When the European nations gained mastery over a significant part of the world, between the fifteenth and the twentieth centuries (the Age of Imperialism), they were inspired by the four Cs: Cyrus, Christianity, Cicero, and Caesar. The imperialists of Europe were barbarian warriors, preachers, empire builders, and ideologues.
In the sixth century BC, Cyrus the Great founded the First Persian Empire (the Achaemenid Empire), which at its peak spanned 5.5 million square kilometers, stretching from the Balkans and Eastern Europe in the west to the Indus Valley in the east. The geographical expanse of Cyrus the Great’s empire became an inspiration for the European conquerors and adventurers who came after the fall of the First Persian Empire.
Alexander the Great tried to conquer all the lands that Cyrus had conquered. The Emperors of the Western Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire (the Byzantine Empire) were inspired by the geographical expanse and the power of the First Persian Empire.
Cyrus played an important role in the founding of Christianity. He allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem and build their Second Temple. According to the Biblical book of Ezra, the construction of the Second Temple began in 537 BC. Around 500 years after Cyrus, Jerusalem became the birthplace of Christianity. After the eleventh century, the European nations became united under the banner of Christian religion.
Caesar was the political icon of imperialism; Cicero was the intellectual icon. The leaders of the imperialist powers aspired to be a warrior king like Caesar; they were motivated by the philosophy of Cicero. During the late Middle Ages and the early Modern Age, Cicero was Europe’s most powerful philosopher.