Leaders, Lecturers & Tour Managers

Dr Lindsay Allen

Dr Lindsay Allen has researched and taught the history and archaeology of Iran for twenty years; she is lecturer in Greek and Near Eastern history at King’s College London, with a special interest in the interface between material culture, geography and history. She is the author of ‘The Persian Empire’ (British Museum Press and University of Chicago Press, 2005) and has published articles on the history of Persian antiquities in modern collecting, on ancient communications and on the cultural biography of Persepolis. Starting out as a Classicist in Oxford, she headed East, and her PhD (London) explored the development of kingship in ancient Persia. Her current major research project has traced fragments of Persepolis in museums worldwide, exploring new ways of connecting decontextualized architectural sculpture with its source structures. Lindsay first visited Iran in 1998 and returned as a graduate student to study at the University of Isfahan. She has also held several visiting fellowships or positions, most recently at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London (2018).




Selected Publications

  • Allen, L. ‘The Greatest Enterprise: Arthur Upham Pope, Persepolis and Achaemenid antiquities’, Arthur Upham Pope and a New Survey of Persian Art. Kadoi, Y. (ed.). Brill, (Studies in Persian Cultural History), 31 Mar 2016.
  •  Allen, L. K, ‘The Letter as Object: on the experience of Achaemenid letters’Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies. 56, 2, p. 21-36, 2 Dec 2013.
  • Lindsay Allen, ‘Chilminar sive Persepolis’: European Reception of a Persian Ruin’, in Persian Responses: Political and Cultural Interaction with(in) the Achaemenid Empire pp. 313-342 [Chapter], 2007.
  • Lindsay Allen, Olivier Hekster, Richard Fowler; Imaginary Kings: Royal Images in the Ancient Near East, Greece and Rome Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2005.
  • Lindsay Allen, ‘Le roi imaginaire: an audience with the Achaemenid king’, in Imaginary Kings: Royal Images in the Ancient Near East, Greece and Rome pp. 39-62  [Chapter], 2005
  • Lindsay Allen, The Persian Empire: a history London: British Museum Press, 2005. ISBN-13: 978-0226014470; ISBN-10: 0226014479

The Persian Empire by Lindsay Allen

“Beginning in the sixth century BCE, Persian kings ruled a vast, culturally diverse empire that stretched from northern Libya to central Asia. The regime and its rich multicultural traditions prospered for 250 years until its invasion, and eventual defeat, by Alexander the Great’s army in 331 BCE. Yet until the British Museum’s exhibition in the summer of 2005, the Persian perspective of this landmark event in world history will have been largely neglected. In one of the few accounts available, The Persian Empire provides a comprehensive and accessible portrayal of one of the world’s first land-based dynastic kingdom.

In her cultural and political history of the development of this power, Lindsay Allen-whose posts in the Ancient Near East departments of the British Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art make her one of the leading authorities on Persia-surveys written sources, art objects, warfare, politics, archaeological sites, and daily life during Persian rule. She traces the evolution of the monarchy, showing how it fostered unprecedented international communication and cultural exchange, and describes how the Persian expedition into Greece in the early fifth century BCE became a defining moment that established a European identity apart from an Asian one. Throughout, lavish illustrations bring to life the traditions of this ancient Middle Eastern civilization and finally place Alexander’s invasion within a Persian context. As the subject experiences renewed interest, The Persian Empire promises to be the definitive work on one of the most powerful dynasties in ancient history”.