In the Active Voice (Routledge Revivals): Volume 1

La estrella mas brillante is a crossword puzzle clue. City daily · ___ de México ( Mexico City daily) · "The sun," in Spanish · It shines in España.

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Deudermont ultimately finds his end during the battle for the city against the high captains, killed by the most powerful, Kensidan, who uses his cloak to turn into a large crow with razor sharp talons and beak, and strikes a fatal blow before the pirate Maimun came to stop Kensidan from finishing the captain off. Though Maimun attempted to console the captain for what he believed damning choices made he had made for Luskan and its people, he ultimately dies with regret and guilt.

Cireka is a character in Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone. She is the general of a Githyanki army who wishes to take over the realms. She uses a powerful sword that can transport matter between planes. Ygorl wishes to take this sword from her. Little is known about the history of this character.

The Companions of the Hall are created by R. The Cowled Wizards are a secret organization based in the city of Athkatla. Their main job is to find and destroy "deviant" wizards and sorcerers , and are completely separate from the ruling Council of Six in Athkatla. Nobody is aware of their numbers, or power, though they keep an asylum called Spellhold on the island of Brynnlaw , where they house their offenders.

Although they are feared in Amn , they are tolerated because the general populace fears rogue wizards and sorcerers more. The Cult of the Dragon is a semi- religious evil organization. The cult worships dragons , believing they will rule the world in the future and will keep them as monarchs next in line. Sammaster , a mage of considerable prowess, founded the cult. The cult schemes to create undead dragons, mainly the dracolich.

Danica Maupoissant is a monk , and was created by author R. Danica has an unruly mop of strawberry blonde hair and soft brown almond-shaped eyes, the heritage of her oriental mother. She has a merry, twinkling smile. Standing only 5 feet tall and weighing just pounds, she does not appear much of a threat. Those who have failed to notice her well-toned muscles have discovered otherwise.

Danica is an interesting personality mix. She is quite rigid and lawful, as she must be to follow the disciplined training of Grandmaster Penpahg D'Ahn. And she absolutely loathes things that are evil, yet she also has a strong streak of independence and ruthlessness. It was Danica who urged Cadderly to kill the sorceress Dorigen when she was down and helpless, and who was upset when Cadderly did not do so.

She wants to be loved by Cadderly as much as she loves him. Although she is physically attracted to him, she loves him most not for his appearance, but for the warmth of his heart and the truth of his soul. Unfortunately for her, it is those same qualities that have prompted Cadderly to devote his life to building his cathedral. He has elected to serve his deity before all other goals, including her. She respects his decision, but nonetheless feels a grievous sense of loss in her own life. If someone can befriend Danica, he will find no one more loyal or trusting. But she expects the same loyalty in return, and will deck a double-crosser without a second thought.

Danica begins each morning with a series of stretching exercises and meditative techniques that clears her mind. If someone needs a shave, she can pull out her twin crystal daggers and whirl about in a series of fast, whipping motions that neatly slices off all stubble without a trace of bleeding. She has mixed feelings about the use of magic.

Any magic that is used to control another being absolutely horrifies her. On the other hand, when Cadderly cast wind walk on her, she found the experience exhilarating and laughed like a schoolgirl. Someone who offers to cast a fly spell or similar magic on Danica could gain her favor quickly. Someone who gives her a magical item that enables her to fly could win a friend for life. In combat Danica is occasionally reckless, charging forward with abandon.

Sometimes she laughs and shrieks, "There are only ten of them! It is unknown whether this is to embolden herself or to unnerve her enemies or perhaps both. What is certain is that she can throw her enchanted daggers on the run and then get embroiled in melee with a whirling array of circle kicks, high kicks, back kicks, elbow smashes, and forceful hacks with the heels and sides of her hands. She can jab a finger into the limb of an opponent and paralyze it. This is known as "Withering Touch". Using her hands and feet is her preferred mode of combat, but against more powerful opponents, such as undead, she uses her enchanted crystal daggers.

Even if prone, she can lash out with a vicious kick and spring to her feet in a flash. Foes using ranged weapons against her can get frustrated, as she can easily slap aside arrows, bolts, spears, and other missiles as long as she can see them coming. She has the monk skill of 'iron skull' which allows her to break a large block of solid stone using her head—she once shattered an ogre's ribcage by imagining it as a stone block. Her mastery of the monk's arts has long since been taken to what she saw as the ultimate expression of personal control—the ability to suspend one's own animation, without magical aid of any sort, and then revive at will.

Danica was raised in her early years in Westgate, the daughter of a wagoneer and his wife of Eastern ancestry. Her parents were killed however by Night Masks assassins, and Danica underwent tutelage in combat arts under a disciple of Penpahg D'Ahn, and eventually found herself at the Edificant Library as well beside Cadderly Bonaduce to complete her training through the texts of the venerated master.

Danica and Cadderly were in love almost from first sight, and consummated their love after the battle of Shilmista Forest when Cadderly arrived in Carradoon. Cadderly had left the war to find his own answers, and Danica quickly came after him. After a series of battles with the Night Masks, she joined him in seeking out Castle Trinity, source of the evil chaos curse.

Facing magical monsters, the red dragon Fyrentennimar , and the soldiers of the castle, Danica accompanied Cadderly up until his confrontation with his father, Aballister Bonaduce. Returning to the Edificant Library, Danica found it under the control of Kierkan Rufo, who had become a vampire by ingesting the liquid form of the chaos curse. Beaten by Rufo and his undead horde, she was taken prisoner.

Rufo attempted to turn her into his queen, but she was able to escape his thirst for blood by employing the ultimate technique of Penpahg D'Ahn: suspended animation. Sadly, Danica was then forced to watch for five years as Cadderly gave up his own life force to construct the Spirit Soaring cathedral, making him an old man. Her only comfort was that she conceived and bore twins during this time. Another bright side was that as time went on, she became pregnant again as Cadderly began growing younger again.

Catti-brie found a kindred spirit in Danica when she and Drizzt Do'Urden came to the Spirit Soaring in search of Cadderly, needing his power to commune with the demon Errtu. The two talked, and became quite friendly before Catti-brie was forced to leave. Still later, Danica accompanied Cadderly on his quest to destroy Crenshinibon. She found a natural anti-thesis in the form of Artemis Entreri , who was in the company of Jarlaxle Baenre.

After a grueling battle against both the red dragon Hephestus and the drow band Bregan D'aerthe , they succeeded, but shortly thereafter parted ways. He is often portrayed as an inept dandy, bard and nobleman that blunders into the most inopportune situations. However, in reality, he is a skilled magician and a crafty adversary, trained by none other than Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun himself.

Danilo is a young below thirty winters, during the events of Elfsong Waterdhavian nobleman, and aspiring bard. At six feet tall, he stands about three inches taller than Arilyn Moonblade as stated in Elfsong. He has wavy shoulder-length pale blond hair. However, even among the nobles, Danilo's choice of clothing is considered "extravagantly ridiculous". He commonly wears clothes that suit his theme as a dandy and dilettante — from suits of purple which Arilyn Moonblade says make him look like a "walking grape", to the "Ruathym Adventurer garb" he once wore. Whatever he wears, he can consistently be found wearing the height of fashion among the nobles of Waterdeep.

In addition, he carries a complete wardrobe's worth of clothing in his bag of holding , as well as "enough jewelry to bedeck a harem". Danilo, when faced by the public, acts like a complete fool. There are moments of intelligence within his mask as a dandy, but very few notice the truth of the matter. Danilo, despite his canny intelligence and skill in subterfuge — is actually quite reckless, a fact brought to because of his alternate "dandy" ego this is evidenced through his naughty pranks and reckless magical experiments.

There are times when Danilo completely forgets his true self and fully reverts into the comfortable guise of the fool. However, when faced with the truly important, Danilo becomes a serious and calculating genius, and a very dangerous adversary. Danilo is a very skilled magician, one whom Khelben had considered his probable heir and his apprentice with the most potential. His skill with magic is such that he mastered the art of Spellsong in just a few days, he was able to charm a magically resistant dragon to slumber, and his illusionary pranks that get his uncle Khelben each time.

His magical skills include prismatic displays of light, fireballs, spells of invisibility, scrying and various charm spells. Aside from his magic, Danilo is also well versed with subterfuge, disguise, and manipulation. Although less of a pragmatist than his Uncle Khelben, Danilo is still skilled in manipulating the political and social threads in any given situation. His degree of expertise is as such that when he engaged the crime lord Elaith Craulnober in a verbal sparring match — it ended as a draw.

Dionysus devotees march through Athens celebrating 'Phallephoria'

His skill may arguably be even better than a drow's — since he once tricked the drow princess, Liriel Baenre crafty even among her people into revealing more than she wished to. Danilo Thann was always considered the "young dandy" in the house of Thann — as such, even his mother and father never takes him seriously. Despite this reputation, Danilo has been trained by several bardic tutors around the world, one for each bardic tradition. He has also been secretly trained by his uncle, Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun. To the public, Danilo is a novice mage who never seemed to have progressed past some parlor tricks to amuse the nobility — and well known for many unintentional magical mishaps.

The truth of the matter, however, is he is an extremely capable wizard — enough to make Khelben consider him as his most promising apprentice. During the events of the Harper Assassin in the novel, Elfshadow, Danilo met the half-elven adventurer Arilyn Moonblade — inflicted by the unfortunate label of "assassin". Initially accepting the mission due to Arilyn's unsurpassed beauty — he soon grew more attached and involved in the events. He arranged to be kidnapped for his horses.

The relationship that started as kidnapper Arilyn and captive Danilo soon fostered into true friendship, and later on, true love. It is also in this event that Danilo first met the rogue elf, and future enemy and friend, Elaith Craulnober. Danilo was initially gifted the shared use of Arilyn's moonblade, but in the events following Silver Shadows — it was taken back by Arilyn, after realizing the gift would also curse Danilo to eternal servitude to the sword.

During the events of Elfsong, Danilo was forced to ally himself with his hated enemy, Elaith Craulnober — in order to answer a deadly riddle by the ancient green dragon, Grimnoshadrano. It is also here, that Danilo met and befriended Morgalla the Mirthful — one of those rare female dwarven bards, and Wyn Ashgrove, a powerful gold elven spellsinger who taught Danilo the sacred art of the Spellsong.

The ragtag group, calling themselves Music and Mayhem, was from the very beginning a group with divided loyalties — split between Elaith's quest to reactivate his Moonblade, and Danilo's quest to save Waterdeep. However, in the very end, Elaith and Danilo worked together to finally defeat the deadly enchantment and saved Waterdeep from ruin. Danilo is foremost married to Arilyn Moonblade , a half-elven granddaughter of Queen Amlaruil of Evermeet. They have adventured together and Danilo has pushed and manipulated Arilyn considerably to reconcile with her elven family and come to terms with her roots.

