2 Rise of the Persian Empire The empire of Persia arose in Iran around the 6th century B.C.E.The Medes and the Persians migrated from central Asia to Persia (SW Iran).For a time, they lived under Babylonian and Assyrian rule.Classical Persian Society began during the sixth century B.C.E. when warriors conquered the region from the Indus River to Egypt and southeastern Europe. Their conquests produced much larger realms than the earlier Babylonians or Assyrians. The large Persian empire created political administrative problems for rulers.The Medes and the Persians were two closely related people who migrated from central Asia to Persia.
3 Rise of the Persian Empire The Medes and Persians spoke Indo-European languages.They were part of the larger Indo-European migrations.They shared many traits with distant cousins, the Aryans.They were mostly pastoralists.They were organized into clans rather than states.
4 Rise of the Persian Empire The Medes and Persians had considerable military power.They were expert equestrians like other steppe people.They were expert archers even on horses.They often raided the people of Mesopotamia.Though the Medes and Persians were not tightly organized politically, they did have a lot of military power. As descendants of nomadic people from central Asia, they possessed the equestrian skills common to many steppe peoples.
5 Rise of the Persian Empire When the Assyrians and Babylonian empires weakened in the 6th century B.C.E., the Medes and Persians launched their military campaign.
6 The Achaemenid Empire Cyrus the Achaemenid (558-530 B.C.E.) from SW Irancalled Cyrus the ShepherdEstablished first Persian EmpireCalled Achaemenid after Cyrus’ clan.king of the Persian tribe located in a mountain fortress near Pasargadae
7 Cyrus’s Persian Empire Cyrus the Achaemenid ( B.C.E.)Initiated a rebellion against Median overlordBy 548 B.C.E., all of Iran was under his control.He conquered Anatolia (modern-day Turkey), central Asia, and Bactria (modern day Afghanistan).Within 20 years, his empire stretched from India to the border of Egypt.Cyrus would have probably launched a campaign against Egypt, but he died protecting the NE part of his empire from nomadic invaders. His troops recovered his body and placed it in a simple tomb, which still stands. The tomb still stands in its original location.
8 The Achamenid EmpireCyrus’s son Cambyses conquered Egypt later and brought its wealth into Persian hands.
9 The Achaemenid Empire Darius the Great (521-486 B.C.E.) Built the largest empire the world had ever seen.He was known for being a great administrator.The Achaemenid Empire had more than 70 different ethnic groups.He established an empire that provided for communication throughout.Darius was better administrator than he was conqueror. With a large empire, being a great leader was challenging but he did it well. Because there were so many different ethnic groups with different languages, Darius had to establish a communication system that worked in all parts of his empire. This meant establishing institutions that enabled them to tax and oversee territories. Darius’s administrative techniques were so effective that remained in place
10 The Achaemenid Empire Darius the Great (521-486 B.C.E.) Centralized administrationBuilt capital at Persepolis near PasargadaeReception hallsRoyal residencesMilitary quarterstreasuryDarius was better administrator than he was conqueror. With a large empire, being a great leader was challenging but he did it well. Because there were so many different ethnic groups with different languages, Darius had to establish a communication system that worked in all parts of his empire. This meant establishing institutions that enabled them to tax and oversee territories.. The construction of this impressive palace started by Darius I, one of Cyrus's successors, in about 518 BC. Was completed over a period of 150 years by subsequent kings Xerxes I and Artaxerxes I. It was burned down during Alexander the Great occupation in 331 BC. Historians debate whether was accidental or intentional retaliation.The entire complex was built atop a lofty terrace reached by a double stairway that led to the monumental Gate of Xerxes. The terrace is about 1,475 ft long by 985 ft wide, and about ft high. To the south, across a vast open space, was the huge Apadana, or Audience Hall of Darius; east of the Audience Hall rose the massive Throne Hall—called by early archaeologists the Hall of One Hundred Columns—which was begun by Xerxes and completed by Artaxerxes. Many other structures lay to the south of these main buildings, including the palaces of Darius and Xerxes and the royal treasury.Persepolis (Capital of Persia in Greek) or Takht-e Jamshid (The Throne of Jamshid) became summer capital of Achaemenian after Pasargadae. The construction of this impressive palace started by Darius I, one of Cyrus's successors, in about 518 BC. Was completed over a period of 150 years by subsequent kings Xerxes I and Artaxerxes I. It was burned down during Alexander the Great occupation in 331 BC. Historians