Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
Immortals from Susa
period to 1979 Iranian Revolution
Persepolis imperial Guards, the Immortals stand guard at
the world’s major museums. They stand for the Iranians
steadfastness and Aryan blood, keeping close watch for
thousands of year over the largest Iranian heritage which
lies on the foothills of the Rahmat mountain near Shiraz,
the capital of the southern province of Fars.
The Europeans, in particular the Orientalists, were drawn
to the Iranian cultural and historical heritage as the archaeologists
began explorations in Iran, specially in the
The Persepolis was among places highly attractive to many Orientalists
and foreign archaeologists. Built some six centuries B.C.,
the elaborate complex was at times a prodigious, royal
palace and at times a sprawling ruin. Many globe trotters
such as Marco Polo visited the site and wrote about it in
their memoirs, thus drawing ever more people towards it.
Then a number of foreign archaeologists began transferring
parts of the Persepolis to their own countries under this
pretext that Iranians lacked the ability to preserve them.
Parts of the Persepolis walls and columns accounted for a
considerable volume of the shipments.
They ended up in major world museums like the British
Museum, Louvre, Metropolitan Museum and the Oriental
Institute in the University of Chicago.
In its Iran’s past hall, the British Museum holds some
valuable pieces of the Apadana palace in the Persepolis.
The entrance to the hall is decorated with a relief from
the Achaemenid palace in Susa, showing in mosaic an
Achaemenid imperial Immortal guard. A few small pieces
from the Apadana palace walls depicting imperial guards
feature in its pre-Islamic period showcase.
Parts of the Apadana wall feature on the Iranian section
of the Louvre. Iran’s treasury at the Metropolitan holds
a relief of a Mede soldier and a slave carrying presents.
The slab measures 64.8x86.5 and is believed to be taken
from the Persepolis.
The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago is in
possession of a cow head detached from a Persepolis
column. It was taken to the institute by its archaeologists
for restoration but was never returned. It is among the
most precious Persepolis pieces held in museums abroad.
These are just a small number of relics from the Iranian
cultural and historical treasury which now decorate
is the Light on the Path to Future"
British Institute of Persian Studies