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Classical Civilizations of the Middle East and Mediterranean Persia, Greece, and Rome.

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Presentation on theme: "Classical Civilizations of the Middle East and Mediterranean Persia, Greece, and Rome."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Classical Civilizations of the Middle East and Mediterranean Persia, Greece, and Rome

3 Persia Ancient Persia arose in the area that is now Iran, mostly a high, dry plateau surrounded by mountains to the north, east, and west, and by the Indian Ocean to the south. Ancient Persia arose in the area that is now Iran, mostly a high, dry plateau surrounded by mountains to the north, east, and west, and by the Indian Ocean to the south. The Persians were an Indo-European people (Aryan) who lived on the margins of the earlier Mesopotamian civilization. The Persians were an Indo-European people (Aryan) who lived on the margins of the earlier Mesopotamian civilization. Iran means “Land of the Aryans.” Iran means “Land of the Aryans.”

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5 Persia Around 560 BCE, the Middle East was divided into four great powers: Egypt and the kingdoms of Lydia, Babylon, and Media (northern Iran). Around 560 BCE, the Middle East was divided into four great powers: Egypt and the kingdoms of Lydia, Babylon, and Media (northern Iran). These four thought they could live in peace and prosperity, but their fragile balance of power collapsed before a new, massive force, Persia. These four thought they could live in peace and prosperity, but their fragile balance of power collapsed before a new, massive force, Persia. Persia’s rise to prominence demonstrates the instability of the balance-of-power concept. Persia’s rise to prominence demonstrates the instability of the balance-of-power concept.

6 Persia Persia would be the greatest empire that the ancient world had yet seen. Persia would be the greatest empire that the ancient world had yet seen. At one time, Assyria had controlled the northern portion of the Middle East, but they were conquered by the Medes (Media). At one time, Assyria had controlled the northern portion of the Middle East, but they were conquered by the Medes (Media).

7 Persia The Medes were famous warriors, feared by all Greeks. But their king was a tyrant and the Persians would eventually conquer Media. The Medes were famous warriors, feared by all Greeks. But their king was a tyrant and the Persians would eventually conquer Media. Here is the story as related by the ancient Greek historian Herodotus many centuries later… Here is the story as related by the ancient Greek historian Herodotus many centuries later…

8 Persia Around the year 580 BCE, the tyrannical king of Media, Astyages, had a dream that his daughter would give birth to a son that would destroy his empire. Around the year 580 BCE, the tyrannical king of Media, Astyages, had a dream that his daughter would give birth to a son that would destroy his empire.

9 Persia Astyages ordered his general (his second in command) Harpagus—to have the child killed…but Harpagus, morally unable to do the deed, had the boy raised by a shepherd instead. Astyages ordered his general (his second in command) Harpagus—to have the child killed…but Harpagus, morally unable to do the deed, had the boy raised by a shepherd instead.

10 Persia The child grew up thinking he was the son of a shepherd. The child grew up thinking he was the son of a shepherd. But by the time the boy was 10, it is said that he behaved like the son of a noble, not a shepherd. But by the time the boy was 10, it is said that he behaved like the son of a noble, not a shepherd. So he was brought before the king. The king realized the boy looked like himself and questioned Harpagus, who admitted he hadn’t killed the lad. So he was brought before the king. The king realized the boy looked like himself and questioned Harpagus, who admitted he hadn’t killed the lad.

11 Persia The king asked Harpagus to bring his own little son to the palace to celebrate a great feast in honor of the return of his grandson. The king asked Harpagus to bring his own little son to the palace to celebrate a great feast in honor of the return of his grandson.

12 Persia When the little boy arrived, he was killed without his father Harpagus knowing. When the little boy arrived, he was killed without his father Harpagus knowing. The little boy was cut into pieces, and put into a stew which was fed to his father (Harpagus had no idea). The little boy was cut into pieces, and put into a stew which was fed to his father (Harpagus had no idea). Then his head, hands, and feet were brought in on a covered silver dish (as dessert) that Harpagus was ordered to uncover. Then his head, hands, and feet were brought in on a covered silver dish (as dessert) that Harpagus was ordered to uncover.

