The Assyrian and Persian Empires World History I
The Assyrian Empire • The Assyrian Empire was established on the Upper Tigris River by 700 BC. • The Assyrians used iron weapons. • The Assyrian empire was ruled by kings whose power was absolute. • The Assyrian army was large and well organized. • They used terror as an instrument of war. • They smashed dams, looted towns, burned crops, and cut down trees. • They were also very violent toward their captives, often torturing them.
The Persian Empire • The Persian Empire was established in the same area where the Assyrian Empire flourished. • The Persian Empire expanded under the leadership of Cyrus. • Known as Cyrus “the Great”, he had a reputation for mercy. • He was accepted as ruler by the people he conquered. • He showed a respect for other civilizations. • Cyrus’ successors extended the Persian Empire. • Cambyses conquered Egypt. • Darius extended the empire east to the Indus River.
The Persian Empire, cont. • Darius strengthened the Persian government. • He divided the empire into 20 satrapies, or provinces. • Each was ruled by a satrap (governor), who collected taxes, oversaw law, and recruited soldiers. • Well maintained roads made travel easy for Persians. • Persian success was due in part to a strong military. • After Darius, Persian kings became ineffective. • As they increased taxes to gain personal wealth, the empire declined. • There were constant struggles for the throne. • The weakened empire was conquered by Alexander the Great in the 330s BC.