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The Rise, Fall, and Rediscovery of Persepolis, Capital of a Mighty Empire
on March 23, 2009
Filmmaker Gotz Balonier and his team spend most of their time exploring the ruins of Persepolis which was a stunning metropolis under the reign of its founder, Darius I of the Achaemenid dynasty, and his successors. To their credit, Balonier and his collaborators succeed in highlighting some of the key features of the Persian Empire that help their audience better understand the context surrounding the foundation and extension of Persepolis. The Persian Empire, the world's only superpower for two centuries, stood out among other things for the efficiency of its organization and management, its religious and cultural tolerance, and to some extent, its rule of law. Modern day Iranians can look back with both pride and humility at the exploits of their ancestors.
The DVD under review greatly benefits from the computer-generated rebuilding of Persepolis under the direction of architects Wolfgang Gambke and Kourosh Afhami. This stunning animation program is of great help to "reconstruct" the layout and the landmarks of Persepolis that the soldiers of Alexander the Great destroyed in 330 BCE for reasons that are not totally clear to this day. Persepolis still has many secrets to reveal, despite the fact that its scientific restoration started in 1931 CE.
Viewers can use "Persepolis Rediscovering the Lost Capital of the Persian Empire" for planning a future journey to Persepolis or reminiscing about their visit to the ancient imperial capital. Nothing, not even this excellent DVD, can replace the sensorial experience that I gained while I was meandering among the ruins of Persepolis. As a side note, "Engineering an Empire" by The History Channel and "Secrets of Archaeology" by Koch Vision each contains a segment about the Persians and Persepolis.