Achaemenid Empire

The Achaemenid Empire at its greatest territorial extent under the rule of Darius I (522 BC–486 BC)
Family tree of the Achaemenid rulers.
Map of the expansion process of Achaemenid territories
Cyrus the Great is said, in the Bible, to have liberated the Hebrew captives in Babylon to resettle and rebuild Jerusalem, earning him an honored place in Judaism.
The tomb of Cyrus the Great, founder of the Achaemenid Empire. At Pasargadae, Iran.
The Achaemenid Empire at its greatest extent, c. 500 BC
The Persian queen Atossa, daughter of Cyrus the Great, sister-wife of Cambyses II, Darius the Great's wife, and mother of Xerxes the Great
Map showing events of the first phases of the Greco-Persian Wars
Greek hoplite and Persian warrior depicted fighting, on an ancient kylix, 5th century BC
Achaemenid king fighting hoplites, seal and seal holder, Cimmerian Bosporus.
Achaemenid gold ornaments, Brooklyn Museum
Persian Empire timeline including important events and territorial evolution – 550–323 BC
Relief showing Darius I offering lettuces to the Egyptian deity Amun-Ra Kamutef, Temple of Hibis
The 24 countries subject to the Achaemenid Empire at the time of Darius, on the Egyptian statue of Darius I.
The Battle of Issus, between Alexander the Great on horseback to the left, and Darius III in the chariot to the right, represented in a Pompeii mosaic dated 1st century BC – Naples National Archaeological Museum
Alexander's first victory over Darius, the Persian king depicted in medieval European style in the 15th century romance The History of Alexander's Battles
Frataraka dynasty ruler Vadfradad I (Autophradates I). 3rd century BC. Istakhr (Persepolis) mint.
Dārēv I (Darios I) used for the first time the title of mlk (King). 2nd century BC.
Winged sphinx from the Palace of Darius in Susa, Louvre
Daric of Artaxerxes II
Volume of annual tribute per district, in the Achaemenid Empire, according to Herodotus.
Achaemenid tax collector, calculating on an Abax or Abacus, according to the Darius Vase (340–320 BC).
Letter from the Satrap of Bactria to the governor of Khulmi, concerning camel keepers, 353 BC
Relief of throne-bearing soldiers in their native clothing at the tomb of Xerxes I, demonstrating the satrapies under his rule.
Achaemenid king killing a Greek hoplite. c. 500 BC–475 BC, at the time of Xerxes I. Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Persian soldiers (left) fighting against Scythians. Cylinder seal impression.
Color reconstruction of Achaemenid infantry on the Alexander Sarcophagus (end of 4th century BC).
Seal of Darius the Great hunting in a chariot, reading "I am Darius, the Great King" in Old Persian (𐎠𐎭𐎶𐏐𐎭𐎠𐎼𐎹𐎺𐎢𐏁𐎴 𐏋, "adam Dārayavaʰuš xšāyaθiya"), as well as in Elamite and Babylonian. The word "great" only appears in Babylonian. British Museum.
Achaemenid calvalryman in the satrapy of Hellespontine Phrygia, Altıkulaç Sarcophagus, early 4th century BC.
Armoured cavalry: Achaemenid Dynast of Hellespontine Phrygia attacking a Greek psiloi, Altıkulaç Sarcophagus, early 4th century BC.
Reconstitution of Persian landing ships at the Battle of Marathon.
Greek ships against Achaemenid ships at the Battle of Salamis.
Iconic relief of lion and bull fighting, Apadana of Persepolis
Achaemenid golden bowl with lioness imagery of Mazandaran
The ruins of Persepolis
A section of the Old Persian part of the trilingual Behistun inscription. Other versions are in Babylonian and Elamite.
A copy of the Behistun inscription in Aramaic on a papyrus. Aramaic was the lingua franca of the empire.
An Achaemenid drinking vessel
Bas-relief of Farvahar at Persepolis
Tomb of Artaxerxes III in Persepolis
The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the Seven wonders of the ancient world, was built by Greek architects for the local Persian satrap of Caria, Mausolus (Scale model)
Achamenid dynasty timeline
Reconstruction of the Palace of Darius at Susa. The palace served as a model for Persepolis.
Lion on a decorative panel from Darius I the Great's palace, Louvre
Ruins of Throne Hall, Persepolis
Apadana Hall, Persian and Median soldiers at Persepolis
Lateral view of tomb of Cambyses II, Pasargadae, Iran
Plaque with horned lion-griffins. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Ancient Iranian empire that was based in Western Asia and founded by Cyrus the Great in 550 BC. It reached its greatest extent under Xerxes I, who conquered most of northern and central ancient Greece.

