Persian, anti-Western themes, he undermines those.

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good but not great

The information given is great and given well. The book comes off as somewhat apologist at times however. There is very much a sense of "yeah well the west did worse things than the Persians." There is a definite feeling that history is one-sided when it comes to the Persians and I mostly agree with that. But to paint them as a peaceful empire is a little too revisionist for me.
Sure they didn't force their own beliefs on conquered peoples but make no mistake they were conquered. The Persians violently absorbed their neighbors and we're brutal in their ability to keep there subjects in line and in Empire. Not really a peaceful way of doing things.

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Amazing!

Reign by Reign history the Persian Kings from Cyrus the Great to Darius III.

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Great Book

This was a great book that took you through the history of Persian Empire. Anyone who loves Ancient history will want to listen to this book.

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Well-performed historical account

So interesting as history, balances the Greek-oriented ancient history I’d learned before, and brings lots of human details into the narrative of political and military events. Also, the author does a great job of reading his book with nuance and variety.