debate whether was accidental or intentional retaliation.Everyone who travels to Iran must visit Persepolis, the center of the great Persian Empire and ceremonial capital of the Achaemenians. Located in Fars province, 60Km northeast of Shiraz.To the ancient Persians, the city was known as Pārsa, meaning "The City of Persians". Persepolis is the Greek interpretation of the name Πέρσης πόλις (Persēs polis: "Persian city").For historical reasons, Persepolis was built where the Achaemenid Dynasty was founded, although it was not the center of the empire at that time.Persepolitan architecture is noted for its use of wooden columns. Architects resorted to stone only when the largest cedars of Lebanon or teak trees of India did not fulfill the required sizes. Column bases and capitals were made of stone, even on wooden shafts, but the existence of wooden capitals is probable.The buildings at Persepolis include three general groupings: military quarters, the treasury, and the reception halls and occasional houses for the King. Noted structures include the Great Stairway, the Gate of Nations (Xerxes), the Apadana Palace of Darius, the , the and of Darius, the of Xerxes, the palace of Artaxerxes III, the Imperial Treasury, the Royal Stables and the Chariot House.Persepolis is near the small river Pulwar, which flows into the river Kur (Kyrus). The site includes a 125,000 square meter terrace, partly artificially constructed and partly cut out of a mountain, with its east side leaning on Kuh-e Rahmet ("the Mountain of Mercy"). The other three sides are formed by retaining walls, which vary in height with the slope of the ground. From 5 to 13 meters on the west side a double stair, gently slopes to the top. To create the level terrace, depressions were filled with soil and heavy rocks, which were joined together with metal clips. Around 518 BC, construction of a broad stairway was begun. The stairway was planned to be the main entrance to the terrace 20 meters above the ground. The dual stairway, known as the Persepolitan stairway, was built in symmetrically on the western side of the Great Wall. The 111 steps were 6.9 meters wide with treads of 31 centimetres and rises of 10 centimetres. Originally, the steps were believed to have been constructed to allow for nobles and royalty to ascend by horseback. New theories suggest that the shallow risers allowed visiting dignitaries to maintain a regal appearance while ascending. The top of the stairways led to a small yard in the north-eastern side of the terrace, opposite the Gate of Nations.Gray limestone was the main building material used in Persepolis. After natural rock had been levelled and the depressions filled in, the terrace was prepared. Major tunnels for sewage were dug underground through the rock. A large elevated water storage tank was carved at the eastern foot of the mountain. Professor Olmstead suggested the cistern was constructed at the same time that construction of the towers began.The uneven plan of the foundation of the terrace acted like a castle whose angled walls enabled its defenders to target any section of the external front. Diodorus writes that Persepolis had three walls with ramparts, which all had towers to provide protection space for the defense personnel. The first wall was 7 meters tall, the second, 14 meters and the third wall, which covered all four sides, was 27 meters in height, though no presence of the wall exists in modern times.
15 PersepolisPersepolis was the administrative center and monument to the dynasty.Bustled with ministers, advisors, diplomats, scribes, accountants, translators and bureaucratic officers.
16 Political Structure of Darius’s Empire Balance between strong central power and local administrationGovernors were appointed to oversee various regions.Twenty-tree administrative and taxation districts governed by satrapsMost satraps were Persian but local officials were recruited for some administrative posts.To prevent local officials from allying with locals each sarapy had a contingent of military officers and tax collectors who served as checks on the satraps’ power and independence. Second the rulers created a new category of officials—imperial spies known as “the eyes and ears of the king.” They traveled throughout the empire with military forces conducting surprise audits of accounts and procedures.
17 Political Structure of Darius’s Empire Regulated tax levies by standardizing laws.Each satrapy had to pay a set quantity of silver to the imperial court.He standardized coins which encouraged trade.He did not interfere with local laws but he sometimes modified them to make the empire run more smoothly.To prevent local officials from allying with locals each sarapy had a contingent of military officers and tax collectors who served as checks on the satraps’ power and independence. Second the rulers created a new category of officials—imperial spies known as “the eys and ears of the king.” They traveled throughout the empire with military forces conducting surprise audits of accounts and procedures.
