FC: Persian Empire By: Parker Chuba, Peter Lillich, and Mikey Roth.
1: The Background and Founding of Persia The Persians were a group of Indo-Europeans that migrated to the Iranian plateau between 1500 and 1000 BCE. Around 550 BCE Cyrus II, the leader Achaemenids ( A clan of Persia) revolted against the Medes who were at the time controlling upper Mesopotamia. After conquering the Medes, Cyrus gained control of the Anatolian Peninsula and the Greek city-states who inhabited it. Syria and Babylon were the next to fall in 539 BCE. Cyrus’ son, Cambyses went on to capture Egypt. Darius a strong military, captured territory as far east as the Indus River. | To the left is a stone carving of Darius, one of the great leaders of Persia.
2: Organization Darius introduced the Babylonian calendar, which was known for its accuracy. He also created granaries to ensure that his armies would have a constant food supply. Irrigation was also a major innovation that Darius helped develop. | Carved on these stones, are parts of the Babylonian calendar that Darius adopted and perfected.
3: Religion The Persian Ruling class followed Zoroastrianism. Zoroastrianism, was a polytheistic religion that consisted of two deities. Ahura Mazda, the god of light and truth, and Ahriman, the god of darkness and evil. However these beliefs weren't forced on the lesser classes of the Persian Empire. Rulers would state that they were to be appointed ruler of Persia by the will of Ahura Mazda. | Above is the Zoroastrian symbol that has been used since ancient times.
4: Trade Darius encouraged trade and economic growth in many ways. He standardized weights and measures and established a coinage system that used gold and silver. He also built the first banks. Darius also made thousands of miles of trade routes, that connected Asia and Europe. He built a 1500 mile road from Susa to Sardis. Darius’ most ambitious task was the 140 km long canal that connected Memphis to Babylon. | The silk road was one of the most important roads used for trading.
5: Administration The Persian empire was the largest empire that the world had ever seen. It stretched across most of southern Europe and Asia. The empire was so large that Darius and other rulers had to invent new techniques of ruling. Darius created twenty provinces that each had their own governor, military commander, and treasurer. The was a group of “inspectors” with in every province that were known as the “king’s eyes” or the “king’s ears” These inspectors had control of their own armies that could be deployed against the provinces if necessary. | This map shows the expansion of Persia under the rule of Darius.
6: Decline and Fall of Persia During Darius’ reign, Greek city-states on the Anatolian Peninsula rebelled against the empire. Darius smashed the resistance, and silenced the crowd for a short time. Darius sent patrol armies to the resistant city-states. The one of these armies was destroyed in 490 BCE, but Darius died before he was able to send out another attack. Xerxes, Darius’ son, lead an incredibly large army into Greece to put down the threat, but was unable to defeat the greeks. Xerxes was forced to resolve the conflict through diplomacy. Philip II, saw the weaknesses in the Persian Empire and in 359 BCE, but was killed before he was able to invade. Alexander, Philip’s son, carried out Philip’s orders and invaded Persia in 330 BCE. Alexander earned his title “Alexander the Great” after defeating Darius III.