Home Region:  Iran (Southwest Asia)

Achaemenid Empire

EQ 2020  ir_achaemenid_emp / IrAchae

The Achaemenid Empire was established by Cyrus II ’the Great’, who inherited the small kingdom of Persia (named after the capital city, Persis) in southwest Iran, a vassal territory of the larger Median Empire to the Northwest. From 553 to 550 BCE, Cyrus led his fellow Persians against Median hegemony (even though the Medes were ruled by his own relatives), establishing the Persians as the dominant group in Iran. His kingdom became known as the Achaemenid Empire after the legendary first King of Persia, Achaemenes, claimed to be an ancestor of the Great Cyrus himself (Achaemenid essentially translates to ’children of Achaemenes’). [1]
Capitalizing on these early victories, Cyrus II the Great continued his military domination, conquering the wealthy Lydian Kingdom in modern-day Turkey along with most of Asia Minor and the Neo-Babylonian Kingdom in Mesopotamia, as well as consolidating Persia’s hold over much of central Asia as far as modern Pakistan. His son and heir, Cambyses II, continued this tradition, expanding Achaemenid rule into the large and wealthy kingdom of Egypt. After Cambyses II’s death in 522 BCE, a noble Persian named Darius came to power after overthrowing an alleged usurper to the throne (Gautama, supposedly posing as Cyrus II’s son Bardiya, more commonly known by his Greek name Smerdis). [2] Darius I, who also took the title of ’the Great’, was a powerful ruler who inaugurated several military, administrative, and economic reforms, [3] though is most well known for leading the Persian army to defeat at the hands of a coalition of small Greek city-states during the famous Persian Wars of the early 5th century BCE. Despite the fact that Darius’ son and heir Xerxes I (the Great) also failed to conquer the Greek Aegean and lost a decisive battle to the same outnumbered coalition of Greeks, the Achaemenid Empire remained intact. [4]
In 330 BCE, Darius III became the twelfth and final emperor in the Achaemenid line when he succumbed to the conquests of Alexander the Great and his invading Macedonian army (twelfth not including the alleged usurper Bardiya/Smerdis nor the short-lived Artaxerxes V, who declared himself emperor for a brief moment after Darius III was killed as Alexander was completing his conquest). [5] Alexander became the ruler of all the territory formerly held by the Persians, incorporating it into the massive, though short-lived, Macedonian Empire and bringing an end to the great Persian Achaemenid Empire.
Population and political organization
The Achaemenid Empire was one of the largest empires in the pre-modern world, stretching nearly 6 million square kilometres across the Near East, Central Asia, the Indus Valley, Middle East, and into Egypt at its greatest extent. [6] It was a massive, multi-ethnic society made up of Medes, Persians, Lydians, Greeks, Egyptians, Babylonians, Bactrians, Sogdians, and numerous other cultural-ethnic groups; indeed, Old Persian, Elamite, Babylonian, Aramaic, hieroglyphic Egyptian, and Greek were all used in royal and provincial communication. [7] Between the Great rulers Cyrus II, Cambyses II, and Darius I, the Persians had stitched together an empire out of the centres of the oldest civilizations from Anatolia to Egypt, Mesopotamia and the Indus valley. Persepolis and the grand Pasargadae were large ceremonial and ritual centres in the heartland of Persia, while Susa in western Iran was the major administrative capital. At its peak under Darius I, the empire covered a huge swathe of diverse territory from the eastern Mediterranean all the way to the Indus Valley, incorporating navigable seas and rivers, protected ports and fertile agricultural land as well as rough mountainous passes. This territory held a population of between 17 and 35 million people. [8]

[1]: (Briant [1996] 2002) Pierre Briant. [1996] 2002. From Cyrus to Alexander: A History of the Persian Empire, translated by Peter T. Daniels. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns.

[2]: (Shayegan 2006) M. Rahim Shayegan. 2006. ’Bardiya and Gaumata: An Achaemenid Enigma Reconsidered’. Bulletin of the Asia Institute (n.s.) 20: 65-76.

[3]: (Cook 1983) J. M. Cook. 1983. The Persian Empire. London: J. M. Dent and Sons.

[4]: (de Souza 2003) Philip de Souza. 2003. The Greek and Persian Wars, 499-386 BC. Oxford: Osprey Publishing.

[5]: (Kuhrt 2001, 94) Amelie Kuhrt. 2001. ’The Achaemenid Persian Empire (c. 550 - c. 330 BCE): Continuities, Adaptations, Transformations’, in Empires: Perspectives from Archaeology and History, edited by Susan Alcock, Terence D’Altroy, Kathleen D. Morrison and Carla M. Sinopoli, 93-123. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[6]: (Broodbank 2015, 583) Cyprian Broodbank. 2015. The Making of the Middle Sea. London: Thames & Hudson.

[7]: (Shahbazi 2012, 135) A. Shapour Shahbazi. 2012. ’The Achaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE)’, in The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History, edited by Touraj Daryaee, 120-41. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[8]: (Wiesehöfer 2009) Josef Wiesehöfer. 2009. ’The Achaemenid Empire’, in The Dynamics of Ancient Empires: State Power from Assyria to Byzantium, edited by Ian Morris and Walter Scheidel, 66-98. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

General Variables
Identity and Location
Utm Zone:
39 S  
Original Name:
Achaemenid Empire  
Capital:
Pasargadae  
Susa  
Alternative Name:
Persia  
Persian Empire  
Temporal Bounds
Peak Years:
500 BCE  
Duration:
[550 BCE ➜ 331 BCE]  
Political and Cultural Relations
Suprapolity Relations:
none  
Supracultural Entity:
Persian  
Succeeding Entity:
Macedonian Empire  
Scale of Supracultural Interaction:
[2,500,000 to 3,000,000] km2  
Relationship to Preceding Entity:
continuity  
Preceding Entity:
Median Empire  
Degree of Centralization:
unitary state  
confederated state  
Language
Linguistic Family:
Indo-European  
Afro-Asiatic  
language isolate  
Language:
Old Persian  
Aramaic  
Elamite  
Greek  
Egyptian  
Religion
Religion Genus:
Zoroastrianism  
Alternate Religion:
NO_VALUE_ON_WIKI  
Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Population of the Largest Settlement:
200,000 people  
Polity Territory:
[2,500,000 to 4,100,000] km2 539 BCE 501 BCE
[4,800,000 to 5,500,000] km2 500 BCE 451 BCE
[3,800,000 to 4,325,000] km2 450 BCE 331 BCE
Polity Population:
[20,000,000 to 26,000,000] people 500 BCE
[17,000,000 to 35,000,000] people 400 BCE
Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
[5 to 6]  
Religious Level:
[3 to 5]  
Military Level:
7  
Administrative Level:
[6 to 8]  
Professions
Professional Soldier:
present  
Professional Priesthood:
inferred present  
Professional Military Officer:
present  
Bureaucracy Characteristics
Specialized Government Building:
present  
Merit Promotion:
present  
Full Time Bureaucrat:
present  
Examination System:
present  
Law
Professional Lawyer:
present  
Judge:
present  
Formal Legal Code:
present  
Court:
present  
Specialized Buildings: polity owned
Market:
inferred present  
Irrigation System:
present  
Food Storage Site:
present  
Drinking Water Supply System:
present  
Transport Infrastructure
Road:
present  
Port:
inferred present  
Canal:
present  
Bridge:
present  
Special-purpose Sites
Mines or Quarry:
inferred present  
Information / Writing System
Written Record:
present  
Script:
present  
Phonetic Alphabetic Writing:
present  
Nonwritten Record:
inferred present  
Non Phonetic Writing:
absent  
Mnemonic Device:
inferred present  
Information / Kinds of Written Documents
Scientific Literature:
inferred present  
Sacred Text:
inferred present  
Religious Literature:
inferred present  
Practical Literature:
inferred present  
Philosophy:
inferred present  
Lists Tables and Classification:
present  
History:
present  
Fiction:
present  
Calendar:
present  
Information / Money
Token:
unknown  
Precious Metal:
present  
Paper Currency:
absent  
Indigenous Coin:
absent 550 BCE 516 BCE
present 515 BCE 331 BCE
Foreign Coin:
inferred present  
Article:
present  
Information / Postal System
Postal Station:
present  
General Postal Service:
unknown  
Courier:
present  
Information / Measurement System
Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)
Fortifications
  Wooden Palisade:
inferred present  
  Stone Walls Non Mortared:
unknown  
  Stone Walls Mortared:
inferred present  
  Settlements in a Defensive Position:
inferred present  
  Modern Fortification:
absent  
  Moat:
present  
  Fortified Camp:
inferred present  
  Earth Rampart:
present  
  Ditch:
inferred present  
  Complex Fortification:
present  
  Long Wall:
60 km  
Military use of Metals
  Steel:
present  
absent  
  Iron:
present  
  Copper:
present  
  Bronze:
present  
Projectiles
  Tension Siege Engine:
present  
  Sling Siege Engine:
absent  
  Sling:
present  
  Self Bow:
present  
  Javelin:
present  
  Handheld Firearm:
absent  
  Gunpowder Siege Artillery:
absent  
  Crossbow:
absent  
  Composite Bow:
inferred present  
  Atlatl:
absent  
Handheld weapons
  War Club:
unknown  
  Sword:
present  
  Spear:
present  
  Polearm:
inferred absent  
  Dagger:
present  
  Battle Axe:
present  
Animals used in warfare
  Horse:
present  
  Elephant:
present  
  Donkey:
present  
  Dog:
unknown  
  Camel:
present  
Armor
  Wood Bark Etc:
present  
  Shield:
present  
  Scaled Armor:
present  
  Plate Armor:
inferred present  
  Limb Protection:
present  
  Leather Cloth:
present  
  Laminar Armor:
inferred absent  
  Helmet:
present  
  Chainmail:
absent  
  Breastplate:
present  
Naval technology
  Specialized Military Vessel:
present  
  Small Vessels Canoes Etc:
inferred present  
  Merchant Ships Pressed Into Service:
inferred present  
Religion Tolerance Nothing coded yet.
Human Sacrifice Nothing coded yet.
Crisis Consequences Nothing coded yet.
Power Transitions Nothing coded yet.

