The Achaemenid Empire at its greatest territorial extent under the rule of Darius I (522 BC–486 BC)
The Neo-Babylonian Empire under Nabonidus ((r. undefined – undefined) 556–539 BC)
The Achaemenid Empire at its greatest territorial extent under the rule of Darius I (522 BC–486 BC)
Map of the Old Babylonian Empire under Hammurabi ((r. undefined – undefined)c. undefined 1792–1750 BC).
Family tree of the Achaemenid rulers.
Locations of some major Mesopotamian cities.
Map of the expansion process of Achaemenid territories
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.
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.
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.
The tomb of Cyrus the Great, founder of the Achaemenid Empire. At Pasargadae, Iran.
Map of the path of Cyrus the Great during his 539 BC invasion of Babylonia.
The Achaemenid Empire at its greatest extent, c. 500 BC
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.
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
Major cities of Lower Mesopotamia in the 1st century BC.
Map showing events of the first phases of the Greco-Persian Wars
Partial view of the ruins of Babylon in modern-day Iraq.
Greek hoplite and Persian warrior depicted fighting, on an ancient kylix, 5th century BC
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.
Achaemenid king fighting hoplites, seal and seal holder, Cimmerian Bosporus.
Cylinder by Nabonidus, commemorating restoration work done on a temple dedicated to the god Sîn in Ur. Exhibited at the British Museum.
Achaemenid gold ornaments, Brooklyn 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.
Persian Empire timeline including important events and territorial evolution – 550–323 BC
Striding lions from the Processional Street of Babylon. Exhibited at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.
Relief showing Darius I offering lettuces to the Egyptian deity Amun-Ra Kamutef, Temple of Hibis
Neo-Babylonian terracotta figurine depicting a nude woman. Exhibited at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore.
The 24 countries subject to the Achaemenid Empire at the time of Darius, on the Egyptian statue of Darius I.
Tablet containing a 6th-century BC Babylonian "map of the world", featuring Babylon at its center. Exhibited at the British Museum.
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
The Babylonian marriage market, painting by Edwin Long (1875)
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
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
Frataraka dynasty ruler Vadfradad I (Autophradates I). 3rd century BC. Istakhr (Persepolis) mint.
Irrigation canal from modern-day Iraq, near Baghdad
Dārēv I (Darios I) used for the first time the title of mlk (King). 2nd century BC.
Approximate borders of the Neo-Babylonian Empire (red) and neighboring states in the 6th century BC.
Winged sphinx from the Palace of Darius in Susa, Louvre
Babylonian soldier as represented on the tomb of the Achaemenid king Xerxes I, c. 480 BC.
Daric of Artaxerxes II
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.
Volume of annual tribute per district, in the Achaemenid Empire, according to Herodotus.
City plan of Babylon, showcasing the locations of major points of interest. The outer walls and the northern Summer Palace are not shown.
Achaemenid tax collector, calculating on an Abax or Abacus, according to the Darius Vase (340–320 BC).
Reconstruction of the Etemenanki, Babylon's great ziggurat.
Letter from the Satrap of Bactria to the governor of Khulmi, concerning camel keepers, 353 BC
Mud-brick from the Processional Street of Babylon stamped with the name of Nebuchadnezzar II.
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

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.

- Neo-Babylonian Empire

From this region, Cyrus rose and defeated the Median Empire—of which he had previously been king—as well as Lydia and the Neo-Babylonian Empire, following which he formally established the Achaemenid Empire.

- Achaemenid Empire

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A partial view of the ruins of Babylon.

Babylon

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The capital city of the ancient Babylonian Empire, which itself is a term referring to either of two separate empires in the Mesopotamian area in antiquity.

The capital city of the ancient Babylonian Empire, which itself is a term referring to either of two separate empires in the Mesopotamian area in antiquity.

