A glorious past inspires a conflicted nation

What’s so striking about the ruins of Persepolis in southern Iran, an ancient capital of the Persian Empire that was burned down by Alexander, is the absence of violent imagery on what’s left of the stone walls. Among the carvings there are soldier, but they’re not fighting; there are weapons but they are not drawn.  Mainly you see emblems suggesting that something humane went on here instead- people of different nations gathering peacefully, bearing gifts, draping their hands amiably on

one another’s shoulders.  

In an era noted for its barbarity, Persepolis, it seems was a relatively cosmopolitan place- and for many Iranians today its ruins are a breathing reminder of who their Persian ancestors were and what they did.


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