Pers İmparatorluğu

CKM 2018-19 / Aziz Yardımlı


 

Pers İmparatorluğu



PERSİA


Persia dünyanın en eski uygarlıklarından biridir. Ama daha eskileri de vardır ve eskilik kendinde bir değer taşımaz. Önemli olan insanların korumasız ve güçsüz etnik kabileler olarak yaşadıkları çok eski zamanlarda kentler kurmak, tapınaklar yapmak, yazıyı bulmak, yasalar yapmaktır. Ve bu işler ve daha başka pekçok özsel iş Persler ortaya çıkmadan çok daha önce Mezopotamya kent-devletleri, krallıkları ve imparatorlukları tarafından yapıldı.

 

Pers dünyasında henüz tarihin gri bölgesinde kalmayı sürdürürüz. Özgür istençten söz edilse de, bu özgürlük yalnızca ve yalnızca imparatora aittir. Büyük Kyrus fethettiği ülkelerin halklarına iyi davranmış olduğunu söylese de, ne şiddet kültürü sona ermiştir, ne de evrensel kölelik kalkmıştır. Kyrus'un "evrensel insan hakları bildirgesi" gibi birşeyi yayımladığı ileri sürülse de, bu evrensel onun tikelliği ile sınırlı bir "evrensel"dir. Ahura Mazda ışıklarını bütün insanlığa eşit olarak gönderse de, bu henüz Usun ışığı değildir.

 


Anahatlar

Anahatlar


  • Pers İmparatorluğu eski dünyanın en güçlü imparatorluklardan biri idi.
  • 200 yıl boyunca bilinen dünyanın büyük bölümüne egemen oldu.
  • Pers İmparatorluğu ne bilimsel ne de yazınsal bir kalıt bıraktı. Avesta mitolojidir.

 







  🗺️ PERSIAN EMPIRE    

🗺️ Persian Empire, about 500 BC (HARİTA)

The Persian Empire (c. 550-330 BC)

 




  🕑 Timelines

🕑 Anatolia — Timeline — 750-500 BC

Anatolia — Timeline — 750-500 BC

 



Timeline of Pre-Achaemenid Era

Timeline of Pre-Achaemenid Era (W)



Timeline of Pre-Achaemenid era.

 




🕑 Persian Empire Timeline

Persian Empire Timeline (LINK)

Date Event
550 B.C. Cyrus rules (Around 550 B.C.).

Cyrus II, later known as Cyrus the Great, comes to power as king of Ashan in western Persis. Under his control all of Persis is united. He starts the Achaemenid dynasty.
550 B.C. Cyrus is attacked.

King Astyages of Media attacks Cyrus. During the fight, some of Astyages' men turn on their leader and Cyrus becomes the victor. He goes on to defeat the Medes and conquers Lydia.
539 B.C. Cyrus captures Babylon.

Cyrus continues his conquests and soon even Babylon is under his control.
536 B.C. The prophecy about Cyrus (Around 536 B.C.).

Two hundred years before Babylon is conquered, the prophet Isaiah has written of a great ruler named Cyrus who allows the Jews to rebuild their temple. When the scroll is read to Cyrus, he commands that the captive Jews of Babylon be allowed to return to rebuild their holy city.
533 B.C. Cyrus conquers more (533 - 529 B.C.).

Cyrus continues to take over more lands. In 533 B.C. he invades India. He later dies in battle in 529 B.C.
529 B.C. The family line goes on (529 - 522 B.C.).

After the death of his father, Cambyses II rules. He conquers both Egypt and Cyprus, extending the empire even more. He dies in 522 B.C.
521 B.C. Darius I reigns (521 B.C.).

Darius claims the throne, but Bardiya, presumably Cambyses' brother, claims it, too. Bardiya is eventually defeated and Darius becomes king of Persia.
521 B.C. Darius' contributions (521 B.C.)

Darius divides the empire into provinces called satrapies, each governed by a satrap. He links the empire by roads and has a common currency throughout. He also allows the Jews to continue rebuilding their temple after disputes from neighboring areas are brought to his attention.
499 B.C. Lydia rebels.

Lydia joins Persia after being conquered by Cyrus in 546 B., but they rebel in 499. Darius puts down the rebellion.
490 B.C. The Persian Wars (490 - 479 B.C.)

The Greeks and Persians battle for territory for several years. Sometimes the Persians win. Sometimes the Greeks win. In 485 B.C. Darius dies.
485 B.C. Xerxes I rules (485 - 465 B.C.).

Xerxes I comes to power after the death of Darius. He continues the war with Greece. The Persians burn Athens in 480, but are defeated at Salamis the following year when the fleet sinks. Xerxes is assassinated in 465.
465 B.C. Artaxerxes reigns (465 - 424 B.C.).

Xerxes' son, Artaxerxes, takes over the empire. During his reign he allows his cupbearer Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem to restore the walls to protect the city. In 447 B.C. a satrap from Syria revolts.
404 B.C. Artaxerxes comes to power (404 - 359 B.C.).

Artaxerxes comes to the throne in 404 after the reign of Darius II. He rules longer than any other Persian king. During this time, Egypt leads a successful revolt.
359 B.C. Artaxerxes III recaptures Egypt (359 - 338 B.C.).

Egypt doesn't stay independent for long. In 343 Persia regains control. Artaxerxes III is assassinated in 338 B.C. Arses takes over, but is assassinated two years later.
336 B.C. Darius and Alexander (336 - 330 B.C.).

Darius III takes over. In 334 Alexander the Great of Macedonia invades Central Asia. Darius loses three battles with Alexander and is finally defeated in 331. He is murdered in 330 B.C. The great Persian Empire is no more. The Persian Empire began with conquest and ended with defeat, but it will always be remembered as a powerful force that swept through the continents of Asia, Africa, and Europe.

 



 

📹 Ancient Greek History — Rise of the Persians (VİDEO)

Ancient Greek History — Rise of the Persians (LINK)

We explore the rise of the Persian Empire in this video.

 



 

📹 Overview of Ancient Persia — World History — Khan Academy

Overview of Ancient Persia — World History — Khan Academy (LINK)

 





  • Tarih-öncesi İran’da İÖ 1’inci binyılda sonlandı ve İran İÖ 6’ncı yüzyılda Akhemenid hanedanı ile yazılı tarihin gün ışığına ve uygarlık evresine girdi.
  • İndus’tan Nil’e bilinen dünyanın engin topraklarının büyük bölümüne egemen olan görkemli, güçlü, gönençli Akhamenidlerin daha öte genişlemesi minik Helenik kent-devletleri tarafından durduruldu.
  • Pers İmparatorluğu İÖ 331’de Büyük İskender tarafından tarihten silindi.

  ELAM
  • Elam uygarlığı için yazılı tarih Mezopotamya ile aynı zamanda İÖ 3000’lerde başladı.
  • Elam uygarlığı Sümer, Babil ve Asur ile tecim ve savaş ilişkileri içinde idi.
  • En eski Elam kralları İÖ 2700’lerde ortaya çıktılar.
  • Hammurabi’nin İÖ 1764’te Elam’ı ezmesine karşın, onun ölümünden sonra Babil zayıflarken Elam kendini toparladı ve bağımsızlığını yeniden kazandı.
  • İÖ 692 ve 639 arasında Ashurbanipal’in orduları Susa’yı yağmalayıp yıkarak baştan sona yok ettiler ve kendi iç çatışmaları nedeniyle bölge için bir sıkıntı olmaya başlayan Elam’ı tarihten sildiler.
  • Elam daha sonra Akhamenid İmparatorluğunda bir satraplık oldu ve Susa önemini sürdürdü.

Proto-Elamite

Proto-Elamite (3400 BC to 2500 BC) (W)

The Proto-Elamite period is the time from ca. 3400 BC to 2500 BC. In archaeological terms this corresponds to the late Banesh period, and it is recognized as the oldest civilization in Iran.

The Proto-Elamite script is an Early Bronze Age writing system briefly in use before the introduction of Elamite cuneiform.


Clay accounting tokens, Susa, Uruk period


During the period 8000-3700 BC, the Fertile Crescent witnessed the spread of small settlements supported by agricultural surplus. Geometric tokens emerged to be used to manage stewardship of this surplus. The earliest tokens now known are those from two sites in the Zagros region of Iran: Tepe Asiab and Ganj-i-Dareh Tepe.

The Mesopotamian civilization emerged during the period 3700–2900 BC amid the development of technological innovations such as the plough, sailing boats and copper metal working. Clay tablets with pictographic characters appeared in this period to record commercial transactions performed by the temples.

The most important Proto-Elamite sites are Susa and Anshan. Another important site is Tepe Sialk, where the only remaining Proto-Elamite ziggurat is still seen. Texts in the undeciphered Proto-Elamite script found in Susa are dated to this period. It is thought that the Proto-Elamites were in fact Elamites (Elamite speakers), because of the many cultural similarities (for example, the building of ziggurats), and because no large-scale migration to this area seems to have occurred between the Proto-Elamite period and the later Elamites. But because their script is yet to be deciphered, this theory remains uncertain.

Proto-Elamite pottery dating back to the last half of the 5th millennium BC has been found in Tepe Sialk, where Proto-Elamite writing, the first form of writing in Iran, has been found on tablets of this date. The first cylinder seals come from the Proto-Elamite period, as well.

Proto-Elamite tablets have been found at the following sites (in order of number of tablets recovered):

 



Timeline of Elam

Timeline of Elam (W)

 



Elam

Elam (W) (LINK)



Elam
(Elamite: 𒁹𒄬𒆷𒁶𒋾 haltamti, Sumerian: 𒉏𒈠𒆠 NIM.MAki) was an ancient Pre-Iranian civilization centered in the far west and southwest of what is now modern-day Iran, stretching from the lowlands of what is now Khuzestan and Ilam Province as well as a small part of southern Iraq. The modern name Elam stems from the Sumerian transliteration elam(a), along with the later Akkadian elamtu, and the Elamite haltamti. Elamite states were among the leading political forces of the Ancient Near East.In classical literature, Elam was also known as Susiana, which is a name derived from its capital, Susa.

Bas relief; the spinner; Susa,neo-Elamite period, .


Elam was part of the early urbanization during the Chalcolithic period (Copper Age). The emergence of written records from around 3000 BC also parallels Sumerian history, where slightly earlier records have been found. In the Old Elamite period (Middle Bronze Age), Elam consisted of kingdoms on the Iranian plateau, centered in Anshan, and from the mid-2nd millennium BC, it was centered in Susa in the Khuzestan lowlands. Its culture played a crucial role during the Persian Achaemenid dynasty that succeeded Elam, when the Elamite language remained among those in official use. Elamite is generally considered a language isolate unrelated to the much later arriving Persian and Iranic languages. In accordance with geographical and archaeological matches, some historians argue that the Elamites comprise a large portion of the ancestors of the modern day Lurs, whose language, Luri, split from Middle Persian.



Elamite worshipper.
 
   
The Elamites practised polytheism. Knowledge about their religion is scant, but, according to Cambridge Ancient History, at one time they had a pantheon headed by the goddess Kiririsha/Pinikir. Other deities included In-shushinak and Jabru, lord of the underworld. According to Cambridge Ancient History, "this predominance of a supreme goddess is probably a reflexion from the practice of matriarchy which at all times characterized Elamite civilization to a greater or lesser degree."

 



Elamite language

Elamite language (c. 3000 to 400 BCE) (W)

  • is the now-extinct language spoken by Elamites, who inhabited the regions of Khuzistān and Fārs in Southern Iran
  • It seems to have no relation to its neighboring Semitic and Indo-European languages
  • The earliest known Elamite cuneiform text is a treaty between Akkaddians and the Elamites that dates back to 2200 BCE

 

Elamite is an extinct language that was spoken by the ancient Elamites. It was used in present-day southwestern Iran from 2600 BC to 330 BC. The last written records in Elamite appear around the conquest of the Achaemenid Empire by Alexander the Great. Elamite is generally thought to have no demonstrable relatives and is usually considered a language isolate. The lack of established relatives makes its interpretation difficult.

Elamite cuneiform, adapted from Akkadian cuneiform, was used from c. 2500 to 331 BC. Elamite cuneiform was largely a syllabary of some 130 glyphs at any one time and retained only a few logograms from Akkadian but, over time, the number of logograms increased.

The complete corpus of Elamite cuneiform consists of c. 20 thousand tablets and fragments. The majority belong to the Achaemenid era, and contain primarily economic records.

Two earlier scripts of the area remain undeciphered but plausibly have encoded Elamite:

  • Proto-Elamite is the oldest known writing system from Iran. It was used during a brief period of time (c. 3100 – 2900 BC); clay tablets with Proto-Elamite writing have been found at different sites across Iran. It is thought to have developed from early cuneiform (proto-cuneiform) and consists of more than 1,000 signs. It is thought to be largely logographic.
  • Linear Elamite is attested in a few monumental inscriptions. It is often claimed that Linear Elamite is a syllabic writing system derived from Proto-Elamite, but it cannot be proven. Linear Elamite was used for a very brief period of time during the last quarter of the third millennium BC.


Elamite is an agglutinative language.

The history of Elamite is periodised as follows:

  • Proto-Elamite: c. 3200 – c. 2700 BC (Proto-Elamite script in Susa)
  • Old Elamite period: c. 2700 – c. 1600 BC (earliest documents until the Eparti dynasty)
  • Middle Elamite period: c. 1500 – c. 1100 BC (Anzanite dynasty until the Babylonian invasion of Susa)
  • Neo-Elamite period: c. 1100 – 540 BC (characterized Assyrian and Median influence. 539 BC marks the beginning of the Achaemenid period.)


Economic tablet with numeric signs and Proto-Elamite script. Clay accounting tokens, Uruk period (3200 BC to 2700 BC). From the Tell of the Acropolis in Susa,

 



Elamite Empire

Elamite Empire (LINK)

Elamite Empire

he Iranian Plateau did not experience the rise of urban, literate civilization in the late 4th and early 3rd millennia on the Mesopotamian pattern but the lowland Khuzestan did. It was the Elamite Civilization.

Geographically, Elam included more than Khuzestan; it was a combination of the lowlands and the immediate highland areas to the north and east. Elamite strength was based on an ability to hold these various areas together under a coordinated government that permitted the maximum interchange of the natural resources unique to each region. Traditionally this was done through a federated governmental structure.

Closely related to that form of government was the Elamite system of inheritance and power distribution. The normal pattern of government was that of an overlord ruling over vassal princes. In earliest times the overlord lived in Susa, which functioned as a federal capital. With him ruled his brother closest in age, the viceroy, who usually had his seat of government in the native city of the currently ruling dynasty. This viceroy was heir presumptive to the overlord. Yet a third official, the regent or prince of Susa (the district), shared power with the overlord and the viceroy. He was usually the overlord's son or, if no son was available, his nephew. On the death of the overlord, the viceroy became overlord. The prince of Susa remained in office, and the brother of the old viceroy nearest to him in age became the new viceroy. Only if all brothers were dead was the prince of Susa promoted to viceroy, thus enabling the overlord to name his own son (or nephew) as the new prince of Susa. Such a complicated system of governmental checks, balances, and power inheritance often broke down despite bilateral descent and levirate marriage (i.e., the compulsory marriage of a widow to her deceased husband's brother). What is remarkable is how often the system did work; it was only in the Middle and Neo-Elamite periods that sons more often succeeded fathers to power.

Elamite history can be divided into three main phases: the Old, Middle, and Late, or Neo-Elamite, periods. In all periods Elam was closely involved with Sumer, Babylonia, and Assyria, sometimes through peaceful trade, more often through war. In like manner, Elam was often a participant in events on the Iranian Plateau. Both involvements were related to the combined need of all the lowland civilizations to control the warlike peoples to the east and to exploit the economic resources of the plateau.

Old Elamite Period
The earliest kings in the Old Elamite period may date to approximately 2700 BCE. Already conflict with Mesopotamia, in this case apparently with the city of Ur, was characteristic of Elamite history. These early rulers were succeeded by the Awan (Shustar) dynasty.

The 11th king of this line entered into treaty relations with the great Naram-Sin of Akkad (c. 2254 - c. 2218 BCE). Yet there soon appeared a new ruling house, the Simash dynasty (Simash may have been in the mountains of southern Luristan). The outstanding event of this period was the virtual conquest of Elam by Shulgi of the 3rd dynasty of Ur (c. 2094 - c. 2047 BCE). Eventually the Elamites rose in rebellion and overthrew the 3rd Ur dynasty, an event long remembered in Mesopotamian dirges and omen texts. About the middle of the 19th century BCE, power in Elam passed to a new dynasty, that of Eparti. The third king of this line, Shirukdukh, was active in various military coalitions against the rising power of Babylon, but Hammurabi (c. 1792 - c. 1750 BCE) was not to be denied, and Elam was crushed in 1764 BCE. The Old Babylon kingdom, however, fell into rapid decline following the death of Hammurabi, and it was not long before the Elamites were able to gain revenge. Kutir-Nahhunte I attacked Samsuiluna (c. 1749 - c. 1712 BCE), Hammurabi's son, and dealt so serious a defeat to the Babylonians that the event was remembered more than 1,000 years later in an inscription of the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal. It may be assumed that with this stroke Elam once again gained independence. The end of the Eparti dynasty, which may have come in the late 16th century BCE, is buried in silence.

Middle Elamite Period
After two centuries for which sources reveal nothing, the Middle Elamite period opened with the rise to power of the Anzanite dynasty, whose homeland probably lay in the mountains northeast of Khuzestan. Political expansion under Khumbannumena (c. 1285 - c. 1266 BCE), the fourth king of this line, proceeded apace, and his successes were commemorated by his assumption of the title "Expander of the Empire." He was succeeded by his son, Untash-Gal (Untash (d) Gal, or Untash-Huban), a contemporary of Shalmaneser I of Assyria (c. 1274 - c. 1245 BCE) and the founder of the city of Dur Untash (modern Chogha Zanbil).

In the years immediately following Untash-Gal, Elam increasingly found itself in real or potential conflict with the rising power of Assyria. Tukulti-Ninurta I of Assyria (c. 1244 - c. 1208 BCE) campaigned in the mountains north of Elam. The Elamites under Kidin-Khutran, second king after Untash-Gal, countered with a successful and devastating raid on Babylonia.

In the end, however, Assyrian power seems to have been too great. Tukulti-Ninurta managed to expand, for a brief time, Assyrian control well to the south in Mesopotamia, Kidin-Khutran faded into obscurity, and the Anzanite dynasty came to an end.

Golden Vase with Winged Monsters
Marlik Region, Iran 14th-13th centuries BCE
After a short period of dynastic troubles, the second half of the Middle Elamite period opened with the reign of Shutruk-Nahhunte (c. 1160 BCE). Two equally powerful and two rather less impressive kings followed this founder of a new dynasty, whose home was probably Susa, and in this period Elam became one of the great military powers of the Middle East. Tukulti-Ninurta died about 1208 BC, and Assyria fell into a period of internal weakness and dynastic conflict. Elam was quick to take advantage of this situation by campaigning extensively in the Diyala River area and into the very heart of Mesopotamia. Shutruk-Nahhunte captured Babylon and carried off to Susa the stela on which was inscribed the famous law code of Hammurabi. Shilkhak-In-Shushinak, brother and successor of Shutruk-Nahhunte's eldest son, Kutir-Nahhunte, still anxious to take advantage of Assyrian weakness, campaigned as far north as the area of modern Kirkuk. In Babylonia, however, the 2nd dynasty of Isin led a native revolt against such control as the Elamites had been able to exercise there, and Elamite power in central Mesopotamia was eventually broken. The Elamite military empire began to shrink rapidly. Nebuchadrezzar I of Babylon (c. 1124 - c. 1103 BCE) attacked Elam and was just barely beaten off. A second Babylonian attack succeeded, however, and the whole of Elam was apparently overrun, ending the Middle Elamite period.

It is noteworthy that during the Middle Elamite period the old system of succession to, and distribution of, power appears to have broken down. Increasingly, son succeeded father, and less is heard of divided authority within a federated system. This probably reflects an effort to increase the central authority at Susa in order to conduct effective military campaigns abroad and to hold Elamite foreign conquests. The old system of regionalism balanced with federalism must have suffered, and the fraternal, sectional strife that so weakened Elam in the Neo-Elamite period may have had its roots in the centrifugal developments of the 13th and 12th centuries BCE.

Neo-Elamite Period
A long period of darkness separates the Middle and Neo-Elamite periods. In 742 BCE a certain Huban-nugash is mentioned as king in Elam. The land appears to have been divided into separate principalities, with the central power fairly weak.

The next 100 years witnessed the constant attempts of the Elamites to interfere in Mesopotamian affairs, usually in alliance with Babylon, against the constant pressure of Neo-Assyrian expansion. At times they were successful with this policy, both militarily and diplomatically, but on the whole they were forced to give way to increasing Assyrian power. Local Elamite dynastic troubles were from time to time compounded by both Assyrian and Babylonian interference. Meanwhile, the Assyrian army whittled away at Elamite power and influence in Luristan. In time these internal and external pressures resulted in the near total collapse of any meaningful central authority in Elam. In a series of campaigns between 692 and 639 BCE, in an effort to clean up a political and diplomatic mess that had become a chronic headache for the Assyrians, Ashurbanipal's armies utterly destroyed Susa, pulling down buildings, looting, and sowing the land of Elam with salt.

 



 

The Elamites (B)

The Elamites (B)

The Elamites

Whereas the Iranian plateau did not experience the rise of urban, literate civilization in the late 4th and early 3rd millennia on the Mesopotamian pattern, lowland Khūzestān did. There Elamite civilization was centred. Geographically, Elam included more than Khūzestān; it was a combination of the lowlands and the immediate highland areas to the north and east. Elamite strength was based on an ability to hold these various areas together under a coordinated government that permitted the maximum interchange of the natural resources unique to each region. Traditionally this was done through a federated governmental structure.

