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         These essays explore how the Achaemenid leaders built their vast empire on sophisticated irrigated agriculture, well- developed transportation networks to stimulate foreign trade, and an astutely-chosen pattern of profitable conquest. The Achaemenid dynasts created a system of indirect government, based on Persian satraps (regional governors), that was emulated by successor states for two millennia.

          The Concise Essay first looks at the origins of the empire or kingdom – how founder-kings exploited favorable circumstances to their advantage. I then turn to an examination of sources of wealth and power in the ancient world – agriculture, foreign trade, and foreign conquest. I move on to means of control – political organization and religious persuasion – used by ruling elites to retain power and extract wealth from the masses. Next I examine causes of decline in Achaemenid Persia – internal erosion of control followed by foreign incursions by competing enemies. I then summarize the key trends in the aftermath of Achaemenid rule – how successful later groups were in holding on to power and creating wealth. At the end of the essay, I draw lessons for contemporary powers from the experiences of ancient empires and kingdoms.

         The Complete Essay allows the reader to go more in-depth into Iran's past. This essay begins with an explanation of the rise, rule, and fall of Achaemenid Persia. The second part of this essay looks at the political and economic underpinnings of the wide swings in post- Achaemenid Iranian history. Throughout their turbulent past, the Persian-speaking people have remained justifiably proud of the legacy of Achaemenid Persia. A time line, a bibliography, and a description of sites that I visited in Iran are appended at the end of the essay.

Macro Polo Expedition, Land-based and International and Domestic Flights, Tabriz, Iran, Isfahan, Tehran, 

board the Golden Eagle Danube Express, Kashan, Iran, Persepolis and Shiraz, Yazd, Mashhad and Tus, 

Land-based, with Domestic Flights, Kerman, Rayen, and Mahan 


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