Achaemenid Persian Empire
Imperial state of the Ancient Age, founded by Cyrus II the Great. How did the Persian empire fall?
|Date||550 – 330 a. C.|
|Location||Southwest of the Iranian plateau.|
|Capitals||Persepolis, Pasargadae, Susa and Ecbatana.|
|Official language||Ancient Persian.|
|Form of government||Absolute monarchy .|
This empire was the first and most extensive of several States whose epicenter was the Iranian plateau and which are known as the ” Persian Empire . ” How did the Persian empire fall?
This article refers only to the Achaemenid Persian empire, which existed between 550 and 330 BC. C. The Achaemenid was a dynasty that owes its name to Aquemenes a semi – legendary prince who would have been its founder.
Enhance your reading: Battles of ww2 in order/causes/countries/consequences/history
Location of the Persian Empire
The heart of the Achaemenid Empire was located in the southwest of the plateau of Iran , territory to which the Persians arrived around 1200 a. C., from Central Asia.
At its peak, around 500 BC. C., It extended from the eastern Mediterranean Sea, in the west, to the Indus River in the east. And from the Caucasus, the Caspian Sea and the Amu Darya River, to the north; to the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea to the south.
At that time it encompassed the territories of present-day Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Cyprus, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and parts of Libya, Greece, Bulgaria, Russia, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
Characteristics of the Achaemenid Persian Empire
The main characteristics of the Achaemenid Persian Empire were the following:
- It was a multiethnic state dominated by Persians, of Aryan or Indo-European origin.
- Its highest authority was an emperor , called “king of kings” in Persian inscriptions.
- Its form of government was the absolutist, centralized and hereditary monarchy.
- It had 4 capital cities , one for each season of the year: Persepolis, Pasargadae, Susa and Ecbatana.
- It was divided into provinces called satrapies , in charge of a governor or satrap.
- It had a bimonetary system , since 2 currencies circulated at the same time: the daric, of gold, and the shekel, of silver.
- Its economy was based on cattle ranching, agriculture, handicrafts, long-distance trade and the collection of taxes from the conquered peoples.
- The official language was Old Persian , which was written in a variety of cuneiform scripts. Akkadian, Elamite and Aramaic were also spoken, which served as the language of interregional communication.
- Their official religion was Zoroastrianism , which was preached by the Persian prophet Zoroaster or Zarathustra. How did the Persian empire fall?
Enhance your reading: Events of the Contemporary Age/stages/characteristics/arts
Political and social organization of the Achaemenid Persian Empire
The head of the Empire was the emperor and in his hands the maximum military, judicial, religious and legislative power was concentrated. He was protected by an elite regiment known as the “Immortals.” The emperor had a harem , guarded by eunuchs , in which all his wives lived, usually the daughters of kings and local chiefs of the different regions of the Empire.
The empire was divided into 20 provinces called satrapies, whose administration was in the hands of 3 officials: a general, a secretary and the head of the province or satrap , who was appointed by the emperor. To prevent abuses of power and acts of corruption, royal inspectors visited each province periodically and then presented a report to the emperor.
The local administration focused on collecting taxes, maintaining the roads and fighting the bandits. In case of rebellion, military garrisons established in strategic points of the Empire were mobilized.
A 2,700 kilometer road, the royal road, linked the cities of Sardis and Susa and was used to carry the royal mail. It was lined with posts where messengers could rest, eat, and change horses.
The Persian Empire, unlike the Assyrian or Babylonian, was very tolerant of the religion, language and customs of the dominated peoples, which were not repressed if they accepted the Persian administration and paid their annual tributes. How did the Persian empire fall?
Persian society was divided into 2 large sectors:
- Privileged : those who enjoyed political, social and economic privileges.
- Warrior aristocracy.
- Not privileged : those who did not have privileges and who with their taxes supported the privileged sectors.
- Shepherds and peasants.
In the Achaemenid Empire there were no slaves.