Danilo's father, Lord Thann, is largely impotent in the family business dealings, and prefers to live quietly off the proceeds that the Lady Cassandra Thann makes. The Lady is a formidable person in any respect, and disapproves of Danilo's various exploits to some degree. She has elven blood, but has never mentioned it, as there is some animosity towards elves in the Waterdhavian nobility. Danilo has five brothers, at least one sister named Judith, as well as a deceased half-sister, Lilly Thann.

Danilo has been named an elf-friend by the rogue Elaith Craulnober , and befriended the drow wizard Liriel Baenre. Dantrag is the amber-eyed former weapons master for House Baenre, fourth son of Yvonnel Baenre. Was considered second son during earlier novels [ clarification needed ] due to unknown circumstances which was later revealed in the Sellswords trilogy.

He wields two enchanted swords, one of them of drow make, one of them named Khazid'hea, forged in the lands above and possessed of its own personality and will. Dantrag also has a pair of bracers that increase the speed of his hands, allowing him to defeat many of his opponents by simply striking so fast that they cannot move fast enough to effectively counter. Initially, his superior speed gives him the advantage. Drizzt's superior skills and insight allow him to win even against this disadvantage, by figuring out the weaknesses in Dantrag's seemingly undefeatable fighting style. Drizzt realizes that Dantrag's magical speed is countered by understanding his predictability; moreover, Dantrag lacks a certain level of control, and is unable to improvise in the middle of one of his moves.

Eventually Dantrag is defeated and slain by Drizzt, who tells Dantrag that if he was able to defeat him, Zaknafein certainly would have as well. Drizzt takes possession of his bracers and gives Catti-brie the sword, Khazid'hea. Khazid'hea means "Cutter" in the drow dialect. Khazid'hea is a finely crafted blade that can cut through flesh, bone, armor, and even rock.

The blade itself is sentient, cunning and blood thirsty, and subtly projects "thoughts" into its wielder's head to manipulate their reasoning. When this happens, they may take excessive risks such as going into battle against impossible numbers until either their enemies, or they themselves lay dead. Also, whilst the battle is raging, the blade is capable of masking the wielder's injury-sense so that they will continue fighting to the death.

Khazid'hea is always hungry for blood and battle, and it is never sated. Khazid'hea has one desire: to be held by the greatest warrior. In efforts to do so, it will alter its hilt to appeal to its wielder. In order to become the weapon of Dantrag Baenre, it shaped itself into a demon's head. While attempting to snare Drizzt Do'Urden , it changed its handle into the head of a unicorn the symbol of Mielikki. When it accepted Catti-brie, Khazid'hea adopted the form of the panther Guenhwyvar , with the symbols of the dwarven gods etched into its side.

During the conflict with Obould, Catti-brie is wounded and is unable to engage in combat. Thus, Khazid'hea ensnares Delly Curtie, Wulfgar's jealous wife. The psychic power of the sword, too great for Delly to control, consumes Delly and soon after leads to her death by a group of orcs. Though Cutter was wielded by several of the pathetic orcs, it eventually found its way into the hands of Drizzt Do'Urden who uses it during his fight with Obould Many-Arrows.

He loses the evil blade after it gets stuck in Obould's armor. Khazid'hea is now wielded by Tos'un Armgo after he found it in the armor left behind by Obould Many-Arrows. This weapon shares some similarities with Michael Moorcock's Stormbringer , another sentient, bloodthirsty, supernaturally sharp sword that could sometimes influence its wielder's actions.

Also similar to it is Umbra, a sword in the Elder Scrolls universe which can possess a wielder in similar fashion, and is usually the game's strongest weapon. Dendar the Night Serpent is a giant and tyrannical extraplanar serpent that feeds upon the forgotten nightmares of mortals. The Night Serpent's slit-pupil eyes are the sickly yellow-black of rotten eggs. Her forked tongue flickers incessantly over her smooth lips. Her monstrous fangs are always coated with the viscous essence of lost dreams.

She speaks with a sibilant, malignant voice that drips with ancient horrors. Midnight-black scales cover her colossal hide and serve as the physical embodiment of the most terrifying nightmares she has swallowed. Dendar the Night Serpent came into existence shortly after the first being slept and had a nightmare. She has an uncountable horde of horrible dreams and foul visions in her gullet that she has been devouring since the dawn of time.

She relishes the taste of particularly choice nightmares and savors the dreams of kings and deities alike. More horrifying, if she did not feed her insatiable appetite, every being, mortal or deity, would remember every nightmare he or she has ever dreamed in excruciating detail. Supposedly, she will be the harbinger of the end of the world and even the gods themselves. Although she can slither across the Barrens of Doom and Despair or any of the lower planes at will, the Night Serpent is almost always found in her lair. Dendar lives in a vast cave near the oozing river that surrounds much of the Fugue Plane.

The hiss of the Night Serpent's breathing echoes through the plane as she sleeps, contentedly gorged on the world's unremembered nightmares. Anyone who approaches her cave finds her awake and awaiting them with anticipatory delight as she savors and relives their worst unremembered nightmares. Her cavernous maw is large enough to swallow a giant, and her tongue can knock an armored man to the ground with a single flick.

Beneath her tongue is a foul mire of greasy spittle and half-devoured bones—the corporeal manifestations of her dream diet's remnants. To the ancient Rus, Dendar was known as Nidhogg , the serpent who gnaws at the roots of the world tree that connects all things Yggdrasil. In Calimport, she is known incorrectly as the Mother of the Night Parade. Legends tell of how Ubtao , Creator of Chult, will battle the Night Serpent when she emerges through a gigantic iron door located beneath one of the Peaks of Flame and attempts to eat the sun.

If Ubtao fails in his duty, the stories say Dendar will readily devour the sun and the doom of the world will finally arrive. Dinin is brother of Drizzt Do'Urden , first appearing in R. Salvatore 's Dark Elf Trilogy , beginning with the first book Homeland, following in the second book Exile, and returning in the Legacy of the Drow series' first book The Legacy. He was a trusted ally of Jarlaxle until he was turned into a drider by his sister Vierna. Dorn is a big person, but most of his left side is made up of metal plates and parts grafted on by the wizard who owned him when he was a boy, and this only contributes to his fiercesome look.

He carries a bow and quiver of arrows, and a bastard sword , when he can get one. When Dorn was six, he and his parents were part of a merchant caravan traveling in the Moonsea region. The party was attacked by a red dragon , which killed both his parents and bit off his left arm and leg plus a goodly piece of the skin around them, and left him to die. The wizard who owned him and his parents transported to the site a few moments later to retrieve his merchandise. Upon finding Dorn, he saved his life by creating the golem parts that make up his left side.

Dorn still had to serve the wizard, as well as the years of service his parents owed. As he grew up, the wizard trained him to be a fighter in the arena, and enchanted the golem parts for improved efficiency. After he had become a veteran arena competitor, Dorn found a way to kill the wizard and escape the city.

Once he was out on his own, he began working as a mercenary, and looking for jobs that required him to kill dragons, because due to the incident when he was six, he hates dragons more than anything else, and dedicated his life to killing every dragon he could around the Moonsea.

In the Year of Rogue Dragons, he has made a number of allies, and they have travelled with him in his eternal quest to kill dragons. All of them work to stop a plot by the insane wizard Sammaster from creating an army of dracoliches and descending upon the world. The Do'Urden family name is used by a number of characters, particularly Drizzt, in the books of R. It was the house of the famous drow Drizzt Do'Urden , who brings the disfavor of the Spider Queen upon his house by committing an act of kindness and sparing a life. Thus "Do'Urden" means "walkers in the darkness".

Matron Malice Do'Urden became aware of her son's actions, which had placed the house in disfavor. To regain the favor of Lolth , she sacrificed Zaknafein Drizzt's father , who volunteered to save his son's life. Drizzt, returned from his battle with Masoj and Gelroos, and discovering what had happened to his father, deserted House Do'Urden and left Menzoberranzan.

House Hun'ett lost two of its wizards and the favor of Lolth for failing to kill Drizzt, and House Do'Urden lost the favor of Lolth due to Drizzt's desertion. Ten years passed with small sneak attacks between House Do'Urden and House Hun'ett, because neither of the houses had regained Lolth's favor. Also both were severely weakened by various losses.

House Do'Urden lost its principle weapon masters and House Hun'ett lost its two most powerful mages. But they had lost a lot of soldiers and had yet to regain Lolth's favor. Giving SiNafay as a sacrifice, Zaknafein's was risen as Zin-carla which is also known as a spirit-wraith. This removed Malice's disfavor in the eyes of Lolth, however, it did not regain Malice favor.

When Zaknafein regained his senses for a little time he jumped into an acid pit, destroying himself and causing the failure of Zin-carla. Briza took the lead by killing her mother but House Baenre , under orders by Lolth, attacked House Do'Urden, killing most of its members. Vierna and Dinin survived this attack and joined Bregan D'aerthe in order to survive.

She had Lolth's favor and got help from Bregan D'aerthe. She turned Dinin into a drider. Dragonbait also referred to as Champion is a finhead saurial paladin most likely in the service of Tyr. Dragonbait is a non-player character NPC in the 5th edition adventure Tomb of Annihilation published in September Dragonbait stands roughly five feet in height, not counting the troglodyte-like head fin, though that is only in consequence to his posture, being canted forward at the hips, and balanced by a tail near long as his torso.

His scales are small and smooth, like beadwork. On his chest was a ring of symbols identical to those originally sported by Alias on her arm, which resolved themselves into a ring of blue ivy at the end of the events of Azure Bonds. Dragonbait received his current name the night he assisted Alias in disposing of some thugs in the service of her creators.

Alias warned him that if he made a single false move, he'd be dragon bait. He immediately took it as his name, and is only referred to as Champion by Grypht and presumably, therefore, other saurials. Dragonbait's near refutal of his previous name may have originated in the circumstances that brought him into the power of the creators of Alias. He had served Tyr single-mindedly, and had fallen in love with another saurial, who served Lady Luck likely Tymora, or possibly her other incarnation of Tyche.

Believing that Luck's fickle nature was in violation of the rigorous justice of Tyr, he demanded that his love leave her goddess' service and come to serve his god. The argument ended with no resolution, and apparently fearing his love for her would eventually taint his pure service to his god, he left for Tarterus to serve his god. There, he was captured by the fiend Phalse to be used for a dark purpose. While imprisoned, he had a vision, or perhaps only a dream, in which he was visited by Lady Luck. He was told that she would rather not see him ever again, but that her aid had been asked by the god of justice to save his servant.

Wishing to live and not offend his god who had intervened on his behalf, he accepted the task she charged him with: to fulfill the service laid on him by the human sent to him. Freed from his imprisonment by the Nameless Bard, Dragonbait became Alias' companion. He lives always to serve Tyr, but now he also pays homage to all other gods who can further the cause of justice. As he can not speak human tongues, after aiding Alias in destroying her evil creators, she taught him the thieves' hand cant , a fact that thoroughly irritated Olive when she learned of it.