Closely related to that form of government was the Elamite system of inheritance and power distribution. The normal pattern of government was that of an overlord ruling over vassal princes. In earliest times the overlord lived in Susa, which functioned as a federal capital. With him ruled his brother closest in age, the viceroy, who usually had his seat of government in the native city of the currently ruling dynasty. This viceroy was heir presumptive to the overlord. Yet a third official, the regent or prince of Susa (the district), shared power with the overlord and the viceroy. He was usually the overlord’s son or, if no son was available, his nephew. On the death of the overlord, the viceroy became overlord. The prince of Susa remained in office, and the brother of the old viceroy nearest to him in age became the new viceroy. Only if all brothers were dead was the prince of Susa promoted to viceroy, thus enabling the overlord to name his own son (or nephew) as the new prince of Susa. Such a complicated system of governmental checks, balances, and power inheritance often broke down, despite bilateral descent and levirate marriage (the compulsory marriage of a widow to her deceased husband’s brother). What is remarkable is how often the system did work; it was only in the Middle and Neo-Elamite periods that sons more often succeeded fathers to power.

Elamite history can be divided into three main phases: the Old, Middle, and Late, or Neo-Elamite, periods. In all periods Elam was closely involved with Sumer, Babylonia, and Assyria, sometimes through peaceful trade but more often through war. In like manner, Elam was often a participant in events on the Iranian plateau. Both involvements were related to the combined need of all the lowland civilizations to control the warlike peoples to the east and to exploit the economic resources of the plateau.

The Old Elamite period

The earliest kings in the Old Elamite period may date to approximately 2700 bc. Already conflict with Mesopotamia, in this case apparently with the city of Ur, was characteristic of Elamite history. These early rulers were succeeded by the Awan (Shūstar) dynasty. The 11th king of this line entered into treaty relations with the great Naram-Sin of Akkad (reigned c. 254–c. 2218 bc). Yet a new ruling house soon appeared, the Simash dynasty (Simash may have been in the mountains of southern Lorestān). The outstanding event of this period was the virtual conquest of Elam by Shulgi of the 3rd dynasty of Ur (c. 2094–c. 2047 bc). Eventually the Elamites rose in rebellion and overthrew the 3rd Ur dynasty, an event long remembered in Mesopotamian dirges and omen texts. About the mid 19th century bc, power in Elam passed to a new dynasty, that of Eparti. The third king of this line, Shirukdukh, was active in various military coalitions against the rising power of Babylon, but Hammurabi was not to be denied, and Elam was crushed in 1764 bc. The Old Babylon kingdom, however, fell into rapid decline following the death of Hammurabi, and it was not long before the Elamites were able to gain revenge. Kutir-Nahhunte I attacked Samsuiluna (c. 1749–c. 1712 bc), Hammurabi’s son, and dealt so serious a defeat to the Babylonians that the event was remembered more than 1,000 years later in an inscription of the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal. It may be assumed that with this stroke Elam once again gained independence. The end of the Eparti dynasty, which occurred possibly in the late 16th century bc, is buried in silence.

 

The Middle Elamite period

After two centuries for which sources reveal nothing, the Middle Elamite period opened with the rise to power of the Anzanite dynasty, whose homeland probably lay in the mountains northeast of modern Khūzestān. Political expansion under Khumbannumena (c. 1285–c. 1266 bc), the fourth king of this line, proceeded apace, and his successes were commemorated by his assumption of the title “Expander of the Empire.” He was succeeded by his son, Untash-Gal (Untash [d] Gal, or Untash-Huban), a contemporary of Shalmaneser I of Assyria (c. 1274–c. 1245 bc) and the founder of the city of Dūr Untash (modern Choghā Zanbīl). In the years immediately following Untash-Gal’s reign, Elam increasingly found itself in real or potential conflict with the rising power of Assyria. Tukulti-Ninurta I of Assyria campaigned in the mountains north of Elam in the latter part of the 13th century bc. The Elamites under Kidin-Khutran, the second king after Untash-Gal, countered with a successful and devastating raid on Babylonia. In the end, however, Assyrian power seems to have been too great. Tukulti-Ninurta managed to expand, for a brief time, Assyrian control well to the south in Mesopotamia. Kidin-Khutran faded into obscurity, and the Anzanite dynasty came to an end.

After a short period of dynastic troubles, the second half of the Middle Elamite period opened with the reign of Shutruk-Nahhunte I (c. 1160 bc). Two equally powerful and two rather less impressive kings followed this founder of a new dynasty, whose home was probably Susa, and in this period Elam became one of the great military powers of the Middle East. Tukulti-Ninurta died about 1208 bc, and Assyria fell into a period of internal weakness and dynastic conflict. Elam was quick to take advantage of this situation by campaigning extensively in the Diyālā River area and into the very heart of Mesopotamia. Shutruk-Nahhunte I captured Babylon and carried off to Susa the stela on which was inscribed the famous law code of Hammurabi. Shilkhak-In-Shushinak, brother and successor of Shutruk-Nahhunte’s eldest son, Kutir-Nahhunte, still anxious to take advantage of Assyrian weakness, campaigned as far north as the area of modern Kirkūk. In Babylonia, however, the 2nd dynasty of Isin led a native revolt against such control as the Elamites had been able to exercise there, and Elamite power in central Mesopotamia was eventually broken. The Elamite military empire began to shrink rapidly. Nebuchadrezzar I of Babylon (c. 1119–c. 1098 bc) attacked Elam and was just barely thwarted. A second Babylonian attack succeeded, however, and the whole of Elam was apparently overrun, ending the Middle Elamite period.

It is noteworthy that during the Middle Elamite period the old system of succession to, and distribution of, power appears to have broken down. Increasingly, son succeeded father, and less is heard of divided authority within a federated system. This probably reflects an effort to increase the central authority at Susa in order to conduct effective military campaigns abroad and to hold Elamite foreign conquests. The old system of regionalism balanced with federalism must have suffered, and the fraternal, sectional strife that so weakened Elam in the Neo-Elamite period may have had its roots in the centrifugal developments of the 13th and 12th centuries bc.

The Neo-Elamite period

A long period of darkness separates the Middle and Neo-Elamite periods. In 742 bc a certain Huban-Nugash is mentioned as king in Elam. The land appears to have been divided into separate principalities, with the central power fairly weak. During the next century the Elamites constantly attempted to interfere in Mesopotamian affairs, usually in alliance with Babylon, against the constant pressure of Neo-Assyrian expansion. At times they were successful with this policy, both militarily and diplomatically, but on the whole they were forced to give way to increasing Assyrian power. Local Elamite dynastic troubles were from time to time compounded by both Assyrian and Babylonian interference. Meanwhile the Assyrian army whittled away at Elamite power and influence in Luristan. In time these internal and external pressures produced a near total collapse of any meaningful central authority in Elam. In an effort to clean up a political and diplomatic mess that had become a chronic headache for the Assyrians, Ashurbanipal’s armies mounted a series of campaigns between 692 and 639 bc that utterly destroyed Susa, pulling down buildings, looting, and sowing the land of Elam with salt.


 



Elamite Art

Elamite Art (LINK)



A Magnificent and Highly Important Proto-Elamite Silver Kneeling Bull Holding a Spouted Vessel, a Masterwork of the Proto-Elamite Period, c. 3100-2900 B.C.E., From Southwestern Iran This bull figure holds a spouted vessel in its hooves as if prepared to offer a libation. Small m]limestone pebbles inside this figure suggest that it served as a rattle or sult instrument. From the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Old Elamite Period (2700-1600 BC). Silver cup from Marvdasht, Fars, with linear-Elamite inscription on it. Late 3rd Millennium BC.
Mountain goat, Proto-Elamite;
Susa, Iran; Around 3100-2900 BCE.
Elamite chlorite jar. Susa, around 2500 BCE.
Elamite female worshipper. Susa, around 3300 BCE.
Elamite goddess, Susa, around 2100 BCE.
Vase with winged monsters, Marlik region, 14-13 centuries BCE.
Royal axe. Choga Zanbil; around 1340-1300 BCE.

 








  PERSIS (Persia, Parsa, Fars)

Persis

Persis (W)


The Persian Empire, about 500 BC; Persis is a central southern province


Persis (Greek: Περσίς), better known as Persia (Old Persian: Parsa; Persian: پارس‎, Pars), or "Persia proper", was originally a name of a region near the Zagros mountains at Lake Urmia. The country name Persia was derived directly from the Old Persian Parsa. Over time, the area of settlement shifted to the southwest of modern Iran (now Fars).

 


Location of Pars within Iran
 
   

The ancient Persians were present in the region from about the 10th century BC, and became the rulers of the largest empire the world had yet seen under the Achaemenid dynasty which was established in the late 6th century BC, at its peak stretching from Thrace-Macedonia, Bulgaria-Paeonia and Eastern Europe proper in the west, to the Indus Valley in its far east. The ruins of Persepolis and Pasargadae, two of the four capitals of the Achaemenid Empire, are located in Fars.

The Achaemenid Empire was defeated by Alexander the Great in 333 BC, incorporating most of their vast empire. Shortly after this the Seleucid Empire was established. However it never extended its power beyond the main trade routes in Fars, and by the reign of Antiochus I or possibly later Persis emerged as an independent state that minted its own coins.

The Seleucid Empire was subsequently defeated by the Parthians in 238 BC. By 205 BC, Antiochus III had extended his authority into Persis and it ceased to be an independent state.

 



Persian people

Persian people (W)

The Persians are an Iranian ethnic group that make up over half the population of Iran. They share a common cultural system and are native speakers of the Persian language, as well as closely related languages.

The ancient Persians were a nomadic branch of the ancient Iranian population that entered the territory of modern-day Iran by the early 10th century BC. Together with their compatriot allies, they established and ruled some of the world's most powerful empires, well-recognized for their massive cultural, political, and social influence covering much of the territory and population of the ancient world. Throughout history, the Persians have contributed greatly to various forms of art and science, and own one of the world's most prominent literatures.

The earliest known written record attributed [???] to the Persians is from the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, an Assyrian inscription from the mid-9th century BC, found at Nimrud. The inscription mentions Parsua (presumed to mean "border" or "borderland") as a tribal chiefdom (860-600 BC) in modern-day western Iran.

The ancient Persians were a nomadic branch of the Iranian population that, in the early 10th century BC, settled to the northwest of modern-day Iran. They were initially dominated by the Assyrians for much of the first three centuries after arriving in the region. However, they played a major role in the downfall of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. The Medes, another branch of this population, founded the unified empire of Media as the region's dominant cultural and political power in c. 625 BC. Meanwhile, the Persian dynasty of the Achaemenids formed a vassal state to the central Median power. In c. 552 BC, the Achaemenids began a revolution which eventually led to the conquest of the empire by Cyrus II in c. 550 BC. They spread their influence to the rest of what is called the Iranian Plateau, and assimilated with the non-Iranian indigenous groups of the region, including the Elamites and the Mannaeans.

 

Indo-Iranians
List of ancient Iranian peoples

 



Persian Revolt against Median Empire

Persian Revolt against Median Empire (W)

Persian Revolt
Part of the Campaigns of Cyrus the Great
Date 552-550 BC
Location
Result Decisive Persian victory
Territorial
changes
Persis and the Median Empire become part of the new Persian Empire
Belligerents
Median Empire Persis
Commanders and leaders
Astyages of Media,
Harpagus,
unknown others
Cambyses I of Anshan ,
Cyrus the Great,
Oebares,
Later Harpagus,
unknown others
Strength
145,000 70,000
Casualties and losses
heavy heavy
     
   

The Persian Revolt was a campaign led by Cyrus the Great in which the province of ancient Persis, which had been under Median rule, declared its independence and fought a successful revolution, separating from the Median Empire. Cyrus and the Persians did not stop there, however, and in turn went on and conquered the Medes.

The revolt, which lasted from 552 BC to 550 BC, was triggered by the actions of Astyages, the ruler of Media. The war spread to other provinces who allied with the Persians. The Medes had early successes in battle, but the comeback by Cyrus the Great and his army was too overwhelming, and the Medes were finally conquered by 549 BC. Thus the first official Persian Empire was born



Standard of Cyrus the Great
, founder of the Zoroastrian Achaemenid Empire. Called the: Derafsh-e Shahbaz-e-Talayi or the Golden Falcon (Persian: درفش شاه‌باز طلایی). The standard is described by Xenophon of Athens in Cyropaedia (Book VII, C.1) as: "...and the word went down the lines, "Eyes on the standard and steady marching!". The standard was a golden eagle, with outspread wings, borne aloft on a long spear-shaft, and to this day such is the standard of the Persian king." (however here he is describing Artaxerxes II's standard at Cunaxa).
 
   

 



 

🎨 Color reconstruction of one of the short sides of the Alexander Sarcophagus


Alexander routs Persians on one of the long sides of the Alexander Sarcophagus

 








  MEDIAN EMPIRE

🗺 Median Empire, about 600 BC (HARİTA)

Median Empire (678-549 BC)

 



Medes / Median Empire (678-549 BC)

Medes / Median Empire (678-549 BC) (W)



A map of the Median Kingdom/Empire; based on Herodotus

Capital Ecbatana
Common languages Median
Religion Old Iranian religion (related to Mithraism, early Zoroastrianism)
Government Monarchy
King
• 678–665 BC Deioces or Kashtariti
• 665–633 BC Phraortes
• 625–585 BC Cyaxares
• 589–549 BC Astyages
Historical era Iron Age
Established 678 BC
Conquered by Cyrus the Great 549 BC
Area 585 BC 2,800,000 km2
Preceded by Neo-Assyrian Empire; Urartu
Succeeded by Achaemenid Empire


The Medes (Old Persian Māda-, Ancient Greek: Μῆδοι, Hebrew: מָדַיMadai) were an ancient Iranian people who spoke the Median language and who inhabited an area known as Media between western and northern Iran. Under the Neo-Assyrian Empire, late 9th to early 7th centuries BC, the region of Media was bounded by the Zagros Mountains to its west, to its south by the Garrin Mountain in Lorestan Province, to its northwest by the Qaflankuh Mountains in Zanjan Province, and to its east by the Dasht-e Kavir desert. It's neighbors were the kingdoms of Gizilbunda and Mannea in the northwest, and Ellipi and Elam in the south.

In the 7th century BC, Media’s tribes came together to form the Median Kingdom which remained a Neo-Assyrian vassal. Between 616 to 609 BC, King Cyaxares (624–585 BC), allied with King Nabopolassar of the Neo-Babylonian Empire against the Neo-Assyrian Empire, after which the Median Empire stretched across the Iranian Plateau as far as Anatolia. Its precise geographical extent remains unknown.

A few archaeological sites (discovered in the "Median triangle" in western Iran) and textual sources (from contemporary Assyrians and also ancient Greeks in later centuries) provide a brief documentation of the history and culture of the Median state. Apart from a few personal names, the language of the Medes is unknown. The Medes had an ancient Iranian religion (a form of pre-Zoroastrian Mazdaism or Mithra worshipping) with a priesthood named as Magi.” Later during the reigns of the last Median kings, the reforms of Zoroaster spread into western Iran.

According to the Histories of Herodotus, there were six Median tribes:

  “Thus Deioces collected the Medes into a nation, and ruled over them alone. Now these are the tribes of which they consist: the Busae, the Paretaceni, the Struchates, the Arizanti, the Budii, and the Magi.”  

According to the Histories of Herodotus (440 BC):

  “The Medes were formerly called by everyone Arians, but when the Colchian woman Medea came from Athens to the Arians, they changed their name, like the Persians [did after Perses, son of Perseus and Andromeda]. This is the Medes’ own account of themselves.”  

 



Medes

Medes (L)


Two Medes (c. 500 BC)
 
   

Media poses a problem to the scholar who tries to describe this ancient empire: the evidence is unreliable. It consists of the archaeological record, several references in Assyrian and Babylonian cuneiform texts, the Persian Behistun inscription, the Histories by the Greek researcher Herodotus of Halicarnassus, the Persian history by Ctesias of Cnidus, and a couple of chapters in the Bible. The trouble is that the archaeological record is unclear, that the oriental texts offer not much information, that the Greek authors are unreliable, and that several Biblical books appear to have been influenced by Herodotus.

It is reasonably clear that in the first quarter of the first millennium, nomadic cattle-herders speaking an Indo-Iranian language infiltrated the Zagros and settled among the native population.



The Median king Phraortes on the Behistun relief (519 BC).
 
If we are to believe Herodotus, Media was unified by a man named Deioces, the first of four kings who were to rule a true empire that included large parts of Iran and eastern Anatolia. Their names sound convincingly Iranian: a Daiaukku and a Uksatar (Deioces and Cyaxares) are mentioned in texts from the eighth century. Using the number of regnal years mentioned by the Greek researcher and counting backward from the year in which the last Median leader (who is mentioned in the Babylonian Nabonidus Chronicle) lost his throne, we obtain this list:

Deioces
53 years
700/699 to 647/646
Phraortes
22 years
647/646 to 625/624
Cyaxares
40 years
625/624 to 585/584
Astyages
35 years
585/584 to 550/549
     
    They had a special position in the Achaemenid Empire, belonging to the elite. Ecbatana was one of Darius' residences, and in another capital, Persepolis, the Medes are often depicted as equals of the Persians.

 








      Achamenid Empire  

🗺 Carte empire achamenide (HARİTA)

 



🗺 Persian Satrapies c. 500 B.C.

Persian Satrapies c. 500 BC

 



Achaemenid Empire

Achaemenid Empire (c. 550-330 BC) (W)


Capital Babylon (main capital), Pasargadae, Ecbatana, Susa, Persepolis
Common languages Old Persian, Aramaic, Babylonian, Median, Greek, Elamite, Sumerian, Egyptian, many others

Religion Zoroastrianism, Babylonian religion
Government Monarchy
King or King of Kings
• 559–529 BC Cyrus the Great
• 336–330 BC Darius III
Historical era Classical antiquity
• Persian Revolt 550 BC
• Conquest of Lydia 547 BC
• Conquest of Babylon 539 BC
• Conquest of Egypt 525 BC
• Greco-Persian Wars 499–449 BC
• Corinthian War 395–387 BC
• Second conquest of Egypt 343 BC
• Fall to Macedonia 330 BC

Area
500 BC 5,500,000 km2
Population
• 500 BC 17 million to 35 million
Currency Daric, siglos
Preceded by
Median Empire
Neo-Babylonian Empire
Lydia
Twenty-sixth Dynasty of Egypt
Gandhara Kingdom
Sogdia
Massagetae
Succeeded by
Empire of Alexander the Great
Twenty-eighth Dynasty of Egypt

HERODOTUS:

“The Persian nation contains a number of tribes as listed here. ... : the Pasargadae, Maraphii, and Maspii, upon which all the other tribes are dependent. Of these, the Pasargadae are the most distinguished; they contain the clan of the Achaemenids from which spring the Perseid kings. Other tribes are the Panthialaei, Derusiaei, Germanii, all of which are attached to the soil, the remainder — the Dai, Mardi, Dropici, Sagarti, being nomadic.”

— Herodotus, Histories 1.101 & 125



The Achaemenid Empire (c. 550-330 BC), also called the First Persian Empire, was an empire based in Western Asia founded by Cyrus the Great. Ranging at its greatest extent from the Balkans and Eastern Europe proper in the west to the Indus Valley in the east, it was larger than any previous empire in history, spanning 5.5 million square kilometers. Incorporating various peoples of different origins and faiths, it is notable for its successful model of a centralised, bureaucratic administration (through satraps under the King of Kings), for 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 and a large professional army. The empire's successes inspired similar systems in later empires.

By the 7th century BC, the Persians had settled in the south-western portion of the Iranian Plateau in the region of Persis, which came to be their heartland. From this region, Cyrus the Great advanced to defeat the Medes, Lydia, and the Neo-Babylonian Empire, establishing the Achaemenid Empire. Alexander the Great, an avid admirer of Cyrus the Great, conquered most of the empire by 330 BC. Upon Alexander's death, most of the empire's former territory came under the rule of the Ptolemaic Kingdom and Seleucid Empire, in addition to other minor territories which gained independence at that time. The Iranian elites of the central plateau reclaimed power by the second century BC under the Parthian Empire.

The Achaemenid Empire is noted in Western history as the antagonist of the Greek city-states during the Greco-Persian Wars.


The Achaemenid Empire was created by nomadic Persians. The name “Persia” is a Greek and Latin pronunciation of the native word referring to the country of the people originating from Persis (Old Persian: 𐎱𐎠𐎼𐎿, Pārsa), their home territory located north of the Persian Gulf in south-western Iran.

The Achaemenid Empire was not the first Iranian empire, as by 6th century BC another group of ancient Iranian peoples had already established the short-lived Median Empire. The Medes had originally been the dominant Iranian group in the region, freeing themselves of Assyrian domination and rising to power at the end of the seventh century BC, incorporating the Persians into their empire.

The Iranian peoples had arrived in the region of what is today Iran c. 1000 BC and had for a number of centuries fallen under the domination of the Neo-Assyrian Empire (911–609 BC), based in northern Mesopotamia. However, the Medes (together with the Scythians, Babylonians), Cimmerians, Persians and Chaldeans played a major role in the overthrow of the Assyrian empire and establishment of the first Persian empire.

 



Achaemenid Empire — Expansion

Achaemenid Empire — Expansion (W)



(W) The conquests of the three major Persian conqueror Kings

The empire took its unified form with a central administration around Pasargadae erected by Cyrus the Great. The empire ended up conquering and enlarging the Median Empire to include many more territories, for example in Europe, the Caucasus, Asia Minor, Egypt, and Central Asia. During the reigns of Darius I and his son Xerxes I it engaged in military conflict with some of the major city-states of Ancient Greece, and although it came close to defeating the Greek army, this war ultimately led to the empire's overthrow.

In 559 BC, Cambyses I the Elder was succeeded as the king of Anšān by his son Cyrus the Great, who also succeeded the still-living Arsames as the King of Persia, thus reuniting the two realms. Cyrus is considered to be the first true king of the Persian Empire, as his predecessors were subservient to the Medes. Cyrus the Great conquered Media, Lydia, and Babylon. Cyrus was politically shrewd, modelling himself as the “saviour” of conquered nations, often allowing displaced people to return, and giving his subjects freedom to practice local customs. To reinforce this image, he instituted policies of religious freedom, and restored temples and other infrastructure in the newly acquired cities.

