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Persian Empire . One Minute Map: Label the Tigris, Euphrates, Nile, and Indus Rivers. Persian Empire at its Height. King Cyrus the Great 580-529 BC . Cyrus’s Empire. 550 BC – Conquered several neighboring kingdoms Military genius Controlled an empire spanning 2000 miles

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cyrus s empire
Cyrus’s Empire
  • 550 BC – Conquered several neighboring kingdoms
  • Military genius
  • Controlled an empire spanning 2000 miles
  • Kindness toward conquered people
  • Honored local customs and religions
  • 538 BC - Allowed the Jews to return to their homeland, Jerusalem
  • Considered by the Jews to be one of God’s anointed ones
Tolerance !!!
  • Cyrus use the idea of tolerance to keep the peace and to seem like a liberator.
  • He allowed people to keep their local customs and religions.
  • He showed kindness toward conquered peoples
darius the great
Darius the Great
  • Member of the king’s body guard
  • Overthrew the king in 522 BC
  • Took power and created a well-organized efficient government
  • Brought peace and stability
  • Expanded the empire by 500 miles
  • But could not conquer Greece
persian art
Persian Art

Persepolis, Iran

  • Apadana with huge columns 60 feet tall
  • 36 columns with bull-shaped tops
  • Reliefs on walls symbolize Persian guards called Immortals
  • 10,000 Immortals protected the city and ruler
  • Large ramps leading to apadana enable chariots to enter hall

How did the Persian Empire grow and how did its rulers maintain economic prosperity and political stability?


KingDariusdividedtheempire into20provinces each ruled by a satrap (local governor)

Satraps were the “eyes & ears of the king,” collected taxes, & informed the king of uprisings

royal spies
Royal Spies
  • They spied on the citizens and on the governors to make sure they were not going to steal or revolt.
the persian empire
The Persian Empire

The Persians used metal coins with standardized values to help promote trade

the royal road
The Royal Road
  • 1,677 miles long with 111 relay stations
  • Other smaller roads branched off the royal road
  • Relay stations had rest areas and fresh horses.
  • The entire royal road could be traveled in a week by a horsemen
  • Caravans took about a month

Dualistic Battle of Good vs. Evil

Ahura Mazda“Holy Spirit”

Ahriman“Destructive Spirit”


Imagine you are a Hebrew living under Persian rule. Write a letter to a friend living outside of the Persian Empire describing your feelings about Cyrus the Great as a leader.