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Violence in the Behistun Monument: Construction and Cohesion of Achaemenid Imperial Rule under Darius I (522-519 BCE)

Benson, M; (2020) Violence in the Behistun Monument: Construction and Cohesion of Achaemenid Imperial Rule under Darius I (522-519 BCE). Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

What are the challenges of studying violence in the ancient world? How should we define violence for historical studies? How do appeals to violent ability aid the establishment and maintenance of regimes of power? I explore these questions in my thesis through an analysis of the Behistun Monument, Darius I's memorial to his victories between 522-519 BCE. I investigate the king's use of psychological and figurative violence in the foundation of the Achaemenid regime of power, after violently suppressing the rebellions against him. In the first part of the thesis I outline the methodological principles of the study and examine the source basis. In Chapter One, I examine how definitions of violence arising from the social scientific debate can be applied to different ancient source material and studies. My methodological approach is based on a 'wide' concept of violence, which accounts for its non-physical aspects. In Chapter Two, I contextualise the Behistun Monument within the extant corpus of Teispid (550-522 BCE) and Achaemenid (522-331 BCE) artefacts. In the second part of the thesis, I conduct a case study of violence in the Behistun Monument. In Chapter Three I consider the monument's figurative aspects: the relief image and inscriptions on the mountainside. In Chapters Four, Five and Six, I consider the inscriptional content. This analysis relates primarily to the 'violent rhetoric': descriptions of the battles fought and punishments inflicted in the course of the crisis and what these reveal about Achaemenid imperial ideology. In the conclusion, I outline the benefits of using a 'wide' definition to examine historical violence revealed by the case study and propose further directions for study

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Violence in the Behistun Monument: Construction and Cohesion of Achaemenid Imperial Rule under Darius I (522-519 BCE)
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2020. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of History
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10094304
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