A partial view of the ruins of Babylon.
A partial view of the ruins of Babylon.
Map of Babylon with major areas and modern-day villages
Babylon in 1932
Brick structures in Babylon, photographed in 2016
Illustration by Leonard William King of fragment K. 8532, a part of the Dynastic Chronicle listing rulers of Babylon grouped by dynasty.
The Queen of the Night relief. The figure could be an aspect of the goddess Ishtar, Babylonian goddess of sex and love.
Map showing the Babylonian territory upon Hammurabi's ascension in 1792 BC and upon his death in 1750 BC
Old Babylonian cylinder seal, hematite. This seal was probably made in a workshop at Sippar (about 40 mi north of Babylon on the map above) either during, or shortly before, the reign of Hammurabi. It depicts the king making an animal offering to the sun god Shamash.
Linescan camera image of the cylinder seal above (reversed to resemble an impression).
Sennacherib of Assyria during his Babylonian war, relief from his palace in Nineveh
Cuneiform cylinder from reign of Nebuchadnezzar II honoring the exorcism and reconstruction of the ziggurat Etemenanki by Nabopolassar.
Detail of a relief from the reconstruction of the Ishtar Gate
A reconstruction of the blue-tiled Ishtar Gate, which was the northern entrance to Babylon. It was named for the goddess of love and war. Bulls and dragons, symbols of the god Marduk, decorated the gate.
Babylonian soldier in the Achaemenid army, circa 470 BCE, Xerxes I tomb.
Plan of ruins in 1905 with locations and names of villages
Lion of Babylon
Location of the Al Qurnah Disaster where over 200 cases of antiquities from Fresnel's mission were lost in 1855
220x220px
Original tiles of the processional street. Ancient Babylon, Mesopotamia, Iraq.
Mušḫuššu (sirrush) and aurochs on either side of the processional street. Ancient Babylon, Mesopotamia, Iraq
Woodcut in 1493 Nuremberg Chronicle depicting the fall of Babylon.
"The Walls of Babylon and the Temple of Bel (Or Babel)", by 19th-century illustrator William Simpson – influenced by early archaeological investigations.
Nebuchadnezzar II ordering the construction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon to please his consort Amyitis, R ené-Antoine Houasse, 1676
Contemporary artwork depicting Babylon at the height of its stature.
The Fall of Babylon, Mezzotint by J. Martin, 1831
The Daughters of Jerusalem Weeping by the Waters of Babylon, by John Martin, 1834
Alexander the Great receiving the keys of Babylon, by Johann Georg Platzer, ca 1740
The Figured Apocalypse of the Dukes of Savoy - Escorial E Vit.5 - Fall of Babylon, 15h century
The Walls of Babylon by Antonio Tempesta, 1610

After the Assyrians had destroyed and then rebuilt it, Babylon became the capital of the short-lived Neo-Babylonian Empire, a neo-Assyrian successor state, from 609 to 539 BC. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon ranked as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

After the fall of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, the city came under the rule of the Achaemenid, Seleucid, Parthian, Roman, and Sassanid empires.

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

6 links

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 reign of Cyrus lasted about thirty years; his empire took root with his conquest of the Median Empire followed by the Lydian Empire and eventually the Neo-Babylonian Empire.

The Tigris river flowing through the region of modern Mosul in Upper Mesopotamia.

Mesopotamia

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Historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the northern part of the Fertile Crescent.

Historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the northern part of the Fertile Crescent.

