In Dr. Owen Ewald’s 2013 C. May Marston Lecture In Classics, “Reading the Persian Empire”, Persian realities and representations in ancient and modern literature are explored. Although Persia was one of the largest empires in human history before its conquest by Alexander the Great, it remains an enigma. Since few Persian documents have survived, we see Persia mostly through the eyes of others, especially its Greek subjects. Modern novels such as Stephen Pressfield’s Gates of Fire and Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis have also taken up the challenge of depicting ancient Persia. Professor Ewald juxtaposes modern and classic literature to bring to life this neglected classical civilization.