What were the major similarities between the Persian and Roman empires?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

At their fullest extent, the Persian Achaemenid Empire (500 B.C.) and the Roman Empire (117 A.D.) each covered approximately two million square miles.

Both empires are known for their developed road systems. Roads allowed for the movement of commodities, officials, and armies. Advanced infrastructure was crucial to the integrity of...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

At their fullest extent, the Persian Achaemenid Empire (500 B.C.) and the Roman Empire (117 A.D.) each covered approximately two million square miles.

Both empires are known for their developed road systems. Roads allowed for the movement of commodities, officials, and armies. Advanced infrastructure was crucial to the integrity of these immense empires. Roads helped create a common economic space and communication between different parts of the empire. The Persian Royal Road stretched nearly 1,700 miles from the capital of Susa, at the foot of the Zagros Mountains, to the Aegean Sea. The Royal Road had road markers, inns, and armed posts at regular intervals. At its height, the Roman Empire had approximately 250,000 miles of roadways.

If you superimpose on a map the Roman Empire on the Persian Empire at their highest extent, you will see that they held some of the same territories, including Thrace, the Anatolian Peninsula and parts of northern Africa and the Near East. They might both be considered parts of what some historians call the "Greater West." Both had contacts with and invaded Greece, with varying results. After the decline of the Roman Empire in the West, the East Roman or Byzantine Empire frequently clashed with the new Sasanian Persian Empire.

One could add many other similarities, such as impressive architecture, large formidable armies, the establishment of provinces and provincial administration, the multi-ethnic and multi-religious composition of the states despite sporadic attempts to establish religious uniformity, the lofty position of the rulers and some similarities in the notions of kingship.

Any of these themes can be productively explored and developed in an essay.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

There are many similiarities between the ancient Persian empire and that of the ancient Romans.  First, both empires grew up in the same general area; that being around the Mediterranean Sea.  They both had dealing with many of the same cultures: Greeks, Egyptians, etc. They both conquered through the use of a massive military force... the largest anyone had seen for their respective time periods.  Both had very structured command centers for their military.  Both empires conquered the "known world" in their time (relative term; but speaks to their effective military prowness).  

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team