(Περσέπολις; Persepolis). This city is mentioned only once in the Bible, namely, in 2 Macc. 9:2, where it is said that Antiochus Epiphanes "entered [a city] called Persepolis, and went about to rob the temple and to hold the city; "but the inhabitants defending themselves, Antiochus was ignominiously put to flight. Persepolis was the capital of Persia at the time of the invasion of Alexander the Great, who, as is well known, wantonly burned it, as has been supposed at the suggestion of the courtesan Thais, to revenge the taking of Athens by Xerxes, but this story probably rests on the sole authority of Cleitarchus (Cleitarch. ap. Athen. 13, p. 576 e; Diod. Sic. 17:71, 2, 3; 72, 6; Plutarch, in Alex. 38 Quint. Curt. v. 7, 3). According to some authors, the whole city, as well as the magnificent palace, suffered in the general conflagration (Diod. Sic. l. c.; Arrian, 3:18, 11; Pliny, H. N. 6:26); but according to others it was only the palace (τὸ βασίλειον) that was destroyed (Strabo, xv, p. 730; Plutarch, in Alex. 38). Quintus Curtius (v. 7, 5) mentions that the palace was built with a great quantity of cedar, which increased the ardor of the flames. It is probable that the temples, which were of stone, escaped. That it could have been entirely destroyed seems hardly credible, for not only was it existing in the time of Antigonus, king of Asia (B.C. 306), who visited the palace himself (Diod. Sic. 19:46, 6), but at the same period Peucestas and Eumenes, formerly generals of Alexander, and now antagonists of Antigonus, both visited Persepolis, and the latter moved his camp there and; held it as the seat of government (προῆγον τῆς Περσίδος εἰς Περσέπολιν τὸ βασίλειον, Diod. Sic. 19:21, 2; 22, 1). From this it would appear that the city itself was called τὸ βασίλειον. Moreover, at the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, as recorded above (2 Maccabees 9:2), it seems to have still been a repository of treasure; and Ptolemy (Geog. 6:44; 8:5, 13) mentions it as existing in his time. The extensive ruins now remaining would prove that it must either have been rebuilt or not totally destroyed by Alexander. It does not seem to have long survived the blow inflicted upon it by Alexander; for after the time of Antiochus Epiphanes it disappears altogether from history as an inhabited place. Persepolis has been considered by many as identical with Pasargadae (Niebuhr, Lect. on Ant. Hist. 1:115; Ousely, Travels, 2:6, 18), and in one passage of an ancient author there is some obscurity (Arrian, 3:18, 11), but the two cities are afterwards distinguished (7:1, 1). All other ancient authors, however, carefully distinguish the position of the two cities (Strabo, 15, p. 729; Pliny, 6:26; Ptol. 6:4), and it is now ascertained that the ruins of these two cities are more than forty miles apart. Persepolis was situated on the plains of Merdusht, near the junction of two streams, the Araxes (Bendamir) and the Medus (Pulwan), while Pasargadee was about forty-nine miles from Persepolis on the plain of Murghab, where even now exist the ruins of the tomb of Cyrus (Arrian, 6:29). The ruins of Persepolis, which are very extensive, bear the name of Chehel Minar, or "Forty Pillars," the remains of the palaces built by Darius, son of Hystaspes, and his son Xerxes. The city seems to have stood at the foot of the rock on which these ruins are placed. Three groups are chiefly distinguishable in the vast ruins existing on the spot. First, the Chehel Minar (Forty Pillars), with the Mountain of the Tombs (Rachmed), also called Takht-i-Jamshid, or the structure of Jamshid, after some fabulous ancient king, popularly supposed to be the founder of Persepolis. The next in order is Naksh-i-Rustam, to the north- west, with its tombs; and the last, the building called the Haram of Jamshid. The most important is the first group, situated on a vast terrace of cyclopean masonry at the foot of a lofty mountain-range. The extent of this terrace is about 1500 feet from north to south, and about 800 from east to west, and it was, according to Diodorus Siculus, once surrounded by a triple wall of 16, 32, and 60 cubits respectively in height, for the threefold purpose of giving strength, inspiring awe, and defense. The whole internal area is further divided into three terraces-the lowest towards the south; the central being 800 feet square, and rising 45 feet above the plain; and the third, the northern, about 550 feet long, and 35 feet high. No traces of structures are to be found on the lowest platform; on the northern, only the so-called "Propyleea" of Xerxes; but the central platform seems to have been occupied by the foremost structures, which again, however, do not