NGA Settlements:

Year Range Achaemenid Empire (ir_achaemenid_emp) was in:
 (550 BCE 546 BCE)   Kachi Plain
 (546 BCE 539 BCE)   Konya Plain     Kachi Plain
 (539 BCE 538 BCE)   Susiana     Konya Plain     Kachi Plain
 (538 BCE 525 BCE)   Southern Mesopotamia     Susiana     Galilee     Konya Plain     Kachi Plain
 (525 BCE 520 BCE)   Upper Egypt     Southern Mesopotamia     Susiana     Galilee     Konya Plain     Kachi Plain
 (520 BCE 405 BCE)   Upper Egypt     Southern Mesopotamia     Susiana     Galilee     Konya Plain     Sogdiana     Kachi Plain
 (405 BCE 334 BCE)   Southern Mesopotamia     Susiana     Galilee     Konya Plain     Sogdiana     Kachi Plain
 (334 BCE 331 BCE)   Southern Mesopotamia     Susiana     Galilee     Sogdiana     Kachi Plain
 (331 BCE 330 BCE)   Sogdiana     Kachi Plain
 (330 BCE 329 BCE)   Kachi Plain
Home NGA: Susiana

General Variables
Identity and Location


Capital:
Pasargadae

[Pasargadae: 550-521 BCE; Susa: 521-330 BCE]
Susa was the administrative capital. Persepolis was the ceremonial and religious center. Ecbatanna were commercial, strategic and provincial centers. [1]
Susa was the administrative capital, probably from Darius I. [2]
Pasargade was the capital under Cyrus the Great. Thereafter it was used as a ceremonial centre for the coronation of the Achaemenid king. [3] 135 km to northeast of Shiraz. [4]
Persepolis never played an important role in the governments of the empire. It was a ritual centre. [3] [5]
Ecbatana and Babylon were strategic and commercial cities. [5]
The actual residence of the king varied between the seasons. Ecbatana was a summer resort, Persepolis was typical for the autumn season, and either at Susa or Babylon over the winter. [6]
Cyrus II moved the capital to Susa after he unified Elam in 559 BCE. [7]
Susa was the main capital. [3]

[1]: (Farazmand 2001, 57) Farazmand, Ali in Farazmand, Ali ed. 2001. Handbook of Comparative and Development Public Administration. CRC Press.

[2]: (Schmitt 1983[2])

[3]: (Nylander 1971, 50-54)

[4]: (Shahbazi 2012, 125) Shahbazi, A Shapour. The Archaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.

[5]: (Farazmand 2002)

[6]: (Schmitt 1983[3])

[7]: (Scaruffi 1999, [4])

[Pasargadae: 550-521 BCE; Susa: 521-330 BCE]
Susa was the administrative capital. Persepolis was the ceremonial and religious center. Ecbatanna were commercial, strategic and provincial centers. [1]
Susa was the administrative capital, probably from Darius I. [2]
Pasargade was the capital under Cyrus the Great. Thereafter it was used as a ceremonial centre for the coronation of the Achaemenid king. [3] 135 km to northeast of Shiraz. [4]
Persepolis never played an important role in the governments of the empire. It was a ritual centre. [3] [5]
Ecbatana and Babylon were strategic and commercial cities. [5]
The actual residence of the king varied between the seasons. Ecbatana was a summer resort, Persepolis was typical for the autumn season, and either at Susa or Babylon over the winter. [6]
Cyrus II moved the capital to Susa after he unified Elam in 559 BCE. [7]
Susa was the main capital. [3]

[1]: (Farazmand 2001, 57) Farazmand, Ali in Farazmand, Ali ed. 2001. Handbook of Comparative and Development Public Administration. CRC Press.

[2]: (Schmitt 1983[2])

[3]: (Nylander 1971, 50-54)

[4]: (Shahbazi 2012, 125) Shahbazi, A Shapour. The Archaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.

[5]: (Farazmand 2002)

[6]: (Schmitt 1983[3])

[7]: (Scaruffi 1999, [4])


Alternative Name:
Persia

"Iran (from Airyanam, genitive plural adjective of Airya-), ’the land of the Aryans’ ... western Iran became Media and souther Iran Parsa/Persia." [1] "The Archaemenids did not - could not - provide a name for their multinational state. Nevertheless, they referred to it as Khshassa, ’the Empire.’" [2]

[1]: (Shahbazi 2012, 122) Shahbazi, A Shapour. The Archaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.

[2]: (Shahbazi 2012, 131) Shahbazi, A Shapour. The Archaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.

Alternative Name:
Persian Empire

"Iran (from Airyanam, genitive plural adjective of Airya-), ’the land of the Aryans’ ... western Iran became Media and souther Iran Parsa/Persia." [1] "The Archaemenids did not - could not - provide a name for their multinational state. Nevertheless, they referred to it as Khshassa, ’the Empire.’" [2]

[1]: (Shahbazi 2012, 122) Shahbazi, A Shapour. The Archaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.

[2]: (Shahbazi 2012, 131) Shahbazi, A Shapour. The Archaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.


Temporal Bounds
Peak Years:
500 BCE

[1]

[1]: (Encyclopaedia Britannica 2011, [1])


Duration:
[550 BCE ➜ 331 BCE]

[1]
Cyrus II was "heir to both the Median and Persian thrones. In 550 BCE, Cyrus rose up against his despotic grandfather and overthrew him. From a contemporary document known as the Nabunaid Chronicle and the testimony of Herodotus we learn that, dissatisfied with Astyages, the Media aristocracy, led by a military commander named Harpagus, joined Cyrus and accepted him as the legitimate heir to the throne. This established the Achaemenid - of the first Persian - Empire, in which the Medes shared the status of ruling people with the Persians, so much so indeed that the Greeks frequently called the Persians ’Medes’ and coined the term ’Medizing’ to denote ’pro-Persian policy’ or ’Persian partisan’." [2]

[1]: (Nylander 1971, 50-54)

[2]: (Shahbazi 2012, 122-123) Shahbazi, A Shapour. The Archaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.


Political and Cultural Relations



Scale of Supracultural Interaction:
[2,500,000 to 3,000,000] km2

km squared. Area that includes parts of modern day Turkey, Levant, Iraq, Iran, Caucasus, Transoxania and Afghanistan.


Relationship to Preceding Entity:
continuity

Between 553 and 550 BCE, Cyrus the Great rebelled against Median control and re-established the independence of Persia. He took control of the area of Elam and Susa and eventually the whole of the Median empire. [1]

[1]: Liverani, M. 2014. The Ancient Near East: History, Society and Economy. London: Routledge. p.561



Degree of Centralization:
unitary state

Loose federation with irregular taxation under Cyrus and Cambyses with automomous satrapies. Relied on non-Persian officials and existing institutions. [1]
After Darius put down rebellions he created the ’world empire’ [1] but under this system regions were still autonomous, the improvement was fixed system of tax collection based on surveys [2] and an inspection regime.
Centralization occurred at the satrap level such as with codification of laws, and coinage. Before Darius trade was in barter or Lydian gold coins. Satraps could coin money but only King of Kings could coin in gold. [3] Darius I developed a national script (Old Persian cuneiform) [4] but seems to have been ceremonial and used by Persians, in satraps local languages used.
"Prior to the Parthians, political systems in Southwest Asia were for the most part relatively loose confederations in which central government ruled their ’empires’ through unstable alliances with vassals and satraps. Even Hammurabi, Darius, and Alexander were only temporarily successful in linking their centralized governments to local administrative institutions, particularly outside of the core areas of Greater Mesopotamia." [5]

[1]: (Shahbazi 2012, 131) Shahbazi, A Shapour. The Archaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.

[2]: (Shahbazi 2012, 132-133) Shahbazi, A Shapour. The Archaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.

[3]: (Shahbazi 2012, 133) Shahbazi, A Shapour. The Archaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.

[4]: (Shahbazi 2012, 126) Shahbazi, A Shapour. The Archaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.

[5]: (Wenke, Robert J. 1981. Elymeans, Parthians, and the Evolution of Empires in Southwestern Iran. Journal of the American Oriental Society. Vol. 101. No. 3. Jul-Sep. American Oriental Society. pp. 303-315. http://www.jstor.org/stable/602592

Degree of Centralization:
confederated state

Loose federation with irregular taxation under Cyrus and Cambyses with automomous satrapies. Relied on non-Persian officials and existing institutions. [1]
After Darius put down rebellions he created the ’world empire’ [1] but under this system regions were still autonomous, the improvement was fixed system of tax collection based on surveys [2] and an inspection regime.
Centralization occurred at the satrap level such as with codification of laws, and coinage. Before Darius trade was in barter or Lydian gold coins. Satraps could coin money but only King of Kings could coin in gold. [3] Darius I developed a national script (Old Persian cuneiform) [4] but seems to have been ceremonial and used by Persians, in satraps local languages used.
"Prior to the Parthians, political systems in Southwest Asia were for the most part relatively loose confederations in which central government ruled their ’empires’ through unstable alliances with vassals and satraps. Even Hammurabi, Darius, and Alexander were only temporarily successful in linking their centralized governments to local administrative institutions, particularly outside of the core areas of Greater Mesopotamia." [5]

[1]: (Shahbazi 2012, 131) Shahbazi, A Shapour. The Archaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.

[2]: (Shahbazi 2012, 132-133) Shahbazi, A Shapour. The Archaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.

[3]: (Shahbazi 2012, 133) Shahbazi, A Shapour. The Archaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.

[4]: (Shahbazi 2012, 126) Shahbazi, A Shapour. The Archaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.

[5]: (Wenke, Robert J. 1981. Elymeans, Parthians, and the Evolution of Empires in Southwestern Iran. Journal of the American Oriental Society. Vol. 101. No. 3. Jul-Sep. American Oriental Society. pp. 303-315. http://www.jstor.org/stable/602592


Language

Language:
Old Persian

’The Persians of the Achaemenid period spoke an early form of Persian - "Old Persian" - a member of the Indo-European language family’. [1] Aramaic used for imperial documents and diplomatic correspondence. [2] Elamite, Babylonian, Aramaic, hieroglyphic Egyotian, Greek all used in royal and provincial chancelleries. Old Persian cuneiform script, from Darius, also used as official language and this was used for ceremonial inscriptions. [3]

[1]: (Kuhrt 2001, 98) Amelie Kuhrt. 2001. ’The Achaemenid Persian Empire (c. 550-c.330 BCE): Continuities, Adaptations, Transformations’, in Empires: Perspectives from Archaeology and History, edited by Susan Alcock, Terence D’Altroy, Kathleen D. Morrison and Carla M. Sinopoli, 93-123. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[2]: (Encyclopaedia Britannica 2011, [5])

[3]: (Shahbazi 2012, 135) Shahbazi, A Shapour. The Archaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.

