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Iranian Director to Produce Documentary on Darius’ Headless Statue


24 July 2004



  Picture Courtesy of Koorosh Nozad

(Click to enlarge)

An Iranian documentary maker plans to produce a film about the story of a decapitated statue of the Iranian emperor Darius the Great (580-529 B.C.).

A group of French archaeologists unearthed the statue in 1971 in the historical city of Susa, southwestern Iran. It is decapitated, but no one is certain about its reason. Now Ard Atapour has decided to make a documentary about the discovery and its ensuing events. Pivotal to his film would be the story of the archaeologists who made dug out the statue of Darius I Hystapspes, the great king of the Achaemenid dynasty.

There are some theories explaining the decapitation, from people’s outburst of resentment towards Persian monarchs to a devastating earthquake.

Darius the Great raised to the throne of the Persian Empire by defeating Geomata, who claimed to be Smerdis the brother of Cambayses (both were sons of Cyrus the Great), and assumed the power while Cambyses was in Egypt.. 

Darius after gaining control of the empire, revolutionized Iranian economy by placing it on a silver and gold coinage system. Other accomplishments of Darius's reign included establishment of first postal service in he world, codification of the data, a universal legal system upon which much of later Iranian law would be based, and construction of a new capital at Persepolis, where vassal states would offer their yearly tribute at the festival celebrating the spring equinox. In its art and architecture, Persepolis reflected Darius's perception of himself as the leader of conglomerates of people to whom he had given a new and single identity.




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