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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The countries around Chaldea

Chaldea

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Small country that existed between the late 10th or early 9th and mid-6th centuries BC, after which the country and its people were absorbed and assimilated into the indigenous population of Babylonia.

Small country that existed between the late 10th or early 9th and mid-6th centuries BC, after which the country and its people were absorbed and assimilated into the indigenous population of Babylonia.

The countries around Chaldea
Chaldea and neighboring countries

From 626 BC to 539 BC, a ruling family referred to as the Chaldean dynasty, named after their possible Chaldean origin, ruled the kingdom at its height under the Neo-Babylonian Empire, although the final ruler of this empire, Nabonidus (556-539 BC) (and his son and regent Belshazzar) was a usurper of Assyrian ancestry.

When the Babylonian Empire was absorbed into the Persian Achaemenid Empire, the name "Chaldean" lost its meaning in reference to a particular ethnicity or land, but lingered for a while as a term solely and explicitly used to describe a societal class of astrologers and astronomers in southern Mesopotamia.

The Flight of the Prisoners (1896) by James Tissot; the exile of the Jews from Canaan to Babylon

Babylonian captivity

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The Flight of the Prisoners (1896) by James Tissot; the exile of the Jews from Canaan to Babylon
Clay tablet. The Akkadian cuneiform inscription lists certain rations and mentions the name of Jeconiah (Jehoiachin), King of Judah, and the Babylonian captivity. From Babylon, Iraq. Reign of Nebuchadnezzar II, circa 580 BCE. Vorderasiatisches Museum, Berlin
Illustration from the Nuremberg Chronicle of the destruction of Jerusalem under the Babylonian rule
Depiction of Jews mourning the exile in Babylon

The Babylonian captivity or Babylonian exile is the period in Jewish history during which a large number of Judeans from the ancient Kingdom of Judah were captives in Babylon, the capital city of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, following their defeat in the Jewish–Babylonian War and the destruction of Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem.

After the fall of the Neo-Babylonian Empire to the Achaemenid Persian Empire and its founding king Cyrus the Great at the Battle of Opis in 539 BCE, exiled Judeans were permitted by the Persians to return to Judah.

Akkadian language

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East Semitic language, now extinct, that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia (Akkad, Assyria, Isin, Larsa and Babylonia) from the third millennium BC until its gradual replacement by Akkadian-influenced Old Aramaic among Mesopotamians by the 8th century BC.

East Semitic language, now extinct, that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia (Akkad, Assyria, Isin, Larsa and Babylonia) from the third millennium BC until its gradual replacement by Akkadian-influenced Old Aramaic among Mesopotamians by the 8th century BC.

Cuneiform writing (Neoassyrian script)
(1 = Logogram (LG) "mix"/syllabogram (SG) ,
2 = LG "moat",
3 = SG ,
4 = SG ,,, ,
5 = SG kam,
6 = SG im,
7 = SG bir)
An Akkadian inscription
Georg Friedrich Grotefend
The Deluge tablet of the Gilgamesh epic in Akkadian.
The first known Sumerian-Akkadian bilingual tablet dates from the reign of Rimush. Louvre Museum AO 5477. The top column is in Sumerian, the bottom column is its translation in Akkadian.
Inscription in Babylonian, in the Xerxes I inscription at Van, 5th century BCE
Neo-Babylonian inscription of king Nebuchadnezzar II, 7th century BCE

Under the Achaemenids, Aramaic continued to prosper, but Assyrian continued its decline.

From this period on, one speaks of Neo-Babylonian and Neo-Assyrian.

Being close to Babylon, Sippar was an early addition to its empire under Hammurabi.

Sippar

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Ancient Near Eastern Sumerian and later Babylonian city on the east bank of the Euphrates river.

Ancient Near Eastern Sumerian and later Babylonian city on the east bank of the Euphrates river.

Being close to Babylon, Sippar was an early addition to its empire under Hammurabi.
Clay tablet and its sealed clay envelope. Legal document, listing of land and their distribution to several sons. From Sippar, Iraq. Old-Babylonian period. Reign of Sin-Muballit, 1812-1793 BCE. Vorderasiatisches Museum, Berlin
Hammurabi clay cone from Sippar at Louvre
Old Babylonian Cylinder Seal, hematite. The king makes an animal offering to Shamash. The style of this seal suggests that it originated from a workshop in Sippar
Map of the World from Sippar, Mesopotamia, Iraq. 6th century BCE. The British Museum
Tablet of Nabu-apla-iddina, 9th century BCE, from Sippar, Iraq. British Museum
Detail, Sun God Tablet from Sippar, Iraq, 9th century BCE. British Museum
Detail, Kudurru of Ritti-Marduk, from Sippar, Iraq, 1125-1104 BCE. British Museum

While pottery finds indicate that the site of Sippar was in use as early as the Uruk period, substantial occupation occurred only in the Early Dynastic Period of the 3rd millennium BC, the Old Babylonian period of the 2nd millennium BC, and the Neo-Babylonian time of the 1st millennium BC. Lesser levels of use continued into the time of the Achaemenid, Seleucid and Parthian Empires.

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

Xerxes I

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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.

Xerxes dropped "King of Babylon" from his titulature and divided the previously large Babylonian satrapy (accounting for most of the Neo-Babylonian Empire's territory) into smaller sub-units.