all appear to have stood on the same level. There are distinguished here the so-called "Great Hall of Xerxes" (called Chehel Minar, by way of eminence), the Palace of Xerxes, and the Palace of Darius, towering one above the other in successive elevations from the ground. The stone used for the buildings is darkgray marble, cut into gigantic square blocks, and in many cases exquisitely polished. The ascent from the plain to the great northern platform is formed by two double flights, the steps of which are nearly 22 feet wide, 83 inches high, and 15 inches in the tread, so that several travelers have been able to ascend them on horseback. What are called the Propylaea of Xerxes on this platform are two masses of stone-
work, which probably formed an entrance-gateway for foot-passengers, paved with gigantic slabs of polished marble. Portals, still standing, bear figures of animals 15 feet high, closely resembling the Assyrian bulls of Nineveh. The building itself, conjectured to have been a hall 82 feet square, is, according to the cuneiform inscriptions, as interpreted by Rawlinson, the work of Xerxes. An expanse of 162 feet divides this platform from the central one, still bearing many of those columns of the Hall of Xerxes from which the ruins have taken their name. The staircase leading up to the Chehel Minar, or Forty Pillars, is, if possible, still more magnificent than the first; and the walls are more superbly decorated with sculptures, representing colossal warriors with spears, gigantic bulls, combats with wild beasts, processions, and the like; while broken capitals, shafts, pillars, and countless fragments of buildings, with cuneiform inscriptions, cover the whole vast space of this platform, 350 feet from north to south, and 380 from east to west. The Great Hall of Xerxes, perhaps the largest and most magnificent structure the world has ever seen, is computed to have been a rectangle of about 300 X 350 feet, and to have consequently covered 105,000 square feet, or 2.5 acres. The pillars were arranged in four divisions, consisting of a center group six deep every way, and an advanced body of twelve in two ranks, the same number flanking the center. Fifteen columns are all that now remain of the number. Their form is very beautiful. Their height is 60 feet, the circumference of the shaft 16, the length from the capital to the torus, 44 feet. The shaft is finely fluted in 52 divisions: at its lower extremity begin a cincture and a torus, the first two inches in depth, and the latter one foot, from whence devolves the pedestal, shaped like the cup and leaves of the pendent lotus, the capitals having been surmounted by the double semi-bull. Behind the Hall of Xerxes was the so-called Hall of Hundred Columns, to the south of which are indications of another structure, which Fergusson terms the Central Edifice. Next along the west front stood the Palace of Darius, and to the south the Palace, of Xerxes, measuring about 86 feet square, similarly decorated, and of similar grand proportions. For a further and more minute description, see Le Bruyn, Voy. au Levant, 4:301; Chardin, 2:140; Niebuhr, Reise in Arabien, etc., 2:121; Sir R. K. Porter, Travels, 1:576; Heeren, Asiatic Nations, 1:91; Rich, Residence in Kurdistan, 2:218-222; Fergusson, Palaces of Nineveh and Persepolis Restored, p. 89; Vaux, Nineveh and Persepolis, p. 360; Ussher, A Journey from London to Persepolis, p. 532, etc. Persepolis is about four miles from Istakhr, the earliest occurrence of which name appears on a coin of the Mohammedan conquerors of Persia, struck at this place A.H. 94 =A.D. 712; and as, according to Mr. Fergusson, "Pasargadae had been the royal residence of the Achaemenidne [βασίλειον ἀρχαῖον, Strabo, 15:3, 7], so Persepolis became the new town when Darius removed to Istakhr — the latter having been, in all ages subsequent, the city par excellence" (Fergusson, p. 92; Vaux, Nin. and Pers. p. 397, 401). It is curious that, while Herodotus and other ancient writers mention Susa, Babylon, and Ecbatana, no contemporary author mentions Persepolis; and moreover they "mark the portions of the year which the Persian monarchs used to spend at their several residences in such a manner as to leave no portion of the year vacant for Persepolis" (Heeren, Asiatic Nations, 1:92). Atheneus (Deipnosoph. 12:513, F), however, says that the Persian kings resided at Persepolis during the autumn of each year; but statements of other writers (Xenoph. Cyrop. 8:6, 22; Plutarch, De Exil. 12:10) leave this uncertain. Notwithstanding, it cannot be doubted that it was a royal residence, and. as Strabo (xv, p. 729) states, after Susa, the richest city of the Persians. SEE PERSIA.
