General Question

pleiades's avatar

How did Persia go from one of the greatest empires to Iran?

Asked by pleiades (6571points) July 27th, 2014

What are some of the events that lead to Persia's decline

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4 Answers

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

The Persian Empire was a long, long time ago. First they were defeated by the Greeks, then the Romans controlled that region, then the Byzantines held influence, the Crusades terrorised the region, and then the Ottoman Empire. After WWI, the Ottomans were effectively destroyed, and most countries in the Middle East were given definitive borders by Western powers, who did not understand the local cultural dynamics, and each country had to build itself from scratch.

Iran itself was once great though. It was a flourishing democracy until the United States orchestrated political unrest that toppled the democratically elected government. They reinstated the hated Shah, who was then deposed in the Islamic Revolution that brought in the current religious oligarchy. Iran would have a strong democracy funded by huge oil revenue right not if it wasn’t for the United States’ penchant for deposing foreign regimes.

It’s current problems are also a result of international sanctions. Iranian culture is highly educated, sophisticated, and openly political. Despite huge economic isolation, they are still able to develop world class weapons and engage in highly complex cyber warfare. If sanctions were removed and they were allowed to globalise, they would quickly become a major player on the world stage.

pleiades's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh Interesting indeed! I saw pictures from the 70s. I searched, “Before Islamic Revolution” truly they are a beautiful people! I just always wonder what happens to the vast of that wealth from those who were in power even from the ancient times. Surely, those riches have trickled down to blood lines today?

CugelTheClueless's avatar

Timeline of Iranian history

To nitpick a bit: the Roman and Byzantine empires conquered territory that was formerly part of the Persian Empire but did not conquer the territory of what is now Iran.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@pleiades I think much of that wealth is now housed in museums, just as most Egyptian artefacts are in the British and Cairo museums. I did see some Persian reliefs in the Hermitage during my visit to Russia earlier this year, but I’m not sure if they have jewellery or the like. In the ancient world a new dynasty would often hunt down and kill even the remotest member of the previous dynasty, so as to prevent them becoming a point for dissidents to rally around. I’m not sure there would be any surviving descendants from those great families. But I would be fascinated to learn of the existence of any of them!

@CugelTheClueless You are correct. Thanks for the link! I wrote my post above entirely from memory at 2:30am local time, so it wasn’t perfect.

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