October 23, 2019 in History
Influence of the Ancient Persian Empire on the Modern World Today

The modern day Iran has a history that dates back to approximately 3200 BC and has a rich heritage, which has had a significant, although not well-known, influence on contemporary societies. The Safavid Dynasty that ruled over the modern day Azerbaijan, Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia during the period between 16th and 18th centuries established the Persia Empire and afterwards the identity of the Iranian people. Historians have revealed that art, during the rule of the Safavid Dynasty, had similar traits with aesthetic Renaissance, just as the one observed in Europe. Persians were excellent in respect to inventions. Moreover, Persian scientists made numerous great inventions that are still used in the modern times one way or another. Arthur Pope, an American historian and academic, who spend several years studying the Persian Empire, asserted that majority of the industrial developments were attributed to the work of the Persian scientists. For instance, air conditioning in its primitive form was first invented by the Persians. With respect to this, building designs that used curved roofing systems with the aim of facilitating air circulation can be traced to 3000 BC. It resulted in interiors that are more comfortable to an extent that the summer temperatures could be lowered to 370C. During 900 AD, Persians developed wind towers, which were more effective in the sucking of air out of buildings, which are still a common characteristic of several buildings in Iran. A similar invention by the Persians was the windmill used for milling grain during the 7th century. Current paper discusses the influences of the Persian Empire in the modern day world.

The first influence of the Persian Empire relates to its inventions that are still used in the contemporary world. Apart from the primitive air conditioning, the Persian Empire had numerous inventions that are still applied in the modern day world. For instance, the Persians developed the first ice house using a trial error method, which involved filling a pond facing north with water during winter and constructing adobe wall on the west, east and south. Such construction would result in the freezing of the pond overnight. Received ice could be collected and put in storage underground, while awaiting summer, and utilized in refrigeration of food and cooling drinks. It has been argued that Iran was the first to invent the ice cream. Another important innovation by the Persians that is still evident today is the Persian Wheel, which is till utilized in several parts of the world for irrigation purposes. In the invention, a vertical wheel with buckets attached is partly immersed in a source of water, such as a stream or river, with draft animals being towing the horizontal wheel that has been attached to the vertical one. With the animals moving, the wheel turns, which results in the filling and emptying of the buckets into a trough used in draining the collected water into farm fields. Similarly, the qanat, a tunnel system used in extracting ground water, is thought to have been developed during the 10000 BC. Persian farmers discovered that they could improve water flow to their farm fields through the excavation of gradually slopping tunnels from the water source. The outcome was a significant increase in farm produce from well-irrigated farm fields. It significantly contributed to the rise of the Persian Empire. In addition, the first agricultural adventure performed by man started in Persia, whereby Persians were the first people to learn how to milk animals. As a result, milk was first used as a food by the Persians, which is still used today as a rich source of proteins.

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The “Industrial Revolution” is thought to have commenced about 10000 years ago in Medea-Persia, and not in England during the 18th century, as it is mostly believed. Persians were the first to melt metals and engaged in the mass production of glass, bricks and pottery. In addition, they invented the weaving of clothes. Archeologists have shown that the invention of glassmaking occurred during the period 3000-2000 BC in Mesopotamia, present day Iraq, but was referred to as Babylon during the ancient times, and later Medeo-Persia. Baghdad retained its Persian name and is one of the former capital cities of the Empire.

The influence of the Persian Empire on the modern day world is also evident in the sports and entertainment domain. For instance, Poker owes its origins to the Persian Empire, since it is very similar to the Persian card game referred to as nas, which was extremely popular during 17th – 18th centuries. The game involved four players using hand painted cardboards arranged on decks. Such decks are among the most prized collectors’ items presently. In addition, polo is also thought to have its origins in Iran at the time of the Darius the Great. Darius used his cavalry to establish a huge empire. Polo spread to adjacent countries, and is currently regaining its popularity across the globe.