13 Persia The king’s grandson, Cyrus, was spared then sent back to live with his real parents. The king’s grandson, Cyrus, was spared then sent back to live with his real parents. According to the Greek historian Herodotus, Harpagus was looking for an opportunity to avenge himself and his son. According to the Greek historian Herodotus, Harpagus was looking for an opportunity to avenge himself and his son. When Cyrus had come of age, Harpagus managed to convince the young Cyrus that the Medes were ready to revolt against their king, who had become an evil despot. When Cyrus had come of age, Harpagus managed to convince the young Cyrus that the Medes were ready to revolt against their king, who had become an evil despot.

14 Persia Cyrus organized a federation of ten Persian tribes and revolted, and Astyages 'armed all the Medes, and blinded by divine providence he appointed Harpagus to be the leader of the army'. Cyrus organized a federation of ten Persian tribes and revolted, and Astyages 'armed all the Medes, and blinded by divine providence he appointed Harpagus to be the leader of the army'. Harpagus switched sides and the Persians under Cyrus captured Astyages. Harpagus switched sides and the Persians under Cyrus captured Astyages.

15 Persia Ultimately he would overthrow his grandfather’s kingdom, unite the Persians, and establish the Persian Empire. Ultimately he would overthrow his grandfather’s kingdom, unite the Persians, and establish the Persian Empire. This story of Herodotus illustrates the Greek’s view of the history of the Middle East, highlighting the difference between the Greek love of freedom and the Middle Eastern willingness to accept absolute rule. This story of Herodotus illustrates the Greek’s view of the history of the Middle East, highlighting the difference between the Greek love of freedom and the Middle Eastern willingness to accept absolute rule.

16 Persia In the ancient Middle East, the king was a absolute ruler. In the ancient Middle East, the king was a absolute ruler. Individuals had no rights, except those allowed by the king. Individuals had no rights, except those allowed by the king. The king was not only the law itself, but as the story of Harpagus showed, he was bound by no moral scruples, although there were limits to his power. The king was not only the law itself, but as the story of Harpagus showed, he was bound by no moral scruples, although there were limits to his power. Like the Mandate of Heaven, rulers ruled at the discretion of the gods and must rule justly. Like the Mandate of Heaven, rulers ruled at the discretion of the gods and must rule justly.

17 But as Herodotus showed, even those in positions of command and power— like Harpagus—had no rights and no protection from abuses. But as Herodotus showed, even those in positions of command and power— like Harpagus—had no rights and no protection from abuses. In the Persian Empire, everyone from the highest vizier to the lowliest peasant was regarded as the king’s slave. In the Persian Empire, everyone from the highest vizier to the lowliest peasant was regarded as the king’s slave. Persia

18 Persia Its location was in between the population centers of the Indian subcontinent and southwest Asia, so traders had crossed the area for many centuries before its people were organized under the first Persian warrior-king, Cyrus the Great (r BCE). Its location was in between the population centers of the Indian subcontinent and southwest Asia, so traders had crossed the area for many centuries before its people were organized under the first Persian warrior-king, Cyrus the Great (r BCE).

19 Persia As the founder of the Achaemenid dynasty, Cyrus forged a unified Persia by uniting the two original Iranian tribes: the Medes and the Persians. As the founder of the Achaemenid dynasty, Cyrus forged a unified Persia by uniting the two original Iranian tribes: the Medes and the Persians. He created an imperial system based on Mesopotamian examples, like the Babylonians and the Assyrians, but surpassed them all in size and splendor. He created an imperial system based on Mesopotamian examples, like the Babylonians and the Assyrians, but surpassed them all in size and splendor.

20 Persia Cyrus was able to overcome other rulers, like the king of Medes (his grandfather Astyages), to extend his territory from the edge of India to Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea. Cyrus was able to overcome other rulers, like the king of Medes (his grandfather Astyages), to extend his territory from the edge of India to Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea. When he conquered territory, he presented himself not as a conqueror but as a liberator and legitimate successor. When he conquered territory, he presented himself not as a conqueror but as a liberator and legitimate successor.

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22 Persia The Cyrus the Great Cylinder is considered by many to be the world’s first declaration of human rights.

23 Persia There were three main premises in the decrees of the Cyrus Cylinder: 1. racial, linguistic, and religious equality; 2. slaves and all deported peoples were to be allowed to return to home; 3. and all destroyed temples were to be restored.

24 Persia In 1971, the Cyrus Cylinder was described as the world’s first charter of human rights and it was translated into all six official U.N. languages. A replica of the cylinder is kept at the United Nations Headquarters in New York in the second floor hallway, between the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council chambers.

