BAR 37:06, Nov/Dec 2011
A Menorah at Persepolis?
Hamlet. Do you see yonder cloud that’s almost in shape like a camel?
Polonius. By the mass, and ’tis like a camel, indeed.
Hamlet. Methinks it is like a weasel.
Polonius. It is back’d like a weasel.
Hamlet. Or like a whale?
Polonius. Very like a whale.
(Hamlet, Act III, scene ii, ll. 391–399)
I was staring at a photograph of Crown Prince Xerxes in the palace of Darius at Persepolis on page 30 of the latest annual report of the Netherlands Institute for the Near East and the Netherlands Institute in Turkey. Behind Xerxes was an acolyte holding a towering rod or shaft on top of which was a seven-branched menorah—plain as the nose on your face! What was a menorah doing in the palace of Darius at Persepolis?