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Lead book review

Darius III: Alexander’s stooge

The last ruler of the Persian empire will always be eclipsed by his famous adversary Alexander the Great, according to a review of Darius by Pierre Briant

14 February 2015

9:00 AM

14 February 2015

9:00 AM

Imagining Xerxes: Ancient Perspectives on a Persian King Emma Bridges

Bloomsbury, pp.256, £65

Darius: In the Shadow of Alexander Pierre Briant, translated by Jane Marie Todd

Harvard, pp.579, £25

In 1891, George Nathaniel Curzon, ‘the very superior person’ of the mocking Balliol rhyme, and future viceroy of India, arrived at Persepolis. Torched in 330 BC by Alexander the Great, it had once been the nerve-centre of an empire that stretched from the Aegean to the Hindu Kush. For Curzon, whose tour of Iran had already taken him all over the country, the ruins of the great palace were a particular highlight.

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'Imagining Xerxes', £58 and 'Darius: In the Shadow of Alexander', £22.50 are available from the Spectator Bookshop, Tel: 08430 600033.

Tom Holland’s books include Rubicon, Persian Fire and
In the Shadow of the Sword.

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