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Persia - Classical Civ. #1
Transcript of Persia - Classical Civ. #1
The Rise of the Persian Empire
The second wave of civilizations usually referred to as the "Classical Era"
600 B.C.E - 600 C.E.
This period is classical because many traditions from this time period have lasted until the modern period (some are still around today)
In 558 B.C.E Cyrus the Achaemenid (558-530 B.C.E.) became king of the Perisan Tribes
Begins a campaign of conquest
Within 20 years he went from a minor regional king to ruler of an empire which streched from India to the border of Egypt
Becomes known as the Achaemenid Empire
The Greatest Achaemenid Emperor
Darius (521-486 B.C.E)
Expands the Empire from Indus River to the Aegean Sea and from Armenia to the Nile River
Creates the largest Empire in the world (to that time).
Darius a great administrator
He ruled over a diverse and HUGE Empire
He centralized his administration @ Persepolis (the capital in Iran)
Gov't was a blend of central initiative & local administration
Darius divided the empire into 23 SATRAPIES (administrative and tax districts governed by satraps - an idea borrowed from Mesopotamia)
Satraps were Persian but most gov't officials below them were locals
Satraps were usually far away from Persepolis
Kept loyal by two methods:
1. Rulers created new officials - Imperial spies - checked up on Satraps
2. Each satrap had a contingent of military officers and tax collectors who were loyal to the king (checked the power of satraps)
Taxes, Coins and Laws
Darius created a standard tax system
each satrap had to pay a certain quantity of silver/slaves/horses
Issued a standard set of coins - helped grow trade in the Empire
Also attempted to create one unified system of laws
He did not impose a strict legal system
Instead recorded local laws and tried to modify them to be in line with the legal principles of the empire.
Roads and communication
Achaemenid rulers built roads to further unite their empire
Persian Royal Road 1,600 miles
111 Postal stations were set up along the Royal Road
Could get a message from 1 end of the Empire to the other in 2 weeks
Roads also facilitated trade.
Big ideas to take away from the Achaemenid
Used organizational techniques from Mesopotamia but applied them on a MUCH larger scale.
Showed it was possible to rule a VAST imperial state - inspired others to try in the future