I’ve enjoyed learning about history as long as I can remember; one of the perks, I guess, of having a huge history buff for an older brother! Ancient societies have always been of particular interest to me. These civilizations’ mythology, culture, aesthetics, military techniques, inventions, and philosophies have long outlived them, granting them outsize legacies in the modern age.
The first Persian Empire, known as the Achaemenid Empire, ruled a huge portion of the ancient world ranging from the Balkans to the Indus valley. This enormous entity, which excelled at centralizing power, endured for 200 years until its conquest by Alexander the Great. Known as notable adversaries of the Greeks during the Greco-Persian wars, the empire was also famously tolerant of numerous religions within its boundaries. I decided that, in my series of Ancient figbarfs, I had to address the Persians!
Ancient Persian Minifigures
From left to right, these are our characters:
Kourosh, a sovereign king. King of Kings of the Achaemenid Empire, Kourosh is a sound, fair, and commanding leader. He guides his satrap governors with a firm hand, and brooks no dissent among them.
I love the outfit I made for this figure. It’s regal, flowing, and feels monarchical despite its simplicity. The baby-blue color, to me, telegraphs Kourosh’s tolerance and temperance, while the overlaying cut Garmadon robe symbolizes his wisdom and authority. Meanwhile, that gold helmet signifies his monarchy… Color impressions. I’m glad I gave him this big, Babylonian-looking beard!
Tamineh, a graceful queen. Unlike many women across the ancient world, Tamineh is treated with (relative) respect by her society and possesses some legal rights. Courtesans see her as a tempering force on the will of the king— and her wrath, though rare, is feared doubly to her husband’s!
Of the characters in this collection, Tamineh was the hardest one for me to get right. I wanted her to feel opulent, but not gaudy. I sought the feeling of a layered look—signature to ancient Persian women—that was also cohesive. I built the figure around its torso, which aptly comes from LEGO’s short-lived Prince of Persia line. Tying in a white and gold cape, a warm skirt, and some golden jewelry did the trick here.
Ormazd, a veteran Immortal. One of the (precisely) 10,000 most elite troops in the empire, Ormazd has helped to expand its boundaries in a few campaigns.
Ormazd also uses a Prince of Persia torso… come to think of it, almost all the rest of the minifigs here do! I confess to being slightly beholden to pop culture on this character’s design. Despite history pointing towards the Immortals—a group of Persian heavy infantry, described in hyperbolic terms by the famously fanciful Herodotus—being more flamboyantly attired than my take on them here, the Immortals’ wildly inaccurate (yet striking) depiction in Zach Snyder’s adaptation of the graphic novel 300 and the darkly-armored Unsullied from Game of Thrones (who certainly take their cues from this legendary regiment) were hard icons to resit.
Ramin, a jovial stable boy (with Jawad, a royal steed). Ramin is a devout Zoroastrian who leads his life according to the Threefold Path of Asha: Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds. As such, despite his low station in the palace, he manages to smile through most days. Jawad, meanwhile, likes running fast and eating yummy carrots.
Horses were an important part of Achaemenid civilization, tools of military might and transit that enabled the formation of their empire. It’s my first time including a horse in a figbarf, but I thought there would be no better opportunity than here! To me, Ramin is the “heart” of this figbarf, which is why he’s in the center: not only is he the most lively in face and color, but he and Jawad also tell the strongest visual story. I wanted to highlight the more peaceful aspects of even a highly militarized empire.
Ashkan and Babak, some stoic sentries. These two have very little to say; after all, they’re paid to say nothing!
These two are a fun duo!… Well, stoic, but fun. I think the combos are simple yet effective, and having two figures “in uniform” with each other—while not necessarily a usual feature of a figbarf like this—emphasizes their roles as soldiers better than mere sword and shield could have done alone. Those shields, by the way, are pulled from a Lord of the Rings pirate ship.
Thanks for reading! If you have any other questions or comments about these minifigs, feel free to leave them in the comments below