The Empires
of Persia
600BCE – 600CE
Early History & Geography
• Persians – Indo European Migrants
• Iranian Plateau
• Achaemenid clan
– Cyrus large areas of West Asia under his control
within a 20 year period
– son, Cambyses brought Egypt under Persian
control in 525BCE
– Later Darius extended empire east and west – in
total nearly 2,000 miles east to west and 1000
miles north to south – with a total of 35 million
people!
Achaemenid Rule
• Toleration of Numerous ethnic groups
and languages
• Bureacuracy at Persepolis
– 23 Administrative and taxation districts
called satrapies, with a satrap for each
– Checks to satraps power – military officers,
tax collectors & imperial spies
• Infrastructure
– Persian Royal Road 1,600 miles long
– Courier Service, 11 postal stations
– Standardized Coinage of Money
Religion in Practice
•Darius claimed divine sanction, yet tolerant of
other religions
•Zoroastrianism’s impact on other faiths
– No missionary component
– Missionary impact of other faiths:
•Buddhism
•Christianity
•Manichaeism (blend of Zoroastrianism, Christianity &
Buddhism)
Religion: Zoroastrianism
Founder: Zarathustra
Holy Book: Avesta
Priestly class: Magi
Principle deity: Ahura Mazda – (six lesser
gods)
Doctrine:
• Final judgment
• Good vs evil (heaven & hell)
• Enjoy pleasures of this life
Economic Foundations
Agriculture
Trade
Vast commercial zone
Foundation of economy
Long distance
Barley, wheat
Success?:
Qanat: underground canals roads, coins, political stability
surpluses
Diffusion during Hellenistic Age
Cities - banks
Social Classes
Free Classes
Imperial Bureaucrats
Educated
Translators
Administrators
Record keepers
Artisans
Low ranking civil servants
Merchants
Priests
Landed & landless rural peasants
Slaves
Debtors
Captives of war
Owned by individual, state or temple
Restrictions: movement, marriage
Decline of Achaemenid Rule
• Xerxes (486BCE – 465BCE) retreated from
previous policy of toleration of various
ethnic and religious identities
• Rebellions - Persian Wars (500BCE – 479BCE)
• 150 yrs. Sporadic rebellions, lack of growth
End of Achaemenid Rule
Alexander the Great invades (334 BCE)
– Outnumbered by Persians
– More sophisticated military tactics
– Heavier arms
Later “Persian” Empires
• The Seleucid – former commander of
Alexander the Great’s Army. Viewed as
foreigners
• The Parthian – originated in Eastern Iran
– restorers of Persian rule
• The Sassanid – claimed direct decent
from Achaemenid – conquered by Arabs
What is the Persian Legacy?
• MESOPOTAMIA: Applied military and
administrative techniques on a much larger scale
• MASSIVE IMPERIAL STATE: First to build
and maintain (Achaemenid 558BCE – 330 BCE)
• RELIGIOUS BELIEFS: shaped moral and
religious thought that influence later development
of Judaism, Christianity and Islam
Lost City of Persepolis
Video
Descargar

The Empires of Persian