It is, however, to be observed that the expedition of Antiochus Epiphanes to Persia is very differently related in 1 Maccabees 6:1, 2. It is there stated that Antiochus, "having heard say that Elymais, in the country of Persia, was a city (ὅτι ἐστιν Ε᾿λυμα ϊvς ἐν τῇ Περσίδι πόλις; ὅτι ἐστιν ἐν Ε᾿λυμὲς ἐν τῇ Περσιδι πόλις, Cod. Alex.) greatly renowned for riches, silver, and gold, and that there was in it a very rich temple, wherein were coverings of gold, and breastplates and shields, which Alexander, son of Philip, the Macedonian king, who reigned first among the Grecians, had left there, came and sought to take the city and to spoil it," but was defeated in the attempt. This account is strictly followed by Josephus (Ant. 12:9, 1), who adds that it was the temple of Diana against which the expedition was made — a fact also recorded by Polybius (31:11), but by Appiain (Syr. 66) stated to have been the temple of Venus. These statements receive some confirmation from the temple of the goddess "Nanaea" being mentioned as visited by Antiochus (2 Maccabees 1:13-15). Nanaea has been identified with both Artemis and Aphrodite, and is evidently the Α᾿ναῖτις of Strabo (15, p. 532), the numnen patriunm of the Persians. Medes, and Armenians. (For an account of this deity, see Norris, in Roy. As. Soc. 15:161; Rawlinson, Herod. 1:634.) SEE NANAEA. It is quite evident that there is an error in the Maccabees and in Josephus, in both of which Elymais is called "a city," for all historians and geographers call it a province (Smith, Dict. of Class. Biog. s.v. Elymais), and it is even so particularized in the Cod. Alex.; and Strabo especially (16, p. 744), who mentions three temples-of Belus, Minerva, and Diana, called Azara-does not place them in the city of Elymais, but at different places in the country of the Elymaeans. It was the temple of Belus that was attacked by Antiochus the Great in B.C. 187, when he was killed by the people, who rose in its defense (Strabo, l.c. 16:1, 18; Diod. Sic. 29:15; comp. 28:3; Justin, 32, ch. 2), against the opinion of Aurelius Victor (De Viris Illust. 54), who says he was slain by his attendants during the carousals. Taking the following facts into consideration —
1. That Persepolis, according to the account of most historians, was utterly destroyed, and all the treasures carried away;
2. that the expedition of Antiochus Epiphanes thereto is only recorded in the 2d Maccabees;
3. that Antiochus's father had already made an attack on the temple of Elymais, which was perhaps a judgment, for the, soon to do the same;
4. that the expedition to Elymais and to its temple — the deity of which is named — is not only mentioned in the 1st and 2d Maccabees, but is also recorded by Polybius and Appian — it seems more probable that it was against an Elynocean temple that Antiochus Epiphanes directed his attack, an opinion that has been already advanced by Grimm (Kurzgef. exeg. Handb. zu den Apokr.). See Rawlinson, Anc. Monarchies, 4:237 sq.; North Amer. Rev. 1836, p. 7. SEE ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES.