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Persian invasions

Printed From: History Community ~ All Empires
Category: Regional History or Period History
Forum Name: Ancient Mediterranean and Europe
Forum Description: Greece, Macedon, Rome and other cultures such as Celtic and Germanic tribes
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Topic: Persian invasions
Posted By: fantasus
Subject: Persian invasions
Date Posted: 12-May-2009 at 07:10
In early european history the persian invasions may be seen as a turning point - perhaps even as the real "start". Still it seems we know curiously little about their european efforts, except from greeks point of view. What does archaeology tell us, and what about persian, phoenician or other written sources?
May their influence on european history and cultural history be larger than the greek sources tell? Was empire-building, central power, vast armies, part of that legacy?



Replies:
Posted By: khshayathiya
Date Posted: 12-May-2009 at 10:02
The Persians famously treated the Median Wars as a simple footnote in their imperial history. To them, these were simple punitive expeditions, to caution the mainland Greeks against ever again aiding their Ionian brethren.

Of course, one cannot rule out the possibility that, given the forces involved (which must have been large, although nowhere near the astronomic figures given by Greek sources) the Achaemenid kings may have had in mind a conquering expedition and not just a punitive raid. It's easy to understand why the Achaemenid court would belittle post factum the scale of the expedition and only claim as its goal the burning of Athens (in which the Persians did succeed), in order to save face.


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Posted By: Leonidas
Date Posted: 13-May-2009 at 14:14
marathon was a simple punitive expedition, the one after was much bigger.

The Greek sources ie: Herodotus exaggerated it for the story telling and scale not accurate historical number keeping. Keep in mind that when an ancient means there was allot or massive amounts he will say it like 'as many as there are stars in the sky' and 'millions' to make the point. AFAIK, Its not meant to be taken literally by the word.

european history? No,  this is Greek history and a turning point in their world.


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Posted By: khshayathiya
Date Posted: 13-May-2009 at 14:39
Originally posted by Leonidas Leonidas wrote:



european history? No,  this is Greek history and a turning point in their world.



Well, I wouldn't belittle the importance of the Greek victory. In its wake the polis as a structure consolidated. Sure, this led to the horrors of the Peloponesian War and the eventual rise of the Argead state, but during this period of roughly a century very much was gained in fields as varied as political philosophy, military expertise or literature. One might even say that without these advances the rise of Alexander would not have been possible and, had the Hellenistic kingdoms not appeared, the Romans would never have developed the empire they did. (A bit of counterfactual history never hurt anyone, did it? LOL)

I'm not saying that a Persian victory would have spelled the end of civilisation in Europe, far from it! Just that European civilisation as we know it, rooted in the values of the Greco-Roman world, would not have existed. Would it have been better? Worse? I think I've used up my counterfactuality allowance for the day Wink


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Posted By: Cyrus Shahmiri
Date Posted: 13-May-2009 at 14:49

There is something wrong with the topic of this thread, Persian invasion -> Persian liberation. Wink



Posted By: Vorian
Date Posted: 13-May-2009 at 17:16
@Cyrus

Quoting the immortal Barney Stinson: OK, bro


Posted By: Suren
Date Posted: 13-May-2009 at 18:20
Persian liberation is the true title. Immortals were liberators not invaders.BowingBowing


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Anfører


Posted By: Cyrus Shahmiri
Date Posted: 13-May-2009 at 18:59
Of course, as you can read in Encyclopedia Britannica: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/364411/Mardonius/364411rellinks/Related-Links - http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/364411/Mardonius/364411rellinks/Related-Links according to Greek sources, we know it was Mardonius, a son-in-law of Darius the Great, who suppressed local tyrants of Greek cities and brought democratic government to Europe.


Posted By: gcle2003
Date Posted: 13-May-2009 at 19:06
Persia never had democratic government.
 
On varying Persian attitudes to the Greeks and also to India, Gore Vidal's novel Creation has some interesting speculations.


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Citizen of Ankh-Morpork
Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.


Posted By: Cyrus Shahmiri
Date Posted: 14-May-2009 at 06:38
Quote Persia never had democratic government.
We should consider the possibility of constructing a completely democratic government in the Persian Empire consisting of several different nations in 500 BC, of course as Greek sources say, this and other possibilities were also discussed among the Persian intellectuals, Otanes insisted that Persia ought to be a democracy, Megabyzus argued for an oligarchy but the best suggestion was mentioned by Darius and supported by others, as we all know he set up a Federal government.
 
