Guest Author - Rebecca Graf
Nothing in history stands alone. Every culture, decision, and movement affects those in the world around them. These effects can still be seen generations later though the source might have passed away in time. The legacy still remains. So does the influence of the Persian Empire.
The world had seen nothing like its kind when in the 7th century B.C. the Persian culture united. The beginnings of the largest empire up to that time was in the makings. It would spread from northern Africa, into Greece, and on into India. For several hundred years the Persians would control western civilization and leave their mark for eternity.
When talking about great ancient empires, the Roman and Greek Empires usually dominate the conversation. Yes, they were huge. They have created legacies that legends are written from, but before them the Persians had the greatest influence and in many ways influenced these other more well known great empires.
The Persians are known for their rugs. These beautiful pieces of art can be seen in many homes and public buildings the world over. Their music and their art can take your breath away. Though you might not own a valuable Persian rug, the impact of the Persian culture is a lot more common in your lives than you think.
Where did the postal system come from? If you are from America, you would probably answer Benjamin Franklin. That is only slightly correct. He is the father of the United States postal service, but he did not invent it. That honor goes to the Persians. He just took their plan and modified it for a new world. The Persians learned early on that communication was vital in expanding their empire and in keeping it. If expansion was in order, the military had to be in constant communication with the king. Maintenance of the empire was achieved by being able to get word to the capital if there was trouble brewing or some other urgent need. This system was later adopted by other empires as they rose and began to dominate the scene.
Along the same vein, there was a well maintained system of roads. Expanding an empire cannot be done efficiently if the military arm has to march and transport items over paths with jagged holes in them. The empire learned that well-kept roads gave them an advantage. They could get to their destination which was a city to be conquered or to a city to be protected faster than the other side could anticipate. This would prove to be very valuable.
Once the empire has expanded, what do you do with it? The great kings, Cyrus and Darius, knew that an efficient government was also needed. They very carefully planned out a system of government that was later emulated by other cultures. Divide the empire into smaller “mini-empires” so that the day to day control is not always under the king. Have the appointed rulers report in. This proved so successful that you find the same system of government in many of the countries today.
When the Roman’s created their empire, they were able to access even more of the world then any culture before them and they began to spread culture, religion, government, and art. They took the creative and ingenious creations of the Persian Empire and spread them throughout the western world. The renown Roman roads can be found in England, Africa, India, and all of Europe. The Persians gave them the idea. The infamous communication system of Rome launched Christianity. The Persians gave them the basis. The Romans created an empire that the great countries of today mirror in many aspects. The Persians paved the way for that.
The Persians were a mighty empire that conquered many lands and left a large impression on the world. Their contributions through art, mathematics, architecture, and government could fill a novel. The great empire might not have lasted until the 21st century, but the Persian people can proudly proclaim the legacy that their ancestors gave the world.