25 Persia Cyrus owed a lot of the success of his empire to the rich mineral resources of his kingdom, especially iron. Persian iron was considered the best in the world.

26 Persia At its height, Persia contained about 40 million people. At its height, Persia contained about 40 million people. It was extremely diverse, with dozens of ethnicities, languages, and cultural traditions. It was extremely diverse, with dozens of ethnicities, languages, and cultural traditions.

27 Persia The ancient Persian capital of Pasargadae.

28 Persia The Imperial complex: The Imperial complex:

29 Persia Starting with Cyrus, the empire centered on an elaborate cult of kingship in which the monarch, secluded in royal magnificence, could be approached only through an elaborate ritual (you had to crawl on your belly then kiss the feet of the king). Starting with Cyrus, the empire centered on an elaborate cult of kingship in which the monarch, secluded in royal magnificence, could be approached only through an elaborate ritual (you had to crawl on your belly then kiss the feet of the king). Ruling by the will of Ahura Mazda, kings were absolute monarchs, more than willing to crush rebellious regions or officials. Ruling by the will of Ahura Mazda, kings were absolute monarchs, more than willing to crush rebellious regions or officials.

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31 Persia In the eyes of many, Persian kings deserved their many titles…”King of kings, Great king, King in Persia, King of all countries, King in this great earth far and wide.” In the eyes of many, Persian kings deserved their many titles…”King of kings, Great king, King in Persia, King of all countries, King in this great earth far and wide.” Cyrus conquered not only Media but Lydia (today, western Turkey) as well. Cyrus conquered not only Media but Lydia (today, western Turkey) as well.

32 Persia He captured the legendary Croesus (the king of Lydia and his great-uncle r BCE) and subjected him to a humiliating imprisonment and almost deat h. He captured the legendary Croesus (the king of Lydia and his great-uncle r BCE) and subjected him to a humiliating imprisonment and almost deat h.

33 Persia Croesus had conquered most of the cities of Asia Minor including the Greek cities. Croesus had conquered most of the cities of Asia Minor including the Greek cities. He was on fairly good terms with the Greeks, mainly because he left them alone. He was on fairly good terms with the Greeks, mainly because he left them alone. They were free to pursue their internal disputes, so long as they paid tribute money. They were free to pursue their internal disputes, so long as they paid tribute money. The Greeks were okay with this because trade was flourishing, thanks to Croesus' wise rule. The Greeks were okay with this because trade was flourishing, thanks to Croesus' wise rule.

34 Persia Cyrus was now the ruler of the Ionian Greeks, having more or less inherited them by conquering Lydia. Cyrus was now the ruler of the Ionian Greeks, having more or less inherited them by conquering Lydia. The Greeks did not like their new Persian overlords, for the Persians drafted Greeks into their armies, levied heavy tribute (taxes), garrisoned Persian troops in the Greek cities, and interfered with the local governments. The Greeks did not like their new Persian overlords, for the Persians drafted Greeks into their armies, levied heavy tribute (taxes), garrisoned Persian troops in the Greek cities, and interfered with the local governments.

35 Persia Soon the Greeks were complaining about Persian oppression thwarting Greek liberty. Soon the Greeks were complaining about Persian oppression thwarting Greek liberty. The Greeks began walling their towns and calling war councils. The Greeks began walling their towns and calling war councils. Cyrus responded to this by conquering the Greek cities directly. Cyrus responded to this by conquering the Greek cities directly. This would set the stage for later Greek/Persian issues. This would set the stage for later Greek/Persian issues.

36 Persia The success of the empire under Cyrus was due to superior military leadership and organization. The success of the empire under Cyrus was due to superior military leadership and organization. Cyrus also left in place native political systems (if they submitted to his rule). Cyrus also left in place native political systems (if they submitted to his rule). He allowed his subjects to retain their own customs and laws, under the supervision of his Persian representatives, the satraps. He allowed his subjects to retain their own customs and laws, under the supervision of his Persian representatives, the satraps.

37 Persia It was more than conquest and royal decree that held the empire together. It was more than conquest and royal decree that held the empire together. The satraps were an effective bureaucratic system of governors placed in each of the empire’s twenty- three provinces. The satraps were an effective bureaucratic system of governors placed in each of the empire’s twenty- three provinces. Lower-level officials were drawn from local authorities. Lower-level officials were drawn from local authorities.

