From c. 550-330 BCE, the Achaemenid Persian Empire stretched from the Aegean to the Indus, from Egypt to the Central Asian Republics -- the largest sociopolitical entity the world had ever seen, only brought to its knees by the conquest of Alexander the Great. What was the impact of the empire on the peoples of Anatolia (modern Turkey) at the western edge of its reaches? This talk examines imperially significant behaviors such as government strategies, controlling and protecting the western reaches of the empire, drinking and dining, dealing with the dead, and worshiping the gods. Intensive investigation of archaeological and literary sources shows that the Achaemenid administration, with its seats in Iran, exerted tremendous authority over particular aspects of living in Anatolia while allowing great autonomy in other aspects. The talk illuminates Persian might and imperial strategy as well as local culture and resistance.
Professor Elspeth Dusinberre (Ph.D. Michigan 1997) teaches primarily Greek and Near Eastern archaeology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She has been awarded seven University of Colorado teaching awards and the Faculty Graduate Advisor Award. Dr. Dusinberre is interested in cultural interactions in Anatolia, particularly in the ways in which the Achaemenid Empire affected local social structures and in the give-and-take between Achaemenid and other cultures. Her first book, Aspects of Empire in Achaemenid Sardis (Cambridge 2003), examines such issues from the vantage of the Lydian capital, while her third book, Empire, Authority, and Autonomy in Achaemenid Anatolia (Cambridge forthcoming) considers all of Anatolia. Her second book is a diachronic excavation monograph, Gordion Seals and Sealings: Individuals and Society (Philadelphia 2005). 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. She has worked at Sardis, Gordion, and Kerkenes Dag in Turkey, as well as at sites elsewhere in the eastern Mediterranean.
The lecture will take place on Sunday, October 15, 2012, at the Tattered Cover Bookstore (16th and Wynkoop). It will begin at 2:00 p.m., and is free and open to the public.