cyrus the great
Wars in ancient times started over the need for more water and control of land. Not only did possession of additional land provide natural borders for protection, but men from the region were recruited for armies. Conquering lands was nothing new during this period, but the methods of conquest used by the Persians were quite different.
The Persian rulers of the Achaemenid Dynasty never shamed or hurt the pride of the people they conquered. Rather than using brute force, they successfully negotiated with the people and provided for the needs of the conquered territory in order to gain the cooperation and loyalty of each new addition to their empire.Cyrus II, also known as Cyrus the Great, was born in
598 B.C.E and lived until 529 B.C.E. He was the first king of a united Persia and was responsible for building the largest empire of the world at that time. He came to power in 549 B.C.E. and began his rule by conquering his neighbors,the Medes. This conquest gave him access to the rich mineral reserves of gold and silver buried in the Zagros Mountains. The Medes, as well as each new region that was added to the Persian Empire, paid tribute to the King of Persia.
Encouraged by his conquest of the Medes, Cyrus the Great went on to capture Babylon and then advanced through Asia Minor to the Mediterranean Sea. Under Cyrus’s rule, the threat of constant nomadic raids from Asia was stopped, and tributes from the rich seaports of Ionia helped to fund the Persian armies.
With access to the Mediterranean seaports and lands along the shores of the Persian Gulf with their trade routes bound for India, the Persians gained control of the wealth of the ancient world. From these regions, Cyrus the Great continued his conquests into Syria and Palestine.
Cyrus the Great respected the customs of his new subjects. Rather than forcing conquered people to adopt his personal religion, customs, or way of life, he instead welcomed diversity. Cyrus the Great only required that people in the conquered kingdom be loyal and obedient to him as their king.
During his reign, Cyrus guided his people from being a distant and unknown ethnic group to being masters of an empire that stretched from the Indian Ocean to the Aegean Sea. Persian subjects were loyal followers because Cyrus respected the variety of beliefs and ideas in his kingdom and used those ideas to increase security and wealth for his subjects.
When Cyrus the Great died, his son Cambyses II ascended the throne in 529 B.C.E. Cambyses II was able to add Egypt to the Persian realm before dying only eight years later. The throne was then occupied by Darius I, who claimed to be a descendant of Achaemenid and ruled Persia for the following 35 years.