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5 Facts About the Persian Empire

By Yona Williams    3/21/11

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From a beautiful garden to the accomplishments of former rulers, the Persian Empire has a great deal of interesting aspects to explore. In this article, you will encounter facts about leaders, places, and important historical events.

1. The Royal Protectors

The royal bodyguard was referred to as the 'Ten Thousand Immortals' because they possessed a high level of skill and overwhelming presence. Interestingly, if any member of the royal guard become sick or died, there was an immediate replacement. The number of bodyguard within this group of men was always kept at 10,000.

2. The Persian Garden

The Persian's version of paradise on earth is found in the Persian garden at Pasargadae. Large and formal, the garden was equipped with stone water channels and orchards. The garden was constructed during the reign of Cyrus the Great during the Achaemenid dynasty. Dating back to around the start of the Persian Empire, the garden represents the earliest built of its kind. Scholars believe that the location and layout of the garden supposedly symbolizes the interpretations paradise on earth according to Islamic and Judeo-Christians.

During the 1970s, the Persian garden was excavated by David Stronach, who assessed that you gained access to the gardens by a private entry point shielded by Pasargadae's palaces. Inside, you would have found orchards, channels, pavilions, terraces, pools, walkways, and a wall that surrounded you. In the center of the garden, there was a pool that led off into four separate directions – the water spilling into various channels.

Historical documentation pertaining to the garden stated that a wide range of exotic animals roamed the grounds. Exotic plants also grew in the gardens, including tamarisk, oleander, roses and violets. Many of these plants were used to make perfumes and medicines.

3. Cyrus the Great

Cyrus the Great lived from 559 to 529 BC and was responsible for establishing the Persian Empire is quoted as saying: "I am Cyrus, who founded the empire of the Persians.
Grudge me not therefore, this little earth that covers my body."

4. Important Conquest

One of the first significant conquests of Persia was Lydia, which was ruled by King Croesus. The capture of the capital city of Sardes in 547 put the wheels in motion for greater power for the Persian Empire. Cyrus spared the life of the king, who was famous for possessing great wealth. After the conquest, Cyrus went on to the Aegean coast of Asia Minor. The Greek cities along the way were also dealt with and quieted by 540 B.C.

5. Cambyses' Great Achievement

Cambyses once ruled the Persian Empire, and during his reign, was responsible for the conquest of Egypt. With an impressive army at his fingertips, taking Egypt was not a hard task to complete. Within a year, the Persian Empire entered Memphis and Cambyses left as a Pharaoh. However, the priests in Egypt took offense to the ruler and slandered his name. At the same time, a revolt developed against Cambyses in Persia. It is believed that the combination of these events may have led to his suicide in 525 BC.

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