Page 0305

305 BOOK SIXTH

PERSIA.

CHAPTER XXVI-THE COUNTRY.

THE Persian Empire, established by Cyrus the Great, was of vast extent. After the do

minion of the Caesars, no other kingdom of the ancient world had equal territorial limits.

From east to west the rule of the Achaemenian kings extended over more than fifty-six

degrees of longitude, and from north to south through twenty degrees of latitude. The

boundaries of the Empire on the east were the river Indus and Thibet; on the south, the

Persian Gulf and the deserts of Arabia and Nubia; on the west, the Great Desert, the

Mediterranean, the Aegean, and the river Strymon; on the north, the Danube, the Euxine,

the Caucasus, the Caspian, and the Jaxartes.

Such was the territorial horizon of the great kings. A right line from the eastern to the

western limit of the Empire reached as far as from New York to San Francisco; and the

measure from north to south was, in its greatest dimension, fully one thousand five

hundred miles. The entire area was more than eight times as great as Babylonia, four times

as great as Assyria,

and more than one-half as great as the whole of modern Europe. The Persian territories

embraced fully two million square miles.

Glancing at the political divisions of the Empire, we find an array of provinces and

subordinate kingdoms almost equal in number and extent to the Provinciae of Rome. The

general divisions were into three groups: the Central, the Eastern, and the Western. The

Central provinces were Persia proper, Susiana, Babylonia, Assyria, Media, the Caspian

district, and the Great Desert. The Eastern were Hyrcania, Parthia, Asia, Chorasmia,

Sogdiana, Bactria, Scythia, Sattagydia, India, Paricania, Eastern Ethiopia, and Mycia. The

Western were Paeonia, Thrace, Asia Minor, Armenia, Iberia, Syria, Palestine, Phoenicia,

Egypt, and Cyrenaica. Most of these countries, especially the more important, have already

been described in the preceding Books. Others will be considered in subsequent portions of

the work. It remains, in this connection, to describe briefly the character, climate, and

resources of that district which constituted the nucleus of the Empire. PERSIA PROPER,

corresponding almost 305