In the third book, Alias used the finder's stone to cast a permanent tongues spell on herself, enabling her to speak Dragonbait's own tongue, which is a combination of clicks and whistles pitched outside normal human hearing, and scents see list below. Dragonbait frequently refers to Alias as his sister, something that has been borne out as being true from the gods' point of view when Alias becomes a soul singer, a saurial gift that apparently follows genealogical lines.

Following the events of Song of the Saurials Dragonbait and Alias apparently settled in the Lost Vale with the displaced saurials to aid them in their new settlement. A short time later, however, they are adventuring again. The Elk Tribe is a nomadic group of barbarians living in the tundra that comprises Icewind Dale. It was the lead tribe ruled by Heafstaag. All tribes are named after animals of great power or prowess. After the battle with Ten-Towns few tribe members were left. Wulfgar assumed control of the tribes after being released from the servitude of Bruenor Battlehammer and extensive training by Drizzt Do'Urden.

He convinced his tribe to join forces with the men of Ten-Towns against the army of Akar Kessel , wielder at the time of Crenshinibon, The Crystal Shard. With the help of the barbarians they were successful. Thinking of what might be best for his people, he split the tribe into two groups. One remained in Icewind Dale led by Revjak , the other followed him to the south where his adoptive father Bruenor Battlehammer had reclaimed his childhood home Mithral Hall. They lived in a town called Settlestone. Originally a Dwarven town they rebuilt it after two hundred years of its vacancy.

They lived a prosperous life working as traders and merchants for the dwarves. After the death of their leader during the war with the Drow , Berkthgar the new leader decided to return to their old way of life on the tundra. Ellifain is an elf who appears in a series of New York Times best-selling books by R. She is also mentioned in all of the Hunter's Blades Trilogy books. Ellifain appears as a child when benign drow warrior Drizzt Do'Urden travels from the Underdark to the surface with a raiding party of other, not so benign drow, including Drizzt's brother Dinin Do'urden.

While Ellifain's clan is dancing under the stars, the drow attack. All of the elves are massacred, except for Ellifain, who is saved when Drizzt Do'Urden covers the trembling and screaming Ellifain with her own mother's blood, making it look like she is also mortally wounded, and hiding her under her mother's body and forcing her to be quiet.

This thoroughly fools the other drow, sparing Ellifain's life. Ellifain appears only briefly here. As a young adult, Ellifain is living in the Moonwood, fostering a powerful hate for drow, especially the local 'hero' Drizzt Do'Urden , who she falsely views to be a lie. Drizzt passes through the forest on his way to the Underdark, and Ellifain promptly attacks him. Drizzt does avoid getting hit by her sword and does not strike back at her. It then takes many elves to hold her back. Ellifain, now under the guise of Le'lorinel, a male elf, clearly remembers that fateful night when her clan was massacred, still fostering a huge hatred of drow.

She is now out of the Moonwood and is serving a wizard somewhere else. Her reward for the work is an onyx ring containing 4 spells. She visits a local gnome seer to try to find Drizzt, who she has sworn to kill. The gnome divines with his crystal ball and shows 'him' two signs, one the combined symbols of Dwarven gods Moradin and Dumathoin, the other being the combined symbols of Dumathoin and Clangeddon. The seer tells Ellifain that these are the symbols on the twin heads of Aegis-Fang , a warhammer forged by dwarven king Bruenor Battlehammer and carried by Wulfgar , both of which are part of an adventuring band called the Companions of the Hall , which also includes Drizzt.

The gnome tells her that the symbols will lead her to Drizzt. The elf then ventures to Luskan and eventually meets an agent of the infamous pirate Sheila Kree. She is knocked unconscious and is brought to Golden Cove, Sheila Kree's secret port that she shares with a clan of ogres. She is branded with Aegis-Fang , which Sheila received through Luskan's blackmarket. The Companions of the Hall eventually arrive in search of Aegis-Fang. Drizzt slides down a chimney and comes out in the hearth of a room containing Ellifain and a huge ogre.

Ellifain promptly kills the behemoth to have Drizzt for herself. She fights him, using 3 spells, and when Drizzt summons a globe of magical darkness around she uses her last spell, the fire shield, which inflicts the same wounds given to the user of the spell to the giver of the wounds. Since they are in the globe of darkness, Drizzt cannot see the tell-tale flames. Drizzt punctures Ellifain's lung, which immediately does the same to Drizzt. Then, Catti-brie comes in with a healing potion.

Drizzt, now recognizing Ellifain, pleads to Catti-brie to give it to Ellifain, but Bruenor, now in the room, tells Cattie-brie otherwise. Drizzt is saved, but Ellifain is not. Drizzt has her buried in the tunnel complex of Golden Cove. Whilst there, Drizzt is able to speak with her spirit and apologize, to which Ellifain accepts and by Drizzt's reasoning, is at peace.

The Flaming Fist is the largest and most powerful mercenary company of the Forgotten Realms. The Flaming Fist is based in the city of Baldur's Gate on the Sword Coast , where its members serve as a guard within the city. Their job is to put down with deadly force any who commit egregious acts of evil. They also work out of this city, going down just south of Beregost but stopping before Nashkel.

From Nashkel onwards, the Amnish soldiers keep guard. The organizations's base of operations is in the city of Baldur's Gate, although they have other forts and establishments in Anchorome , Chult , and Tethyr. Game designer Ken Rolston commented on the Flaming Fist in his review of the original Forgotten Realms Campaign Set : "the detailed description of the Flaming Fist Mercenary Company is an interesting, extreme design example.

Considering the DMG hirelings tables [pages ], it's hard to see how this bunch can stay in business even at 10, gp a day, but I still think it is a neat idea that is well presented. The Flaming Fist plays a prominent role in the plot of the Baldur's Gate series computer games. In particular, the following characters are members of the Flaming Fist:. Florin Falconhand was also a stand-in member at times.

A swashbuckler and con artist, the moon elf called the Fox-at-Twilight or "Light" is an enigma at best. She fights by trickery as much as by blade, luring her opponents into underestimating her by guile or plying her considerable charm to get what she wants. Her exact origins are unknown, and she has made a variety of outrageous claims about her past, including being a former lover of her divine patron, Erevan Ilesere. She is notable in that she appears both before the Spellplague and time-jump in the novel Depths of Madness and the sourcebook The Grand History of the Realms as well as after, in the form of Lady Ilira Nathalan in the novel Downshadow.

He is head of the Zhentarim , chosen and arch-priest of Bane. Once a servitor of Manshoon , he managed to kill him and take his position of master of the Zhents. Fzoul is a high-level adversary as his status as chosen and arch-priest of bane lends him considerable powers and the Zhentarim offers him considerable resources. He once had an understanding with Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun but whether he has to respect it since the archmage's death is doubtful at best. Formerly the mortal Chosen Tyrant of his dark overlord, Fzoul eventually was killed fighting the shadovar and was granted his current status as a Demi god as his reward for dying in Bane's service.

Galaeron Nihmedu is the main character in Return of the Archwizards, a trilogy of novels by Troy Denning. Galaeron has a little sister named Keya, turquoise-haired and only about eighty years of age. Galaeron is tall and solidly built for a moon elf and has the pale skin and regal features common to his race; two decades of serving as a Tomb Guard along the Desert Border South have left his face mildly rugged and weather-beaten. He is skilled in both hand-to-hand combat and sorcery, having attended both academies of the College of Magic and Arms.

As he is a sorcerer , he was often discriminated against in the academies which favor regular wizards , being called arrogant and stubborn. Eventually, they accused him of using dark magics and demanded to see his spellbook; unfortunately, he never had one. Unlike most mages , sorcerers do not forget spells after they use them; thus, they do not require spellbooks and the like or countless hours of relearning spells.

It took Lord Imesfor's intervention to win Galaeron a place in the Tomb Guard, a militia of Evereska that guards the elven crypts in the area against almost always human thieves. He was assigned to the Desert Border South which borders the Great Desert of Anauroch as a patrol leader in the Tomb Guard, where he served for twenty years. His life was made harder by Kiinyon Colbathin, Tomb Master and Master of the Defenses of Evereska, who for some reason felt scornful of him.

On 20 Nightal, the Year of the Unstrung Harp DR , Galaeron led his patrol into an ancient crypt housing seven Aryvandaaran nobles, high lords of the aggressive Vyshaan clan who had started the First Crown War , plunging the entire elven race into three thousand years of violent carnage. The patrol tracked down a band of Vaasans a human ethnicity native to Vaasa and followed them through a dwarven tunnel to where they were using a beholder to carve a path to the Sharn Wall, a silver-colored magical barrier that imprisons the phaerimm. The Vaasans were trying to locate Melegaunt Tanthul, an archwizard from the ancient Netherese city of Shade.

The elves had a small skirmish with the crypt-breakers, and then Melegaunt himself appeared. Galaeron's and Melegaunt's magical bolts collided, creating an explosion that punctured a hole in the Sharn Wall. Magic from the Weave and magic from the Shadow Weave mingle with disastrous effects. This freed the phaerimm, an ancient, malevolent, and powerful race that were imprisoned beneath Anauroch by a mysterious race known as the sharn after the collapse of Netheril.

The leader of the Vaasan band, Vala Thorsdotter, was loyal to Melegaunt through a debt made by her great grandfather, Bodvar. As more phaerimm escaped through the breach, they began gathering armies of bugbears , illithids , and beholders that they had enthralled through their mind magic. Melegaunt, Vala, and Galaeron went on a journey to stop the phaerimm, Melegaunt leading the way but not telling them where they were going. On their journey, they were eventually accompanied by a little man named Malik el Sami yn Nasser actually the Seraph of Lies, the highest honor bestowed by Cyric and Aris, a stone giant priest whom Galaeron rescued from beholders serving the phaerimm.

Along the way, Melegaunt took advantage of Galaeron's sorcery skills to teach him how to use the Shadow Weave , a mostly unknown source of magic now controlled by Shar that was split from the Weave in ancient times when Karsus temporarily usurped Mystryl 's power. It is also greatly effective against the phaerimm, who are highly resistant to magical attack except for the Shadow Weave, which they know nothing about. A side effect to Galaeron's use of shadow magic was that he overindulged in it and came into conflict with his shadow self. A shadow is not opposite, but absence.

In Galaeron's case, it was the absence of kindness and loyalty. He slowly began losing some of his emotional self-control and compassion and lost the ability to go into Reverie, the elven method of deep meditation and subconscious connection with other elves, and had to sleep and have dreams like a human. For the first time in his life, Galaeron also felt jealousy such as when he found his mother sitting in Elminster 's lap while he clutched her behind.

