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Alexander ascended to the citadel terrace and took possession of the treasure there. This had been accumulated from the state revenues, beginning with Cyrus, the first king of the Persians, down to that time, and the vaults were packed full of silver and gold. The total was found to be one hundred and twenty thousand talents, when the gold was estimated in terms of silver.1 [2] Alexander wanted to take some money with him to meet the costs of the war, and to deposit the rest in Susa and keep it under guard in that city. Accordingly he sent for a vast number of mules from Babylon and Mesopotamia, as well as from Susa itself, both pack and harness animals as well as three thousand pack camels. By these means Alexander transported everything to the desired places. [3] He felt bitter enmity to the inhabitants.2 He did not trust them, and he meant to destroy Persepolis utterly.

I think that it is not inappropriate to speak briefly about the palace area of the city because of the richness of its buildings.3 [4] The citadel is a noteworthy one, and is surrounded by a triple wall. The first part of this is built over an elaborate foundation. It is sixteen cubits in height and is topped by battlements. [5] The second wall is in all other respects like the first but of twice the height. The third circuit is rectangular in plan, and is sixty cubits in height,4 built of a stone hard and naturally durable. [6] Each of the sides contains a gate with bronze doors, beside each of which stand bronze poles twenty cubits high5; these were intended to catch the eye of the beholder, but the gates were for security. [7]

At the eastern side of the terrace at a distance of four plethra6 is the so-called royal hill in which were the graves of the kings. This was a smooth rock hollowed out into many chambers in which were the sepulchres of the dead kings. These have no other access but receive the sarcophagi of the dead which are lifted by certain mechanical hoists. [8] Scattered about the royal terrace were residences of the kings and members of the royal family as well as quarters for the great nobles,7 all luxuriously furnished, and buildings suitably made for guarding the royal treasure.

1 Curtius 5.6.9 gives the same figures. The total is expressed as weight of silver and value of gold, the latter being equated to silver according to a proportion which is not stated. The usual ratio of gold to silver in antiquity was 12 or 15 to 1. Strabo reports that the treasure was ultimately assembled at Ecbatana.

2 By the term "natives" here Diodorus means the people of Persepolis and the vicinity. Alexander was more and more to employ other Persians in his service.

3 This description of Persepolis is not given elsewhere. It is to be compared with the remains of the city as excavated by the University of Chicago.

4 Ninety feet. The highest foundations of walls preserved at Persepolis are eighteen metres or about sixty feet. No stone walls remain in the city.

5 The purpose of these is unknown, but they suggest the flagstaffs which stood by the pylons of the Egyptian temples.

6 Fischer asked relevantly, "Distance from where?" This space of four hundred feet is rather less than the west-east width of the terrace from the appadana to the steep mountain side. This last is full of caves suitable for burials, many of them very old.

7 Or, literally, generals.

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