Compare and contrast ancient Persian civilization to ancient Greece. Did Persia influence Greece or vice versa?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first problem with this is that "ancient Greece" was not a single entity. Until the Macedonian conquest, Greek-speaking people lived in independent city states which each had their own political systems and were often at war with one another. Perhaps the greatest difference between Persia and Greece at this time was that Persia was an Empire while the geographic area we now call Greece was divided by people who shared a language and certain types of cultural heritage but were not part of a unified state.

Persia was a vast, powerful, and wealthy empire while the Greek city states were relatively small and poor by comparison, existing in an arid mountainous area. The main contact zone between the two were the Ionian city states of Asia Minor on the eastern edge of the Aegean sea. Mesopotamian and Persian science and religion had some influence on Greek thought and art in the archaic period, but the major period of influence was during the Hellenistic period, where Alexander appropriated many of the administrative elements of the Persian Empire. The Greek influence on Persia was probably less significant than the Persian influence on Greece.