Roman mosaic from Pompeii depicting Darius III at the Battle of Issus (333 BC), in which he was defeated by Alexander the Great

Darius III: Alexander’s stooge

The ‘Great Kings’ of Persia were renowned for their good looks and imposing stature, but they will always, throughout history, be eclipsed by the Greeks, says Tom Holland

The Milad Tower in Tehran

A place of paranoia, secrecy, corruption, hypocrisy and guilt

‘Is he a good writer? Is he pro-regime?’ an Iranian journalist in London once asked me of Hooman Majd. Majd…

Man with a mission

He was a Persian aristocrat who struggled to make his country a democracy. Given to mood swings and sulks worthy…

A certain tragic allure

Towards Mohammed Reza Pahlavi (1919–1980), the last or most recent Shah of Iran, there are two principal attitudes.