Achaemenid Empire

The Achaemenid or the Achaemenian Empire[19] (/əˈkmənɪd/; Old Persian: 𐎧𐏁𐏂, Xšāça, lit. 'The Empire'[20] or 'The Kingdom'[21]), also called the First Persian Empire,[22] was an ancient Iranian empire founded by Cyrus the Great in 550 BC. Based in Western Asia, it was contemporarily the largest empire in history, spanning a total of 5.5 million square kilometres (2.1 million square miles) from the Balkans and ancient Egypt in the west to the Indus Valley in the east.[15][16]

Achaemenid Empire
𐎧𐏁𐏂
Xšāça
550 BC–330 BC
The Achaemenid Empire at its greatest territorial extent under the rule of Darius I (522 BC–486 BC)[6][7][8][9]
StatusEmpire
Capital
Common languages
Religion
GovernmentMonarchy
Kings[lower-alpha 2] or
King of Kings[lower-alpha 3]
 
 559–530 BC
Cyrus the Great
 530–522 BC
Cambyses II
 522–486 BC
Darius I
 486–465 BC
Xerxes I
 465–424 BC
Artaxerxes I
 424–424 BC
Xerxes II
 424–423 BC
Sogdianus
 423–405 BC
Darius II
 405–358 BC
Artaxerxes II
 358–338 BC
Artaxerxes III
 338–336 BC
Arses
 336–330 BC
Darius III
Historical eraClassical antiquity
550 BC
547 BC
539 BC
525 BC
499–449 BC
395–387 BC
343 BC
330 BC
Area
500 BC[15][16]5,500,000 km2 (2,100,000 sq mi)
Population
 [17]
17 million to 35 million
CurrencyDaric, siglos
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Median Empire
Neo-Babylonian Empire
Lydia
Twenty-sixth Dynasty of Egypt
Gandhara
Sogdia
Massagetae
Empire of Alexander the Great
Twenty-eighth Dynasty of Egypt

Around the 7th century BC, the region of Persis in the southwestern portion of the Iranian plateau was settled by the Persians;[23] from Persis, Cyrus rose and defeated the Median Empire as well as Lydia and the Neo-Babylonian Empire, marking the formal establishment of a new imperial polity under the Achaemenid dynasty.

The Achaemenid Empire is well-known for having imposed a successful model of centralized, bureaucratic administration; its multicultural policy; building infrastructure, such as road systems and a postal system; the use of an official language across its territories; and the development of civil services, including its possession of a large, professional army. Its advancements inspired the implement of similar styles of governance by various later empires.[24]

By 330 BC, the Achaemenid Empire was conquered in its entirety by Greek Macedonia under Alexander the Great, an ardent admirer of Cyrus the Great.[25][26] With Alexander's death marking the beginning of the Hellenistic period, most of the empire's former territory fell to the rule of the Ptolemaic Kingdom and the Seleucid Empire following the Partition of Triparadisus in 321 BC. Hellenistic rule remained in place until the Iranian elites of the central plateau finally reclaimed power under the Parthian Empire.[23]


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