Language:
Aramaic

’The Persians of the Achaemenid period spoke an early form of Persian - "Old Persian" - a member of the Indo-European language family’. [1] Aramaic used for imperial documents and diplomatic correspondence. [2] Elamite, Babylonian, Aramaic, hieroglyphic Egyotian, Greek all used in royal and provincial chancelleries. Old Persian cuneiform script, from Darius, also used as official language and this was used for ceremonial inscriptions. [3]

[1]: (Kuhrt 2001, 98) Amelie Kuhrt. 2001. ’The Achaemenid Persian Empire (c. 550-c.330 BCE): Continuities, Adaptations, Transformations’, in Empires: Perspectives from Archaeology and History, edited by Susan Alcock, Terence D’Altroy, Kathleen D. Morrison and Carla M. Sinopoli, 93-123. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[2]: (Encyclopaedia Britannica 2011, [5])

[3]: (Shahbazi 2012, 135) Shahbazi, A Shapour. The Archaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.

Language:
Elamite

’The Persians of the Achaemenid period spoke an early form of Persian - "Old Persian" - a member of the Indo-European language family’. [1] Aramaic used for imperial documents and diplomatic correspondence. [2] Elamite, Babylonian, Aramaic, hieroglyphic Egyotian, Greek all used in royal and provincial chancelleries. Old Persian cuneiform script, from Darius, also used as official language and this was used for ceremonial inscriptions. [3]

[1]: (Kuhrt 2001, 98) Amelie Kuhrt. 2001. ’The Achaemenid Persian Empire (c. 550-c.330 BCE): Continuities, Adaptations, Transformations’, in Empires: Perspectives from Archaeology and History, edited by Susan Alcock, Terence D’Altroy, Kathleen D. Morrison and Carla M. Sinopoli, 93-123. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[2]: (Encyclopaedia Britannica 2011, [5])

[3]: (Shahbazi 2012, 135) Shahbazi, A Shapour. The Archaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.

Language:
Greek

’The Persians of the Achaemenid period spoke an early form of Persian - "Old Persian" - a member of the Indo-European language family’. [1] Aramaic used for imperial documents and diplomatic correspondence. [2] Elamite, Babylonian, Aramaic, hieroglyphic Egyotian, Greek all used in royal and provincial chancelleries. Old Persian cuneiform script, from Darius, also used as official language and this was used for ceremonial inscriptions. [3]

[1]: (Kuhrt 2001, 98) Amelie Kuhrt. 2001. ’The Achaemenid Persian Empire (c. 550-c.330 BCE): Continuities, Adaptations, Transformations’, in Empires: Perspectives from Archaeology and History, edited by Susan Alcock, Terence D’Altroy, Kathleen D. Morrison and Carla M. Sinopoli, 93-123. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[2]: (Encyclopaedia Britannica 2011, [5])

[3]: (Shahbazi 2012, 135) Shahbazi, A Shapour. The Archaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.

Language:
Egyptian

’The Persians of the Achaemenid period spoke an early form of Persian - "Old Persian" - a member of the Indo-European language family’. [1] Aramaic used for imperial documents and diplomatic correspondence. [2] Elamite, Babylonian, Aramaic, hieroglyphic Egyotian, Greek all used in royal and provincial chancelleries. Old Persian cuneiform script, from Darius, also used as official language and this was used for ceremonial inscriptions. [3]

[1]: (Kuhrt 2001, 98) Amelie Kuhrt. 2001. ’The Achaemenid Persian Empire (c. 550-c.330 BCE): Continuities, Adaptations, Transformations’, in Empires: Perspectives from Archaeology and History, edited by Susan Alcock, Terence D’Altroy, Kathleen D. Morrison and Carla M. Sinopoli, 93-123. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[2]: (Encyclopaedia Britannica 2011, [5])

[3]: (Shahbazi 2012, 135) Shahbazi, A Shapour. The Archaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.


Religion



Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Population of the Largest Settlement:
200,000 people

Inhabitants. Babylon.
Persepolis 50,000 430 BCE [1]
Susa 70,000 430 BCE [1]
Babylon 200,000 430 BCE [1]

[1]: (Chase-Dunn Spreadsheet)


Polity Territory:
[2,500,000 to 4,100,000] km2
539 BCE 501 BCE

Square kilometers. 2,500,000: 550 BCE; 4,100,000: 525 BCE; 5,500,000: 500 BCE; 4,800,000: 450 BCE; 3,800,000: 400 BCE; 4,325,000: 350 BCE [1]
Egypt independent from empire between 403 - 343 BCE. [2]
At peak 6.2m km2. [3]

[1]: (Chase-Dunn Spreadsheet)

[2]: (Wiesehofer 2009, 91)

[3]: (Broodbank 2015, 583) Broodbank, Cyprian. 2015. The Making of the Middle Sea. Thames & Hudson. London.

Polity Territory:
[4,800,000 to 5,500,000] km2
500 BCE 451 BCE

Square kilometers. 2,500,000: 550 BCE; 4,100,000: 525 BCE; 5,500,000: 500 BCE; 4,800,000: 450 BCE; 3,800,000: 400 BCE; 4,325,000: 350 BCE [1]
Egypt independent from empire between 403 - 343 BCE. [2]
At peak 6.2m km2. [3]

[1]: (Chase-Dunn Spreadsheet)

[2]: (Wiesehofer 2009, 91)

[3]: (Broodbank 2015, 583) Broodbank, Cyprian. 2015. The Making of the Middle Sea. Thames & Hudson. London.

Polity Territory:
[3,800,000 to 4,325,000] km2
450 BCE 331 BCE

Square kilometers. 2,500,000: 550 BCE; 4,100,000: 525 BCE; 5,500,000: 500 BCE; 4,800,000: 450 BCE; 3,800,000: 400 BCE; 4,325,000: 350 BCE [1]
Egypt independent from empire between 403 - 343 BCE. [2]
At peak 6.2m km2. [3]

[1]: (Chase-Dunn Spreadsheet)

[2]: (Wiesehofer 2009, 91)

[3]: (Broodbank 2015, 583) Broodbank, Cyprian. 2015. The Making of the Middle Sea. Thames & Hudson. London.


Polity Population:
[20,000,000 to 26,000,000] people
500 BCE

20-26 million at peak 6.2m km2. [1]
15.5 million. 4 million "in Persia proper." [2]
Table of modern estimates of the population of the Achaemenid Empire from Wiesehofer (2009).
Low EstimatesEgypt 3.5mNear East (without Arabia) 12.0mCentral Asia and India 1.5mTotal 17.0m
High EstimatesTotal 30-35m [3]

[1]: (Broodbank 2015, 583) Broodbank, Cyprian. 2015. The Making of the Middle Sea. Thames & Hudson. London.

[2]: (Stearns 2001, 40)

[3]: (Wiesehofer 2009, 77)

Polity Population:
[17,000,000 to 35,000,000] people
400 BCE

20-26 million at peak 6.2m km2. [1]
15.5 million. 4 million "in Persia proper." [2]
Table of modern estimates of the population of the Achaemenid Empire from Wiesehofer (2009).
Low EstimatesEgypt 3.5mNear East (without Arabia) 12.0mCentral Asia and India 1.5mTotal 17.0m
High EstimatesTotal 30-35m [3]

[1]: (Broodbank 2015, 583) Broodbank, Cyprian. 2015. The Making of the Middle Sea. Thames & Hudson. London.

[2]: (Stearns 2001, 40)

[3]: (Wiesehofer 2009, 77)


Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
[5 to 6]

Susa was the administrative capital. Persepolis was the ceremonial and religious center. Ecbatanna were commercial, strategic and provincial centers. [1]
1. Capital City.
2. Satrap capital.3. Provincial capital.4. Town.5. Village6. Hamlet

[1]: (Farazmand 2001, 57) Farazmand, Ali in Farazmand, Ali ed. 2001. Handbook of Comparative and Development Public Administration. CRC Press.


Religious Level:
[3 to 5]

1. Achaemenid king
"However, unlike previous Near Eastern dynasties, they did not claim divine descent or nature." [1]
Achaemenid kings claimed a divine right to rule as the representative of the supreme god Ahura Mazdā on earth - a cultural link to the Mesopotamian peoples. [2]
When the empire expanded the Achaemenid kings assumed the pre-eminent position at the top of the religious hierarchy in conquered lands. In Egypt he became "son of the god Atum." [3]
2. Mobats (upper magi) does this term encompass multiple levels?3. Herbats (lower magi) does this term encompass multiple levels?
"Alexander is cited by Zoroastrian tradition as having "killed the magi ... many teachers, lawyers, Herbats [the lower magi], Mobats [the upper magi]. Much of the literature of Persia, notably works of learning and Zoroastrian texts, simply perished during the Alexandrian conquests." [4]
"Darius supproted alien faiths and temples ’as long as those who held them are submissive and peaceable." [5]
Persepolis was a palatial city and the ritual centre of the empire. [6] However, priests of the temples performed the coronation ritual in Parsargadae, in which the new king had to wear the old clothes of Cyrus the Great. [7]
Numerous religions. State contributed to building of temples. [8] Cyrus II left native religious and political institutions intact. [9]

[1]: (Shahbazi 2012, 132) Shahbazi, A Shapour. The Archaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.

[2]: (Schmitt 1983[10])

[3]: (Schmitt 1983[11])

[4]: (Farrokh 2007, 108) Farrokh, Kaveh. 2007. Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War. Osprey Publishing.

[5]: (Shahbazi 2012, 136) Shahbazi, A Shapour. The Archaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.

