The Achaemenid Empire, or Achaemenid Persian Empire, (550–330 BC) was the first of the Persian Empires to rule over significant portions of Greater Persia (or Iran). It followed the Median Empire as the second great empire of the Iranian peoples. At the height of its power, the Achaemenid Empire had about 7.5 million square kilometers and was territorially the largest empire of classical antiquity.
|Vexilloid||The vexilloid of the Achaemenid Empire was a gold falcon on a field of crimson.|
|Languages||Persian, Elamite, Aramaic, Hebrew|
|Religions||There was no official state religion. Zoroastrianism was practiced by the nobility but limited to them; numerous other religions, such as Judaism, were practiced.|
|Area||Near East, Central Asia, Western South Asia, North Africa, and Southeast Europe|
The empire was forged by Cyrus the Great. It spanned three continents, including parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan; parts of Central Asia, Asia Minor, Thrace; much of the Black Sea coastal regions; Iraq, northern Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Syria; and all significant population centers of ancient Egypt as far west as Libya. The empire was the foe of the Greek city-states in the Greco-Persian Wars. It freed the Israelites from their Babylonian captivity, and instituted Aramaic as the empire's official language. Because of the Empire's vast extent and long endurance, Persian influence upon the language, religion, architecture, philosophy, law and government of nations around the world lasts to this day.
The empire began as a tributary state of the Medes but ended up conquering and enlarging the Median empire to include Egypt and Asia Minor. Under Xerxes, it came very close to conquering Ancient Greece. The Achaemenids were overthrown by the conquest of Alexander the Great in 330 BCE.
Achaemenid kings and leadersEdit
- Teispes of Anshan, son of Achaemenes
- Cyrus I of Anshan, son of Teispes
- Cambyses I of Anshan, son of Cyrus I
- Cyrus II, the Great, son of Cambyses I, ruled from c.550-530 BCE (ruler of Anshan c. 559 BCE – conquered Media 550 BCE)
- Cambyses II, son of Cyrus the Great, ruled 529-522 BCE
- Smerdis (Bardiya), alleged son of Cyrus the Great, ruled 522 BCE (Possibly a usurper)
- Darius I, the Great, brother-in-law of Smerdis and grandson of Arsames, ruled 521-486 BCE
- Xerxes I, son of Darius I, ruled 485-465 BCE
- Artaxerxes I Longimanus, son of Xerxes I, ruled 465-424 BCE
- Xerxes II, son of Artaxerxes I, ruled 424 BCE
- Sogdianus, half-brother and rival of Xerxes II, ruled 424-423 BCE
- Darius II Nothus, half-brother and rival of Xerxes II, ruled 423-405 BCE
- Artaxerxes II Mnemon, son of Darius II, ruled 404-359 BCE (see also Xenophon)
- Artaxerxes III Ochus, son of Artaxerxes II, ruled 358-338 BCE
- Artaxerxes IV Arses, son of Artaxerxes III, ruled 338-336 BCE
- Darius III Codomannus, great-grandson of Darius II, ruled 336-330 BCE
- Stronach, David "Darius at Pasargadae: a neglected source for the history of early Persia," Topoi
- Stronach, David "Anshan and Parsa: early Achaemenid history, art and architecture on the Iranian Plateau". In: John Curtis, ed., Mesopotamia and Iran in the Persian period: conquest and imperialism 539–331, 35–53. London: British Museum Press 1997.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Achaemenid dynasty.|
- Achemenet The major electronic resource for the study of the history, literature and archaeology of the Persian Empire
- Persepolis Before Incursion (Virtual tour project)
- Musée achéménide virtuel et interactif (Mavi) a vast "Virtual Interactive Achemenide Museum" of more than 8000 items, dedicated to the inheritance of the Persian Empire, from Cyrus to Alexander the Great, is now accessible on the Internet thanks to the initiative of a College de France professor, Pierre Briant.
- Livius.org on Achaemenids
- Livius.org on Achaemenid Royal Inscriptions
- Cyrus' Charter of Human Rights
- Achaemenid art on Iran Chamber Society (www.iranchamber.com)
- Persepolis Fortification Archive Project
- Photos of the tribute bearers from the 23 satrapies of the Achaemenid empire, from Persepolis