Anyway it is good to know what great modern intellectuals say about the Persian empire, you can read the opinion of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel in Encyclopedia Iranica: http://www.iranica.com/newsite/index.isc?Article=http://iranica.com/newsite/articles/v12f2/v12f2008.html - http://www.iranica.com/newsite/index.isc?Article=http://iranica.com/newsite/articles/v12f2/v12f2008.html
 
In The Philosophy of History, Hegel identifies the active (creative) reason (Vernunft) as spirit (Geist), and maintains that the world is the intersection of spirit and matter (The Philosophy of History, pp. 15-16). What distinguishes the spirit from matter is the idea of freedom. Freedom or self-contained existence is the essence of spirit, and matter is marked by its dependence on something external to it (p. 17). The history of the world (Weltgeschichte) is the result of the immersion of spirit in matter (p. 70). At first, this immersion manifests itself in natural regularity, but, through man’s historical development, it culminates in the self-consciousness of spirit (p. 71). This historical process of freedom’s self-consciousness begins with the Persians, and, according to Hegel, the history of Zoroastrian Achaemenid Persia “constitutes strictly the beginning of world history” (p. 174).


Posted By: khshayathiya
Date Posted: 14-May-2009 at 08:38
I don't think the concepts of "Empire" and "Democracy" mix well. Even entities which are internally democratic cease to be so in relation to their empire: take Athens for example. It was internally democratic (Polybios might even call this government ohlocracy, "rule of the mob"), but there was nothing democratic about the way in which it treated Samos or Melos. One was punished severely for trying to leave the Delian League led by Athens, the other for not wanting to join the League.

Also, consider the fact that democracy cannot exist without the concept of citizenship. And to my knowledge there was never such a thing as "Persian citizenship" (I am, of course, restricting the discussion to the Achaemenid Empire).

So the discussion reported by Herodotus was never between Utana, Bagabuxsa and Darayavaus, but rather between Otanes, Megabyxos and Dareios. What I mean by that is the real historical characters never did talk in such terms. The discussion is purely Greek, makes sense only in the limited world of the Greek polis and is therefore carried out by highly fictionalised characters in a Greek history.


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Posted By: gcle2003
Date Posted: 14-May-2009 at 11:55
Originally posted by Cyrus Shahmiri Cyrus Shahmiri wrote:

Anyway it is good to know what great modern intellectuals say about the Persian empire, you can read the opinion of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel in Encyclopedia Iranica:
Hegel is a great modern intellectual? I guess you might at a push call him an intellectual.


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Citizen of Ankh-Morpork
Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.


Posted By: Leonidas
Date Posted: 14-May-2009 at 14:44
Originally posted by khshayathiya khshayathiya wrote:

Originally posted by Leonidas Leonidas wrote:



european history? No,  this is Greek history and a turning point in their world.



Well, I wouldn't belittle the importance of the Greek victory. In its wake the polis as a structure consolidated. Sure, this led to the horrors of the Peloponesian War and the eventual rise of the Argead state, but during this period of roughly a century very much was gained in fields as varied as political philosophy, military expertise or literature. One might even say that without these advances the rise of Alexander would not have been possible and, had the Hellenistic kingdoms not appeared, the Romans would never have developed the empire they did. (A bit of counterfactual history never hurt anyone, did it? LOL)

I'm not saying that a Persian victory would have spelled the end of civilisation in Europe, far from it! Just that European civilisation as we know it, rooted in the values of the Greco-Roman world, would not have existed. Would it have been better? Worse? I think I've used up my counterfactuality allowance for the day Wink
This war was important to greek history and nationality, indirectly this may have helped others in Europe, but its not their history. If this war makes the Greeks bigger and stronger, then that next event is the turning point. That is the arrival of Hellenic thought and culture into their (other 'Europeans') local history. not what help shape Greek history centuries earlier. I dont like Greek history being europeanised, nor are Greeks unique some other trading outward looking type nation would of filled that vaccuum down the track. you know what i mean?

This war help develop Hellenic identity, pitted them agianst others that were big, scary, different and undoubtly advanced. nothing like before. compare the attitudes to ethnos in the writing around the trojan wars where there wasn't that same greek vs barbarain/ foreigner notion, simply tribes at war over a personal fued and honour.



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Posted By: Leonidas
Date Posted: 14-May-2009 at 14:47
Originally posted by Cyrus Shahmiri Cyrus Shahmiri wrote:

There is something wrong with the topic of this thread, Persian invasion -> Persian liberation. Wink

yeah right and Alexander was simply returning some lost goods you left behindBig smile


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Posted By: Nickmard
Date Posted: 20-May-2009 at 13:50

Persian liberation Clap



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