- Achaemenid Empire

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Neo-Babylonian Empire

The last of the Mesopotamian empires to be ruled by monarchs native to Mesopotamia.

The last of the Mesopotamian empires to be ruled by monarchs native to Mesopotamia.

The Neo-Babylonian Empire under Nabonidus ((r. undefined – undefined) 556–539 BC)
Map of the Old Babylonian Empire under Hammurabi ((r. undefined – undefined)c. undefined 1792–1750 BC).
Locations of some major Mesopotamian cities.
The so-called "Tower of Babel stele", depicting Nebuchadnezzar II in the top-right and featuring a depiction of Babylon's great ziggurat (the Etemenanki) to his left.
Stele of Nabonidus exhibited in the British Museum. The king is shown praying to the Moon, the Sun and Venus and is depicted as being the closest to the Moon.
Map of the path of Cyrus the Great during his 539 BC invasion of Babylonia.
Illustration of the inhabitants of Babylon deriding the Achaemenid king Darius I during the revolt of Nebuchadnezzar III in 522 BC. From the History of Darius the Great (1900) by Jacob Abbott.
Major cities of Lower Mesopotamia in the 1st century BC.
Partial view of the ruins of Babylon in modern-day Iraq.
9th century BC depiction from a cylinder seal of the Statue of Marduk, Babylon's patron deity Marduk's main cult image in the city.
Cylinder by Nabonidus, commemorating restoration work done on a temple dedicated to the god Sîn in Ur. Exhibited at the British Museum.
Tablet concerning a legal dispute over barley, from Uruk and dated to the reign of Nabonidus (544 BC). Exhibited at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.
Striding lions from the Processional Street of Babylon. Exhibited at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.
Neo-Babylonian terracotta figurine depicting a nude woman. Exhibited at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore.
Tablet containing a 6th-century BC Babylonian "map of the world", featuring Babylon at its center. Exhibited at the British Museum.
The Babylonian marriage market, painting by Edwin Long (1875)
Tablet recording a silver payment from the temple dedicated to the god Shamash in Sippar, written during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II. Exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Irrigation canal from modern-day Iraq, near Baghdad
Approximate borders of the Neo-Babylonian Empire (red) and neighboring states in the 6th century BC.
Babylonian soldier as represented on the tomb of the Achaemenid king Xerxes I, c. 480 BC.
The Ishtar Gate, one of Babylon's eight inner city gates, was constructed by King Nebuchadnezzar II c. undefined 575 BC. The reconstructed gate is exhibited at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.
City plan of Babylon, showcasing the locations of major points of interest. The outer walls and the northern Summer Palace are not shown.
Reconstruction of the Etemenanki, Babylon's great ziggurat.
Mud-brick from the Processional Street of Babylon stamped with the name of Nebuchadnezzar II.

Beginning with Nabopolassar's coronation as King of Babylon in 626 BC and being firmly established through the fall of the Neo-Assyrian Empire in 612 BC, the Neo-Babylonian Empire and its ruling Chaldean dynasty were short-lived, conquered after less than a century by the Persian Achaemenid Empire in 539 BC.

Map of the Lydian Kingdom in its final period of sovereignty under Croesus, c. 547 BC.

Lydia

Iron Age kingdom of western Asia Minor located generally east of ancient Ionia in the modern western Turkish provinces of Uşak, Manisa and inland Izmir.

Iron Age kingdom of western Asia Minor located generally east of ancient Ionia in the modern western Turkish provinces of Uşak, Manisa and inland Izmir.

