I got out my King James Bible and read the Book of Esther for Purim; it’s not long and has parallels with today, as any DC slut knows.  The Empire that stretched from India to Ethiopia.  Mordecai massacres 75,500 Persians for their alleged plot to kill Jews of the Empire.  Need some background, and this History Channel presentation from 2006, is a good way to spend 45 minutes.  It starts with that great warrior/engineer/gardener, Cyrus the Great (?-530 BC), founding the Empire, to its fall when that Macedonian admirer of Cyrus, Alexander, defeats Darius III, in 331 BC, at the Battle of Gaugamela.

File:Map of the Achaemenid Empire.jpg