The Tigris river flowing through the region of modern Mosul in Upper Mesopotamia.
Mesopotamian Marshes at night, southern Iraq; reed house (Mudhif) and narrow canoe (Mashoof) in the water. Mudhif structures have been one of the traditional types of structures, built by the Marsh people of southern Mesopotamia for at least 5,000 years. A carved elevation of a typical mudhif, dating to around 3,300 BCE was discovered at Uruk.
One of 18 Statues of Gudea, a ruler around 2090 BC
After early starts in Jarmo (red dot, circa 7500 BC), the civilization of Mesopotamia in the 7th–5th millennium BC was centered around the Hassuna culture in the north, the Halaf culture in the northwest, the Samarra culture in central Mesopotamia and the Ubaid culture in the southeast, which later expanded to encompass the whole region.
Overview map in the 15th century BC showing the core territory of Assyria with its two major cities Assur and Nineveh wedged between Babylonia downstream and the states of Mitanni and Hatti upstream.
The Code of Hammurabi is a Babylonian legal text composed c. 1755–1750 BC. It is the longest, best-organised, and best-preserved legal text from the ancient Near East. It is written in the Old Babylonian dialect of Akkadian, purportedly by Hammurabi, sixth king of the First Dynasty of Babylon.
Epic of Gilgamesh, an epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia, regarded as the earliest surviving notable literature.
Clay tablet, mathematical, geometric-algebraic, similar to the Euclidean geometry. From Shaduppum Iraq. 2003-1595 BC. Iraq Museum.
Medical recipe concerning poisoning. Terracotta tablet, from Nippur, Iraq.
The Burney Relief, First Babylonian dynasty, around 1800 BC
King Meli-shipak I (1186–1172 BC) presents his daughter to the goddess Nannaya. The crescent moon represents the god Sin, the sun the Shamash and the star the goddess Ishtar.
The Queen's gold lyre from the Royal Cemetery at Ur. C. 2500 BCE. Iraq Museum
Royal Game of Ur, Ancient Mesopotamian board Game.
The Babylonian marriage market by the 19th-century painter Edwin Long
Mining areas of the ancient West Asia.
7th-century BC relief depicting Ashurbanipal ((r. undefined – undefined)669–631 BC) and three royal attendants in a chariot.
Campaign in the Mesopotamian Marshes of southern Babylonia during the reign of Ashurbanipal. Showing Assyrian soldiers on boat chasing enemies trying to run away; some are hiding in the reeds
The Standard of Ur; 2600 BC (the Early Dynastic Period III); shell, red limestone and lapis lazuli on wood; height: 21.7 cm, length: 50.4 cm; discovered at the Royal Cemetery at Ur (Dhi Qar Governorate, Iraq)
Bronze head of an Akkadian ruler, discovered in Nineveh in 1931, presumably depicting either Sargon of Akkad or Sargon's grandson Naram-Sin.<ref>M. E. L. Mallowan, "The Bronze Head of the Akkadian Period from Nineveh", Iraq Vol. 3, No. 1 (1936), 104-110.</ref>
Striding lions from the Processional Street of Babylon.
Lamassu, initially depicted as a goddess in Sumerian times, when it was called Lamma, it was later depicted from Assyrian times as a hybrid of a human, bird, and either a bull or lion—specifically having a human head, the body of a bull or a lion, and bird wings, under the name Lamassu.<ref name="GL109">{{cite book |last1=Leick |first1=Dr Gwendolyn |url=https://books.google.com/books?id=_pqEAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA109 |title=A Dictionary of Ancient Near Eastern Mythology |date=2002 |publisher=Routledge |isbn=978-1-134-64102-4 |pages=109–110 |language=en}}</ref><ref name="Livius.org">Livius.org</ref>
Assyrian ornaments and patterns, illustrated in a book from 1920
alt=|Detail of Nebuchadnezzar II's Building Inscription plaque of the Ishtar Gate, from Babylon
alt=|Artist's impression of a hall in an Assyrian palace from The Monuments of Nineveh by Austen Henry Layard, 1853
alt=|A Neo-Assyrian relief of Ashur as a feather robed archer holding a bow instead of a ring (9th-8th century BC)
alt=|The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III. The king, surrounded by his royal attendants and a high-ranking official, receives a tribute from Sua, king of Gilzanu (north-west Iran), who bows and prostrates before the king. From Nimrud
alt=|Contemporary artwork depicting Babylon at the height of its stature.
alt=|"Winged genie", Nimrud c. 870 BC, with inscription running across his midriff.
The Ishtar gate was constructed in about 575 BCE by order of King Nebuchadnezzar II. Pergamon Museum, Berlin
The walls of Babylon, in Babylon
Ziggurat of Ur
Ziggurat of Dur-kuriagalzu in 2010
A suggested reconstruction of the appearance of a Sumerian ziggurat
alt=|The alleged Abraham house in Ur
The walls of Babylon, in Babylon

3100 BC) to the fall of Babylon in 539 BC, when it was conquered by the Achaemenid Empire.

Neo-Babylonian Empire (7th to 6th century BC)

Map of the Neo-Assyrian Empire under Shalmaneser III (dark green) and Esarhaddon (light green)

Neo-Assyrian Empire

6 links

The fourth and penultimate stage of ancient Assyrian history and the final and greatest phase of Assyria as an independent state.

