By Ernst E. - Herzfeld
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Extra info for Archaeological History of Iran : The Schweich Lectures of The British Academy
The m y t h is the only reality; Herodotus interpreted i t rational istically, but wrongly, as the town Agbatana. A description of the real Agbatana is given by Polybius x. 27. 6. 1 I t dates from the time of Antiochos I I I the Great, c. 209 B . C . Every detail is credible, none exaggerated. Agbatana had no walls at all, only the citadel was astonishingly strong. Below was the palace area, seven stadia i n circumference, or little more than three-quarters of a mile, and smaller than Persepolis, of which the terrace alone measures more than 1 mile.
Such an interpretation w o u l d be i n accordance w i t h the monuments and the coins. The temple of Persepolis is not the work of Greeks; i t is entirely Iranian. But i n view of its Greek inscriptions we must assign to i t a date as near as possible to the time of Alexander himself; for the nearest analogy to the script of the votive stones is found i n Alexander's own inscriptions at Ephesos. T h e date supports the theory that the national party came to power directly after Asklepiodoros, still before 3 0 0 B .
Therefore the arrangement o f the seven steps reappears i n the temple of Pasargadae. The graduated terraces exist; the design of the small flights of steps is only probable; the small house o n the summit is an assumption i n analogy to the neighbouring tomb of Cyrus. The similarity of the whole justifies the assumption o f analogy i n the detail. T w o tombs, constructed i n huge square stones, the 'prison PRE-ACHAEMENIAN AND ACHAEMENIAN EPOCHS 35 of Solomon' i n Pasargadae and the Ka'aba of Zardusht at Naqsh i Rustam, represent a t h i r d house w i t h the shape of a tower.