Persian Empire

The ancient Persian empire

The ancient Persian empire was known for its majestic structures in the desert, wealth and military skill; ruled by kings of great power and ambition, they managed to conquer from North Africa to Asia.

To build an empire of great legacy in the history of mankind like the Persian, they needed extraordinary advances in engineering, not only in the construction of their palaces but in the creation of roads, bridges and canals.

Around 4,000 years BC, two nomadic tribes settled on the Iranian plateau, a fertile territory but with high temperatures, to the north were the Medes and to the south the Persians; tribes who were more interested in surviving than conquering. As they left these nomadic customs they were obliged to establish a source of water, which they would not discover in common places such as rivers, but in less explored sites (under the ground between the rocks), feats performed by sorcerers of the tribe, which were half doctors and half engineers, important achievements in establishing the foundations of their empire.

Having a water source already established for the development of its cities, it was only necessary to find a way to transport it to the different areas where it was required, thus creating highly engineered irrigation tunnels, which allowed water to be carried long distances over steep terrain. and hot without evaporation loss.

In 700 BC these tribes were guided by the ideology of Aquemenes, who began the Persian civilization, then it would prosper by the arrival of one of the most important kings of the time known as Cyrus the Great , who by his military cunning He led Persia to celebrate his first conquests, and he would stand out for his military intelligence and political genius, being an effective and just ruler considered by historians as a humanist and by the Persians as a father.

Cyrus the Great begins to rule in 580 BC, ending the Achaemenid dynasty by restructuring the architecture and thus changing the course of history for the Persians.

In 554 BC, Ciro had already defeated all the opponents who had faced his mandate, unifying Persia with an ideology, that is when he decides to carry out one of the most ambitious projects of the moment: to create an empire, for this he had to have a capital that lived up to its ambitious project.

The capital that would show the importance and political power of the Persians would be Pasargadas , currently located in Iran. For this, he implemented the best ideas he took from the conquered places and perfected them, creating imposing buildings and systems for the improvement of the city.

In 539 BC Cyrus performed one of his great feats by conquering and conquering Babylon, freeing the Jews who were enslaved there to return to ancient Israel, although at that time it was common to enslave the conquered people was not a customary practice. for Cyrus, because he paid for the work done according to its quality and allowed the inhabitants of the conquered cities to continue with their cultural and religious practices.

After conquering Babylon, Cyrus decides to plan how to turn Persia into a superpower, a purpose that was not carried out by his death in a battle of the year 530 BC When he died, Persia was made up of three more capitals that were Babylon, Susa and Ecbatana , but it was in the city of Pasargadas the one chosen by Cyrus for his burial, in a tomb that represented his simplicity as a human being his remains were protected.

After the death of Cyrus, Persia was in chaos with the throne dispute between opponents and aspirants, but it was Darius general of the Persian troops and cousin of Cyrus, who remained in command of the empire, establishing order.

Dario without wasting time began with the reconstruction of one of the capitals of Persia, Susa, once again giving importance to this city. But he was not content to return the beauty of it, but founded the new Persian capital, of his authorship. For this reason the construction of Persepolis began, a colossal architectural challenge with structures never seen before by man. For the construction of Persepolis, Darío used thousands of workers who inhabited the conquered cities, but like Ciro he preferred to grant them a pay for his work.

While Darío built the new capital of Persia, he also continued to expand the empire, coming to rule regions such as Iran, Pakistan, part of Armenia, Afghanistan, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan and some parts of Central Asia to the north of the India. persian empire

In order to have control over a large area of ​​territory, Darío planned the construction of a road made of stacked stone, known as the “Royal Road” which covered the entire Persian kingdom, would cover a distance of 2,400 km with rest inns every 25 km guarded by troops and with horses to speed up the sending of information, merchandise supplies and movement of soldiers when required.

