Between 539 and 330, the Achaemenid Persian Empire was the most powerful geo-political force in the world. From his capital cities in modern Iran, the Achaemenid king ruled a realm which stretched from Pakistan and Afghanistan in the East, to Turkey, Egypt, and Greece in the West.
Ruling this empire was a significant challenge – not just because of its vast size, but also because the empire was populated by incredibly diverse peoples with fundamentally different worldviews: more than 30 different languages were spoken, for instance, and tens of different religions were followed. To remain in power, the king had to be accepted by all of these societies.
Of course, the powerful Persian army could help to maintain order, but should more than a couple of the thirty plus countries ruled by the king rise in rebellion at any one time, things would be very difficult for the king; relying on force alone was risky, therefore.
But the Persian Empire survived for almost two centuries – clearly the Persian kings found a successful way to bring together their disparate subjects into one, unified Empire. One of their key methods was the creation of a powerful propaganda campaign, which was designed to persuade people right across the empire to support the king.
This resource explores some of the artwork made as part of this campaign – you will uncover the key messages that the kings communicated to their subjects, and you will begin to learn how to analyse images.
Now check out the activities below!