Presentation on theme: "THE HEIGHT OF SOUTHWEST ASIA’S CLASSICAL SOCIETIES"— Presentation transcript:
1 THE HEIGHT OF SOUTHWEST ASIA’S CLASSICAL SOCIETIES THE PERSIANSTHE HEIGHT OF SOUTHWEST ASIA’S CLASSICAL SOCIETIES
2 THE ACHAEMENID EMPIREPersians and Medes are Iranians, related to Indo-EuropeansThe MedesMigrated from central Asia to Persia before 1000 B.C.E.Indo-European speakers, sharing cultural traits with the AryansPersians were one of the tribes of MedesCyrus the Great (reigned B.C.E.)A tough, wily leader, military strategistBecame the king of the Persians in 558 B.C.E., all Medes in 548 BCEConquered Lydia, Chaldean EmpiresEstablished vast empire stretching from India to MediterraneanViewed favorably in the Old Testament: allowed Jews to return homeCambyses, son of Cyrus (re B.C.E.)Conquered Egypt in 525Darius (re B.C.E.)A young kinsman of CyrusBuilt the largest empire in world history: conquered Indus ValleyRuled more than 70 ethnic groupsBuilt new capital at Persepolis, 520 B.C.E.
3 ADMINISTRATION Divided the empire into 23 satrapies Satraps (governors)Appointed by the central governmentLocal officials were drawn from local peoplesLocal policies included self-government, tolerationSatraps' powerRepresent Emperor, maintain defense, collect taxesChecked by military officers and "imperial spies“Checked by Zoroastrianism, codes of honor, fear of EmperorReplaced irregular tribute payments with formal taxesMilitary: largest in history until Romans, ChineseCommon levies from each provincePersian cavalry; Persian Immortals: elite shock troopsMercenaries included GreeksStandardization of coins and lawsCommunication systemsPersian Royal Road links Susa (Asia Minor, Lydia to Susa, in Persia)Postal stations with postal relay riders
6 THE WARS WITH GREECE The Persian Wars (500-479 B.C.E.) Ionian Greeks rebelledGreek free city states sent aid to rebelsPersian rulers put down rebellionDarius invaded Greece to punish GreeksWon battle of ThermopolyaeDid not live long enough to finish jobXerxes (reigned B.C.E.)Retreated from the policy of cultural tolerationCaused ill will and rebellions among subject peoplesLost both land and sea battles to GreeksBattles of MarathonBattle of Salamis
7 ALEXANDER AND HIS HEIRS Alexander of MacedonInvaded Persia in 334 B.C.E.Battle of Gaugamela, ended Achaemenid empire, 331 B.C.E.Alexander burned the city of Persepolis, conquered whole empireThe DiadocheSuccessor states to AlexanderDivided his empire between themThe SeleucidsInherited the largest part of the former Achaemenid empireRetained the Achaemenid system of administrationMet opposition from native PersiansLost control over northern India and Iran
8 SUCCESSORS TO PERSIA The Parthians The Sasanids Overthrew Selecuids in 238 BCEBased in Iran, extended to MesopotamiaRetained some traditions of nomadic peopleFormidable power of Parthian heavy cavalry because of alfalfa diet of horsesEstablished a mighty empire through East SW Asia by conquestsPortrayed themselves as restorers of the Persian traditionFollowed the example of the Achaemenids in administrationClan leaders as satraps: potential threats for central governmentOpposed expanding Roman empire, 1st century C.E.Internal rebellion brought it down in the early 3rd century C.E.The SasanidsFrom Persia, claimed direct descent from the AchaemenidsToppled the Parthians in 224 C.E., new capital at CtesiphonGovernment stronger, better organized, more absolute than ParthianTraded throughout Arabia, SW Asia, Indian Ocean, Central AsiaDevout Zoroastrians much opposed to early spread of ChristianityBattled the Kushan Empire in the eastBattled the Roman and Byzantine empires in the west, 3rd century C.E.In 651 C.E., the empire conquered by Arabs
9 IMPERIAL SOCIETY, ECONOMY Social Development in Classical PersiaNomadic character of early Persian societySimilar to the Aryans in IndiaImportance of family and clan relationshipsImperial bureaucratsNeeded educated bureaucratsShared power with warriors and clan leadersFree classesIn the city: artisans, craftsmen, merchants, civil servantsIn the countryside: peasants - building underground canals (qanat)Slaves in both cities and countrysideEconomic Foundations of Classical PersiaAgriculture was the economic foundationMain crops: Barley and wheatSupplemental crops: peas, lentils, mustard, garlic, onions, cucumberLarge agricultural surplusTradeCommercial zone from India to EgyptPolitical stability promoted growth of tradeStandardized coins (Gold Darics were first in world), good trade routesSpecialization of production in different regions
10 PERSIAN RELIGION Zarathustra and his faith The Gathas Earliest Persian religion resembled that of the AryansZoroastrianism, emerged from teachings of ZarathustraThe GathasZoroastrian teachings, transmitted orally, many perishedPreserved later in writing, by magiCompilation of the holy scriptures, Zend Avesta, under Sasanid dynastyZarathustra's own writing survived, known as GathasZoroastrian teachingsAhura Mazda as a supreme deity, with six lesser deitiesCosmic conflict between Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu (Ahriman, Shaitan)Heavenly paradise and hellish realm as reward and punishmentThe material world as a blessingMoral formula: good words, good thoughts, good deedsPopularity of ZoroastrianismAttracted Persian aristocrats and ruling elitesDarius regarded Ahura Mazda as supreme GodThe faith was most popular in IranSizable followings in Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Egypt, and other regions
11 RELIGIONS OF SALVATION Zoroastrian community suffered during Alexander's invasionZoroastrianism was the official religion during Sasanid ruleThe Zoroastrians' difficultiesExtreme rivalries with Christianity (Orthodox, Monophysites)Arabs conquered Sasanid empire, seventh century C.E.Some Zoroastrians fled to IndiaRemaining Zoroastrians converted to IslamFew faithful Zoroastrians still exist in modern day IranOther faiths: Buddhism, Christianity, and ManichaeismInfluence of ZoroastriansInfluence on Jewish religion: belief in future reward and punishmentInfluence on Christianity: concepts of heaven and hellLater influenced Islam; one of Muhammad’s protected faiths
Your consent to our cookies if you continue to use this website.