18 Persian Royal Road Construction began during the Achaemenid Empire. Parts were paved with stone.Stretched 1600 miles from Aegean Sea to Anatolia, through Mesopotamia to the capital of Persepolis in Iran.It took caravans 90 days to travel this road, lodging at inns along the well-policed route.
19 Persian Royal RoadCourier service with 111 postal stations 25 to 30 miles apart on the Royal RoadEach station had a supply of horses for couriers.This system facilitated trade with various regions.
20 Fall of the Achaemenid Empire Cyrus and Darius had policies of tolerance.They respected values and beliefs of the people they ruled.Darius’s successor, Xerxes ( B.C.E.), flaunted his Persian identity and imposed his values on conquered lands.This created ill will, especially in Mesopotamia and Egypt.L
21 Fall of the Achaemenid Empire: The Persian Wars (500 – 479 B.C.E.) Ethnic Greeks in Ionian cities in Anatolia resented the Persian governors who oversaw their affairs.They rebelled, expelling or executing their governors.This rebellion launched a series of conflicts known as the Persian Wars.The Achaemenids had a difficult time with their ethnic Greek subjects and efforts to control the Greeks helped to bring about the collapse of the Achaemenid empire. Ethnic Greeks inhabited many of the cities in Anatolia especially the region of Ionia on the Aegean coast of western Anatolia and they maintained close economic and commercial teis with their cousins in the peninsula of Greece. The Iionian Greeks fell under Persian domination during the reign of Cyrus. The became restive under Darius’s Persian governors “tyrants” the Greeks called them who oversaw their affairs. In 500 B.C.E. the Ionian cities rebelled, expelled or executed their governors and asserted their independence. Their rebellion launched a series of conflicts known as the Persian Wars (500 to 479 B.C.E.)
22 Fall of the Achaemenid Empire: The Persian Wars (500 – 479 B.C.E.) For 150 years, the Persian empire sparred with the Greek cities.The Greek cities were too small and disunited to pose a serious threat to the Persian empire.The standoff ended with the rise of Alexander of Macedon or Alexander the Great.
23 Fall of the Achaemenid Empire: Alexander the Great In 334 B.C.E. Alexander invaded Persia with an experienced army of 48,000 Macedonians.The Macedonians were well-disciplined and carried heavier arms with more sophisticated military tactics.Alexander confiscated the wealth in the treasury at Persepolis, proclaimed himself heir to the Achaemenid rulers and burned the city.The carnage was so great that when archaeologists explored Persepolis in the 18th century, they found layers of ash and charcoal up to 1 meter (3 feet) deep.
24 Fall of the Achaemenid Empire After Alexander’s death:His chief generals divided the empire into three large realms which they divided among themselves:The SeleucidsThe ParthiansThe SasanidsThe carnage was so great that when archaeologists explored Persepolis in the 18th century, they found layers of ash and charcoal up to 1 meter (3 feet) deep.
25 The SeleucidsThe former Achaemenid empire went to Seleucus, a commander in Alexander’s army.He retained the Achaemenid system of administration, taxation, imperial roads, and postal service.They founded new cities and attracted Greek colonists to occupy them.
26 The SeleucidsThe Seleucids had conflicts with native Persians, especially the ruling classes.The Satraps often revolted against Seleucid rule.The Seleucids lost their holdings in northern India.The semi-nomadic Parthians took over Iran during the third century B.C.E.
27 The ParthiansEstablished strong empire in Iran and extended to Mesopotamia.Maintained many of the customs of the nomadic people from steppes of central Asia.Loosely organized into federation of leaders who met in councils.Skilled warriors.
