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EMPIRES of PERSIA The rise and fall of the Persian Empires.

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Presentation on theme: "EMPIRES of PERSIA The rise and fall of the Persian Empires."— Presentation transcript:

1 EMPIRES of PERSIA The rise and fall of the Persian Empires

2 The Achaemenid Empire  Medes and Persians migrated from central Asia to Persia before 1000 B.C.E. –Indo-European speakers, sharing cultural traits with Aryans –Challenged the Assyrian and Babylonian empires

3 Cyrus the Achaemenid (the shepherd) (reigned B.C.E.)  Became king of Persian tribes in 558 B.C.E. tribes in 558 B.C.E.  All of Iran under his control by 548 B.C.E. control by 548 B.C.E.  Established a vast empire from India to empire from India to borders of Egypt borders of Egypt

4 Cyrus’s son Cambyses reigned B.C.E.

5 Darius (reigned B.C.E.) largest extent of empire; population 35 million  Diverse empire, seventy ethnic groups seventy ethnic groups  New capital at Persepolis 520 B.C.E. 520 B.C.E.

6 Achaemenid administration  23 satrapies (Persian governors), appointed by central government  Local officials were from local population  Satraps’ power was checked by military officers and imperial spies  Replaced irregular tribute payments with formal taxes

7  Standardization of coins and laws  Communication systems: Persian Royal Road and postal stations

8 Xerxes (reigned B.C.E.)  Retreated from the policy of cultural toleration  Caused ill will and rebellions among the peoples in Mesopotamia and Egypt

9 Decline and fall of Achaemenid Empire  Commonwealth: law, justice, administration led to political stability and public works

10 The Persian Wars ( B.C.E.)  Rebellion of Ionian Greeks  Persian rulers failed to put down the rebellion, sparred for 150 years

11 Alexander of Macedon invaded Persia in 334 B.C.E.  Battle of Gaugamela, the end of the Achaemenid empire, in 331 B.C.E.  Alexander burns the city of Persepolis

12 The Seleucid, Parthian, and Sasanid Empires  Seleucus inherited most of Achaemenid when Alexander died –Retained the Achaemenid system of administration –Opposition from native Persians; lost control over northern India and Iran

13  The Parthians, based in Iran, extend to Mesopotamia –Power of Parthian was heavy cavalry heavy cavalry –Mithradates I established an empire through an empire through conquests from B.C.E. conquests from B.C.E. –Parthian government followed the example of followed the example of Achaemenid administration Achaemenid administration

14  The Sasanids, from Persia, toppled Parthians; ruled C.E. –Merchants brought in various crops from India and China –Shapur I ( C.E.); buffer states with Romans; standoff with Kushan –In 651 C.E., empire incorporated into Islamic empire

15 Imperial Society and Economy  Social development in classical Persia –Nomadic society, importance of family and clan relationships  Imperial bureaucrats –Imperial administration called for educated bureaucrats –Shared power and influence with warriors and clan leaders

16  Free classes were bulk of Persian society –In the city: artisans, craftsmen, merchants, civil servants –In the countryside: peasants built underground canals  Large class of slaves who were prisoners of war and debtors

17  Economical foundations of classical Persia –Agriculture was economic foundation –Trade from India to Egypt  Standardized coins, good trade routes, markets, and banks  Specialization of production in different regions

18 Religions of salvation in classical Persian society  Zorathustra and his faith –Zoroastrianism  Emerged from the teachings of Zarathustra teachings of Zarathustra

19  Visions: supreme god (Ahura Mazda) made Zarathustra prophet  The Gathas, Zarathustra’s hymns in honor of deities hymns in honor of deities  Teachings preserved later in writing, by magi in writing, by magi  Compilation of holy scriptures, Avesta, scriptures, Avesta, under Sasanid dynasty under Sasanid dynasty

20  Zoroastrian teachings –Ahura Mazda as a supreme deity, with supreme deity, with 6 lesser deities 6 lesser deities –Cosmic conflict between Ahura Mazda (good) and Angra Mainyu (evil) –Heavenly paradise and hellish realm as reward and punishment –The material world as a blessing –Moral formula: good words, good thoughts, good deeds

21  Popularity of Zoroastrianism grows from sixth century B.C.E. –Attracted Persian aristocrats and ruling elites –Darius regarded Ahura Mazda as supreme God –Most popular in Iran; followings in Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Egypt, and more

22  Religions of salvation in a cosmopolitan society –Suffering of Zoroastrian community during Alexander’s invasion –Officially sponsored Zoroastrianism during the Sasanid empire –The Zoroastrian’ difficulties  Islamic conquerors toppled the Sasanid empire, seventh century B.C.E.  Some Zoroastrians fled to India (Parsis)  Most Zoroastrians converted to Islam  Some Zoroastrians still exist in modern-day Iran

23  Zoroastrianism influenced Judaism, Christianity, and later Islam  Buddhism, Christianity, Manichaeism, Judaism also in Persia


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