The Persian Empire

The Indo-Europeans were the people that migrated to the persian homeland. Eventually two major powers emerged:¨the Medes and the Persians. Cyrus, Persias king, was a military genius, leading his army from victory to victory between 550 and 539 B.C. Even more than a military genius, Cyrus most enduring legacy was his method of governing. his kindness toward conquered peoples revealed a smart and tolerant view of empire. Cyrus also allowed Jews to return to Jerusalemin 538 B.C., after they have been driven from their homeland by the Babylonians. Under his rule the Jews were able to rebuilt their city and temple. Thet were very gratful with Cyrus and considered him one of Gods chosen ones.


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This section was about the Persian Empire. The Persian Empire hit it big in 550 B.C., when Cyrus began to conquer several neighboring kingdoms. In time, Cyrus controlled and empire that spanned 2000 miles, from the Indus River in the east to Anatolia in the west. Cyrus was a very kind ruler and when he conquered peoples he would not destroy the local temple. Instead, he would pray in it. he gave the Jews their homeland after it was taken away from them. But unfortunately, he was killde din battle and his son, Cambyses, took over.

Under Cambyses' rule, the empire expanded to Egypt. But unlike his father, Cambyses scorned Egyptian religion. Cambyses ruled for only 8 years until his death.

His sucesor was Darius, a noble of the ruling dynasty, who had begun his career as a member of the king's bodyguard. He expanded the empire to 2500 miles, embracing Egypt and Anatolia in the west, part of India the east, and the fertile Crescent in the center. Darius had his empire separatedinto 20 provinces. Each providence had an empire and a road way that led to the Royal Road for easier communication.

A famous religion started in this time was Zoroastrianism by Zoroaster. Zoroaster [Persian prophet], taught that the earth is a battleground where a great stuggle is fought between the spirit of good and the spirit of evil.

Reign of Cyrus the Great

The Reign of Cyrus the Great lasted about thirty years. He was one of the most important Persian empires. Cyrus the great was the first Zoroastrian Persian Emperor. He had various royal titles, including //King of Persia, King of Anshan, King of Media, King of Babylon, King of Sumer and Akkad: King of the four corners of the world. //

Cyrus was a military leader who left a legacy of art and decision making. He was probably one of the kindest, most respectful kings we've had a chance to see. He respected the religion and customs of
every land he conquered, including the Egyptians.


"The Persian Royal Road was an ancient highway reorganized and rebuilt by the Persian king Darius I of the Achaemenid Empire in the 5th century BC. Darius built the road to facilitate rapid communication throughout his very large empire from Susa to Sardis ("centralized rule is the victim of time and distance", Robin Lane Fox has observed in this
context). Mounted couriers could travel 1,677 miles (2,699 km) in seven days; the journey from Susa to Sardis took ninety days on foot. The Greek historian Herodotus wrote, "There is nothing in the world that travels faster than these Persian couriers." Herodotus' praise for these messengers—"Neither
snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor darkness of night prevents these couriers from completing their designated stages with utmost speed"—was the inspiration for the unofficial motto of the United States Postal Service.


**The Persian army**

The Royal Guard includes 10 000 soldiers of elite called Immortal because replaced immediately by promotion of a soldier of another unit. Equipped with arcs, lances and a short sword, they use light shields, in wicker, able to deviate the arrows but insufficient in fray. It is the only standing army in times of peace.

The army is organized in units of 10, 100 or 1000 men and is composed of four types of units:

- lancers specialized in the frontal combat

- archers infantrymen for the ambushes

- archers with horse

- heavy cavalry sometimes equipped with armours and equipped with lances.


The Cyrus Cylinder

The Cyrus cylinder is one of the few sources of information that dates directly to Cyrus's time. The "cylinder" os a document issued by Cyrus in the form
of a clay cylinder. The cylinder describes (in Babylonian cuneiform) how Cyrus had improved the lives of Babylonian citizens, repatriated lost people and restored temples and sanctuaries.

