Achaemenid Structures > Ka'ba-ye Zartosht

Ka'ba-ye Zartosht


The Ka'ba-ye Zartosht (also transliterated as Kaba-ye Zardusht, Kaba-ye Zardosht, Persian: کعبه زرتشت‎‎), meaning the "Cube of Zoroaster," is a 5th century BCE Achaemenid square tower at Naqsh-e Rustam, an archaeological site just northwest of Persepolis, Iran. It is one of many surviving examples of Achaemenid architecture.The name Ka'ba-ye Zartosht probably dates to the 14th century,[1] when many pre-Islamic sites were identified with figures and events of the Qur'ān or the Shāhnāme. The structure is not actually a Zoroastrian shrine, nor are there reports of it ever having been a pilgrimage site.The structure, which is a copy of a sister building at Pasargadae,[2] was built either by Darius I (r. 521–486 BCE) when he moved to Persepolis, by Artaxerxes II (r. 404–358 BCE) or Artaxerxes III (r. 358–338 BCE). The building at Pasargadae is a few decades older. The wall surrounding the tower dates to Sassanid times.[1]Contents [hide]1Physical attributes2Purpose3Inscriptions4Inscription of Shapur5Notes6Bibliography7External linksPhysical attributes[edit]Main article: Achaemenid architectureThe square tower is constructed of white limestone blocks, that - unlike those of the sister building - are held in place by iron cramps. Mortar was not used in its construction. Each side of the building is 7.25 m wide. The 12.5 m high structure has a slightly pyramidal roof and stands on a 1.5 m high three-stepped plinth. Each face of the building is decorated with slightly recessed false windows of black limestone.The structure has one square inner chamber, 5.70 m high and 3.70 m wide, access to which is through a doorway with a decorated lintel in the upper half of the tower. The chamber once accessible by a flight of steps, only the lower half of which has survived. The 1.70 m wide and 1.90 m high door was of solid stone that was originally firmly closed but has since disappeared.Purpose[edit]Ka'ba-ye Zartosht (foreground,right) against the backdrop of Naqsh-e Rustam.From a reference to fire altars in a Sassanid inscription on the building it was inferred[3] that the structure was once a fire altar, or perhaps as an eternal flame memorial to the emperors whose tombs are located a few meters away. This theory has however since been rejected since the lack of cross-ventilation would have soon choked the flame,[4] and in any case, the author of the inscription is unlikely to have known the purpose of the building seven centuries after its construction.[5]A later opinion suggested that both it and its sister building were safety boxes for the "paraphernalia of rule".[2]Today, scholars[1] consider the structure to be an Achaemenid royal tomb, and it has been observed by F. Weissbach and A. Demandt that both the Ka'ba-ye Zartosht and its sister building at Pasargadae "more closely correspond to the description of Cyrus the Great's tomb by Arrian (6.29) and Strabo (15.3.7) than does the monument in Pasargadae which is commonly attributed to this king."[1]Inscriptions[edit]The Sassanid-era wall surrounding the structure has four inscriptions dating to the 3rd century.The trilingual inscription ('KZ') of Shapur I (241–272) is on the eastern (Middle Persian text), western (Parthian text) and southern (Greek text) walls. A Middle Persian inscription of the high priest Kartir — the 'KKZ' inscription — is below Shapur's on the eastern wall.Inscription of Shapur[edit]Main article: Shapur I's inscription at the Ka'ba-ye ZartoshtThe trilingual inscription of Shapur I (r. 240-270), known as SKZ, KZ, Res Gestae Divi Saporis, or The Great Inscription of Shapur I, contains his account of the operation of his reign. It sheds light on the operation of the early Persian kingdom, and includes the enumeration of the lands under direct Sasanian control.[6] It also contains a description of Shapur's Roman Wars which differs significantly from the account in Roman sources. Shapur claims to have defeated and killed the emperor Gordian III at Misikhe, defeated a large Roman force at Barbalissos, and captured the emperor Valerian in a battle between Edessa and Carrhae.[7] Res Gestae Divi Saporis. Roman sources only mention the latter battle and usually imply that Valerian was captured through treachery.The name Res Gestae Divi Saporis was given to it by archaeologist M.I. Rostovtzeff in imitation of the emperor Augustus' Res Gestae Divi Augusti.[8]Notes[edit]^ Jump up to: a b c d Gropp 2004.^ Jump up to: a b Frye 1974, p. 386.Jump up ^ Herzfeld 1935, pp. 35–37.Jump up ^ Boyce 1975, p. 458.Jump up ^ Goldman 1965, p. 306.Jump up ^ 2014 & Rapp, p. 28.Jump up ^ André Maricq, "Classica et Orientalia par André Marixq: 5. Res Gestae Divi Saporis" in Syria vol.35, parts 3/4, p.295-360 (1958) doi |10.2307/4197176 JSTORJump up ^ James Noel Adams, J; Janse, Mark; Swain, Simon (2002). "Bilingualism in Ancient Society: Language Contact and the Written Word". ISBN 9780199245062.Bibliography[edit]Boyce, Mary (1975), "On the Zoroastrian Temple Cult of Fire", Journal of the American Oriental Society, 95 (3): 454–465, doi:10.2307/599356Frye, Richard N. (1974), "Persepolis Again", Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 33 (4): 383–386, doi:10.1086/372376Gropp, Gerd (2004), "Ka'ba-ye Zardošt", Encyclopaedia Iranica, OT 7, New York: iranica.comGoldman, Bernard (1965), "Persian Fire Temples or Tombs?", Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 24 (4): 305–308, doi:10.1086/371824Herzfeld, Ernst (1935), Archaeological History of Iran, London: H. Milford/OUP"KARTIR KZ.; Royal inscription found on the Kabah of Zartusht. An account of how Zoroastrianism was propagated beyond Iranian territories during the Third Century, and other religions suppressed.". AVESTA -- Zoroastrian Archives. Retrieved August 23, 2016.Rapp, Stephen H. (2014). The Sasanian World through Georgian Eyes: Caucasia and the Iranian Commonwealth in Late Antique Georgian Literature. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 978-1472425522.External links[edit]Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ka'ba-ye Zartosht.A guided tour of Ka'ba-ye Zartosht, YouTube (1 min 34 sec).Coordinates: 29°59′18″N 52°52′26″E

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