Persian Empire

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25 May, 2016, 10:25 PM UTC

Persian Empire

The Persian Empire was formed in the union of the Medes and Persians peoples, developed on the plateau of what is now Iran, around 1500 B.C. They expanded to across the Middle East. Dario I was the main driver to economic and territorial level, although its territorial expansion began with the reign of Cyrus II.

Medo, the beginning of the Persian Empire

In the second millennium, around 1500, the Persians occupied the western regions of Iran, Indo-European, came across the Caucasus. Other groups entered Asia Minor. Some of its branches continued on his way to India. Those who stayed here were called Medes and Persians; they settled in the southern regions, and the first in the North.

While Assyria was powerful, he could hold at bay the neighboring mountain, and including the Indo-Europeans of the plateau of Iran. Some of them paid tribute to Sargon. When reigned Asurbanipal, a leader of the Medes, Cyaxares emerged. He unified his people, he took the edge of his domain to the Halys River in the fight with the Lydians (585), and along with the rebels Babylonians destroyed Nineveh. He established his capital in Ecbatana. His successor was Astyages.

The formation of the Persian Empire. Cyrus.

If the tribe of the Persians accepted at first the domain of the Medes, soon a leader who knew how to organize it emerged. Cyrus was descended from Achaimenes, which gave its name to the dynasty (Achaemenid). Great political and excellent overall, unified his countrymen and Medes joined by beating their king Astyages (550). From the moment it was launched to conquer neighboring kingdoms: Lydia and Babylon. In 540, Cyrus defeats in Sardis Croesus, King of Lydia, and this country was annexed. Three years later he captured Babylon, poorly defended.

When Cyrus died in 529, fighting nomads Northeast, the first major Indo-European empire was firmly established. Ciro was tolerant, policy followed by his immediate successors, and allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem (537).

Cambyses and Darius

The expansion of the Persian Empire continued during the reigns of the immediate successors of Cyrus. His son Cambyses (530-522) easily conquered Egypt and Cyrene joined their states; but when trying to send occupy Nubia and at the same time, an expedition to the oasis of Amman suffered a double failure; angry, ill-he treated the Egyptians and their gods. A suitor who was posing as his dead brother rose in Persia, and Cambyses died by going to quell the rebellion.

Darius I, another branch of the family, took the throne and pacified the Empire. He returned to Egypt, winning the affection of his people for their moderate treatment (517). The arrival of the Aegean brought him into contact with the Hellenic world. He made an expedition to Scythia (Ukraine), crossing the Hellespont and the Danube, which took part the Greeks of Asia Minor, under its power (515). Shortly thereafter, the Ionian cities revolted and burned Sardis. Athens helped them. This is why the medical wars, fight between two branches of the great Indo-European family, each with different ideals. Although Persia had the greatest military and political force, he could not beat the small Greek states.

The army of the Persian Empire was a strong army of peasants. His weapon was the bow, which handled deftly. His action at a distance disconcerted the enemy, who looked immediately attacked by a powerful cavalry. Also he had numerous auxiliary forces of the various parts of the Empire. Instead, its fleet had to be formed with a conglomerate of the defeated countries: Ionia, Phoenicia, Egypt and Cilicia; against the Athenian fleet had her unit. The Persian soldier was agile and experienced, tireless and sober; a handful of dates and a piece of hard cheese sufficed him.

Darius was a great monarch, human and reasonable as Ciro. With it, comes to perfection the administrative system that required a vast empire. It was divided into twenty provinces, including Punjab, India, conquered towards 510 (blackjack with Thrace, who later lost). Each province was headed by a satrap, who directed the internal affairs freely. Each satrapy paid great contributions to the royal box. Gold Persian empire became famous. Darius was the first to regularly coined the metal. Their currencies, with the king's image as an archer, were called Doric. The ancient Susa, capital of the Empire, was united with the most remote regions thereof by means of well-preserved roads.

The successors of Darius

Darius died in 485 and was succeeded by his son Xerxes, who after putting down several revolts made his famous and unsuccessful expedition to Greece. Become an oriental despot was assassinated in 465. The ancient spirit of the tribes of Persia had disappeared by adopting the Eastern fashions. The Persians had developed sense of imitation. They took the dress of the Medes, the luxury of the Babylonians, Egyptians some clothes, rites of the Chaldean priests. All this emphasized the despotism of their monarchs. Their servers were always exposed to a terrible death. This explains the intrigues were constant, weakening the monarchy and putting helpless in the hands of Alexander of Macedonia, two centuries after reaching the maximum power of the East.