38 Persia Satraps were responsible for collecting tribute (mostly gold), providing soldiers, and keeping order. Satraps were responsible for collecting tribute (mostly gold), providing soldiers, and keeping order. The satraps had miniature courts that mimicked that of the Persian king in Persepolis and their positions could be rotated…eventually they became hereditary. The satraps had miniature courts that mimicked that of the Persian king in Persepolis and their positions could be rotated…eventually they became hereditary.

39 Persia A system of imperial spies, known as the “eyes and ears of the King,” represented another imperial presence in the far reaches of the empire. A system of imperial spies, known as the “eyes and ears of the King,” represented another imperial presence in the far reaches of the empire. Yet under Cyrus there was a general policy of respect for the empire’s many non-Persian cultural traditions which also cemented the state’s authority. Yet under Cyrus there was a general policy of respect for the empire’s many non-Persian cultural traditions which also cemented the state’s authority.

40 Persia Under Cyrus, large areas of his empire enjoyed peace and prosperity longer than in any previous period. Under Cyrus, large areas of his empire enjoyed peace and prosperity longer than in any previous period. Herodotus talked of how beautiful the Persian Empire was and even how the Persians valued flower gardens (tulip cultivation became an art under Cyrus). Herodotus talked of how beautiful the Persian Empire was and even how the Persians valued flower gardens (tulip cultivation became an art under Cyrus).

41 Persia Cyrus famously won the gratitude of the Hebrews when in 539 BCE he allowed those exiled in Babylon (which had started in 597 BCE) to return to their homeland and rebuild their temple in Jerusalem. Cyrus famously won the gratitude of the Hebrews when in 539 BCE he allowed those exiled in Babylon (which had started in 597 BCE) to return to their homeland and rebuild their temple in Jerusalem. Even though many Jews decided to stay in Babylon, this is an important and pivotal point in Jewish history. Even though many Jews decided to stay in Babylon, this is an important and pivotal point in Jewish history.

42 Persia The prophet Isaiah saw in Cyrus’ victories the hand of God, named him the “Lord’s anointed,” and gloated over the fate of the old enemy Babylon: The prophet Isaiah saw in Cyrus’ victories the hand of God, named him the “Lord’s anointed,” and gloated over the fate of the old enemy Babylon: “Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee.” Isaiah x1v, x1vii, 1-13 “Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee.” Isaiah x1v, x1vii, 1-13

43 Persia But Cyrus wanted to expand his empire to the east, into what was called Scythia (today’s Turkmenistan and Afghanistan). But Cyrus wanted to expand his empire to the east, into what was called Scythia (today’s Turkmenistan and Afghanistan). For Herodotus and the Greeks, this action of Cyrus showed outrageous arrogance, what they called hubris. For Herodotus and the Greeks, this action of Cyrus showed outrageous arrogance, what they called hubris.

44 Persia Cyrus, we are told, met his death trying to take over the land of the Scythians in an unnecessary preemptive war that he did not need to fight. Cyrus, we are told, met his death trying to take over the land of the Scythians in an unnecessary preemptive war that he did not need to fight. It is said the Scythian ruler had Cyrus’ face buried in a bucket of his own blood. It is said the Scythian ruler had Cyrus’ face buried in a bucket of his own blood. When news that the king had died reached Persia, sacred fires all across the land were extinguished. When news that the king had died reached Persia, sacred fires all across the land were extinguished.

45 Persia This is the tomb of Cyrus at Pasargadae (Cyrus’ capital in Southern Iran). This is the tomb of Cyrus at Pasargadae (Cyrus’ capital in Southern Iran). Inside the tomb were found a golden coffin, a table set with drinking vessels, and jewel studded ornaments. Inside the tomb were found a golden coffin, a table set with drinking vessels, and jewel studded ornaments.

46 Persia An inscription inside the tomb read: O man, whoever thou art, from wheresoever thou cometh, for I know you shall come, I am Cyrus, who founded the empire of the Persians. Grudge me not, therefore, this little earth that covers my body. An inscription inside the tomb read: O man, whoever thou art, from wheresoever thou cometh, for I know you shall come, I am Cyrus, who founded the empire of the Persians. Grudge me not, therefore, this little earth that covers my body. Persians were expected to shave their hair in mourning, and the manes of horses were cut short. Persians were expected to shave their hair in mourning, and the manes of horses were cut short. Cyrus’ son Cambyses II took over the Empire, and inherited Cyrus’ project of conquering Egypt. Cyrus’ son Cambyses II took over the Empire, and inherited Cyrus’ project of conquering Egypt.

