For almost 1,200 years, the Persians ruled a territory that stretched from the Black Sea into Central Asia, from India to Egypt and into the fringes of southern Europe. During that period from 550 BCE to 651 CE, the ancient Persians learned to cultivate crops such as wheat and barley and to domesticate animals; they also demonstrated their talents for architecture and art by building enormous palaces, such as at the site of Persepolis, and through intricate art painted on pottery. As their neighbors, particularly the Macedonian prince Alexander the Great, grew stronger, ancient Persia struggled to maintain its authority. Despite their eventual decline, the Persian empires had significant influence on the ancient world, including the idea of worshipping a single god. As the first monotheistic religion, Zoroastrianism would lay the foundation for the development of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. ""Empires of Ancient Persia"" looks at the rise and fall of the Persian empires, the daily life of the people, and their influence on subsequent civilizations.
Michael Burgan has written more than 200 books, including Buddhist Faith in America for Facts On File, Cold War, and Colonial and Revolutionary Times. He has also written biographies of former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, astronaut John Glenn, various U.S. presidents, and several scientists and explorers.