The Persian Empire

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The Persian Empire

The Persian Empire, also known as the Achaemenid Empire, was one of the largest in history. At its height, the empire's territory spread from Egypt to the Indus River.

Indo-Europeans first began settling lands east of the Fertile Crescent around 1000 BCE. In 550 BCE, a Persian king named Cyrus began conquering kingdoms in this area.

Cyrus descended from Achaemenes, who founded the empire and gives it its name. Cyrus rose to power conquering cities and established Pasargadae as the capital of his great empire. 

Over time, Cyrus' empire had grown from Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) in the west to the Indus River in the east. Cyrus ruled his empire in a unique way for that time. He was tolerant of the people he conquered and allowed them to keep their local customs, religion, and language.

The Persian Empire was able to control such a large empire by establishing a well-developed imperial bureaucracy.

The Persian Empire

The empire was divided into various provinces and each province was ruled by a governor called a satrap, making it easier for the emperor to effectively govern such a large empire.

This system of bureaucracy has been copied in modern day governments and its influence can even be seen in modern American government.

The Persians were also great engineers and built royal roads that connected the empire. These roads encouraged trade, communication, and allowed the military to move more quickly and effectively.

The Persian Empire

As the Persian Empire spread, it came in contact with Central Asian, Mesopotamian, Arabic, and Egyptian cultures. All of these earlier civilizations contributed to the Persian culture and also allowed it to become the largest empire in the world at that time.

Around 600 BCE, a Persian prophet named Zoroaster emerged and his teachings and philosophies became the basis for religion known as Zoroastrianism.

This religion teaches that there are two opposite forces in the universe, good and evil; and because of this, humans are involved in an endless battle and are expected to participate.

Zoroastrians believe in one god, Ahura Mazda. They believe that Ahura Mazda would judge people based on how well they fought for good.

Zoroastrianism became the main religion of the Persian Empire and is still practiced today in parts of Iran, India, Pakistan, and other small areas of the world. This religion has also influenced other religions such as Christianity and Islam.

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