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Persia. Foundations Political integration of the Iranian civilizations by warfare Beginning: 6th century BC Four empires over one millenium: Achaemenids.

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Presentation on theme: "Persia. Foundations Political integration of the Iranian civilizations by warfare Beginning: 6th century BC Four empires over one millenium: Achaemenids."— Presentation transcript:

1 Persia

2 Foundations Political integration of the Iranian civilizations by warfare Beginning: 6th century BC Four empires over one millenium: Achaemenids ( BC), Seleucids ( BC), Parthians (247 BC-224 AD), Sasanids ( ) Important source: Herodotus

3 The Achaemenidian Empire Early stages, 1000 BC: Indo-European migrations from Central Asia (Medes, Persians) Mesopotamian cultural influence no high politcal organisation, Assyrian & Babylonian supremacy 558 BC: Persian rebellion against Medean overlord, Cyrus – King of the Persian tribes : successfull expansion of the empire 530 BC: Cyrus killed in battle

4 The Achaemenidian Empire

5 Further Developments Cambyses (Cyrus‘ son), conquest of Egypt 525 BC Darius (ruled BC), greatest Persian ruler, expansion to India, Black Sea, Macedonia, Thrace Empire with 35 mio inhabitants Capital: Persepolis

6 Persepolis

7 Persian Statehood Huge empire, multicultural: challenge of government and administration (taxation communication etc.) Consequence: centralisation, i.e. capital Persepolis, state ideology („The Great King, King of Kings“) Administration: 23 Satrapies, standardised legislation, taxation, currency, road network (Royal Road) Balance between central and local administration by tolerant rule

8 Darius & Xerxes

9 The Persian Wars Main reason for decline 500 BC: rebellion by Ionian Greeks, Persian Wars ( BC), Peloponnesian city states involved, Darius defeated at Marathon 490 BC, Xerxes also suffers defeats 150 years ongoing Greek- Persian warfare, ended by Alexander the Great‘s invasion (333 BC Issos, 331 Gaugamela)

10 After Alexander the Great Alexander dies 323 BC Satrap empires (Seleucids, Parthians, Sasanids) Seleucid Empire (named after King Seleucus): BC) The Parthian Empire: 283 BC- 224 AD, Mithradates I., nomadic traditions, adopting Achaemenid legacy The Sasanids: also based on Achaemenid legacy, , brought down by invading Arabs, spread of Islam

11 The Satrap Empires

12 Society & Economy Early stages: immigrating nomads, egalitarian Centralisation of the empire: growth of new class of educated beaurocrats Peasantry: largely free landowners Slavery: usually prisoners of war, also over indebted people Religion: Zoroastrianism


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