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Ancient Persian Empire Government of Ancient Persia

Babylonia, having an ancient culture, was in a fairly advanced state of civilization even at that early date; hence Hammurabi's Code was only a revised and systematized collection of Babylonia's old laws. Although built upon the Assyrian model, the Persian administrative system was far more efficient and humane. The empire was divided into twenty provinces, or satrapies, each ruled by a governor called a satrap. To check the satraps, a secretary and a military official representing the "Great King, King of Kings" were installed in every province.

The King's Ears commanded a great deal of fear and respect, sometimes showing up with no armed escort, but still being able to put down rebellious satraps before the revolts went beyond the planning stages.

The population of the Empire would be divided into the Clergy, the Government Servants, the Soldiers, the Office Bearers and Attendants, the Peasant, the Tradesmen, the Artisans, etc. And it is apparent that each class would have special laws applying to the members of their order beside the general codes.

Darius I created about twenty large provinces, called satrapies. These ensured that he would not have to race from one end of his empire to the other defending it against every little tribe that decided to attack. Each such campaign might involve years of preparation, marching and fighting.

The Persian Empire was the first to attempt to govern many different racial groups on the principle of equal responsibilities and rights for all peoples. So long as subjects paid their taxes and kept the peace, the king did not interfere with local religion, customs, or trade. Indeed, Darius was called the "shopkeeper" because he stimulated trade by introducing a uniform system gold and silver coinage on the Lydian model.

Sometimes they also kept local rulers in power as Persian vassals, such as in the Greek cities in Asia Minor. This hopefully would ensure them more loyalty, although it could backfire if those rulers were unpopular to begin with.

The Books of Law dealt with Court and Magisterial Law, Law of Accusations, Law for Injuries to Person and Property; Laws pertaining to Theft, Misappropriation and Cruelty to Animals; Laws applying to Soldiers and Military Organisations; Church Law, Family Law and Law of Pedigree and Descent; Law applying to Medical Practice; Law of Business Transactions in relation to Property, Animate and Inanimate; Laws relating to Debt and Interest, the other Mutual Obligations; Laws of Purity etc.


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