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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Portrait of the Achaemenid ruler toppled by Darius, as appearing on the Behistun inscription: he was either the legitimate Bardiya, or, as claimed by Darius, an imposter named Gaumāta.

Bardiya

Son of Cyrus the Great and the younger brother of Cambyses II, both Persian kings.

Son of Cyrus the Great and the younger brother of Cambyses II, both Persian kings.

Portrait of the Achaemenid ruler toppled by Darius, as appearing on the Behistun inscription: he was either the legitimate Bardiya, or, as claimed by Darius, an imposter named Gaumāta.
Gaumata under Darius I's boot engraved at Behistun Inscription in Kermanshah.
Phaedyme is sent by her father Otanes, to check if King Smerdis has ears under his turban, as the suspected imposter was known to have had them cut off in punishment for a crime. She found that indeed the king did not have ears anymore, which proved that he was an imposter, and justified the coup in favour of Darius I.
"The struggle between Gobryas and the false Smerdis", 19th century print.
Bardiya / Smerdis in relation to his successor Darius the Great in the Achaemenid lineage.
Medieval image of Bardiya.

Bardiya either ruled the Achaemenid Empire for a few months in 522 BC, or was impersonated by a magus called Gaumāta ; whose name is given by Ctesias as Sphendadates ( Sphendadátēs), until he was toppled by Darius the Great.

Meeting Between Cambyses II and Psammetichus III, as imaginatively recreated by the French painter Adrien Guignet, after the Battle of Pelusium

Battle of Pelusium

Meeting Between Cambyses II and Psammetichus III, as imaginatively recreated by the French painter Adrien Guignet, after the Battle of Pelusium
According to Polyaenus, the Persian soldiers allegedly used cats - among other sacred Egyptian animals - against the Pharaoh's army. Paul-Marie Lenoir's paintwork, 1872.

The Battle of Pelusium was the first major battle between the Achaemenid Empire and Egypt.

A partial view of the ruins of Babylon.

Babylon

"Babilu" redirects here.

"Babilu" redirects here.

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

Head of Amasis II, c. 550 BCE

Amasis II

Pharaoh of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty of Egypt, the successor of Apries at Sais.

Pharaoh of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty of Egypt, the successor of Apries at Sais.

Head of Amasis II, c. 550 BCE
Polycrates, Tyrant of Samos, with Pharaoh Amasis II.
Statue of Tasherenese, mother of king Amasis II, 570-526 BCE, British Museum
This head probably came from a temple statue of Amasis II. He wears the traditional royal nemes head cloth, with a protective uraeus serpent at the brow. Circa 560 BCE. Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.
Relief showing Amasis from the Karnak temple
Papyrus, written in demotic script in the 35th year of Amasis II, on display at the Louvre
Grant of a parcel of land by an individual to a temple. Dated to the first year of Amasis II, on display at the Louvre
A stele dating to the 23rd regnal year of Amasis, on display at the Louvre

He was the last great ruler of Egypt before the Persian conquest.

Model of Herod's Temple (the Second Temple after being rebuilt by Herod) at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, created in 1966 as part of the Holyland Model of Jerusalem; the model was inspired by the writings of Josephus.

Second Temple

The reconstructed Jewish holy temple that stood on the Temple Mount in the city of Jerusalem between c. 516 BCE and 70 CE.

The reconstructed Jewish holy temple that stood on the Temple Mount in the city of Jerusalem between c. 516 BCE and 70 CE.

Model of Herod's Temple (the Second Temple after being rebuilt by Herod) at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, created in 1966 as part of the Holyland Model of Jerusalem; the model was inspired by the writings of Josephus.
Rebuilding of the Temple (illustration by Gustave Doré from the 1866 La Sainte Bible)
Modern-day reconstruction of Jerusalem during the 10th century BCE, showing Solomon's Temple, which was on the site prior to the building of the Second Temple.
Herod's Temple as imagined in the Holyland Model of Jerusalem; east at the bottom.
View of the Temple Mount in 2013; east at the bottom
Herod's Temple from The Presentation in the Temple (1910)
The Royal Stoa in the Holyland Model of Jerusalem
The Foundation Stone under the Dome of the Rock, a possible historical location for the Holy of Holies
Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans (1850 painting by David Roberts). Looking southwest
Present-day view of the Temple Mount looking southwest, with the golden Dome of the Rock visible center and the Al-Aqsa Mosque to the left beyond some trees. Parts of the Old City of Jerusalem can be seen surrounding the Mount.
Magdala Stone
Bar Kokhba tetradracm showing the Jerusalem Temple façade 132–135 CE
Arch of Titus showing spoils of Jerusalem Temple
Part of the south-western upper corner of Herod's temple colonnade with ancient "Trumpeting Place" Hebrew inscription.
The Warning Inscription found in 1871
A copy of the temple warning inscription found in 1871
Fragment of Second Temple Warning
The Trumpeting Place inscription, a stone ({{cvt|2.43|×|1|m}}) with Hebrew inscription "To the Trumpeting Place" excavated by Benjamin Mazar at the southern foot of the Temple Mount is believed to be a part of the Second Temple.

Construction on the Second Temple began some time after the conquest of Babylon by the Achaemenid Persian Empire, following a proclamation by the Persian king Cyrus the Great that enabled the Jewish return to Zion.

Relief depicting Psamtik III from a chapel in Karnak

Psamtik III

The last Pharaoh of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty of Egypt from 526 BC to 525 BC. Most of what is known about his reign and life was documented by the Greek historian Herodotus in the 5th century BC. Herodotus states that Psamtik had ruled Egypt for only six months before he was confronted by a Persian invasion of his country led by King Cambyses II of Persia.

