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Administrative Legacies of the Persian World-State Empire: Implications for Modern Public Administration, Part 1

PAQ, Vol. 26 No. 3, (2002)

Knowledge about governance and administration is cumulative with
strong roots in ancient civilizations. Many of these roots have firm
grounding in the ancient Persian Empire whose theory and practice of
governance and administration have made immense contributions to
world civilizations, their governments, and public administration. By
conquering virtually the entire known world of antiquity in a single
generation, the Persians changed the world’s political and adminis -
trative history forever. Their legacies are both widespread and profound.
This article discusses some of these legacies whose impacts and
implications transcended faraway cultures and administrative systems
and are preserved in various forms in the modern systems of public
administration and governance around the world. Although the pre-
Persian, six thousand years of administrative history of Iran is briefly
touched as a background, the main focus of this article is on the Achaemenid
World-State Empire (559-330 B.C.). By addressing the theory
and practice of public administration and governance of the Persian
Empire, the article outlines a number of implications for modern public
administration. The article does not address the mighty Persian and
Sasanian empires of Persia which, along with Rome, divided and ruled
the ancient world for the next millennium.

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