Chair of Ancient History and Persian Studies at the University of Cardiff and specialist in the history and culture of Iran, the ancient Near East and Greece. He has published widely on Iran, Greece and the history and cultures of the ancient world. Books include Creating a Hellenistic World, King and Court in Ancient Persia, The Culture of Animals in the Ancient World, The Hellenistic Court, Designs on the Past: How Hollywood Created the Ancient World and, in 2022, Persians: the Age of the Great Kings. His latest publication is Ancient Persia and the Book of Esther, Achaemenid Court Culture in the Hebrew Bible and his next publication is about the forgotten queens of Egypt. He has contributed to TV documentaries and BBC radio programmes and is a regular reviewer for The Times and Times Higher Education.