In the 14th century a muslim historian named Ibn Khaldun wrote about the ancient empires and how the first civilizations emerged along Major Rivers. The Huang Ho Valley in China, Indus River in Pakistan and more famously the Nile River in Egypt. The Historian wrote how these rivers allowed easy access to trade and commerce and from there grew into major cities and then to civilizations. But more interestingly, Ibn Khaldun wrote about the Pattern of history; Farmers would build irrigation system supporting villages and towns, later on some warrior would bring these towns under his rule and form a united political entity, like a kingdom or an empire. Then a tribe of Nomads would come along and conquer this kingdom and seize all the holdings and settle in their place and further expand the new empire. As time went by the nomads would assimilate and become soft city dwellers exactly the kind of people they had conquered before and at this point another tribe of Nomads would come along and conquer them and take their empire. Conquest, consolidation, expansion, degeneration and conquest. This was the Pattern Ibn Khaldun wrote about. The first civilization was the land between the rivers of Tigris and Euphrates, later known as Mesopotamia and Babylon. Less known are the Sumerians who started it all. They united the cities near the river of Euphrates into a single network called Sumer. They invented writing, the wheel, the cart, etc. Later, the Akkadians, a mountainous people to the north, conquered Sumer and their leader Sargon (of) Akkad became the first conqueror known by name. At the time this was the largest kingdom and Sargon famously said, “Now, any king who wants to call himself my equal, wherever I went, let him go” He basically said, let’s see anyone conquer as much as I have. His kingdom was smaller than Serbia. Later the Acadians were conquered by another nomadic tribe and the newcomers were then conquered by others and so it went on… the Gutians, Hurrians, Amorites, they all conquered, settled, expanded a little and then assimilated from warrior to city folk. But every conquest left something behind The Amorites founded the city of Babylon and from the City emerged the first Babylonian Empire. The Babylonians were pioneers in astronomy and mathematics. Then the Assyrian tribe to the North took it over and founded the Assyrian Empire. Their capital Nineveh is considered one of the greatest cities in antiquity. The assyrians made a number of innovations and improvements They erected the first library and used paved roads. They even came up with the first kind of imperial administration in which subject nations and vassals reported to a central authority. But the Assyrian Rulers also gained a reputation as merciless tyrants. Now, it’s hard to say if they were really worse than the other rulers in their time, but one of their strategies to keep the realm stable was by moving whole populations to other places. After a while the Assyrians lost their power to other tribes like the Sumerian descendants, Babylonians, Kassitites. These tribes fought each other for about two centuries until the Assyrians came back and re-established their empire and returned to their divide and rule strategy. Eventually the Assyrians fell to one of their subject nations, The Chaldeans. They rebuilt the second Babylonian Empire, and they’re well known for their achievements in astronomy, medicine, architecture and mathematics. In fact it was the Chaldeans who built the hanging gardens of Babylon one of the ancient seven world wonders. But the Chaldeans followed the same strategy as the Assyrians had by uprooting whole populations in order to divide and rule. It was the Chaldean King of Babylonia, Nebuchadnezzar who first smashed Jerusalem and dragged the Hebrews into captivity. Then came the invasion by the highland people to the east, the Persians and the Medes. The Babylonians were defeated and their infrastructure and political system was used to found the Persian Empire. The Persian emperor Cyrus the Great Had conquered the known world. His realm extended from the Nile to the Indus river. But the Persians are best known for their political reforms. They followed the opposite strategy of the Assyrians. They set the Hebrews free from captivity and resettled populations to their native lands. The Persians pursued a policy of multiculturalism. People were allowed to live however they saw fit and worship whatever gods they wanted, as long as they paid their taxes to the central authority. They issued a common currency and built a vast network of roads throughout the empire. The Persian libraries were so large that there is in fact more information about this period, 3,000 years ago than there is in Europe 1200 years ago. The Persian Empire also had its own unique religion. Zoroastrianism was founded in the region of