“I wish to tell as much as I can, in as little space as I can, of the contributions that genius and labor have made to the cultural heritage of mankind—to chronicle and contemplate, in their causes, character and effects, the advances of invention […] the development of science, the wisdom of philosophy, and the achievements of arts. I do not need to be told how absurd this enterprise is, nor how immodest is its very conception; for many years of efforts have brought it to but a fifth of its completion, and have made it clear that no one mind, and no single lifetime, can adequately compass this task.”(Will Durant, The Story of Civilization: Our Oriental Heritage, New York: Simon and Schuster 1954, p. vii.)
However, he succeeded. The Story of Civilization is in 10 volumes: (1) Our oriental Heritage; (2) The Life of Greece; (3) Caesar and Christ; (4) The Age of Faith; (5) The Renaissance; (6) The Reformation; (7) The Age of Reason Begins; (8) The Age of Louis XIV; (9) The Age of Voltaire; (10) Rousseau and Revolution.
Durant in the first volume, Our Oriental Heritage, has paid attention to many primary people and civilizations that lived, invented, made, conquered, and left many things we are, today, heirs to. One of these civilizations is Persia. A chapter (VIII), comprising of 35 pages has been allocated to it. (Durant, pp. 350-385) Comparing to the role of the Persia in the history of civilization, this 35 pages, of course, cannot be considered so many. Particularly, when we compare it to the whole of the first volume, which is about to 1000 pages.
Durant starts from the Medes. Then, he follows the chapter with Cyrus, his policies, and the creation of one of the strongest empires throughout the history. Durant talks to us about Darius the Great, the people, their culture, their religion, Zarathustra, Ahura Mazda, trades, industries, and much more. In the end, like every civilization in the history, we reach to a point that the Persia has to enter into a period of decline. Darius III, the last of King of Persia, is defeated, through a several wars, against the young Macedonian conqueror, Alexander the Great. Thus, the great civilization of the Persia, which has become old enough to die, replaced with the Macedonian Empire, and becomes one of its provinces. (Ibid, p. 328)