The fourth and penultimate stage of ancient Assyrian history and the final and greatest phase of Assyria as an independent state.

Map of the Neo-Assyrian Empire under Shalmaneser III (dark green) and Esarhaddon (light green)
Approximate map of the preceding Middle Assyrian Empire at its height in the 13th century BC
Assyrian borders and campaigns under Ashur-dan II ((r. undefined – undefined)934–912 BC), Adad-nirari II ((r. undefined – undefined)911–891 BC) and Tukulti-Ninurta II ((r. undefined – undefined)890–884 BC)
Annals of Tukulti-Ninurta II ((r. undefined – undefined)890–884 BC), recounting one of his campaigns
Stele of Ashurnasirpal II ((r. undefined – undefined)883–859 BC)
Depiction of Shalmaneser III (right) shaking hands with the Babylonian king Marduk-zakir-shumi I (left)
Stele of Shamshi-Adad V ((r. undefined – undefined)824–811 BC)
Stele of Bel-harran-beli-usur, a palace herald, made in the reign of Shalmaneser IV ((r. undefined – undefined)783–773 BC)
Partial relief depicting Tiglath-Pileser III ((r. undefined – undefined)745–727 BC)
20th-century illustration of Tiglath-Pileser III's capture of Damascus
The Neo-Assyrian Empire at the start (purple) and end (blue) of Tiglath-Pileser's reign
Relief depicting Sargon II, founder of the Sargonid dynasty
20th-century reconstruction of Sargon II's palace at Dur-Sharrukin
Line-drawing of a relief depicting Sennacherib ((r. undefined – undefined)705–681 BC) on campaign in a chariot
19th-century reconstruction of Nineveh, made capital under Sennacherib
20th-century illustration of Sennacherib's destruction of Babylon
Esarhaddon ((r. undefined – undefined)681–669 BC), as depicted in his victory stele
20th-century illustration of the Assyrians capturing Memphis, the Egyptian capital
Relief depicting Ashurbanipal ((r. undefined – undefined)669–631 BC) in a chariot, armed with a bow
The Diversion of an Assyrian King (1876) by Frederick Arthur Bridgman
Impression of a seal possibly belonging to the eunuch usurper Sin-shumu-lishir ((r. undefined – undefined)626 BC)
Fall of Nineveh (1829) by John Martin
20th-century illustration of the Battle of Carchemish
20th-century illustration of the Fall of Nineveh
Line-drawing of a relief from Nimrud depicting a Neo-Assyrian king
Seal of Hama, queen of Shalmaneser IV ((r. 783 – 773) BC)
Provinces and vassal kingdoms of the Neo-Assyrian Empire at its height in the 7th century BC
Glazed tile from Nimrud depicting a Neo-Assyrian king, accompanied by attendants
Neo-Assyrian relief depicting eunuchs carrying booty from a war
Relief from Sennacherib's palace at Nineveh depicting two Assyrian spearmen
Line-drawing of a Neo-Assyrian relief showing soldiers forming a phalanx
Neo-Assyrian relief from Nimrud depicting a tribute-bearer
Line-drawing of a Neo-Assyrian relief depicting a family of deportees leaving a captured Babylonian city in an ox-cart
Relief from the time of Ashurbanipal, depicting Babylonian prisoners under Assyrian guard
Neo-Assyrian cuneiform tablet from the Library of Ashurbanipal listing synonyms
Line-drawing of a relief depicting Neo-Assyrian scribes recording the number of enemies slain by soldiers
Line drawing of an Assyrian lion weight once belonging to the king Shalmaneser V ((r. undefined – undefined)727–722 BC). The inscriptions on the weight are in both Akkadian (on the body) and Aramaic (on the base).
Reconstruction of the Library of Ashurbanipal
Relief depicting the gardens of Ashurbanipal in Nineveh (left) with a color reconstruction (right). As can be seen on the right side of the relief, the garden featured sophisticated irrigation aqueducts.
A giant lamassu from Sargon II's palace at Dur-Sharrukin
Egyptian papyrus from c. undefined 500 BC containing the Story of Ahikar
Great Semiramis, Queen of Assyria by Cesare Saccaggi
The Defeat of Sennacherib by Peter Paul Rubens
1861 illustration by Eugène Flandin of excavations of the ruins of Dur-Sharrukin
1849 illustration of a relief from Dur-Sharrukin by Eugène Flandin
1852 illustration by Austen Henry Layard of excavations at Nineveh
Portrait of the Assyrian archaeologist Hormuzd Rassam c. undefined 1854
Chart depicting the ideological translatio imperii, i.e. supposed transfer of the right to universal rule, from the Neo-Assyrian Empire to (rival) early modern states claiming the same right
Relief of Sennacherib, depicting an Assyrian soldier beheading a prisoner
Relief of Ashurbanipal, depicting Elamite chiefs having their tongues removed and being flayed alive
Relief of Ashurbanipal, depicting the beheading of the Elamite king Teumman

