What if Persians Won the Greco-Persian War?

My guesses:

1) Greek race and culture would have survived, just like the Egyptians, Babylonians and Jews. Persians were famous for their cultural tolerance.

2) Achaemenid Dynasty survives for a few more generations. It would collapse anyway, for it was unstable even without outside threats.

3) More Greek culture elements in Persian Empire, for the Persians borrowed a lot.

4) No Alexander's empire. Even the tolerant Persians would not allow a potential threat like the Macedonians to continue growing.

5) the Romans kept on expanding.

Ideas? What are the long term consequences?
Greek diaspora in Italy or Sicily? Sort of a collection of free greek cities in exile. Would be interesting to see how they fit in with Rome and Carthage.

Obviously Western political tradition is massively different.
Persians might have difficulties keep so large empire and it might collapse soon due of internal rebels. Greeks might get their independent back. But whole area is quiet different. It might be possible that there is unified Greek nation.
I'll suggest you to take a lookthere and there

Allow me to quote myself.

Interestingly enough, it could look as the situation after the peace of Antalcidas, after that Attic hegemony was broken and that Persia not only took back Ionian coast, but greatly influenced helladic politics up to the point its gold managed to crush or found foes and allies, or even to threaten the formers of invasions.

Basically, you could end with cities and leagues being Persian vassals, with a leading satrap somewhere (probably in Thessalia), keeping some quite large form of autonomy as long they pledged alliegance to the King.

Depending of Persian rulers and satraps skills, the situation could last as Antalcidias' Peace OTL, or break out after a series of rebellions (the latter being less likely as time pass).
Interestingly again, that would certainly mean even more greek influence on Persian military techniques and cultures (Greek fighters being renowed as mercenaries already IOTL and much used by Persian rulers, governors or claimants)
Well there would still be democracies in Greece under the Persian, wouldn't it?

Persia didn't particularly care what government the cities took on as long as they were friendly to Persia. At the same time though, their experience with the Ionian Greeks will probably leave them immensely distrustful of their mainland cousins.


I've always thought that this is such an enormous POD that there's basically no point in even attempting it. The world would be so massively different than we can't even begin to contemplate it.
No. Local self-government would not change the fact that they would be part of the Persian Empire.

Yes, but it might not change the fact that some of those self governing cities may be allowed to be democracies. As long as they were loyal to persia, Persia didn't care what form of government they used.
Yes, but it might not change the fact that some of those self governing cities may be allowed to be democracies. As long as they were loyal to persia, Persia didn't care what form of government they used.
This, Persia managed to live on because it didn't interfered with local and provincial practices when it wasn't necessary.
Whatever they managed to get it, tributes and acknowledgment of vassality what was Persian kings were interested on.
Even satraps, despite not fully being such and under Achemenid scrutiny, had a vassal/overlord relationship with the Achemenids, at the point it even became hereditary after a while.

Wasn't there less slavery in Persia than in Greece?

It's rather hard to tell, or at least this way : some provinces, as Egypt, seems to have ignored slavery other than domestic or carceral, others (as in Anatolia and Mesopotamia) didn't differed that much from what existed in Greece.
If we're talking about Persia proper, it seems to have been limited, but Persians never bothered about challenging slavery where it existed, and where it created their wealth.

Furthermore, it seems that enslavement was enforced by Persians against revolted peoples, for exemple Ionian cities.

So, most probably, Persians would likely not feel concerned by Greek slavery and just let it exist as they let slavery exist among other conquered provinces.
At worst, the conquest of Greece, seen as a campaign against revoltees and/or support of revoltees, would be followed by enslavement of a part of Greeks.
There are two schools of thought to this. They stem, of course, from the fact that some of the seeds the Greeks sowed took root, in the Italic states in one way, and in the Eastern Mediterranian in another. Hellenic philosophy and thought had quite an effect in both of those areas, and we take a huge amount of our culture from these two roots, the Greco-Roman root we tend to call "Classical" and the Hellenistic-Semitic fusion that tends to go by "Judeo-Christian."

So there are again two basic outcomes of the whole "Greeks stomp the Persians."

1) The total rewrite. Often found in older books on the subject, as the Greeks as Victorian surrogates stood off the Asiatic hordes, birthing the West in blood and fire. The Greeks fall, and the flowering of culture, the Athens of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle is still born. The world is utterly different.

To be fair, even when stripped of earlier racism, there's a certain amount to recommend this. (Not the Asiatic Hordes part. That's still a little dreadful. And the Classical Greeks aren't as modern as the Victorians or Cosmos would have you think.) The thinkers who made the patterns of thought that we tend to identify with the Classical all post-date Darius, as did the Athens they lived in.

