World Civ 1 Honors
World Civ 1 Honors HIST 1110
University of Memphis
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Bryce Balistreri MD
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Shanna Beyer on Thursday February 18, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HIST 1110 at University of Memphis taught by ramsey in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 15 views. For similar materials see World Civilization I Honors in History at University of Memphis.
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Date Created: 02/18/16
Chapter 5: Classical Persia Origin of the Persians • Before 1000 BCE, Medes and Persians branches of Indo- European migrants, coming from steppes of Central Asia into southwestern part of Iran, subsequently called “Persia.” • Like Aryan cousins, spoke Indo-European tongue, nomadic pastoralists, and organized into clan networks. Rise of the Persians • As nomadic peoples, Persians and Medes sophisticated horsemen and excellent archers. • In sixth century BCE, after loss of influence from Neo- Babylonian empire, Persians, allied with Medes, pushed into Mesopotamia. • In 558 BCE, Cyrus established as king over Persian and Median tribes; seized Babylon in 539 BCE. Achaemenid (558-330 BCE): First Persian Empire • Cyrus’s successor, Cambyses, took Egypt in 528 BCE • His successor, Darius I (“the Great”), most famed of Achaemenid rulers, captured India up to the Indus River, and in the west, up to Thrace, Macedonia, and western shores of the Black Sea. • Darius I most known for pioneering administrative techniques. Darius I’s Imperial Administration • Established capital at Persepolis with a bureaucracy including scribes, advisors, diplomats, ministers, translators, and accountants, among others. • Government balanced between central and local administration; satraps ruling local regions alongside native administrative staff. • Checks and balances against local rebellion: tax collectors, military recruited by ruler, and use of imperial spies (surprise audits). Imperial Unity under Darius I • Standardized laws and tax levies • Minted own coinage (after tradition of the kings of Lydia; captured by Persians in 546 BCE) • Construction of Royal Road to facilitate travel of military and merchants. • Construction of postal stations with reliable courier service. • Honored local customs and laws of peoples in the empire; imperial laws based on study of local traditions. • Tradition of religious tolerance. Decline of the First Empire: Fifth Century BCE • Darius I’s successor, Xerxes, abandoned policy of religious and cultural tolerance. • Local unrest in the realm. • About 500 BCE, embarking on disastrous campaigns against Ionian and Greek city-states, known as the Persian Wars (500-479 BCE). • Persian forces routed at Battle of Marathon (490 BCE). Conquest of the Achaemenid Empire • Beginning in 334 BCE, Achaemenids under attack from forces under command of Alexander of Macedon (“Alexander the Great”). • Greeks, under Macedonian leadership, had greater arms and better military tactics. • Alexander defeated Darius III (Codomannus) at the Battle of Gaugemela (331 BCE); after capturing Persepolis the same year, he burned it to ground, ending the dynasty’s rule. Second Persian Empire: Seleucid Dynasty (323-83 BCE) • Dynasty founded by Seleucus, a military commander in Alexander’s army. • Maintained the same tax and administrative system founded by Darius I, including the Royal Road and the courier service. • Began to promote Greek colonization throughout empire; founding of many other cities as centers for trade. Fall of the Seleucid Dynasty • Dynasty faced opposition from native Persians, particularly those of the ruling class who served as satraps. • By the third century BCE, semi-nomadic tribes of Parthians usurped control from Seleucid rulers. • By 155 BCE, Parthians had taken control of northern India, Iran, and Mesopotamia, pushing Seleucid eastern border further to the west (Syria-Palestine and Anatolia), where it fell to Romans in 83 BCE. Third Persian Empire: Parthian Dynasty (247 BCE-224 CE) • Retained customs of nomadic peoples of Central Asian steppes: no centralized government, but a council of leaders governing through a federation. • Increasingly turned to agriculture and discovered new method of strengthening horses (growth of alfalfa). • Portrayed themselves as enemies of Seleucids and as restorers of Persian rule. Parthian Empire • Followed the administrative traditions set down by the Achaemenids. • Governing locally with satraps. • Same methods of taxation and administration. • Built new imperial capital at Ctesiphon on banks of Tigris River in Mesopotamia. • Realm not as centralized as predecessors, so tendency of satraps to build local power bases, mounting periodic rebellions against imperial regime. Fall of Parthian Dynasty • By first century BCE, facing increasing pressure on western borders from Romans. • Though never conquered by Romans, the latter had captured Ctesiphon on three separate occasions during second century CE. • From combination of internal threats from regional satraps and external threats (from Romans), empire’s authority waned. • By early third century CE, internal