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  • Print publication year: 2007
  • Online publication date: March 2008

11 - The Persian Near East

from Part II - Early Mediterranean Economies and the Near East


The Achaemenid Persian empire lasted for slightly over two hundred years, and incorporated several languages and cultures, as well as diverse forms of economic subsistence. This chapter focuses on one major region of the empire, the Near East. The Persian period should be viewed as a continuation of the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian periods, although new developments can be detected that would have underpinned increased economic growth. Despite population movements, Anatolians into northern Syria, Philistines on the southern Levantine coast, population across northern Syria and northern Mesopotamia may have decreased due to a prolonged period of desiccation. The population movement in the Neo- Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian periods led to increased urbanization in the Assyrian home provinces and, later, in Babylonia, while urban centers decreased in central and southern Syria-Palestine. The chapter also discusses the impact of imperialism on institutions and organizations, specifically regarding the control and exploitation of agricultural land.

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