Cyrus’ son Cambyses II conquered Egypt in 525 BC.

It was during the reign of Darius the Great (Darius I) that Persepolis was built (518–516 BC) and which would serve as capital for several generations of Achaemenid kings. Ecbatana (Hagmatāna "City of Gatherings", modern: Hamadan) in Media was greatly expanded during this period and served as the summer capital.

Ever since the Macedonian king Amyntas I surrendered his country to the Persians in about 512-511, Macedonians and Persians were strangers no more as well. Subjugation of Macedonia was part of Persian military operations initiated by Darius the Great (521-486) in 513 – after immense preparations – a huge Achaemenid army invaded the Balkans and tried to defeat the European Scythians roaming to the north of the Danube river. Darius' army subjugated several Thracian peoples, and virtually all other regions that touch the European part of the Black Sea, such as parts of nowadays Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, and Russia, before it returned to Asia Minor.

By the 5th century BC the Kings of Persia were either ruling over or had subordinated territories encompassing not just all of the Persian Plateau and all of the territories formerly held by the Assyrian Empire (Mesopotamia, the Levant, Cyprus and Egypt), but beyond this all of Anatolia and Armenia, as well as the Southern Caucasus and parts of the North Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, all of Bulgaria, Paeonia, Thrace and Macedonia to the north and west, most of the Black Sea coastal regions, parts of Central Asia as far as the Aral Sea, the Oxus and Jaxartes to the north and north-east, the Hindu Kush and the western Indus basin (corresponding to modern Afghanistan and Pakistan) to the far east, parts of northern Arabia to the south, and parts of northern Libya to the south-west, and parts of Oman, China, and the UAE.

 




Achaemenid family tree

Achaemenid family tree (W)

Jump to navigationJump to search
Achaemenes
King of Persia[*]
705–675
Teispes
King of Persia
675–640
Ariaramnes
Prince[*]
Cyrus I
King of Persia
640–600
Arsames
Prince[*]
Cambyses I
King of Persia
600–559
Hystaspes
Prince[*]
Cyrus the Great (Cyrus II)
King of Persia
559–530/28
Darius the Great (Darius I)
King of Persia
522–486
Atossa
Princess
Cambyses II
King of Persia
530–522
Smerdis (Bardiya)
Prince (imposter Gaumata ruled as Smerdis[*])
522
Artystone
Princess
Xerxes the Great (Xerxes I)
King of Persia
485–465
Artaxerxes I
King of Persia
465–424
Xerxes II
King of Persia
424
Sogdianus
King of Persia
424–423
Darius II
King of Persia
423–404
Arsites
Prince
Parysatis
Princess
Bagapaios
Prince
Artaxerxes II
King of Persia
404–358
Amestris
Princess
Cyrus the Younger
Prince
Cyrus (IV)
Prince
Ostanes
Prince
Artaxerxes III
King of Persia
358–338
Ocha
Prince
Rodrogune
Princess
Apama
Princess
Sisygambis
Princess
Arsames (II)
Prince
Artaxerxes IV
King of Persia
338–336
Parysatis (II)
Princess
Darius III
King of Persia
336–330
Oxathres
Prince
Artaxerxes V
King of Persia
330–329
Stateira II
Princess
Alexander the Great (Alexander III)
King of Macedon and Persia
329–323


Notes

*1 2 3 4 5 : Unconfirmed rulers, due to the Behistun Inscription.

 



List of the dynasties described as a Persian Empire

List of the dynasties described as a Persian Empire (W)

 



 

ACHAEMENID SATRAPIES

ACHAEMENID SATRAPIES (LINK)

ACHAEMENID SATRAPIES, the administrative units of the Achaemenid empire. In modern research the use of the term satrapy follows that of the word satrapeia (satrapēiē) in Greek sources. In the extant Old Persian (OP) texts, there is no word that is an equivalent to satrapy with regard to both etymology and meaning. Only the title xsaça-pā-van-, which combines (protect) and xsaça-(empire, sovereignty) with the suffix -van- and thus describes an administrator as the “protector of empire” or “protector of sovereignty” (Schmitt, 1976, p. 373), is found in the OP inscriptions. From the title of this official an OP *xsaça-pā-vana-can be deduced (Hinz, 1975, p. 134). Notwithstanding this reconstructed Persian form, the Greek word satrapeia (satrapēiē) was derived from a Northwest Iranian (Median) dialect. In the OP inscriptions dahyu- (pl. dahyāva; see below the section on Terminology), and not *xsaça-pā-vana-, is employed for the administrative units that formed the empire, and this usage may indicate that *xsaça-pā-vana-had a more specific meaning, making dahyu- the apparently appropriate term.

Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2011 (accessed on 20 September 2016).

 








  Achaemenids — Parthians — Sasanians — Safavids

Achaemenids

Achaemenids (550-330 BC) (W)

The Persian Empire refers to any of a series of imperial dynasties that were centred in Persia/Iran from the 6th century BC Achaemenid Empire era to the 20th century AD in the Qajar dynasty era.

Achaemenids

The first dynasty of the Persian Empire was created by Achaemenids, established by Cyrus the Great in 550 BC with the conquest of Median, Lydian and Babylonian empires. It covered much of the Ancient world when it was conquered by Alexander the Great.




The first Persian Empire, the Achaemenid Empire

 



Parthians

Parthians (247 BC-224 AD) (W)

Parthians

From 247 BC to 224 AD, Persia was ruled by the Parthian Empire, which supplanted the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire, and then by the Sassanian Empire, which ruled up until the mid-7th century.




Parthian Empire (greatest extent)

 



Sasanians

Sasanians (224-651 AD) (W)

Sasanians

Sassanian Empire ruled up until the mid-7th century.

The Persian Empire in the Sasanian era was interrupted by the Arab conquest of Persia in 651 AD, establishing the even larger Islamic caliphate, and later by the Mongol invasion. The main religion of ancient Persia was the native Zoroastrianism, but after the seventh century, it was slowly replaced by Islam which achieved a majority in the 10th century.




Sasanian Empire (greatest extent)

 



Safavids

Safavids (1501-1736) (W)

The Safavid Empire was the first Persian Empire established after the Arab conquest of Persia by Shah Ismail I. From their base in Ardabil, the Safavid Persians established control over parts of Greater Persia/Iran and reasserted the Persian identity of the region, becoming the first native Persian dynasty since the Sasanian Empire to establish a unified Persian state.

Literature, art and architecture flourished in the Safavid era once again, and it is often cited as the "rebirth of the Persian Empire". Safavids also announced Shia Islam as the official religion in the empire versus the Sunni Islam in the neighbouring Ottoman Empire.




Safavid Empire under Shah Abbas I (maximum extent)

 








  IRANIAN PEOPLES — IRANIAN LANGUAGES

Iranian peoples

Iranian peoples (W)

The Iranian peoples, or the Iranic peoples, are a diverse Indo-European ethno-linguistic group that comprise the speakers of the Iranian languages.

The Proto-Iranians are believed to have emerged as a separate branch of the Indo-Iranians in Central Asia in the mid-2nd millennium BC. At their peak of expansion in the mid-1st millennium BC, the territory of the Iranian peoples stretched across the Iranian Plateau and the entire Eurasian Steppe from the Great Hungarian Plain in the west to the Ordos Plateau in the east. The Western Iranian empires came to dominate much of the ancient world from the 6th century BC, leaving an important cultural legacy, and the Eastern Iranians of the steppe played a decisive role in the development of Eurasian nomadism and the Silk Road.

The ancient Iranian peoples who emerged after the 1st millennium BC include the Alans, Bactrians, probably Cimmerians, Dahae, Khwarezmians, Massagetae, Medes, Parthians, Persians, Sagartians, Sakas, Sarmatians, Scythians, Sogdians, and other Iranian-speaking peoples of the Iranian Plateau, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Eastern Europe.

In the 1st millennium AD, their area of settlement was reduced as a result of Slavic, Germanic, Turkic, and Mongol expansions, and many were subjected to Slavicisation and Turkification. Modern Iranian-speaking peoples include the Baloch, Gilaks, Kurds, Lurs, Mazanderanis, Ossetians, Pamiris, Pashtuns, Persians, Tajiks, the Talysh, Wakhis, and Yaghnobis. Their current distribution spreads across the Iranian Plateau, stretching from the Caucasus in the north to the Persian Gulf in the south and from western Xinjiang in the east to eastern Turkey in the west —a region that is sometimes called the Iranian Cultural Continent, representing the extent of the Iranian-speakers and the significant influence of the Iranian peoples through the geopolitical reach of Greater Iran.

 



Iranian peoples

Iranian peoples (W)



Geographical extent of Iranian influence in the 1st century BCE. The Parthian Empire (mostly Western Iranian) is shown in red, other areas, dominated by Scythia (Eastern Iranian), in orange.

 



Old Aramaic language

Old Aramaic language (W)

Old Aramaic (code: oar) refers to the earliest stage of the Aramaic language, considered to give way to Middle Aramaic by the 3rd century (a conventional date is the rise of the Sasanian Empire in 224 Countries AD).

Ancient Aramaic

"Ancient Aramaic" refers to the earliest known period of the language, from its origin until it becomes the lingua franca of the Fertile Crescent and Bahrain. It was the language of the Aramaean city-states of Damascus, Hamath and Arpad.

Imperial Aramaic

Emerging as the language of the city-states of the Arameans in the Levant in the Early Iron Age, Old Aramaic was adopted as a lingua franca, and in this role was inherited for official use by the Achaemenid Empire during classical antiquity. After the fall of the Achaemenid Empire, local vernaculars became increasingly prominent, fanning the divergence of an Aramaic dialect continuum and the development of differing written standards.

After 539 BCE, following the Achaemenid conquest of Mesopotamia under Darius I, the Achaemenids adopted the local use of Aramaic.

“When the Achaemenids extended their rule westward, they adopted this language as the vehicle for written communication between the various regions of the vast empire with its different peoples and languages. The use of a single official language, which modern scholarship has dubbed Official Aramaic or Imperial Aramaic, can be assumed to have greatly contributed to the astonishing success of the Achaemenids in holding their far-flung empire together for as long as they did.” (Aramaic at Encyclopædia Iranica)

 



Indo-Iranians

Indo-Iranians (W)

Indo-Iranian peoples, also known as Indo-Iranic peoples by scholars, and sometimes as Arya or Aryans from their self-designation, were an ethno-linguistic group who brought the Indo-Iranian languages, a major branch of the Indo-European language family, to major parts of Eurasia.

The term Aryan has been used historically to denote the Indo-Iranians, because Arya is the self designation of the ancient speakers of the Indo-Iranian languages, specifically the Iranian and the Indo-Aryan peoples, collectively known as the Indo-Iranians.




Scheme of Indo-European migrations from c. 4000 to 1000 BC according to the Kurgan hypothesis. The magenta area corresponds to the assumed Urheimat (Samara culture, Sredny Stog culture). The red area corresponds to the area which may have been settled by Indo-European-speaking peoples up to c. 2500 BC; the orange area to 1000 BC.



Archaeological cultures associated with Indo-Iranian migrations (after EIEC). The Andronovo, BMAC and Yaz cultures have often been associated with Indo-Iranian migrations. The GGC, Cemetery H, Copper Hoard and PGW cultures are candidates for cultures associated with Indo-Aryan movements.

 



Geographic distribution of modern Iranian languages

Geographic distribution of modern Iranian languages (W)



Geographic distribution of modern Iranian languages

 



Cultural assimilation

Cultural assimilation (W)

The following either partially descend from or are sometimes regarded as possible descendants of the Iranian peoples.

  • Turkic-speakers:
    • Azerbaijanis: In spite of being native speakers of a Turkic language (Azerbaijani Turkic), they are believed to be primarily descended from the earlier Iranian-speakers of the region. They are possibly related to the ancient Iranian tribe of the Medes, aside from the rise of the subsequent Persian and Turkic elements within their area of settlement which, prior to the spread of Turkic, was Iranian-speaking. Thus, due to their historical and cultural ties to the Iranians, the Azerbaijanis are often associated with the Iranian peoples. Genetic studies observed that they are also genetically related to the Iranian peoples. (See also: Old Azeri language and Origin of the Azerbaijanis)
    • Turkmens: Genetic studies show that the Turkmens are characterized by the presence of local Iranian mtDNA lineages, similar to the eastern Iranian populations, but high male Mongoloid genetic components were observed in Turkmen populations with the frequencies of about 20%. This likely indicates an ancestral combination of Turkic and Iranian groups that the modern Turkmens have inherited, apparently corresponding to the historical record that indicates the presence of various Iranian tribes in the region prior to the migration of Turkic tribes.
    • Uzbeks: The unique grammatical and phonetical features of the Uzbek language as well as elements within the modern Uzbek culture, reflect the older Iranian roots of the Uzbek people. According to recent genetic genealogy testing from a University of Oxford study, the genetic admixture of the Uzbeks clusters somewhere between the Iranian peoples and the Mongols Prior to the Russian conquest of Central Asia, the local ancestors of the Turkic-speaking Uzbeks and the Iranian-speaking Tajiks, both living in Central Asia, were referred to as Sarts, while Uzbek and Turk were the names given to the nomadic and semi-nomadic populations of the area. Still, as of today, modern Uzbeks and Tajiks are known to their Turkic neighbors, the Kazakhs and the Kyrgyz, as Sarts. Some Uzbek scholars also favor the Iranian origin theory.
    • Uyghurs: Contemporary scholars consider modern Uyghurs to be the descendants of, apart from the ancient Uyghurs, the Iranian Saka (Schytian) tribes and other Indo-European peoples who inhabited the Tarim Basin before the arrival of the Turkic tribes.
  • Slavic-speakers:
    • Serbs and Croats: Some scholars suggest that the Slavic-speaking Serbs and Croats are descended from the ancient Sarmatians an ancient Iranian people who once settled in most of southern European Russia and the eastern Balkans, and that their ethnonyms are of Iranian origin. It is proposed that the Sarmatian Serboi and alleged Horoathos tribes were assimilated with the numerically superior Slavs, passing on their name. Iranian-speaking peoples did inhabit parts of the Balkans in late classical times, and would have been encountered by the Slavs. However, direct linguistic, historical, or archaeological proof for such a theory is lacking. (See also: Origin hypotheses of the Serbs and Origin hypotheses of the Croats)
  • Swahili-speakers:

 








  Persopolis; Apadana Palace

The Apadana Palace (Persepolis)

The Apadana Palace (Persepolis) (LINK)



An Apadana is a large hypostyle hall [In architecture, a hypostyle hall has a roof which is supported by columns], the best known examples being the great audience hall and portico at Persepolis and the palace of Susa.

The Persepolis Apadana belongs to the oldest building phase of the city of Persepolis, the first half of the 6th century BC, as part of the original design by Darius the Great. Its construction completed by Xerxes I. Modern scholarships "demonstrates the metaphorical nature of the Apadana reliefs as idealised social orders".

It was most likely the main hall of the kings. The columns reached 20m high and had complex capitals in the shape of bulls or lions. Here, the great king received the tribute from all the nations in the Achaemenid Empire, and gave presents in return.



(W) The Apadana at Persepolis has a surface of 1000 square metres; its roof was supported by 72 columns, each 24 metres tall. The entire hall was destroyed in 331 BC by the army of Alexander the Great. Stones from the columns were used as building material for nearby settlements. By the start of the 20th century, only 13 of these giant columns were still standing. The re-erecting of a complete, but fallen column in the 1970s, is now the 14th standing column of the Apadana.

The Apadana in Susa was—like the city itself—largely abandoned, and pillaged for building material.

 



Reconstruction of Persepolis

Reconstruction of Persepolis (LINK)



 



The Apadana

The Apadana (LINK)

By far the largest and most magnificent building is the Apadana, begun by Darius and finished by Xerxes, that was used mainly for great receptions by the kings.

Thirteen of its seventy-two columns still stand on the enormous platform to which two monumental stairways, on the north and on the east, give access. They are adorned with rows of beautifully executed reliefs showing scenes from the New Year’s festival and processions of representatives of twenty-three subject nations of the Achaemenid Empire, with court notables and Persians and Medes, followed by soldiers and guards, their horses, and royal chariots. Delegates in their native attire, some completely Persian in style, carry gifts as token of their loyalty and as tribute to the king. These gifts include silver and gold vessels and vases, weapons, woven fabrics, jewelry, and animals from the delegates’ own countries. Although the overall arrangement of scenes seems repetitive, there are marked differences in the designs of garments, headdresses, hair styles, and beards that give each delegation its own distinctive character and make its origin unmistakable. Another means by which the design achieves diversity is by separating various groups or activities with stylized trees or by using these trees alone to form ornamental bands. There is also an intentional usage of patterns and rhythms that, by repeating figures and groups, conveys a grandiose ornamental impression.

 



Ruins of the Apadana Palace

Ruins of the Apadana Palace



Ruins of the Apadana Palace

Persepolis, reconstruction of the Apadana by Chipiez

Persepolis, reconstruction of the Apadana by Chipiez


Persepolis, reconstruction of the Apadana by Chipiez


The Apadana Palace

The Apadana Palace (W)


The Apadana Palace in Persepolis, Iran, northern stairway (detail) – fifth-century BC Achaemenid bas-relief shows a Mede soldier behind a Persian soldier.
 

Rhyton in the shape of a ram's head, gold – western Iran – Median, late 7th–early 6th century BC.



(LINK) Fluted bowl. Period: Achaemenid. Date: ca. 6th–5th century B.C. Medium: Gold Dimensions: H. 11.1 cm.

Fluted bowls and plates of the Achaemenid period continue a tradition begun in the Assyrian Empire. While they were given as royal gifts, it seems that they were also valued and exchanged simply for the weight of the precious metals from which they were made.









Zoroastrianizm ve Din Kavramı

Mitoloji çelişkilidir, dizgesel bir yapıdan yoksundur, ve insan inancının duyusal-bebeklik evresine karşılık düşer. Ancak Güzellik İdeasına yöneldiği ve estetik sonsuzluğu nesnesi olarak aldığı zaman tine geçişin eşiğine gelir ve orada inanç duyuları arkada bırakarak duygu biçimine yükselir.

 

"Başlangıçta yalnızca sonsuz Zaman vardı" — dolayısıyla Zaman arkhedir ve Ahura Mazda kendisi "Zaman" olmadığına göre zamanda yaratılmış olmalıdır. Ama yaratılmamış olduğu da söylenir. Düalizm sonsuza izin vermez.

 

— Ahura Mazda ya da Ormuzd: Arı ışık; herşeyden-güçlü (biraz kuşkulu olarak), ve herşeyi-bilen; sonsuz değil, çünkü Kötülük ile sınırlı
— Angra Mainyu
ya da Ahriman: Kötülük ilkesi; dolaysız (yaratılmamış); Tanrı-karşıtı ilke, Daevaların and the Druj’un yaratıcısı

Yalın duyunç kavramları — İyi ve Kötü —, her insanın gizil olarak yetenekli olduğu bu ahlaksal kavramlar Zoroastrianizmde dışsallaştırılır, mitselleştirilir, tanrılaştırılır, ve insanın karşısına kozmik bir oyunun aktörleri olarak çıkarılır. İnsanın en iç doğasına ait bu yalın kavramlar henüz insan duyuncunun dışına düşer. İyi ve Kötü içeride, insan öznelliğinde değil, dışarıda varolur. Bu dışsal ahlak moral özgürlük ile aynı şey değildir. Tam tersine, insanın moral gelişimini önler ve kendinde kötülüğü tanınmamış bırakır.

 

Doğru ve eğri arasındaki mantıksal karşıtlık ilişkisi bu inanç biçiminde evrenin bütününü ilgilendiren ilksiz-sonsuz bir savaşıma döner. Dışsal varoluşa, fiziksel-özdeksel evrene, Doğaya ‘moral’ nitelikler yüklenir. Ahlak insanın ötesinde ve dışında belirlenen bir konu yapılır. Bu mitolojik ahlak evreninde yalnızca insan duyuncuna yer yoktur. Bütün bir iyi kavramı Ormuzd'a yüklendiği için, İyinin kendisi bir tanrı yapıldığı için, bireysel moral gelişimden, gerçek içsel ahlaksal büyümeden söz etmek olanaksızlaşır. Pers ahlakı hiçbir zaman bir duyunç özgürlüğü içermez ve yalnızca üstün moral güce boyun eğmekten oluşur. Bu "üstün güç" belirli bir bireyin gücüdür ve kaçınılmaz olarak bireyin moral hamlığını yansıtır.


The fire temple of Baku, c. 1860

 

İnancın nesnesi var olmalıdır. Boşinanç olmayana inançtır.
Boşinanç hiçliğe inançtır. İnsanı küçük düşürür, değersizleştirir ve bir aptal yapar, çünkü simgelere inanç insanı semiotizme düşürür.

Bu inançta Işık fiziksel güneş değil ama tinsel İyidir — insanda olmayan ve ona dışarıdan gelen bir tinsellik. Işık Ormuzd’dur. Herşey ondan doğar ve bu Işık krallığında herşey iyidir. Ormuzd yaratılmamıştır; tersine, herşey ondan, herşey bu ışık-tinsellikten yaratılır — tüm doğa, tüm yaşam, her insan Işıktır, Ormuzd’dur. Tüm sevgi, tüm güç, varolan herşey, dirimli ve dirimsiz tüm şeyler Işıktır ve Ormuzd’dur. Ondan yaratıldıkları için ondan ayrı olsalar da, Işık herşeye yayılır, herşeyin içine işler, onların özü, varlık nedenleridir. Bu Işık tüm tapınaklarda yanan ateş, tüm doğal bilinçlerde esrime yaratan boş simgedir; ve gene de salt simge olarak değil, İyinin edimsel bulunuşu olarak kabul edilir.

 

Bu ışık dünyasında herşey çok iyi ve herşey çok güzeldir. Yalnızca birşey dışında — dolaysız, bağımsız, ilksiz-sonsuz Angra Mainyu, ya da yokedici karanlık tin.