During the long reign of the son of Xerxes, Artaxerxes I Longimanus (465-424), the monarchy of the Persian Empire still maintained its prestige and power, showing the tolerant king and a close friend of the Jews. He had to quell several riots and palatial intrigues and serious insurrections in Egypt, supported by Greece. He continued the fight with Athens, but the Persian monarch able to take advantage of the disagreements among the Greeks to get better conditions than the military events allowed wait states.

Decline of the Persian Empire

After a period of murky intrigue and palatine murder, I is secured on the throne Eights Darius II (424-405). His reign is also full of intrigue and interesting in relation to the struggles between the Greeks. Thanks to support Persian empire, accentuated by Cyrus, the ambitious son of the Great King, Sparta could beat Athens.

To his luck, in 405, Cyrus tried to snatch the kingdom to his brother Artaxerxes II, with the help of an army of Greek mercenaries. In Cunaxa the Greeks won, but Ciro died, and went great hardship to reach the Black Sea coast (removal of the Ten thousand). Thanks to the disagreements among the Greeks, Artaxerxes managed to impose the so-called peace of the king, who restored his empire to the extent it had in times of Darius I. It had to quell dangerous revolts in Cyprus and Egypt, complicated with a great conspiracy of satraps. After a long reign, he died in the year 359. Artajeijes III, his son, succeeded him and reconquered Egypt. He was killed by his favorite Bagoas, who committed many crimes to be also killed by Darius III (336), the king defeated by Alexander and which finds its end the Persian Empire.

The religion of the Persian Empire

In the sixth century. C. lived Spithama Zarathustra, called Zoroaster by the Greeks, magician founder of the religion called Mazdaism, Darius became the official of his empire. In all likelihood, Zarathustra, perhaps influenced by the Jews, he thought a monotheistic religion whose god named Ahura Mazda (Ormuz, for the Greeks). But a latent dualism in their religious thought made his disciples should develop a dualist theology contained in the Zend-Avesta, which opposed Mazda, the god of good, Angra-Mainyu (Arihman, for the Greeks), the god of evil. The fight between them would last until the end of time, in which Ahura-Mazda expire. The moral of this religion is quite high and the main religion is fire.

The art of the Persian Empire

As for the art of the Persian Empire, excels in the wake of Behistún, where under a winged image of Mazda there is a relief in which is represented Darius trampling Gaumata up, and below a summary of the campaigns of his reign. the remains of the palace of Darius I at Persepolis, set afire by order of Alexander, and the tomb of the king himself on a cliff Nakch-Rustem also preserved near the capital.

The Hebrews under the Seleucids and Rome

In 537, Cyrus allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem, where they enjoy autonomy. At the time of the Seleucids they struggle, especially when Antiochus IV implanted in Jerusalem worship of Zeus instead of Jehovah (168) are renewed. Maccabean family runs the liberation movement, which was achieved after a heroic struggle in 130. Thanks to his friendship with Rome, John Hyrcanus (130-105) represents a new peak of Judah, ruled by kings who are high priests .

After further turmoil, the Roman general Pompey incorporates Judea to the province of Syria; but it retains its autonomy under the high priest Hyrcanus. Caesar gives it the title of ethnarch and the other tetrarchs his subordinates. In 40, the Senate, to thank Herod his speech against the Parthians, he was granted the title of king. Herod was nicknamed Great, he beautified Jerusalem and expanded the Jewish territory. New uprisings force Rome to incorporate new Palestine to the province of Syria. The Tetrarch Herod Antipas is who does kill John the Baptist, and that judgment, with the Roman governor Pontius Pilate to Jesus. Later, Herod Agrippa, a descendant of the Maccabees, was king of Judea, returning to his death the country to be Roman province. In 66 BC bursts a revolt of the Jews. Vespasian started the war, and his son Titus ends with the destruction of Jerusalem. Adriano turns this city into the colony Aelia Capitolina. The Jews, always waiting for the Messiah, revolt again. Fortress Masada, near the Dead Sea, is his last, desperate and heroic shelter. Overdue (132-135) by the Emperor himself, are punished with the dispersion (Diaspora).

Fenicia under foreign domination

With the dominance of the Persian Empire, Sidon resumed the first place. In general, the Phoenicians are faithful to the Persians and form the core of its fleet in the fight against the Greeks. Sometimes they revolt and refuse to attack Carthage, as Cambyses wanted. Artaxerxes III fire Sidon. After the battle of Issos, the Phoenician cities are given to Alexander the Great. Tyre only closes its doors. After a difficult site seven months. Shot is taken and sacked.

Hellenism is imposed quickly in Syria. With the successors of Alexander the Great, this land has witnessed new struggles, to dispute the coast and the Seleucids Egypt. Since the death of Antiochus IV Epiphanes (163), anarchy reigns. 120 and 111, Tyre and Sidon regain their independence. From the year 64, Phoenicia is annexed to the Roman Empire.

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