The Persian Empire by John W.I. LeeWhat do we know about the Persian Empire? For most of the past 2,500 years, weve heard about it from the ancient Greek perspective: a decadent civilization run by despots, the villains who lost the Battle of Marathon and supplied the fodder for bad guys in literature and film. But is this image really accurate?
Recent scholarship examining the Persian Empire from the Persian perspective has discovered a major force that has had a lasting influence on the world in terms of administration, economics, religion, architecture, and more. In fact, the Persian Empire was arguably the worlds first global power—a diverse, multicultural empire with flourishing businesses and people on the move. It was an empire of information, made possible by a highly advanced infrastructure that included roads, canals, bridges, and a courier system. And the kings of Persias Achaemenid dynasty —Cyrus, Darius, Xerxes, and others—presided over an empire that created a tremendous legacy for subsequent history.
The Persian Empire is your opportunity to see one of the greatest empires in the ancient world from a fresh new perspective: its own. Over the span of 24 fascinating lectures, Professor John W. I. Lee of the University of California, Santa Barbara—a distinguished teacher and an expert on the long-buried secrets of the ancient world—takes the role of a history detective and examines Persian sources to reveal what we now know about this grand civilization. Tapping into the latest scholarship on the Persian Empire, this course is sure to fill in some critical gaps in your understanding and appreciation of the sweep of ancient history and its undeniable effect on later civilizations—including our own.
11 Interesting Facts About Persian Empire
The people of Persia have had an enormous effect on the western world today, so here are 43 facts about these often overlooked empires. What we consider the Persian Empire today was actually a series of imperial dynasties revolving around the region of Persia—modern day Iran—ranging from 6th century BC right up until the 20th century AD. The Empire would last until BC, and span up to 5. This amounted to The main tactic used by Cyrus the Great in taking Babylon was strategic propaganda, as he subverted the reigning King of Babylonia by appealing directly to the people. Cyrus was tolerant about religion and allowed each group to maintain their own beliefs. When Cyrus the Great established his empire, he did so by conquering Babylon with minimal bloodshed, and was able to free captive Jews in the process.
Considering it was once the biggest empire in the world, we know surprisingly little about ancient Persia. The picture our sources paint is a bizarre combination of enlightened, tolerant imperial policies and brutal, Game of Thrones-style violence. In a society where you could practice whatever religion you wanted but you might get skinned alive for accepting bribes, life in ancient Persia was rarely dull. Here are 42 astounding facts about life in ancient Persia. The Persians had a way to keep their food refrigerated during the hot summers. They would build big underground chambers, called yakhchals , insulated with heat-resistant mud bricks, and cooled with ice and wind.
41. Lesson Learned
The Persian Empire is the name given to a series of dynasties centered in modern-day Iran that spanned several centuries—from the sixth century B. This Iron Age dynasty, sometimes called the Achaemenid Empire, was a global hub of culture, religion, science, art and technology for more than years before it fell to the invading armies of Alexander the Great. The Persian Empire started as a collection of semi-nomadic tribes who raised sheep, goats and cattle on the Iranian plateau. Cyrus the Great—the leader of one such tribe—began to defeat nearby kingdoms, including Media, Lydia and Babylon , joining them under one rule. Cyrus the Great is immortalized in the Cyrus Cylinder, a clay cylinder inscribed in BC with the story of how he conquered Babylon from King Nabonidus, bringing an end to the Neo-Babylonian empire. He unified the empire through introducing standard currency and weights and measures; making Aramaic the official language and building roads. The Behistun Inscription, a multilingual relief carved into Mount Behistun in Western Iran, extolls his virtues and was a critical key to deciphering cuneiform script.