[6]: (Nylander 1971, 50-54)

[7]: (Schmitt 1983[12])

[8]: (Farazmand 2002)

[9]: (Stearns 2001, 28)


Military Level:
7

Decimal system. [1]
1. King
2. General3. myriad (10 hazaraba)4. hazaraba (1000 men)5. sataba (100 men)6. dathaba (10 men)7. Individual soldier
Supreme Commander of the spāda. Baivarapati of the Corps. Hazārapati of the division. θatapati of the battalion. Daθapati of the company. [2]
Top position in the army was the commander of the royal guards, the hazārapati or chiliarch. Reputed to be second in power only to the king, this position may have functioned as a prime minister but little evidence supports this idea. [3]
In Egypt "Garrison commanders were usually Persian, but the garrison commander of the Hermopolite nome during the fifteenth year of Darius’ reign was Egyptian." [4]

[1]: (Carey, Allfree and Cairns 2006, 34)

[2]: [13]

[3]: (Schmitt 1983[14])

[4]: (Fischer-Bovet 2014, 17)


Administrative Level:
[6 to 8]


1. King of Kings
Hereditary kings who ruled from a royal court within a feudal Iranian milieu. Darius I was a slight exception as he was an Achaemenid who was elected by members of the Persian elite. [1]
Dual kingship (father and son) possibly existed from Darius I to Artaxerxes II.
King of kings. "However, unlike previous Near Eastern dynasties, they did not claim divine descent or nature." [2]
King ruled law by decree but ’bound by tradition to respect the views of elders and consult great nobles on important occasions; he had to marry from the great noble’s families; he could not pass arbitrary judgement; and there was alway sthe fear of assassination if he went too far in autocracy." [2]
_Central government line_
Designed according to a Babylonian template. [3] Presumably via Elamties? Persians ’learned a good deal of Elamite culture, especially in administration and arts." [4]
2. Head of administration [5] Steward of the House"during Darius I’s reign, Parnaka, the king’s uncle, headed the administration, supported by a core of assistants ... and a battalion of lower administrators and scribes [5]
Steward of the House was viceroy of the empire. [6]
The very centre of the bureaucracy was the royal palace and an efficient chancellery. [7]
3. Core of Assistants [5] 4. Scribes
4. Lower administrators [5] 5. Scribes
_Provincial government_
2. Satrap (or king)"As long as the subject nations obeyed the central authority and paid their taxes, they were free to follow their own laws and religious traditions, continue their artistic norms, retain their own languages, write in their own script, and maintain their own social system. In some cases, even local dynasties were left undisturbed and native kings retained their hereditary rights to kingship. Hence, the Persian king was called ’the Great King’ or ’the King of Kings’." [8]
Twenty taxation districts called satrapies that had a civilian governor, assisted by military commander and treasurer. These individuals were "inspected by the most trusted envoys of the sovereign (called the ’King’s ears and eyes’), who had full authority to reward meritorius deeds and punish unlawful ones." [2]
Governor of a satrapy. Had an indefinite period of term. All the satrapies - except the Persians who were governed by the king directly - were responsible to the king’s command and had to pay him tribute.
Before Darius the empire had been split into satrapies by Cyrus II but government was mostly at a local level according to local traditions. Darius, who expanded the empire to its peak territorial extent, implemented a more centralized organization.
525-404 BCE "Egypt became a Persian satrapy, along with Libya, Cyrene and Barca (Herodotus 3.91), and was governed by a satrap in Memphis, who had to ensure the payment of tribute to the royal treasury. [9]
Satraps appointed by king. The ’Medizing’ Greek Themistocles left Greece after Greek-Persian war c479 BCE to become a Persian satrap. [10]
3. Satrap’s court
3. Provincial sub-satrapsSatrapies were themselves divided into provinces which paid a tribute tax to the satraps. [11] [12]
4. Local districts.
5. Village headmen.
"Prior to the Parthians, political systems in Southwest Asia were for the most part relatively loose confederations in which central government ruled their ’empires’ through unstable alliances with vassals and satraps. Even Hammurabi, Darius, and Alexander were only temporarily successful in linking their centralized governments to local administrative institutions, particularly outside of the core areas of Greater Mesopotamia." [13]

[1]: (Schmitt 1983[6])

[2]: (Shahbazi 2012, 132) Shahbazi, A Shapour. The Archaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.

[3]: (Schmitt 1983[7])

[4]: (Shahbazi 2012, 122) Shahbazi, A Shapour. The Archaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.

[5]: (Brosius 2006, 51) Brosius, Maria. 2006. The Persians. Routledge.

[6]: (Shahbazi 2012, 125) Shahbazi, A Shapour. The Archaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.

[7]: (Schmitt 1983[8])

[8]: (Shahbazi 2012, 131) Shahbazi, A Shapour. The Archaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.

[9]: (Fischer-Bovet 2014, 16-17)

[10]: (Shahbazi 2012, 129) Shahbazi, A Shapour. The Archaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.

[11]: (Schmitt 1983[9])

[12]: (Boardman et al. 2011 159)

[13]: (Wenke, Robert J. 1981. Elymeans, Parthians, and the Evolution of Empires in Southwestern Iran. Journal of the American Oriental Society. Vol. 101. No. 3. Jul-Sep. American Oriental Society. pp. 303-315. http://www.jstor.org/stable/602592


Professions
Professional Soldier:
present

[1] Persian army used mercenaries. For example, used Egyptian soldiers during Persian Wars, as mentioned by Herodotus. [2]

[1]: (Schmitt 1983[17])

[2]: (Fischer-Bovet 2014, 17)


Professional Priesthood:
present

"Alexander is cited by Zoroastrian tradition as having "killed the magi ... many teachers, lawyers, Herbats [the lower magi], Mobats [the upper magi]. Much of the literature of Persia, notably works of learning and Zoroastrian texts, simply perished during the Alexandrian conquests." [1]

[1]: (Farrokh 2007, 108) Farrokh, Kaveh. 2007. Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War. Osprey Publishing.


Professional Military Officer:
present

[1] [2]
According to one military historian (data needs to be checked by an expert for this polity) "The Assyrian army as well as the Persians always retained a large corps of loyal professionals as the centerpiece of their military establishments and ensured that loyal professionals remained in control of key logistics and supply functions of the various national units under imperial command." [3]

[1]: (Schmitt 1983[15])

[2]: (Encyclopaedia Britannica 2011, [16])

[3]: (Richard, Gabriel, Metz 1991, 20)


Bureaucracy Characteristics
Specialized Government Building:
present

E.g. government mints. [1]

[1]: (Schmitt 1983[19])


Merit Promotion:
present

Present. [1] However, ethnic Persians held the most important civil and military positions [2] so this likely was merit promotion among Persians, or perhaps merit promotion among Persians and among other ethnicity but with a bias toward Persians for the most important positions..

[1]: (Farazmand 2002)

[2]: (Schmitt 1983[18])


Full Time Bureaucrat:
present

At its peak the permanent bureaucracy employed 3 million, and many millions on contract. [1] Including contractual functionaries, mercenaries and services that were obliged of conquered people estimate for workers in the bureaucracy would be 6-8 million. [1]

[1]: (Farazmand 2001, 55) Farazmand, Ali in Farazmand, Ali ed. 2001. Handbook of Comparative and Development Public Administration. CRC Press.


Examination System:
present

Examination system. [1]

[1]: (Farazmand 2001, 56) Farazmand, Ali in Farazmand, Ali ed. 2001. Handbook of Comparative and Development Public Administration. CRC Press.


Law
Professional Lawyer:
present

"Alexander is cited by Zoroastrian tradition as having "killed the magi ... many teachers, lawyers, Herbats [the lower magi], Mobats [the upper magi]. Much of the literature of Persia, notably works of learning and Zoroastrian texts, simply perished during the Alexandrian conquests." [1] This quote seems to imply that Greek women might need the assistance of a lawyer, although a male relative could have been used: In Late Period Egypt "Egyptian women (unlike Greeks) could act in transactions on their own behalf and without any guardian whatsoever; equally, women could come forward in law-courts totally unaided as plaintiffs or defendants. And it is quite evident that women were capable of independent economic activities regardless of marital status." [2]

[1]: (Farrokh 2007, 108) Farrokh, Kaveh. 2007. Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War. Osprey Publishing.

[2]: (Allam 1990, 33) Allam, S. 1990. Women as Holders of Rights in Ancient Egypt (During the Late Period). Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient. Vol. 33, No. 1 (1990), pp. 1-34. BRILL


Corrupt judges could be sentenced to death. [1]

[1]: (Schmitt 1983[22])


Formal Legal Code:
present

"The Persian word for ’law’ was data." "By royal decrees, local jurists codified the laws of their own nations, and imperial authorities enforced those laws. Thus, the Jews worked according to Biblical laws with the royal sanctions, the Egyptians according to older Egyptian laws, the Iranians according to Avestan injunctions and their local traditions." [1]
Civil law based on Persian law. Cyrus II and Darius I known to have made reforms. "Unfortunately no Achaemenid law code, comparable to the Babylonian one or to the Hittite laws, has survived, if any ever existed." [2]
"Universal justice system" and judges. [3]
"Punishment was as cruel as in the ancient Near East generally. Execution, crucifixion, impalement, mutilation, banishment were common." [4]

[1]: (Shahbazi 2012, 135) Shahbazi, A Shapour. The Archaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.

[2]: (Schmitt 1983[20])

[3]: (Farazmand 2002)

[4]: (Schmitt 1983[21])


Law courts mentioned here for Egypt:In Late Period Egypt "Egyptian women (unlike Greeks) could act in transactions on their own behalf and without any guardian whatsoever; equally, women could come forward in law-courts totally unaided as plaintiffs or defendants. And it is quite evident that women were capable of independent economic activities regardless of marital status." [1]

[1]: (Allam 1990, 33) Allam, S. 1990. Women as Holders of Rights in Ancient Egypt (During the Late Period). Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient. Vol. 33, No. 1 (1990), pp. 1-34. BRILL


Specialized Buildings: polity owned
Market:
present

"The state was not only an important final recipient of merchandise and raw materials that had been acquired by Phoenician traders in the open market and that often finally flowed into the coffers of the Great King. It also played a pivotal role in the organization of the exchange of raw materials and rations for precious metals or even coins, therefore promoting the development of local markets." [1]

[1]: (Morris and Scheidel 2008, 83) Morris I and Scheidel, W. 2008. The Dynamics of Ancient Empires: State Power from Assyria to Byzantium. Oxford University Press.


