Before the Romans and before Alexander the Great, the Persians built the largest and greatest empire the world had ever seen. Their empire emerged under the brilliant reign of Cyrus the Great in 559 B.C. and lasted more than two centuries until 330 B.C. Their imperial borders stretched from Europe in the west across Anatolia, Mesopotamia, and the harsh Iranian landscape in central Asia, into the Indus Valley in the east. At the height of their power, the Persians developed an efficient bureaucracy, a postal service, an economy based on coinage, and a well-organized army. The Persians never numbered more than one million people. Yet, through advanced communication networks and a local tolerance policy, they ruled successfully over a multiethnic and multicultural population of at least 25 million. Despite the Persians' amazing achievements and enduring legacies, many people associate the empire with despotism, decadence, and barbarism. But are those descriptions accurate? Join us as we explore the fascinating history of the Persian Empire.