The cylinder was discovered in 1879 by the Assyro-British archaeologist Hormuzd Rassam in Esaglia, and is kept in the British Museum in London.

The Cyrus Cylinder has given Cyrus the opportunity to be remembered as one of the world's greatest liberators and humanitarians.

Map of the Persian Empire

The Zoroastrianism

The basics beliefs of Zoriastriansm are:

¨ * There is one universal and transcendental God, Ahura Mazda, the one uncreated Creator to whom all worship is ultimately directed.

* Ahura Mazda's creation—evident as asha, truth and order—is the antithesis of chaos, evident as druj, falsehood and disorder. The resulting conflict involves the entire universe, including humanity, which has an active role to play in the conflict.

* Active participation in life through good thoughts, good words and good deeds is necessary to ensure happiness and to keep the chaos at bay. This active participation is a central element in Zoroaster's concept of free will, and Zoroastrianism rejects all forms of monasticism.

* Ahura Mazda will ultimately prevail over evil Angra Mainyu / Ahriman, at which point the universe will undergo a cosmic renovation and time will end. In the final renovation, all of creation—even the souls of the dead that were initially banished to "darkness"—will be reunited in Ahura Mazda returning to life in the undead form. At the end of time a savior-figure will bring about a final renovation of the world, and in which the dead will be revived.

* There will then be a final purgation of evil from the Earth (through a tidal wave of molten metal) and a purgation of evil from the heavens (through a cosmic battle of spiritual forces). In the end good will triumph, and each person will find himself or herself transformed into a spiritualized body and soul. Those who died as adults will be transformed into healthy adults of forty years of age, and those who died young will find themselves permanently youthful, about age fifteen. In these new spiritual bodies, humans will live without food, without hunger or thirst, and without weapons (or possibility of bodily injury). The material substance of the bodies will be so light as to cast no shadow. All humanity will speak a single language and belong to a single nation without borders. All will experience immortality (Ameretat) and will share a single purpose and goal, joining with the divine for a perpetual exaltation of God’s glory.

* In Zoroastrian tradition the malevolent is represented by Angra Mainyu (also referred to as "Ahriman"), the "Destructive Principle", while the benevolent is represented through Ahura Mazda's Spenta Mainyu, the instrument or "Bounteous Principle" of the act of creation. It is through Spenta Mainyu that transcendental Ahura Mazda is immanent in humankind, and through which the Creator interacts with the world. According to Zoroastrian cosmology, in articulating the Ahuna Vairya formula Ahura Mazda made His ultimate triumph evident to Angra Mainyu.

* As expressions and aspects of Creation, Ahura Mazda emanated the Amesha Spentas ("Bounteous Immortals"), that are each the hypostasis and representative of one aspect of that Creation. These Amesha Spenta are in turn assisted by a league of lesser principles, the Yazatas, each "Worthy of Worship" and each again a hypostasis of a moral or physical aspect of creation.¨ (

Zarathustra[one of the Gods from Zoroastrianism]

The Culture

The Achaemenid Empire,which at the height of its power had more than 20 nations under its control, was built on the most basic principles - that of truth and justice, which formed the bases of the Achaemenid culture. Based on the Zoroastrian doctrine, it was the strong emphasis on honesty and integrity that gave the ancient Persians credibility to rule the world, even in the eyes of the people belonging to the conquered nations (except for the frequent rebellions i.e. the Ionian rebellion and the fierce resistance put up to it from all of the sovereign nations they invaded such as the Scythians, Egyptians, Ionians). Herodotus in his mid-5th century BCE account of Persian residents of the Pontus recorded that the most disgraceful thing in the world [the Perses] think, is to tell a lie; the next worst, to owe a debt: because, among other reasons, the debtor is obliged to tell lies. Herodotus also reports that Persian youths, from their fifth year to their twentieth year, were instructed in three things - to ride a horse, to draw a bow, and to speak the Truth. Truth for the sake of truth, was the universal motto and the very core of the Achaemenid culture that was followed not only by the great kings, but even the ordinary Persians, who made it a point to adhere to this code of conduct.

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