Irrigation System:
present

"From the earliest times, the flow of water was controlled for agricultural purposes by an elaborate system of canals, sluices, dams, embankments, and dikes." [1] 1000 miles of irrigation canals. [2] Qanat technology. Subterranean irrigation canals. [3] Royal control over most of the irrigation systems and canals. [4] Egyptians called Darius the Great a Pharaoh "since by digging qanats and other initiatives he had supplied the south of Egypt with irrigation water." [5] "Iranians were the inventors of qanats ... during the Archaemenid era there appeared an extensive system of underground networks known as qanats" [6]

[1]: (Neusner 2008, 1-2) Neusner, Jacob. 2008. A History of the Jews in Babylonia. 1. The Parthian Period. Wipf & Stock. Eugene.

[2]: (Farazmand 2002)

[3]: (Schmitt 1983[23])

[4]: (Wiesehofer 2009, 80)

[5]: (Angelakis, Mays and Koutsoyiannis 2012, 94) Angelakis A N, Mays L W, Koutsoyiannis, D. 2012.Evolution of Water Supply Through the Millennia. IWA Publishing.

[6]: (Angelakis, Mays and Koutsoyiannis 2012, 97) Angelakis A N, Mays L W, Koutsoyiannis, D. 2012. Evolution of Water Supply Through the Millennia. IWA Publishing.


Food Storage Site:
present

Warehouses and granaries provisioned garrisons and workers. [1]

[1]: (Wiesehofer 2009, 77)


Drinking Water Supply System:
present

"The infrastructural and agricultural measures (the extension of the road system, the maintenance of river traffic and irrigation, and the provision of drinking water and new crops), modeled on Near Eastern examples, facilitated the rapid transfer of troops and improved the diet of royal subjects." [1] "One of the greatest deeds of Darius the Great was the creation of "Water Organisation". The head of the organisation was called "Ao-Tar" or "Water Master" and he controlled the qanats, dams, rivers, etc." [2] "Darius ordered the reconstruction of the city of Sarod destroyed by the Greeks. Mendrokles presented to Darius a plan of the city, which was to be built over an area of 50 x 50 Ostad [1 Ostad = 200m]. Piped water and sewers were considered in the plan." [2]

[1]: (Morris and Scheidel 2008, 90) Morris I and Scheidel, W. 2008. The Dynamics of Ancient Empires: State Power from Assyria to Byzantium. Oxford University Press.

[2]: (Mahmoudian and Mahmoudian 2012, 94) Angelakis A N, Mays L W, Koutsoyiannis, D. 2012.Evolution of Water Supply Through the Millennia. IWA Publishing.


Transport Infrastructure

Royal road from Susa in Elam (near the Persian Gulf) to Sardis in Lydia (near the Aegean sea). [1] Paved road building ordered by Darius I. High quality and suitable for wheeled vehicles. Royal road is the best known of a number of roads built to facilitate the speedy movement of troops, royal inspectors and trade caravans. Other roads included Babylon to Persepolis via Susa, Babylon to Bactria via Ecbatana, and Issus to Sinope. The Royal road was 2,600 km long and had 111 royal post stations. [2]

[1]: (Farazmand 2002)

[2]: (Schmitt 1983[24])



Suez Canal and Atosa Canal. [1] Suez Canal which linked the west and east of the empire by sea was already planned by the Egyptians and was finished by Darius I. [2] Darius ordered a canal dug between Red Sea and the Nile; the commemorative stela suggests his primary transit interest was ’from Egypt through this canal to Persia’. [3]

[1]: (Farazmand 2002)

[2]: (Schmitt 1983[25])

[3]: (Shahbazi 2012, 127) Shahbazi, A Shapour. The Archaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.


Bridge:
present

"Mandorcles, another engineer of the Darius period, constructed a bridge over Begas Bosporus to allow the army to pass over. Bolts and nuts were used to fix the boards in its construction." [1] "Darius crossed into Europe (in about 513) over a pontoon bridge built by his Samian engineer, Mandrocles (a feat not rivaled until 1973), which continued the royal road into Europe." [2]

[1]: (Angelakis, Mays and Koutsoyiannis 2012, 94) Angelakis A N, Mays L W, Koutsoyiannis, D. 2012. Evolution of Water Supply Through the Millennia. IWA Publishing.

[2]: (Shahbazi 2012, 127) Shahbazi, A Shapour. The Archaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.


Special-purpose Sites

Information / Writing System
Written Record:
present

Sources include official and private documents in Old Persian, Elamite, Babylonian, Aramaic, Greek, Egyptian, Hebrew [1] and Akkadian. [2] Behistun Inscription of Darius I contains 3,000 words. Combined, the other royal inscriptions amount to 2,600 words. Other inscriptions include two texts from Cyrus the Great (8 words), 44 other texts from Darius I (1500 words), 13 texts from Xerxes (850 words), 7 texts from Artaxerxes I and II (180 words), 1 unassigned fragment (8 words). Persepolis fortification tablets from Darius I is an additional, a magnitude larger,source of text. [3]

[1]: (Nylander 1971, 50-54)

[2]: (Encyclopaedia Britannica 2011, [26])

[3]: (Hallock 1958, 256)


Script:
present

Cuneiform. [1] Aramaic widespread in bureaucracy from Darius I. Totally replaced Elamite language and cuneiform writing by c460 BCE. [2]

[1]: (Nylander 1971, 50-54)

[2]: (Schmitt 1983[27])


Phonetic Alphabetic Writing:
present

Old Persian cuneiform is a semi-alphabetic (semisyllabic) cuneiform script that was the primary script for Old Persian. Texts written in this cuneiform have been found in Persepolis, Susa, Hamadan, Armenia, Romania (Gherla) and emerged around 515 BCE during the reign of Darius I and continuing on through the reign of his son, Xerxes I. Later kings down to Artaxerxes III used more recent forms of the language classified as "pre-Middle Persian". [1]

[1]: Kuhrt, Amélie. 2013. The Persian Empire: A Corpus of Sources from the Achaemenid Period: Routledge.


Nonwritten Record:
present

Sources include official and private documents in Old Persian, Elamite, Babylonian, Aramaic, Greek, Egyptian, Hebrew [1] and Akkadian. [2] Behistun Inscription of Darius I contains 3,000 words. Combined, the other royal inscriptions amount to 2,600 words. Other inscriptions include two texts from Cyrus the Great (8 words), 44 other texts from Darius I (1500 words), 13 texts from Xerxes (850 words), 7 texts from Artaxerxes I and II (180 words), 1 unassigned fragment (8 words). Persepolis fortification tablets from Darius I is an additional, a magnitude larger,source of text. [3]

[1]: (Nylander 1971, 50-54)

[2]: (Encyclopaedia Britannica 2011, [26])

[3]: (Hallock 1958, 256)


Non Phonetic Writing:
absent

Old Persian cuneiform is a semi-alphabetic (semisyllabic) cuneiform script that was the primary script for Old Persian. Texts written in this cuneiform have been found in Persepolis, Susa, Hamadan, Armenia, Romania (Gherla) and emerged around 515 BCE during the reign of Darius I and continuing on through the reign of his son, Xerxes I. Later kings down to Artaxerxes III used more recent forms of the language classified as "pre-Middle Persian". [1]

[1]: Kuhrt, Amélie. 2013. The Persian Empire: A Corpus of Sources from the Achaemenid Period: Routledge.



Information / Kinds of Written Documents
Scientific Literature:
present

Greeks practised medicine at the royal courts of Darius I and Artaxerxes II. [1] Darius the Great "dispatched Estilakis and a delegation to India to report on the regional facilities for construction of a dam. The latter presented a report, equal in quality to those prepared by modern day geography and hydrology experts." [2]

[1]: (Schmitt 1983[28])

[2]: (Angelakis, Mays and Koutsoyiannis 2012, 94) Angelakis A N, Mays L W, Koutsoyiannis, D. 2012.Evolution of Water Supply Through the Millennia. IWA Publishing.


Sacred Text:
present

The Achaemenid period "witnessed major developments in art, philosophy, literature, historiography, religion, exploration, economics, and science, and those developments provided the direct background for the further changes, along similar lines, that made the Hellenistic period so important in history." [1]

[1]: T. Cuyler Young, Jr. Achaemenid Society and Culture http://www.iranchamber.com/history/articles/achaemenid_society_culture.php#sthash.wxVBVuth.dpuf


Religious Literature:
present

The Achaemenid period "witnessed major developments in art, philosophy, literature, historiography, religion, exploration, economics, and science, and those developments provided the direct background for the further changes, along similar lines, that made the Hellenistic period so important in history." [1]

[1]: T. Cuyler Young, Jr. Achaemenid Society and Culture http://www.iranchamber.com/history/articles/achaemenid_society_culture.php#sthash.wxVBVuth.dpuf


Practical Literature:
present

The Achaemenid period "witnessed major developments in art, philosophy, literature, historiography, religion, exploration, economics, and science, and those developments provided the direct background for the further changes, along similar lines, that made the Hellenistic period so important in history." [1]

[1]: T. Cuyler Young, Jr. Achaemenid Society and Culture http://www.iranchamber.com/history/articles/achaemenid_society_culture.php#sthash.wxVBVuth.dpuf


Philosophy:
present

"Iranians were familiar with Greek philosophy from the Achaemenid period." [1] The Achaemenid period "witnessed major developments in art, philosophy, literature, historiography, religion, exploration, economics, and science, and those developments provided the direct background for the further changes, along similar lines, that made the Hellenistic period so important in history." [2]

[1]: (Tafazzoli 1996, 90) Tafazzoli, A. and Khromov, A. L. Sasanian Iran: Intellectual Life. in Litvinsky, B. A. ed. and Iskender-Mochiri, I. ed. 1996. History of Civilizations of Central Asia. Volume III. The crossroads of civilizations: A.D. 250 to 750. pp.82-105. unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0010/001046/104612e.pdf

[2]: T. Cuyler Young, Jr. Achaemenid Society and Culture http://www.iranchamber.com/history/articles/achaemenid_society_culture.php#sthash.wxVBVuth.dpuf


Lists Tables and Classification:
present

land registers [1]