Despite being at the peak of its power, the Neo-Assyrian Empire experienced a swift and violent fall in the late 7th century BC, destroyed by a Babylonian uprising and an invasion by the Medes.

Ancient Greek historians such as Herodotus and Ctesias supported a sequence of three world empires and a successive transfer of world domination from the Assyrians to the Medes to the Achaemenids.

Assyria

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Major ancient Mesopotamian civilization which existed as a city-state from the 21st century BC to the 14th century BC and then as a territorial state and eventually an empire from the 14th century BC to the 7th century BC.

Major ancient Mesopotamian civilization which existed as a city-state from the 21st century BC to the 14th century BC and then as a territorial state and eventually an empire from the 14th century BC to the 7th century BC.

Map showing the ancient Assyrian heartland (red) and the extent of the Neo-Assyrian Empire in the 7th century BC (orange)
Map showing the ancient Assyrian heartland (red) and the extent of the Neo-Assyrian Empire in the 7th century BC (orange)
75px
Head of a female figure, dating to the Akkadian period (c. undefined 2334–2154 BC), found at Assur
Ruins of the Old Assyrian trading colony at Kültepe
Partial relief of Tiglath-Pileser III ((r. undefined – undefined)745–727 BC), under whom the Neo-Assyrian Empire was consolidated, centralized and significantly expanded
Detail of a stele in the style of the Neo-Assyrian royal steles erected in Assur in the 2nd century AD (under Parthian rule) by the local ruler Rʻuth-Assor
Line-drawing of a royal seal of the Old Assyrian king Erishum I ((r. undefined – undefined)c. undefined 1974–1934 BC). The seated ruler is thought to represent the god Ashur, with Erishum being the bald figure being led towards him.
Stele of the Neo-Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II ((r. undefined – undefined)883–859 BC)
Ruins of one of the entrances of the Northwest Palace at Nimrud (Assyrian capital 879–706 BC), destroyed by the Islamic State in 2015
Stele of Bel-harran-beli-usur, a palace herald, made in the reign of the Neo-Assyrian king Shalmaneser IV ((r. undefined – undefined)783–773 BC)
Stele of Ili-ittija, governor of Libbi-ali, Kar-Tukulti-Ninurta, Ekallatum, Itu, and Ruqahu, c. undefined 804 BC
20th-century illustration of a Neo-Assyrian spearman
Neo-Assyrian relief depicting some Assyrian individuals in a procession
Relief depicting Naqi'a, mother of Esarhaddon ((r. undefined – undefined)681–669 BC) and one of the most influential women in Assyrian history
Old Assyrian cuneiform tablet from Kültepe recording the repayment of a loan, impressed with four different cylinder seals
7th-century BC relief depicting Ashurbanipal ((r. undefined – undefined)669–631 BC) and two royal attendants
Old Assyrian cuneiform tablet containing an account of a caravan journey
9th-century AD piece of papyrus with Syriac language writing
19th-century reconstruction of Nineveh (Assyrian capital 705–612 BC)
20th-century illustration of decorative patterns found in ancient Assyrian reliefs and garments
Tablet from the Library of Ashurbanipal containing a portion of the Epic of Gilgamesh
Early 20th-century archbishop of the Assyrian Church of the East with entourage
Statue of a praying woman, 25th century BC
Wall relief probably depicting Ashur, 21st–16th century BC
Cylinder seal and impression, 14th–13th century BC
Temple altar of Tukulti-Ninurta I, 13th century BC
Statue of a nude woman, 11th century BC
Glazed tile depicting a king and attendants, 9th century BC
The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, 9th century BC
Statue of Shalmaneser III, 9th century BC
Furniture ornament, 9th–8th century BC
Crown of Queen Hama, 8th century BC
Giant lamassu, 8th century BC
Portion of the Lion Hunt of Ashurbanipal, 7th century BC

