Beautiful Africa


Cyrus the Great founded the empire as a multi-state empire, governed by four capital states; Pasargadae, Babylon, Susa and Ekbatana. The Achaemenids allowed a certain amount of regional autonomy in the form of the satrapy system. A satrapy was an administrative unit, usually organized on a geographical basis. A 'satrap' (governor) was the vassal king, who administered the region, a 'general' supervised military recruitment and ensured order, and a 'state secretary' kept the official records. The general and the state secretary reported directly to the satrap as well as the central government. At differing times, there were between 20 and 30 satrapies.[58] Cyrus the Great created an organized army including the Immortals unit, consisting of 10,000 highly trained soldiers[59] Cyrus also formed an innovative postal system throughout the empire, based on several relay stations called Chapar Khaneh.[60] Darius the Great moved the capital from Pasargadae to Persepolis;[61] he revolutionized the economy by placing it on a silver and gold coinage and introducing a regulated and sustainable tax system that was precisely tailored to each satrapy, based on their supposed productivity and their economic potential. For instance, Babylon was assessed for the highest amount and for a startling mixture of commodities 1000 silver talents, four months supply of food for the army. India was clearly already fabled for its gold; the province consisting of the sindh and western punjab regions of ancient northwestern India traded gold dust equal in value to the very large amount of 4680 silver talents for various commodities. Egypt was known for the wealth of its crops; it was to b

the granary of the Persian Empire (as later of Rome's) and was required to provide 120,000 measures of grain in addition to 700 talents of silver. This was exclusively a tax levied on subject peoples.[62] Other accomplishments of Darius' reign included codification of the data, a universal legal system, and construction of a new capital at Persepolis. Under the Achaemenids, the trade was extensive and there was an efficient infrastructure that facilitated the exchange of commodities in the far reaches of the empire. Tariffs on trade were one of the empire's main sources of revenue, along with agriculture and tribute.[62][63] The satrapies were linked by a 2,500-kilometer highway, the most impressive stretch being the Royal Road from Susa to Sardis, built by command of Darius I. The relays of mounted couriers could reach the remotest of areas in fifteen days. Despite the relative local independence afforded by the satrapy system, royal inspectors, the "eyes and ears of the king", toured the empire and reported on local conditions. The king also maintained a personal bodyguard of the elite 10,000 Immortals when not at war. The practice of slavery in Achaemenid Persia was generally banned, although there is evidence that conquered and/or rebellious armies were sold into captivity.[64] Zoroastrianism, the de facto religion of the empire, explicitly forbids slavery,[65] and the kings of Achaemenid Persia, especially the founder Cyrus the Great, followed this ban to varying degrees, as evidenced by the freeing of the Jews at Babylon, and the construction of Persepolis by paid workers. The vexilloid of the Achaemenid Empire was a gold falcon on a field of crimson.