47 Persia The Persian army easily crossed the Sinai, and attacked the Nile Valley. The Persian army easily crossed the Sinai, and attacked the Nile Valley. The Persians were aided by the Phoenician fleet. The Persians were aided by the Phoenician fleet. Cambyses capturing the Egyptian pharaoh. Cambyses capturing the Egyptian pharaoh.

48 Persia In Egypt, resistance to the Persians was particularly difficult; the Egyptians fought with great determination and the conquest was notoriously hard. In Egypt, resistance to the Persians was particularly difficult; the Egyptians fought with great determination and the conquest was notoriously hard. Cambyses violated tombs and destroyed the mummies of pharaohs, all in an effort to break the will of Egypt. Cambyses violated tombs and destroyed the mummies of pharaohs, all in an effort to break the will of Egypt. He died in Egypt in 522 BCE under “mysterious” circumstances. He died in Egypt in 522 BCE under “mysterious” circumstances.

49 Persia The Empire continued to expand and reached its maximum extent under Darius I, extending beyond Egypt into Libya, and into an area north of Greece called Macedonia (where Alexander the Great came from). The Empire continued to expand and reached its maximum extent under Darius I, extending beyond Egypt into Libya, and into an area north of Greece called Macedonia (where Alexander the Great came from).

50 Persia In Egypt and Babylon, Persian kings took care to uphold the local religious cults in an effort to gain the support of their followers and officials. In Egypt and Babylon, Persian kings took care to uphold the local religious cults in an effort to gain the support of their followers and officials. The Greek historian Herodotus commented that “there is no nation which so readily adopts foreign customs. They have taken the dress of the Medes and in war they wear the Egyptian breastplate. As soon as they hear of any luxury, they instantly make it their own.” The Greek historian Herodotus commented that “there is no nation which so readily adopts foreign customs. They have taken the dress of the Medes and in war they wear the Egyptian breastplate. As soon as they hear of any luxury, they instantly make it their own.”

51 Persia Below a Persian administration, the Persians very cleverly worked through local elites. This was part of their genius. Below a Persian administration, the Persians very cleverly worked through local elites. This was part of their genius. They won over the Hebrews by rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem and putting the priestly elites in charge. They won over the Hebrews by rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem and putting the priestly elites in charge. In Lydia, they put the ancient Lydian aristocracy in charge. Same in Babylon. In Lydia, they put the ancient Lydian aristocracy in charge. Same in Babylon. Egypt will be an exception. Egypt will be an exception.

52 Persia Cyrus’ grandson, Darius I (r BCE), was an extremely competent ruler, but a strongly authoritarian one. Cyrus’ grandson, Darius I (r BCE), was an extremely competent ruler, but a strongly authoritarian one. Cyrus was the warrior- king, the conqueror; Darius was an administrator. Cyrus was the warrior- king, the conqueror; Darius was an administrator. He had the misfortune of trying to rule the Greeks. He had the misfortune of trying to rule the Greeks.

53 Persia The Persian king Darius worshipping Ahura Mazda. The Persian king Darius worshipping Ahura Mazda.

54 Persia Darius knew the Ionian Greeks were a problem and he realized that they could get help and encouragement from the Greek mainland. Darius knew the Ionian Greeks were a problem and he realized that they could get help and encouragement from the Greek mainland.

55 Persia He was determined to conquer Greece proper in order to secure his western frontier. He was determined to conquer Greece proper in order to secure his western frontier. But the Greek city-states rebelled (the Ionian Revolt), killing or driving out the Persian garrisons and declaring liberty. But the Greek city-states rebelled (the Ionian Revolt), killing or driving out the Persian garrisons and declaring liberty.

56 Persia The local satrap could not control the rebellion, and the revolt spread. The local satrap could not control the rebellion, and the revolt spread. By 499, most of the cities on the Ionian coast were once again independent, a situation Darius would not tolerate. By 499, most of the cities on the Ionian coast were once again independent, a situation Darius would not tolerate. The revolt had succeeded, but only temporarily. The revolt had succeeded, but only temporarily. The Ionian city-states appealed to the Greeks on the mainland for help. The Ionian city-states appealed to the Greeks on the mainland for help.