Though the core territory of Assyria was extensively devastated in the Medo-Babylonian conquest of the Assyrian Empire and the succeeding Neo-Babylonian Empire invested little resources in rebuilding it, ancient Assyrian culture and traditions continued to survive for centuries throughout the post-imperial period.

The Achaemenid Empire referred to Assyria as Aθūrā ("Athura").

Iran

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Country in Western Asia.

Country in Western Asia.

Inscription of Ardeshir Babakan (r. 224–242) in Naqsh-e Rostam: "This is the figure of Mazdaworshiper, the lord Ardashir, Shahanshah of Iran..."
An Ashrafi Coin of Nader Shah (r. 1736–1747), reverse:"Coined on gold the word of kingdom in the world, Nader of Greater Iran and the world-conquerer king."
A cave painting in Doushe cave, Lorestan, from the 8th millennium BC
A bas-relief at Persepolis, depicting the united Medes and Persians
Tomb of Cyrus the Great, founder of the Achaemenid Empire, in Pasargadae
The Achaemenid Empire (550 BC–330 BC) around the time of Darius the Great and Xerxes I
The Parthian Empire (247 BC–224 AD) in 94 BC at its greatest extent, during the reign of Mithridates II
Tomb of Hafez, a medieval Persian poet whose works are regarded as a pinnacle in Persian literature and have left a considerable mark on later Western writers, most notably Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Henry David Thoreau, and Emerson
Venetian portrait, kept at the Uffizi, of Ismail I, the founder of the Safavid Empire
A portrait of AbbasI, the powerful, pragmatic Safavid ruler who reinforced Iran's military, political, and economic power
Statue of Nader Shah, the first Afsharid ruler of Iran, at his Tomb
A map showing the 19th-century northwestern borders of Iran, comprising modern-day eastern Georgia, Dagestan, Armenia, and the Republic of Azerbaijan, before being ceded to the neighboring Russian Empire by the Russo-Iranian wars
The first national Iranian Parliament was established in 1906 during the Persian Constitutional Revolution
Reza Shah, the first Pahlavi king of Iran, in military uniform
The Allied "Big Three" at the 1943 Tehran Conference.
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and the Imperial Family during the coronation ceremony of the Shah of Iran in 1967.
Ruhollah Khomeini's return to Iran on 1February 1979
An Iranian soldier wearing a gas mask on the front-line during the Iran–Iraq War
The Green Movement's Silent Demonstration during the 2009–10 Iranian election protests
The 2017–18 Iranian protests were initiated on 31 December 2017 and continued for months.
Mount Damavand, Iran's highest point, is located in Amol, Mazenderan.
Persian leopard, listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List.
Iran's most populated cities (2010)
Iran's syncretic political system combines elements of an Islamic theocracy with vetted democracy.
Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, meeting with his counterpart, China's paramount leader Xi Jinping on 23 January 2016. Iran and China are strategic allies.
Ali Khamenei voting in the 2017 presidential election
Iranian former President Hassan Rouhani meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Iran and Russia are strategic allies.
The Islamic Consultative Assembly, also known as the Iranian Parliament
Protest against U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel. Tehran, 11 December 2017.
Sophisticated indigenous long range missile system Bavar-373 paraded in Tehran.
Iran's provinces by their contribution to national GDP (2014)
Historical GDP per capita development
A proportional representation of Iran exports, 2019
More than a million tourists visit Kish Island each year.
Iran holds 10% of the world's proven oil reserves and 15% of its gas. It is OPEC's second largest exporter and the world's 7th largest oil producer.
Literacy rate of Iran's population plus 15, 1975–2015, according to UNESCO Institute of Statistics
Sharif University of Technology is one of Iran's most prestigious higher education institutions.
The production line for AryoSeven at the Iranian biopharmaceutical company of AryoGen
Simorgh launch, Iranian Space Agency
Iran's population growth (1880–2016)
Iran's provinces by population density (2013)
Iron Age gold cup from Marlik, kept at New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art
Kamal-ol-Molk's Mirror Hall, often considered a starting point in Iranian modern art
Tomb of the 10th-century Persian poet Ferdowsi, author of Šāhnāme, the classical Persian composition of the Iranian national epics, in Tus
Zoroaster, the founder of Zoroastrianism, depicted on Raphael's The School of Athens
Karna, an ancient Iranian musical instrument from the 6th century BC, kept at the Persepolis Museum
The Roudaki Hall, constructed between 1957 and 1967 in Tehran
Reproduction of the 3rd-millennium BC goblet from southeastern Iran, possibly the world's oldest example of animation.
Abbas Kiarostami (1940–2016), an acclaimed Iranian film director
Behrouz Vossoughi, a well-known Iranian actor who has appeared in more than 90 films
Haft-Seen, a customary of Nowruz, the Iranian New Year
Chelow kabab (rice and kebab), one of Iran's national dishes
Skiers at the Dizin Ski Resort
The Azadi Stadium in Tehran is West Asia's largest football stadium.
Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, meeting with his counterpart, China's paramount leader Xi Jinping on 23 January 2016. Iran and China are strategic allies.
An Iranian tea tray served near Garden of Mausoleum of Omar Khayyam in Nishapur