He also lost his ability to tap into the Weave and had to solely rely on the Shadow Weave for magic. While drawing energy from the Weave feels somewhat like warmth coming into one's body all at once, drawing upon the Shadow Weave feels as if a burst of coldness comes up from the ground through one's feet and into the body. Galaeron eventually became used to it, however, and soon the coldness no longer bothered him. Melegaunt continuously warned Galaeron to not use the magic so often, lest Galaeron be consumed by his shadow.

Melegaunt led his small entourage to the ruins of Karse in the High Forest. Keeping his true intent hidden, he only told his companions that in Karse there was something to defeat the phaerimm. In the temple of Karsus, Melegaunt was killed by a lich , but before he died, he imparted all of his knowledge of the phaerimm into Galaeron's subconscious. Earlier, had also told of his past: he was the Twelfth Prince of Shade, and his people were able to defeat the phaerimm. Follow me now, for the Return is at hand! With Melegaunt's knowledge stored in his mind, Galaeron became a valuable asset to the ruler of Shade, Telamont Tanthul.

Also, during his imprisonment by Telamont, Galaeron joined with his shadow, filling in the gaps of his character and making him more whole while still being able to keep his will as his own. When Galaeron arrived back in Evereska, he helped the high mages repair the mythal, which had been unraveled by a phaerimm SpellGather.

This inadvertently added something new to the mythal : after the golden meteors descended to blast apart the phaerimm, streaks of shadow were left in their wake. Due to his father's death while fighting the phaerimm, Galaeron inherited his lordship. For his great exploits, Galaeron was offered the position of Master of the Defenses by Lord Duirsar Kiinyon Colbathin had also died in the war.

Gareth Dragonsbane is a mighty paladin of the god Ilmater , and king of the Bloodstone Lands, the unification of his homeland, Damara , with the untamed territory of Vaasa. Gareth was crowned King of Damara in DR when he succeeded in forging key alliances with many minor nobles throughout the land after Zhengyi the Witch-King of Vaasa , whose armies had conquered Damara, was defeated by a band of adventurers braving Castle Perilous, his stronghold.

He has since then devoted his reign to rebuilding Damara's economy, forging alliances with other nations, and attracting adventurers to Damara while keeping an eye to the still-troubled enemy to the North, Vaasa. During the events of the Year of the Rogue Dragons DR Gareth Dragonsbane's soul had been imprisoned in the Plane of Shadow due to the treachery of some wizards who had been corrupted and were in reality Sammaster's agents.

His absence left Damara briefly in disarray and prone to attack from orcs and goblinoids swarming from Vaasa. He was saved only thanks to the actions of dragonhunters Pavel Shermov and Will Turnstone, a handful of his trusted officers and companions, and quite unbelievably an ancient vampiric dragon by the name of Brimstone. Having recovered from his ordeal, he once more lead his troops to victory against the forces of Vaasa, apparently slaying the Witch-King who had arisen again in single combat.

In reality, Brimstone had conjured the illusion of an undead riding on his back, and he and Dragonsbane had planned the fight all along. It had a demoralising effect for the Vaasans which made victory easier. His wife and Queen of Damara is Christine Dragonsbane, a druidess. His mount is an intelligent warhorse named Glenden. Dionysus, Friar Dugald. Gareth Dragonsbane was first published as a pre-generated player character in the module H1 Bloodstone Pass. Updated stats for him continued to appear in the other modules of this series.

Christine was a NPC in the same series. He has appeared in Road of the Patriarch , where his friends captured the assassin Artemis Entreri for treasonous acts actually a plan set up by Jarlaxle to help the king solidify his hold, without the king's knowledge. Entreri is less than impressed with Gareth's kingship, and classifies all the reasons Gareth and his friends give for Gareth's station as either a way of keeping commoners down or mere strength of arm. While Gareth's friends are furious at the disrespect the assassin shows, Gareth is uncomfortably aware there's more than a grain of truth to Entreri's reasoning, and resolves to deserve to rule by being a good king, rather than by dint of bloodline or force.

He merely banishes the assassin from his realm rather than executing him as many of Gareth's friends—even his wife—would prefer. Like Drizzt Do'Urden before him, Gareth saw Entreri as a mirror of himself, and strove to be above the reflection, making him a better man and a better king. Guenhwyvar is a magical black panther called from the Astral Plane by an onyx figurine, most recently in the possession of Drizzt Do'Urden. She is described as "ten feet long, at least, with muscled shoulders as high as a tall man's chest.

Drizzt senses something more than bestial instinct behind Guenhwyvar's shining, golden eyes, and cannot bear the thought of Guenhwyvar to again be used for evil purposes. The two fast become- not just friends but- companions. Drizzt summons Guenhwyvar as often as possible, to help combat loneliness, and to help him in battle. His other companions, notably Wulfgar and Bruenor , are often suspicious of Guenhwyvar at first, though they eventually come to respect Guenhwyvar as a team member. Guenhwyvar can be summoned forth from the Astral plane up to twelve hours out of every forty-eight.

Simply spending time on the Prime Material Plane slowly drains the panther's strength, but it is possible to ignore the limit at the cost of serious injury and pain. If the panther is seriously injured or even if she suffers injuries that should be fatal while on the Prime Material Plane, the panther transports back to the Astral plane.

Spending a sufficient amount of time there regenerates the cat completely and she can be called forth again. She is friends with many characters, including all of the Companions of the Hall , however she is closest to Drizzt, Cattie-Brie and Regis. In the Icewind Dale trilogy Guenhwyvar is portrayed as a male.

Later books portray Guenhwyvar as a female. In the short story, "Guenhwyvar," she is described as a large, beautiful, and powerful, female panther. Halaster Blackcloak is known as the infamous and powerful Mad Mage of Undermountain. Within the game world, Halastar arrived with his seven apprentices to make his lair in an old abandoned dwarf fortress long ago, before Waterdeep existed. Using his magical talents, he turned Undermountain into a quasi- mythal , gaining powerful abilities and immortality within his complex.

The drawback, however, was this turned him also completely mad while he was in his dungeon. Remnants of his spirit haunt his old lair, not a ghost but rather memories. Halaster is prominent again in the Neverwinter Nights expansion pack entitled "Infinite Dungeons. Halisstra Melarn is a character in the War of the Spider Queen series. Harkle Harpell is a wizard created by author R. Harkle is a little shorter than average, with an untidy mess of black hair. He wears a set of worn wizard's robes, and has an air of enthusiasm about him that somehow manages to be unnerving and unsettling.

Harkle and his fellow Harpells live in the small town of Longsaddle. The Harpell clan are all wizards, and better than average at having spells backfire with spectacular results. Even so, the Harpells are powerful spellcasters, and their village is a good place to visit, if excessive use of magic does not frighten you. Harkle himself has traveled more than most of them, visiting Mithral Hall and helping to defend against the drow invasion, and traveling the Sword Coast with Drizzt Do'Urden and Catti-brie. One of his few accident-free success was when he created a spell called the Fog of Fate, which transports the user to wherever they need to be to accomplish their goals.

Upon the initial casting of the spell, Harkle wound up in the middle of the Sea of Swords , but Drizzt was there with the crew of the Sea Sprite, and he was quickly rescued. Under the effects of this spell, the events of his journey with Drizzt and company were magically recorded meticulously in a journal. Upon revealing some significant details from this journey to aid Drizzt, he was magically whisked back to Longsaddle, wherein his memory of the previous adventure with Drizzt and his friends apparently erased.

Harkle still resides at Longsaddle, working on any number of magical experiments. Passage to Dawn by R. The Harpers are a semi-secret organization. Pushing for Balance as well as what is right, they oppose all evil organizations such as the Zhentarim and the Red Wizards of Thay. Jonathan Palmer for Arcane magazine commented on the Harpers as "fighters for freedom and justice. Heafstaag is the leader of the Elk Tribe , the most powerful tribe of barbarians in all of Icewind Dale , hence making him the king of the tribes.

During the attack on Ten-Towns he fights Drizzt and is gravely wounded. After the battle he speaks for the tribes as a whole and joins with Akar Kessel. He is killed by Wulfgar after he accepts his challenge to lead the tribes and thus Wulfgar takes his place as king.

Illius is a sorcerer who uses a staff and a formidable array of magical powers from the game Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone. Early in the game, he acquires a string of Force Beads. He can use these beads as mines to blast enemies. Illius is born into a line of knights, but when he discovers that he has sorcerer powers he pursues that path instead.

His father disapproves of this and disowns Illius, though it is later discovered that Ygorl mentally influences Illius' father from inside the Demon Stone. Ingeloakastimizilian , also known as Icingdeath , is a white dragon featured mainly in the Legend of Drizzt series book The Crystal Shard. It lives in an ice cave called Evermelt which is part of the Reghed glacier. In DR , Wulfgar , an Icewind Dale Barbarian and adopted son of the dwarf Bruenor Battlehammer , set out to slay the infamous dragon in its ice cave so he could have enough heroic deeds to challenge Heafstaag , the current king of the Elk Tribe , the largest and most powerful of all of the barbarian tribes of Icewind Dale.

With help from his friend and tutor Drizzt Do'Urden , he was able to defeat the dragon, once thought invincible. Through this ordeal, Drizzt claimed one of Ingeloakastimizilian's many treasures as his own, a magical sword also called Icingdeath , which plays a large role in later stories. Innovindil first appeared in the novel, The Thousand Orcs , by R.

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Salvatore as the beautiful and deadly moon elf companion of Tarathiel. In The Hunter's Blades Trilogy , Innovindil and her partner Tarathiel notice a pair of dwarves around a campfire in their home, Moonwood. The two take the dwarves, Ivan and Pikel Bouldershoulder , prisoner until discovering that their intentions are not to harm their woodland home. After realizing that the two dwarves plan on representing the priest Cadderly Bonaduce at the coronation of Bruenor Battlehammer in Mithral Hall , Innovindil and Tarathiel realize that the dark elf Drizzt Do'Urden will be returning to the area.

This knowledge is of great importance to them because one of their clan, Ellifain Tuuserail , left the Moonwood to find and kill Drizzt due to the misconceived notion that Drizzt was responsible for the slaughter of her family years ago. Before they are able to meet with the dark elf, Innovindil and Tarathiel find the lands around Mithral Hall are ridden with thousands of orcs and scores of frost giants. After investigating more closely, Innovindil and Tarathiel begin watching over Drizzt Do'Urden as he recklessly slaughters countless orcs on his own out of rage and anger for the loss of his friends at the orc assault on the town of Shallows.

After Drizzt finally gets himself into a situation with no escape, the moon elf pair come to the rescue. When they confront Drizzt and ask him to join them, he refuses, as he is still unable to cope with the apparent loss of his friends. After some time, he finally decides to meet the elves, but when he arrives at their cave, he finds two drow holding Innovindil and Tarathiel prisoner.