Bu inanç biçiminde Tanrı kavramı henüz bütünüyle kaotik bir tasarımdır. Hayvanlara da tapılır, çünkü ışık onlara da işlemiştir — ve bununla insan aşağılanır. Irmakların, dağların ve ağaçların ideal olanları da tanrısal kült nesneleridir. Aslında bütün yaşam bir külttür — ağaç dikmek, tarım yapmak, genel olarak iyi, doğru ve haklı olanı yapmak. İyilik Pers yaşamını güden tanrısal yasadır. Ahriman kötülük ilkesidir ve Ormuzd ile karşıtlık içinde soyut olarak kendi başına durur. Bu ikilik çözümsüz sorunların doğmasına yol açar ve bunlardan birincisi Ahriman’ın Ormuzd ile eşitliği olarak görünür, çünkü kötülük de iyilik gibi bağımsız, dolaysız, saltık bir ilkedir ve Tanrıda kapsanmaz, onun için yalnızca bir olumsuzlama, bir sınır oluşturur ve böylece sonsuz olması gereken Tanrının kendisini sonlulaştırır. Bu kavramsal problemler Zoroastrianizmi aptallaştıran ve çözülüp yitmeye götüren etmenlerdir. Kültürün bu erken evresinde doğal bilinç henüz din kavramını üretecek bir yetkinlikte değildir. Olumsuzun, sonlunun, sınırın ortadan kaldırılması ancak karşıtında kendinde olma yoluyla olanaklıdır. Eğer kötülük ölüm ise, ölen Tanrı ölümden yeniden yaşama dönmelidir. Eğer olumsuzluk başkası ise, Tanrı bu kendi ‘başka’sında kendinde kalmalı ve böylece soyut özdeşlik kıpısından yükselerek ayrım ya da karşıtlık kıpısında somut, gerçek ‘kendi ile birliği’ kazanmalıdır. Tanrı olumsuzlamayı dışlamamalı, onu, ölümü, kötülüğü kapsamalıdır, çünkü soyut Logos ancak Doğanın olumsuzlaması ile somut Tin olacak, ve ancak olumsuzlamanın olumsuzlaması yoluyla üçlülük din kavramı insan bilincine ulaşacaktır.

ZOROASTRİANİZM; ZOROASTRİANİZM VE ÖZGÜR İSTENÇ

ZOROASTRİANİZM


Zoroastrianizm din kavramına yaklaşan, ama yalnızca yaklaşan bir inanç biçimi olarak görünür, henüz üçlülük din kavramı ile bütünüyle çakışmaz ve soyut Birin ötesine geçmez, Çokluğu, Tikelliği, Olumsuzu kapsamaz. Onu ikicilik olarak gösteren şey yalnızca ve yalnızca bu karşıtlıkta takılması ve Birliğin kendisinin Karşıtlığı kapsadığını anlayamamasıdır. Bu düalizm monizmin kaçınılmaz sonudur. Bu analitik inanç Olumsuzu Olumlu ile, Kötüyü İyi ile, Biri Çok ile birlik içinde görmez, henüz karşıtların birbirinden ayrılmasının olanaksızlığını anlamaz. Bu inanç için gerçeklik soyut Evrensellik biçimini, soyut Birin biçimini taşır. (Tıpkı sonraki tüm analitik düşünürler gibi, bu monistik inanç da yalnızca kendi ile özdeşlik ilkesine bağlı kalır ve ayrımı, olumludaki olumsuzu dışlar, düalizmin üstesinden gelemez.) Bu Işık Dini için insanlık tam bir eşitlik içinde durur çünkü herkes bu sonsuz Işıktan pay alır. Yine bu Işık tasarımı da Karanlığın olumsuzu olarak monistik bir imgedir ve arı aydınlıkta ancak arı karanlıkta olduğu kadar görülebileceği düşünülmez.

Bu kültürde insanların Rahipler, Savaşçılar, Tarımcılar ve İşleyimciler olarak sınıflandırılmasına ve Tecimden söz edilmemesine karşın, bu sınıflar Hindu kastları gibi ya da Yahudi kabileleri gibi dışlayıcı değildir, insanları bir doğa ilkesine göre birbirinden yalıtmaz ve tüm sınıflar arasında evrensel bir eşitliğe izin verir. (Hinduizmde insanlar doğum ilkesine göre eşitsiz, hiyerarşik kastlara bölünür; ve Yahudilik de ne monoteizmdir ne de evrensellik karakterini taşır; tersine, bu tikelci inanç biçiminde Yehuva yalnızca bir tanrılar kalabalığının ortasında duran özel bir klan tanrısıdır, ve bu dışlayıcılık nedeniyle insanlığın geri kalanını (Gentile) inançsız, dinsiz düşmanlar olarak görür, mitolojik düzlemde de olsa tanrı ve insan arasındaki bir pazarlık üzerine "vaadedilen" topraklarda Joshua önderliğinde yerine getirilen kitle kıyımlarını kutsal eylemler olarak kabul eder.)

İlk olarak, Ahura Mazda “Tanrı (Logos) — Oğul (Doğa)— Kutsal Tin (Tin)” üçlüsünde yaratıcı Tanrı olarak tek tanrı gibi görünür. Ahura sözcüğünün sözel anlamı "güçlü" ya da "efendi, ve Mazda sözcüğünün anlamı "bilgelik"tir. Ama yaratılan Doğa Tanrı için yalnızca başkasıdır, onun için onunla tözsel olarak Bir olan bir Oğul değildir. Zoroastrianizm monistik bir inanç olarak kabul edilir. Ama monistik inanç analitik inançtır, karşıtlıktan kaçar ve onu çözemez, yaratanı ve yaratısını birleştiremez, kendinde bir düalizm olarak kalır.

Kavramsal yetersizliğinden ötürü Zoroastrianizm bir boşinançlar kütlesini kendi içinde kapsar, ve bunlar bir rahipler, tapınmalar, ayinler, dualar, arınmalar, cinler vb. kalabalığı olarak inancın pozitif içeriğini oluşturur.

ZOROASTRİANİZM VE ÖZGÜR İSTENÇ



Bu dinde Işık fiziksel "güneş" değil ama tinsel İyidir. Ve İyi insan şeklinde de tasarımlanır ve o zaman Ormuzd'dur. Ormuzd özgürdür ve ilk kez özgürlük ile etik kategorisi şekillenmeye başlar, yaşam doğallığından tinselliğe doğru örgütlenme sürecine girer, uyuyan ustaki türe, haksızlık, ceza kavramları etkinleşir. Zoroastrianizm moral kavramlar ile, İyi ve Kötü kavramları ile ilgili olduğu için, bütünüyle mantıksal olarak İstenç üzerine de düşünecektir, çünkü İyi ancak ve ancak İstencin ereği olduğu için İyidir ve İstenç Kötü olana üstün gelme, dürtüyü, içgüdüyü, itkiyi yenme gücüdür. Tinsel İstenç doğal İsteğe karşı usun isteğidir. Duyunç olarak us kendinde saltık olarak iyidir, çünkü ancak istenen iyi olabilir ve çünkü duyunç saltık olarak ya da mantıksal olarak iyi olandan başkasını, kötü olanı istemeye yeteneli değildir.

Zoroastrianizmin özgür istenci doğrulamasına ve vurgulamasına karşın, tutarsızlık içeri girer ve aynı zamanda iyilik ve kötülük dışsal kaynaklı olarak görülür: İyi ve Kötü insanın ötesindedir. Tüm iyilik Ahura Mazda'dan (ya da Spenta Mainyu) doğar. Angra Mainyu ya da Ahriman kötülüğün dışsal kaynağıdır. Her nedense "kozmolojik" olduğu söylenen bu düalizme göre göre insanın moral sorumluluğu tanınamaz, çünkü "seçme özgürlüğü" yoluyla doğacak iyilikler ya da kötülükler en sonunda dışsal ilkeler tarafından belirlenir. İnsan kötülüğü yenmeye çalışabilir, ama kötülük ya da Ahriman bağımsız bir güç olduğu sürece insan ancak İyi uğruna uğraşabilir ve çabalayabilir ve pekala kötü olana yenik düşebilir. Zoroastrianizm insanın önüne tarihin işini koyar ve bırakır.

Yunanlılar tanrılara insan biçimini verirken, Persler insanlara hayvan biçimlerini verdiler. Bu imgelerin anlattığı şey doğal güçtür. Doğal gücün hak üzerinde egemenliğini sürdürmesi Zerdüşt ahlak anlayışının insana dışsal olan iki imgesel güce yüklenmesine bağlıdır.

 








   Zoroastrianizm ve Zoroaster  

Zoroastrianism

Zoroastrianism (W)

Zoroastrianism, or Mazdayasna, is one of the world’s oldest religions that remains active. It is a monotheistic faith (i.e. a single creator god), centered in a dualistic cosmology of good and evil and an eschatology predicting the ultimate destruction of evil. Ascribed to the teachings of the Iranian-speaking prophet Zoroaster (also known as Zarathustra), it exalts a deity of wisdom, Ahura Mazda (Wise Lord), as its Supreme Being. Major features of Zoroastrianism, such as messianism, judgment after death, heaven and hell, and free will have influenced other religious systems, including Second Temple Judaism, Gnosticism, Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism.

With possible roots dating back to the second millennium BCE, Zoroastrianism enters recorded history in the 5th-century BCE. Along with a Mithraic Median prototype and a Zurvanist Sassanid successor, it served as the state religion of the pre-Islamic Iranian empires for more than a millennium, from around 600 BCE to 650 CE. Zoroastrianism was suppressed from the 7th century onwards following the Muslim conquest of Persia of 633–654. Recent estimates place the current number of Zoroastrians at around 190,000, with most living in India and in Iran; their number is declining. In 2015, there were reports of up to 100,000 converts in Iraqi Kurdistan. Besides the Zoroastrian diaspora, the older Mithraic faith Yazdânism is still practised amongst Kurds.

The most important texts of the religion are those of the Avesta, which includes the writings of Zoroaster known as the Gathas, enigmatic poems that define the religion's precepts, and the Yasna, the scripture. The full name by which Zoroaster addressed the deity is: Ahura, The Lord Creator, and Mazda, Supremely Wise. The religious philosophy of Zoroaster divided the early Iranian gods of Proto-Indo-Iranian tradition, but focused on responsibility, and did not create a devil per-se. Zoroaster proclaimed that there is only one God, the singularly creative and sustaining force of the Universe, and that human beings are given a right of choice. Because of cause and effect, they are responsible for the consequences of their choices. The contesting force to Ahura Mazda was called Angra Mainyu, or angry spirit. Post-Zoroastrian scripture introduced the concept of Ahriman, the Devil, which was effectively a personification of Angra Mainyu.

Zoroastrianism's creator Ahura Mazda, through the Spenta Mainyu (Good Spirit, "Bounteous Immortals") is an all-good “father” of Asha (Truth, “order, justice”), in opposition to Druj (“falsehood, deceit”) and no evil originates from "him". "He" and his works are evident to humanity through the six primary Amesha Spentas and the host of other Yazatas, through whom worship of Mazda is ultimately directed. Spenta Mainyu adjoined unto "truth", oppose the Spirit's opposite, Angra Mainyu and its forces born of Akem Manah ("evil thinking").

Zoroastrianism has no major theological divisions, though it is not uniform; modern-era influences having a significant impact on individual and local beliefs, practices, values and vocabulary, sometimes merging with tradition and in other cases displacing it. In Zoroastrianism, the purpose in life is to "be among those who renew the world...to make the world progress towards perfection". Its basic maxims include:

  • Humata, Hukhta, Huvarshta, which mean: Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds.
  • There is only one path and that is the path of Truth.
  • Do the right thing because it is the right thing to do, and then all beneficial rewards will come to you also.

 



Ahura Mazda

Ahura Mazda (W)



Faravarhar, das Symbol der menschlichen Seele im Zoroastrismus.


Ahura Mazda
(also known as Ohrmazd, Ahuramazda, Hourmazd, Hormazd, and Hurmuz) is the Avestan name for the creator and sole God of Zoroastrianism, the old Iranian religion that spread across the Middle East, before ultimately being relegated to small minorities after the Muslim conquest of Iran. Ahura Mazda is described as the highest spirit of worship in Zoroastrianism, along with being the first and most frequently invoked spirit in the Yasna. The literal meaning of the word Ahura is “mighty” or “lord,” and Mazda is “wisdom.”

Ahura Mazda first appeared in the Achaemenid period (c. 550 – 330 BCE) under Darius I's Behistun Inscription. Until Artaxerxes II of Persia (405–04 to 359–58 BCE), Ahura Mazda was worshipped and invoked alone. With Artaxerxes II, Ahura Mazda was invoked in a triad, with Mithra and Anahita. In the Achaemenid period, there are no representations of Ahura Mazda other than the custom for every emperor to have an empty chariot drawn by white horses, to invite Ahura Mazda to accompany the Persian army on battles. Images of Ahura Mazda began in the Parthian period, but were stopped and replaced with stone carved figures in the Sassanid period.

Even though Ahura Mazda was a spirit in the Old Iranian religion, he had not yet been given the title of “uncreated spirit”. This title was given by Zoroaster, who proclaimed Ahura Mazda as the uncreated spirit, wholly wise, benevolent and good, as well as the creator and upholder of Asha ("truth").

He [Zoroaster] stated that this source of all goodness was the only Ahura worthy of the highest worship. He further stated that Ahura Mazda created spirits known as yazatas to aid him, who also merited devotion. Zoroaster proclaimed that all of the Iranian daevas were bad spirits and deserved no worship. These "bad" spirits were created by Angra Mainyu, the hostile and evil spirit. The existence of Angra Mainyu was the source of all sin and misery in the universe. Zoroaster claimed that Ahura Mazda was not an omnipotent God, but used the aid of humans in the cosmic struggle against Angra Mainyu. Nonetheless, Ahura Mazda is Angra Mainyu's superior, not his equal. Angra Mainyu and his daevas (destroyers), which attempt to attract humans away from the path of truth and righteousness (asha), would eventually be destroyed.

 



Avesta

Avesta (W)

The Avesta is the primary collection of religious texts of Zoroastrianism, composed in the otherwise unrecorded Avestan language.

 

Atar
(fire), a primary symbol of Zoroastrianism
 

The Avesta texts fall into several different categories, arranged either by dialect, or by usage. The principal text in the liturgical group is the Yasna, which takes its name from the Yasna ceremony, Zoroastrianism's primary act of worship, and at which the Yasna text is recited. The most important portion of the Yasna texts are the five Gathas, consisting of seventeen hymns attributed to Zoroaster himself. These hymns, together with five other short Old Avestan texts that are also part of the Yasna, are in the Old (or 'Gathic') Avestan language. The remainder of the Yasna's texts are in Younger Avestan, which is not only from a later stage of the language, but also from a different geographic region.

Extensions to the Yasna ceremony include the texts of the Vendidad and the Visperad. The Visperad extensions consist mainly of additional invocations of the divinities (yazatas), while the Vendidad is a mixed collection of prose texts mostly dealing with purity laws. Even today, the Vendidad is the only liturgical text that is not recited entirely from memory.Some of the materials of the extended Yasna are from the Yashts, which are hymns to the individual yazatas. Unlike the Yasna, Visperad and Vendidad, the Yashts and the other lesser texts of the Avesta are no longer used liturgically in high rituals. Aside from the Yashts, these other lesser texts include the Nyayesh texts, the Gah texts, the Siroza, and various other fragments. Together, these lesser texts are conventionally called Khordeh Avesta or "Little Avesta" texts. When the first Khordeh Avesta editions were printed in the 19th century, these texts (together with some non-Avestan language prayers) became a book of common prayer for lay people.

The term Avesta is from the 9th/10th-century works of Zoroastrian tradition in which the word appears as Zoroastrian Middle Persian abestāg, Book Pahlavi ʾp(y)stʾkʼ. In that context, abestāg texts are portrayed as received knowledge, and are distinguished from the exegetical commentaries (the zand) thereof. The literal meaning of the word abestāg is uncertain; it is generally acknowledged to be a learned borrowing from Avestan, but none of the suggested etymologies have been universally accepted. The widely repeated derivation from *upa-stavaka is from Christian Bartholomae (Altiranisches Wörterbuch, 1904), who interpreted abestāg as a contraction of a hypothetical reconstructed Old Iranian word for "praise-song" (Bartholomae: Lobgesang); that word is not actually attested in any text.

The surviving texts of the Avesta, as they exist today, derive from a single master copy produced by Sasanian Empire-era (224–651 CE) collation and recension. That master copy, now lost, is known as the 'Sassanian archetype'. The oldest surviving manuscript (K1) of an Avestan language text is dated 1323 CE. Summaries of the various Avesta texts found in the 9th/10th century texts of Zoroastrian tradition suggest that a significant portion of the literature in the Avestan language has been lost. Only about one-quarter of the Avestan sentences or verses referred to by the 9th/10th century commentators can be found in the surviving texts. This suggests that three-quarters of Avestan material, including an indeterminable number of juridical, historical and legendary texts, have been lost since then.

A pre-Sasanian history of the Avesta, if it had one, is in the realm of legend and myth. The oldest surviving versions of these tales are found in the ninth to 11th century texts of Zoroastrian tradition (i.e. in the so-called "Pahlavi books"). The legends run as follows: The twenty-one nasks ("books") of the Avesta were created by Ahura Mazda and brought by Zoroaster to his patron Vishtaspa (Denkard 4A, 3A). Supposedly, Vishtaspa (Dk 3A) or another Kayanian, Daray (Dk 4B), then had two copies made, one of which was stored in the treasury, and the other in the royal archives (Dk 4B, 5). Following Alexander's conquest, the Avesta was then supposedly destroyed or dispersed by the Greeks after they translated the scientific passages that they could make use of (AVN 7–9, Dk 3B, 8). Several centuries later, one of the Parthian emperors named Valaksh (one of the Vologases) supposedly then had the fragments collected, not only of those that had previously been written down, but also of those that had only been orally transmitted (Dk 4C).

 



Avesta (Zend-avesta)

Avesta (Zend-avesta) (B)

Avesta, also called Zend-avesta, sacred book of Zoroastrianism containing its cosmogony, law, and liturgy, the teachings of the prophet Zoroaster (Zarathushtra). The extant Avesta is all that remains of a much larger body of scripture, apparently Zoroaster’s transformation of a very ancient tradition. The voluminous manuscripts of the original are said to have been destroyed when Alexander the Great conquered Persia. The present Avesta was assembled from remnants and standardized under the Sāsānian kings (3rd–7th century ad).

The Avesta is in five parts. Its religious core is a collection of songs or hymns, the Gāthās, thought to be in the main the very words of Zoroaster. They form a middle section of the chief liturgical part of the canon, the Yasna, which contains the rite of the preparation and sacrifice of haoma. The Visp-rat is a lesser liturgical scripture, containing homages to a number of Zoroastrian spiritual leaders. The Vendidad, or Vidēvdāt, is the main source for Zoroastrian law, both ritual and civil. It also gives an account of creation and the first man, Yima. The Yashts are 21 hymns, rich in myth, to various yazatas (angels) and ancient heroes. The Khūrda Avesta (or Little Avesta) is a group of minor texts, hymns, and prayers for specific occasions.

Zend-Avesta literally means “interpretation of the Avesta.” It originally referred to the commonly used Pahlavi translation but has often been used as the title of Western translations.

 



Gathas

Gathas (W)

The Gathas are 17 Avestan hymns believed to have been composed by Zarathusthra (Zoroaster) himself. They form the core of the Zoroastrian liturgy (the Yasna). They are arranged in five different modes or metres.

The language of the Gathas, Gathic or Old Avestan, belongs to the old Iranian language group which is a sub-group of Eastern families of the Indo-European languages.

Excerpts

The following excerpts are from the translation by Humbach & Ichaporia.

Zoroaster asks Mazda for guidance
  • Where and which part of land shall I go to succeed? They keep me away from the family and the tribe. The community that I wish to join does not gratify me, nor do the deceitful tyrants of the lands. How shall I gratify you, O Mazda Ahura? (46.1)
Zoroaster asks Mazda for blessings
  • I approach you with good thought, O Mazda Ahura, so that you may grant me (the blessing) of two existences (i.e. physically and mentally), the material and that of thought, the blessing emanating from Truth, with which one can put (your) support in comfort. (28.2)
  • With these entreaties, O Mazda Ahura, may we not anger you, nor Truth or Best Thought, we who are standing at the offering of praises to you. You are the swiftest (bringer of) invigorations, and (you hold) the power over benefits.
  • I ask you, O Ahura, about the punishment for the evil-doer who delegates power to the deceitful one and who does not find a livelihood without injury to the cattle and men of undeceiving herdsman.
  • Grant us (a share) of it both this (material) existence and the spiritual one, that (share) of it through which we may come (and be in) Your shelter and that of Truth, for all time. (41.6)
  • Let good rulers assume rule (over us), with actions of Good Insight, O right mindedness. Let not bad rulers assume rule over us. The best (insight), which purifies progeny for mankind, let it also be applied to the cow. Her You breed for us for food. (48.5)
Rhetorical questions posed by Zoroaster
  • This I ask you, O Ahura, tell me truly: Of what kind is the first (stage) of Best Existence? The desired one who implements it so that we may enjoy benefit, that one indeed, holy through truth, watching with His spirit the outcome left for all, is the healer of existence, (our) ally, (you), O Mazda. (44.2)
  • This I ask you, O Ahura, tell me truly: Who, by procreation, is the primal father of Truth? Who created the course of the sun and stars? Through whom does the moon waxe and wane? These very things and others I wish to know, O Mazda. (44.3)
Zoroaster to his own followers
  • Truth is best (of all that is) good. As desired, what is being desired is truth for him who (represents) the best truth. (27.14)
  • The person who is pure-in-heart towards me, I for my part assign to him the best things in my command, through Good Thought, but harm to him who schemes to harm us. O Mazda, thereby gratifying your will by Truth. Such is the discrimination made by my intellect and thought.
Zoroaster to the followers of the druj
  • Brilliant things instead of weeping will be (the reward) for the person who comes to the truthful one. But a long period of darkness, foul food, and the word 'woe' – to such an existence your religious view will lead you, O deceitful ones, of your own actions. (31.20)

 

 



Zoroaster

Zoroaster (W)

Zoroaster (Greek: Ζωροάστρης Zōroastrēs), (Persian: زرتشت pronounced as Zartusht) also known as Zarathustra (Zaraθuštra), Zarathushtra Spitama or Ashu Zarathushtra, was an ancient Persian prophet, spiritual leader and ethical philosopher who taught a spiritual philosophy of self-realization and realization of the Divine. His teachings challenged the existing traditions of the Indo-Iranian religion and later developed into the religion of Mazdayasna or Zoroastrianism. He inaugurated a movement that eventually became the dominant religion in Ancient Persia. He was a native speaker of Old Avestan and lived in the eastern part of the Iranian Plateau, but his exact birthplace is uncertain.