rebellions ended dynasty. Fourth Persian Empire: Sasanid Dynasty (224-651 CE) • In 224 CE, group of Persians claiming descent from Achaemenids, called the Sasanids, overthrew Parthians. • Attempted to recreate the imperial splendor of the Achaemenids at Parthian capital of Ctesiphon. • Revamped many crumbled cities from earlier empires. Sasanid Empire • Developed extensive trade network. • Merchant class introduced new crops to empire (rice, sugarcane, eggplant, cotton, and citrus fruits). • Created buffer-states between empire and the Romans and Byzantines in the west and the Kushan empire in east. • Engaged in inconclusive, lengthy military campaigns against both bordering powers. End of Persian Empire with the Sasanids • The empire ended in 651 CE, when Arab warriors murdered the last Sasanid ruler. • Empire brought into new, rapidly expanding Islamic empire (Umayyad). • Persian administrative structures continued to be used as lasting governmental legacy in the region. Persian Society • From beginning, Persian society based on family and clan networks, as found among nomadic peoples of Central Asian steppes. • Clans headed by male warriors; shared similar military tradition to Aryans in Vedic society. Classical, Imperial Society • In the Classical Era, 500 BCE to 500 CE, construction of large bureaucracy and increased reliance on slave labor. • Slave class growing from captives taken in war to extend empires and from increased indebtedness as gap widening between rich and poor. • With founding of Persian empire, warrior elites relying on literate, non-noble professionals; bureaucrats uneasily sharing power with warriors and clan leaders. Imperial Society • Class of free individuals inhabiting cities as artisans, merchants, craftsmen, and lower-ranking civil servants. • Result of expanding trade networks, larger temple communities, and increasing administrative functions. • Women of free status beginning to work in craft industries, ex. weaving in temple workshops and receiving payment in food rations. • Rural free classes made up of landed peasants and landless cultivators, working as tenant farmers. Imperial Society • Landless laborers and slaves obligated to construct and maintain irrigation systems and to serve in military. • Non-free individuals were slaves working fields, but more often working at hard, menial labor (including construction of large public works) and as domestic servants, in household of elites and wealthy merchants, public officials, and for landed peasants. Imperial Economy • Like all previous societies, empire based on extensive agriculture, mainly cultivation of wheat and barley, now supplemented by other foodstuffs introduced from outlying regions of empire. • Exchange of goods enhanced by standardized coinage and weights and measures. Facilitated by uniformity of imperial decrees that harmonized with local customs and religion. Imperial Trade System • Each region of empire contributing to larger, specialized economy: • India: gold, ivory, aromatics • Iran/Central Asia: lapis lazuli, turquoise, other semi-precious stones • Mesopotamia/Iran: textiles, mirrors, jewelry • Anatolia: gold, silver, copper, iron, tin • Phoenicia: glass, cedar, dyed wool, timber • Arabia: spices and aromatics • Egypt: grain, papyrus, linen, gold, ebony, ivory • Greece: olive oil, wine, and pottery. Trade Extensive during Classical Era (500 BCE-500 CE) • Long-distance trade typical by time of Seleucid Dynasty (Alexandrian). • Greek migrants encouraged cultural and commercial exchange. • Mingling of religious customs, artistic styles, and intellectual traditions. • Gave rise to cosmopolitan spirit of the Hellenistic world (later bequeathed to the Romans). Zoroastrianism • Spirit of “cosmopolitanism” inaugurated by Achaemenid policies of religious tolerance and support for local customs. • By late seventh and early sixth centuries BCE, Persian religious traditions underwent radical change, similar to discontent in India with Aryan sacrifices. • The teachings of a wise, holy man named Zarathustra; introduced faith of Zoroastrianism. Zoroastrianism • Through series of visions, Zarathustra picked by Ahura Mazda, the supreme god, to spread the “good news” that the forces of evil and darkness would be defeated after a struggle for ten thousand years. • At the end of that time, souls would be resurrected to stand judgment for sins, for which they would merit everlasting life in heaven or hell. • First religion to introduce an “eschatology,” study of “final things.” The cult also had its own priesthood, called magi, who stressed good deeds, words, and thoughts and orally transmitted the teachings of Zarathustra. Zoroastrianism • Eventually Zarathustra’s teachings written down in a book of scriptures, called the Avesta, during the Zoroastrian revival of the Sasanids. • Faith largely remained within the confines of Persia, where elaborate temple communities observed the faith. • Did spread to parts of eastern Mediterranean (Greece) and to parts of modern-day Iran and India. Small enclaves of faithful still survive. • Had a larger influence on mystical Judaism (Essenes, Qumran community) and on Christianity.
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