The last Pharaoh of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty of Egypt from 526 BC to 525 BC. Most of what is known about his reign and life was documented by the Greek historian Herodotus in the 5th century BC. Herodotus states that Psamtik had ruled Egypt for only six months before he was confronted by a Persian invasion of his country led by King Cambyses II of Persia.

Relief depicting Psamtik III from a chapel in Karnak

The young and inexperienced pharaoh was no match for the invading Persians.

Cyprus

Island country in the eastern Mediterranean Sea south of the Anatolian Peninsula.

Island country in the eastern Mediterranean Sea south of the Anatolian Peninsula.

A copper mine in Cyprus. In antiquity, Cyprus was a major source of copper.
Archeologic site of Khirokitia with early remains of human habitation during Aceramic Neolithic period (reconstruction)
Zeus Keraunios, 500–480 BC, Nicosia museum
The Walls of Nicosia were built by the Venetians to defend the city in case of an Ottoman attack
Kyrenia Castle was originally built by the Byzantines and enlarged by the Venetians
Büyük Han, a caravanserai in Nicosia, is an example of the surviving Ottoman architecture in Cyprus.
Hoisting the British flag at Nicosia
Greek Cypriot demonstrations for Enosis (union with Greece) in 1930
A British soldier facing a crowd of Greek Cypriot demonstrators in Nicosia (1956)
Ethnic map of Cyprus according to the 1960 census.
Varosha (Maraş), a suburb of Famagusta, was abandoned when its inhabitants fled in 1974 and remains under Turkish military control
A map showing the division of Cyprus
Foreign Ministers of the European Union countries in Limassol during Cyprus Presidency of the EU in 2012
Cyprus taken from space by the International Space Station in 2021
Sea caves at Cape Greco.
The Troodos Mountains experience heavy snowfall in winter
Kouris Dam overflow in April 2012
Presidential Palace, Nicosia
Nicos Anastasiades, President of Cyprus since 2013.
Dhekelia Power Station
Welcoming ceremony of the former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev by the soldiers of the Cypriot National Guard.
Supreme Court of Justice
A proportional representation of Cyprus's exports, 2019
Central Bank of Cyprus
Cyprus is part of a monetary union, the eurozone (dark blue) and of the EU single market.
Limassol General Hospital
A1 Motorway between Agios Athanasios junction and Mesa Ghetonia junction in Limassol
Population growth, 1961–2003 (numbers for the entire island, excluding Turkish settlers residing in Northern Cyprus).
2010 population by age and gender
The Armenian Alphabet at the Melkonian Educational Institute. Armenian is recognised as a minority language in Cyprus.
Faneromeni School is the oldest all-girl primary school in Cyprus.
The entrance of the historic Pancyprian Gymnasium
Typical Cypriot architecture in old part of Nicosia, Cyprus
Laouto, dominant instrument of the Cypriot traditional music.
Zeno of Citium, founder of the Stoic school of philosophy.
Ioannis Kigalas (c. 1622–1687) was a Nicosia born Greek Cypriot scholar and professor of Philosophy who was largely active in the 17th century.
Cypriot meze
Cypriot Halloumi
Cypriot style café in an arcade in Nicosia
Spyros Kyprianou Athletic Centre in Limassol

Cyprus was settled by Mycenaean Greeks in two waves in the 2nd millennium BC. As a strategic location in the Eastern Mediterranean, it was subsequently occupied by several major powers, including the empires of the Assyrians, Egyptians and Persians, from whom the island was seized in 333 BC by Alexander the Great.

Coin minted in Barca in the Achaemenid Empire, dated 475-435 BC

Barca (ancient city)

Ancient city and former bishopric, which survives as both a Latin Catholic and an Orthodox titular see.

Ancient city and former bishopric, which survives as both a Latin Catholic and an Orthodox titular see.

Coin minted in Barca in the Achaemenid Empire, dated 475-435 BC
Main railway station in Italian Barce.

Achaemenid king Darius I established Barcaean captives in a village in Bactria, which was still flourishing in Herodotus' time.

Ctesias was on the Achaemenid side, attending to Artaxerxes II, at the Battle of Cunaxa (401 BC), Jean Adrien Guignet

Ctesias

Ctesias was on the Achaemenid side, attending to Artaxerxes II, at the Battle of Cunaxa (401 BC), Jean Adrien Guignet
Some absurd claims form part of Indica, such as the stories of a race of people with only one leg, or with feet so big they could be used as an umbrella

Ctesias (, fifth century BC), also known as Ctesias the Cnidian or Ctesias of Cnidus, was a Greek physician and historian from the town of Cnidus in Caria, who lived during the time that Caria was part of the Achaemenid Empire.

Top to bottom, left to right: Château d'Angers, Maison d'Adam; Angers tram, Verdun Bridge at night; view of the river Maine, Verdun Bridge and downtown area from Angers Castle

Pierre Briant

French Iranologist, Professor of History and Civilisation of the Achaemenid World and the Empire of Alexander the Great at the Collège de France (1999 onwards), Doctor Honoris Causa at the University of Chicago, and founder of the website achemenet.com.

French Iranologist, Professor of History and Civilisation of the Achaemenid World and the Empire of Alexander the Great at the Collège de France (1999 onwards), Doctor Honoris Causa at the University of Chicago, and founder of the website achemenet.com.

Top to bottom, left to right: Château d'Angers, Maison d'Adam; Angers tram, Verdun Bridge at night; view of the river Maine, Verdun Bridge and downtown area from Angers Castle

His works deal mainly with the Achaemenid Empire, and related matters as Alexander the Great or the Hellenistic Era.