|Dates||539-330bce||330-323bce / 323-83bce (after 247, moving west)||247 bce – 224 ce (conquest of Mesopotamia 155 bce)||224-651 ce|
|Founder||Cyrus “the Shepherd” (r. 558-530bce)||Alexander (d. 323bce)||Mithradates I (r. 171 bce-|
|Origins||Medes and Persians (SW Iran)||Macedonia||Iran|
|founding culture||pastoral nomads||Hellenic||semi-nomadic horseriders||Persians|
|Crucial successors||Darius (r. 521-486bce) conquerer and administrator.
Xerxes (r. 486-451) Expanded war with Greeks.
|General Seleucus (r. 305-281bce)||Shapur I (239-272 bce) stabilized Western borders; fought off Rome|
|Government||satraps with overlapping supervision||Weak empire, driven west by Parthians||revived satraps, but weaker center||revived Achaemenid systems.|
|Other great things||standardization of laws, coins, taxes; Persian Royal Road and postal couriers; qanat (underground irrigation canals)||Hellenistic cities (Alexandrias), populated by Greeks. Introduction of Greek culture, trade with Mediterranean||Active international trade and new crops. Captured Romans as engineers.|
|Zoroastrianism||Zarathustra (7-6c bce). Strong State support, esp. Darius||Hostile: destroyed temples and killed magi (losing oral traditions).||Tolerated, but not strongly||State-supported revival. Oral Gathas compiled in Avesta. Theology develops|
|Downfall||Greeks and other rebellious provinces; Alexander, drawing on Philip’s unification.||foreigners, in spite of success of Greek colonists. Finally wiped out by Romans.||Pressure from Rome (1c ce), rebellious satraps, Sasanid uprising.||Constant border conflicts with Rome/Byzantium, Hindu Kush. Death blow is Arab Islamic expansion.|
© 2003 – Jonathan Dresner