By Jennifer Lawless and Kate Cameron

This book provides comprehensive coverage of the three Persian topics in HSC Ancient History: Society Option D: Persian society at the time of Darius and Xerxes Personality Option D: The Near East – Xerxes   Historical Period Historical Option D: Persia – Cyrus II to the Death of Darius III. Early chapters introduce the key features of Persian history and provide foundation knowledge for all three HSC topics. The Xerxes chapter includes a Source Study on The Persians, the play by Aeschylus. The chapter on Expansion of the Empire provides detailed coverage of the Persian wars against the Greeks – from a Persian perspective. The book is written in an engaging and accessible style, drawing on a wealth of written and archaeological sources, including recent research. Questions draw attention to key areas of content and issues of historiography, encouraging students to work with sources and think critically about how they contribute to knowledge/understanding.
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Pages: 200 pp
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Chapter 1: The Persian Empire

Chapter 2: Sources on Ancient Persia

Chapter 3: Administration of the Persian Empire

Chapter 4: The Persian Concept of Kingship

Chapter 5: Religion in the Persian Empire

Chapter 6: Royal Building Programs

Chapter 7: The Persian Army

Chapter 8: Cyrus II

Chapter 9: Cambyses

Chapter 10: Darius I

Chapter 11: Personality Study: Xerxes

Chapter 12: Expansion of the Persian Empire

Chapter 13: Later Persian Kings

Chapter 14: Decline of the Persian Empire?

Chapter 15: Persian Society at the time of Darius and Xerxes

Preparing for the HSC

Dr Jennifer Lawless is a former history teacher and teacher educator at Sydney and Western Sydney Universities. She was a Senior marker for HSC Ancient History and Inspector for Schools HSIE at the Board of Studies (now NESA). Jennifer has co-authored several history textbooks and presents regularly to teachers and students at HTANSW events. She also leads Ancient History tours for teachers for Academy Travel.


Kate Cameron has many years’ experience as a history teacher and HSC marker, and as a teacher educator at Macquarie University. She was Senior Assessment Officer for HSIE at the Board of Studies (now NESA). Kate has co-authored several history textbooks and actively supports students and teachers of history through online and print publications, and through presentations and workshops at HTA conferences and HSC Study Days.


Both Jennifer and Kate have received numerous awards for their teaching, research and publications. They have a life-long love of Ancient History and a passion for Persian history in particular. They have travelled the countries of the ancient world for research – and for pleasure, including travel within Iran for research on Persia.