Persian Empire Basic Facts: By Julian PalandriSource:
The Persians were a group of people who started their tribe after their seperation from the Aryans in 2000 B.C.E., and soon started an empire and took control of a lot of the Mesopatamia Area. Their empire started in 550 B.C.E. and ended in 330 B.C.E. and started under the leadership of Cyrus The Great. They overthrew the Median Confederation and controled many parts of the Ancient World from Indus Valley to Macedon.
The Persian Empire at their greatest extent
The Persian Empire at their greatest extent
They had a Monarchatic Government and used a basic currency of Daric and Siglos. They spoke in a language called Farsi and they called themselves the Parsa. At the height of their power they controled 8 million square kilometers of land and destroyed three empires, the Babylonians, the Medians, and the Lydians. They controled many large cities including; Babylon, Susa, Ekbatana, and Pasargadea. There national religon was Zoroastrianism. The empire spanned across three continents but if fell by the Greeks and their leader Alexander The Great. They also made one of the first water managment systems in the world and it was a major enginnering accomplishment.

An old Persian Watar Management System, the Qanat
An old Persian Watar Management System, the Qanat
They had a multiregional government that controlled at one time its 50 million subjects. It also came up with one of the first tax systems in the world and one of the few civilizations in the ancient world to not show a great likeness to slavery. It also had a large army and navy that at one time was the best in the Mesopatamia. The army was lead by a group that was called the Immortals, 10,000 soldiers who were the fiersist and couragous in the Persian Army.

Persian War:
By: Adam Schmidt ( All green is done by Adam Schmidt )
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In the fifth century ( 499 to 479 BC ) The Persians attempted to conqueror Greece.
This war was called the Persian war which lasted 20 years. If the Persians would have conquered Greece, this would have destroyed the first strings of Europe democracy.

Persian weapons: bronze pointed spears, iron swords. Their light infantry used bows, javelins and rocks. Their cavalry used bows and javelins. They had special formations called Immortals who were the best of the best, they were a force of 10,000 and were armed with spears, swords, and daggars. Most Persians in battle were very couragoues because they would charge all in at once in hope of defeating the enemy. They were very rich and usually people in the Army had a lot of gold and gems.

Persian Invasion Of Greece
Persian Invasion Of Greece

First attempt: In 492 BC Darius sent a large fleet of 600 ships across the Hellespont to Greece. But a large storm destroyed half of the fleet and caused therm to retreat the attack.

Second attempt: Two years later. Darius sent 600 ships again, but this time they made it to shore safely. They landed 40 kilometres from Athens. The Greeks sent a force of 192 men that ambushed the Persians in surprised. The Greeks had extra strength on there side because they flanked them in a way they could not use there devastating arrows to attack with. The Persians lost in estimation 6,400 men in battle.

Third attempt: After Darius died, 10 years later Xerxes his son sent another fleet. They successfully made it to shore on the other side. As they traveled to Athens they were lead through a mountain passage where they saw lots of Greek soldiers in a canyon up ahead. They set out through the canyon and rushed them. For two days the Greeks held the passage way fighting and defending. A Greek traitor led the Persians through secret passage way to Athens were they later were attacked by 300 Spartans. The Persians defeated them and attacked Athens with flaming arrows. What seemed like an easy victory for them became a defeat after the Persians ships on the coast were rampaged and plowed down by the faster Greek ships. This naval battle was known as the great battle Salamis. In this battle the Greeks with 127 triremes were up against 1200 Persian war galleys. The reason the Greeks won was because of there smart strategic plans of attack and there ships, which were the most dangerous ships of there time. After the battle most of the Persian soldiers were then scattered through out the land and latter died.This ended the Persian war in 479 BC

Great Navel Battle of Salamis
Great Navel Battle of Salamis

Persian Cities and Architecture:

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Foundations of these palaces, Palace of Cyrus and above all extensive remains of the magnificent palace complex of Darius I and Xerxes I. The great temples show structural designs of great columned audience halls. in front of the halls were colonnaded porticoes,sided by square towers and set on high terraces. The temples had double flights of steps converging at the top. There is some evidence that there were similarities in the architecture compared to Egyptians and the Greeks, but still the Persians temples stay unique and distinctive for space and scale. The Persians columns are slenderer and more closely fluted than the Greeks columns. While the Greeks bases are high, often bell shaped. The Persians executed in molding and designing bricks, a technique of Babylonian-Assyrian origin.