Map of the Lydian Kingdom in its final period of sovereignty under Croesus, c. 547 BC.
The temple of Artemis in Sardis.
Sardis Synagogue.
Portrait of Croesus, last King of Lydia, Attic red-figure amphora, painted ca. 500–490 BC.
Tripolis on the Meander is an ancient Lydian city in Turkey.
Tripolis on the Meander is an ancient Lydian city in Turkey.
Büyük Menderes River also known as Maeander is river in Lydia.
The Pactolus river, from which Lydia obtained electrum, a combination of silver and gold.
Early 6th century BC Lydian electrum coin (one-third stater denomination).
Gyges tablet, British Museum
Lydian delegation at Apadana, circa 500 BC
Lydia's borders under the reign of Alyattes's son Croesus
Bin Tepe royal funeral tumulus (tomb of Alyattes, father of Croesus), Lydia, 6th century BC.
Tomb of Alyattes.
Croesus at the stake. Side A from an Attic red-figure amphora, ca. 500–490 BC
Lydia, including Ionia, during the Achaemenid Empire.
Xerxes I tomb, Lydian soldier of the Achaemenid army, circa 480 BC
Roman province of Asia
Photo of a 15th-century map showing Lydia
Church of St John, Philadelphia (Alaşehir)

In 546 BC, it became a province of the Achaemenid Persian Empire, known as the satrapy of Lydia or Sparda in Old Persian.

Ptolemaic Egypt circa 235 BC. The green areas were lost to the Seleucid Empire thirty five years later.

Ptolemaic Kingdom

Ancient Greek state based in Egypt during the Hellenistic Period.

Ancient Greek state based in Egypt during the Hellenistic Period.

Ptolemaic Egypt circa 235 BC. The green areas were lost to the Seleucid Empire thirty five years later.
Ptolemy as Pharaoh of Egypt, British Museum, London
Ptolemaic Egypt circa 235 BC. The green areas were lost to the Seleucid Empire thirty five years later.
A bust depicting Pharaoh Ptolemy II Philadelphus 309–246 BC
Hellenistic bust of Ptolemy I Soter, 3rd century BC, now in the Louvre
Coin depicting Pharaoh Ptolemy III Euergetes. Ptolemaic Kingdom.
Ptolemaic Empire in 200 BC, alongside neighboring powers.
Ring of Ptolemy VI Philometor as Egyptian pharaoh. Louvre Museum.
A mosaic from Thmuis (Mendes), Egypt, created by the Hellenistic artist Sophilos (signature) in about 200 BC, now in the Greco-Roman Museum in Alexandria, Egypt; the woman depicted is Queen Berenice II (who ruled jointly with her husband Ptolemy III Euergetes) as the personification of Alexandria, with her crown showing a ship's prow, while she sports an anchor-shaped brooch for her robes, symbols of the Ptolemaic Kingdom's naval prowess and successes in the Mediterranean Sea.
Coin of Cleopatra VII, with her image
Ptolemy XII, father of Cleopatra VII, making offerings to Egyptian Gods, in the Temple of Hathor, Dendera, Egypt
Relief of Ptolemaic Queen Cleopatra VII and Caesarion, Dendera Temple, Egypt.
Bust of Roman Nobleman, c. 30 BC – 50 AD, 54.51, Brooklyn Museum
Ptolemaic mosaic of a dog and askos wine vessel from Hellenistic Egypt, dated 200–150 BC, Greco-Roman Museum of Alexandria, Egypt
Faience sistrum with head of Hathor with bovine ears from the reign of Ptolemy I. Color is intermediate between traditional Egyptian color to colors more characteristic of Ptolemaic-era faience.
Relief from the temple of Kom Ombo depicting Ptolemy VIII receiving the sed symbol from Horus.
Temple of Kom Ombo constructed in Upper Egypt in 180–47 BC by the Ptolemies and modified by the Romans. It is a double temple with two sets of structures dedicated to two separate deities.
Gold coin with visage of Arsinoe II wearing divine diadem
Bronze allegorical group of a Ptolemy (identifiable by his diadem) overcoming an adversary, in Hellenistic style, ca early 2nd century BC (Walters Art Museum)
Characteristic Indian etched carnelian bead, found in Ptolemaic Period excavations at Saft el Henna. This is a marker of trade relations with India. Petrie Museum.
Example of a large Ptolemaic bronze coin minted during the reign of Ptolemy V.
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Detailed map of the Ptolemaic Egypt.
Egyptian faience torso of a king, for an applique on wood
Alexander the Great, 356–323 BC Brooklyn Museum
A detail of the Nile mosaic of Palestrina, showing Ptolemaic Egypt c. 100 BC
A stele of Dioskourides, dated 2nd century BC, showing a Ptolemaic thureophoros soldier. It is a characteristic example of the "Romanization" of the Ptolemaic army.
Ptolemaic Era bust of a man, circa 300–250 BC, Altes Museum

Alexander the Great conquered Persian-controlled Egypt in 332 BC during his campaigns against the Achaemenid Empire.