57 Persia Sparta refused, arguing that events in Asia were none of its concern. Sparta refused, arguing that events in Asia were none of its concern. Athens, on the other hand, sent an entire army plus a navy to defend her fellow Greeks from the Persians. Athens, on the other hand, sent an entire army plus a navy to defend her fellow Greeks from the Persians. The expedition burned Sardis, capital of that part of the Empire, in 496 and the Persians were driven completely out of Asia Minor (Western Turkey). The expedition burned Sardis, capital of that part of the Empire, in 496 and the Persians were driven completely out of Asia Minor (Western Turkey).

58 Persia Ruins of the Lydian capital, Sardis.

59 Persia When the Persians arrived in force, the rebellion ended quickly. By 493 BCE, the Ionian rebellion had been crushed by the Persians (it started in 499 BCE). When the Persians arrived in force, the rebellion ended quickly. By 493 BCE, the Ionian rebellion had been crushed by the Persians (it started in 499 BCE). Darius was surprisingly lenient, at least with those cities that agreed to submit to Persian rule once more. Darius was surprisingly lenient, at least with those cities that agreed to submit to Persian rule once more. He did re-institute the garrisons and the taxes. He did re-institute the garrisons and the taxes. This was the first salvo in the Greco-Persian conflicts that would last for decades. This was the first salvo in the Greco-Persian conflicts that would last for decades.

60 Persia Since Athens had been the principle ally of the Ionians, they fully expected to feel the wrath of Darius. Since Athens had been the principle ally of the Ionians, they fully expected to feel the wrath of Darius. The Athenians were so worried, in 493 they fined the playwright Phrynichus 1,000 drachmas for his play The Capture of Miletus, because it recounted the events of the Ionian Revolt and reminded them of the reasons for their current fears. The Athenians were so worried, in 493 they fined the playwright Phrynichus 1,000 drachmas for his play The Capture of Miletus, because it recounted the events of the Ionian Revolt and reminded them of the reasons for their current fears.

61 Persia In order to punish the Greeks for their impudence, Darius did send his army to the Greek mainland (since Athens supported their Ionian cousins). In order to punish the Greeks for their impudence, Darius did send his army to the Greek mainland (since Athens supported their Ionian cousins). In 492 BCE, Darius gave his satrap in Thrace (Northern Greece) command of 600 ships, sent to bring Athens to its knees. In 492 BCE, Darius gave his satrap in Thrace (Northern Greece) command of 600 ships, sent to bring Athens to its knees.

62 Persia But a freak storm (a gift from the gods) destroyed the fleet and Herodotus says 20,000 Persians were lost. But a freak storm (a gift from the gods) destroyed the fleet and Herodotus says 20,000 Persians were lost.

63 Persia Two years later, Darius sent another armada of 600 ships that unloaded over 20,000 infantry and cavalry (compared to about 10,000 Athenian defenders). Two years later, Darius sent another armada of 600 ships that unloaded over 20,000 infantry and cavalry (compared to about 10,000 Athenian defenders).

64 Persia The Athenians' feelings are best expressed by Aeschylus, who fought in the Persian wars, in his tragic play The Persians: The Athenians' feelings are best expressed by Aeschylus, who fought in the Persian wars, in his tragic play The Persians: "On, sons of the Hellenes! Fight for the freedom of your country! Fight for the freedom of your children and of your wives, for the gods of your fathers and for the sepulchers of your ancestors! All are now staked upon the strife!" "On, sons of the Hellenes! Fight for the freedom of your country! Fight for the freedom of your children and of your wives, for the gods of your fathers and for the sepulchers of your ancestors! All are now staked upon the strife!"

65 Persia The two sides met on the Plains of Marathon, about 26 miles north of Athens. The two sides met on the Plains of Marathon, about 26 miles north of Athens. Against great odds, the Athenian hoplite warriors killed over 6400 Persians (while losing about 192). Against great odds, the Athenian hoplite warriors killed over 6400 Persians (while losing about 192).

