History of Achaemenid
dynasty 550 Bc-334 Bc
Cyrus the Great was the first Achaemenian Emperor. He founded Persia by uniting the two original Iranian
Tribes- the Medes and the Persians. Although he was known to be a great
conqueror, who at one point controlled one of the greatest Empires ever
seen, he is best remembered for his unprecedented tolerance and
magnanimous attitude towards those he defeated.
The reign of Darius the Great marked the zenith of the Persian Empire.
Upholding the tradition established by Cyrus, Darius valued the rights of
all people under his rule. The following inscription appears on his tomb:
By the favor of the great god I believe in justice and abhor
inequity. It is not my desire that the weak man should have wrong done to
him by the mighty...
Darius' goal was to be a great law-giver and organizer. He
structured the empire under the satrapy system (similar to national and
local governments). He built many roads, ports, banking houses (the word
"check" comes from old Persian), elaborate underground irrigation systems
and a canal to link the Nile to the Red Sea (an early precursor of the
In the 19th century, archeologists in Egypt discovered an inscription by
Darius commemorating the completion of the Canal:
I am a Persian. I commanded to dig this canal from a river
by name of Nile which flows in Egypt... After this canal was dug, ships
went from Egypt through this canal to Persia, thus as was my desire.
Darius revolutionized mankind's economic
activities by introducing one of the earliest (certainly the first on such
a massive scale) forms of common coinage in history, the darik. This
initiative, along with the standardization of weights and measures and the
codification of commercial laws, stimulated world trade and elevated the
Persian Empire's economy to new levels of prosperity.