Drizzt dispatches of the dark elves, Ad'non-Kareese and Donnia Soldou , and frees the moon elves. This, in turn, led to more tribes shifting to a nomadic way of life. The basis of their prosperity lay in their large herds; horses now began to play a greater role; tribes living on the banks of the rivers engaged in shing; and skilled craftsmen produced arms, ornaments, sumptuous carpets and other objects.

The fact that these confederations constituted an organized military force provides justication for speaking of an aristocracy in contrast to the rank-and-le of free nomads. There may also have been slaves among the nomads, but they clearly did not take any signicant part in productive life. The range of grave goods found in barrows also provides evidence for the existence of social differentiation among the Central Asian nomads.

In some regions such differences are particularly marked in barrows from the Late Bronze Age, which contained basic types of arms, horse-harness ttings and artefacts typical of the time. Still more striking evidence of social differentiation is to be seen in the very rich mausoleum complexes of leaders in the Tagisken and Uygarak cemeteries on the lower reaches of the Syr Darya, 8 in the Chilik kurgan, the barrows in central Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan and the huge royal sepulchre of Arzhan. Most scholars believe that the social organization of the steppe tribes was based on a clan and tribe structure.

Based mainly on data in classical authors, this conclusion is conrmed by archaeological material barrows in the steppe belt are usually sited in separate groups, representing the burial grounds of members of different clans. By this stage, however, the original equality of the steppe societies had already been lost, and there were considerable social and property distinctions. Istoriya Turkmenskoy SSR, , p. Vishnevskaya, ; Vishnevskaya and Itina, ; Itina, Gryaznov, The burial complexes of ordinary herdsmen are found under small earthen or stone mounds, whereas grandiose structures, sometimes as high as 20 m, were erected over members of the tribal aristocracy.

Complex burial structures have been found in tombs of nobles, with different layouts in different parts of the steppe zone. Among the European Scythians they normally took the form of deep complex catacombs with several chambers. In Semirechye and the Altai regions, the excavated graves of aristocrats contain monumental timber tombs. Thus, in the Besshatr burial ground in the Ili river valley, log-built burial vaults were found, consisting of three parts: a corridor, an antechamber and the burial chamber proper.

The walls rose to a height of 4 m and were built of horizontal trunks of Schrenk spruce, strengthened by timber uprights dug into the ground. Obviously the persons buried in them were the chiefs of large tribes or even tribal confederations. The Arzhan tumulus Fig. Its stone-built mound, m in diameter, covered a timber burial structure consisting of seventy radially arranged chambers.

In the central chamber the leader and his close companions were buried, while the other chambers held the remains of representatives of subject tribes and possibly the offerings of friendly tribal groups. Each of the burials was accompanied by many different articles, but a considerable proportion of these were unfortunately plundered in antiquity. It has been calculated that about saddle horses were buried in the kurgan and another horses eaten at the funeral feast. For instance, Lucian states that the Pontic Scythians were divided into a royal clan, pilophoroi thought to be members of the military aristocracy or priests and the eight-legged ones ordinary herdsmen with a pair of oxen and a cart.

Some believe that this division corresponds to the division of society into three class or caste groups that characterized all the ancient Indo-Iranians. In the Scythian world, however, slavery did not develop to any considerable extent, remaining mostly domestic and patriarchal, and slavery never became widespread among the nomads as a basis of production.

Akishev and Kushaev, , p. Grantovskiy, , pp. Vishnevskaya, , pp. Markov, , p. For example, Herodotus describes Queen Tomyris as their leader in the war against Cyrus. It is not, however, clear whether a parallel can be drawn in this respect between Saka-Massagetian society and its western neighbour, the matrilineal Sarmatian society. Culture of the Iranian nomads of Central Asia Archaeological remains of the rst millennium b.

Initially it was thought that this evidence supported the idea, based on an acquaintance with classical tradition, that the whole population of the steppe belt belonged to the same ethnic stock. They seemed to demonstrate cultural uniformity throughout the area. Everywhere burials were found in barrows kurgans containing The choice of motifs and their style known as the animal style pointed to a uniform cultural pattern.

All this helped to give rise to the concept of a single Scythian culture, present throughout the Eurasian steppes, which had spread from a single centre and belonged to one tribe or people. This interpretation seemed to be in conformity with the statement of Herodotus IV. On this evidence, the original homeland, common to all peoples who displayed this culture, should be sought somewhere in the Asian part of the steppelands. Some modern scholars share this point of view and are paying special attention to dating the archaeological remains in various parts of the steppe zone.

They hope to nd the area where Scythian culture had its origins in those places where the forms of weapons, horse furniture and objects worked in the animal style appeared earliest. It has thus been suggested that one of the earliest complexes of this type is the famous Chilik barrow in eastern Kazakhstan. Its dating is a moot point but supporters of an earlier date nintheighth centuries b. Even the features that stamp these cultures as similar show appreciable local variations, while their other characteristics arc equally specic. The common features are due not only to their having come from a single source or to ethnic afnities but also to close contacts between the steppe tribes.

These factors account for similar economic structures, bringing in their train an outward unication of life-style, and leading to the formation of a Scytho-Siberian cultural entity. Within this entity, every culture pattern is completely distinct and original by virtue of its own particular historical past and the particular conditions ruling in the country in which it is found. A whole range of such Scythian-type cultures in the Eurasian steppes has already been studied. In addition to Scythian remains in the Black Sea area, these studies have covered Sarmatian complexes in the country round the lower reaches of the Don and Volga18 and.

Among the steppe peoples of the Scythian group the predominant economic activity was nomadic herding, but in some areas the economy was of a more complex nature. Herodotus IV. They also drink milk. Investigation of the large fortied settlement of Chirik-Rabat, on the northwestern connes of the Kyzyl Kum Desert, a settlement connected with the Massagetae, certainly contradicts the statement that they led a purely nomadic life and shows that in their economy the ancient traditions of shing were combined with tillage of the land and semi-nomadic stock-raising.

Close ties between the nomadic and agricultural societies of Central Asia can be traced not only in the political and ethnic but also in the cultural and productive spheres. As is usually the case with nomads in general, craft production among the nomads of Central Asia was not so well developed as in the settled agricultural provinces, from which they obtained the wares they needed.

A social division of labour thus grew up between the nomads and the settled agriculturalists and craftsmen. Classical writers were much impressed by the excellent quality of the arms of the Central Asian nomads. Quintus Curtius IV. According to Arrian III. They also used metal helmets and shields of various shapes and sizes. According to Herodotus 1. It has been suggested that it was in Central Asia that equine armour rst appeared.

On the other hand, evidence of ceramic production by the nomads themselves is provided by the so-called barbaric ceramics, distinguished by an extremely coarse texture. Tolstov and Itina, ; Vishnevskaya, Litvinsky, Akishev and Kushaev, Margulan, , pp. Rudenko, Gafurov, , p. Typical of the tribes in the Uzboi region, in particular, were the large trough-shaped vessels, used as ossuaries; in the oases, they were unknown.

Another point suggesting that they were locally produced is their usually large size over 1 m in length , which would have made it difcult to transport them over long distances on account of their fragility. Judging by Herodotus account of the religion of the Massagetae, they practised the cult of the supreme sun god Mithra associated with various forms of re- and horseworship. Some scholars are of the opinion that as Zoroastrianism spread, some of the Sakas adopted its teachings.

There could not have been only one religion in such a vast region. The chances are that there were local interpretations of similar beliefs and rites, these being reected in varying burial ceremonials in different provinces. Some information about the religious view of the nomads of north-west Turkmenistan is provided by the Ichanl, 26 a monumental stone building dating from the fth to second centuries b. This was, in all likelihood, a cult centre for the nomadic tribes of the plateau beyond the Uzboi.

The upper part of the building is topped by a thick and intricately constructed stone structure on which a hot re had burned for a long time. The eastern and western part along the slope of the central elevation is traversed by parallel arched rows of vertically standing slabs, the gaps between which are lled with ashes of the sacred re that were brought here. South of the central high ground were outbuildings and passageways lined with large stone slabs standing on their edges.

The surviving walls are as much as 2 m high. On the northern side, there is a semi-enclosed right-angled area with two altars. Other buildings contain large hearths or altars. Two distinct types of pottery have been discovered in the complex: the local Daha-Massagetian earthenware and the roundware brought in from the south-western and southern regions. The large quantity of horses bones inevitably brings to mind Herodotus observation that the only god the Massagetae worshipped was the sun, to which they sacriced horses 1.

The horse, reecting the ideology that was taking shape among the nomadic peoples, was Litvinsky, Almost in the centre of the burial ground containing barrows of different periods located on a hill to the south of the Dordul heights a plateau beyond the Uzboi river dominating the sands of the Kara Kum lowlands, the ruins of a stone building were discovered, which excavations showed to have no connection with the burial ground. Decoration cut out from leather of a saddle covering: rst kurgan at Pazrk mountainous Altai.

After Rudenko, Tacitus VI. The horse was equally popular in both Scythian and Saka art. At the same time, Achaemenid works in turn had a strong inuence on the culture of the nomads. Evidence of the cultural and trade relations between Achaemenid Iran and Central Asia and the regions to the north-east of it is provided by various objects everyday and ceremonial discovered in the excavations of kurgans, such as the Arzhan burial mound eighth-seventh centuries b.

Here, due to the permanent layer of ice, articles of leather see Fig. Of considerable interest are pieces of woollen cloth and a short pile carpet with woven designs which suggest that they were of Iranian origin, though a Middle Asian provenance is not altogether excluded. Burial sites at different localities show differences in form of construction, the objects they contain and the manner of burial.

In the vicinity of the Sarkamsh delta of the Amu Darya, in the lower reaches of the Syr Darya and in Semirechye, alongside shallow-ditch graves were the huge barrows of the aristocracy, with complex wooden constructions or sophisticated structures in unbaked brick typical of the architecture of the seventh to third centuries b. In north-west Turkmenistan and in the eastern Pamirs, monumental stone vaults built at ground level were quite common and 29 Such tombs have yielded a rich variety of articles weapons, ornaments including some in the animal style , and horse trappings very similar to those found in the Sarmatian monuments in the Ural region.

Besides local earthenware, they contain bronze weapons and ornaments, imported beads carnelian and lazurite and pottery vessels brought in from the oases, providing further evidence of the links between the Saka-Massagetae and the Central and Western Asian worlds. The lion and panther motifs in the art of south Tagisken and Uygarak locate the Sakas of the Aral Sea region in the area to which the Scytho-Siberian animal style had spread.

Military and political vitality, vigorous economic development, fostered by the commerce essential to the nomadic way of life, and strikingly original art were their characteristic features. Contents The immigration of the Median and Persian tribes. The immigration of the Median and Persian tribes When and how the Medes and Persians reached the Iranian plateau is still an open question, though it has been discussed in scholarly literature for decades. Until recently, some scholars held that the original homeland of the Iranians lay in Middle Asia, from which some of the tribes were thought to have reached the Iranian plateau between the ninth and eighth centuries b.