Persepolis: Persepolis was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Persia state.
Made up of various temples and monuments. most are located upon a vast platform, some 450 metres by 300 metres and 20 metres in height. At the head of the ceremonial staircase leading to the terrace is the 'Gateway of All Nations' built by Xerxes I and guarded by two colossal bull-like figures. The provinces of his Empire were connected to the center at Persepolis. The Royal Road connected 111 stations to each other. Messengers riding swift horses informed the king within days of turmoil brewing in lands as distant as Egypt and Sughdiana.

Statues that repersent the Persian Empire
Statues that repersent the Persian Empire

The Average Persian House was very much a common style. They had pointed roofs and porches that faced the sun when it rose. Poor family had one room houses while the rich had rooms just for men and women. The stuff inside these homes were very high quality and very comfy

Great Persian Leaders:

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Cyrus I:

When Cyrus was young he was going to be executed because he was a threat to the Medians, however he escaped and later killed the Median King, Astyages and started the Persian Empire in 550 B.C.E.

He then moved to Lydia and took it over. He used to camals to scare away horses to secure an easy victory for the Persian Empire.

In 539 BC, Cyrus marched triumphantly into the ancient city of Babylon, partly thanks to a civil war going on. After this victory, he set a charter called the Cyrus Charter of Human Rights. In this charter, Cyrus promised not to terrorize Babylon nor destroy its institutions and culture. This charter of rights was the first charter of rights in human history. It was written on a clay cylinder which is now located in the British Museum. In 537 BC he allowed more than 40,000 Jews to leave Babylon and return to Palestine.

Cyrus' Humen Rights Charter
Cyrus' Humen Rights Charter

He then moved to Central Asia to battle the Nomads that threatened his borders. Cyrus was killed during a battle against the Massagetae. However, during his life time he left behind a the biggest empire the world had ever seen and had united the Persian people and destroyed the Medians

Darius The Great: (Darius I)

Darius I took power he killed his cousin, Cambyses who was known from his bad leadership. He set many things in place that would allow the Persians to survive as an Empire for 200 years. He created 12 provinces to which he can rule his empire without threat of revolt but allow them to defend themselves. He took many precautions to make sure the provinces didn't rebel. They didn't have many troops or money to rebel, and many important people reported to the King. He also had an organization, called the Kings Eyes and Ears, which kept order.

Known as the greatest emperor of the Persian empire because he ruled during the time Persia was at the highest point of power.. Ruled as emperor from 521 BC to 485 BC. He allowed the Jews to build the Temple of Jerusalem and in Egypt his name appears on the temples which he built in Memphis. Under his government control he set more organization to the land by separating it into 20 provinces that were each controlled by a governor or satrap. The satrap position was earned through heredity in family. He led conquering armies into the Indus River valley and into Thrace in Europe.The Persian Empire was the largest and most powerful empire the world had yet seen.
Darius established a government which became a model for many future governments:

  • Established a tax-collection system
  • Allowed locals to keep customs and religions
  • Divided his empire into districts known as Satrapies
  • Built a system of roads still used today
  • Established a complex postal system
  • Established a network of spies he called the "Eyes and Ears of the King."
  • Built two new capital cities, one at Susa and one at Persepolis.