28 The ParthiansImproved grazing methods for horses which created stronger horses that could support soldiers with heavy armor.This development enabled them to fight off nomads from the steppes.The Parthians revolted against the Seleucids in the third century B.C.E. and by 155 B.C.E. had taken firm control of Iran to Mesopotamia.Parthians made the discovery that if their horses grazed on alfalfa in the winter, they would grow larger and stronger than the small horses and ponies on the steppes. Their horses could support heavily armed warriors outfitted with metal armor, which served as an effective shield against arrows of the steppe nomads. Well-trained forces of heavily armed cavalry could usualy put nomadic raiding parties to flight. As early as the third century BCE the Parthians began to wrest their independence from the Seleucids. The Parthian satrap revolted against his Seleucid overlord in 238B.C.E and during the following decades his successors gradually enlarged their holdings.. Mithradates I, the Parthians’ greatest conqueror came to the throne about 171 BCE and transformed his state into a mighty empire. By about 155 BCE he had consolidated his hold on Iran and had also extended Parthian rule to Mesopotamia.
29 The Parthians Followed example of the Achaemenids in running empire. Maintained elements of their own steppe traditions.Government not as centralized.Most authority rested in hands of clan leaders who often served as satraps who worked to build independent bases of power in their regions.For three centuries, Parthians presided over powerful empire between India and Mediterranean.About the first century C.E. they faced pressure in the west form the expanding Roman empire. The Parthian empire as a whole never stood in danger of falling to the Romans, but on three occasions in the second century CE Roman armies captured the Parhtian capital at Ctesiphon. Combined with internal difficulties caused by the rebellious satraps, Roman pressure contributed to the weakening of the Parthian state. During the third century C.E. internal rebellion brought it down.
30 The Sasanids Claimed they were direct descendants of the Achaemenids. Conquered the Parthians in 224 C.E. and ruled until 651 reinstating much of the splendor of the Achaemenid empire.Rebuilt strong system of administration.Refurbished numerous cities.Merchants traded actively with people from east to west.Introduced rice, sugarcane, citrus fruits, eggplant, and cotton.Created buffer states between themselves and Roman empire.
31 Persian Classical Society In the early days of the Achaemenid empire, Persian society reflected its origins on the steppes of central Asia.Family and clan relationships were extremely important in political and social affairs.Male warriors were the head of the clans.The development of a cosmopolitan empire complicated this structure.In the early days of the Achaemennid empire, Persian society reflected its origins on the steppes of central Asia.In the early days of the Achaemenid empire, Persian society reflected its origins on the steppes of central Asia. When the Medes and Persians migrated to Iran, the social structure was similar to that of the Aryans in India, consisting primarily of warriors, priests and peasants. Fr centuries when they lived on the periphery and in the shadow of the Mesopotamian empires, the Medes and Persians maintained steppe traditions. Even after the establishment of the Achaemenid empire, some of them followed a seminomadic lifestyle and maintained ties with their cousins on the steppes. Family and clan relationships were extremely important in the organization of Persian political and social affairs. Male warriors head the clans, which retained much of their influence long after the establishment of the Achaemenid empire.
32 Persian Classical Society Imperial administration called for a new class of educated bureaucrats.This undermined old warrior elite.Persian cities were home to administrators, tax collectors, record keepers, translators, and high ranking officials.Bureaucrats shared power with warriors and clan leaders.The bureaucrats did not directly challenge the patriarchal warriors and certainly did not seek to displace them from the privileged position in society. Nevertheless, the bureaucrats crucial role in running the day to day affairs of the empire guaranteed them a prominent and comfortable place in Persian society. By the time of the later Achaemenids and the Seleucids, Persian cities were home to masses of administrators, tax, collectors, and record keepers. The bureaucracy even included a substantial corps of translators, who depended on these literate professionals and high-ranking bureaucrats came to share power and influence with warriors and clan leaders.
33 Persian Classical Society Clan Leaders and BureaucratsFree ClassesArtisansCraftsmanMerchantsPriests and PriestessesLow ranking civil servantsSlavesGap between rich and poor increased with increased wealth. Slavery had more to do with expansion of imperial states which often enslaved conquered foes but also reflected increasing gulf between rich and poor.In the countryside the free classes included peasants who owned their own land as well as landless cultivators who worked as laborers or tenants on properties owned by the state, temple communities or other individuals. Free residents of rural areas had the right to marry and move as they wished and they could seek better opportunities in the cities or military service. Because the Persian empire embraced a great deal of parched land that received little rainfall, work in the countryside involved not only cultivation but also the building and maintenance of irrigation systems.dMost slaves were prisoners of war. But the Persians also enslaved civilians who resisted their advance or who rebelled against imperial authorities. Other slaves came from the ranks of free subjects who accummulated debts.Slaves could not move or marry at will although existing family units stayed together. Most slaves worked as domestic servants or skilled laborers in the households of the wealthy, but some cultivated their owners’ fields. State owned slaves provided much of the manual labor for large scale construction projects, such as road, irrigation systems, city walls, and palaces.In Mespotamia temple communiteis owned many slaves who worked at agricultural tasks and performed administrative chores for their priestly masters.
