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Ancient Persia-Iran. Historical Background. Old Testament mentions Persia over 25 centuries ago 6th century B.C. Cyrus the Great establishes the Persian Empire, conquering Lydia (546 BCE) and Mesopotamia (539 BCE) Darius (Grandson of Cyrus) conquers Babylonia Egypt up to Asia Minor (~Turkey).

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historical background
Historical Background
  • Old Testament mentions Persia over 25 centuries ago
  • 6th century B.C. Cyrus the Great establishes the Persian Empire, conquering Lydia (546 BCE) and Mesopotamia (539 BCE)
  • Darius (Grandson of Cyrus) conquers Babylonia Egypt up to Asia Minor (~Turkey)
imperial organization
Imperial Organization
  • Empire was divided into 20 provinces
  • Provinces were required to pay annual tribute.
  • Central government hoarded so much gold and silver that they became quite valuable.
  • Kings were lawgivers, but citizens were allowed their own traditions.
  • Major religion was Zoroastrianism, with the leader Zarathrustra, who lived sometime between 1700-500 BCE.
more history
More History
  • Persian Empire gradually shrinks over the next several centuries because of Greek and Roman conquest and internal decay
  • 7th Century A.D. Arab conquest and establishment of Islam- Persians eventually overthrow Arab rule, but Islam remains
  • Modern history begins with nationalist protests in 1905 which led to establishment of a parliament and constitution
kingdom of babylonia
Kingdom of Babylonia
  • Babylonia was one of the first civilizations in the world.
  • It formed around the region where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers flow in relatively parallel courses toward the Persian Gulf.
  • The region is also part of what is known as the Fertile Crescent, so named because the people who lived in this crescent-shaped area developed rich, irrigated farmlands.
greek geography
Greek Geography
  • Mountains and Islands Create Isolation
  • Blessed with lots of good harbors
  • Isolation Leads to Political Disunity
  • The Size of Greek City-States (“Polis”)
  • Most plentiful natural resources were timber, clay (for pottery), marble and some deposits of metal ore
early political history and colonization
Early Political History and Colonization
  • The Emergence of the City-State (800)
  • The Significance of Overseas Trade
  • The Role of Colonization in handling Overpopulation (735-600)
    • Remember its effect on Greek identity!
  • Influence of Other Cultures Through Trade
  • The Evolution of Greek Political Forms
  • Humanistic Approach to Politics
the centrality of the greek polis
The Centrality of the Greek Polis
  • The Polis was the Basic Political Unit
  • The Center of the Polis was the Acropolis
  • The Greek “Agora” or Marketplace
  • Most Greeks were Farmers
  • Intimacy was a Key Feature of Polis Life
  • Polis Laws and Governments Varied
    • This difference + isolation=wars between city states.
  • Sparta was a polis in the Pelepponese in southern Greece. Took over Messenia and enslaved their people.
  • This process led Sparta to be a highly military state where ALL males prepared for military service.
  • Athens had a large hinterland called Attica in the 5th century BCE, and 300K people lived here.
  • They were ruled by a tyrant family, and in the 460-450s BCE, Pericles finished them off, and Athenian democracy was born.
  • Had an Assembly, Council of 500, and People’s Courts.
athens and sparta
Athens AND Sparta
  • Very different
    • Athens a democracy Sparta a military dictatorship (Sparta conquered most of Peloponnesian peninsula in 500’s)
    • But for now, they could coexist, as there were bigger “fish to fry.”
the classical era 499 400
The Classical Era 499-400
  • Greece reached her pinnacle of culture and power
  • Athens military and cultural leader
  • Flowering of art, architecture, philosophy, science
classical era from the persian war
Classical Era—from the Persian War
  • Series of battles from 490-479 B. C. led by Athens
  • Little Greece conquers mighty Persia under Darius, Xerxes
  • Battles such as Marathon, Thermopylae, Salamis are still studied
  • After war Delian League formed – controlled by Athens in extensive empire
    • Purpose was to prevent Persia from returning
classical era cont
Classical Era, cont.
  • Often called “Age of Pericles”
    • Supported extensive building in Athens
    • Supported drama productions
    • Athens colonized all over
classical era ended by peloponnesian war 431 404
Classical Era ended by Peloponnesian War-431-404
  • Other polis alarmed at Athens’ domination
  • Sparta formed coalition
  • Athens eventually defeated
  • War extremely bloody and long -- subject of Lysistrata
  • Following this: Sparta controlled surrounding peoples -- serfs
  • Eventually defeated in 371
the fourth century 399 300
The Fourth Century—399-300
  • Era of political confusion
    • Foreign wars/revolutions
  • Great era for culture, philosophy flourished – era of Plato and Socrates
    • Socrates Plato’s teacher
    • Plato Aristotle’s teacher
  • Socrates executed by Athens in 399
hellenistic age 336 30 b c
Hellenistic Age – 336-30 B. C.
  • Alexander, the Great (336-323) conquered most of known world, extended Greek civilization
    • Conquered as far as Persia, India
    • Great military leader and ruler
    • Was educated, student of Aristotle
    • Reorganized govt’s of conquered areas, “Hellenized” these areas
alexander the great
After Alexander’s death:

Empire divided among generals

Greece never independent again

Greece culture continued to spread

Rome conquers Greece in 30 B.C.

Alexander the Great
hellenistic culture
Hellenistic Culture
  • Greek art, drama, philosophy, literature, etc. continued to dominate
    • Roman religion similar to Greek
    • Greek culture influenced Christianity
  • More emotional, ornate than “Classical”
  • More humanistic
  • Some great contributions from this era