Cyrus the Great with a Hemhem crown, or four-winged Cherub tutelary divinity, from a relief in the residence of Cyrus in Pasagardae

Cyrus the Great

Cyrus II of Persia (c.

Cyrus II of Persia (c.

Cyrus the Great with a Hemhem crown, or four-winged Cherub tutelary divinity, from a relief in the residence of Cyrus in Pasagardae
The four-winged guardian figure representing Cyrus the Great or a four-winged Cherub tutelary deity. Bas-relief found on a doorway pillar at Pasargadae on top of which was once inscribed in three languages the sentence "I am Cyrus the king, an Achaemenian." Scholars who doubt that the relief depicts Cyrus note that the same inscription is written on other palaces in the complex.
"I am Cyrus the King, an Achaemenian" in Old Persian, Elamite and Akkadian languages. It is known as the "CMa inscription", carved in a column of Palace P in Pasargadae. These inscriptions on behalf of Cyrus were probably made later by Darius I in order to affirm his lineage, using the Old Persian script he had designed.
Painting of king Astyages sending Harpagus to kill young Cyrus
Detail of Cyrus Hunting Wild Boar by Claude Audran the Younger, Palace of Versailles
Victory of Cyrus over Lydia's Croesus at the Battle of Thymbra, 546 BC
Croesus on the pyre. Attic red-figure amphora, 500–490 BC, Louvre (G 197)
Ancient Near East circa 540 BC, prior to the invasion of Babylon by Cyrus the Great
Achaemenid soldiers (left) fighting against Scythians, 5th century BC. Cylinder seal impression (drawing).
Queen Tomyris of the Massagetae receiving the head of Cyrus
Tomb of Cyrus in Pasargadae, Iran, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (2015)
Cyrus the Great is said in the Bible to have liberated the Jews from the Babylonian captivity to resettle and rebuild Jerusalem, earning him an honored place in Judaism.
Cyrus the Great (center) with his General Harpagus behind him, as he receives the submission of Astyages (18th century tapestry)
The Cyrus Street, Jerusalem
Painting of Daniel and Cyrus before the Idol Bel
Statue of Cyrus the great at Olympic Park in Sydney
17th-century bust of Cyrus the Great in Hamburg, Germany
The Cyrus cylinder, a contemporary cuneiform script proclaiming Cyrus as legitimate king of Babylon

600–530 BC; Kūruš), commonly known as Cyrus the Great and also called Cyrus the Elder by the Greeks, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire, the first Persian empire.

The Apadana Palace, 5th century BC Achaemenid bas-relief shows a Mede soldier behind a Persian soldier, in Persepolis, Iran

Medes

Ancient Iranian people who spoke the Median language and who inhabited an area known as Media between western and northern Iran.

Ancient Iranian people who spoke the Median language and who inhabited an area known as Media between western and northern Iran.

The Apadana Palace, 5th century BC Achaemenid bas-relief shows a Mede soldier behind a Persian soldier, in Persepolis, Iran
Excavation from ancient Ecbatana, Hamadan, Iran
Timeline of Pre-Achaemenid era.
Rhyton in the shape of a ram's head, gold – western Iran – Median, late 7th–early 6th century BC
The neighboring Neo-Babylonian Empire at its greatest extent after the destruction of the Neo-Assyrian Empire
Protoma in the form of a bull's head, 8th century BC, gold and filigree, National Museum, Warsaw
The Ganj Nameh ("treasure epistle") in Ecbatana. The inscriptions are by Darius I and his son Xerxes I.
Apadana Hall, 5th century BC Achaemenid-era carving of Persian and Median soldiers in traditional costume (Medians are wearing rounded hats and boots), in Persepolis, Iran

In any case, it appears that after the fall of the last Median king against Cyrus the Great of the Persian Empire, Media became an important province and prized by the empires which successively dominated it (Achaemenids, Seleucids, Parthians and Sasanids).