2) The maybe not all that different. High politics is high politics, and often, inspite of what rulers and elites think, the world rolls on without them. People have already mentioned that the Persians tended to let places roll along as they were. Heck, it's why the Persians generally come off well in the Old Testament - they were perfectly happy to let the Jews roll along where they wanted to roll along. They'd probably let the Ionians and Dorians have their votes, run their trade routes, set up their colonies, and do all the things that set up the culture that produced the Greek thinkers.

Moreover, they were still heading for Imperial overstreach, and the Macedonians would still be getting fighty. Whether you still have the world-conquering genious terror of Alexander, who knows? But how good you have to be to overthrow the Persians by this point is a real question. If you still have an Eastern Mediterranian with the attractive *Platonism of the Greeks working its way into the cracks of where ever they trade, the individuals of history we know butterfly away - but the kind of Rome that rises might not.

All in all, it'd be fair to call this the Great Question of Alternate History.
The Greeks might not be as unruly as we might assume. After all, Athens is likely destroyed, and Sparta is likely dismembered (an invading Persian army would surely free the helots, and re-found Messene). Thebes surrendered to the Persians IOTL (with the other Greeks remembering them as traitors), and Argos was neutral, and would have supported Persia had their victory become inevitable. Corinth is the strongest potentially unruly population, but it probably would have found that the empire was conducive to trade. If we look at the Macedonian occupation of Greece as a model, the smaller Greek states would probably love the Persians, as Persia could protect them from the antics of the big cities. And, as the Persians were pretty lenient to conquered peoples, and didn't interfere often in local government (surely they wouldn't as much as the Macedonians later would!), there is a chance that the Greeks might be more peaceful subjects than we assume.

Plus the Greeks have something that most of the other peoples (the Phoenicians being the main exception) that the Persians conquered don't: western colonies. This does allow a sort of "valve" for the strongest dissidents to escape to. A greater Greek westward migration might help Syracuse defeat Carthage in Sicily - the balance of those wars can be easily tipped. Perhaps a Syracusan tyrant could be the one who tries to liberate the Greeks from Persian rule?

Macedonia as a world power is likely butterflied. It's OTL rise is far from inevitable; in fact, it's really kind of weird. It was kind of an ancient Prussia, with Philip II being Frederick William I, and Alexander the Great being Frederick the Great. Although, then again, the rise of most historical world powers is kind of unlikely.

Greek culture should do well under Persian rule, and it should influence Persia. Since Athens won't flourish in this timeline, however, it probably won't do as well - at least, we'll be missing a few of the more famous thinkers. Other Greek cities were plenty capable of having their own philosophers and playwrights though. It might inspire the Achaemenids to use Greek hoplite tactics more than they did IOTL.

A conquest of Greece might help make Persia more stable than it was IOTL. After all, the Greeks helped encourage the Ionians and Egyptians to revolt, and without Greeks to fight, the Persians could pour more resources into stablizing other places. Then again, the Sicilian Greeks might just take the place of the main Greeks ITTL, encouraging both Greece (and Egypt) to revolt, which would be even more of a mess for the Persians to figure out. So I'm not sure how this is handled. In addition, we should see more Persian influences on Greek culture and philosophy, which would be very interesting in and of itself.

Rome could rise as it did IOTL, or that could be butterflied. If the Sicilian Greeks are stronger than they were IOTL, that could stifle Roman expansion. Maybe a longer-lasting Rome-Carthage alliance?

If/when Persia breaks up, a Persian occupation of Greece could make the process of unification for Greece much quicker. Who knows who unifies it, but a unified Greece would be a very powerful successor state, for obvious reasons.

I think this is one of the most interesting PODs there is. It's challenging, but I don't think it's as unanswerable as people think. I would do it myself if I didn't have other projects... maybe a TLIAD....
If such a thing as “the West” eventually emerges(*), then historiography of the Persian empire will likely be extremely different - look to the image of the Roman, or Norman, conquests of England as an example. (After all, what did the Persians bring us, apart from roads, education, aqueducts, and wine?). So your alt-Victorians would learn of the civilizing influence of the Persians on the Greek, that allowed for the flowering of ancient philosophy and science. Expect some Persian influence in alt-modern languages, in a few administrative and military terms.

(*) I'd argue for this on two counts:
- first, because the Mediterranean is undergoing a demographic boom, the sea lanes are tightening communications, and “something” is bound to happen - probably not a Persian something as this is far out of Persian reach;
- second, because to keep things interesting, I feel that we have to keep them at least slightly recognizable.
I've always thought that this is such an enormous POD that there's basically no point in even attempting it. The world would be so massively different than we can't even begin to contemplate it.

Oof. And if you're saying it....

I totally agree, btw. Not long after you start it, you have to just start making things up. It's the same reason I just can't enjoy Ancient Egypt TLs either.