But many now consider that they came there via the Caucasus from the steppes of southern Russia. There were indeed places where the older, non-Iranian tribes the Kassites, Kutians and others remained politically predominant during the ninth and eighth centuries b. But from the second half of the seventh century the Iranians formed the majority in many parts of western Iran, including the region that was to become the Median kingdom and the lands to the west. When the Iranians appeared there, they already had advanced cultural, social and economic traditions; they engaged in both pastoralism and agriculture, were thoroughly acquainted with metals, reared horses and used the chariot.

Like the Later Achaemenid Empire, the Kingdom of the Medes arose in a region where Iranian speakers predominated and was rooted in the previous I development of the Iranian tribes. The early history of the Iranians is only scantily reected in written sources. Assyrian texts show that the Medes had settled in north-western Iran at the beginning of the rst millennium b. In the ninth century b. The rst reference in Assyrian sources to the Persians also relates to the ninth century b. An inscription of King Shalmaneser III, written around , mentions the province of Parsua; in the Assyrians levied taxes from twenty-seven kings of that province.

Until recently it was widely assumed that Parsua was near Lake Urmia, but Levine has rescently demonstrated that it was most probably in the central Zagros mountains. Assyrian texts of the late eighth century b. The Persians are thought to have parted from the Median tribes around b. In they are mentioned as subjects of the Assyrian monarch Sargon II. With the passage of time they came to occupy the ancient land of Elam in south-west Iran, which was named P rsa after the new arrivals.

The name 2 3. The foreruna ner of the countrys modern name, Iran, was rst mentioned by the Greek author Eratosthenes in the third century b. Both they and other Iranian tribes such as the Bactrians, Chorasmians, Sogdians and Sakas acknowledged their common origins and the kinship of the languages they spoke. Archaeologists such as Ghirshman suggest that the route the Iranian tribes took is further indicated by changes in material culture, more especially in particular forms of burial or the decoration of horse harness and pottery. Ghirshmans view is that rather than conquering Elam, the Persians acquired lands there by entering the service of local rulers as cavalry, the latter being unknown in Western Asia before they reached the Iranian plateau.

Apparently they were even then organized in a tribal alliance headed by chieftains of the Achaemenid lineage. The founder of the dynasty is traditionally held to be Achaemenes. From to b. The kingship then passed to his son, Cyrus I, who was, as is clear from an Assyrian inscription, the lord of Paruma and about b. Some of the Persians adopted a sedentary life-style, while others remained nomadic pastoralists.

Gradually the tribes came to occupy the greater part of the Iranian plateau. The Medes and Persians were then merely part of the greater Iranian world that stretched from the northern coast of the Black Sea to what is now Afghanistan. The ethnically related Cimmerians and Scythians lived to the north of the Black Sea. Herodotus VII. In modern scholarship the name Sakas is reserved for the ancient tribes of northern and eastern Central Asia and Eastern Turkestan to distinguish them from the related Massagetae of the Aral region and the Scythians of the Pontic steppes.

These tribes spoke Iranian languages, and their chief occupation was nomadic pastoralism. Media The need to resist the marauding forays of the Assyrians hastened the unication of the petty Median princedoms. In b. Scythians who had thrust into Western Asia from the Pontic steppes at the end of the eighth century and beginning of the seventh century b. The Assyrian king Esarhaddon persuaded the Scythians to abandon the rebels, but the Medes fought on and won their independence, setting up their own state.

By the middle of the seventh century b. Media was a major kingdom ranking with Elam, Urartu, Mannai and, of course, Assyria. Pressed on two fronts, the Medes were defeated, and from to b. King Cyaxares defeated the Scythians and nally united all Median tribes into a single state whose capital was Ecbatana. Cyaxares soon established a powerful regular army, reorganizing it by type of weapon into spearmen, bowmen and cavalry, rather than as the previous tribal levies.

The Medes could then turn against their time-honoured enemy, Assyria, which had already been at war with Babylonia for over ten years. Cyaxares, called the founder of dominion over Asia by the Greek tragedian Aeschylus, set about expanding the frontiers of his state at the expense of his southern and eastern neighbours. One of the rst blows fell on Persia around b. Judging by later indirect evidence, Cyaxares also succeeded in taking Parthia, Hyrcania to the east of the Caspian Sea, and Armenia. At the same time the Medes subjugated Urartu. When in b. The war between the two kingdoms lasted ve years, with neither side gaining a decisive victory.

On 29 May b. They therefore stopped the war, and made a peace treaty establishing the River Halys as the boundary between Lydia and Media. In the same year Cyaxares died, bequeathing a powerful state to his son Astyages. During the following century, Media was the centre of Iranian material and intellectual culture, which the Persians subsequently took up and developed. Median art in particular was one of the chief components in subsequent Achaemenid art.

The rise of the Persian Empire Between and b. Persia was ruled by Cambyses I, a vassal of the Median kings. In his son, Cyrus II, became king of the sedentary Persian tribes, the foremost of whom were the Pasargadai. The Persian confederation also included the Maraphioi and the Maspioi. The heartland of the Persian kingdom lay around the city of Pasargadae, built chiey in the early part of Cyrus reign Fig. The hill and plains tribes the Kyrtioi, the Mardoi some of whom also lived in Media , the Sagartioi and some nomadic tribes and also the settled Karmanioi, Panthialoi and Derusiai, were later subjected to Cyrus, apparently after the war with Media.

Persias social organization at this time can be described only in outline. The fundamental social unit was the nm na or large patriarchal family. The nm napati, the head of a a the family, was a kind of paterfamilias with unlimited temporal and spiritual power over all his kin. The totality of families formed the clan vis.

The clan commune, like the later rural commune, consisted of a number of families and was governed by its elder vispati. It remained a powerful force for many centuries. The clans were united in a tribe zantu led by a chief zantupati , and several tribes made up a province dahyu governed by a king. The chief occupation was agriculture and animal husbandry, particularly the breeding of horses.

Cyrus revolted against Astyages, King of Media, to whom the Persians had formerly been subject. The war lasted for three years, ending in with a complete victory for the Persians. Ecbatana, the former Median capital, became one of Cyrus royal residences. With Media conquered, Persia, previously a little-known outlying province, entered the main stage of world history and was for the next two centuries to play a politically dominant role. The Persians took the whole of Elam and in b. Meanwhile Croesus of Lydia had observed Cyrus rapid successes with alarm and began to prepare for war.

At the initiative of the Egyptian Pharaoh, Amasis, Croesus concluded an alliance with him; but the allies failed to grasp the need for swift and decisive action, while Persia grew daily in power. In late October b. Croesus retired to his capital of Sardis, and the next battle was fought outside its walls.

Pressed by superior forces, the Lydians had to take refuge in the city. After a siege of fourteen days, Sardis fell to the Persians in May , and the Lydian kingdom came to an end. It was then the turn of the Greek city-states in Asia Minor, which were soon forced to acknowledge Cyrus rule. He instructed his commanders to complete the subjugation of Asia Minor while he himself went to Ecbatana to prepare for the conquest of Babylonia, Egypt, Bactria and the Sakas. As is well known, the Persians conquered Egypt only after Cyrus death.

He took Babylonia in b. Bactria and the Sakas were certainly subdued during his lifetime, as the Bisutun inscription, made around b. During the reign of his son, Cambyses II, there were, apparently, no wars in those parts. When did the Persians win these lands? Some scholars believe that Cyrus only conquered Central Asia after the subjugation of Babylonia, but that appears improbable. According to Herodotus I. It may thus be assumed that he won his Central Asian provinces after his victory over Lydia but before the war with Babylonia.

Highly interesting in this regard is a report by the Babylonian historian Berossus third century b. He writes: Cyrus attacked Babylonia after he had reduced all the rest of Asia, 5. Even Astyages of Media may have had to contend to some extent with the Middle Asian tribes. Ctesias says that the Sakas were under Median rule, but the sources neither support nor refute him.

There is no trustworthy information about earlier clashes between the Middle Asian tribes and peoples living to the west of them. Diodorus II. It has often been suggested that various organized states existed in pre-Achaemenid Middle Asia. In the last century M. Duncker wrote that an ancient state of Bactria had arisen as early as the ninth century b. Although his view was rejected by others, J. Prek later argued that there was no reason to dispute the existence of an ancient Bactrian kingdom, since the Avesta spoke of the Bactrian monarch Vit spa, the legendary patron of a Zoroaster.

In his view, Bactria must have been an independent state before the Persian conquest, since it was a major administrative province under the Achaemenids. He further suggested that Margiana also had its own kings prior to the Achaemenids. Bactrians resistance to Cyrus, and in Herodotus suggestion that together with Babylonia, Egypt and the Sakas, Bactria was the major obstacle to Persian world conquest. From the foregoing, it will be seen that the question of the existence of an ancient Bactrian kingdom remains open.

Fresh evidence about the level of development in Middle Asia has come from excavations by archaeologists from the former Soviet Union. Masson considers that as early as the rst third of the rst millennium b. Masson believes that an early class society had begun to spring up in settled oases, and that this corroborates the information in the Avesta that major political units already existed in Central Asia. On the other hand M. Dyakonov argues that there were no large organized states in Middle Asia before the Persian conquest and both the farming oases and the barbarian periphery with its nomadic Saka population came with the decay of military democracy.

In the middle of the rst millennium b. More specically, Dyakonov postulates that Margiana had no tradition of monarchy, since in the Bisutun inscription the leader of the rebellion there at the start of Darius Is reign is called a chief, while the rebel leaders in Persia, Media, Elam, Babylonia and other countries are selfproclaimed kings.

History of Civilization of Central Asia, Vol. II | Central Asia | Asia

Dyakonov points out that the characteristic occupation of the society described in the Avesta was pastoralism and that agriculture played only a subordinate role. It has long been established that its material culture was archaic. The Avesta makes no mention of iron, although bronze was in use; and a sophisticated urban life, enduring states or crafts practised separately from farming are unknown. The G as, the earliest part of the Avesta, which a reect the material culture and social relations of eastern Iran and Middle Asia in the preAchaemenid period, depict a society of sedentary herdsmen and farmers, still preserving a system of clan and tribal relationships.

As the clan communes disintegrated, so early class units began to spring up, and the emergence of classes is reected in the G as, which a contain a protest against the rule of the tribal lite. The country in which Zoroaster preached is called airy n m va j in the Avesta. Many a eo scholars have located that country in Chorasmia, supposing this to have been the homeland 7 8. Gnoli, who considers that the home of the Avesta was Sistan and the adjacent regions.

Marquart argued that airy n m va j was a major pre-Achaemenid state, centred on a eo Chorasmia, that was destroyed by Cyrus a hypothesis later supported by W. Henning, I. Gershevitch and S. Henning held that the states original centres were Merv and Herat ancient Aria, that is, the Haraiva of Old Persian inscriptions. These scholars feel that the latters boundaries were originally those of a state conquered by the Persians.

