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Assyria and Persia Chapter 3 Lesson 3.

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1 Assyria and Persia Chapter 3 Lesson 3

2 The Assyrians Rise to Power
Assyria was a small kingdom of walled cities that was located north of Babylon. Their city was located in open land that was easily attacked, and they had to constantly defend themselves against invaders. Therefore, they became skilled warriors.

3 The Assyrians Rise to Power
By 650 B.C., Assyria had conquered a large empire. King Sargon II was a successful and ruthless Assyrian ruler.

4 The Assyrian War Machine
The Assyrians were geniuses at waging war. They invented the battering ram, which they used to pound down city walls. They used catapults to throw rocks at enemies, and the protected their archers (people who use a bow and arrows) with helmets and armor.

5 Assyrian Learning The capital of the Assyrian Empire was a city called Nineveh. Nineveh became a great city of learning. It had a famous library that held thousands of clay tablets with writings from Sumer and Babylon. These records tell us a lot about life in Mesopotamia.

6 Assyria Overthrown The people that the Assyrians conquered were constantly rebelling against Assyrian rule. Most of the time, the Assyrians crushed the people who tried to fight them. However, in 612 B.C., two groups joined together to smash the Assyrian empire. These groups were the Medes and the Chaldeans.

7 The New Babylonian Empire
The Chaldeans created a new empire, centered at Babylon after they defeated the Assyrians in 612 BC. The greatest king of Babylon was Nebuchadnezzar II. He rebuilt Babylon and put massive walls around the city to protect it. He also built a great palace with hanging gardens.

8 A New Center for Learning
Under the Chaldeans, the New Babylonian empire became a center of learning and science. Chaldean astronomers charted stars and measured the correct length of the year. Chaldean farmers raised bees for their honey. Many people came to Babylon to share ideas and discoveries. This clay tablet shows the world that was known to the Babylonians

9 The Fall of the 2nd Babylonian Empire
The second Babylonian empire came under attack and was defeated by the Persians, who were led by Cyrus, in 539 BC. Though the Chaldeans were defeated, the city of Babylon was spared from destruction.

10 The Rise of the Persian Empire
The Persians were Indo-Europeans who lived in what is today southwestern Iran. Primarily nomadic, the Persians were eventually unified by one family. One member of this family, Cyrus, created a powerful Persian state that stretched from Asia Minor to India.


12 Cyrus the Great Cyrus ruled from 559 BC to 530 BC.
In 539 BC, he captured Babylon. His treatment of Babylonia showed remarkable restraint and wisdom. He also allowed the Jews who had been held there as captives to return to Israel.

13 Cyrus the Great People of his time called Cyrus “the Great.” He demonstrated wisdom and compassion in the conquest and organization of his empire. He won approval by installing not only Persians but also native peoples as government officials in their own states. Unlike Assyrians, Cyrus had a reputation for mercy. Cyrus had a genuine respect for other civilizations.

14 Expansion of the Persian Empire
Cyrus’s successors sought to extend the territory of the Persian Empire. His son Cambyses successfully invaded Egypt. Then Darius, who ruled from 521 to 486, added a new Persian province in western India that extended to the Indus River. Contact with Greece led Darius to invade the Greek mainland.

15 Darius Darius strengthened the Persian government
He divided the empire into 20 provinces, called satrapies. A governor, or satrap, ruled each province, collected taxes, provided justice, and recruited soldiers.

16 Persian Efficiency An effective communication system sustained the Persian Empire. Officials travelled easily throughout empire on well-maintained roads. The Royal Road stretched from Lydia in Asia Minor to Susa, the empire’s capital. Persians set up way stations to provide food, shelter, and horses for King’s messengers.


18 Primary Source DBQ In about 440 BC, Greek historian Herodotus described the Persian postal system that had been perfected by Darius: There is nothing In the world which travels faster than the Persian couriers. The whole idea is a Persian invention, and works like this: riders are stationed along the road, equal in number to the days the journey takes – a man and a horse for each day. Nothing stops these couriers from covering their allotted stage in the quickest possible time – neither snow, rain, heat, nor darkness. The first, at the end of his stage, passes the dispatch to the second, the second to the third, and so on along the line. Questions: Why did Darius think it was important to improve the mail system? What does this quotation reveal about communication in the ancient world?

19 Persian Army By the time of Darius, Persian kings had created a standing army of professional soldiers from all parts of the empire. At its core were a cavalry force of 10,000 and an infantry force of 10,000. They were known as the Immortals because whenever a member was killed, he was immediately replaced.

20 Fall of Persian Empire After Darius, Persian kings became isolated at their courts, surrounded by luxury. As kings increased taxes, loyalty declined. Struggles over the throne weakened the monarchy (rule by king or queen)

21 Corruption in the Monarchy
Persian kings were polygamous (having many wives) and had many children. Artaxerxes II, for example, had 115 sons. These sons had little power, but they engaged in plots to take the throne. Of the nine rulers that followed Darius, six were murdered

22 Persian Religion Zoroastrianism, the Persians’ religion, was their most original cultural contribution. Monotheistic Ahuramazda (the “wise lord”) was the supreme god who created all things. At the beginning of the world, Ahuramazda was opposed by the evil spirit (Ahriman). Humans have the power to choose between good and evil, and their choice will determine their fate.

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