The country is home to one of the world's oldest civilizations, beginning with the formation of the Elamite kingdoms in the fourth millennium BC. It was first unified by the Medes, an ancient Iranian people, in the seventh century BC, and reached its territorial height in the sixth century BC, when Cyrus the Great founded the Achaemenid Persian Empire, which became one of the largest empires in history and has been described as the world's first effective superpower.

539 BC was the year in which Persian forces defeated the Babylonian army at Opis, and marked the end of around four centuries of Mesopotamian domination of the region by conquering the Neo-Babylonian Empire.

Hormuzd Rassam in Mosul circa 1854. The Cyrus Cylinder was discovered during Rassam's excavations in Babylon in February–March 1879.

Cyrus Cylinder

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Hormuzd Rassam in Mosul circa 1854. The Cyrus Cylinder was discovered during Rassam's excavations in Babylon in February–March 1879.
Map of the site of Babylon in 1829. Hormuzd Rassam's diggers found the Cyrus Cylinder in the mound of Tell Amran-ibn-Ali (marked with an "E" at the centre of the map) under which lay the ruined Esagila temple.
Extract from the Cyrus Cylinder (lines 15–21), giving the genealogy of Cyrus and an account of his capture of Babylon in 539 BC (E. A. Wallis Budge, 1884).
Sample detail image showing cuneiform script.
The Nabonidus Cylinder
Stele depicting Nabonidus praying to the moon, sun and the planet Venus. The Babylonian king's religious practices were harshly condemned by the Cyrus Cylinder's inscription.
Places in Mesopotamia mentioned by the Cyrus Cylinder. Most of the localities it mentions in connection with the restoration of temples were in eastern and northern Mesopotamia, in territories that had been ruled by the deposed Babylonian king Nabonidus (excepting Susa).
Cyrus Cylinder at the center of the official emblem of 2,500 year celebration of the Persian Empire at Pahlavi Iranian imperial era
The Cyrus Cylinder in Room 52 of the British Museum in London

The Cyrus Cylinder is an ancient clay cylinder, now broken into several pieces, on which is written a declaration in Akkadian cuneiform script in the name of Persia's Achaemenid king Cyrus the Great.

It was created and used as a foundation deposit following the Persian conquest of Babylon in 539 BC, when the Neo-Babylonian Empire was invaded by Cyrus and incorporated into his Persian Empire.