Rock relief of an Achaemenid king, most likely Xerxes, located in the National Museum of Iran

Xerxes I

Rock relief of an Achaemenid king, most likely Xerxes, located in the National Museum of Iran
The "Caylus vase", a quadrilingual alabaster jar with cuneiform and hieroglyphic inscriptions in the name of "Xerxes, the Great King". Cabinet des Médailles, Paris
Engraving of Babylon by H. Fletcher, 1690
The soldiers of Xerxes I, of all ethnicities, on the tomb of Xerxes I, at Naqsh-e Rostam
Achaemenid king killing a Greek hoplite. Impression from a cylinder seal, sculpted c. 500 BC – 475 BC, at the time of Xerxes I Metropolitan Museum of Art
Foundations of the Old Temple of Athena, destroyed by the armies of Xerxes I during the Destruction of Athens in 480 BC
The rock-cut tomb at Naqsh-e Rustam north of Persepolis, copying that of Darius, is usually assumed to be that of Xerxes
This cuneiform text mentions the murder of Xerxes I by his son. From Babylon, Iraq. British Museum
Xerxes being designated by Darius I. Tripylon, Persepolis. The ethnicities of the Empire are shown supporting the throne. Ahuramazda crowns the scene.
Trilingual inscription of Xerxes at Van (present-day Turkey)
The Persian king in the Biblical Book of Esther is commonly thought to be Xerxes
Xerxes (Ahasuerus) by Ernest Normand, 1888 (detail)

Xerxes I ( Xšayār̥šā; ; c. 518 – August 465 BC), commonly known as Xerxes the Great, was the fourth King of Kings of the Achaemenid Empire, ruling from 486 to 465 BC. He was the son and successor of Darius the Great ((r.

Alexander riding Bucephalus on a Roman mosaic

Alexander the Great

King of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon.

King of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon.

Alexander riding Bucephalus on a Roman mosaic
Alexander III riding Bucephalus on a Roman mosaic
Map of The Kingdom of Macedon in 336 BC, birthplace of Alexander
Roman medallion depicting Olympias, Alexander's mother
Archaeological Site of Pella, Greece, Alexander's birthplace
Philip II of Macedon, Alexander's father
Battle plan from the Battle of Chaeronea
Pausanius assassinates Philip II, Alexander's father, during his procession into the theatre
The emblema of the Stag Hunt Mosaic, c. 300 BC, from Pella; the figure on the right is possibly Alexander the Great due to the date of the mosaic along with the depicted upsweep of his centrally-parted hair (anastole); the figure on the left wielding a double-edged axe (associated with Hephaistos) is perhaps Hephaestion, one of Alexander's loyal companions.
The Macedonian phalanx at the "Battle of the Carts" against the Thracians in 335 BC
Map of Alexander's empire and his route
Gérard Audran after Charles LeBrun, 'Alexander Entering Babylon,' original print first published 1675, engraving, Department of Image Collections, National Gallery of Art Library, Washington, DC.
Alexander Cuts the Gordian Knot (1767) by Jean-Simon Berthélemy
Name of Alexander the Great in Egyptian hieroglyphs (written from right to left), c. 332 BC, Egypt. Louvre Museum.
Site of the Persian Gate in modern-day Iran; the road was built in the 1990s.
Administrative document from Bactria dated to the seventh year of Alexander's reign (324 BC), bearing the first known use of the "Alexandros" form of his name, Khalili Collection of Aramaic Documents
The Killing of Cleitus, by André Castaigne (1898–1899)
Silver tetradrachm of Alexander the Great found in Byblos (ca 330-300 bc.) (BnF 1998–859; 17,33g; Byblos, Price 3426b)
The Phalanx Attacking the Centre in the Battle of the Hydaspes by André Castaigne (1898–1899)
Alexander's invasion of the Indian subcontinent
Porus surrenders to Alexander
Asia in 323 BC, the Nanda Empire and the Gangaridai of the Indian subcontinent, in relation to Alexander's Empire and neighbours
Alexander (left) and Hephaestion (right): Both were connected by a tight friendship
Alexander at the Tomb of Cyrus the Great, by Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes (1796)
A Babylonian astronomical diary (c. 323–322 BC) recording the death of Alexander (British Museum, London)
19th-century depiction of Alexander's funeral procession, based on the description by Diodorus Siculus
Detail of Alexander on the Alexander Sarcophagus
Kingdoms of the Diadochi in 301 BC: the Ptolemaic Kingdom (dark blue), the Seleucid Empire (yellow), Kingdom of Pergamon (orange), and Kingdom of Macedon (green). Also shown are the Roman Republic (light blue), the Carthaginian Republic (purple), and the Kingdom of Epirus (red).
A coin of Alexander the Great struck by Balakros or his successor Menes, both former somatophylakes (bodyguards) of Alexander, when they held the position of satrap of Cilicia in the lifetime of Alexander, circa 333-327 BC. The obverse shows Heracles, ancestor of the Macedonian royal line and the reverse shows a seated Zeus Aëtophoros.
The Battle of the Granicus, 334 BC
The Battle of Issus, 333 BC
Alexander Cameo by Pyrgoteles
Alexander portrayal by Lysippos
Alexander (left), wearing a kausia and fighting an Asiatic lion with his friend Craterus (detail); late 4th century BC mosaic, Pella Museum
A Roman copy of an original 3rd century BC Greek bust depicting Alexander the Great, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen
A mural in Pompeii, depicting the marriage of Alexander to Barsine (Stateira) in 324 BC; the couple are apparently dressed as Ares and Aphrodite.
The Hellenistic world view: world map of Eratosthenes (276–194 BC), using information from the campaigns of Alexander and his successors
Plan of Alexandria c. 30 BC
Dedication of Alexander the Great to Athena Polias at Priene, now housed in the British Museum
Alexander's empire was the largest state of its time, covering approximately 5.2 million square km.
The Buddha, in Greco-Buddhist style, 1st to 2nd century AD, Gandhara, northern Pakistan. Tokyo National Museum.
This medallion was produced in Imperial Rome, demonstrating the influence of Alexander's memory. Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.
Alexander in a 14th-century Armenian manuscript
Alexander in a 14th-century Byzantine manuscript
Alexander conquering the air. Jean Wauquelin, Les faits et conquêtes d'Alexandre le Grand, 1448–1449
Folio from the Shahnameh showing Alexander praying at the Kaaba, mid-16th century
Detail of a 16th-century Islamic painting depicting Alexander being lowered in a glass submersible