There is no scholarly consensus on when he lived. However, approximating using linguistic and socio-cultural evidence allows for dating to somewhere in the second millennium BCE. This is done by estimating the period in which the Old Avestan language (as well as the earlier Proto-Indo-Iranian and Proto-Iranian languages and the related Vedic Sanskrit) were spoken, the period in which the Proto-Indo-Iranian religion was practiced, and correlation between the burial practice described in the Gathas with the archeological Yaz culture. However, other scholars still date him in the 7th and 6th century BCE as a near-contemporary of Cyrus the Great and Darius I. Zoroastrianism eventually became the official religion of Ancient Persia and its distant subdivisions from the 6th century BCE to the 7th century CE. Zoroaster is credited with authorship of the Gathas as well as the Yasna Haptanghaiti, hymns composed in his native dialect, Old Avestan, and which comprise the core of Zoroastrian thinking. Most of his life is known from these texts. By any modern standard of historiography, no evidence can place him into a fixed period, and the historicization surrounding him may be a part of a trend from before the 10th century that historicizes legends and myths.

His training for the priesthood probably started very early, around seven years of age.He became a priest probably around the age of fifteen, and according to the Gathas, he gained knowledge from other teachers and personal experience from traveling when he left his parents at twenty years old.

He taught about free will, and opposed the use of the hallucinogenic Haoma plant in rituals, polytheism, over-ritualising religious ceremonies and animal sacrifices, as well an oppressive class system in Persia which earned him strong opposition among local authorities. Eventually, at the age of about forty-two, he received the patronage of queen Hutaosa and a ruler named Vishtaspa, an early adherent of Zoroastrianism (possibly from Bactria according to the Shahnameh). Zoroaster's teaching about individual judgment, Heaven and Hell, the resurrection of the body, the Last Judgment, and everlasting life for the reunited soul and body, among other things, became borrowings in the Abrahamic religions, but they lost the context of the original teaching.

In the Gathas, Zoroaster sees the human condition as the mental struggle between aša (truth) and druj (lie). The cardinal concept of aša—which is highly nuanced and only vaguely translatable—is at the foundation of all Zoroastrian doctrine, including that of Ahura Mazda (who is aša), creation (that is aša), existence (that is aša) and as the condition for free will.

 



Angra Mainyu

Angra Mainyu (W)

Angra Mainyu is the Avestan-language name of Zoroastrianism's hypostasis of the "destructive spirit". The Middle Persian equivalent is Ahriman. Angra Mainyu is omnimalevolent. Angra Mainyu is Ahura Mazda’s adversary.

Avestan angra mainyu "seems to have been an original conception of Zoroaster's. In the Gathas, which are the oldest texts of Zoroastrianism and are attributed to the prophet himself, angra mainyu is not yet a proper name. In the one instance in these hymns where the two words appear together, the concept spoken of is that of a mainyu (“mind,” “spirit” or otherwise an abstract energy etc.) that is angra ("destructive", "chaotic", "disorderly", "inhibitive", "malign" etc, of which a manifestation can be anger). In this single instance—in Yasna 45.2—the "more bounteous of the spirits twain" declares angra mainyu to be its "absolute antithesis".

A similar statement occurs in Yasna 30.3, where the antithesis is however aka mainyu, aka being the Avestan language word for “evil.” Hence, aka mainyu is the “evil spirit” or “evil mind” or “evil thought,” as contrasted with spenta mainyu, the "bounteous spirit" with which Ahura Mazda conceived of creation, which then "was".

The aka mainyu epithet recurs in Yasna 32.5, when the principle is identified with the daevas that deceive humankind and themselves. While in later Zoroastrianism, the daevas are demons, this is not yet evident in the Gathas: Zoroaster stated that the daevas are “wrong gods” or “false gods” that are to be rejected, but they are not yet demons.

In Yasna 32.3, these daevas are identified as the offspring, not of Angra Mainyu, but of akem manah, “evil thinking.” A few verses earlier it is however the daebaaman, "deceiver" — not otherwise identified but "probably Angra Mainyu" — who induces the daevas to choose achistem manah “worst thinking.” In Yasna 32.13, the abode of the wicked is not the abode of Angra Mainyu, but the abode of the same "worst thinking". "One would have expected [Angra Mainyu] to reign in hell, since he had created 'death and how, at the end, the worst existence shall be for the deceitful' (Y. 30.4)."

 



Fravashi

Fravashi (W) (B)

(W) Fravashi is the Avestan language term for the Zoroastrian concept of a personal spirit of an individual, whether dead, living, and yet-unborn. The fravashi of an individual sends out the urvan (often translated as ‘soul’) into the material world to fight the battle of good versus evil. On the morning of the fourth day after death, the urvan is imagined to return to its fravashi, where its experiences in the material world are collected to assist the next generation in their fight between good and evil.

In the 9/10th-century works of Zoroastrian tradition (Pahlavi books), Avestan fravashi continues as Middle Persian fravard (and -w- forms, fraward etc), fravahr, fravash or fravaksh. The last days of a year, called frawardigan, are dedicated to the fravashis. The first month of the year as well as the 19th day of each month are considered under the protection of, and named after, the fravashis. The winged-disc symbol of Zoroastrianism is traditionally interpreted as a depiction of a fravashi.


(B) Fravashi, in Zoroastrianism, the preexisting external higher soul or essence of a person (according to some sources, also of gods and angels). Associated with Ahura Mazdā, the supreme divinity, since the first creation, they participate in his nature of pure light and inexhaustible bounty. By free choice they descend into the world to suffer and combat the forces of evil, knowing their inevitable resurrection at the final glory. Each individual’s fravashi, distinct from his incarnate soul, subtly guides him in life toward the realization of his higher nature. The saved soul is united after death with its fravashi. Cosmically, the fravashis are divided into three groups—the living, the dead, and the yet unborn. They are the force upon which Ahura Mazdā depends to maintain the cosmos against the demon host. Protecting the empyrean (sacred fire), they keep darkness imprisoned in the world.

In the popular religion, the fravashis of the righteous dead and of ancestors are invoked for protection. In the Parsi festival Fravartigan, the last 10 days of each year, each family honours the fravashis of its dead with prayers, fire, and incense.

 



Avesta (livius.org)

Avesta (Livius.org)

Avesta



ike the Bible, the Avesta (sometimes incorrectly called Zend-Avesta) is actually a library, containing different sacred texts which were written during a very long period in different languages. A difference with the Bible is that the Avesta often resembles a prayer book and has few narratives.

Gathas

The seventeen Gâthâs, probably composed by Zarathustra himself, are the oldest part of the Avesta (overview). The language of these hymns resembles that of the Indian Rigveda, hymns that were probably composed in the Punjab between 1500 and 1200 BCE. E.g., the Gathic word ahura, "divine lord", is identical to the Vedic word asura. This linguistic similarity suggests that the Gâthâs are very old indeed.

In the Gâthâs, Zarathustra addresses the supreme god Ahuramazda, which offers the prophet an opportunity to explain his own doctrines. An example:

I shall recognize Thee as strong and holy, Ahuramazda, when Thou wilt help me by the hand with which Thou holdest the recompenses that Thou wilt give, through the heat of Thy truth-strong fire, to the wicked man and the just - and when the might of Good Purpose shall come to me.
Then as holy I have recognized Thee, Ahuramazda, when I saw Thee as First at the birth of life, when Thou didst appoint rewards for acts and words, bad for the bad, a good recompense for the good by Thy innate virtue, at the final turning point of the creation [i.e., the Last Judgment].note

It should be stressed that the Gâthâs are difficult to understand. They were written long time ago in an otherwise unknown dialect. To understand what Zarathustra intended to convey, we have two methods:

  • use parallels from the language of the Rigveda
  • use younger parts of the Avesta and medieval commentaries (Zand).

Both approaches are dangerous. The Vedic and Gathic languages have a common ancestor, but developed differently. As we have already seen above, Gathic ahura meant "divine lord"; Vedic asurameant "demon". It is probably no coincidence that the reverse also happens to be true: the Vedic word for "gods", deva, means "demons" in Gathic (daeva). It may be assumed that the two languages parted because of a religious dispute, which makes linguistic comparisons difficult.

The use of younger parts of the Avesta to explain the older parts is equally dangerous. Some of these texts are clearly written to explain something that was no longer understood. The explanations are, therefore, nothing but hypotheses of a venerable age. Unfortunately, we are unable to check these interpretations and therefore, several European scholars have argued that it is better not to explain the Gâthâs by using younger texts. Perhaps this is a bit too skeptical, but the risks of the method are real.

Yashts

There are other hymns that are attributed to Zarathustra. These Yashts are dedicated to lower gods. However, it is almost certain that these hymns were not really composed by the prophet, because they are written in another language, which is usually called "Younger Avestan". This language resembles the Old Persian that we know from the cuneiform texts of the Achaemenid Empire written between 521 and 331 BCE. The composition of the Yashts may therefore tentatively be dated between, say, 625 and 225.

Yasna

The Gâthâs were (and are) recited by the Zoroastrians in their daily liturgy. The liturgical texts, usually called Yasna ("reverence"), were also written in Gathic; at least some of them appear to be older than the Gâthâs, and may have been reworked in the light of the teachings of Zarathustra. The Yasna describes all kinds of rituals, e.g., the use of the trance-inducing beverage haoma, sacrifices, and offerings to water and fire. Over the centuries, new liturgic texts were written; these are written in Younger Avestan.

Vendidad

The next group of texts is called the Vendidad. This word is a corruption of Vidaevadata, "against the demons". The language of these prose texts, which deal with myth and purity laws, is Younger Avestan, but it does not resemble the language of the cuneiform texts of the Achaemenid Empire. Probably, the Vendidad was written later, during the Parthian period (141 BCE - 224 CE).

Parthian codification

It may have been only at this stage that the texts of the Avesta were collected, but the date of this first redaction is very uncertain. Some scholars have denied that there was a redaction at the Parthian time; others maintain that there was an even earlier redaction in the Achaemenid period. The excellent transmission of the Gâthâs suggests that there must have been some sort of written version, but we do not know what this can have been. In any case, the name "Avesta" was coined in the Parthian age, because âbâsta, "the law", is Parthian Younger Avestan.

Although we do not know when the texts were brought together, we may be confident that there was a large religious literature. This can be deduced from a remark by the Roman author Pliny the Elder (23-79 CE), who writes about the Alexandrine scholar Hermippus of Smyrna (third century BCE):

Hermippus, who wrote most painstakingly about the whole art of magic and interpreted two million verses by Zarathustra, also added lists of contents and handed down the name of Agonaces as the teacher who instructed him, placing Zarathustra five thousand years before the Trojan War.note

In other words: at some point in history, perhaps the Parthian age, many ancient texts were brought together:

  • the older Yasna: liturgic texts, written in Gathic
    • including the Gâthâs, hymns to Ahuramazda written in Gathic by Zarathustra (1400-1200 BCE)
  • Yashts: hymns to several deities in Younger Avestan
  • the younger Yasna: liturgic texts, written in Younger Avestan
  • Vendidad: prose texts on ritual purity and myth (codified in the Parthian age)

These were the main parts of the Avesta, but there must have been other texts. For example, we possess late versions of apocalyptic texts that go back to texts that were composed towards the end of the fourth century BCE, when the Macedonian king Alexander the Great conquered the Achaemenid Empire.

Visperad

In 224 CE, the Parthian rulers of Iran were replaced by a new Persian dynasty, the Sasanians. Other texts were added to the already existing corpus, the most important being the Visperad, a long liturgy made up from Yasnaand Vendidad texts with many additional invocations. Another texts is the Khorda Avesta or "Short Avesta", a collection of short prayers that could be used by every believer. The language of this period is known as Middle Persian or Pahlavi.

Sasanian codification

Several Sasanian kings were devout Zoroastrians and did much to improve the understanding of the ancient texts. The text known as Denkard, which we will discuss below, mentions a collection made for king Shapur I (r.241-272). There were also several commentaries on the Avesta, the Zand. They became an integral part of the Avesta; every copy of the original text contained the Zand as well.note

Khusrau II

Under the Sasanian king Khusrau II the Victorious (r.591-628), a Zoroastrian high priest named Tansar established the canon of Avestan texts. It contained all the texts that we have already seen, but also some books on cosmogony and law, a biography of Zarathustra, apocalypses, and several expositions of doctrine. This library was certainly written down and is called the Great Avesta.

The Middle Ages

The Great Avesta was too large to survive, especially since invading armies sometimes destroyed the books. In 642, the Arabs invaded Iran. As a rule, they were not intolerant towards Zoroastrianism and some Avestan works were translated into Arabic, the originals being lost. In the eighth century, however, relations between Muslims and Zoroastrians became hostile and the Zoroastrians started to redefine themselves: their ancient religion and old language were important aspects of their new self-image. The antagonism between the two groups continued to grow in the ninth century. Many Zoroastrians decided to migrate to India. Several texts from the Avesta are therefore known from Indian translations.

Between 1037 and 1157, the Seljuk Turks ruled Iran. Harshness towards non-Muslims increased, but it was nothing compared to the events of 1256, when the Mongol leader Hulagu, a grandson of Genghis Khan, invaded Iran, Iraq, and Syria. For the first time, Zoroastrianism was actually persecuted, and many books were burnt. This was repeated in 1381, when Timur Lenk invaded and ravaged Persia. The Zoroastrians were forced to withdraw to desert towns like Yazd and Kerman.

From 1501 onward, Iran was independent under the dynasty of the Safavids. Their kings were Shi'ite Muslims and were in general harsh towards Zoroastrians. The latter were even forced to conversion by Shah Abbas II (r.1642-1667), who had many of them massacred in Isfahan. Again, many Avestas were destroyed.

Denkard

What remains of the Avesta today, is about a quarter of the Great Avesta of the sixth century. Fortunately, we do possess a summary, which is called the Denkard (go here to read a chapter). Using the Denkard, the Zand, and the traditions of medieval Zoroastrianism, we can reconstruct large parts of the Great Avesta. However, this reconstruction is necessarily hypothetical, and as we have seen above, some European scholars have decided that these texts are not very useful - except, of course, for the study of Medieval Zorastrianism. This is a little bit too skeptical: the Denkard and the Zandcontain some very ancient traditions. On the other hand, one should be very careful when one studies a complex library like the Avesta.

Literature

  • Mary Boyce, Textual sources for the study of Zoroastrianism (1984 Manchester) offers several translations from the Avesta, together with brief introductions and comments
  • Peter Clark, Zoroastrianism. An Introduction to an Ancient Faith (1998 Brighton)



This page was created in 1998; last modified on 3 April 2018.



 



Contents of the Avesta

Contents of the Avesta (Livius.org)

Contents of the Avesta

The following titles of the main parts of the Avesta were taken from the translation by James Darmesteter and L.H. Mills in Max Müller (ed.): Sacred Books of the East, vols. IV (The Zend-Avesta, part 1), XXIII (The Zend-Avesta, part 2), XXXI (The Zend-Avesta, part 3).


The Gâthâs
  • Y 29 Zarathustra is called
  • Y 28 Prayers for Grace and for the words of revelation
  • Y 30 The doctrine of dualism
  • Y 31 The progress and struggles of the new faith
  • Y 32 The struggle continued
  • Y 33 Prayers, hope and self-consecration
  • Y 34 Promise of gifts to the believers

  • Y 43 Salvation for the believers
  • Y 44 Questions to Ahuramazda
  • Y 45 The doctrine of dualism
  • Y 46 Personal sufferings, hopes and appeals
  • Y 47 The beautifulness of Ahuramazda
  • Y 48 Anticipated struggles; prayers for champions and defenders
  • Y 49 Reverses and hopes
  • Y 50 Sequel to Y 49
  • Y 51 Instruction and appeals to an assembly of the faithful
  • Y 53 Conclusion


The Yasna

  • Y 1 The sacrifice commences
  • Y 2 The sacrifice continues
  • Y 3 Naming of the objects of propitiation
  • Y 4 The offering takes place
  • Y 5 = Y 37
  • Y 6 The sacrifice continues
  • Y 7 Presentation of the offerings
  • Y 8 The meat offering; the faithful partake
  • Y 9 Haoma
  • Y 10 Sequel to Y 9
  • Y 11 Prelude to the haoma offering
  • Y 12 The "Zoroastrian creed"
  • Y 13 Invocations and dedications
  • Y 14 Dedications
  • Y 15 The sacrifice continues
  • Y 16 The sacrifice continues
  • Y 17 To fire, waters and plants
  • Y 18 A fragment
  • Y 19 Zand
  • Y 20 Zand
  • Y 21 Zand
  • Y 22 The sacrifice continues
  • Y 23 The souls of the saints
  • Y 24 Presentations
  • Y 25 Sequel of Y 24
  • Y 26 Praise to the souls
  • Y 27 Prelude to the chief recital of the Gâthâ's

  • Y 35 The Yasna of the seven chapters: praise to Ahuramazda
  • Y 36 To Ahuramazda and fire
  • Y 37 To Ahuramazda, the holy creation, the souls of the just, and the Holy Immortals
  • Y 38 To the earth and the sacred waters
  • Y 39 To the soul of the kine
  • Y 40 Prayers for helpers
  • Y 41 To Ahuramazda
  • Y 42 Sequel to Y 35

  • Y 52 Prayer to Sanctity
  • Y 54 Sacrificial prayer
  • Y 55 The worship of the Gâthâ's as concluded, that of Obedience as beginning
  • Y 56 Introduction
  • Y 57 To Obedience
  • Y 58 Prayer of a herdsman
  • Y 59 Mutual blessings
  • Y 60 Prayer for the dwelling of the sacrificer
  • Y 61 Sequel to Y 60
  • Y 62 To fire
  • Y 63 A florilegium
  • Y 64 A florilegium
  • Y 65 To the goddess Anahita and the waters
  • Y 66 To a divine being (Anahita?)
  • Y 67 = Y 23
  • Y 68 To the goddess Anahita and the waters
  • Y 69 A florilegium
  • Y 70 To the beautiful immortals
  • Y 71 Conclusion


The Yasts

  1. The names of Ahuramazda
  2. To the Amesha Spentas
  3. Praise of the god Airyama
  4. To the genius of health and the waters
  5. To the goddess Anahita
  6. To the Sun
  7. To the Moon
  8. To Sirius
  9. To Iranian heroes
  10. To the god Mithra
  11. To the angel Sraosha
  12. To genius of truth
  13. To the people's inner power
  14. To the genius of victory
  15. To the genius that gives good abodes and pastures
  16. To the personification of Zoroastrian law
  17. To piety
  18. To truthfulness
  19. To the genius of the earth
  20. To the star Vanant
  21. A fragment
  22. To the fate of the faithful
  23. Zarathustra's blessing of Hystaspes
  24. Exhortations


The Vendidad

  • Fargard 1: Enumeration of the sixteen lands created by Ahuramazda, and of the sixteen plagues created by Angra Mainyu (quote)
  • Fargard 2: Myths of Yima
  • Fargard 3: The earth
  • Fargard 4: Contracts and outrages
  • Fargard 5: Purity laws
  • Fargard 6: Purity laws
  • Fargard 7: Purity laws
  • Fargard 8: Purity laws
  • Fargard 9: The nine nights' cleaning ritual
  • Fargard 10: Spells recited during the ritual of cleansing
  • Fargard 11: Special spells for the cleansing of several objects
  • Fargard 12: Periods of cleansing
  • Fargard 13: The dog
  • Fargard 14: The atonement for the murder of a water dog
  • Fargard 15: Diverse subjects
  • Fargard 16: On the uncleanness of women
  • Fargard 17: Hair and nails
  • Fargard 18: Diverse subjects
  • Fargard 19: Angra Mainyu, Zarathustra and Ahuramazda
  • Fargard 20: The origin of medicine
  • Fargard 21: Waters and light
  • Fargard 22: Angra Mainyu creates 99,999 diseases; Ahuramazda applies for healing to the Holy Word and to Airyaman



This page was created in 1998; last modified on 17 February 2018.


 



Fravarane

Fravarane (Livius.org)

Fravarane

The following text, which has with some justice been likened to the Christian "creed", probably dates to the earliest days of Zoroastrianism, but seems to have undergone linguistic changes, because it is known in the relatively late Old Avestan language, and not in the old Gathic. Yasna 12 was probably meant to be recited before an assembly of the faithful. The translation was made by J. H. Peterson. The text is also known as Fravarane, which means, like the Latin Credo, "I declare".



Fravarane

[1] I curse the Daevas.note[The demons, the creatures Angra Mainyu, "the hostile spirit".]

I declare myself a Mazda-worshipper, a supporter of Zarathustra, hostile to the Daevas, fond of Ahura's teaching, a praiser of the Amesha Spentas,note[The seven good spirits, created by Ahuramazda.] a worshipper of the Amesha Spentas. I ascribe all good to Ahuramazda, "and all the best," Asha-endowed, splendid, xwarena-endowed, whose is the cow, whose is Asha, whose is the light, "may whose blissful areas be filled with light".

