Thursday, June 21, 2007

Achaemenid Empire

Maximal extension of the Achaemenid EmpireThe Achaemenid (uh-kee-muh-nid) Empire (Old Persian: Hakhāmanishiya) was a dynasty in the ancient Persian Empire with high cultural and economical achievements during its highest power [After Achaemenes, legendary ancestor of Cyrus II the Great, founder of the dynasty.] . At the height of their power, around 500 BC, the Achaemenid rulers of Persia ruled over territories roughly encompassing today's Iran, Iraq, Armenia, Afghanistan, Turkey, Bulgaria, eastern parts of Greece, Egypt, Syria, much of what is now Pakistan, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Caucasia, Central Asia, Libya, and northern parts of Arabia. The empire ruled by Persia eventually became the largest empire of the ancient world (see also: Iraq Maps).

Darius I was the first to speak of Achaemenes, who he claimed was an ancestor of Cyrus the Great, (ca. 576 - 529 BC) and therefore the progenitor of the entire line of Achaemenid rulers. However, some scholars hold that Achaemenes was a fictional character used to legitimize Darius' rule, and that Darius the Great usurped the Persian throne. In any case, the name Achaemenid has been commonly accepted for the line of Persian kings beginning at least with Darius the Great. When the name refers to the entire line of early Persian rulers, including Cyrus and his son Cambyses, the Achaemenid era stretches from about 650 to 330 BC.


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