Uploaded by khadija waqar

Persian Empire

The Persian Empire
550 B.C. – 330 B.C.
How Persia expanded
 When it started, it had an area from the Caspian
Sea in the north to the Persian Gulf in the south.
 When Cyrus took power, expanded all the way
from the Indus River to Anatolia in the west.
 Darius completed the extension of Persia by
obtaining part of India in the east.
 only area Persia couldn’t get their hands on was
Oxus used for
Long journeys
Because of number of horses
Strength of horses
Size of chariot’s wheels
Royal road
Large road network
Used for messengers
Persian armies
Royal messengers
It is a fact: mounted royal messengers
could travel 6999 km of royal road in just
seven days
- Completed by Darius I in the 5th century
-Helped to make traveling faster and
easier and expanded trade. This helped
Persians export and import goods more
efficiently and prevented travellers from
getting lost.
- Rest stations were located along the
-It was the Persian Empire’s “highway”.
Build along the royal road
100 inns
Messengers change to a fresh
horse everyday
Underground cistern chambers of storing
water in Egypt
Satrap (Persian Governor)
A governor appointed by the king, to rule
local provinces. They collected taxes and
recruited soldiers f or the king.
These governors helped to keep order in
these provinces, since it was difficult for a
king to control a province himself .
Cyrus the Great!
Cyrus the Great (559 – 530 B.C.)
A. United many local tribes into the
largest empire of the world - The
Persian Empire!
B. Cyrus also allowed conquered
people to continue to practice their
customs and religious beliefs
C. Ended the Babylonian Captivity
D. This began the Persian tradition of
treating conquered people
honorably and with mercy (Jews)
Tomb of Cyrus
Inscription written on tomb of
Clay cylinder of Cyrus
Local government but
centralized control
Local governor
But king had the control
Divided empire into 4 provinces
Each ruled by satrap
As long as people/subject do what they
were told, they had lot of say in how to run
their territories
If there was any rebellion, it was crushed
by troops.
Darius 1
II. Darius (521 B.C. – 486 B.C.)
A. Unites Persia once again after
massive fighting after Cyrus dies
B. Begins building a new city at
Persepolis and The Royal Road which
is used for transportation of goods
and messages to unite the empire
C. Expands and reorganizes his empire
into 20 provinces called satrapies to
better govern the massive amount of
land. We borrow this concept (States)
Made one currency
Weights and measures
Aramaic – official language
Did not stop people from using their own
Divided empire into 20 provinces
Royal inspectors
Each province had a satrap, secretary,
treasurer and a general
Darius would send out inspectors called
King’s ears and eyes
They would come unannounced to check
whether satraps are doing their jobs and
are loyal to the king.
This help in stopping plots/rebellion
against king/government.
New capitalPersepolis
Darius’s court
Religious policy
Continued the policy of Cyrus for tolerating
other religions
Economic development
Increase in Wealth
More taxes
But they were moderate
20 % of someone’s income
This also created employment
Wars by Darius 1
Inscription on Mount of
invaded Central Asia
captured Indus Valley
Defeated Scythians in Central Europe
Won support from some Geek city states
Lost from Greeks in the Battle of
Battle of Marathon
Greeks won because of better tactics.
A marathon today is named after the legendary runner
Legend has it that he ran from Marathon to Athens
(about 26 miles) to warn them of Persian attack and also
to announce victory.
He then collapsed and died from exhaustion.
Son of Darius who lost the Battle of Marathon
Wanted to avenge his father’s loss and defeat the
Xerxes devoted his reign to attempting to
conquering Greece.
Greece was considered Persia’s main threat.
Outrage in Babylon
Xerxes did not follow the tradition of Cyrus
and Darius of tolerating other religions.
Confiscate and melt down golden statue of
their god
Battle of Thermopylae
A Greek soldier betrayed and told
Persians about another way to attack
With 60,000 men, Xerxes defeated
Spartian army at Thermopylae
Captured and burned Athens.
Battle of Salamis-Naval Battle
Persians were defeated badly in the battle
of Salamis
Others battles
Persian kept losing battles from Greeks
which led to their fall.
Fall of Persian Empire
After Xerxes’s assassination, the Persian Empire
began to fall.
This was largely due to the fact that the defeat in
Greece damaged the Persian spirit to rule.
Xerxes was succeeded by a series of incompetent rulers
who only reigned for short periods at a time.
The successors were almost too determined to succeed
and make their imprint on Persian history.
This obsession resulted in poor leadership, which in turn,
resulted in the end to the empire.
• Defeated Persians return home
• High taxes angered subjects and led to
rebellions against the throne
• 6 of next 9 kings murdered = instability in
the government
• Alexander the Great took advantage of
their weakened state and conquered the
Persian Empire