Hardcore History 56 – Kings of Kings I

Dan Carlin's Hardcore History episode 56

In this Hardcore History episode, Dan Carlin visits the Kings of Kings of the ancient Achaemenid Persian empire. Though often relegated to the role of slavish cannon fodder for Sparta’s spears, the Achaemenid Persian empire had a glorious heritage. Under a single king they created the greatest empire the world had ever seen.

Existing from around 550 BC to 330 BC, the Achaemenid Empire was an empire based in Western Asia, founded by Cyrus the Great. Ranging at its greatest extent from the Balkans and Eastern Europe proper in the west to the Indus Valley in the east, it was larger than any previous empire in history, spanning 5.5 million square kilometers.

Incorporating various peoples of different origins and faiths, it is notable for its successful model of a centralised, bureaucratic administration, even through satraps under the King of Kings, for building infrastructure such as road systems and a postal system, the use of an official language across its territories, and the development of civil services and a large professional army.

The empire’s successes inspired similar systems in later empires.

More in this series

Hardcore History 56 – Kings of Kings I