Media (singular medium) are the storage and transmission channels or tools used to store and deliver information or data. It is often referred to as synonymous with mass media or news media, but may refer to a single medium used to communicate any data for any purpose.
The beginning of human communication through designed channels, i.e. not vocalization or gestures, dates back to ancient cave paintings, drawn maps, and writing.
The Persian Empire (centred around present-day Iran and Afghanistan) played an important role in the field of communication. It devised what might be described as the first real mail or postal system, which is said to have been developed by the Persian emperor Cyrus the Great (c. 550 BC) after his conquest of Media. The role of the system as an intelligence gathering apparatus 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) makes mention of this system: Ahasuerus, king of Medes, used couriers for communicating his decisions.
The word communication is derived from the Latin root communicare. This was due to the Roman Empire also devising what might be described as a mail or postal system, in order to centralize control of the empire from Rome. This allowed for personal letters and for Rome to gather knowledge about events in its many widespread provinces. More advanced postal systems later appeared in the Islamic Caliphate and the Mongol Empire during the Middle Ages.