The rise of major settlements such as Kalal-gr was denitely an Achaemenid phenomenon. On these grounds, Gnoli feels that a Greater Chorasmia is unlikely to have existed. An advanced farming culture based on articial irrigation had appeared in these regions as early as the seventh century b. The Achaemenid Empire as a world power In the autumn of b. All the lands to the west as far as the Egyptian border Syria, Palestine and Phoenicia voluntarily submitted to Cyrus. This accomplished, Cyrus resolved to secure his north-eastern frontiers from invasion by the Massagctae. These forays had caused considerable damage to the settled parts of the Old Persian Empire.

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  8. To put an end to the threat of Scythian invasions, Cyrus set up a 9 10 11 Dyakonov, , p. Gnoli, , pp. Henning, , pp. One such, founded in Sogdiana in the basin of the Jaxartes where Ura-tyube now stands, existed until the Macedonian invasion and was called Cyropolis by classical authors. Cyrus mounted a campaign against the Massagetae, the nomadic tribes living on the plains north of Hyrcania and cast of the Caspian.

    During a battle beyond the Amu Darya, Cyrus was defeated and killed, probably at the beginning of August. His defeat left a profound imprint on classical literature. According to ancient Greek authors, Cyrus lost , soldiers a gure that is, of course, grossly exaggerated. There are several different accounts of the death of Cyrus. Herodotus writes that this was the ercest battle ever fought by barbarians, or non-Greeks. Berossus and Ctesias give a somewhat different picture of the encounter. According to Berossus, Cyrus died ghting the Dahae, a Scythian tribe of Middle Asia, while according to Ctesias his last battle was against the Dcrbices, supported by Indians using battle elephants.

    In the ghting an Indian speared Cyrus in the liver, the wound proving fatal three days later. On hearing the news, the Scythian king Amorges dashed to the Persians aid with 20, tribal horsemen and, after a erce battle, the Derbices were defeated. The differences in the accounts of which tribes defeated Cyrus are due to the fact that the Derbices were part of a powerful tribal confederation of the Massagetae living in the steppes between the Caspian and Aral seas.

    In Ctesias time they were the most famous among the Massagetae. But long before the time of Berossus third century b.

    The Cygnus Hypothesis

    Cyrus eldest son Cambyses II came to the Achaemenid throne in b. The Egyptian army was quickly routed, its eet surrendered without a ght and in May b. Egypt became a Persian satrapy. Cambyses died in March b. The revolts were bloodily put down in the course of a year or so.

    The Keya Quests: The Battle for Shivenridge

    In According to J. In the earliest inscriptions, when the Persians had only one Scythian tribe to contend with, they called them simply the Sakas. In other words, they invested the collective name Sakas with a denite ethnic connotation. Later, when they had subdued other Scythians, they began to distinguish between three tribes: the Sak Haumavarg , the Sak Tigraxaud a a a a and the Sak tayaiy paradraya, the Overseas Sakas of the Black Sea and of Middle Asia.

    Darius replaced him by another chief of the same tribe. The Sak Tigraxaud a a who wear pointed caps were known to Greek authors as the Orthokorybantioi, a direct translation of the Old Persian name. They differed from other Scythians in Central Asia and from the Chorasmians and Bactrians in their pointed headgear. In other respects they all dressed similarly in a short tunic with a broad belt and narrow trousers.

    The eastern Iranians gured prominently in the Achaemenid wars. Bactria alone provided the Persian army with 30, horsemen, while the Saka tribes supplied large numbers of mounted bowmen, who served in Persian garrisons in Egypt, Babylonia and other lands. Together with the Persians, Medes and Bactrians, the Sakas formed the core of the Achaemenid army, and distinguished themselves for their bravery in the major battles of the Gracco-Persian wars. Terracotta statuettes of Sakas, Bactrians, Chorasmians and Sogdians wearing hoods and long narrow trousers have been found during excavations in many cities of the Old Persian Empire, from Egypt to Central Asia.

    The Persian armys chief weapon was the Scythian composite bow, which had far better ballistic properties than those of other peoples. That is why the Medes and the Persians adopted the mounted archery tactics of the Scythians. Rock relief of Darius I at Bisutun. Having conquered the Sak Tigraxaud , the Persians took Thrace, Macedonia and a a ancient north-western India between and b.

    By the end of the sixth century b. Thus the greatest power of the ancient world came into being, uniting dozens of countries and peoples under the Persian kings. The social and economic institutions and cultural traditions established in the Achaemenid period played a great part in world history and endured for centuries, serving the states of Alexander the Great, the Seleucids, Parthians and Sasanians.

    The Achaemenid Empire, however, soon began to weaken. During the wars with Greece in the rst half of the fth century b. In the early fourth century b. Finally the Indian satrapy was also lost, while Chorasmia, Sogdiana and the Sakas became allies rather than subjects of the Persian kings. In addition, from the late fth century b. Some satraps frequently rebelled against the kings and, relying on the help of Greek mercenaries, attempted to become independent monarchs. Lastly, the court nobility came to wield great inuence and intrigued against the kings it disliked.

    Military setbacks in the Greek wars forced a radical change of diplomacy. They began to set states against each other, using bribery to that end. During the Peloponnesian war, Persia, still interested in weakening Greece, helped rst Sparta and then Athens. While the lite of Persias aristocracy was engaged in palace intrigues and coups, a dangerous adversary was looming on the political horizon.

    In the spring of b. Although Persia had the largest army, it was considerably weaker than that of the Macedonians, and was no match for Alexanders heavy infantry. Although Persian commanders had long known that Greek and Macedonian soldiers had better weapons and tactical skills than their Persian counterparts, they had done nothing to improve their army and had ignored all the achievements of Greek military art. Their units of Greek mercenaries were now the strongest part of the Achaemenid army.

    After several Persian defeats, the decisive battle was fought on 1 October b. The Persians were completely defeated and could no longer offer any systematic resistance to the Macedonian army. A year later, the Achaemenid Empire came to an end. The Achaemenid economy The Achaemenid Empire was marked by widely differing social and economic structures. But together with these economically advanced countries, the Persians had subdued the Massagetae and other tribal peoples.

    To administer such heterogeneous territories Darius I embarked on his renowned administrative and nancial reforms around b. He created a stable system of state government for the conquered countries and systematized tax collection. This led, inter alia, to the establishment of a new administrative system that underwent little change until the end of the empire.

    But even after Darius reforms, each satrapy remained essentially autonomous in social and economic matters, endowed with its own social institutions and internal structure, and preserving its old local laws and traditions. For administration and taxation Darius divided his empire into twenty regions known as satrapies, each governed by a satrap. This title had existed under Cyrus and Cambyses, but at that time both civil and military functions were combined in the hands of the same person, the satrap. Darius introduced a sharp distinction between the functions of the military commander and those of the satrap, who became purely a civil governor, responsible within his province for administration, justice, the economy, taxation and the supervision of ofcials.

    The army, conversely, was subject to military commanders who were independent of After the death of Darius I, however, the sharp demarcation between military and civilian functions was not strictly observed. The larger satrapies might also include countries that enjoyed internal autonomy. This was particularly true of the distant provinces in whose internal affairs the Persian administration rarely interfered, governing them through local princes and conning itself to the receipt of taxes.

    To implement these new reforms a large central civil service was established with an imperial chancellery. The central state administration was in Susa, the administrative capital of the empire. The imperial court spent the autumn and winter in Babylon, the summer in Ecbatana and the spring in Susa, while during the major festivals it met in Persepolis, Pasargadae or Susa. The satraps and military commanders were closely linked with the central civil service and were under the constant surveillance of the king and his functionaries. Everyone in the centre and the provinces was watched by police ofcials known as the kings ears and eyes who were independent of the satraps and other local authorities, and reported directly to the king on any seditious words or deeds.

    Old Persian inscriptions The Persian tribes that inhabited the south-west of the Iranian plateau during the rst millennium b. In addition to Old Persian, the Old Iranian language group included Median of which only isolated glosses have come down to us , Avestan which has left a substantial body of literature , Parthian, Sogdian and Scythian. The cuneiform inscriptions of the Achaemenid kings were written in Old Persian. Old Persian cuneiform represented a huge step forward in the development of writing.

    Unlike AssyrianBabylonian script, which used more than signs, it consisted of only thirty-six syllabic signs and eight logograms i. The idea for it probably came from Aramaic writing, which consisted of twenty-two simply formed signs. It adopted many of the features of Aramaic script but took the shape of its signs from Assyrian-Babylonian cuneiform, probably via the Elamites or Urartians.

    It is still difcult to say with any certainty when Old Persian cuneiform arose. Most scholars date its invention to the reign of Cyrus II, but others such as W. Hinz date it to the reign of Darius I. Struve and Dyakonov have suggested that it was invented in Media in the pre-Achaemenid period under the inuence of Urartian writing, and hence that the Persians received it in an already nished form.

    According to these scholars the style of The hypothetical Median origin of Old Persian cuneiform cannot be proved, however, so long as no Median inscriptions in cuneiform script have been found. That writing existed in the Median state is hard to doubt, but nothing is actually known about it. Furthermore, the possibility cannot be ruled out that another foreign-language script existed in Media, as occurred in many Near Eastern countries in ancient times. About Old Persian inscriptions are known so far.

    Many of them are accompanied by Elamite and Akkadian translations and some also by an Egyptian translation. This was to some extent a mark of respect for the historical tradition represented by languages that had been used for writing for several thousand years prior to the rise of the Achaemenid Empire. The inscriptions were displayed on major trade routes, royal tombs, palace walls and pillars, or carved on metal tableware, weapons, stone vases and seals. Some have been discovered in the foundations of palaces, where they had been placed as foundation plates.

    The most famous inscription the vast Bisutun relief Fig. It is written in Old Persian, Elamite and Akkadian, and the content is virtually the same in all three versions. It is located 30 km east of Kermanshah on the ancient caravan route between Babylon and Ecbatana, the Median capital.

    It is carved on a sheer rock face about m from the ground, and its size makes it strikingly visible from the road that passes beneath. It is 7. It contains over 1, lines, each on average 2 m long. The Bisutun inscription was translated into many other languages and sent out to all the satrapies of the Achaemenid Empire, as the inscription itself records. At the beginning of the present century, poorly preserved papyrus documents with an Aramaic translation of the Bisutun inscription were found during archaeological excavations on the island of Elephantine in southern Egypt a text intended for dissemination in the western part of the empire.

    In a fragment of a stone block with part of an Akkadian version of the Bisutun inscription was discovered at Babylon in the ruins of a royal palace. The inscription consists of an introduction setting out the genealogy of Darius I, a historical part proper recounting events, and a conclusion.

