Penpalling & Letters

Monday, 18 October 2010

Mail & History II

It is believed that the first attempt for the development of a real postal system comes from Ancient Persia, although this could not be proved.
Xenophon, the best documented claim, attributes the invention of a real postal system to the Persian King "Cyrus the Great" (550 BC), while other writers believe it was his successor "Darius I of Persia" (521 BC). However, other sources have claimed much earlier dates for an Assyrian postal system, as those in times of Hammurabi (1700 BC) and Sargon II (722 BC).
Nevertheless, sending and receiving mail may not have been the primary mission of this postal service. Probably, the main role of the system was that of an intelligence gathering apparatus. It seems that this fact is well documented and the service was later called "angariae", a term that in time turned to indicate a tax system. The Old Testament (Esther, VIII) mentions this system: "Ahasuerus, King of Medes, used couriers for communicating his decisions".
The Persian system worked on stations called "Chapar-Khaneh", where the message carrier, called "Chapar", would ride to the next post. There, he would swap his horse for a fresh one, as the most important was "maximum performance and delivery speed".

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