The influence of the Persian Empire is also evident in the transport and communication. For instance, the concept of postal relays originated in Persia, which is considered revolutionary like the concept of electronic mail during its first introduction. Postal relays were first introduced by Persians thousands of years ago, although there is the possibility of its simultaneous development in a number of other Middle Eastern countries. The well-organized mail system used by the Persian Empire formed the basis of the modern day mail system. With respect to transport, the Persians were the first to construct a super highway linking the West and the East that joined Europe to China, the Silk Trade Route. Super highways are a common feature of modern day road networks.

The modern money and banking system also owes its origins to the Persian Empire. Despite the fact that present day global banking systems issue paper cheques, Persians developed the original cheque for the purposes of saving itinerant merchants from having to carry large sums of money. The cheque system was subsequently adopted by Christian traders operating in Syria and later in Europe and other parts of the world. Today, banks use cheques as a means of transferring money, which is underpinned by the logic of the Persians – eliminating the need to carry large sums of cash. Moreover, the concepts of measurements, money and weight were first introduced and standardized by Persians approximately 2500 years ago. Persians also invented private banking during the same time, which involved the use of special coins. It explains why words such as Baazar, Check, Caravan and Bank are often associated with Persia. Although it is widely believed that the banking system started in England during the 17th century, it is not completely true. 

The administrative structures and mechanisms of the government used in the Persian Empire are still applied by modern day governments. For instance, during the rule of the Cyrus the Great, Persia introduced the concept of insurance by the government, which is still used in various modern day administrations. An example of the application of such concept in modern day government systems is healthcare insurance and unemployment benefits. In addition, the Persian Empire was the first to introduce the federal government system, whereby the Empire comprised of several States, referred to as Ostans under the rule of smaller kings. The federal government system has been adopted in various countries across the globe. Other aspects of governance introduced by the Persian Empire include the tax system and legal code.

The Persian Empire also influenced the modern day fashion. In this regard, there is no doubt that trousers are an embraced component of clothing across the globe. It is impossible to believe that there was a time when trousers never existed. Persians first introduced fitted and seamed trousers and coats. Trousers were considered helpful when riding. 

The Persian Empire also influenced some elements of social organization. For example, the Aryan people were divided by the First King into various professional classes. It created a social order, similar to the caste system that is still being used in India, as well as other parts of the world. Another social impact associated with the Persian Empire relates to the Turkish people, Arabs, Palestinians, Egyptians and Indians. In this respect, the Turkish people appeared from the early mixture of Chinese and Iranians. Arabs, Palestinians, Egyptians and Semites are a result of the early mixtures of Africans and Iranians, whereas Indians are a result of the early mixtures of the native black Indians and Iranians. Such mixtures can be attributed to the expansive nature of the Persian Empire, which resulted in new ethnicities that are still existent in the global demographic map.

The concept of Human Rights also has its origins in the Persian Empire. The first Human Rights Charter was written by King Darius of Persia approximately 2500 years ago, which is inscribed in the Alvand Mountain in Hagmataneh (Persian capital, modern day Hamadan). The Human Rights Charter written by King Darius enshrined the concept of racial equality and freedom of religion, which later played a pivotal role in ensuring that Jews were freed from Babylon’s captivity by Cyrus the Great of Persia. Cyrus the Great also developed his Declaration of Human Rights following his conquest of Babylon during 537 BC. His Charter was engraved on a clay tablet. The United Nations acknowledged the Declaration of the Human Rights by Cyrus the Great as the first charter regarding human rights. The charter was translated into various languages and later published globally. In addition, the concept of freedom of religion and minorities was pioneered by Persians. Whereas the Jews were subjected to discrimination and persecution by all the world powers such as Spaniards, Romans, Babylonians, Assyrians and Egyptians, the Persian Empire was the only power that protected and liberated the Jews. As a result, Persians advocated for the freedom of religion, which is an important modern day concept in the civil rights and liberties of people. Whereas other European conquerors, such as Alexander the Great, embarked on exiling people and destroying cities, Kings of the Persian Empire showed support for local religion and culture. It was instrumental in pioneering the culture of minorities across the globe.

In conclusion, it is evident that the influence of the Persian Empire in the present day world is vast and deals with almost all domains of human existence. Some of the modern day civilizations that were pioneered by the Persians include agricultural innovations, industrial revolutions, governance mechanisms, sports and entertainment, human rights and the modern day global banking and money system among others.


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