[2] I choose the good Spenta Armaitinote[The Spenta Armaiti is the spirit of Piety and Devotion.] for myself; let her be mine. I renounce the theft and robbery of the cow,note[The raiding of cattle, one of the most important causes of conflict in the ancient Iranian society.] and the damaging and plundering of the Mazdayasnian settlements. I want freedom of movement and freedom of dwelling for those with homesteads, to those who dwell upon this earth with their cattle. With reverence for Asha,note[Asha is the personification of Justice. In older Persian, the word is Arta, cf. names like Artaxerxes.] and (offerings) offered up, I vow this: I shall nevermore damage or plunder the Mazdayasnian settlements, even if I have to risk life and limb.

[3] I reject the authority of the Daevas, the wicked, no-good, lawless, evil-knowing, the most druj-likenote[The druj is the "lie": a name for everything that is wrong.] of beings, the foulest of beings, the most damaging of beings. I reject the Daevas and their comrades, I reject the yatunote[The yatu are demons.] and their comrades; I reject any who harm beings. I reject them with my thoughts, words, and deeds. I reject them publicly. Even as I reject the [evil authorities], so too do I reject the hostile followers of the druj.

[4] As Ahuramazda taught Zarathustra at all discussions, at all meetings, at which Mazda and Zarathustra conversed; - even as Zarathustra rejected the authority of the Daevas, so I also reject, as Mazda-worshipper and supporter of Zarathustra, the authority of the Daevas, even as he, the Asha-endowed Zarathustra, has rejected them.

As the belief of the waters, the belief of the plants, the belief of the well-made [Original] Cow; as the belief of Ahuramazda who created the cow and the Asha-endowed Man; as the belief of Zarathustra, the belief of Kavi Vishtaspa,note[Kavi Vishtaspa is Hystaspes, Zarathustra's protector. The names that follow are heroes of early Zoroastrianism.] the belief of both Frashaostra and Jamaspa; as the belief of each of the Saoshyantsnote[Saoshyants means "saviors". They are the root of Zoroastrian messianism.] - fulfilling destiny and Asha-endowed - so I am a Mazda-worshipper of this belief and teaching.

[5] I profess myself a Mazda-worshipper, a Zoroastrian, having vowed it and professed it. I pledge myself to the well-thought thought, I pledge myself to the well-spoken word, I pledge myself to the well-done action.

I pledge myself to the Mazdayasnian religion, which causes the attack to be put off and weapons put down; Asha-endowed; which of all religions that exist or shall be, is the greatest, the best, and the most beautiful: Ahuric, Zoroastrian. I ascribe all good to Ahuramazda.

This is the creed of the Mazdayasnian religion.



This page was created in 1998; last modified on 4 January 2017.


(Livius.org)

 


 



 
 





   CYRUS THE GREAT    

KYRUS VE EVRENSEL İNSAN HAKLARI

KYRUS VE EVRENSEL İNSAN HAKLARI

 

  • Kyrus devlet görevlilerinin uyruklarına saygılı davranmasını ister.
  • Kyrus köleliği kaldırır ve tüm dünya üzerinde kaldırılmasını da ister.
  • Kyrus haksızlığın cezalandırılacağını bildirir.
  • Ve Kyrus dinsel hoşgörü ilkesini ileri sürer, insan haklarının çiğnenmemesi koşulu ile tam inanç özgürlüğü getirir.


Burada modern evrensel insan hakları anlayışı açısından başlıca sorun Kyrus’un kendisinin tekerk olması, yalnızca onun istencinin güç olmasıdır.

Kyrus eşit insanlar arasında en eşit olanıdır. “Evrensel insan hakları” olduğu ileri sürülen şey gerçekte yalnızca ve yalnızca Kyrus’un hakları, onun tikel istencine indirgenen bir evrenseldir. Kyrus köleliği kaldırır. Ama imparatorun istenci altında duran insanlar kendi istençleri ile özgür insanlar değildirler. Yurttaşlar değildirler. Yalnızca uyruklardırlar. Mezopotamya tini henüz hak kavramına yabancı olan istençsiz bir tindir.

Kyrus dinsel hoşgörü ilkesini ileri sürmek zorundadır, çünkü Metopotamya ve Anadolu politeizmi ile bağdaşmayan monoteistik bir inancı Devlet Dini olarak kabul etmiştir.

 



 


Painting of Cyrus the Great in battle at the Palace of Versailles.

Cyrus the Great

Cyrus the Great (c. 600-530 BC) (W)


Painting of Cyrus the Great in battle at the Palace of Versailles.


Cyrus II of Persia
(c. 600-530 BC),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. Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much of Central Asia and the Caucasus. From the Mediterranean Sea and Hellespont in the west to the Indus River in the east, Cyrus the Great created the largest empire the world had yet seen. Under his successors, the empire eventually stretched at its maximum extent from parts of the Balkans (Bulgaria-Paeonia and Thrace-Macedonia) and Eastern Europe proper in the west, to the Indus Valley in the east. His regal titles in full were The Great King, King of Persia, King of Anshan, King of Media, King of Babylon, King of Sumer and Akkad, and King of the Four Corners of the World. The Nabonidus Chronicle notes the change in his title from simply "King of Anshan", a city, to "King of Persia". Assyriologist François Vallat wrote that "When Astyages marched against Cyrus, Cyrus is called ‘King of Anshan’, but when Cyrus crosses the Tigris on his way to Lydia, he is ‘King of Persia’. The coup therefore took place between these two events."

The reign of Cyrus the Great lasted c. 30 years. Cyrus built his empire by first conquering the Median Empire,then the Lydian Empire,and eventually the Neo-Babylonian Empire. He led an expedition into Central Asia, which resulted in major campaigns that were described as having brought "into subjection every nation without exception". Cyrus did not venture into Egypt, and was alleged to have died in battle, fighting the Massagetae along the Syr Darya in December 530 BC. He was succeeded by his son, Cambyses II, who managed to conquer Egypt, Nubia, and Cyrenaica during his short rule.

Cyrus the Great respected the customs and religions of the lands he conquered. This became a very successful model for centralized administration and establishing a government working to the advantage and profit of its subjects. In fact, the administration of the empire through satraps and the vital principle of forming a government at Pasargadae were the works of Cyrus.

Cyrus the Great is also well recognized for his achievements in human rights, politics, and military strategy, as well as his influence on both Eastern and Western civilizations. Having originated from Persis, roughly corresponding to the modern Iranian province of Fars, Cyrus has played a crucial role in defining the national identity of modern Iran. The Achaemenid influence in the ancient world eventually would extend as far as Athens, where upper-class Athenians adopted aspects of the culture of the ruling class of Achaemenid Persian as their own.

In the 1970s, the last Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi identified his famous proclamation inscribed onto the Cyrus Cylinder as the oldest known declaration of human rights, and the Cylinder has since been popularized as such. This view has been criticized by some historians as a misunderstanding of the Cylinder's generic nature as a traditional statement that new monarchs make at the beginning of their reign.

 



Cyrus Cylinder

Cyrus Cylinder (W)

The Cyrus Cylinder, obverse and reverse sides

Size 22.5 centimetres x 10 centimetres
Writing Akkadian cuneiform script
Created About 539–538 BC
Period/culture Achaemenid Empire
Discovered Babylon, Mesopotamia by Hormuzd Rassam in March 1879
Present location Room 52, British Museum, London

The Cyrus Cylinder or Cyrus Charter 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 dates from the 6th century BC and was discovered in the ruins of Babylon in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) in 1879. It is currently in the possession of the British Museum, which sponsored the expedition that discovered the cylinder. 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 text on the Cylinder praises Cyrus, sets out his genealogy and portrays him as a king from a line of kings. The Babylonian king Nabonidus, who was defeated and deposed by Cyrus, is denounced as an impious oppressor of the people of Babylonia and his low-born origins are implicitly contrasted to Cyrus' kingly heritage. The victorious Cyrus is portrayed as having been chosen by the chief Babylonian god Marduk to restore peace and order to the Babylonians. The text states that Cyrus was welcomed by the people of Babylon as their new ruler and entered the city in peace. It appeals to Marduk to protect and help Cyrus and his son Cambyses. It extols Cyrus as a benefactor of the citizens of Babylonia who improved their lives, repatriated displaced people and restored temples and cult sanctuaries across Mesopotamia and elsewhere in the region. It concludes with a description of how Cyrus repaired the city wall of Babylon and found a similar inscription placed there by an earlier king.

The Cylinder's text has traditionally been seen by biblical scholars as corroborative evidence of Cyrus' policy of the repatriation of the Jewish peoplefollowing their Babylonian captivity (an act that the Book of Ezra attributes to Cyrus), as the text refers to the restoration of cult sanctuaries and repatriation of deported peoples. This interpretation has been disputed , as the text identifies only Mesopotamian sanctuaries, and makes no mention of Jews, Jerusalem, or Judea. The Cylinder has also been referred to by Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran as the first declaration of universal human rights, a view rejected by some historians as anachronistic and a misunderstanding of the Cylinder's generic nature as a typical statement made by a new monarch at the beginning of his reign. Neil MacGregor, former Director of the British Museum, has stated that the cylinder was "the first attempt we know about running a society, a state with different nationalities and faiths—a new kind of statecraft". It was adopted as a national symbol of Iran by the Imperial State which put it on display in Tehran in 1971 to commemorate 2,500 year celebration of the Persian Empire. On October 14, the Mohammad Reza Shah's sister, Princess Ashraf Pahlavi, presented the United Nations Secretary General U Thant with a replica of the Cylinder. The princess asserted that "the heritage of Cyrus was the heritage of human understanding, tolerance, courage, compassion and, above all, human liberty."


The surviving inscription on the Cyrus Cylinder consists of 45 lines of text written in Akkadian cuneiform script. The first 35 lines are on fragment "A" and the remainder are on fragment "B". A number of lines at the start and end of the text are too badly damaged for more than a few words to be legible.

The text is written in an extremely formulaic style that can be divided into six distinct parts:

  • Lines 1–19: an introduction reviling Nabonidus, the previous king of Babylon, and associating Cyrus with the god Marduk;
  • Lines 20–22: detailing Cyrus's royal titles and genealogy, and his peaceful entry to Babylon;
  • Lines 22–34: a commendation of Cyrus's policy of restoring Babylon;
  • Lines 34–35: a prayer to Marduk on behalf of Cyrus and his son Cambyses;
  • Lines 36–37: a declaration that Cyrus has enabled the people to live in peace and has increased the offerings made to the gods;
  • Lines 38–45: details of the building activities ordered by Cyrus in Babylon.

 

The beginning of the text is partly broken; the surviving content reprimands the character of the deposed Babylonian king Nabonidus. It lists his alleged crimes, charging him with the desecration of the temples of the gods and the imposition of forced labor upon the populace. According to the proclamation, as a result of these offenses, the god Marduk abandoned Babylon and sought a more righteous king. Marduk called forth Cyrus to enter Babylon and become its new ruler.

In [Nabonidus's] mind, reverential fear of Marduk, king of the gods, came to an end. He did yet more evil to his city every day; … his [people ................…], he brought ruin on them all by a yoke without relief … [Marduk] inspected and checked all the countries, seeking for the upright king of his choice. He took the hand of Cyrus, king of the city of Anshan, and called him by his name, proclaiming him aloud for the kingship over all of everything.

Midway through the text, the writer switches to a first-person narrative in the voice of Cyrus, addressing the reader directly. A list of his titles is given (in a Mesopotamian rather than Persian style): "I am Cyrus, king of the world, great king, powerful king, king of Babylon, king of Sumer and Akkad, king of the four quarters [of the earth], son of Cambyses, great king, king of Anshan, descendent of Teispes, great king, king of Anshan, the perpetual seed of kingship, whose reign Bel [Marduk] and Nebo love, and with whose kingship, to their joy, they concern themselves." He describes the pious deeds he performed after his conquest: he restored peace to Babylon and the other cities sacred to Marduk, freeing their inhabitants from their "yoke," and he "brought relief to their dilapidated housing (thus) putting an end to their (main) complaints". He repaired the ruined temples in the cities he conquered, restored their cults, and returned their sacred images as well as their former inhabitants which Nabonidus had taken to Babylon. Near the end of the inscription Cyrus highlights his restoration of Babylon's city wall, saying: "I saw within it an inscription of Ashurbanipal, a king who preceded me." The remainder is missing but presumably describes Cyrus's rededication of the gateway mentioned.

A false translation of the text – affirming, among other things, the abolition of slavery and the right to self-determination, a minimum wage and asylum – has been promoted on the Internet and elsewhere. As well as making claims that are not found on the real cylinder, it refers to the Zoroastrian divinity Ahura Mazda rather than the Mesopotamian god Marduk. The false translation has been widely circulated; alluding to its claim that Cyrus supposedly has stated that "Every country shall decide for itself whether or not it wants my leadership." Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi in her acceptance speech described Cyrus as "the very emperor who proclaimed at the pinnacle of power 2,500 years ago that … he would not reign over the people if they did not wish it".

 



   

Persian conquest of thi Lydian Empire and Asia Minor

Persian conquest of the Lydian Empire (547 BC?) (W)



Temple of Artemis at Sardis, Lydia — one of the largest in the world — was originally dedicated to Artemis. The two complete columns have stood intact since antiquity and have never been restored.


The exact dates of the Lydian conquest are unknown, but it must have taken place between Cyrus’s overthrow of the Median kingdom (550 BC) and his conquest of Babylon (539 BC). It was common in the past to give 547 BC as the year of the conquest due to some interpretations of the Nabonidus Chronicle, but this position is currently not much held. The Lydians first attacked the Achaemenid Empire's city of Pteria in Cappadocia. Croesus besieged and captured the city enslaving its inhabitants. Meanwhile, the Persians invited the citizens of Ionia who were part of the Lydian kingdom to revolt against their ruler. The offer was rebuffed, and thus Cyrus levied an army and marched against the Lydians, increasing his numbers while passing through nations in his way. The Battle of Pteria was effectively a stalemate, with both sides suffering heavy casualties by nightfall. Croesus retreated to Sardis the following morning.

While in Sardis, Croesus sent out requests for his allies to send aid to Lydia. However, near the end of the winter, before the allies could unite, Cyrus the Great pushed the war into Lydian territory and besieged Croesus in his capital, Sardis. Shortly before the final Battle of Thymbra between the two rulers, Harpagus advised Cyrus the Great to place his dromedaries in front of his warriors; the Lydian horses, not used to the dromedaries' smell, would be very afraid. The strategy worked; the Lydian cavalry was routed. Cyrus defeated and captured Croesus. Cyrus occupied the capital at Sardis, conquering the Lydian kingdom in 546 BC. According to Herodotus, Cyrus the Great spared Croesus’s life and kept him as an advisor, but this account conflicts with some translations of the contemporary Nabonidus Chronicle (the King who was himself subdued by Cyrus the Great after conquest of Babylonia), which interpret that the king of Lydia was slain.

 



Lydians

Lydians (W)


The Lydians were an Anatolian people living in Lydia, a region in western Anatolia, who spoke the distinctive Lydian language, an Indo-European language of the Anatolian group.

Questions raised regarding their origins, as defined by the language and reaching well into the 2nd millennium BC, continue to be debated by language historians and archeologists. A distinct Lydian culture lasted, in all probability, until at least shortly before the Common Era, having been attested the last time among extant records by Strabo in Kibyra in south-west Anatolia around his time (1st century BC).

The Lydian capital was at Sfard or Sardis. Their recorded history of statehood, which covers three dynasties traceable to the Late Bronze Age, reached the height of its power and achievements during the 7th and 6th centuries BC, a time which coincided with the demise of the power of neighboring Phrygia, which lay to the north-east of Lydia.

Lydian power came to an abrupt end with the fall of their capital in events subsequent to the Battle of Halys in 585 BC and defeat by Cyrus the Great in 546 BC.


Herodotus states that the Lydians “were the first men whom we know who coined and used gold and silver currency.” While this specifically refers to coinage in electrum, some numismatists think that coinage per se arose in Lydia.



The 1/6 stater discovered in Ancient Greek temple in Temple of Artemis at Ephesus and probably minted in Lydia some 2,700 years ago. The coin have originated ca. 600-550 BC in Anatolia (Turkey), in particular in the Anatolian kingdom of Lydia. Some numismatist don't consider this as a coin since they're not used in commerce and exchanges. Like other Electrum coins, the Electrum 1/6 stater were not standardized in weight.

According to Herodotus, once a Lydian girl reached maturity, she would ply the trade of prostitute until she had earned a sufficient dowry, upon which she would publicize her availability for marriage. This was the general practice for girls not born into nobility.



Omphale
 

A number of Lydian religious concepts may well go back to the Early Bronze Age and even Late Stone Age, such as the vegetation goddess Kore, the snake and bull cult, the thunder and rain god and the double-axe (Labrys) as a sign of thunder, the mountain mother goddess (Mother of Gods) assisted by lions, associable or not to the more debated Kuvava (Cybele). A difficulty in compounding Lydian religion and mythology remains as reciprocal contacts and transfer with ancient Greek concepts occurred for over a millennium from the Bronze Age to classical (Persian) times. As pointed out by archaeological explorers of Lydia, Artimu (Artemis) and Pldans (Apollo) have strong Anatolian components and Cybele-Rhea, the Mother of Gods, and Baki (Bacchus, Dionysos) went from Anatolia to Greece, while both in Lydia and Caria, Levs (Zeus) preserved strong local characteristics all at the same sharing the name of its Greek equivalent.




Interview with Solon

According to Herodotus, Croesus encountered the Greek sage Solon and showed him his enormous wealth. Croesus, secure in his own wealth and happiness, asked Solon who the happiest man in the world was, and was disappointed by Solon's response that three had been happier than Croesus: Tellus, who died fighting for his country, and the brothers Kleobis and Biton who died peacefully in their sleep after their mother prayed for their perfect happiness because they had demonstrated filial piety by drawing her to a festival in an oxcart themselves. Solon goes on to explain that Croesus cannot be the happiest man because the fickleness of fortune means that the happiness of a man's life cannot be judged until after his death. Sure enough, Croesus' hubristic happiness was reversed by the tragic deaths of his accidentally-killed son and, according to Critias, his wife's suicide at the fall of Sardis, not to mention his defeat at the hands of the Persians.

The interview is in the nature of a philosophical disquisition on the subject "Which man is happy?" It is legendary rather than historical. Thus the "happiness" of Croesus is presented as a moralistic exemplum of the fickleness of Tyche, a theme that gathered strength from the fourth century, revealing its late date. The story was later retold and elaborated by Ausonius in The Masque of the Seven Sages, in the Suda (entry "Μᾶλλον ὁ Φρύξ," which adds Aesop and the Seven Sages of Greece), and by Tolstoy in his short story "Croesus and Fate."

 



🎨 Der König Kandaules (TABLO)

Legende

Der Legende nach war Gyges ein enger Jugendfreund Sadyattes (Hdt. I, 8–13). Dieser sei auf die Schönheit seiner Frau Nyssia (nach anderen Versionen Ludo) so stolz gewesen, dass er sie Gyges nackt gezeigt habe. Die beleidigte Königin habe daraufhin Gyges angewiesen, entweder Suizid zu begehen, oder Sadyattes zu ermorden und sich an seine Stelle zu setzen.

In einer von vielen anderen Versionen der Sage ermordet Gyges Sadyattes mit Hilfe eines unsichtbar machenden Ringes. (W-German)



Die Geschichte ist ein schon bei Herodot erwähnter alter Sagenstoff aus dem antiken Kleinasien und handelt von der Entthronung der angestammten lydischen Königsdynastie unter König Sadyattes I. (Kandaules) durch Gyges, den Begründer der Mermnaden. (W-German)


 
   

Candaules depicts a scene from the first book of the Histories by Herodotus. Candaules, ruler of the ancient kingdom of Lydia, believed his wife Nyssia to be the world's most beautiful woman. He discussed his wife's beauty with his favourite bodyguard Gyges, but felt Gyges was lying when he told him that he agreed about her beauty. Candaules arranged, over the protests of Gyges, for Gyges to hide behind his bedroom door and secretly watch Nyssia undressing without her knowledge. Although he was unhappy at being forced to take part, Gyges reluctantly hid behind the door and watched Nyssia undress. Nyssia noticed Gyges as he slipped out of the room afterwards, but remained silent.

The next day, Nyssia summoned Gyges and condemned him for his breach of custom in spying on her naked. Gyges was given the choice of killing Candaules for his instigation of the plot, or of voluntarily accepting his own execution; he reluctantly chose to save his own life by murdering his master. The next night, Gyges hid behind the same door from which he had watched the naked Nyssia, and stabbed Candaules while he slept, taking Nyssia as his own wife and declaring himself King of Lydia. The Delphic Oracle confirmed Gyges as king, as the first of the Mermnad dynasty, and he reigned for 38 years. (W)

 

 



🎨 The Wife of King Candaules (1846) (TABLO)

The scene depicts King Candaules showing his sleeping wife to the servant Gyges. Candaules was a king of the ancient Kingdom of Lydia from 735 BC to 718 BC. The earliest known version of the story was related by Herodotus in the fifth century BC.
According to The Histories of Herodotus, Candaules bragged of his wife's incredible beauty to his favourite bodyguard Gyges. "It appears you don't believe me when I tell you how lovely my wife is," said Candaules. "A man always believes his eyes better than his ears; so do as I tell you - contrive to see her naked."
Gyges refused; he did not wish to dishonor the Queen like a more common woman by seeing her nude body. He also feared what the King might do to him if he did accept.
Candaules was insistent, and Gyges had no choice but to obey. Candaules detailed a plan by which Gyges would hide behind a door in the royal bedroom to observe the Queen disrobing before bed. Gyges would then leave the room while the Queen's back was turned.
That night, the plan was executed. However, the Queen saw Gyges as he left the room, and recognized immediately that she had been betrayed and shamed by her own husband. She silently swore to have her revenge, and began to arrange her own plan.
The next day, the Queen summoned Gyges to her chamber. Although Gyges thought nothing of the routine request, she confronted him immediately with her knowledge of his misdeed and her husband's. "One of you must die," she declared. "Either my husband, the author of this wicked plot; or you, who have outraged propriety by seeing me naked."
The Queen prepared for Gyges to kill Candaules. Gyges hid behind the door of the bedroom chamber with a knife provided by the Queen, and killed him in his sleep. Gyges married the Queen and became King.