[1]: Wiesehöfer, Josef. 2009. page 81 "The Achaemenid Empire." Pp. 66-98 in The Dynamics of Ancient Empires: State Power from Assyria to Byzantium, edited by I. Morris and W. Scheidel. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


History:
present

"Ancient Iranians favored oral narration of history, which allowed successive transmitters to rework narratives of events and reattribute them to different heroes at different times (Boyce, 1954, 1955, 1957; Shahbazi, 1990). Their oldest historical traditions are the heroic material found in the Avestan Yašts (Christensen, 1917, 1928, 1931; Boyce, Zoroastrianism I, pp. 92-108; Yarshater, pp. 411-53), in which "historical facts and accurate genealogies" are interwoven with "poetic fiction and fable." In these traditions "are seemingly preserved both secular and priestly traditions, transmitted by minstrel poets as well as by religious schools; and there are elements also of popular superstition and dread, in the tales of demons and witches and fearsome beasts. These intermingle with the stories of valour which show also the power of the gods to grant to men’s prayers and succor them in distress" (Boyce, Zoroastrianism I, p. 108). With the conquest of the ancient Near East, the Iranians became familiar with cultures that had long established traditions of written history (Klima, pp. 214-17; Grayson, 1975a, pp. 1-7; G. Cameron, pp. 79-81). This led to a number of developments. Firstly, the Iranians began keeping records of historical events, of which Cyrus’s Chronicle from Babylonia (see CYRUS CYLINDER) and Darius’s Bisotun inscriptions (q.v.) and their Aramaic versions, which were dispatched to the empire’s provinces, are the best examples. They meant to convincethe reader that "Persians were divinely appointed saviors whose mission was to bring justice, order, and tranquillity to the people of the world" (G. Cameron, pp. 81-94, esp. p. 93). The Achaemenids also kept Babylonian-style "diaries" (on the genre see Grayson, 1975a, p. 1)." [1] The Achaemenid period "witnessed major developments in art, philosophy, literature, historiography, religion, exploration, economics, and science, and those developments provided the direct background for the further changes, along similar lines, that made the Hellenistic period so important in history." [2]

[1]: Shapur Shahbazi http://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/History/historiography_iran.htm

[2]: T. Cuyler Young, Jr. Achaemenid Society and Culture http://www.iranchamber.com/history/articles/achaemenid_society_culture.php#sthash.wxVBVuth.dpuf


Fiction:
present

Present due to the presence of fictional literature in the regions they conquered. For the Persian tradition only the code would appear to be absent,. The possibly that some oral works were occasionally written down or imported and read by the scribal class cannot be excluded but ancient Mesopotamian royalty was often not literate. The Achaemenid period "witnessed major developments in art, philosophy, literature, historiography, religion, exploration, economics, and science, and those developments provided the direct background for the further changes, along similar lines, that made the Hellenistic period so important in history." [1] "The interest in oral literature in pre-Islamic Iran meant that, apart from state or commerical records and documents and, on rare occasions, religious works, nothing was written down until the Sasanian period. Secular oral literature was preserved orally by gosan (poet-ministrels) or khunyagar (story-tellers)." [2] "Epic stories, frequently in verse, remained an oral form until the Sasanian period". [3] inferred present due to presence of fictional literature in regions they conquered. for Persian tradition only code would appear to be inferred absent at this time.

[1]: T. Cuyler Young, Jr. Achaemenid Society and Culture http://www.iranchamber.com/history/articles/achaemenid_society_culture.php#sthash.wxVBVuth.dpuf

[2]: (Tafazzoli 1996, 82) Tafazzoli, A. and Khromov, A. L. Sasanian Iran: Intellectual Life. in Litvinsky, B. A. ed. and Iskender-Mochiri, I. ed. 1996. History of Civilizations of Central Asia. Volume III. The crossroads of civilizations: A.D. 250 to 750. pp.82-105. unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0010/001046/104612e.pdf

[3]: (Tafazzoli 1996, 83) Tafazzoli, A. and Khromov, A. L. Sasanian Iran: Intellectual Life. in Litvinsky, B. A. ed. and Iskender-Mochiri, I. ed. 1996. History of Civilizations of Central Asia. Volume III. The crossroads of civilizations: A.D. 250 to 750. pp.82-105. unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0010/001046/104612e.pdf


Calendar:
present

In approximately 539 BC, Persia’s rulers conquered Babylon, and soon afterwards - at least by the 4th century BC - adopted the Babylonian luni-solar calendar for civil purposes. [1]

[1]: Boyce, Mary. 1984. Textual Sources for the Study of Zoroastrianism, Vol. 3: Manchester University Press.


Information / Money

Precious Metal:
present

part of taxes in form of precious metals. [1] "Achaemenid "bar-ingots" may have been ancestral to some of the Indian "bent-bar" currency." [2]

[1]: (Morris and Scheidel 2008, 83) Morris I and Scheidel, W. 2008. The Dynamics of Ancient Empires: State Power from Assyria to Byzantium. Oxford University Press.

[2]: (Unknown 1972, 54)Unknown. 1972. Seaby’s coin and medal bulletin, Issues 641-652, B.A. Seaby Limited.



Indigenous Coin:
absent
550 BCE 516 BCE

Daric. [1] Darius I was probably the first Achaemenid king to mint coins. Created a single currency monetary system. Standard coin was the gold Daric which was maintained at 97% purity. 3,000 darics made one talent. Silver coins were called shekels and were at least 90% pure. Twenty shekels to one daric, for a 40:3 silver-gold ratio. The currency system was maintained from 515 BCE until 330 BCE. The reluctance of the Persian kings to release their treasure to be minted hampered the empire’s economy. [2] Royal coinage encouraged trade. Before Darius trade was in barter or Lydian gold coins. Satraps could coin money but only King of Kings could coin in gold. Coin potraits first appeared in Persia. [3]

[1]: (Farazmand 2002)

[2]: (Schmitt 1983[29])

[3]: (Shahbazi 2012, 133) Shahbazi, A Shapour. The Archaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.

Indigenous Coin:
present
515 BCE 331 BCE

Daric. [1] Darius I was probably the first Achaemenid king to mint coins. Created a single currency monetary system. Standard coin was the gold Daric which was maintained at 97% purity. 3,000 darics made one talent. Silver coins were called shekels and were at least 90% pure. Twenty shekels to one daric, for a 40:3 silver-gold ratio. The currency system was maintained from 515 BCE until 330 BCE. The reluctance of the Persian kings to release their treasure to be minted hampered the empire’s economy. [2] Royal coinage encouraged trade. Before Darius trade was in barter or Lydian gold coins. Satraps could coin money but only King of Kings could coin in gold. Coin potraits first appeared in Persia. [3]

[1]: (Farazmand 2002)

[2]: (Schmitt 1983[29])

[3]: (Shahbazi 2012, 133) Shahbazi, A Shapour. The Archaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.


Foreign Coin:
present

Royal coinage encouraged trade. Before Darius trade in barter or Lydian gold coins. [1]

[1]: (Shahbazi 2012, 133) Shahbazi, A Shapour. The Archaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.


Article:
present

taxes could take form of contributions in kind [1]

[1]: (Morris and Scheidel 2008, 83) Morris I and Scheidel, W. 2008. The Dynamics of Ancient Empires: State Power from Assyria to Byzantium. Oxford University Press.


Information / Postal System
Postal Station:
present

[1] Lettered communication between central bureaucracy and the satrapies. [2] "The Archaemenids introduced the world’s first postal service, and it was said the network of relay horses could deliver mail to the furthest corner of the empire within 15 days." [3] "In Persia the postal service appears to have originated in the Achaemenid period. ... There were way stations where the couriers could rest and where fresh horses could be obtained. The itinerary was measured in parasangs, or stages, along roads that seem not to have been paved or well maintained (cf. Olm­stead, p. 299)." [4]

[1]: (Farazmand 2002)

[2]: (Schmitt 1983[30])

[3]: (Burke 2010, 30) Burke, A. 2010. Iran. Lonely Planet.

[4]: (Floor 1990) Floor, Willem. 1990. ČĀPĀR. www.iranicaonline.org/articles/capar-or-capar-turk


General Postal Service:
unknown

[1] Lettered communication between central bureaucracy and the satrapies. [2] however unsure if this was available to private individuals "The Archaemenids introduced the world’s first postal service, and it was said the network of relay horses could deliver mail to the furthest corner of the empire within 15 days." [3]

[1]: (Farazmand 2002)

[2]: (Schmitt 1983[31])

[3]: (Burke 2010, 30) Burke, A. 2010. Iran. Lonely Planet.


Courier:
present

Royal road basis of a courier system. [1]

[1]: (Shahbazi 2012, 132) Shahbazi, A Shapour. The Archaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.


Information / Measurement System

Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)
Fortifications





Sidon, which was taken by the Achaemenids in 345 BCE, was "surrounded by three high walls and a moat." [1] "In respect to Sogdiana of the fourth century B.C., Arrian and Curtius remarked that the city of Marakanda possessed a strongly fortified citadel, encircled by a wall and a moat. Both town and citadel were surrounded by a defensive wall with a circumference of approximately thirteen kilometres. ... It would appear that this large city originated in the Achaemenid period (Masson 1959: 127)." [2]

[1]: (Dandamaev 1989, 308) Dandamaev, M A. 1989. A Political History of the Achaemenid Empire. Brill.

[2]: (Dandamaev 1989, 37-38) M A Dandamaev. J Vogelsang trans. 1989. A Political History of the Achaemenid Empire. E. J. BRILL. Leiden.


Fortified Camp:
present

Present in previous and subsequent polities.


Earth Rampart:
present

Long wall building: "The tradition seems more prevelant in Central Asia, although the oldest dated example is only Achaemenid. This is the wall of Kam Pirak, a rammed mud defensive wall that has been traced for about 60 kilometres across northern Afghanistan." [1] "In respect to Sogdiana of the fourth century B.C., Arrian and Curtius remarked that the city of Marakanda possessed a strongly fortified citadel, encircled by a wall and a moat. Both town and citadel were surrounded by a defensive wall with a circumference of approximately thirteen kilometres. ... It would appear that this large city originated in the Achaemenid period (Masson 1959: 127)." [2] Was the wall of Marakanda made of rammed mud or stone? Assuming former.

