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The Heritage of Mesopotamia and the Ancient Near East

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Achaemenid royal investiture (1)

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01 Religious and ideological doctrines and imagery

01 Religious and ideological doctrines and imagery

08 Administrative systems

initiation rites
2nd century CE
Roman Empire
Helleno-Roman philosophers and scholars

The Mesopotamian pattern of Achaemenid royal investiture is seen in the presence of a goddess who like Ištar has a warlike character and also has a role in bestowing divine investiture to the Achaemenid king.

Plutarch, Artaxerxes 3:
It was not long after the decease of Darius that the king, his successor (= Artaxerxes), went to Pasargadae, to have the ceremony of his inauguration consummated by the Persian priests. There is a temple dedicated to a warlike goddess, whom one might liken to Minerva, into which when the royal person to be initiated has passed, he must strip himself of his own robe, and put on that which Cyrus the first wore before he was king; then, having devoured a frail of figs, he must eat turpentine, and drink a cup of sour milk. To which if they superadd any other rites, it is unknown to any but those that are present at them.

Source (list of abbreviations) (source links will open in a new browser window)
Plutarch, Artaxerxes 3


Gnoli 1974, 32-33Gnoli, Gh. “Politica religiosa e concezione della regalità sotto gli Achemenidi.” In: Gururajaman͂jarika. Studi in onore di Giuseppe Tucci. Vol. 1. Napels: Istituto Universitario Orientale 1974, 23-88.

Andrea Piras

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