Moench was a son of Simon Frederic Moench. Like his father, he was a well-known stage designer, but also a portraitist, historical and landscape artist and court interior painter. His decorative paintings can be seen in the Galerie de Diane and in the Garde de Salle (both in Fontainebleau) and in the Salle de Clarac in the Louvre. (LINK)

 



🎨 Candaules, King of Lydia, Shews his Wife by Stealth to Gyges, One of his Ministers, as She Goes to Bed (TABLO)

 
   

Candaules, King of Lydia, Shews his Wife by Stealth to Gyges, One of his Ministers, as She Goes to Bed, occasionally formerly known as The Imprudence of Candaules, is a 45.1 by 55.9 cm (17.8 by 22.0 in) oil painting on canvas by English artist William Etty, first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1830. It shows a scene from the Histories by Herodotus, in which Candaules, king of Lydia, invites his bodyguard Gyges to hide in the couple's bedroom and watch his wife Nyssia undress, to prove to him her beauty. Nyssia notices Gyges spying and challenges him to either accept his own execution or to kill Candaules as a punishment. Gyges chooses to kill Candaules and take his place as king. The painting shows the moment at which Nyssia, still unaware that she is being watched by anyone other than her husband, removes the last of her clothes.

Etty hoped that his audience would take from the painting the moral lesson that women are not chattels and that men infringing on their rights should justly be punished, but he made little effort to explain this to audiences. The painting was immediately controversial and perceived as a cynical combination of a pornographic image and a violent and unpleasant narrative, and it was condemned as an immoral piece of the type one would expect from a foreign, not a British, artist. It was bought by Robert Vernon on its exhibition, and in 1847 was one of a number of paintings given by Vernon to the nation. The work retained its controversial reputation in later years, and when The Art Journal bought the reproduction rights to Vernon's former collection in 1849 they did not distribute reproductions of Candaules. In 1929 it was among several paintings transferred to the newly expanded Tate Gallery, where as of 2018 it remains. (W)

 



   
 

Phrygia

Phrygia (c. 1200-700 BC) (W)


Middle East c. 1000 BC. Phrygia was the dominant kingdom in Asia Minor from c. 1200-700 BC.


In classical antiquity, Phrygia (Ancient Greek: Φρυγία, Phrygía [pʰryɡía]; Turkish: Frigya) was first a kingdom in the west central part of Anatolia, in what is now Asian Turkey, centered on the Sangarios River, later a region, often part of great empires.

Stories of the heroic age of Greek mythology tell of several legendary Phrygian kings:



Phrygian soldiers. Detail from a reconstruction of a Phrygian building at Pararli, Turkey, 7th-6th Centuries BC.


According to Homer's Iliad, the Phrygians participated in the Trojan War as close allies of the Trojans, fighting against the Achaeans. Phrygian power reached its peak in the late 8th century BC under another, historical, king: Midas, who dominated most of western and central Anatolia and rivaled Assyria and Urartu for power in eastern Anatolia. This later Midas was, however, also the last independent king of Phrygia before Cimmerians sacked the Phrygian capital, Gordium, around 695 BC. Phrygia then became subject to Lydia, and then successively to Persia, Alexander and his Hellenistic successors, Pergamon, Rome and Byzantium. Phrygians gradually became assimilated into other cultures by the early medieval era; after the Turkish conquest of Anatolia, the name "Phrygia" passed out of usage as a territorial designation.



Midas Tomb at the archeological site Midas City (Midas Şehri). The site is in the village of Yazilikaya, midway between Eskişehir and Afyon. The relief is 17 meters high and dates from the 6th century BC.
 

The Phrygians spoke Phrygian, an Indo-European language. Some contemporary historians, among whom Strabo is the most known, considered the Phrygians to be a Thracian tribe,part of a wider "Thraco-Phrygian" group. Other linguists dismiss this hypothesis since Thracian (and hence Daco-Thracian) seems to belong to the Satem group of Indo-European languages, while Phrygian shared several similarities with other Indo-European languages of the Centum group (like Latin, Greek or the Anatolian languages). According to this second group of linguists, of all the Indo-European languages, Phrygian seems to have been most closely linked to Greek, suggesting that the two languages belonged to the same dialectal subgroup of early Indo-European. Although the Phrygians adopted the alphabet originated by the Phoenicians and ultimately from Ancient Egyptians, only a few dozen inscriptions in the Phrygian language have been found, primarily funereal, so much of what is thought to be known of Phrygia is second-hand information from Greek sources.

A conventional date of c. 1180 BC is often used for the influx (traditionally from Thrace) of the pre-Phrygian Bryges or Mushki, corresponding to the very end of the Hittite empire. Following this date, Phrygia retained a separate cultural identity. In classical Greek iconography the Trojan Paris is represented as non-Greek by his Phrygian cap, which was worn by Mithras and survived into modern imagery as the "Liberty cap" of the American and French revolutionaries.

Phrygia developed an advanced Bronze Age culture. The earliest traditions of Greek music are in part connected to Phrygian music, transmitted through the Greek colonies in Anatolia, especially the Phrygian mode, which was considered to be the warlike mode in ancient Greek music. Phrygian Midas, the king of the “golden touch,” was tutored in music by Orpheus himself, according to the myth. Another musical invention that came from Phrygia was the aulos, a reed instrument with two pipes. Marsyas, the satyr who first formed the instrument using the hollowed antler of a stag, was a Phrygian follower of Cybele. He unwisely competed in music with the Olympian Apollo and inevitably lost, whereupon Apollo flayed Marsyas alive and provocatively hung his skin on Cybele's own sacred tree, a pine.

It was the "Great Mother", Cybele, as the Greeks and Romans knew her, who was originally worshipped in the mountains of Phrygia, where she was known as "Mountain Mother".

 



Persian conquest of Babylon (539 BC)

Persian conquest of Babylon (539 BC) (W)


Ancient Near East prior to the invasion of Babylon by Cyrus the Great.

(W) The Battle of Opis, fought in September 539 BC, was a major engagement between the armies of Persia under Cyrus the Great and the Neo-Babylonian Empire under Nabonidus during the Persian invasion of Mesopotamia. At the time, Babylonia was the last major power in western Asia that was not yet under Persian control. The battle was fought in or near the strategic riverside city of Opis, north of the capital Babylon. It resulted in a decisive victory for the Persians. A few days later, the city of Sippar surrendered to the Persians and Cyrus's forces entered Babylon apparently without a fight. Cyrus was subsequently proclaimed king of Babylonia and its subject territories, thus ending the independence of Babylon and incorporating the Babylonian Empire into the greater Persian Empire.


In 539 BC, the Neo-Babylonian Empire fell to Cyrus the Great, king of Persia, with a military engagement known as the Battle of Opis. Babylon's walls were considered impenetrable. The only way into the city was through one of its many gates or through the Euphrates River. Metal grates were installed underwater, allowing the river to flow through the city walls while preventing intrusion. The Persians devised a plan to enter the city via the river. During a Babylonian national feast, Cyrus' troops diverted the Euphrates River upstream, allowing Cyrus' soldiers to enter the city through the lowered water. The Persian army conquered the outlying areas of the city while the majority of Babylonians at the city center were unaware of the breach. The account was elaborated upon by Herodotus and is also mentioned in parts of the Hebrew Bible. (Herodotus also described a moat, an enormously tall and broad wall cemented with bitumen and with buildings on top, and a hundred gates to the city. He also writes that the Babylonians wear turbans and perfume and bury their dead in honey, that they practice ritual prostitution, and that three tribes among them eat nothing but fish. The hundred gates can be considered a reference to Homer, and following the pronouncement of Archibald Henry Sayce in 1883, Herodotus's account of Babylon has largely been considered to represent Greek folklore rather than an authentic voyage to Babylon. However, recently, Dalley and others have suggested taking Herodotus's account seriously.)

According to 2 Chronicles 36 of the Hebrew Bible, Cyrus later issued a decree permitting captive people, including the Jews, to return to their own lands. Text found on the Cyrus Cylinder has traditionally been seen by biblical scholars as corroborative evidence of this policy, although the interpretation is disputed because the text only identifies Mesopotamian sanctuaries but makes no mention of Jews, Jerusalem, or Judea.

Under Cyrus and the subsequent Persian king Darius I, Babylon became the capital city of the 9th Satrapy (Babylonia in the south and Athura in the north), as well as a center of learning and scientific advancement. In Achaemenid Persia, the ancient Babylonian arts of astronomy and mathematics were revitalized, and Babylonian scholars completed maps of constellations. The city became the administrative capital of the Persian Empire and remained prominent for over two centuries. Many important archaeological discoveries have been made that can provide a better understanding of that era.

The early Persian kings had attempted to maintain the religious ceremonies of Marduk, but by the reign of Darius III, over-taxation and the strain of numerous wars led to a deterioration of Babylon's main shrines and canals, and the destabilization of the surrounding region. There were numerous attempts at rebellion and in 522 BC (Nebuchadnezzar III), 521 BC (Nebuchadnezzar IV) and 482 BC (Bel-shimani and Shamash-eriba) native Babylonian kings briefly regained independence. However these revolts were quickly repressed and Babylon remained under Persian rule for two centuries, until Alexander the Great's entry in 331 BC.

 



Babylon

Babylon (W)



Babylon
was a key kingdom in ancient Mesopotamia from the 18th to 6th centuries BC. The city was built on the Euphrates river and divided in equal parts along its left and right banks, with steep embankments to contain the river's seasonal floods. Babylon was originally a small Akkadian town dating from the period of the Akkadian Empire c. 2300 BC.

The town became part of a small independent city-state with the rise of the First Babylonian dynasty in the 19th century BC. After the Amorite king Hammurabi created a short-lived empire in the 18th century BC, he built Babylon up into a major city and declared himself its king, and southern Mesopotamia became known as Babylonia and Babylon eclipsed Nippur as its holy city. The empire waned under Hammurabi's son Samsu-iluna and Babylon spent long periods under Assyrian, Kassite and Elamite domination. After being destroyed and then rebuilt by the Assyrians, Babylon became the capital of the short lived Neo-Babylonian Empire from 609 to 539 BC. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, although a number of scholars believe these were actually in the Assyrian capital of Nineveh. After the fall of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, the city came under the rule of the Achaemenid, Seleucid, Parthian, Roman, and Sassanid empires.

It has been estimated that Babylon was the largest city in the world c. 1770 – c. 1670 BC, and again c. 612 – c. 320 BC. It was perhaps the first city to reach a population above 200,000. Estimates for the maximum extent of its area range from 890 to 900 hectares (2,200 acres).

 



Tomyris

Tomyris (W)


Tomyris (from Eastern Iranian: Tahmirih "Brave"), also called Thomyris, Tomris, Tomiride, or Queen Tomiri, was a Massagetean ruler who reigned over the Massagetae, an Iranian people from Scythian pastoral-nomadic confederation of Central Asia east of the Caspian Sea, in parts of modern-day Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, western Uzbekistan, and southern Kazakhstan. Tomyris led her armies to defend against an attack by Cyrus the Great of the Achaemenid Empire, and defeated and killed him in 530 BC.

The names of Tomyris, and her son Spargapises, who was the head of her army, are of Iranian origins. Since the historians who first wrote of her were Greek, the Hellenic form of her name is used most frequently.

Many Greek historians recorded that she "defeated and killed" Cyrus the Great, founder of the Achaemenid Empire, during his invasion and attempted conquest of her country. Herodotus, who lived from approximately 484 to 425 BC, is the earliest of the classical writers to give an account of her career, writing almost one hundred years later. Her history was well known and became legendary. Strabo, Polyaenus, Cassiodorus, and Jordanes also wrote of her, in De origine actibusque Getarum ("The origin and deeds of the Goths/Getae").

According to the accounts of Greek historians, Cyrus was victorious in his initial assault on the Massagetae. His advisers suggested laying a trap for the pursuing Scythians: the Persians left behind them an apparently abandoned camp, containing a rich supply of wine. The pastoral Scythians were not used to drinking wine—"their favored intoxicants were Hasheesh with fermented mare's milk" —and they drank themselves into a stupor (with the alcohol deliberately left behind by Cyrus). The Persians attacked while their opponents were incapacitated, defeating the Massagetae forces, and capturing Tomyris' son, Spargapises, the general of her army. Of the one third of the Massagetae forces that fought, there were more captured than killed. According to Herodotus, Spargapises coaxed Cyrus into removing his bonds, thus allowing him to commit suicide while in Persian captivity.

Tomyris sent a message to Cyrus denouncing his treachery, and with all her forces, challenged him to a second battle. In the fight that ensued, the Massagetae got the upper hand, and the Persians were defeated with high casualties. According to Herodotus, Cyrus was killed and Tomyris had his corpse beheaded and then crucified, and shoved his head into a wineskin filled with human blood. She was reportedly quoted as saying, "I warned you that I would quench your thirst for blood, and so I shall" (Hdt 1.214) Xenophon, on the other hand, says that Cyrus died peacefully in his bed, and a number of other sources report different causes of death.

 



 

🎨 Tomyris Plunges the Head of the Dead Cyrus Into a Vessel of Blood" by Rubens (TABLO)

 








  DARIUS I (DARIUS THE GREAT)  
  IONIAN REVOLT — PERSIAN INVASION OF GREECE — BATTLE OF MARATHON

Darius I (Darius the Great)

Darius I (Darius the Great) (c. 550-486 BCE) (W)


Relief of Darius I in Persepolis
 
   

Darius I (c. 550-486 BCE) was the fourth king of the Persian Achaemenid Empire. Also called Darius the Great, he ruled the empire at its peak, when it included much of West Asia, the Caucasus, parts of the Balkans (Thrace-Macedonia and Paeonia), most of the Black Sea coastal regions, parts of the North Caucasus, Central Asia, as far as the Indus Valley in the far east and portions of north and northeast Africa including Egypt (Mudrâya), eastern Libya and coastal Sudan.

Darius ascended the throne by overthrowing Gaumata, a usurper. The new king met with rebellions throughout his kingdom and quelled them each time. A major event in Darius's life was his expedition to punish Athens and Eretria for their aid in the Ionian Revolt and subjugate Greece. Although ultimately ending in failure at the Battle of Marathon, Darius succeeded in the re-subjugation of Thrace, expansion of the empire through the conquest of Macedon, the Cyclades and the island of Naxos and the sacking of the city of Eretria.

Darius organized the empire by dividing it into provinces and placing satraps to govern it. He organized a new uniform monetary system, along with making Aramaic the official language of the empire. He also put the empire in better standing by building roads and introducing standard weights and measures. Through these changes, the empire was centralized and unified. Darius also worked on construction projects throughout the empire, focusing on Susa, Pasargadae, Persepolis, Babylon and Egypt. He had the cliff-face Behistun Inscription carved to record his conquests, an important testimony of the Old Persian language.

Dārīus and Dārēus are the Latin forms of the Greek Dareîos (Δαρεῖος), itself from Old Persian Dārayauš (𐎭𐎠𐎼𐎹𐎢𐏁; d-a-r-y-uš/Dārayauš).

Darius was an adherent of Zoroastrianism or at least a firm believer in Ahura Mazda. As can be seen at the Behistun Inscription, Darius believed that Ahura Mazda had appointed him to rule the Achaemenid Empire. Darius had dualistic philosophical convictions and believed that each rebellion in his kingdom was the work of druj, the enemy of Asha. Darius believed that because he lived righteously by Asha, Ahura Mazda supported him. In many cuneiform inscriptions denoting his achievements, he presents himself as a devout believer, perhaps even convinced that he had a divine right to rule over the world.

 



 

Behistun

Behistun (L)

Behistun

Behistun or Bisotun: town in Iran, site of several ancient monuments, including a famous inscription by the Persian king Darius I the Great. The full Persian text is here.


Behistun Relief and Inscription, c. 519 BC


In Antiquity, Bagastâna, which means "place where the gods dwell", was the name of a village and a remarkable, isolated rock along the road that connected the capitals of Babylonia and Media, Babylon and Ecbatana (modern Hamadan). Many travellers passed along this place, so it was the logical place for the Persian king Darius I the Great (r.522-486) to proclaim his military victories. He essentially copied an older relief at Sar-e Pol-e Zahab.

The famous Behistun inscription was engraved on a cliff about 100 meters off the ground. Darius tells us how the supreme god Ahuramazda choose him to dethrone an usurper named Gaumâta, how he set out to quell several revolts, and how he defeated his foreign enemies.

The monument consists of four parts.

  • A large relief (5½ x 3 meters) depicting king Darius, his bow carrier Intaphrenes and his lance carrier Gobryas. Darius overlooks nine representatives of conquered peoples, their necks tied. A tenth figure, badly damaged, is laying under the king's feet. Above these thirteen people is a representation of the supreme god Ahuramazda. This relief is based on older monuments, further along the road, at Sar-e Pol-e Zahab.
  • Underneath is a panel with a cuneiform text in Old Persian, telling the story of the king's conquests (translation). The text consists of four columns and an appendix and has a total length of about 515 lines.
  • Another panel telling more or less the same story in Babylonian. The appendix ("column five") is missing.
  • A third panel with the same text in Elamite (the language of the administration of the Achaemenid Empire). This translation of the Persian text has a length of 650 lines. Again, the appendix is missing.

 

In the text Darius describes how the god Ahuramazda choose him to dethrone the usurper Gaumâta (522 BCE). After this event, king Darius set out to quell several revolts. This is also depicted above the text, where we see the god and the king, the slain usurper, and seven men representing seven rebellious people. While artists were making this monument, Darius defeated foreign enemies (520-519 BCE); these victories were duly celebrated by a change in the initial design, adding two new figures to the right.

When the carvings were completed, the ledge below the inscription was removed so that nobody could tamper with the inscriptions. This allowed the monument to survive (and made it impossible for humans to read the texts).


This page was created in 1997; last modified on 24 June 2018. (Livius.org)

 



 

The Bisitun Inscriptions of Darius the Great

The Bisitun Inscriptions of Darius the Great (L) (W)

The Bisitun Inscriptions of Darius the Great

The following translation was made by L.W. King and R.C. Thompson (The Sculptures and Inscription of Darius the Great on the Rock of Behistûn in Persia, 1907 London). I have made some minor changes and added the titles of the sections. The full Persian text is here.

Introduction: Darius’ Titles and the Extent of his Empire


Darius I The Great (Darius, relief from the Central Relief of the Northern Stairs of the Apadana, Persepolis)
 
   

[i.1] I am Darius, the great king, king of kings, the king of Persia, the king of countries, the son of Hystaspes, the grandson of Arsames, the Achaemenid.

[i.2] King Darius says: My father is Hystaspes; the father of Hystaspes was Arsames; the father of Arsames was Ariaramnes; the father of Ariaramnes was Teispes; the father of Teispes was Achaemenes.

[i.3] King Darius says: That is why we are called Achaemenids; from antiquity we have been noble; from antiquity has our dynasty been royal.

[i.4] King Darius says: Eight of my dynasty were kings before me; I am the ninth. Nine in succession we have been kings.

[i.5] King Darius says: By the grace of Ahuramazda am I king; Ahuramazda has granted me the kingdom.

[i.6] King Darius says: These are the countries which are subject unto me, and by the grace of Ahuramazda I became king of them: Persia, Elam, Babylonia, Assyria, Arabia, Egypt, the countries by the Sea, Lydia, the Greeks, Media, Armenia, Cappadocia, Parthia, Drangiana, Aria, Chorasmia, Bactria, Sogdia, Gandara, Scythia, Sattagydia, Arachosia and Maka; twenty-three lands in all.

[i.7] King Darius says: These are the countries which are subject to me; by the grace of Ahuramazda they became subject to me; they brought tribute unto me. Whatsoever commands have been laid on them by me, by night or by day, have been performed by them.

[i.8] King Darius says: Within these lands, whosoever was a friend, him have I surely protected; whosoever was hostile, him have I utterly destroyed. By the grace of Ahuramazda these lands have conformed to my decrees; as it was commanded unto them by me, so was it done.

[i.9] King Darius says: Ahuramazda has granted unto me this empire. Ahuramazda brought me help, until I gained this empire; by the grace of Ahuramazda do I hold this empire.

Murder of Smerdis and Coup of Gaumâta the Magian

[i.10] King Darius says: The following is what was done by me after I became king. A son of Cyrus, named Cambyses, one of our dynasty, was king here before me. That Cambyses had a brother, Smerdis by name, of the same mother and the same father as Cambyses. Afterwards, Cambyses slew this Smerdis. When Cambyses slew Smerdis, it was not known unto the people that Smerdis was slain. Thereupon Cambyses went to Egypt. When Cambyses had departed into Egypt, the people became hostile, and the lie multiplied in the land, even in Persia and Media, and in the other provinces.

[i.11] King Darius says: Afterwards, there was a certain man, a Magian, Gaumâta by name, who raised a rebellion in Paišiyâuvâdâ, in a mountain called Arakadriš. On the fourteenth day of the month Viyaxana did he rebel. He lied to the people, saying: "I am Smerdis, the son of Cyrus, the brother of Cambyses." Then were all the people in revolt, and from Cambyses they went over unto him, both Persia and Media, and the other provinces. He seized the kingdom; on the ninth day of the month Garmapada he seized the kingdom. Afterwards, Cambyses died of natural causes.

[i.12] King Darius says: The kingdom of which Gaumâta, the Magian, dispossessed Cambyses, had always belonged to our dynasty. After that Gaumâta, the Magian, had dispossessed Cambyses of Persia and Media, and of the other provinces, he did according to his will. He became king.