[1]: (Ball 2001, 315) Warwick Ball. 2001. Rome in the East: The Transformation of an Empire. Routledge. London.

[2]: (Dandamaev 1989, 37-38) M A Dandamaev. J Vogelsang trans. 1989. A Political History of the Achaemenid Empire. E. J. BRILL. Leiden.


Ditch:
present

Simple fortification that was likely to have been incorporated somewhere within the huge Empire.


Complex Fortification:
present

Fortress in Susa enlarged by Darius I. [1]

[1]: (Schmitt 1983[32])



Military use of Metals

May have imported high quality steel. "It is believed that Indian steel was exported in the early centuries A.D. and was known even in the time of Alexander. By the sixth century there is more definite evidence of the manufacture of Damascene swords and the steel used for this purpose came from India." [1] Artaxerxes II of Persia (Achaemenids, ruled around 400 BCE) had a Greek physician called Ctesias of Cnidus who was impressed by his sword of Indian steel. [2] [3]

[1]: (Abraham 1988, 171) Meera Abraham. 1988. Two medieval merchant guilds of south India. Manohar Publications.

[2]: (Singh 1997) Sarva Daman Singh. 1997. Ancient Indian Warfare: With Special Reference to the Vedic Period. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. Delhi.

[3]: (Ramsey 2016) Ramsey, Syed. 2016. Tools of War: History of Weapons in Ancient Times. Vij Books India Pvt Ltd.

May have imported high quality steel. "It is believed that Indian steel was exported in the early centuries A.D. and was known even in the time of Alexander. By the sixth century there is more definite evidence of the manufacture of Damascene swords and the steel used for this purpose came from India." [1] Artaxerxes II of Persia (Achaemenids, ruled around 400 BCE) had a Greek physician called Ctesias of Cnidus who was impressed by his sword of Indian steel. [2] [3]

[1]: (Abraham 1988, 171) Meera Abraham. 1988. Two medieval merchant guilds of south India. Manohar Publications.

[2]: (Singh 1997) Sarva Daman Singh. 1997. Ancient Indian Warfare: With Special Reference to the Vedic Period. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. Delhi.

[3]: (Ramsey 2016) Ramsey, Syed. 2016. Tools of War: History of Weapons in Ancient Times. Vij Books India Pvt Ltd.


Breastplates of iron. [1] "Of the Medes and Persians as a whole, only a few wore armour. Some had body armour of iron scales ... and only some of the cavalry wore helmets of bronze or iron." [2]

[1]: (Farrokh 2007, 76) Farrokh, K. 2007. Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War. Osprey Publishing.

[2]: (Robinson 1967) Robinson, H. Russell. 1967. Oriental Armour. Walker and Co. New York.


Copper:
present

Copper used to make bronze. Greek mercenaries under Cyrus had "helmets, greaves and shields of bronze" [1] "Of the Medes and Persians as a whole, only a few wore armour. Some had body armour of iron scales ... and only some of the cavalry wore helmets of bronze or iron." [2]

[1]: (Sekunda 1992, 10) Sekunda, N. 1992. The Persian Army 560-330 BC. Osprey Publishing.

[2]: (Robinson 1967) Robinson, H. Russell. 1967. Oriental Armour. Walker and Co. New York.


Bronze:
present

Greek mercenaries under Cyrus had "helmets, greaves and shields of bronze" [1] "Of the Medes and Persians as a whole, only a few wore armour. Some had body armour of iron scales ... and only some of the cavalry wore helmets of bronze or iron." [2]

[1]: (Sekunda 1992, 10) Sekunda, N. 1992. The Persian Army 560-330 BC. Osprey Publishing.

[2]: (Robinson 1967) Robinson, H. Russell. 1967. Oriental Armour. Walker and Co. New York.


Projectiles
Tension Siege Engine:
present

The Macedonians of the time had "battering rams, catapults, and other siege engines" so Achaemenids would certainly have had them. [1]

[1]: (Dandamaev 1989, 314) Dandamaev, M A. 1989. A Political History of the Achaemenid Empire. Brill.


Sling Siege Engine:
absent

Counter-weight trebuchet first used by the Byzantines in 1165 CE.


According to one military historian (data needs to be checked by an expert for this polity) Persian light infantry carried the bow and sling, and Cyrus also made them carry spear and sword. [1]

[1]: (Gabriel 2002, 162-163) Richard A Gabriel. 2002. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Praeger. Westport.


Self Bow:
present

Ethiopians had "rudimentary archery equipment." [1] According to one military historian (data needs to be checked by an expert for this polity): "The greatest number of Persian cavalry were light cavalry armed with the simple bow (noncomposite) and comprised mostly of irregular nationality troops, sometimes officered by Persians." [2]

[1]: (Farrokh 2007, 77) Farrokh, K. 2007. Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War. Osprey Publishing.

[2]: (Gabriel 2007, 161-162) Richard A Gabriel. 2007. Soldiers’ Lives Through History: The Ancient World. Greenwood Press. Westport.


Javelin:
present

Egyptians had javelins and Libyans had "fire-hardened" javelins. [1] According to one military historian (data needs to be checked by an expert for this polity) heavy cavalry carried two short bronze or iron tipped javelin (for stabbing and throwing). The Achaemenids invented this particular form of javelin (zhubin). [2]

[1]: (Farrokh 2007, 77) Farrokh, K. 2007. Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War. Osprey Publishing.

[2]: (Gabriel 2002, 162) Richard A Gabriel. 2002. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Praeger. Westport.





Composite Bow:
present

According to one military historian (data needs to be checked by an expert for this polity) heavy cavalry and light infantry carried the bow, the type not specified by the author. [1] "Composite bows are known from both Mesopotamia and the Great Steppe from the III millennium BCE. The Scythian bow was different from the Mesopotamian one primarily in its overall dimensions - it was smaller so that it could be used from the horseback. At the same time, self bows were also in use, but because of their large size they were not suitable for use by horse riders." [2] However, the composite bow is present in previous and subsequent polities.

[1]: (Gabriel 2002, 162-163) Richard A Gabriel. 2002. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Praeger. Westport.

[2]: Sergey A Nefedov, RAN Institute of History and Archaeology, Yekaterinburg, Russia. Personal Communication to Peter Turchin. January 2018.


New World weapon.


Handheld weapons
War Club:
unknown

According to one military historian (data needs to be checked by an expert for this polity) the mace was the dominant weapon of war from 4000 BCE but had disappeared from Sumerian illustrations before 2500 BCE, a time when the helmet appears. [1] Almost certainly the technology was still present but the weapon may have been used less frequently. Coded present for Ur III, Akkad and Middle Elam and could possibly be ’inferred present’ at this time.

[1]: (Gabriel 2002, 24) Richard A Gabriel. 2002. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Praeger. Westport.


Archaemenid cavalry used kopis swords. [1] According to one military historian (data needs to be checked by an expert for this polity) "All armies after the seventeenth century B.C.E. carried the sword, but in none was it a major weapon of close combat; rather, it was used when the soldier’s primary weapons, the spear and axe, were lost or broken." [2] According to one military historian (data needs to be checked by an expert for this polity) Persian light infantry carried the bow and sling, and Cyrus also made them carry spear and sword. [3] According to one military historian (data needs to be checked by an expert for this polity) heavy infantry carried long spear, short sword and battle axe. [4]

[1]: (Farrokh 2007, 77) Farrokh, K. 2007. Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War. Osprey Publishing.

[2]: (Gabriel 2002, 26-27) Richard A Gabriel. 2002. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Praeger. Westport.

[3]: (Gabriel 2002, 162-163) Richard A Gabriel. 2002. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Praeger. Westport.

[4]: (Gabriel 2002, 163) Richard A Gabriel. 2002. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Praeger. Westport.


According to one military historian (data needs to be checked by an expert for this polity) spear-using phalanx first used in Sumer 2500 BCE. The phalanx was in use until the 1st century BCE. [1] According to one military historian (data needs to be checked by an expert for this polity) Persian heavy cavalry carried two short javelin (for stabbing and throwing) and long wooden or metal lance or spear. [2] According to one military historian (data needs to be checked by an expert for this polity) Persian light infantry carried the bow and sling, and Cyrus also made them carry spear and sword. [3] According to one military historian (data needs to be checked by an expert for this polity) heavy infantry carried long spear, short sword and battle axe. [4]

[1]: (Gabriel 2002, 25) Richard A Gabriel. 2002. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Praeger. Westport.

[2]: (Gabriel 2002, 162) Richard A Gabriel. 2002. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Praeger. Westport.

[3]: (Gabriel 2002, 162-163) Richard A Gabriel. 2002. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Praeger. Westport.

[4]: (Gabriel 2002, 163) Richard A Gabriel. 2002. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Praeger. Westport.


Polearm:
absent

According to one military historian (data needs to be checked by an expert for this polity) infantry that held its ground could deter chariot charges with their shields and spears. [1]

[1]: (Gabriel 2002, 163-164) Richard A Gabriel. 2002. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Praeger. Westport.


Dagger:
present

Knives. [1] Sargarthians in the Persian army carried a dagger. [1]

[1]: (Farrokh 2007, 76) Farrokh, K. 2007. Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War. Osprey Publishing.


Battle Axe:
present

Sargarthians in the Persian army may have had battle axe. [1] According to one military historian (data needs to be checked by an expert for this polity) Persian heavy cavalry were armed with the battleaxe. [2] According to one military historian (data needs to be checked by an expert for this polity) heavy infantry carried long spear, short sword and battle axe. [3]

[1]: (Farrokh 2007, 76) Farrokh, K. 2007. Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War. Osprey Publishing.

[2]: (Gabriel 2002, 161-162) Richard A Gabriel. 2002. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Praeger. Westport.

[3]: (Gabriel 2002, 163) Richard A Gabriel. 2002. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Praeger. Westport.


Animals used in warfare

Chariots. [1] According to one military historian (data needs to be checked by an expert for this polity) small chariot corps. [2] According to one military historian (data needs to be checked by an expert for this polity) light cavalry armed with a simple bow and heavy cavalry. Initially the heavy carried were armed with bow, battleaxe and oval shield, later carried two short javelin (for stabbing and throwing), long wooden or metal lance or spear and oval shield. [3]

[1]: (Sekunda 1992) Sekunda, N. 1992. The Persian Army 560-330 BC. Osprey Publishing.

