Greece and Persia

Ancient Greece and Persia are eminently comparable. Both nations have centuries of history, politics, and culture. To begin with, both have interesting geographical points that make them unique. The mainland of Greece, a nation of over 1,400 islands, is a peninsula. On the western coast of Greece is the Ionian Sea, and between Greece and Turkey is the Aegean Sea; these are just a couple of Greece’s surrounding watery borders, but they are smaller parts of the Mediterranean Sea. Greeks built many harbors and ports along these waterways. The seafaring citizens flourished amidst the vast seas.Persia existed in the Fertile Crescent in the Near East. The Fertile Crescent ran along the Persian Gulf down into the area that is modern-day Iran. The Fertile Crescent is known as the “cradle of civilization.” The ease of agriculture in the area made for quick population growth in Persia. That growth led to the expansion of Persian culture.  Persians began to write poetry. There was a time when nearly all text in Persia was written in verse, even medical and law texts. The four kinds of Persian poetry are Epic, Ghasideh, Masnavi, and Ghazal.  Persian literature was considered one of the four main bodies of literature worldwide by Goethe. Greece was no stranger to this cultural revolution either. The Greeks were the first Europeans to read and write with an alphabet. The dialects of the Greek language were Aeolic, Doric, and Ionic. Much like the English language, the Greek language was influenced by geography, the nationality of outlying peoples, and the nations that the Greeks conquered. With this alphabet the Greeks developed theater styles that are still alive today. Comedies and tragedies are chief among the Greek theatre types. These have never gone out of style and are the basis of most modern movies and plays. Many of these plays were complicated tales revolving around the numerous Greek gods and goddesses. There was a god or goddess for virtually every aspect of Greek life, from planting to prostitution. The Persians, in direct contrast, were the first monotheistic nation. They were Zoroastrians who worshiped the prophet Zoroaster. Zoroastrianism was based on the belief in dualism; a heaven and hell paradigm that persists among other religions still today. Philip II of Macedon was one of Greece's most influential leaders. He was a member of the Delphic Council because he used his might and money to get a seat. He conquered many lands, expanding the size of Greece substantially. In fact, he was preparing to invade Persia when he died. This became a missionfor his son, Alexander the Great, who took it upon himself to target the Persian leader, Darius, and track him across Persia. Alexander conquered one nation after another, naming many of them after himself or his horse. Greece had grown to epic proportions by the time Alexander died. Greece started as an oligarchy, which meant it was being run by a small group of individuals who were wealthy, male landowners. None of the men had much individual power, and so decisions were decided on by a group consensus. When one man would start craving too much power, he became a tyrant. These tyrannies made life unbearable for the citizenry. Eventually the people began to rise up and come together to form the first democratic government. Democratic rule is still the norm in Greece today. Modern Greece has become a tourist mecca because of the ruins of its epic past. It does still have its share of troubles. Invading hordes throughout history gave way to financial distress.Greece did fare better than Persia, which was conquered in 330 BC by none other than Alexander the Great.

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