CHW: Persia and Cyrus the Great

The Tomb of Cyrus the Great by A.Davey, via Flickr
The Tomb of Cyrus the Great by A.Davey, via Flickr

Before we launch into our examination of Ancient Greece, we need to understand its nemesis, Ancient Persia.

  • I want you to understand how the version of the Persians depicted in the film 300 is a reflection of a graphic novel, and has nothing to do with the Persians who attempted to conquer Greece in the 2500 years ago
  • I want to provide more context before we launch into the Persian Wars

Cyrus the Great was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire, located in modern-day Iran. Today, I will attempt to show you why he has earned the moniker Great. Here is the plan of attack:

  1. We need to take a look at two important documents that may provide some insight into Cyrus the Great. You might recognize one of the sources. Be prepared to answer the following questions:
    • Why might Cyrus list all of his titles at the beginning of his declaration?
    • Leaders traditionally enslaved other nations they had conquered. What were some potential benefits of allowing various ethnic groups to govern themselves?
  2. We will attempt our second lecture. In this mini-lecture, we will examine Cyrus’ rise to power.
  3. Finally, we will watch part of the a great documentary from Learn 36o. Remember to watch for Robocop. I’d also like you to consider the following question: what aspects of Ancient Persia indicate that it was not the intolerant, monstrous empire depicted in popular media like 300?
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