[2]: (Gabriel 2002, 163) Richard A Gabriel. 2002. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Praeger. Westport.

[3]: (Gabriel 2002, 161-162) Richard A Gabriel. 2002. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Praeger. Westport.


Elephant:
present

According to one military historian (data needs to be checked by an expert for this polity) "After conquests in India, the Persians introduced elephants into their armies." [1] With this reference we can date the code of present more precisely. Darius III of Persia had a few war elephants. [2] Indian war elephants at the Battle of Gaugamela in 331 BCE.

[1]: (Gabriel 2002, 162) Richard A Gabriel. 2002. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Praeger. Westport.

[2]: (Mayor 2014, 290) Adrienne Mayor. Animals in Warfare. Gordon Lindsay Campbell. ed. 2014. The Oxford Handbook of Animals in Classical Thought and Life. Oxford University Press. Oxford.


Donkey:
present

Achaemenids (Darius the Great) used donkeys in their baggage train. [1]

[1]: (Mayor 2014, 289) Adrienne Mayor. Animals in Warfare. Gordon Lindsay Campbell. ed. 2014. The Oxford Handbook of Animals in Classical Thought and Life. Oxford University Press. Oxford.


Cambyses in the 6th century BCE placed ibexes, sheep, dogs and cats on the front line to have a psychological impact on Egyptians who worshiped these animals and did not want to fire arrows near them. [1]

[1]: (Mayor 2014, 288) Adrienne Mayor. Animals in Warfare. Gordon Lindsay Campbell. ed. 2014. The Oxford Handbook of Animals in Classical Thought and Life. Oxford University Press. Oxford.


According to one military historian (data needs to be checked by an expert for this polity) "The Persians experimented with the use of camel cavalry." [1] "Arab troops were equipped with swords slung over their backs, and many fought as archers on camels." [2] "Bactrian camels began to be used for cavalry between 500 and 100 BC." [3] Cyrus I pushed baggage camels on to the front lines to throw Lydian cavalry horses into a confused retreat. This event was a touchstone for future commanders who sought to keep their horses acquainted with camel scent. [3]

[1]: (Gabriel 2002, 162) Richard A Gabriel. 2002. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Praeger. Westport.

[2]: (Farrokh 2007, 77) Farrokh, K. 2007. Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War. Osprey Publishing.

[3]: (Mayor 2014, 290) Adrienne Mayor. Animals in Warfare. Gordon Lindsay Campbell. ed. 2014. The Oxford Handbook of Animals in Classical Thought and Life. Oxford University Press. Oxford.


Armor
Wood Bark Etc:
present

Rhomboid wicker shield. [1] Wicker targes. [2] "From ancient times the peoples of Persia favoured a light, tough shield made of withies or cane. As remarked on at the beginning of this chapter, Herodotus describes the soldiers of Xerxes who carry targes of wicker. Large and deeply convex shields built up of concentric rings of cane or withies are carried by the Sacae (Scythian) guards in the reliefs from the great staircase of the Achaemenid, from the Palace of Persepolis, now in the Berlin Museum. All but the caps of these guards are in the Persian fashion. The large shields are not those of nomadic horsemen, but are a foot soldier’s defence." [2]

[1]: (Farrokh 2007, 76) Farrokh, K. 2007. Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War. Osprey Publishing.

[2]: (Robinson 1967) Robinson, H. Russell. 1967. Oriental Armour. Walker and Co. New York.


Shield:
present

"From ancient times the peoples of Persia favoured a light, tough shield made of withies or cane. As remarked on at the beginning of this chapter, Herodotus describes the soldiers of Xerxes who carry targes of wicker. Large and deeply convex shields built up of concentric rings of cane or withies are carried by the Sacae (Scythian) guards in the reliefs from the great staircase of the Achaemenid, from the Palace of Persepolis, now in the Berlin Museum. All but the caps of these guards are in the Persian fashion. The large shields are not those of nomadic horsemen, but are a foot soldier’s defence." [1] According to one military historian (data needs to be checked by an expert for this polity) Persian heavy cavalry carried an oval shield. [2] According to one military historian (data needs to be checked by an expert for this polity) front ranks of the phalanx carried a tall wicker shield. [3]

[1]: (Robinson 1967) Robinson, H. Russell. 1967. Oriental Armour. Walker and Co. New York.

[2]: (Gabriel 2002, 162) Richard A Gabriel. 2002. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Praeger. Westport.

[3]: (Gabriel 2002, 163) Richard A Gabriel. 2002. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Praeger. Westport.


Scaled Armor:
present

According to one military historian (data needs to be checked by an expert for this polity) body armour of cavalryman could include a "leather coat covered with overlapping disks of bronze, iron, and sometimes gold." [1] Archaemenid cavalry wore scale armour but may also have worn linen armour of the Greek style. [2] "Of the Medes and Persians as a whole, only a few wore armour. Some had body armour of iron scales and wicker targes and only some of the cavalry wore helmets of bronze or iron." [3]

[1]: (Gabriel 2002, 162) Richard A Gabriel. 2002. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Praeger. Westport.

[2]: (Farrokh 2007, 77) Farrokh, K. 2007. Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War. Osprey Publishing.

[3]: (Robinson 1967) Robinson, H. Russell. 1967. Oriental Armour. Walker and Co. New York.


Plate Armor:
present

"Of the Medes and Persians as a whole, only a few wore armour. Some had body armour of iron scales and wicker targes and only some of the cavalry wore helmets of bronze or iron. As both Greek mercenaries and Assyrians were amongst the best armed in this great force, one may assume that any armour worn by Persians was inspired by one or the other of these militant peoples." [1] Breastplates present. Isn’t that the same thing as "plate" armour? Present in previous and subsequent periods.

[1]: (Robinson 1967) Robinson, H. Russell. 1967. Oriental Armour. Walker and Co. New York.


Limb Protection:
present

Greek mercenaries under Cyrus had "helmets, greaves and shields of bronze" [1] According to one military historian (data needs to be checked by an expert for this polity) Archaemenid cavalry wore leather greaves to protect the legs. [2]

[1]: (Sekunda 1992, 10) Sekunda, N. 1992. The Persian Army 560-330 BC. Osprey Publishing.

[2]: (Gabriel 2002, 162) Richard A Gabriel. 2002. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Praeger. Westport.


Leather Cloth:
present

According to one military historian (data needs to be checked by an expert for this polity) cavalry carried a small oval shield made of leather with a metal rim. [1] According to one military historian (data needs to be checked by an expert for this polity) cavalry wore leather greaves to protect the legs. [1] According to one military historian (data needs to be checked by an expert for this polity) body armour of cavalryman could include a "leather coat covered with overlapping disks of bronze, iron, and sometimes gold." [1] Archaemenid cavalry wore scale armour but may also have worn linen armour of the Greek style. [2] According to one military historian (data needs to be checked by an expert for this polity) heavy infantry wore black hoods in close combat though this does not seem to be armour. [3]

[1]: (Gabriel 2002, 162) Richard A Gabriel. 2002. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Praeger. Westport.

[2]: (Farrokh 2007, 77) Farrokh, K. 2007. Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War. Osprey Publishing.

[3]: (Gabriel 2002, 163) Richard A Gabriel. 2002. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Praeger. Westport.


Laminar Armor:
absent

"Of the Medes and Persians as a whole, only a few wore armour. Some had body armour of iron scales and wicker targes and only some of the cavalry wore helmets of bronze or iron. As both Greek mercenaries and Assyrians were amongst the best armed in this great force, one may assume that any armour worn by Persians was inspired by one or the other of these militant peoples." [1]

[1]: (Robinson 1967) Robinson, H. Russell. 1967. Oriental Armour. Walker and Co. New York.


Helmet:
present

Greek mercenaries under Cyrus had "helmets, greaves and shields of bronze" [1] "Of the Medes and Persians as a whole, only a few wore armour. Some had body armour of iron scales and wicker targes and only some of the cavalry wore helmets of bronze or iron." [2]

[1]: (Sekunda 1992, 10) Sekunda, N. 1992. The Persian Army 560-330 BC. Osprey Publishing.

[2]: (Robinson 1967) Robinson, H. Russell. 1967. Oriental Armour. Walker and Co. New York.


Chainmail:
absent

"Of the Medes and Persians as a whole, only a few wore armour. Some had body armour of iron scales and wicker targes and only some of the cavalry wore helmets of bronze or iron. As both Greek mercenaries and Assyrians were amongst the best armed in this great force, one may assume that any armour worn by Persians was inspired by one or the other of these militant peoples." [1]

[1]: (Robinson 1967) Robinson, H. Russell. 1967. Oriental Armour. Walker and Co. New York.


Breastplate:
present

Breastplates of iron. [1]

[1]: (Farrokh 2007, 76) Farrokh, K. 2007. Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War. Osprey Publishing.


Naval technology
Specialized Military Vessel:
present

Infantry, cavalry and navy. [1] In 345 BCE vs Sidonians: "The fleet consisted of 300 warships and 500 cargo vessels." [2] Navy had 600 fighting ships - tiremes, that had 170 oarsmen and 30 fighters. [3] According to one military historian (data needs to be checked by an expert for this polity) "the Persians were the first to introduce a large-scale navy used primarily in support of ground operations." [4]

[1]: (Briant 1999, 117)

[2]: (Dandamaev 1989, 308) Dandamaev, M A. 1989. A Political History of the Achaemenid Empire. Brill.

[3]: (Shahbazi 2012, 129) Shahbazi, A Shapour. The Archaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) Daryaee, Touraj. ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History. Oxford University Press.

[4]: (Gabriel 2002, 8) Richard A Gabriel. 2002. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Praeger. Westport.



Merchant Ships Pressed Into Service:
present

In 345 BCE vs Sidonians: "The fleet consisted of 300 warships and 500 cargo vessels." [1]

[1]: (Dandamaev 1989, 308) Dandamaev, M A. 1989. A Political History of the Achaemenid Empire. Brill.



Human Sacrifice Data
Human Sacrifice is the deliberate and ritualized killing of a person to please or placate supernatural entities (including gods, spirits, and ancestors) or gain other supernatural benefits.
- Nothing coded yet.