66 Persia Pheilippides then famously ran the 26 miles from the battlefield to tell the people of Athens of Persia’s defeat then collapsed and died (he ran 150 miles to Sparta and back two days before the battle to enlist Sparta’s help). Pheilippides then famously ran the 26 miles from the battlefield to tell the people of Athens of Persia’s defeat then collapsed and died (he ran 150 miles to Sparta and back two days before the battle to enlist Sparta’s help).

67 Persia The Persians retreated to their ships, sailed to what they thought was an undefended Athens, and were surprised to find the Athenian army had marched back in time to thwart their efforts (Sparta arrived after the battle and couldn’t believe Athens won). The Persians retreated to their ships, sailed to what they thought was an undefended Athens, and were surprised to find the Athenian army had marched back in time to thwart their efforts (Sparta arrived after the battle and couldn’t believe Athens won) &m= &m= &m= &m=

68 Persia A second series of battles began under Darius’ successor, his eldest son Xerxes ( BCE). A second series of battles began under Darius’ successor, his eldest son Xerxes ( BCE). The Persians under Xerxes were defeated even more decisively at the Battle of Thermopylae (480 BCE) (The famous Spartan 300) and again at Plataea (479 BCE). The Persians under Xerxes were defeated even more decisively at the Battle of Thermopylae (480 BCE) (The famous Spartan 300) and again at Plataea (479 BCE).

69 Persia In 480 BCE Xerxes returned to Greece with an even larger army of over 1 million men and over 1000 warships. Xerxes himself rode in the battle chariot of the god Ahura Mazda.

70 Persia Leonidas at Thermopylae by David Leonidas at Thermopylae by David

71 Persia Xerxes’ force rolled over every nation in their path. Only 31 out of the hundreds of Greek cities, led by Athens and Sparta, fought against the Persians. Many others, including Thebes, supported the Persians. It seemed as if Xerxes would prevail. At the pass of Thermopylae, the Spartan 300 defeated 20,000 Persians.

72 Persia Xerxes found Athens empty and burned it in retaliation of the Greeks burning of Sardis (Lydia), but against his counselor’s advice, he fought a naval battle in the Bay of Salamis off the coast of Athens, and the Persian fleet was destroyed.

73 Persia A year later, the army of Xerxes was defeated at Plataea (479 BCE), and the disorganized Persian army was no longer much of a threat to the Greeks.

74 Persia 40 years after the Persian wars, Herodotus wrote his Historai (Histories) meaning “researches.” He tried to answer the question of why nations rise and fall—why great nations were once small and why weak nations were once great. He tried to answer the question of why nations rise and fall—why great nations were once small and why weak nations were once great.

75 Persia Herodotus wanted to understand if invariable laws of history explained these changes. Herodotus wanted to understand if invariable laws of history explained these changes. His book was also the first attempt to explain why the Middle East was different from the West. His book was also the first attempt to explain why the Middle East was different from the West. He noted conflict from the two regions from the very start, including the Trojan War. The Persian Wars were one more struggle in a series he believed would continue as long as humanity. He noted conflict from the two regions from the very start, including the Trojan War. The Persian Wars were one more struggle in a series he believed would continue as long as humanity.

76 Persia Herodotus intended his history as a lesson to the people of Athens as they embarked on their empire. Because he understood that people frequently learned from the mistakes of others, he pointed to the mistakes of the once-mighty Persians. Darius wanted to conquer Athens, but his much larger army was defeated…this should have taught the Persians that their army wasn’t invincible.

77 Persia The Persians should have learned, according to Herodotus, that a small army of free men—in this case the Greeks—fighting against an invasion of their country will defeat a much larger professional army fighting as the slaves of a despot.

78 Persia The Persian Empire began to decline, and the empire of Athens began to rise. The Persian Empire began to decline, and the empire of Athens began to rise. Herodotus found an explanation in the concept of hybris, arrogance that leads to the abuse of power and self-destruction. Herodotus found an explanation in the concept of hybris, arrogance that leads to the abuse of power and self-destruction. Xerxes made the choice to invade when he did not have to. Xerxes made the choice to invade when he did not have to. Xerxes found that free men defending their country could not be conquered. Xerxes found that free men defending their country could not be conquered.

79 Persia Some historians see the clash between Athens and Persia as the trigger event that set the “West” (Greece) against the “East” (Persia) as a defining concept for modern day international politics. Some historians see the clash between Athens and Persia as the trigger event that set the “West” (Greece) against the “East” (Persia) as a defining concept for modern day international politics. Following this line of thinking, today’s events in the Middle East are framed in the mind set that “West” and “East” have been natural enemies since these ancient days. Following this line of thinking, today’s events in the Middle East are framed in the mind set that “West” and “East” have been natural enemies since these ancient days.

