By Ernest Jackh
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Persians were the first to create a world empire worthy of that name. Unlike their predecessors, the Achaemenian kings imposed on the conquered neither their religion nor their lan- guage; they did not interfere with any expression of the cultural life of the nations. Although strict centralization was the underlying idea of their administration, the Greek subject cities of Asia Minor were permitted to preserve their local autonomy, and, as a general rule, the sovereign's authority was limited to and levy.
Thus assumed the function of fostering scientific centers for the study of science and the liberal arts arose around such places as the famous library and the museum of Alexandria. The names of Hero (Heron), excelling in mathematics and mechanics and in the invention of automata; of Hipparchus, the founder of mathematical astronomy; of Archimedes, Euclid, and many others, are well known. Medical research and sanitation became the preoccupation Ptolemies, medical of government; in the Egypt of the assistance was a public service.
With Christianity and Islam deriving from Judaism, the Middle East monopolized monotheistic religion, whereas Europe proved unproductive in the realm of higher religion. This is evident from the secular character of Greek culture and of Western civilization as a whole. Thus with the triumph of monotheism on the one hand and the rise of a secular culture on the other, an epoch ended. Greece rests upon the civilizations of Egypt and Asia, includ- ing the intermediary but highly independent civilization of the Aegean Islands with Crete as its center.