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

Medes

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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).

Neo-Assyrian dominance over the Medians came to an end during the reign of Median King Cyaxares, who, in alliance with King Nabopolassar of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, attacked and destroyed the strife-riven Neo-Assyrian empire between 616 and 609 BC. The newfound alliance helped the Medes to capture Nineveh in 612 BC, which resulted in the eventual collapse of the Neo-Assyrian Empire by 609 BC. The Medes were subsequently able to establish their Median Kingdom (with Ecbatana as their royal capital) beyond their original homeland and had eventually a territory stretching roughly from northeastern Iran to the Kızılırmak River in Anatolia.

Arāmāyā in Syriac Esṭrangelā script

Aramaic

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Semitic language that originated among the Arameans in the ancient region of Syria.

Semitic language that originated among the Arameans in the ancient region of Syria.

Arāmāyā in Syriac Esṭrangelā script
Syriac-Aramaic alphabet
The Carpentras Stele was the first ancient inscription ever identified as "Aramaic". Although it was first published in 1704, it was not identified as Aramaic until 1821, when Ulrich Friedrich Kopp complained that previous scholars had left everything "to the Phoenicians and nothing to the Arameans, as if they could not have written at all".
Syriac inscription at the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church's Major Archbishop's House in Kerala, India
"Jesus" in Jewish Aramaic
11th century book in Syriac Serto
One of the Bar-Rakib inscriptions from Sam'al. The inscription is in the Samalian language (also considered a dialect).
Coin of Alexander the Great bearing an Aramaic language inscription
The Kandahar Bilingual Rock Inscription (Greek and Aramaic) by the Indian king Ashoka, 3rd century BC at Kandahar, Afghanistan
11th century Hebrew Bible with Targum intercalated between verses of Hebrew text
Mandaic magical "demon trap"
9th century Syriac Estrangela manuscript of John Chrysostom's Homily on the Gospel of John
Hebrew (left) and Aramaic (right) in parallel in a 1299 Hebrew Bible held by the Bodleian Library
Territorial distribution of Neo-Aramaic languages in the Near East
Amen in East Syriac Aramaic

The scribes of the Neo-Assyrian bureaucracy had also used Aramaic, and this practice was subsequently inherited by the succeeding Neo-Babylonian Empire (605–539 BC), and later by the Achaemenid Empire (539–330 BC).

Nabonidus as depicted in the Harran Stela

Nabonidus

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Nabonidus as depicted in the Harran Stela
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Relief of Ashurbanipal, who ruled as king of Assyria 669–631 BC. Nabonidus emulated elements of Ashurbanipal and his dynasty, the Sargonids. Some historians believe that Nabonidus was a descendant of Ashurbanipal, or Ashurbanipal's father Esarhaddon.
Locations of some major Mesopotamian cities
Nabonidus as depicted in a stele from Harran
A granite stele of Nabonidus
Map of the Neo-Babylonian Empire under Nabonidus. Tayma is in northern Arabia, in the south-west of the empire.
Ancient ruins at Tayma
The Harran Stela, depicting Nabonidus as praying to the moon (i.e. Sîn), the sun and Venus
The Verse Account of Nabonidus, a biased document written about Nabonidus's reign, probably in the reign of Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great, who conquered Babylon in 539 BC, depicted with a Hemhem crown, or four-winged Cherub tutelary divinity
Map of the path of Cyrus the Great during his 539 BC invasion of Babylonia
Nebuchadnezzar (1795) by William Blake. The painting depicts Nebuchadnezzar II as nude and mad, living like a wild animal. The story of Nebuchadnezzar II's madness originally referred to Nabonidus.
Terracotta cylinder of Nabonidus, recording the restoration work on the temple of Shamash at Larsa

Nabonidus (Babylonian cuneiform: Nabû-naʾid, meaning "May Nabu be exalted" or "Nabu is praised") was the last king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, ruling from 556 BC to the fall of Babylon to the Achaemenid Empire under Cyrus the Great in 539 BC. Nabonidus was the last native ruler of ancient Mesopotamia, the end of his reign marking the end of thousands of years of Sumero-Akkadian states, kingdoms and empires.