The Persian conquerors of the Asiatic world found domestic slavery more or less developed wherever they penetrated. Positive information, however, is extremely scanty regarding the special social and political organization of the Persians after Kyros and under Dareios. The rule of the Achæmenides extended over about eighty millions of men, belonging to various races. The conquerors, in all cases, respected the civil and social organization and administration peculiar to the subjugated tribes or nations. In numerous instances, the sovereigns of conquered states became Persian satraps over lands they once ruled in their own right. As satraps they were possessed of oppressive authority, had the power of life and death, of forcing exactions and levying taxes. But, as the Persian kings were, 구미오피 to the last, strict observers of Zarathustra's precepts, agriculture always continued to be the most favored pursuit. The satraps were rewarded with strict reference to the degree in which agriculture flourished and the population grew and prospered in their respective satrapies.

During the long rule of the descendants of Dareios, comparative peace prevailed in the interior of the great empire, which swept from the Nile almost to the Indus. So that domestic slavery did not find its usual supplies from prisoners of war, or by the destruction of small properties and consequent domestic impoverishment—those terrible sequels of wars from which[Pg 79] Fore-Asia had suffered almost uninterruptedly for many previous centuries.