Elspeth Dusinberre, chair and professor of classics at the University of Colorado-Boulder, will lecture on “Power and the Ideal in the Ancient Persian Empire” at the Nashville Parthenon on Tuesday, March 1, at 6 pm. Her lecture will explore the glories and practices, the rhetoric and realities, of the ancient Persian Empire.
When Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire in 330 BCE, he encountered a huge and varied administrative system that was focused on the figure of the King. The power and wealth of Persia were legendary, and with good reason: the Persian Empire, which lasted for more than two centuries (ca. 550-330 BCE), was the largest and most powerful sociopolitical entity the world had ever seen. It affected the ways people ate and drank and how they dealt with their dead, their own self-expression, and their worship.
Dusinberre (PhD, Michigan 1997) is interested in cultural interactions in Anatolia, particularly the ways in which the Achaemenid Persian Empire (ca. 550-330 BCE) affected local social structures and in the give-and-take between Achaemenid and other cultures. The Archaeological Institute of America presented the 2015 James R. Wiseman Book Award to Dusinberre for Empire, Authority, and Autonomy in Achaemenid Anatolia (Cambridge and New York 2013), which considers all of Anatolia under Persian rule and proposes a new model for understanding imperialism.
She is currently studying the seal impressions on the Aramaic tablets of the Persepolis Fortification Archive (dating ca. 500 BCE), and the cremation burials from Gordion, in addition to other projects at Gordion and Sardis. She has worked at Sardis, Gordion, and Kerkenes Dağ in Turkey, as well as at sites elsewhere in the eastern Mediterranean.
Dusinberre teaches primarily Greek and Near Eastern archaeology at the University of Colorado-Boulder. She is a President’s Teaching Scholar and has received twelve University of Colorado teaching awards.
Free and open to the public, her lecture is sponsored by the Nashville Society of the Archaeological Institute of America, the Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial Park, and Vanderbilt’s Department of Classical Studies. Those who plan to attend the AIA lecture on March 1 are encouraged to call the Nashville Parthenon at 615.862.8431 to reserve a seat.
Persian Archers, glazed brick from the Palace of Darius I at Susa, ca. 500 BCE, Pergamon Museum, Berlin, Germany