80 Persia The Persian Wars were significant for two primary reasons: 1). they signaled the decline of Persia, and 2). they showed Athens to be the premier city- state in Greece. The Persian Wars were significant for two primary reasons: 1). they signaled the decline of Persia, and 2). they showed Athens to be the premier city- state in Greece.

81 Persia For the next 1,000 years, the Persian imperial bureaucracy and court life, with its administrators, tax collectors, record keepers, and translators provided the model for later governments in the region, including those of the Islamic world. For the next 1,000 years, the Persian imperial bureaucracy and court life, with its administrators, tax collectors, record keepers, and translators provided the model for later governments in the region, including those of the Islamic world.

82 Persia The Persian infrastructure included a system of standardized coinage, predictable taxes levied on each province, and a newly dug canal linking the Nile with the Red Sea, which greatly increased commerce and enriched Egypt. The Persian infrastructure included a system of standardized coinage, predictable taxes levied on each province, and a newly dug canal linking the Nile with the Red Sea, which greatly increased commerce and enriched Egypt. A “royal road” some 1700 miles long facilitated commerce and communications across the vast empire. A “royal road” some 1700 miles long facilitated commerce and communications across the vast empire.

83 Persia The “royal road.” The “royal road.”

84 Persia Caravans of merchants could traverse this highway in 90 days, but imperial couriers, with a fresh supply of horses every miles, could carry a message from one end of the road to another in less than two weeks. Caravans of merchants could traverse this highway in 90 days, but imperial couriers, with a fresh supply of horses every miles, could carry a message from one end of the road to another in less than two weeks.

85 Persia Herodotus was impressed, for “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor darkness of night…prevents them from accomplishing the task proposed to them with utmost speed.” Herodotus was impressed, for “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor darkness of night…prevents them from accomplishing the task proposed to them with utmost speed.” This description was later made the motto of the United States Postal Service. This description was later made the motto of the United States Postal Service.

86 Persia Before the cult of Zoroaster, Persian religions centered on sacrifice and fire. Before the cult of Zoroaster, Persian religions centered on sacrifice and fire. Zoroaster (c.630 – c. 550 BCE), also called Zarathustra, was an ancient Persian prophet who founded the monotheistic religion Zoroastrianism. Zoroaster (c.630 – c. 550 BCE), also called Zarathustra, was an ancient Persian prophet who founded the monotheistic religion Zoroastrianism.

87 Persia According to the 'Zend Avesta', the sacred book of Zoroastrianism, he is said to have received a vision from Ahura Mazda, the Wise Lord (God), who appointed him to preach the truth. According to the 'Zend Avesta', the sacred book of Zoroastrianism, he is said to have received a vision from Ahura Mazda, the Wise Lord (God), who appointed him to preach the truth.

88 Persia According to Zoroaster, man had been given the power to choose between good and evil (the idea of Free Will)...between the God of Light and the principle of evil. According to Zoroaster, man had been given the power to choose between good and evil (the idea of Free Will)...between the God of Light and the principle of evil. He believed in a messianic deliverance, the resurrection of the dead, and a life everlasting after judgment. He believed in a messianic deliverance, the resurrection of the dead, and a life everlasting after judgment. His religion was based upon good thoughts, good words, and good deeds. His religion was based upon good thoughts, good words, and good deeds.

89 Persia The end of the world would come when the forces of light would triumph and the saved souls rejoiced in its victory by living on in a heaven while condemned souls would spend eternity in pain (Hell). The end of the world would come when the forces of light would triumph and the saved souls rejoiced in its victory by living on in a heaven while condemned souls would spend eternity in pain (Hell).

90 Persia Zoroastrianism influenced Judaism and by default, Christianity and Islam. Zoroastrianism influenced Judaism and by default, Christianity and Islam. The angels of the Judeo/Christian/Islamic tradition and the notion of God/Satan and heaven/hellfire which awaited the good/wicked both came from Zoroaster. The angels of the Judeo/Christian/Islamic tradition and the notion of God/Satan and heaven/hellfire which awaited the good/wicked both came from Zoroaster.


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