Persian Empire under Darius I
Persian Empire under Darius I

Persian People and Life Style By: Julian Palandri


The people of the Persian Empire were varied and great and led very rich and forfilling lives. The Persian was a very big Empire, and so had a lot of people from different cultures, 50 million at one point. Many people spoke the Persian language called the Farsi, it is still used today in Iran. The Persian Empire was one of the best places to live back then because they were more tolerable then most empires in the Ancinect Era. They let people keep their languages, religons, and customs and have a huge amount of freedom thanks to the Humen Rights Law Cyrus made when he entered Babylon. They also took the names of local leaders that were in the countrys: Ex: They had the leader in Egypt be called Pharoh. The people still had to pay taxes and respect authority, however the taxes were based on your job so it was not bad compared to other empires. When they payed taxes they payed in objects instead of money, making easier managment, they used gold, silver, sheep, horses, wheat, and spices. The people also had judges to make sure the law was carried out. The poorer familes in Persian tended to only have one room houses while the rich people had many rooms just for men and women. The Persian families tended to be very large and kids would have many brothers and sisters. For at home, the dad's word was the law of the house and it was very bad to break the laws. The poor kids in Persia tended to work for the parents for much of their childhood. Noble kids were raised tell 5 by their mothers and then by the family slave, they didn't usually see their Dad tell adulthood. The boys were raised to ride a horse and draw a bow. The girls were raised to run households and raise children. Rich women barely ever left the house. Many people in the Empire were known for having courage, energy, and a regard for the truth and lying was the greatest sin in all of Persia.The people of Persia also didn't like Merchants because it went against their beliefs.
Higher Class Persian Clothing
Higher Class Persian Clothing

Lower Class Persian Clothes
Lower Class Persian Clothes

Lower class people dressed in tunics and trousers, along with a felt cap, high shoes, and a belt. The upper class wore long purple and flowered robes that had long sleeves and flowered tunics that reached to their knees. People also liked ornaments. The soldiers wore gold bracelets and collars and the swords had gold and gems on them. Furniture was very nice and smooth and their plates were made of silver and gold. Ordinary food was meat, bread, and barley cakes. They only had one meal a day.

Social Classes:

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Social structure supported rulers,priests,warriors, artisans, scribes, pastoralists, agriculturists, and other producers. By the seventh century A.D. , small privileged class dominated a large amount of people who were blocked from attaining any rising social mobility. In the 13 centuries since the Arab invasion, there has been a steady persianization of the society. Persians can be grouped into distinct occupational and social classes based on their degree of control over economic and political resources.

At the top of the hierarchy are the real-estate inventors and speculators and other industrial and commercial entrepreneurs. This class includes many deputies, senators, ministers, ambassadors, and governors. Below that class of hierarchy are high-ranking administrators, who derive derived their power from the above class. Merchants and shopkeepers, the bazaaris, constitute the third level of the social system. The bazaaris have been closely allied with the ulama(clergy),who made up the next level on the hierarchical ladder. The fifth category might be considered the middle class. It includes a large amount of educated workers such as, civil-service employees, doctors, teachers, engineers, and other specialists including the military. In the 1970’s the middle class was growing rapidly in size and political importance. Below the middle class is the urban proletriat. The make up more than a third of the urban population, including factoryand construction workers, municipal employees, and mental laborers. On the bottom part of the hierarchy ladder is the subproletariat, the unskilled and often unemployed. Social system is hierarchical, paternalistic, and authoritarian.

Many people were expected to respect royal authority and pay taxed based on your job. When meeting a king it was disrespectful to even look at the king without high authority.
Economics and Work:

__ History Societies of the Past By: Charles Kahn, Ken Osborne, Naureen McCulloch, Norman Lee, and John Einarson. First Edition: 1992. Second Edition: 2005

The Persians are sedentary people who have traditionally relied on agriculture as a means of subsistence. Much of the agriculture is based on dry farming. Important crops include wheat, barley, legumes and a few cash crops such as tobacco, sugar, beets and sesame. Few villages have a substantial surplus. Persians have benefited from an expanded job market.

Between their city's the Persians had built highways, trade routes, roads, inns, patrols, relay stations and had established the first postal service. This allowed for better transportation. Communication was also great thanks to the roads. Economic and Agricultural Growth came from the roads that improved the empire. This also encouraged trade and with the conquored people and had invented the idea of the coin. The Persians also had a common system of money throughout the empire.

The Taxes were also more manageable then most other empires back then, they were based on what you did. The taxes were usually paid in objects then money. Examples are; gold, silver, horses, sheep, wheat, and spices.

Many people in Persia didn't like Merchants or trading because these people were usually greedy which was against there beliefs. They had a good system of roads and their main road, The Royal Road, was 1600 miles long. They also opened a trade route with China and brought silk to the Middle East.

