The Persian Empire
A Historical Encyclopedia
by Mehrdad Kia
June 2016, 722pp, 7x10
2 volumes, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-61069-390-5
$218, £162, 182€, A312
eBook Available: 978-1-61069-391-2
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Persia was once the largest empire in the world.

This well-balanced reference on ancient Persia demonstrates the region's contributions to the growth and development of human civilization from the 7th century BCE through the fall of the Persian Sasanian Empire in 651CE.

Knowledge of ancient Persia is often gleaned from the writings of the ancient Greeks and Romans—two civilizations that viewed the Persians as enemies. This one-of-a-kind reference provides unbiased coverage of the cultural history of the Persian Empire, examining the Median, Achaemenid, Parthian, Kushan, and Sasanian dynasties and tracing the development and maturation of Iranian societies during a period of nearly 1,500 years. As one of the most comprehensive studies on the topic, this historical overview explores the region’s rich past while providing insight into the cultures and civilizations the Persians came to rule and influence.

Using primary sources written and inscribed by the ancient Persians themselves, the encyclopedia studies the pre-Islamic civilizations of Iran in the Middle East, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. Incorporating contributions from scholars who discuss the rise and fall of various Persian dynasties, the work offers some 180 entries that cover such topics as religion, royal nobility, the caste system, and political assassinations. The content offers perspectives from a variety of disciplines—from anthropology to archaeology, geography, and art history, among other areas.


  • Provides coverage of major events in ancient Persian history from the formation of the Median empire in the 7th century BCE to 65 CE
  • Includes photographs of various historical and archeological sites dating back to various periods of ancient Persian history
Mehrdad Kia, PhD, is professor of Middle Eastern and North African history and director of the Central and Southwest Asian Studies Center at the University of Montana. His published works include Greenwood's Daily Life in the Ottoman Empire as well as Modern Middle East Authoritarianism: Roots, Ramifications, and Crisis and The Ottoman Empire. Kia holds a doctorate in Middle Eastern and North African history from University of Wisconsin-Madison.


2017 Best Historical Materials —RUSA, January 1, 2017


"This book is a good reference for high school and college students who are interested in Persian rulers and dynastic histories."—Booklist, September 6, 2016

"A useful introduction for beginning researchers at all levels. Summing Up: Recommended. High school, community college, and undergraduate students; general readers."—Choice, March 1, 2017

"This is a particularly useful volume that will assist researchers wishing to further develop their knowledge of a very ancient and fascinating culture."—Reference Reviews, December 8, 2017
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