    The exact dates and places of battles are indicated, and also, in the Akkadian and Aramaic versions, the number of Darius enemies killed or taken prisoner. It may be concluded from this that the accounts of the main battles were compiled immediately after the battles had taken place, indicating unquestionably the authenticity of much of the information provided. Above the inscription there is a relief 3 m high by 5. With his left hand the supreme god of the Persians, Ahura Mazda, holds out a ring to Darius, symbolizing his investiture with royal power, and blesses him with his raised right hand.

    Darius is depicted life-size 1. His right hand is raised to Ahura Mazda in a gesture of prayer; in his left hand he holds a bow; and with his left foot he crushes Gaum ta, who briey seized the Achaemenid throne. To the left, a behind Darius, two of his courtiers can be seen Gobryas his spear-bearer and Aspathines his bow-bearer. They are smaller than Darius 1. Directly behind Gaum ta are shown the eight a usurping impostors and the leader of the Sak Tigraxaud. Their hands are tied behind a a their backs, and they are chained together by a single long chain.

    The other major inscriptions of Darius I are to be found at Naqsh-i Rustam, a few kilometres north of Persepolis. At the entrance to the Achaemenid royal sepulchres hewn out of the rock are two trilingual inscriptions. One contains the royal genealogy and a list of the countries under Persian rule; the other sets out the legal and ethical principles framing Darius rule.

    There is also a relief depicting Darius. Gold and silver foundation plates with inscriptions of Darius I have been excavated in Persepolis. Many examples of such inscriptions have been found on palace buildings in Susa, some written on marble, others on clay tablets and bricks. A statue of Darius nearly 3 m high but with the head missing, bearing an inscription in Old Persian, Elamite, Akkadian and a particularly detailed Egyptian hieroglyphic text, has also been found in Susa Fig. Stone inscriptions of Xerxes have been found in Persepolis and Pasargadae. Among these the Daiva inscription relating his efforts to ban the worship of false divinities the daivas is most important.

    Among the Achaemenid inscriptions found in Egypt mention should be made of the three stele of Darius I bearing inscriptions about the construction of a Suez canal, written in Old Persian, Elamite, Akkadian and Egyptian. The decline of Old Persian cuneiform can already be seen under Xerxes successors.

    Although some inscriptions from the Late Achaemenid period have survived, only a few are of real historical value. More than ten gold and silver vessels bearing Old Persian inscriptions or the usual trilingual inscriptions are known. Beside uninscribed specimens Fig. The ofcial written language of the empire was Aramaic, used for communication between chancelleries throughout the state.

    Ofcial documents written in Aramaic were sent out from Susa to all corners of the empire. On receiving them the local scribes, who Darius I on the Bisutun relief. In addition to Aramaic, which was common to the entire state, the different countries used local languages for drafting ofcial documents. Statue of Darius from Susa. State administration To help run the satrapies, there was a regular postal service. On the major highways there were state-protected relay stations and inns at intervals of a days march; and on important passes there were strongly garrisoned watch-towers.

    Thus the road from Sardis to Susa, some 2, km in length, had relay stations. By changing mounts and couriers, up Elamite texts from Persepolis, written in the late sixth century b. Extant documents include ofcial letters, reports by senior ofcials to each other or the king and the kings instructions. Reports addressed to the monarch were usually sent to Susa and were probably destined for the imperial chancellery.

    From Susa, couriers bearing royal orders were sent out to virtually every satrapy. The regular delivery of state instructions required a considerable body of professional couriers who were maintained entirely at state expense. At In those far-off days the postal service was used only for ofcial mail; private letters were sent either by some chance expedient or by private messenger.

    The economy Under Cyrus and Cambyses there was as yet no properly established taxation system based on the economic potential of the countries making up the empire. All satrapies were obliged to pay money taxes in silver, the amount of which was strictly xed for each satrapy and determined on the basis of the area of cultivated land and its fertility as calculated through the mean annual yield. Herodotus provides a detailed list of the taxes paid by the satrapies. Darius I introduced a standard monetary unit throughout the empire the gold daric weighing 8. The minting of gold coins was a prerogative of the Persian king.

    The usual medium of commerce was the silver shekel, 5. It was minted chiey in the Asia Minor satrapies in the kings name. Silver and smaller copper coins of various values were also struck by the autonomous cities, the dependent princes and the satraps. Minted Persian coins were little used outside Asia Minor; the usual medium of trade was unminted silver ingots, with Persian coinage playing only a secondary role. This explains why the hoard of silver coins found in Kabul in , which proves that minted coinage was used in Afghanistan it was buried in roughly b. At the same time it contains worn Greek coins from virtually.

    Coins were rst introduced into Central Asia during the Achaemenid period. Darics and other Persian coins have been found there, but there is no reason to believe that they were common. Precious metal, which belonged to the state, was minted at the kings discretion and most remained unminted. Thus the proceeds of taxation were stored for decades in the imperial treasuries and removed from circulation. The relative political calm throughout Western Asia under the Achaemenids, together with the availability of good sea and land routes, promoted the development of international trade on an unprecedented scale.

    Another important factor in the ourishing of commerce was the expedition by Scylax of Caryanda in Asia Minor, whom Darius I c. Scylaxs vessels sailed down the Indus to the ocean, along the southern shores of Iran and, rounding Arabia, reached the Red Sea coast in 30 months. In Achaemenid times there were many major caravan routes. Particular importance was attached to the road which, crossing the Zagros mountains, linked Babylon with Ecbatana and ran on to Bactria and the borders of India. Iran was linked with the Indus valley by a road through Makran. A further aspect in the developement of commercial links was the differing natural and climatic conditions of the countries making up the Achaemenid Empire.

    From India gold, ivory and incense were imported; from Sogdiana and Bactria lazurite, and carnelian were taken to Western Asia; and from Chorasmia, turquoise. Judging by the Achaemenid art products found in Sarmatian tumuli from the end of the fth century b. Further evidence of Irans commercial links with Central Asia and the lands to the north-east has come from excavations of fth-century-b. Iranian culture in the Achaemenid period Persian conquests and the fact that the empire united dozens of peoples helped its subjects to broaden their intellectual and geographical horizons.

    The Achaemenid period was one of intensive ethnic mingling and syncretism in cultures and beliefs. The prime reason was that contacts between different parts of the empire had become more regular than in the More specically, the sources report frequent visits by state functionaries from Arachosia, Haraiva, Gandh ra, Bactria and other eastern Iranian or Central Asian a countries to Susa and Persepolis. Iran, which had since time immemorial acted as an intermediary in East-West cultural exchange, maintained its historical role under the Achacmenids. At the same time, the Iranians created their own original and sophisticated civilization.

    One of its achievements was the adaptation of the cuneiform script for writing Old Persian see above. The chief ofcial written language was Aramaic; under the Achaemenids, standard formulae were devised to render Aramaic terms and clerical expressions into the different Iranian languages; and from the ofcial written Aramaic of the Achaemenids, the later written forms of Parthian, Middle Persian, Sogdian and Chorasmian were derived. It was in this period that the peoples of Central Asia rst became acquainted with Aramaic script.

    This, too, was the period when a number of Old Iranian words chiey socio-economic, military and administrative terms were borrowed by Indian languages. Among the outstanding achievements of Old Iranian civilization was Achaemenid art, which is known above all from the monuments of Pasargadac, Persepolis and Susa, the Bisutun rock reliefs, the Persian royal tombs at Naqsh-i Rustam, and from large quantities of metal and stone carvings. The subjects may be military triumphs or hunting exploits by Persian kings and warriors, combat between heroic monarchs and various monsters symbolizing vil, or palace and religious rituals.

    It was the characteristics of this art that took shape at the turn of the sixth and fth centuries b. Persepolis impresses through the size of its platform, the height of the columns, the reliefs in the apadana or grand hall Figs. The canons laid down under Darius I were in no way violated in the later palaces at Persepolis, the architectural decoration of the rock sepulchres of the Persian kings or the carved metalwork of the fth to fourth centuries, though new motifs and images were added.

    Persepolis was the home of the imperial Achaemenid style which was to symbolize the might and grandeur of the kingship and that subsequently spread far aeld, creating a form of cultural unity from the Indus to the coasts of Asia Minor. Metalwork and particularly rhytons, made by craftsmen from Media, Asia Minor or eastern Iran, are canonical in form, decoration and even dimensions, regardless of their geographical origins Figs. Analysis of Achaemenid art reveals the inuence of the Egyptian hypostyle hall or echoes of Ionia in the design of the columns, while Urartian building techniques are plain to sec in the huge, man-made platforms.

    But the art itself is far from the sum of its borrowed components, as the borrowed forms rapidly lose their original qualities. In other words, All the material aspects of the art remain essentially original, and it is individualistic, the result of specic. Sak Tigraxaud at Persopolis. Bactrians at Persopolis. Bactrian camel at Persopolis. Detail of a relief at Persopolis. Arachosians at Persopolis. Gandh rans at Persopolis.

    Old Iranian religion Zoroastrianism, the religion founded by Zoroaster, arose in eastern Iran in the seventh century b.

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    It may condently be stated that Zoroaster lived before the Persians conquered Central Asia. Achaemenid rule is known to have had a profound impact on all the peoples of the Old Persian Empire. Achaemenid administrative and cultural terms were adopted in their languages. But the Avesta, the Zoroastrian holy book, bears no trace of Achaemcnid terminology, nor is there any mention of the Achaemcnid money, taxation system or kings.

    Indians at Persopolis. The Avesta is a composite work. They were written in verse in an archaic dialect, Silver rhyton, fth to fourth century b. Photo: Terebenin Hermitage, St. He urged his listeners to protect their livestock from the marauding forays of the nomad tribes, opposed the predatory killing of stock and sanguinary mass sacrices, and instructed every believer to rear and defend useful animals.

    The greater part of the book is what is known as the Younger Avesta. Its core appears to have been written in the last quarter of the fth century b. Because of its long development Zoroastrianism underwent a complex evolution. According to the G as, Zoroaster received from the god Ahura a Mazda a mission to renew religion and break with ancient beliefs. He introduced a radical religious reform, accentuating belief in the nal victory of Ahura Mazda, rejecting some of the da vas or tribal gods and setting the others below Ahura Mazda.

    He taught that e Ahura Mazda Ormazd in Middle Persian is the sole, omnipotent and ubiquitous god of Handle of a silver vessel, Achaemenid period. Gold square necklace button with Ahura Mazda. He existed before the world and is its creator. From the outset, however, together with Ahura Mazda there existed the evil spirit, Angra Mainyu Ar Mainyu or Ahriman, who incarnates darkness and death, and with o his da va helpmates, works evil.

    Man was created by Ahura Mazda but is free to choose good or evil, and is By his thoughts, words and deeds man must resist Angra Mainyu and his adherents, the spirits of evil.