Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

Luxury and power: From Persia to Greece.

Frasier, James, Llewellyn-Jones, Lloyd ORCID: and Bishop-Wright, Henry 2023. Luxury and power: From Persia to Greece. London: British Museum.

Full text not available from this repository.


The accompanying book to the British Museum exhibition Luxury and power: Persia to Greece. Luxurious objects are celebrated for their exoticism, rarity and style, but also disparaged as indulgent, extravagant and corrupt. The ancient origins of these attitudes emerged at the boundary between the imperial Persian and democratic Athenian Greek worlds. Luxury was at the centre of the royal Persian court and behaviours of ostentatious display rippled through the imperial provinces, whose elite classes emulated luxury objects in lesser materials. But luxury is contrastingly depicted through Athenian eyes – within the philosophical context of early democratic codes and the historical context of the Greco-Persian Wars, which suddenly and spectacularly brought eastern luxuries into the imagination of the Athenian populace for the first time. While Athenian writers rejected luxury as eastern, despotic and corrupt, the elite adopted Persian luxuries in imaginative ways to signal status, distinction and prestige. Under the Macedonian empire of Alexander the Great and its subsequent kingdoms, royal Achaemenid luxury culture would be adopted and displayed by the Macedonian and local elite across the Greek and Middle Eastern worlds: behaviours of ostentatious display were a means to seek advantage in the new Hellenistic world order. Ultimately, this publication demonstrates how competing political spins woven around 2,500 years ago still continue to shape the modern perceptions of luxury today.

Item Type: Book
Book Type: Authored Book
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Publisher: British Museum
ISBN: 9780714111964
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2023 09:45

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item