Engineering an Empire: The Persians (2006)

History Channel

Persepolis: Darius I or Darius the Great was a Zoroastrian Persian Shahanshah (Great King) of Persia. Reigning from September 522 to October 486 BC as - some call - "the greatest of the Achaemenid kings". He managed not only to "hold together the empire" (to use his words), but also to extend the empire founded by Cyrus the Great in all directions; east into the Indus valley, north against the Saka tribes, and west into Thrace and Macedon. His reign lasted thirty-five years and completed the work of his Achaemenian predecessors. Under Darius and the generation he belonged to, Achaemenid Iran became one of the major powers in the world. However, the successful expansion of the empire was not Darius' only important achievement. He also centralized administration of his empire and encouraged the development of cultural and artistic activity as demonstrated by his building projects at Susa and Persepolis.
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Documentary Description

The Persian Empire was one of the most mysterious civilizations in the ancient world. Persia became an empire under the Cyrus the Great, who created a policy of religious and cultural tolerance that became the hallmark of Persian rule. Engineering feats include an innovative system of water management; a cross-continent paved roadway stretching 1500 miles; a canal linking the Nile to the Red Sea; and the creation of one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Mausoleum of Maussollos. The rivalry between Persia and Athens led to a 30-year war known as the Persian Wars, the outcome of which helped create the world we live in today. Peter Weller hosts.

Click to know the recent discovery: Vanished Persian Army Said Found in Desert (2009)


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