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Persia

PERSIA (pûr'zha, Heb. pāras, Gr. Persis). As a geographical term Persia may be taken to mean the Iranian plateau, bounded by the Tigris Valley on the west and south, the Indus Valley on the east, and by the Armenian ranges and the Caspian Sea to the north, comprising in all something near one million square miles (2.5 million sq. km.). The plateau is high and saucer-shaped, rimmed by mountains rich in mineral wealth, but with wide tracts of arid desert in the interior. The land lies across the old road communications of Europe and Asia, a fact that has done much to determine Persia’s ethnology and history. It is seldom possible to separate history and geography, and the term Persia has signified both less and more than the geographical and general meaning just given. The original Persia was a small area north of the Persian Gulf, known as Persis, the modern Fars. It was a rugged area with desert on its maritime borders, its chief town known to the Greeks as Persepolis. The Medes lay to