In 334 BC, he invaded the Achaemenid Persian Empire and began a series of campaigns that lasted for 10 years.

Persis

Fars region, located to the southwest of the modern Iran, now a province.

Fars region, located to the southwest of the modern Iran, now a province.

Seal of Darius the Great hunting in a chariot, reading "I am Darius, the Great King" in Old Persian (𐎠𐎭𐎶𐏐𐎭𐎠𐎼𐎹𐎺𐎢𐏁𐎴 𐏋, "adam Dārayavaʰuš xšāyaθiya"), as well as in Elamite and Babylonian. British Museum.
Frataraka dynasty ruler Vadfradad I (Autophradates I). 3rd century BC. Istakhr (Persepolis) mint.
Dārēv I (Darios I) used for the first time the title of mlk (King). 2nd century BC.
A Sassanid relief showing the investiture of Ardashir I
Sarvestan Palace in Sarvestan

The ruins of Persepolis and Pasargadae, two of the four capitals of the Achaemenid Empire, are located in Fars.

The Parthian Empire in 94 BC at its greatest extent, during the reign of Mithridates II ((r. 124 – 91))

Parthian Empire

Major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Iran from 247 BC to 224 AD. Its latter name comes from its founder, Arsaces I, who led the Parni tribe in conquering the region of Parthia in Iran's northeast, then a satrapy under Andragoras, in rebellion against the Seleucid Empire.

Major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Iran from 247 BC to 224 AD. Its latter name comes from its founder, Arsaces I, who led the Parni tribe in conquering the region of Parthia in Iran's northeast, then a satrapy under Andragoras, in rebellion against the Seleucid Empire.

