AP World History - Chapter 7 | The Empires of Persia

Persian Empires
Achaemenids (558-330 BCE)
Seleucids (323-383 BCE)
Parthians (247 BCE-224 CE)
Sasanids (224-651 CE)
Achaemenid Empire
migration of Medes and Persians from central Asia before 1000 BCE
capitalization of weakening Assyrian and Babylonian empires
Cyrus (r. 558-530 BCE) founded the dynasty
peak of the empire under Darius (r. 521-486 BCE)
ruled from the Indus River to the Aegean Sea with the capital at Persepolis
Medes and Persians
migrated from central Asia to Persian before 1000 BCE
were Indo-European speakers and shared cultural traits with Aryans
challenged the Assyrian and Babylonian empires
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? the Achaemenid (r. 558-530 BCE) launched the Persians’ imperial venture
came from a mountainous region of southwestern Iran; was called ? the Shepherd
laid the foundation of the first Persian empire
Cyrus’s Conquests
Cyrus became king of the Persian tribes in 558 BCE
ruled from his palace in Pasargadae
had all of Iran under his control by 548 BCE
campaigned against Lydia in 546 BCE, central Asia and Bactria between 545 BCE and 539 BCE, and Babylonia in 539 BCE
established a vast empire from India to the borders of Egypt
Death of Cyrus
Cyrus no doubt would had campaigned against Egypt, had he lived long enough
in 530 he fell, mortally wounded
his body was placed in a tomb at Pasargadae
Cyrus’s son, ? (r. 530-522 BCE) conquered Egypt in 525 BCE
? (r. 521-486 BCE) extended the empire
largest extent of empire with a population of thirty-five million
diverse empire with seventy ethnic groups
establishment of communication and centralized administration
new capital at ? built around 520 BCE
monument to the Achaemenid dynasty and nerve center of the Persian empire
Persian Developments
administration with networks of educated bureaucrats, tax collectors, and spies
qanats (underground canals) to support agriculture
policies promoting long-distance trade (e.g. standardized coinage, road building, a courier service, marketplaces, banks, and investment companies)
Zoroastrianism; teachings demanded high moral and ethical standards
Achaemenid Administration
* administration
satraps: Persian governors
taxes, coins, and laws – formal taxes, standardization of coins and laws
roads and communications – Persian Royal Road and postal stations
administrative and taxation districts governed by satraps
twenty-three satrapies were appointed by the central government
local officials were from local population
the satraps’ power was checked by military officers and imperial spies
Taxes, Coins, and Laws
i. replaces irregular tribute payments with formal ?
ii. standardized ? fostered trade throughout the empire
iii. brought the empire’s legal systems closer to a single standard
* (list all three, in order)
Roads and Communications
purpose was to govern a far-flung empire through communication systems
Persian Royal Road stretched about 2,575 km
111 postal stations for a courier service
imperial highways stretched 13,000 km in combination and facilitated trade
Achaemenid Commonwealth
* “Achaemenid ? ”
law, justice, and administration led to political stability
extensive public works projects were made possible
iron metallurgy spread across the empire
Cyrus and Darius pursued a policy of toleration, but Xerxes sought to impost his values
Darius’ successor was ? (r. 486-465 BCE)
retreated from the policy of cultural toleration
caused ill will and rebellions among the peoples in Mesopotamia and Egypt
Persian Wars
series of conflicts that Greeks called ? (500-479 BCE)
rebellion of the Ionian Greeks, fighting for their independence
Persian rulers failed to put down the rebellion; for almost 150 years the Persian empire sparred with the Greek cities
Alexander of Macedon
invaded Persia in 334 BCE
his army was well-disciplined, was well armed, and used sophisticated tactics
fought in the battle of Gaugamela and ended the Achaemenid empire in 331 BCE
burned the city of Persepolis
Seleucid Empire
established after Alexander the Great died suddenly
generals divided the empire; best part went to Seleucus (r. 305-281 BCE)
attacked by rebellion in India and invasion of Parthians
Seleucus (r. 305-281 BCE) inherited most of the former Achaemenid empire when Alexander died
retained the Achaemenid system of administration
opposition from native Persians and lost control over northern India and Iran
Parthian Empire
seminomadic Parthians drive Seleucus out of Iran
federated governmental structure
especially strong cavalry
weakened by their ongoing wars with the Romans
fell to internal rebellion
seminomadic people based in Iran who extended to wealthy Mesopotamia
had well-trained forces of heavily armed cavalry
did not have a centralized government but was organized through a federation of leaders
portrayed themselves as restorers of Persian traditions
Mithradates I
the Parthians revolted against the Seleucids
? established an empire through conquest from 171-155 BCE
consolidated his hold on Iran and extended Parthian rule to Mesopotamia
Parthian Government
followed the example of Achaemenid administration
authority and responsibility in their clan leaders
worked to build independent bases of power in their regions and mounted rebellions against the imperial government
combined with Roman pressure, brought down the Parthian empire
Sasanid Empire
claimed descent from the Achaemenids
continual conflicts with Rome, Byzantium in the west, and Kush in the east
overwhelmed by an Arab conquest in 651 BCE
? (r. 224-651 CE), from Persia, toppled the Parthians
merchants brought in various crops from India and China
Shapur I (239-272 CE) created buffer states between the Sasanids and the Roman empire
standoff with the Kushan, Roman, and Byzantine empires
the empire was incorporated into the Islamic empire in 651 BCE
Shapur I
? (239-272 CE) created buffer states between the Sasanids and the Roman empire
Agricultural Production
economic foundation
surpluses available for sale in the cities or for distribution to state servants through the imperial bureaucracy
distributed to the imperial court, satraps, and other high officials as wages in kind
Growth of Trade
promoted by:
– relative political stability
– standardizing coinage
– cities establishing banks to facilitate commerical activities
– linking lands from India to Egypt in a vast commercial zone
linked lands from India to Egypt in a vast commercial zone
various regions of the Persian empires contributed to the larger imperial economy
specialization of production in different regions
Standardized Coins
? of precisely measured metal and guaranteed value
drew merchants from distant lands to Lydian markets due to their simplicity
led to the opening of markets, banks, and companies
large class of ? who:
– were often prisoners of war or people who had rebelled against imperial authorities
– often came from the ranks of the free who were in debt
provided much of the manual labor on construction projects
underground canals part of irrigation systems
led to enhanced agricultural production and population growth
constructed because water was scarce and to keep water from evaporating
Free Classes
in the cities: included artisans, craftsmen, merchants, and low-ranking civil servants
in the countryside: included peasants and landless cultivators
built irrigation systems, the most remarkable of which were underground canals known as qanat
Imperial Bureaucrats
imperial administration called for educated ?