Achaemenid Persian Empire religion
The Persians professed a religion revealed by the prophet Zoroaster or Zarathustra , who lived in the 6th century BC. C., and that it was imposed as a mission to banish polytheism , magic and animal sacrifice. The sacred book of this religion was the Zend Avesta , which proclaimed the existence of 2 gods in continuous struggle: Ahura Mazda, the representation of good and light, and Ahriman or Angra Mainyu, the representation of evil and darkness.
Zoroastrianism lacked temples, the Persians only erected altars in the open air in which the fire had to burn permanently. How did the Persian empire fall?
Emperors of the Achaemenid Persian Empire
The emperors of the Achaemenid Persian Empire were as follows:
|Cyrus II, the Great||550-529 a. C.|
|Cambyses II||529-522 a. C.|
|Smerdis||522 a. C.|
|Darius I, the Great||522-485 a. C.|
|Xerxes I||485-465 a. C.|
|Artaxerxes I||465-424 a. C.|
|Xerxes II||424 a. C.|
|Sogdian||424-423 a. C.|
|Darius II||423-404 a. C.|
|Artaxerxes II Mnemon||404-358 a. C.|
|Artaxerxes III Oco||358-338 a. C.|
|Artaxerxes IV Arsés||338-336 a. C.|
|Darius III Codomano||336-330 BC C.|
Fall of the Achaemenid Persian Empire
The Persians had no military rivals thanks to their great army, except the Greeks who were superior in their tactics. The Greeks had great political fragmentation against them. In Greece power was divided between city-states, while Persia was a huge, totally unified empire.
The Persian kings skillfully promoted disputes between Greek states to prevent any one from having hegemony. But finally that happened. How did the Persian empire fall?
Around the year 350 a. C., Philip II, the reand from Macedonia, he undertook an expansive policy of his kingdom, organizing a very professional regular army and creating armaments and tactics even superior to the classical Greek tactics. Thanks to this he managed to unify large areas of Greece by incorporating them into his kingdom and subjecting to his mandate with a certain degree of autonomy the rest of the Greek cities with the exception of Sparta.
Philip forced the Greek states to cease fighting, placed Macedonian garrisons at strategic points, and formed a league of Greek states that would form an army to invade the Persian Empire. When everything was ready, Philip was assassinated. Then his son Alexander took the throne.
The invasion had to be delayed to return to submit to the Greek states that before the death of Filipo tried to regain their independence. Alexander managed to dominate them and in the year 334 a. C. crossed to Asia minor and defeated the Persians at Granico.
The Ionian cities resisted the Greek invasion, which would be surprising 150 years ago. Alexander, after taking those cities, took most of Asia Minor with little resistance. A year later all the might of the Persian army faced him in the battle of Issos and again the Persians were defeated; After this, Syria, where the Phoenician cities resisted, Palestine and Egypt, where the Greeks were welcomed as liberators, fell into Greek power.
In the year 331 a. The Greeks entered Mesopotamia, despite the fact that the Persian king Darío offered them peace, they rejected it. The Persians met the Greeks with a renewed army but were defeated once again, and King Darius was assassinated by the nobles.
The Greeks took Babylon and the cities of Susa, Persepolis and Ecbatana, Persepolis being burned to avenge the destruction of Athens during the Persian invasion of Greece. The Persians continued to resist with a guerrilla-style war in the northern and eastern areas of Iran and Central Asia, but the Greeks finally managed to invade those areas as well, crushing the last pockets of resistance.
Despite the fall, the Persian state resurfaced and disappeared several times throughout history and its legacy extends to the current state of Iran.
The Persians continued to resist with a guerrilla-style war in the northern and eastern areas of Iran and Central Asia, but the Greeks finally managed to invade those areas as well, crushing the last pockets of resistance. Despite the fall, the Persian state resurfaced and disappeared several times throughout history and its legacy extends to the current state of Iran.
The Persians continued to resist with a guerrilla-style war in the northern and eastern areas of Iran and Central Asia, but the Greeks finally managed to invade those areas as well, crushing the last pockets of resistance. Despite the fall, the Persian state resurfaced and disappeared several times throughout history and its legacy extends to the current state of Iran. How did the Persian empire fall?