The kings were also very rich and buried with many things. They usually had gold coffins filled with valuables, such as gems. The persian people were also found of ornaments usually gold and gems, and rich families tend to have many of these, even their kids.

Persian Silver Coin
Persian Silver Coin
Persian Throne Area
Persian Throne Area

Organized religion:


__ History Societies of the Past
By: Charles Kahn, Ken Osborne, Naureen McCulloch, Norman Lee, and John Einarson.
First Edition: 1992. Second Edition: 2005

Religion: Zoroastrianism
Persian religion had some effect on modern religion because it dealt with good and evil, God and a Devil idea, and being judged on your action. Popular religious or philosophical theme is shown in Persian literature (qesmet), or fate -believe that all unexplainable occurrences are the will of god. They believe that most things in life are controlled by fate rather than by human. Most Persians today are shia Muslims of the ithna ashari sect and adhere to Islamic laws and principles. Ancient persians saw world as a cosmic struggle between good and evil -concepts the profoundly influenced Jewish and christian theology.

The people who practiced tolerance, moderation, and generosity were destined to go to heaven. Other things that were good were giving to the poor, telling the truth, treating others well, and working the land. Bad things were being lazy, proud, and greedy. In fact, lying was the greatest sin in all of Persia. From youth, the kids were told that their father's word was the law.
Persian People praying to their king
Persian People praying to their king

Expressive culture:
-persian art is in a variety of styles going from patterned tiles and Quranic inscriptions on walls os mosques to handicrafts, miniture painting and calligraphy. poetry with well-defined meter and rthyme is a popular Persian art form -persian poetry often deals with subjective interpretations of past and sometimes satirizes social problems such as inequality, injustice and repression

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Persian Letters
Persian Letters

Early form of education was entirely individualistic -the institution of modern education did not exist. Main purpose of individual education was to transmit the means of survival according to personal needs. As more highly institutionalized form of education developed the social stratification became more rigid. Schools at this time are similar to those in Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle. Classrooms were located in any convenient place. Teachers and students sat on the ground or on crude stools if they were handy. The classroom often changed locations several times each month - source - __

Persian Art (Lauren Schumacher)

  • The heritage of art in Persia included major contributions from both eastern and western sides of the civilization.
  • The Persian art weighed heavily from the indigenous cultures Elamite civilization and Mesopotamia.
  • Since Persia is in a somewhat central location, it has blended the eastern and western arts and architecture.
  • The Persian arts extended into central Asia, Caucasus, Asia Minor, and Iraq, as well as modern day Iran.
  • The immense amount of geography has been very important in the expansion of the Persians
  • Persian arts included: painting, calligraphy, miniature-painting, illustrated manuscripts, glass work, lacquer work, a unique form of marquetry called “Khatam Work”, metal work, pottery, textile and fabric design, along with modern arts.

external image persians.jpg
external image persian-art-1.jpg

Persian Science and Technology (Lauren Schumacher)

  • Persia was very influential in science in ancient times.
  • Persian scientists contributed to the current understanding of nature, medicine, mathematicians, and philosophy.
  • Science in Persia evolved into two main phases.
  • Many of today’s notions in science including Helios-Centric model of solar system, finite speed of light, and gravity were proposed by some Persian scientists.


Fashion (Ella Molnar)

Within the Persian Empire mean wore garments such as pirah’s, shalvar’s, and jameh combos. These were work with a wide belt called a kamarband. A variety of cuts and lengths were present for each garment.
external image Achemenid-Persian-officers.jpg

A headdress called a sarband was traditionally worn by men, in some old paintings however woman can be seen with a sarband upon their head. The sarband was typically styled wrapped around the head with one end folded into a fan at the top of the head. The other end was usually draped or thrown of the shoulder.


Music at the time of the Persians had no notes like used today. Probably the most popular instrument was a royal musical tool called a Chang. It has played with 5 strings under tension and resembled a harp.
external image chang.jpg

Musicians were often hired to play in the royal court for the higher classes. Well known musicians consisted of Bamshad, klakisha, Sarkash, and Barbad. Barbad was the most famous court musician in Persia. He is rumoured to be very talented and was favoured among Persian leaders.