In the eyes of empire builders men are not men but instruments. Napoleon Bonaparte
Empire “a major political unit having a territory of great extent or a number of territories or peoples under a single sovereign authority; especially: one having an emperor as chief of state “ ~ Merriam-Webster Dictionary
The Persian Empire • Homeland lay on the Iranian plateau • Famous monarchs -Cyrus (reigned 557-530 BCE) -Darius (reigned 522-486 BCE) • Persian conquests reached from Egypt to India • A single state of some 35 million people • Cultural diversity • Centered on an elaborate cult of kingship
Effective administrative system • Persian governors (satraps) were placed in each of the empire’s twenty-three provinces • Lower-level officials drawn from local authorities • System of imperial spies • Respect for non-Persian cultural traditions -Cyrus allowed Jews who had been exiled in Babylon to return to their homeland and rebuild their temple in Jerusalem in 539 BCE • Model for future regimes with its administrators, tax collectors, record keepers, and translators
System of standardized coinage • Predictable taxes levied on each province • Newly dug canal linking the Nile with the Red Sea • A “royal road”, some 1,700 miles long -Facilitating communication and commerce
The Greeks • Small competing city-states due to mountainous terrain (seas allowed for trade) • Like Persians, an Indo-European people • Classical Greece emerged around 750 BCE and flourished for about 400 years • Athens, Sparta, Corinth, Thebes, etc. • Calling themselves Hellenes • Fiercely independent city-states -Speaking the same language -Frequently in conflict
Expansive people, but expansion took the form of settlement in distant places -Greek traders in search of iron -Impoverished farmers in search of land • Most distinctive feature – popular participation in political life • In Athens, direct democracy eventually developed -All citizens could directly participate in the affairs of government -However, women, slaves, and foreigners were notcitizens • The city-state facilitated greater participation as opposed to centralized state of empire
Solon, a reforming leader, in 594 BCE pushed Athens in a more democratic direction -Debt slavery was abolished -Public office was opened to a wider group of men -All citizens were allowed to take part in the Assembly • Cleisthenes and Pericles, later reformers, extended the rights of citizens even further • By 450 BCE, all holders of public office were chosen by lot and were paid -Even the poorest could serve
In Athens, all free men born in Athens were eventually granted citizenship • Nonetheless, dictators known as tyrants had periodically emerged • And of course, in Sparta, extreme forms of military discipline and its large population of helots or slaves led to most political authority being placed in its Council of Elders -twenty-eight men over the age of sixty -served for life and provided political leadership
Greco-Persian Wars • Conflict grew out of patterns of expansions • Number of Greek settlements on the Anatolian seacoast, known to Greeks as Ionia -By 499 BCE, some Ionian Greeks revolted against Persian domination and found support from Athens • Outraged Persians launched major military expeditions, twice in ten years (490 and 480 BCE) to punish Greeks • Against all odds, Greeks held them off, defeating the Persians on both land and sea
The wars were a source of enormous pride for the Greeks -triumphed in momentous Battle of Marathon in 490 BCE • Greeks viewed victory as triumph of their freedoms -Persia represented despotism (East/West divide) • Greeks also radicalized Athenian democracy -poorer Greeks in a position for full citizenship • Fifty years or so afterwards – the Golden Age of Greek culture -built the Parthenon -Greek theater (Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides) -Socrates, the quintessential philosopher
Decline of Greeks • Athens led a coalition of Greek city-states • But leadership led to imperialism • As Athenians tried to solidify dominant position, resentment ensued • Bitter civil war (431-404 BCE) -Sparta taking the lead in defending the independence of the city-states -known as Peloponnesian War • Athens was defeated • Paving the way for Macedonian conquest of cities
Alexander the Great • Alexander’s father, Philip II, conquered Greeks in 338 BCE • At death of father, Alexander, continued conquests • Ten-year expedition (333-323 BCE) -Conquered Egypt and Anatolia -Conquered Persian Empire -Conquered Afghanistan -Arrived in Indian subcontinent (Soldiers insisted on returning home) • Alexander died on the returning journey
Spread of Greek culture (Hellenism) -Particularly in many cities that Alexander and later Hellenistic rulers established -Greek monuments, theaters, and markets -Greek learning flourished (library in Alexandria of some 700,000 volumes) -Indian ruler, Ashoka, published some of his decrees in Greek -Buddha was depicted in human form due to Greek influence • Cultural influence disappeared as Hellenistic kingdoms weakened • Replaced in western part with Roman Empire that became a vehicle for the spread of Greek ideas
A Theme of World History • Interaction between humans and the environment • Demography and disease • Migration • Patterns of settlement • Technology How did the interaction between humans and the environment impact the development of Greek culture?
Another Theme of World History • State-building, expansion, and conflict • Political structures and forms of governance • Empires • Nations and nationalism • Revolts and revolutions • Regional, transregional, and global structures and organizations Compare the political structure of the Persian Empire to that of Greece. The Persian Empire was also known as the Achaemenid Empire.
Discuss the reasons for political and social fragmentation in classical Greece.
Questions from Strayer: • How did Persian and Greek civilizations differ in their political organization and values? • Why did semidemocratic governments emerge in some of the Greek city-states? • What were the consequences for both sides of the encounter between the Persians and the Greeks? • What changes did Alexander's conquests bring in their wake?
Aristotle on a “Good Wife” “A good wife should be the mistress of her home, having under her care all that is within it, according to the rules we have laid down. She should allow none to enter without her husband's knowledge, dreading above all things the gossip of gadding women, which tends to poison the soul. She alone should have knowledge of what happens within. She must exercise control of the money spent on such festivities as her husband has approved---keeping, moreover, within the limit set by law upon expenditure, dress, and ornament---and remembering that beauty depends not on costliness of raiment. Nor does abundance of gold so conduce to the praise of a woman as self-control in all that she does. This, then, is the province over which a woman should be minded to bear an orderly rule; for it seems not fitting that a man should know all that passes within the house. But in all other matters, let it be her aim to obey her husband; giving no heed to public affairs, nor having any part in arranging the marriages of her children.”