The art of ancient Persia first appeared in prehistoric times and subsequently came under the influence of a series of Mesopotamian empires that ruled over western Asia. Because Persian art was produced by a number of civilizations over more than a millennia it is far from uniform, but certain themes such as the hunt and the glorification of the kings and rulers are prevalent. The empires and cultures we typically identify with Persia include the Medes (ca. 10th – 6th century B.C.), the Achaemenids (ca. 6th – 4th century B.C.), the Parthians (ca. 3rd century BC – 3rd century A.D.) and the Sassanians (ca. 3rd – 7th centuries A.D.). The Medes settled in central and western Iran after their arrival in the region at the end of the second millenium B.C. and the beginning of the first millenium B.C. From ca. 900 to 600 B.C. the Medes fell under the domination of the Neo-Assyrian empire based in Mesopotamia. After the fall of this Assyrian empire about 600 B.C. a unified Median state was formed and became a major power in the Near East. The Median kingdom itself was conquered in 550 B.C. by Cyrus the Great who established the Achaemenid Persian empire. This empire was the largest the ancient world had seen, extending from Anatolia and Egypt across western Asia to northern India and central Asia. The massive empire prospered until 330 B.C. when it was overcome by the armies of Alexander III (the Great). This led to the eventual establishment of the Parthian empire formed by a semi-nomadic tribe, the Parni, who had conquered the district of Parthia near the Caspian Sea and eventually became the dominant power in the Near East. Establishing a primary residence on the Tigris River in southern Mesopotamia, Parthian kings ruled for almost half a millennium until they were overthrown by Sasanian armies from southwestern Iran in the early 3rd century A.D. The Sasanians viewed themselves as successors of the Achaemenid Persians, and at its greatest extent their empire stretched from the Euphrates to the Indus River and included modern-day Armenia and Georgia. Eventually weakened by tribal movements in Central Asia, internal revolts, and wars with the Byzantine empire, Arab forces defeated the Sasanian armies in 642.
Achaemenid Bronze Plaque of a Mythological Horse
Item Sold
Achaemenid Ceremonial Phiale
Levantine Bronze Deity
Luristan Bronze Female Deity
Persian Silver Pin in the shape of a Horse
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