You are on page 1of 2

Sneha Ojha

Comparing Greece and Persia

Greece and Persia were two of the greatest civilizations located near the Mediterranean Sea

during 1000-30 B.C.E. Both Greece and Persia had a structure of having multiple individual communities

– the Greeks having polis system and the Persians having the Satrap system. However, both the Greeks

and the Persians had different systems of government and religions.

Both the Greeks and Persians opted to divide their kingdoms into multiple smaller communities.

Each of these communities had unique qualities. The Greeks divided their kingdom into multiple polises.

A polis is a state or society, especially when characterized by a sense of community. Each polis was

independent of each other and had key urban characteristics. For example, the Acropolis was a polis top

of the city that acted as a place of refuge in an emergency. The Persians also divided their empire;

however, they used a Satrap system. The Persian empire was divided into 20 provinces, each governed by

a Satrap or governor. The Persian empire was enormous and tended to absorb the cultures of the lands it

conquered. This caused each province to have different cultural practices. In both the polis and Satrap

system, the region(Greece and Persia) was split into multiple smaller communities. Also, each community

had its unique characteristics. The way Greece and Persia were split up are similar; however, the way two

regions were governed were different. Greece, specifically Athens, had a democratic system. For

example, there was the assembly which allowed male citizens to speak their opinions and vote. It also had

a Council of 500 which consisted of 50 elected members from each of the ten tribes. The Greek system

allowed for democracy among male citizens, having assembly’s and councils where the people are

allowed to vote rather than a ruler. Persia, on the other hand, had a king. Even though each province

governed by a Satrap, those Satraps reported back to the kings. For example, around the time of

500B.C.E Darius I ruled over all of Persia. Even though both Greece and Persian had similar ways of

breaking up their empire, they had different ways of governing it—Greece having a democracy and Persia

having a monarchy.

Greece and Persia also had cultural differences, specifically their disposition towards religion.

The Persians had a large empire extending from the outskirts of India all the way to the Mediterranean
Sneha Ojha

Sea. Since the empire was so large, Persia tended to absorb the culture of its conquered lands. This

caused for Persia to have a wide variety of religions practiced within its domain. The Persians choose

more accepting of these religions rather than forcing one religion on all the people. For example, some

Persians practiced Zoroastrianism—the belief the wise lord Ahuramazda created the world.

Zoroastrianism was a monotheistic religion. Since the Greeks had a smaller empire, they had less variety

of religion than the Persians had. The Greeks practiced their a form of mythology, having Gods elements

natural phenomena. For example, Zeus was the god of the sky. In contrast to Persia, Greece had a

polytheistic religion rather than a monotheistic religion. Furthermore, the Persians had a variety of

religions such as Zoroastrianism while Greece had a mythology religious system.

The Greek and Persian society had their similarities and differences. Both empires split their

region into multiple, small, independent communities. The Greeks and Persians had different systems of

government (democracy versus monarchy) and religions (varied/Zoroastrianism versus Greek

mythology). The government systems of Greek and Persia are similar to that of Rome and China. Rome

had a Senate comprised of elected officials, similar to the Greek council of 500 which was comprised of

elected tribe members. China was governed by emperor the same way the Persia was ruled by a king.

Both China and Persia passed down power by bloodline. For example, in China, if the emperor died, his

son or blood relative would replace him. The same bloodline transfer happened in Persia. For example,

when Darius I died, his son, Xerxes I succeeded him.