34 Technological Developments of Persian Society Qanat – underground canals allowed cultivators to distribute water to fields without losing large quantities to evaporation through exposure to the sun and open air.Elaborate qanat system was maintained by slaves and laborers in the countryside.
36 Economic Developments of Persian Society Agriculture was the foundation.Resources from Mesopotamia, Egypt, Anatolia and northern India helped Persia prosper.Barley and wheat were the most commonly cultivated crops.Peas, lentils, garlic, onions, pomegranates, pears, and apricots supplemented the cereals in diets.Beer and wine were the most common beverage.
37 Economic Developments of Persian Society Long-distance trade grew rapidly.Standardized of coinsAvailability of good trade routes.Newly constructed highways such as the Persian Royal Road.Sea routes through the Red Sea, Persian Gulf, and Arabian SeaCities like Babylon were home to banks.
38 Trade in Persia From India: gold, ivory, aromatics From Iran and Central Asia: lapis lazuli, turquoise and other stonesFrom Mesopotamia: textiles, mirrors and jewelryFrom Anatolia: gold, silver, iron, copper and tinFrom Arabia: spices and aromaticsFrom Egypt: grain, linen textiles, papyrus writing materials, gold, ebony, ivoryFrom Greece: oil, wine, and ceramics
40 Early Persian Religion Celebrated natural elements and geographical features, i.e. the sun, the moon, the water, and especially fire.Recognized many of the same gods as the AryansPriests performed sacrifices similar to those conducted by the brahmins in India.Used hallucinogenic agent called haoma in the same way Aryans used soma
41 ZoroastrianismAttempt to address moral questions in a cosmopolitan world.Zarathustra, priest from aristocratic family, left family at 20 yeas of age to seek wisdom.He experienced visions and became convinced that the supreme god had chosen him as a prophet to spread message.As society became more complex, moral and religious thinkers sought to adapt their message to a cosmopolitan society. One result was Zoroastrianism which emerged from the teachings of Zarathustra
42 The Gathas Originally transmitted orally by priests or magi. During Seleucid dynasty, magi began to preserve in writing.Hymns composed in honor of the various deities.Treatises on moral themes.
43 Zoroastrian Teachings Not strict monotheistsRecognized a supreme deity and creator of all good things.Spoke of six lesser deities.Explored battle between good and evil, as well as judgment, reward, punishment, heavenly paradise, demons, and place of pain and suffering.Encouraged enjoyment of earthly pleasures in moderation.
44 Zoroastrian Attracted large numbers during 6th century B.C.E. Popular with Persian aristocrats and ruling elites.Wealthy supported the building of temples.Large priesthood emerged and taught Zoroastrian values through oral transmission.Darius and other emperors closely associated themselves with Ahura Mazda, the Zoroastrian deity.Darius did not suppress other religious practices, however.With imperial sponsorship, Zoroastrian temples croped up through the Achaemenid realm. The faith was most popular in Iran but it attracted alrge followings in Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Egypt, etc.
45 Zoroastrian Attracted large numbers during 6th century B.C.E. Popular with Persian aristocrats and ruling elites.Wealthy supported the building of temples.Large priesthood emerged and taught Zoroastrian values through oral transmission.Darius and other emperors closely associated themselves with Ahura Mazda, the Zoroastrian deity.Darius did not suppress other religious practices, however.With imperial sponsorship, Zoroastrian temples croped up through the Achaemenid realm. The faith was most popular in Iran but it attracted alrge followings in Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Egypt, etc. Zoroastrianism had a dramatic impact on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Your consent to our cookies if you continue to use this website.