undermined the position of the old warrior elite
included a substantial corps of translators
came to share power and influence with warriors and clan leaders
Social Development
social structure was similar to that of the Aryans and maintained a steppe tradition
followed a seminomadic lifestyle
family and clan relationships were important
early Aryan influences on Persian religious traditions
Zarathustra (late 7th-early 6th centuries BCE) was the prophet of Ahura Mazda
Ahura Mazda was against Angra Mainyu
priests of Zarathustra were known as magi
relied on oral teachings until magis of the Sasanid period composed the Gathas
teachings resulted in the emergence of Zoroastrianism
became disenchanted with the traditional religion and its concentration on bloody sacrifices and mechanical rituals
experienced a series of visions and became convinced that the supreme god, Ahura Mazda (the “wise lord”) made him a prophet
Ahura Mazda
the supreme god, ? (the “wise lord”) made Zarathustra a prophet
cosmic conflict between ? and Angra Mainyu; the forces of good would ultimately prevail
Zoroastrian priests who at first transmitted Zoroastrian teachings orally
later compiled their scriptures in a holy book known as the Avesta
Zarathustra’s hymns that he composed in honor of the various deities that he recognized
his teachings were later preserved in writing by magi
compilation of the holy scriptures in the Avesta under the Sasanid dynasty
holy book in which the Zoroastrian magis compiled their scriptures
Zoroastrian Teachings
did not call for ascetic renunciation of the world in favor of a future heavenly existence
recognized Ahura Mazda as a supreme deity with six lesser deities
cosmic conflict between Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu; the forces of good would ultimately prevail
individual souls would undergo future judgment
heavenly paradise as reward and hellish realm as punishment
Popularity of Zoroastrianism
considered the material world a blessing
moral formula: “goog words, good thoughts, good deeds”
popularity of Zoroastrianism grows from sixth century BCE
attracted Persian aristocrats and ruling elites (e.g. Darius regarded Azura Mazda as the supreme god)
most popular in Iran, but attracted followings in Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Egypt, and more
Good v. Evil
* “? v. ?”
Zoroastrianism encouraged the observation of high moral and ethical standards
Ahura Mazda (good) and Angra Mainyu (evil)
made choices about how to behave based on their fundamental natures
all would experience the rewards and the punishments that their choices merited
Zoroastrian Difficulties: Alexander’s Invasion
* difficulty for the Zoroastrians (“Zoroastrian Difficulties: ? “)
suffering of Zoroastrian community during ?
an untold number of hymns and holy verses disappeared
Zoroastrian faith survived and cultivated by the Parthians
Zoroastrian Difficulties: Islam
* difficulty for the Zoroastrians (“Zoroastrian Difficulties: ? “)
? conquerors toppled the Sasanid empire in the seventh century CE
some Zoroastrians fled to India; descendants are known as Parsis (“Parthians”)
most Zoroastrians in Persia converted to ?
a few thousand Zoroastrians still exist in modern-day Iran
Officially Sponsored Zoroastrianism
the Sasanids supported Zoroastriansm zealously
persecuted other faiths if they seemed likely to challenged Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrian faith and magi flourished with imperial backing
theologians collected holy texts and analyzed morality and theology
Other Faiths
Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Manichaeism attracted converts in Persia
Jewish communities were established in Mesopotamia, Anatolia, and Persia after 930 BCE
during the Seleucid, Parthian, and Sasanid eras, the Persian empire attracted merchants, emissaries, and missionaries
Influence of Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism influenced Judaism, Christrianity, and later, Islam
omnipotent and beneficial deity was responsible for all creation
human beings must strive to observe the highest moral standards
individuals will undergo judgment
morally upright will experience rewards in paradise; evildoers will suffer punishments in hell

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