Towards One World: Ancient Persia and the West

Overview

The Persian Empire was the first major eastern power to actually extend its borders into Europe. The Persians came in the 6th century BC as a great power seeking to incorporate parts of south-eastern Europe as provinces into a centrally ruled and administered empire. Yet Iran's foothold in Europe was tiny, distant and brief: of all the peoples from the East who entered Europe, the Iranian presence appears the least, covering little more than sixty years. Furthermore, this contact is usually viewed in terms of ...

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Overview

The Persian Empire was the first major eastern power to actually extend its borders into Europe. The Persians came in the 6th century BC as a great power seeking to incorporate parts of south-eastern Europe as provinces into a centrally ruled and administered empire. Yet Iran's foothold in Europe was tiny, distant and brief: of all the peoples from the East who entered Europe, the Iranian presence appears the least, covering little more than sixty years. Furthermore, this contact is usually viewed in terms of conflict: the Graeco-Persian wars, the conquests of Alexander, the numerous wars between Rome and Iran. But Europe's contact with ancient Persia was neither short-lived nor conflicting: it was the beginnings of a complex interaction between East and West that continues to this day. This book explores that relationship.

The main people in Europe with whom the Persians came into contact were the Greeks, and contact was as fundamental for the Romans too: it was a neo-Persian kingdom that came close to stemming the emerging power of Rome in the first century BC, and it was the continued existence of Iran as a great power and its relationship with the Roman Empire that brought about a war at the end of antiquity that wrought more change than any other war in history. Throughout antiquity, Iranian religious ideas came west to profoundly influence the beginnings of Christianity.

More than anything else, what Iran contributed to posterity was an idea. In articulating the concept of a single universal creator, ancient Persian civilization was the first to grope towards the idea of a single universal world. The idea of one world was to persist.

This is the second of four volumes by Warwick Ball examining the spread of cultures from the east into Europe. Also available: Out of Arabia: Phoenicians, Arabs and the Discovery of Europe. Forthcoming: Sultans of Rome: The Turkish World Expansion.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566568227
  • Publisher: Interlink Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/1/2010
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,463,711
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Series Introduction

Preface And Acknowledgements

Maps And Plans

List Of Plates

Introduction. Which Way West? 1

1 The Legacy Of Cyrus. The Iranian Background 13

2 Persians And Greeks. The Beginnings Of A Complex Relationship 29

3 The Ionians Beyond The Sea. The Graeco-Persian Wars 47

4 The Demon King. Alexander Of Macedon's Invasion 67

5 An 'Iranistic' Age. Neo-Persian Kingdoms And A Would-Be Empire 91

6 Two Super-Powers. Recovery, Expansion And The War That Changed The World 117

7 Light And Darkness. Iranian Religious Ideas 136

8 The Shadow Of Zoroaster. Iranian Religion In Anatolia And Armenia 155

9 The Dualist Challenge. Manichaeans, Paulicians, Bogomils, Cathars And The Albigensian Crusade 170

10 An Iranian World. Conclusion 191

Notes 202

Bibliography 210

Index 217

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