Achaemenid Persian Empire Krzysztof Nawotka. Persian empire

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  • Achaemenid Persian EmpireKrzysztof Nawotka

  • Persian empire

  • Rise of Persia 1Indoeuropean Aryans formed in stepps to the north of Black Sea and Caspian SeaCa. 2000 BC: conquest of India and IranIn Iran: nomadic and semi-nomadic society3 classes: priests, warriors, producers (i.e. peasants)Clans, tribes and countries (dahyu)

  • Rise of Persia 2Various Iranian states: Manna, Medes, Parsua (Zagros and Fars)Trade with Babylonia and Assyria (Great Khorasan Road: forrunner of Silk Road)From 9th c. BC Assyrian inroads in Zagros7th-mid 6th c. BC Media615-605 Kyaxares (Umakitar/ Huvatra) conquest of Assyria

  • Cyrus II (the Great)Kurush king of Anshan (Elamite city in Zagros)Achaemenian dynasty: Hakhamanich (Achaemenes), Chishpish (Teispes), Kurush I, Kambujiya (Cambyses)Allied with Nabonidus of Babylon, defeated and conquered Media 550Conquered Lydia 546 (?) or after 539Conquered Babylon 539

  • Persian empireCambyses II: conquered Egypt 525Fiscal crisis, rebellion of Gaumata 522Darius I (the Great):Persian aristocrat, allegedly from collateral branch of AchaemeniansSupported by Persian aristocracy and army of Cyrus the GreatReconquest of all provincesReorganization of empire

  • Persian Empire under Darius I

  • Persian empire (of Darius I the Great)First universal empireArea: from Thrace to Indus valeyPopulation: 30-50 millionDivided into ca. 26 satrapiesFour capital cities: Persepolis, Susa, Ecbatana, BabylonItinerant court: tradition of nomadic lifestyle, necessity to feed court and army

  • Persia of Darius I: Susa palace

  • Persia of Darius I: Persepolis

  • Great King and his country 1Monarchy: Great King, King of AsiaKing: elaborate costume, strict ritual, seclusionPOWs at Damascus (331 BC): 329 female musicians, 46 wreath makers, 277 cooks, 29 cooking specialists, 13 dairy specialists, 17 drinks specialists, 70 pourers of wine and 40 perfumers

  • Great King

  • Great King and his country 2Kings banquets:1000 animals slaughtered every dayPF: food for 12,000 peopleLuxury of King:to Greeks: unmanly decadencein fact: demonstration of Kings wealth, happiness and grace of gods, redistribution of wealth among courtiers and soldiers

  • Persepolis - servants of the Great King

  • Perisan servant on a Greek vase

  • Great King and his country 3Roads: Kings Road Susa to Sardis (2400 km), good surface, postal stations, securityElaborate administration:known from Fars (PF, PT), to a lesser degree from Egypt, Palestine, Bactriacollecting taxes (mostly in kind)issuing rations to aristocrats, officials, labourersgift based economy

  • Great King and his country 4To Greeks: King/ despot and slavesTo Persians: King and bandaka (vasals)King: warrior, hunter, builderMonarchy based on feudal principles of loyalty and life-long service for land grantsSatraps:Iranian aristocrats with full powerImitating Kings court and behaviour

  • Persian army10,000 immortals (companions)Garrisons in a few major fortressesMercenary force: superior Greek infantry, commanded by Persians, Greek officers incorporated to Persian nobilityIranian: military settlers, aristocratic cavalryNavy: Phoenician, Cypriot, GreekWar: mostly fought by satraps

  • Immortals

  • Persepolis guard soldiers

  • Persian religion 1Two epochs of Aryan religion : pagan (before Zarathustra) and ZarathushtrianPagan Iranian religion:gods: of nature (e.g. Vata brought rain), of cult (e.g. Fire - Atar, Water - Apo, Haoma)Ritual purityCult of Fire: yasna with animal sacrifice, zaorta 3 times a day fuel added to fireMithra and VarunaHyposthases (personified abstracts) linked with AshaTwo types of obligation: *mithra covenent, *varuna solemn oath

  • Persian religion 2Asha/aa:Law of nature: truth, righteuosnessSustained by prayer and sacrificeShould guide our behaviourVirtue: fundament of normal world orderSocial virtues: truth, loyalty, courageDruj (lie) opposite of ashaPeople: ashavan (righteous), drujvant (base, liers)

  • Persian religion 3Aryan religion reformed by Zaratushtra c. 10th c. BC following revelation by Vohu ManahHoly book Avesta (6th c. AD)Cosmic conflict between aa (truth) and druj (lie); aim of life: to sustain aa through good thoughts, words and deeds Religion of choice and responsibility

  • Magi

  • Persian religion 4Ahura Mazda (Lord Wisdom): creator, god of aa, light, good, assisted by Amesha Spentas ("Bounteous Immortals") and by yazatas Cosmic conflict with Angra MainyuKing by grace of Ahura MazdaFire (atar): not god but agent of ritual purity, worshipped (fire altars and temples)Priests magiCorpses exposed in towers of silence

  • Fire worshippers in a relief of Gandhara

  • Yazd: fire temple

  • Ateshkade-e Ardashir: Sassanian fire temple

  • Persian warsRebellion of Greek cities in Asia Minor 499-494 BCInvasion of Greece by Xerxes 480-479Great battles: Thermopylae, Salamis, Plataea, MycaleEnd in 447: Greeks of Asia Minor freeTradition of Persian barbarity (destruction of Greek temples) and superior Greek military prowess

  • Persian empire of the late 5th-4th c. BCSuccessful Persian envolvement in Peloponnesian and Corinthian Wars: restoring Persian rule in Asia MinorIndependence of Egypt and great satrap revolt of 1st half of 4th c. BCArtaxerxes III (358-338): suppresion of revolt of Phoenicia, pacification of Asia Minor, reconquest of Egypt

  • Iranians in Asia MinorNumerous aristocratic families endowed by the Great King with land for their servicesSome gave origin to royal families in Hellenistic times: Pontus, Cappadocia, CommageneMilitary colonists, e.g. in CappadociaIranian cults:Zaratushtrians well into 3rd c. ADIranian deities assimilated with indigenous gods of Asia Minor, especially Anahita with local goddessesMithra