Dear Cyrus ‘Shah of Persia‘,
First of all, I want to say that I am a great fan of your work. Dude, you built the biggest and richest empire the world has ever seen. You built it from basically nothing. Generally, rivers are awesome for starting civilizations, but your people managed to bring the water to themselves. The channels that you guys engineered are beyond belief. That was a genius idea man, digging into the slopes basically creating piping and moving the water down to where you needed it. Mad respect.
I know you are a humble guy. I just want to say that you were a great king. You were chosen as the leader of the Pasargadae tribe (rightfully so) and managed to form all of the other tribes, like at least 10, into a federation. After a bit of fighting with the other tribes, (wouldn’t be an empire without at least a bit of fighting), you won and created your first capitol and called it Pasargadae. YAY. First city must have been exciting!
Also, I can’t believe what a tolerant and nice guy you were. You see, before you, the conquerors would not allow the conquered keep their beliefs and traditions. But you managed to do it. That was cool, because somehow it didn’t even make you look weak. Even when you decided to take over Babylon, you basically just explained (with a bit of propaganda of course) how awesome it will be under your rule. It was awesome: you let the people of Babylon do their thing, all they had to do was to pay tribute. Dude you were a celebrity, like Sean Penn (you know, because of his philanthropy). You even let the Jews go home and gave them some cash to build a temple. As you probably know, they wrote pretty good things about you in the bible. (But you didn’t do it for the fame, you are smart, you did it to create a buffer between Egypt and yourself. But they didn’t know that…Tricky…Tricky). All I can say is that, this was a really clever way to keep all of your conquered lands at bay.
You took over many places (Most of Asia) and instead of pillaging and looting, you “Borrowed” their technologies and skills. Man, don’t even start me on your gardens in Pasargadae. I know you guys really liked your gardens, but man you started a trend there.
But then you died. You created a magnificent empire, and then you had to die. You didn’t even have a chance to run it. You know the song “Time” by Pink floyd: “you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking” It seems to be a recurring theme with you great king types. You could have done so much more… 😦
Well, I’ll give you this, you died honourably in battle and your tomb was very representative of your character: small and relatively humble, built in you first city of Pasargadae.
You know, the empire continued to thrive though. Your son did a good job, Cambyses II, he took over some of Egypt. Nice right? (Not really, because he used cats to do it). But then he also died.
Darius was to follow. There were uprisings everywhere and Darrius had to kill the pretender to the throne to take the reigns. But he did manage to get it under control, don’t worry. Actually he did more than that: he also took over the Indus Valley… See I told you… all good.
He then built a pretty awesome city, called Persepolis, with a sick palace. It was outrageous, yours was awesome too but… The walls of Persepolis were 60 feet high and the terrace so big that you could see it from far away (how can you compete with that).
Darius was an amazing ruler, he divided the empire into many provinces that all had to pay Persia, and appointed rulers to run the territories. Good idea right? He made the empire super rich. He then built “The Royal Road”, a highway stretching 1500 miles with outposts so that people can rest and get fresh horses, he even placed guard along the way. He had a kind of postal service traveling this road, which was, frankly, probably faster than our modern day postal service. The only thing that kinda makes me mad is that he wasn’t too fond of you. He even started calling himself “Shāhanshāh” – The King of Kings (not cool) sounds like he was trying to out-king you.
Still, Darrius was pretty good at what he did, although he did try to attack Athens and lost. This did not look very good. Then he died.
Xerxes I took control after Darius and tried, again, to take over Greece. The way he did it, was unusual to say the least. He ordered ships to stand side by side to create a passageway across the Bosporus into Europe, something that seemed impossible.
Themistocles (The Greek General) was tricky though, he lured the bulk of Xerxes army in the narrow pass at Thermopylae. Leaving only 6000 Spartans to defend the pass, and while Xerxes was distracted he attacked the Persian naval fleet and destroyed it. The Persians did manage to get to Athens however, but the city was already abandoned. Xerxes nearly exploded with rage when he realized what happened and ordered the city to be burned to the ground. Now I know, it is not your way of battle, you would never burn the city down. To his credit, he did feel bad the next day and tried to rebuild it, but… it was too late.
That’s when your beautiful empire started to slowly but surely weaken. The crazy thing is that even though the empire was on the down slope it managed to last another 200 years. I attribute this to the great roots that you have set forth which allowed this Empire to withstand so much and still keep its feet firmly on the ground.
After Xerxes came his son, Artaxerxes. Then there was internal fighting from which Darius III finally rose to power. Spoiler: He didn’t do well.
You see, at that time there was a little boy growing up in Greece who was very mad at Persia. He was a little tough guy and wanted to take revenge for the Persian attacks on Greece. (Also, he wanted to take over the world… Well, so did everyone else.)
This boy’s name was Alexander the Great. This hot headed young man went into battle against Darius III. He managed to push Darius’ army back to Persepolis and conquer it.
Alexander, was very much like you in his way of thinking. He was not in the business of destroying things. He did not allow his soldiers to loot his conquered lands because he respected his defeated. Having said that, I don’t know what happened in Persepolis. It might be that he was angry, or even could be by accident…
(Now I wasn’t going to tell you this) But he burned Persepolis to the ground. Yep sucks.
Darius III got away but was then murdered by his friend. Alexander sought out and killed Darrius’ murderers and pronounced himself king of Persia. This was pretty much the end of the great empire of Achaemenid.
Sorry for the long letter. I just was not sure if you are getting the current newsprint up in the…you know… you guys call it: Ahura Mazda, I think.
So… Yep, you know, give me a holla sometime, okay. I know you are busy and all. By the way Congrats, again, on your empire!
Your humble servant,
Sands of Pasargadae
P.S. I was just wondering, what do you like better: “Persian Empire” or “Achaemenid Empire”. Both Are cool.
P.P.S. I get your attraction to Gardens. You create life and peace by planting. You also assume control over the earth and the spiritual. Your words “pari-daiza” were used to influence every culture and even are the term used to describe the Paradise of garden of Eden.
P.P.P.S. Out of the soil, into which your flowers have returned after death, will grow new ones more beautiful than the last. So will civilization grow and fall into the soil from which new ones will arise.