Darío’s obsession to conquer more territory than he already had led him to create a channel that crossed the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea , to get into North Africa and conquer it, also controlling the trade that was there. With an extension of 210 km in length, this channel allowed the navigability of the vessels of the time, thus creating a commercial route between the Red Sea and the Nile.

By 500 BC, Persia was a superpower and considered invincible by the villagers of the time. This aroused rivalries between a growing superpower like the state cities of Greece; these would make small revolts on the coasts of Turkey which would lead to Darius; to devise a plan to cross the Black Sea in the Bosphorus Strait and thus attack Athens.

Darío devised a rather ingenious plan for the time. It consisted of aligning ships from end to end of the Bosphorus and hanging them a series of planks above, would create a bridge that allowed the passage of 70 thousand soldiers ready for battle.

This bridge allowed the Persians to conquer Macedonia at the end of the year 490 BC and continue their passage to Athens final objective of Darius; but before arriving in this city he had to face the Greek general Themistocles who was waiting for him with the army of Athens and Corinth. This battle would be known years later as the battle of Marathon.

The Greeks outnumbered by the Persian troops; but being better strategists than they defeated the army of Darío in a violent battle obtaining that this returned to Persia.

This defeat for the Persians was only a small delay in their plan to conquer Greece . To plan the new attack Darío decided to return to Persepolis to reinforce the city’s defenses; but he would never reach his destination when he was killed in Egypt tried to control a rebellion in 485 BC Persian Empire

The death of Darius gave way to the possession of power to Xerxes son of the late king of Persia; He became known for controlling two revolts in Egypt and Babylon, and then continued with his father’s plan to attack the Greeks.

To perform the attack on the Greeks; Xerxes was inspired by the bridge built by his father 10 years ago and taking advantage of his numerical superiority over the Greeks; He ordered two bridges to be built to bring a large number of soldiers to the Greek territory.

While Xerxes built the bridges that would give way to his troops. In Greece they were preparing for the battle under General Temistocles; who had faced them before, he knew that confronting the Persian army in a frontal attack would not grant him victory; since they were outnumbered, so I devised a trap to defeat the Persians.

It was then that the Greeks decided to attack them while they crossed a mountain pass called the Thermopylae; a geographical space very difficult to travel in large groups reducing an entire army of thousands of soldiers; in small groups in order to access this place.

The Persians managed to cross the Thermopylae and continued their journey to Athens; when they arrived in the city they found it empty, which made Xerxes go into a rage and this order burned the city; an act that was not common in Persian invasions by its predecessors; After seeing the Greek city burn in flames, the next day Xerxes decided to rebuild it, but the damage was already done.

At the time that the Persians were invading Athens; the Greek general Themistocles attacked the Persian fleets taking them to the Gulf of Salamis where they would be completely defeated; since the narrow gulf did not allow them to maneuver easily to the Persian fleets. persian empire

When Xerxes learned of the crushing defeat by the Greeks to their naval fleet; He made the decision to leave Athens and return home defeated.

In the year 465 BC Xerxes dies delegating the power of Persia to his son Artaxerxes; who set himself the goal of returning the military glory of Persia; This new king focused on finishing the capital Persepolis and controlling the revolts driven by the Greeks in Egypt.

After recovering Egypt , the last victory of the Persians, Artaxerxes dies in 424 BC; a distant relative known as Darius III who was last king of Persia coming to power .

While Darío III tried to retake control of Persia, a young prince of Macedonia known as Alejandro; who was an admirer of Cyrus and the Persian culture, was heading towards Persepolis in order to overthrow King Darius III.

It was in 330 BC that Alexander manages to reach the Persian capital, Persepolis and conquer it. Although this prince of Macedonia also had a habit of not destroying or looting conquered peoples; Its troops set the Persian capital on fire, destroying almost all its wealth. persian empire

Darius III, who escaped the Macedonian attack, was killed in 330 BC by his allies. Alejandro years later married the daughter of Darío III; proclaiming himself as king of Persia and ending one of the empires with the greatest legacy in the history of mankind, which reigned for more than 2,700 BC

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