The civilization of ancient Persia was among the most splendid, powerful and long lasting of the great historical cultures. But our knowledge of it is all too often confined to a few masterpieces of early Persian art and the Persians' role of Goliath to the Greeks' David. 'The Heritage of Persia' is based on a firsthand study of the sources - archaeological, documentary and linguistic - and provides a scholarly, readable and absorbing account of 2,500 years of Persian [Iranian] history and culture. The author has included in his survey all those lands, inside and outside the borders of modern Iran (Persia), which were Iranian in speech and culture. His story starts with the arrival of the Aryans in the 2nd millennium BC, and follows the fates of the successive dynasties - the Achaemenids, who ruled most of the civilized world, the Seleucides, heirs of Alexander the Great, the Parthians, and the Sasanians, who vied with Rome for control of the ancient world. He concludes with the Arab invasion of Persia in the 7th century AD, the triumph of Islam in the 10th century AD, and the Persian [Iranian[ renaissance that followed.