How did Persian kings maintain control and organize such a vast empire?

The Persian kings were able to maintain control over their large territory by tolerating the practices of the many different peoples within their empire. This kept them compliant and loyal. If they stepped out of line, they had the wrath of the mighty Persian military to fear. Otherwise, they enjoyed the protection of this fighting force. The empire was organized into smaller districts called satrapies were governed by satraps who reported directly to the king.

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Persia was a vast empire. At its height during the Achaemenid Dynasty, it contained approximately 5.5 million square kilometers and over 40 percent of the world's population. For the kings to maintain control of such a large and multi-cultural territory they had to make their empire attractive to their citizens. To this end, the kings were relatively lax in allowing the various ethnic groups within the empire to practice their own customs and run their local communities as they saw fit. As long as they paid tribute and did not cause any trouble, most people in the empire were left to their own devices. This level of toleration meant that uprisings were very uncommon.

The military was also a tool of control. This worked in two ways. First of all, many people throughout the empire enjoyed the protection of the mighty Persian military. They knew that such a strong military meant that they were relatively safe from outside attacks. However, they were also aware that rebellion or dissent...

(The entire section contains 5 answers and 881 words.)

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