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What is so interesting about the History Channel producing "Engineering an Empire: The...

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ladyc60 | Valedictorian

Posted September 22, 2013 at 3:07 AM via web

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What is so interesting about the History Channel producing "Engineering an Empire: The Persians?"

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K.P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted September 24, 2013 at 10:38 AM (Answer #1)

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Of course, something "interesting" requires something that is interesting in your own mind, not in somebody else's mind. While we can't tell you what you find interesting, we can help to shape how you understand and identify things that might be interesting to you. Four possibilities come readily to mind:

  • Cyrus freeing the Jews to return to Jerusalem
  • engineering uderground water transfer from mountain aquifers
  • creating the largest empire then and perhaps that ever was
  • Cyrus the Great outshines other great leaders like Peter the Great, Charlemagne the Great and Alexander the Great

These are four potentially interesting things to anyone watching the History Channel's presentation of the making and the greatness of the Persian Empire--though there are other things I haven't listed, like the shipping canals they built for commercial trade and transport and like the massive edifices they constructed that were burned down by triumphant Greeks after Alexander the Great was victorious against Cyrus--but for someone just learning to think critically about history, why might these be of interest?

Freeing and liberating the Jews is of interest because (1) that allowed the Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild what, as they believed, God had given them and (2) this bespeaks of issues of religious tolerance and expression that are at the heart of political and government and security issues today.

Engineering complex and sophisticated waterways requiring precise geological locations and geometric calculations by people typically identified as "primitive" casts a new light over the past and the peoples of the past. This applies to their monumental architectural accomplishments as well.

That the Persian Empire may have been the largest ever known and, in fact, the largest up until their time bespeaks of greater power in the ancient world than is often acknowledged and of that which might inform our world of how to reconcile differences to form cooperative units, which is a lesson Washington D.C. might presently learn from as Republicans and Democrats threaten to harm the country when their elected duty is to aid the country (Sep 2013). This ties into the idea that Cyrus the Great may have done more and given more to the people following him than any of the other renowned great leaders of the past epochs. (You might also find interesting the irony of Cyrus the greatest Great being conquered by Alexander the Great.)

Now, you have enough before you to identify what you think interesting and why it strikes you as interesting so that, when you rewatch the film or video, you'll understand a bit better and be able to identify what you find interesting in the record of the Persians.

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