Ancient Civilizations


Ancient Persian Civilization

Posted by cosmic  •  Filed under ancient civilizations, cultures

The Persians

The Persian Civilization was highly flourishing and at the time their empire was the largest ever seen in the ancient world. Persian territory stretched across a vast area over 3,000 miles total. The Persians controlled a wide expanse of land extending from Asia Minor to India, including what is now present day Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

It wasn't until 522 B.C. that the Persian Empire became unified. The emperor Darius accomplished the real unification of this empire. Darius set up a government that was then used as a template for later rulers. He then divided the Persian Empire into provinces. A government official called a satrap headed each of these provinces. According to the economy and the wealth of each province determined how much taxes would cost for that year. Like the great King Hammurabi, Darius adopted rules and laws from the people in which he conquered. Darius then drew a single code of laws in which the people within the empire had to abide by.

The Persians really weren't in many wars, however, the ruler or leader at the time had his own personal army. There were about 10,000 men in this personal army at any given time. He only chose people who were going to devote their lives and be loyal to only him. This selected group was known as "The Immortals". There were also people who acted as a "police state". These people were highly intelligent, and they went around undetected and collected information on gatherings and events anywhere in the empire. "Royal Inspectors" was the name given to this select few.

With thoughts of a greater economy and excessive unity, Darius ordered the construction of better roads, hoping to communicate and link the empire with the more distant parts of the region. The Persians set up a new system of weights and measures and Persian civilians adopted the use of coins. Most other civilizations were still using a barter economy, exchanging one thing for another, but using coins now gave them the opportunity to become merchants and traders. Thus replacing barter with the exchange of money.

The Persian thinker Zoroaster, also helping unite the Persian Empire, put religious beliefs forward. He rejected all of the Old Persian gods. Instead, he thought that a single wise god, Ahura-Mazda, ruled the entire world and was the only god. Zoroaster taught that:
1) Ahura-Mazda was constantly fighting Ahriman, the spirit of darkness and evil.
2) People who followed Ahriman will be punished in hell; those living virtuously and believed Ahura-Mazda will reach heaven.
3) The world will achieve eternal peace and goodness will soon prevail.
Zoroaster's teaching formed the basis of the Persian Bible, the Avesta. Christianity and Islam later emerged into the Middle East, also stressing about heaven, hell, and a final judgment day.

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