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Alexander the Great is portrayed as a legendary conqueror and military leader in Greek-influenced Western history books but his legacy looks very different from a Persian perspective. Any visitor to the spectacular ruins of Persepolis - the site of the ceremonial capital of the ancient Persian Achaemenid empire, will be told three facts: it was built by Darius the Great, embellished by his son Xerxes, and destroyed by that man , Alexander.
That man Alexander, would be the Alexander the Great , feted in Western culture as the conqueror of the Persian Empire and one of the great military geniuses of history. Indeed, reading some Western history books one might be forgiven for thinking that the Persians existed to be conquered by Alexander. A more inquisitive mind might discover that the Persians had twice before been defeated by the Greeks during two ill-fated invasions of Greece, by Darius the Great in BC and then his son, Xerxes, in BC - for which Alexander's assault was a justified retaliation.
He razed Persepolis to the ground following a night of drunken excess at the goading of a Greek courtesan, ostensibly in revenge for the burning of the Acropolis by the Persian ruler Xerxes.
Battle of Marathon: Greeks Versus the Persians
Persians also condemn him for the widespread destruction he is thought to have encouraged to cultural and religious sites throughout the empire. The emblems of Zoroastrianism - the ancient religion of the Iranians - were attacked and destroyed. For the Zoroastrian priesthood in particular - the Magi - the destruction of their temples was nothing short of a calamity.
The influence of Greek language and culture has helped establish a narrative in the West that Alexander's invasion was the first of many Western crusades to bring civilisation and culture to the barbaric East. But in fact the Persian Empire was worth conquering not because it was in need of civilising but because it was the greatest empire the world had yet seen, extending from Central Asia to Libya.
Look closely and you will find ample evidence that the Greeks admired the Persian Empire and the emperors who ruled it. Much like the barbarians who conquered Rome, Alexander came to admire what he found, so much so that he was keen to take on the Persian mantle of the King of Kings. Xenophon, the Athenian general and writer, wrote a paean to Cyrus the Great - the Cyropaedia - showering praise on the ruler who showed that the government of men over a vast territory could be achieved by dint of character and force of personality:.
Later Persian emperors Darius and Xerxes both invaded Greece, and were both ultimately defeated. Servi Camerae Regis. The Seven Species. The Birth and Evolution of Judaism. Shewbread or Showbread. Rulers of the Ancient Middle East. Sibyl and Sibylline Oracles. Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. Coins and Currency.
Cult of Moloch. The Great Synagogue. The Monarchy. Talmud and Middle Persian Culture. The Dead Sea Scrolls. Teacher of Righteousness. Egypt and the Wanderings. The Temples. Episcopus Judaeorum. Ten Lost Tribes. The Essenes.
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The Great Assembly. Oath More Judaico. Urim and Thummim. Juramentum Judaeorum. Thus, if your ten turns of increased movement run out, it is a relatively safe strategy to declare a Surprise War on a far-off civilization, allowing you to keep the movement bonus in your war against your real target. As detailed above, Domination and Culture Victories are the best choices for Persia. The Movement and Combat Strength bonus apply to Religious units as well, the extra early Culture can help you unlock Theocracy earlier, Appeal from Pairidaezas can generate a lot of Faith if you have the Earth Goddess pantheon , and extra Trade Routes can help with some Religious pressure although in Civilization VI , natural spread of Religions, including through Trade Routes, is so painfully slow and weak that it is often negligible , a Religious Victory is purely for a player who is looking for something new or a challenge, as it is still rather clunky.
You can declare Surprise Wars to give your Religious units an extra edge, just to get them condemned in one turn by foreign military units and give all the Religious pressure back to the enemy.
Just as notable as its ignominious collapse was its improbable start. He now ruled an empire that reached from the borders of Egypt to the shores of the Black Sea, encompassing all of ancient Mesopotamia. His Persian Empire was the first in history to govern a slew of distinct ethnic groups on the basis of equitable responsibilities and rights for each, so long as his subjects paid their taxes and kept the peace.
Persian Empire - All About Turkey
Cyrus established a system of local nobles called "satraps" to administer each province autonomously, and pledged not to interfere in the local customs, religions, and economies of the conquered peoples. He built fortresses along the eastern border to limit the depredations of barbarians from the steppes, such as the Scythians, who may or may not have been the cause of his untimely death in BCE.
Cyrus was succeeded by his son Cambyses II, who promptly murdered his own brother Bardiya to ensure his rule would not be challenged. As was the style at the time, he followed fratricide with an invasion. Cambyses marched his armies to Egypt in BCE, winning victories at Pelusium and Memphis, but his attacks on neighboring Carthage and Nubia did not fare as well. Nonetheless, Egypt and its wealth was a nice addition to the empire.
In the midst of all this campaigning, Cambyses received word of a revolt against him led by his brother, Bardiya—the same one he had previously murdered. On the way home to make sure his brother's death took this time, Cambyses himself died under mysterious circumstances. Coincidentally, a distant relative of Cambyses named Darius—one of the Persian generals with access to his king around the time of his death—claimed that Cambyses took his own life out of despair.
Darius marched his troops to Media and killed Bardiya, who he labeled an imposter. Without a clear line of succession to dissuade him, Darius claimed the throne, leading several provinces to immediately revolt at his presumption. After 19 battles in a single year, Darius had put paid to most of these uprisings. Tranquility returned to the empire. By BCE, he considered his rule stable enough to invade the distant Indus Valley, which he conquered within the year. After appointing the Greek Scylax to serve as his satrap from the city of Gandhara, Darius decided to reorganize the empire.
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He divided it into 20 provinces, each under a satrap he appointed usually one of his relatives , and each paying a fixed rate of tribute. To prevent the satraps from building a power base to threaten rebellion, Darius appointed a separate military commander in each satrapy, answerable only to him.
The horse barbarians refused to engage in a pitched battle, but their constant withdrawals cost the Scythians their best pasture lands, scattered their herds, and lost them several allies. Still, the Persian infantry were suffering from fatigue and privation themselves after a month of marching into the wilderness.
Darius, concerned that the fruitless campaign would only cost him more men, and convinced that Scythian fortunes had been damaged enough, halted his army on the banks of the Oarus. The expedition began with Darius crossing the Hellespont and getting involved in fractious Greek politics. This led to the invasion of Thrace, followed by the capture of several city-states in the northern Aegean.
Macedon submitted voluntarily to Persia, becoming a vassal kingdom. Darius left his general Megabyzus to finish off Thrace while the king returned to relax at Sardis. They then marched south along the coast of Attica, looking to do the same to Athens, but were thoroughly defeated by 30, allied Greek soldiers at Marathon. Darius immediately began preparations for another invasion, this time planning to personally take command, but died three years into the effort.
His successors—starting with his son Xerxes I—were left to deal with the upstart Greeks.
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And, despite ruling the greatest empire yet known to the world, they managed to bungle it. Xerxes first quelled a revolt in Egypt, but unlike his predecessors, Xerxes dealt harshly with the rebellious province by removing the local leaders and imposing direct Persian control on the citizens. He did the same to the Babylonians when they revolted in BCE. Finally, Xerxes led a great army into northern Greece, supported by a powerful Persian navy.