Iran: A Short Political Guide

Iran: A Short Political Guide

Iran: A Short Political Guide

Iran: A Short Political Guide

Excerpt

In a book of this kind, which is necessarily devoted mainly to an assessment of present events, it is above all necessary to preserve a sense of perspective and proportion and before, as it were, applying the magnifying glass to these events, to step back and view them as part of the swing and sweep of history of which they are but an insignificant and as yet uncomprehended part. This perspective is particularly necessary in the case of Persia which has been in the mainstream of world history for some 2,500 years.

Persia first comes into world history in about 550 B.C., when Cyrus II, known as Cyrus the Great, King of Persia, revolted against Astyages, his Median overlord, captured the Median capital of Ecbatana (the modern Hamadan), united the two kingdoms of Persia and Media, and so laid the foundations of an Empire which, at its height, comprised almost all of that area now known as the Middle East. Within 30 years Cyrus and his successors, Cambyses and Darius, had conquered the Babylonian and Egyptian Empires and occupied the whole of the Fertile Crescent, the Nile Valley down to the cataracts and nearly all of Asia Minor. The story of the Persian capture of Babylon, with the terrible warning to decadent Empires -- MENE MENE TEKEL UP- HARSIN -- written by an unseen hand on the walls of Belshazzar's palace on the eve of the Persian victory, is as familiar to Western readers as is the history of the checks imposed by the Greeks on Persian efforts to extend their domination into Europe. The Achaemenian Empire, as it is known, lasted for about 200 years until it was destroyed by Alexander the Great of Macedon. These 200 years are the high point of Persian history.

There was still some glory to come. After the Parthian, which succeeded the Macedonian, occupation, Persia, restored to national greatness under the Sassanid dynasty, and inheriting the Parthian . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.