Azerbaijan, meaning the land of fire. Zoroastrianism is often misunderstood for fire worshiping But the fire is a mere symbol for purity. The Zoroastrians basically believed in good and evil. That there was a heaven, and there was a hell. It was one of the earliest monotheistic religions. In the later era of the Persian Empire, They came in contact with the Greeks. The Greeks Supported revolts in the Persian Empire and this provoked the Persian emperor, Darius to punish the Greeks. Darius formed one of the largest armies ever but the size was more a liability than an advantage. There was no real effective way to direct so many men at such a distance. In the end it was the greeks who taught the Persians a lesson. But the lesson was quickly forgotten. Darius’ son Xerxes decided to Avenge his father by going after the greeks again. This is the war that involved the famous 300 Spartans. Darius repeated his father’s mistake and lost the war. 150 years later Alexander of Macedonia took the Battle the other way. He crippled the Persian army and quickly conquered all of Persia and thereby effectively conquered the known world. Alexander left a controversial mark, cities that had surrendered to him were left unharmed, but cities that resisted were pillaged. When he had conquered the Persian capital and the palace he burned it to the ground. Now this was one of the most prestigious buildings in the world. But on the other hand he built the lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the ancient seven world wonders. Alexander was planning to name Babylon his new capital and he also planned to fuse the greek and Persian cultures into one. He recommended his generals to take Persian wives but he died before he could implement this policy. And upon his death, his generals asked him, “Who should succeed you?” Alexander Replied, “The strongest”. His Empire broke in pieces among the Greek generals controlling it. Then the Greeks fought each other. Eventually the kingdoms weakened and the greek influence diminished. Persian identity resurfaced and another Empire was formed, Parthia. They didn’t exactly occupy the same size as the earlier Persian Empire but the Parthians use the existing political structure and established an empire. They later on assimilated into the Persian language and over time became Persians. The Parthians made no significant contribution to art and culture. Simply because they didn’t care for it. The Parthian were after all a nomadic warrior people. But what they lacked in culture they made up in warfare. They were the first to use cataphract, a knight in full metal armour riding an armoured horse. This would later on influence the Roman empire’s horsemen and from there, European feudal knights. But the Parthians also used light cavalry who would pretend to flee in the middle of a battle. This tricked the other army to break rank and chase after them. Then the Parthian Horsemen would suddenly turn wheel around and fire into their disorganised opponents. This would later be called the Parthian shot. They used these tactics and battled the roman empire to a standstill. When Christianity started to spread the Parthians didn’t care because they favoured Zoroastrianism. In the 3rd Century, a provincial rebel overthrew the last of the Parthians and founded the Sassanid Dynasty. And they too Quickly expanded and occupied the same territory as the Parthians had. The Sassanids reformed the Empire and erased the last traces of greek influence. They built enormous monuments, buildings and cities. Zoroastrianism became the official religion. In the same Era the Roman Empire was falling apart. The Roman Emperor split the Empire in two for administrative purposes but all the wealth was in the east and when the germanic tribes moved into the western parts of the empire, the government shrank, law and order broke down, trade decayed and eventually the western part of the Roman Empire collapsed and Europe entered the dark ages. But the Eastern part of the Roman Empire still lived on however the identity Between Roman and Greek was so vague that historians gave it a new name, The Byzantine Empire. The Byzantinians kept the Roman culture but didn’t improve on it. For example, most people can name Roman and Greek poets and philosophers like Plato, Aristotle, Julius Caesar, Augustus, etc. But few people can name two Byzantinian poets. This empire lasted more than a thousand years but few people can name five events that took place in the empire. Still Byzantium was a superpower back then, the other being the Persian empire. They fought each other in multiple Wars which generally ended in a stalemate. But both these empires neglected the developments to their Southern neighbours. The Arabian peninsula which was about to awaken. This was a Caspian report by me Shiron. Thank you for watching. Salut!