The Parthian Empire in 94 BC at its greatest extent, during the reign of Mithridates II ((r. 124 – 91))
The silver drachma of Arsaces I (r. c. 247–211 BC) with the Greek language inscription ΑΡΣΑΚΟΥ "of Arsaces"
Parthia, shaded yellow, alongside the Seleucid Empire (blue) and the Roman Republic (purple) around 200 BC
Drachma of Mithridates I, showing him wearing a beard and a royal diadem on his head. Reverse side: Heracles/Verethragna, holding a club in his left hand and a cup in his right hand; Greek inscription reading ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΜΕΓΑΛΟΥ ΑΡΣΑΚΟΥ ΦΙΛΕΛΛΗΝΟΣ "of the Great King Arsaces the Philhellene"
Drachma of Mithridates II (r. c. 124–91 BC). Reverse side: seated archer carrying a bow; inscription reading "of the King of Kings Arsaces the Renowned/Manifest Philhellene."
Han dynasty Chinese silk from Mawangdui, 2nd century BC, silk from China was perhaps the most lucrative luxury item the Parthians traded at the western end of the Silk Road.
Bronze statue of a Parthian nobleman from the sanctuary at Shami in Elymais (modern-day Khūzestān Province, Iran, along the Persian Gulf), now located at the National Museum of Iran. Dated 50 BC-150 AD, Parthian School.
A Roman marble head of the triumvir Marcus Licinius Crassus, who was defeated at Carrhae by Surena
Roman aurei bearing the portraits of Mark Antony (left) and Octavian (right), issued in 41 BC to celebrate the establishment of the Second Triumvirate by Octavian, Antony and Marcus Lepidus in 43 BC
Drachma of Phraates IV (r. c. 38–2 BC). Inscription reading ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΝ ΑΡΣΑΚΟΥ ΕΥΕΡΓΕΤΟΥ ΕΠΙΦΑΝΟΥΣ ΦΙΛΕΛΛΗΝΟΣ "of the King of Kings Arsaces the Renowned/Manifest Benefactor Philhellene"
A close-up view of the breastplate on the statue of Augustus of Prima Porta, showing a Parthian man returning to Augustus the legionary standards lost by Marcus Licinius Crassus at Carrhae
A denarius struck in 19 BC during the reign of Augustus, with the goddess Feronia depicted on the obverse, and on the reverse a Parthian man kneeling in submission while offering the Roman military standards taken at the Battle of Carrhae
Map of the troop movements during the first two years of the Roman–Parthian War of 58–63 AD over the Kingdom of Armenia, detailing the Roman offensive into Armenia and capture of the country by Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo
Parthian king making an offering to god Herakles-Verethragna. Masdjid-e Suleiman, Iran. 2nd–3rd century AD. Louvre Museum Sb 7302.
Rock relief of Parthian king at Behistun, most likely Vologases III (r. c. 110–147 AD)
A Parthian (right) wearing a Phrygian cap, depicted as a prisoner of war in chains held by a Roman (left); Arch of Septimius Severus, Rome, 203 AD
A Sarmatian-Parthian gold necklace and amulet, 2nd century AD. Located in Tamoikin Art Fund
Parthian golden necklace, 2nd century AD, Iran, Reza Abbasi Museum
A Parthian ceramic oil lamp, Khūzestān Province, Iran, National Museum of Iran
Coin of Kamnaskires III, king of Elymais (modern Khūzestān Province), and his wife Queen Anzaze, 1st century BC
A statue of a young Palmyran in fine Parthian trousers, from a funerary stele at Palmyra, early 3rd century AD
Coin of Mithridates II of Parthia. The clothing is Parthian, while the style is Hellenistic (sitting on an omphalos). The Greek inscription reads "King Arsaces, the philhellene"
A ceramic Parthian water spout in the shape of a man's head, dated 1st or 2nd century AD
Parthian votive relief from Khūzestān Province, Iran, 2nd century AD
A barrel vaulted iwan at the entrance at the ancient site of Hatra, modern-day Iraq, built c. 50 AD
The Parthian Temple of Charyios in Uruk.
A wall mural depicting a scene from the Book of Esther at the Dura-Europos synagogue, dated 245 AD, which Curtis and Schlumberger describe as a fine example of 'Parthian frontality'
A sculpted head (broken off from a larger statue) of a Parthian soldier wearing a Hellenistic-style helmet, from the Parthian royal residence and necropolis of Nisa, Turkmenistan, 2nd century BC
Parthian long-necked lute, c. 3 BC – 3 AD

The Arsacid rulers were titled the "King of Kings", as a claim to be the heirs to the Achaemenid Empire; indeed, they accepted many local kings as vassals where the Achaemenids would have had centrally appointed, albeit largely autonomous, satraps.

Close-up of the Behistun inscription

Old Persian

One of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages and is the ancestor of Middle Persian (the language of Sasanian Empire).

One of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages and is the ancestor of Middle Persian (the language of Sasanian Empire).

Close-up of the Behistun inscription
An Old Persian inscription in Persepolis

As a written language, Old Persian is attested in royal Achaemenid inscriptions.