Author Interview: John Curtis Studies in Ancient Persia

Meet the former Keeper of the Middle East Department at the British Museum as he answers questions about his upcoming book on Ancient Persia.

What inspired you to write Studies in Ancient Persia and the Achaemenid Period?

This book is a collection of essays in honour of Terence Mitchell. At its core is a long essay by Terence himself. When I became CEO of the Iran Heritage Foundation I promised to try and get this essay published for him, and I hit on the idea of combining it with a Festschrift, and now here it is.

What does your writing process consist of?

I research and write whenever I have time, either during my normal working day or in evenings and weekends.

Who was Terrence Mitchell to you, and how has he influenced you and your work?

Terence was a colleague at the British Museum 1971-1989, and for the last 7-8 years of that period he was head of the Department of the Middle East. I succeeded him as Keeper.

What most interests you about the future of archaeological work in Iran, and the study of Achaemenid Period?

Incredible archaeological discoveries have ‎been made in Iran since the time of the revolution in 1979 and continue to be made. In spite of this, there is still much to be learnt about the Achaemenid period, many aspects of which remain elusive.

To whom will Studies in Ancient Persia and the Achaemenid Period appeal most?

Those with a scholarly interest in the Iranian history, archaeology and the Achaemenid period, ‎and those interested in Biblical studies.

What will be your next project?

I am co-curating a major exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum on Iran that will open in October 2020.

What are you currently reading?

I am reading the Peter Francopan books as I admire the way he paints with a broad brush and puts things into context.

Studies in Ancient Persia and the Achaemenid Period available for pre-order.

BOOK WEEK SCOTLAND 2013 (25Nov-1Dec 2013): happy reading to you!

Events, competitions, book lists and more for Book Week Scotland, 25 Nov to 1 Dec 2013. Click on the image for more details!

Book Week Scotland is about celebrating books and reading in every part of Scottish life.

Between 25 November and 1 December 2013, people of all ages and of every walks of life will be able to come together in libraries, schools, community  venues and their work places to share and enjoy books and reading. They will be joined in this celebration by Scotland’s authors, poets, playwrights, storytellers and illustrators to bring a packed programme of free projects and events to life.

Book week Scotland is your occasion to share with lots of people the plasure of good books and reading!

Although based a little south of the Pennines, below are some of our own Scottish titles we thought you might enjoy. Simply click on the image for more details.

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The Free Church of Scotland and American Slavery

By Iain Whyte

ISBN: 9780227173893

An insightful investigation of Scotland’s role in the abolition of slavery, focusing on a little-recognised episode in which the Free Church of Scotland became split over the the acceptance of financial aid from the slave states of America.

StoryOfQuakerism 9780718891763The Story of Quakerism in Scotland 1650–1850

By G.B. Burnet

ISBN: 9780718891763

The fascinating and troubled history behind Scottish Quakerism is charted in impressive detail in this pioneering study.


0718819306 Tartans of ScotlandTartans of Scotland

By Ian Scarlett

ISBN: 9780718819309

An illustrated guide to the Scottish tartan, including a brief history of the costume and a              comprehensive listing of the major clans and their tartans.