Darius kills Gaumâta and Restores the Kingdom

[i.13] King Darius says: There was no man, either Persian or Mede or of our own dynasty, who took the kingdom from Gaumâta, the Magian. The people feared him exceedingly, for he slew many who had known the real Smerdis. For this reason did he slay them, "that they may not know that I am not Smerdis, the son of Cyrus." There was none who dared to act against Gaumâta, the Magian, until I came. Then I prayed to Ahuramazda; Ahuramazda brought me help. On the tenth day of the month Bâgayâdiš I, with a few men, slew that Gaumâta, the Magian, and the chief men who were his followers. At the stronghold called Sikayauvatiš, in the district called Nisaia in Media, I slew him; I dispossessed him of the kingdom. By the grace of Ahuramazda I became king; Ahuramazda granted me the kingdom.

[i.14] King Darius says: The kingdom that had been wrested from our line I brought back and I reestablished it on its foundation. The temples which Gaumâta, the Magian, had destroyed, I restored to the people, and the pasture lands, and the herds and the dwelling places, and the houses which Gaumâta, the Magian, had taken away. I settled the people in their place, the people of Persia, and Media, and the other provinces. I restored that which had been taken away, as is was in the days of old. This did I by the grace of Ahuramazda, I labored until I had established our dynasty in its place, as in the days of old; I labored, by the grace of Ahuramazda, so that Gaumâta, the Magian, did not dispossess our house.

[i.15] King Darius says: This was what I did after I became king.

Rebellions of ššina of Elam and Nidintu-Bêl of Babylon

[i.16] King Darius says: After I had slain Gaumâta, the Magian, a certain man named ššina, the son of Upadarma, raised a rebellion in Elam, and he spoke thus unto the people of Elam: "I am king in Elam." Thereupon the people of Elam became rebellious, and they went over unto that ššina: he became king in Elam. And a certain Babylonian named Nidintu-Bêl, the son of Kîn-Zêr, raised a rebellion in Babylon: he lied to the people, saying: "I am Nebuchadnezzar, the son of Nabonidus." Then did all the province of Babylonia go over to Nidintu-Bêl, and Babylonia rose in rebellion. He seized on the kingdom of Babylonia.

[i.17] King Darius says: Then I sent [an envoy?] to Elam. That ššina was brought unto me in fetters, and I killed him.

[i.18] King Darius says: Then I marched marched against that Nidintu-Bêl, who called himself Nebuchadnezzar. The army of Nidintu-Bêl held the Tigris; there it took its stand, and on account of the waters [the river] was unfordable. Thereupon I supported my army on [inflated] skins, others I made dromedary-borne, for the rest I brought horses. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda we crossed the Tigris. Then did I utterly overthrow that host of Nidintu-Bêl. On the twenty-sixth day of the month Âçiyâdiya we joined battle.

[i.19] King Darius says: After that I marched against Babylon. But before I reached Babylon, that Nidintu-Bêl, who called himself Nebuchadnezzar, came with a host and offered battle at a city called Zâzâna, on the Euphrates. Then we joined battle. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda did I utterly overthrow the host of Nidintu-Bêl. The enemy fled into the water; the water carried them away. On the second day of the month Anâmaka we joined battle.

[ii.20] King Darius says: Then did Nidintu-Bêl flee with a few horsemen into Babylon. Thereupon I marched to Babylon. By the grace of Ahuramazda I took Babylon, and captured Nidintu-Bêl. Then I slew that Nidintu-Bêl in Babylon.

[ii.21] King Darius says: While I was in Babylon, these provinces revolted from me: Persia, Elam, Media, Assyria, Egypt, Parthia, Margiana, Sattagydia, and Scythia.

Revolt of Martiya of Elam

[i.22] King Darius says: A certain man named Martiya, the son of Zinzakriš, dwelt in a city in Persia called Kuganakâ. This man revolted in Elam, and he said to the people: "I am Ummaniš, king in Elam."

[ii.23] King Darius says: At that time, I was friendly with Elam. Then there were Elamites afraid of me, and that Martiya, who was their leader, they seized and slew.

Revolt of Phraortes of Media

[ii.24] King Darius says: A certain Mede named Phraortes revolted in Media, and he said to the people: "I am Khshathrita, of the family of Cyaxares." Then did the Medes who were in the palace revolt from me and go over to Phraortes. He became king in Media.

[ii.25] King Darius says: The Persian and Median army, which was with me, was small. Yet I sent forth an[other] army. A Persian named Hydarnes, my servant, I made their leader, and I said unto him: "Go, smite that Median host which does not acknowledge me." Then Hydarnes marched forth with the army. When he had come to Media, at a city in Media called Maruš, he gave battle to the Medes. He who was chief among the Medes was not there at that time. Ahuramazda brought me help: by the grace of Ahuramazda my army utterly defeated that rebel host. On the twenty-seventh day of the month Anâmaka the battle was fought by them. Then did my army await me in a district in Media called Kampanda, until I came into Media.

Revolt of the Armenians

[ii.26] King Darius says: An Armenian named Dâdarši , my servant, I sent into Armenia, and I said unto him: "Go, smite that host which is in revolt and does not acknowledge me." Then Dâdarši went forth. When he came into Armenia, the rebels assembled and advanced against Dâdarši to give him battle. At a place in Armenia called Zuzza they fought the battle. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda did my army utterly overthrow that rebel host. On the eighth day of the month Thûravâhara [20 May 521.}}the battle was fought by them.

[ii.27] King Darius says: The rebels assembled for the second time, and they advanced against Dâdarši to give him battle. At a stronghold in Armenia called Tigra they joined battle. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda did my army utterly overthrow that rebel host. On the eighteenth day of the month Thûravâhara the battle was fought by them.

[ii.28] King Darius says: The rebels assembled for the third time and advanced against Dâdarši to give him battle. At a stronghold in Armenia called Uyamâ they joined battle. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda did my army utterly overthrow that rebel host. On the ninth day of the month Thâigaciš the battle was fought by them. Then Dâdarši waited for me in Armenia, until I came into Armenia.

[ii.29] King Darius says: A Persian named Vaumisa, my servant, I sent into Armenia, and I said unto him: "Go, smite that host which is in revolt, and does not acknowledge me." Then Vaumisa went forth. When he had come to Armenia, the rebels assembled and advanced against Vaumisa to give him battle. At a place in Assyria called Izala they joined battle. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda did my army utterly overthrow that rebel host. On the fifteenth day of the month Anâmaka the battle was fought by them.

[ii.30] King Darius says: The rebels assembled a second time and advanced against Vaumisa to give him battle. At a place in Armenia called Autiyâra they joined battle. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda did my army utterly overthrow that rebel host. At the end of the month Thûravâhara the battle was fought by them. Then Vaumisa waited for me in Armenia, until I came into Armenia.

End of the Revolt of the Medes

[ii.31] King Darius says: Then I went forth from Babylon and came into Media. When I had come to Media, that Phraortes, who called himself king in Media, came against me unto a city in Media called Kunduruš to offer battle. Then we joined battle. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda did my army utterly overthrow that rebel host. On the twenty-fifth day of the month Adukanaiša we fought the battle.

[ii.32] King Darius says: Thereupon that Phraortes fled thence with a few horseman to a district in Media called Rhagae. Then I sent an army in pursuit. Phraortes was taken and brought unto me. I cut off his nose, his ears, and his tongue, and I put out one eye, and he was kept in fetters at my palace entrance, and all the people beheld him. Then did I crucify him in Ecbatana; and the men who were his foremost followers, those at Ecbatana within the fortress, I flayed and hung out their hides, stuffed with straw.

[ii.33] King Darius says: A man named Tritantaechmes, a Sagartian, revolted from me, saying to his people: "I am king in Sagartia, of the family of Cyaxares." Then I sent forth a Persian and a Median army. A Mede named Takhmaspâda, my servant, I made their leader, and I said unto him: "Go, smite that host which is in revolt, and does not acknowledge me." Thereupon Takhmaspâda went forth with the army, and he fought a battle with Tritantaechmes. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda my army utterly defeated that rebel host, and they seized Tritantaechmes and brought him unto me. Afterwards I cut off both his nose and ears, and put out one eye, he was kept bound at my palace entrance, all the people saw him. Afterwards I crucified him in Arbela.

[ii.34] King Darius says: This is what was done by me in Media.

Revolt of the Parthians

[ii.35] King Darius says: The Parthians and Hyrcanians revolted from me, and they declared themselves on the side of Phraortes. My father Hystaspes was in Parthia; and the people forsook him; they became rebellious. Then Hystaspes marched forth with the troops which had remained faithful. At a city in Parthia called Višpauzâtiš he fought a battle with the Parthians. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda my army utterly defeated that rebel host. On the second day of the month Viyaxana the battle was fought by them.

[ii.36] King Darius says: Then did I send a Persian army unto Hystaspes from Rhagae. When that army reached Hystaspes, he marched forth with the host. At a city in Parthia called Patigrabanâ he gave battle to the rebels. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda Hystaspes utterly defeated that rebel host. On the first day of the month Garmapada the battle was fought by them.

[ii.37] King Darius says: Then was the province mine. This is what done by me in Parthia.

Revolt of Frâda of Margiana

[iii.38] King Darius says: The province called Margiana revolted against me. A certain Margian named Frâda they made their leader. Then sent I against him a Persian named Dâdarši, my servant, who was satrap of Bactria, and I said unto him: "Go, smite that host which does not acknowledge me." Then Dâdarši went forth with the army, and gave battle to the Margians. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda my army utterly overthrew that rebel host. Of the twenty-third day of the month Âçiyâdiya was the battle fought by them.

[iii.39] King Darius says: Then was the province mine. This is what was done by me in Bactria.

Revolt of Vahyazdâta of Persia

[iii.40] King Darius says: A certain man named Vahyazdâta dwelt in a city called Târavâ in a district in Persia called Vautiyâ. This man rebelled for the second time in Persia, and thus he spoke unto the people: "I am Smerdis, the son of Cyrus." Then the Persian people who were in the palace fell away from allegiance. They revolted from me and went over to that Vahyazdâta. He became king in Persia.

[iii.41] King Darius says: Then did I send out the Persian and the Median army which was with me. A Persian named Artavardiya, my servant, I made their leader. The rest of the Persian army came unto me in Media. Then went Artavardiya with the army unto Persia. When he came to Persia, at a city in Persia called Rakhâ, that Vahyazdâta, who called himself Smerdis, advanced with the army against Artavardiya to give him battle. They then fought the battle. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda my host utterly overthrew the army of Vahyazdâta. On the twelfth day of the month Thûravâhara was the battle fought by them.

[iii.42] King Darius says: Then that Vahyazdâta fled thence with a few horsemen unto Pishiyâuvâda. From that place he went forth with an army a second time against Artavardiya to give him battle. At a mountain called Parga they fought the battle. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda my host utterly overthrew the army of Vahyazdâta. On the fifth day of the month Garmapada was the battle fought by them. And they seized that Vahyazdâta, and the men who were his chief followers were also seized.

[iii.43] King Darius says: Then did I crucify that Vahyazdâta and the men who were his chief followers in a city in Persia called Uvâdaicaya.

[iii.44] King Darius says: This is what was done by me in Persia.

Fighting in Arachosia

[iii.45] King Darius says: That Vahyazdâta, who called himself Smerdis, sent men to Arachosia against a Persian named Vivâna, my servant, the satrap of Arachosia. He appointed a certain man to be their leader, and thus he spoke to him, saying: "Go smite Vivâna and the host which acknowledges king Darius!" Then that army that Vahyazdâta had sent marched against Vivâna to give him battle. At a fortress called Kapiša-kaniš they fought the battle. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda my army utterly overthrew that rebel host. On the thirteenth day of the month Anâmaka was the battle fought by them.

[iii.46] King Darius says: The rebels assembled a second time and went out against Vivâna to give him battle. At a place called Gandutava they fought a battle. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda my army utterly overthrew that rebel host. On the seventh day of the month Viyaxana the battle was fought by them.

[iii.47] King Darius says: The man who was commander of that army that Vahyazdâta had sent forth against Vivâna fled thence with a few horsemen. They went to a fortress in Arachosia called Aršâdâ. Then Vivâna with the army marched after them on foot. There he seized him, and he slew the men who were his chief followers.

[iii.48] King Darius says: Then was the province mine. This is what was done by me in Arachosia.

Second Babylonian revolt

[iii.49] King Darius says: While I was in Persia and in Media, the Babylonians revolted from me a second time. A certain man named Arakha, an Armenian, son of Haldita, rebelled in Babylon. At a place called Dubâla, he lied unto the people, saying: "I am Nebuchadnezzar, the son of Nabonidus." Then did the Babylonian people revolt from me and they went over to that Arakha. He seized Babylon, he became king in Babylon.

[iii.50] King Darius says: Then did I send an army unto Babylon. A Persian named Intaphrenes, my servant, I appointed as their leader, and thus I spoke unto them: "Go, smite that Babylonian host which does not acknowledge me." Then Intaphrenes marched with the army unto Babylon. Ahuramazda brought me help; by the grace of Ahuramazda Intaphrenes overthrew the Babylonians and brought over the people unto me. On the twenty-second day of the month Markâsanaš they seized that Arakha who called himself Nebuchadnezzar, and the men who were his chief followers. Then I made a decree, saying: "Let that Arakha and the men who were his chief followers be crucified in Babylon!"

[iv.51] King Darius says: This is what was done by me in Babylon.

Summary and Conclusion

[iv.52] King Darius says: This is what I have done. By the grace of Ahuramazda have I always acted. After I became king, I fought nineteen battles in a single year and by the grace of Ahuramazda I overthrew nine kings and I made them captive.

  • One was named Gaumâta, the Magian; he lied, saying "I am Smerdis, the son of Cyrus." He made Persia to revolt.
  • Another was named ššina, the Elamite; he lied, saying: "I am king the king of Elam." He made Elam to revolt.
  • Another was named Nidintu-Bêl, the Babylonian; he lied, saying: "I am Nebuchadnezzar, the son of Nabonidus." He made Babylon to revolt.
  • Another was named Martiya, the Persian; he lied, saying: "I am Ummanniš, the king of Elam." He made Elam to revolt.
  • Another was Phraortes, the Mede; he lied, saying: "I am Khshathrita, of the dynasty of Cyaxares." He made Media to revolt.
  • Another was Tritantaechmes, the Sagartian; he lied, saying: "I am king in Sagartia, of the dynasty of Cyaxares." He made Sagartia to revolt.
  • Another was named Frâda, of Margiana; he lied, saying: "I am king of Margiana." He made Margiana to revolt.
  • Another was Vahyazdâta, a Persian; he lied, saying: "I am Smerdis, the son of Cyrus." He made Persia to revolt.
  • Another was Arakha, an Armenian; he lied, saying: "I am Nebuchadnezzar, the son of Nabonidus." He made Babylon to revolt.

[iv.53] King Darius says: These nine king did I capture in these wars.

[iv.54] King Darius says: As to these provinces which revolted, lies made them revolt, so that they deceived the people. Then Ahuramazda delivered them into my hand; and I did unto them according to my will.

[iv.55] King Darius says: You who shall be king hereafter, protect yourself vigorously from lies; punish the liars well, if thus you shall think, "May my country be secure!"

Affirmation of the Truth of the Record

[iv.56] King Darius says: This is what I have done, by the grace of Ahuramazda have I always acted. Whosoever shall read this inscription hereafter, let that which I have done be believed. You must not hold it to be lies.

[iv.57] King Darius says: I call Ahuramazda to witness that is true and not lies; all of it have I done in a single year.

[iv.58] King Darius says: By the grace of Ahuramazda I did much more, which is not graven in this inscription. On this account it has not been inscribed lest he who shall read this inscription hereafter should then hold that which has been done by me to be excessive and not believe it and takes it to be lies.

Praise of Ahuramazda

[iv.59] King Darius says: Those who were the former kings, as long as they lived, by them was not done thus as by the favor of Ahuramazda was done by me in one and the same year.

[iv.60] King Darius says: Now let what has been done by me convince you. For the sake of the people, do not conceal it. If you do not conceal this edict but if you publish it to the world, then may Ahuramazda be your friend, may your family be numerous, and may you live long.

[iv.61] King Darius says: If you conceal this edict and do not publish it to the world, may Ahuramazda slay you and may your house cease.

[iv.62] King Darius says: This is what I have done in one single year; by the grace of Ahuramazda have I always acted. Ahuramazda brought me help, and the other gods, all that there are.

The Importance of Righteousness

[iv.63] King Darius says: On this account Ahuramazda brought me help, and all the other gods, all that there are, because I was not wicked, nor was I a liar, nor was I a despot, neither I nor any of my family. I have ruled according to righteousness. Neither to the weak nor to the powerful did I do wrong. Whosoever helped my house, him I favored; he who was hostile, him I destroyed.

[iv.64] King Darius says: You who may be king hereafter, whosoever shall be a liar or a rebel, or shall not be friendly, punish him!

Blessings and Curses

[iv.65] King Darius says: You who shall hereafter see this tablet, which I have written, or these sculptures, do not destroy them, but preserve them so long as you live!

[iv.66] King Darius says: If you shall behold this inscription or these sculptures, and shall not destroy them, but shall preserve them as long as your line endures, then may Ahuramazda be your friend, and may your family be numerous. Live long, and may Ahuramazda make fortunate whatsoever you do.

[iv.67] King Darius says: If you shall behold this inscription or these sculptures, and shall destroy them and shall not preserve them so long as your line endures, may Ahuramazda slay you, may your family come to nought, and may Ahuramazda destroy whatever you do!

Names of Darius’ supporters

[iv.68] King Darius says: These are the men who were with me when I slew Gaumâta the Magian, who was called Smerdis; then these men helped me as my followers:

[iv.69] King Darius says: You who may be king hereafter, protect the family of these men.

[iv.70] King Darius says: By the grace of Ahuramazda this is the inscription which I have made. Besides, it was in Aryan script, and it was composed on clay tablets and on parchment. Besides, a sculptured figure of myself I made. Besides, I made my lineage. And it was inscribed and was read off before me. Afterwards this inscription I sent off everywhere among the provinces. The people unitedly worked upon it.

New Rebellion on Elam

[v.71] King Darius says: The following is what I did in the second and third year of my rule. The province called Elam revolted from me. An Elamite named Atamaita they made their leader. Then I sent an army unto Elam. A Persian named Gobryas, my servant, I made their leader. Then Gobryas set forth with the army; he delivered battle against the Elamites. Then Gobryas destroyed many of the host and that Atamaita, their leader, he captured, and he brought him unto me, and I killed him. Then the province became mine.

[v.72] King Darius says: Those Elamites were faithless and Ahuramazda was not worshipped by them. I worshipped Ahuramazda; by the grace of Ahuramazda I did unto them according to my will.

[v.73] King Darius says: Whoso shall worship Ahuramazda, divine blessing will be upon him, both while living and when dead.

War Against the Scythians

[v.74] King Darius says: Afterwards with an army I went off to Scythia, after the Scythians who wear the pointed cap. These Scythians went from me. When I arrived at the river, I crossed beyond it then with all my army. Afterwards, I smote the Scythians exceedingly; [one of their leaders] I took captive; he was led bound to me, and I killed him. [Another] chief of them, by name Skunkha, they seized and led to me. Then I made another their chief, as was my desire. Then the province became mine.

[v.75] King Darius says: Those Scythians were faithless and Ahuramazda was not worshipped by them. I worshipped Ahuramazda; by the grace of Ahuramazda I did unto them according to my will.

[v.76] King Darius says: [Whoso shall worship] Ahuramazda, [divine blessing will be upon him, both while] living and [when dead.]


This page was created in 1997; last modified on 4 April 2017. (Livius.org)

 



Behistun, minor inscriptions

Behistun, minor inscriptions (L)

Minor inscriptions
On the relief at Behistun, we can read several minor texts, which you can read here.


Behistun inscription in Kermanshah


Minor inscriptions

On the relief at Behistun, we can read several minor texts, which you can read on this page.


Behistun Relief (with minor inscriptions)
  DBa

Inscription on top of the Behistun relief, to the left of the flying figure of Ahuramazda.

  1. \ adam \ Dârayavauš \ xšâyathiya \ vazraka \ xšâya
  2. thiya \ xšâyathiyânâm \ xšâyathiya \ Pârsaiy \ xš
  3. âyathiya \ dahyunam \ Vištâspahyâ \ puça \
  4. Aršâmahyâ \ napâ \ Haxâmanišiya \ thâtiy \ Dâra
  5. yavauš \ xšâyathiya \ manâ \ pitâ \ Vištâspa \ Vi
  6. štâspahyâ \ pitâ \ Aršâma \ Aršâmahyâ \ pi
  7. tâ \ Ariyâramna \ Ariyâramnahyâ \ pitâ \
  8. Cišpiš \ Cispaiš \ pitâ \ Haxâmaniš \
  9. thâtiy \ Dârayavauš \ xšâyathiya \ avahya
  10. râdiy \ vayam \ Haxâmanišiyâ \ thahyâ
  11. mahy \ hacâ \ paruviyata \ âmâtâ
  12. \ amahy \ hacâ \ paruviyata \ hyâ \ amâ
  13. xam \ taumâ \ xšâyathiyâ \ âha \ thâ
  14. tiy \ Dârayavauš \ xšâyathiya \ VIII \ ma
  15. nâ \ taumâyâ \ tyaiy \ paruva
  16. m \ xšâyathiyâ \ âha \ adam \ na
  17. vama \ IX \ duvitâparanam \ vayam \ x
  18. šâyathiyâ \ amahy \


I am Darius, the great king, king of kings, king in Persia, king of all nations, the son of Hystaspes, the grandson of Arsames, the Achaemenid.

King Darius says: My father is Hystaspes. The father of Hystaspes is Arsames. The father of Arsames is Ariaramnes. The father of Ariaramnes is Teispes. The father of Teispes is Achaemenes.

King Darius says: That is why we are called Achaemenids; from antiquity we have been noble; from antiquity has our dynasty been royal.

King Darius says: Eight of my dynasty were kings before me; I am the ninth. Nine in succession, in two lines, we have been kings.

     
Gaumâta
  DBb

Inscription on the Behistun relief, below the figures of Darius and Gaumâta.

  1. \ iyam \ Gaumâ
  2. ta \ hya \ maguš \ a
  3. durujiya \
  4. avathâ \ athaha \ adam \ Ba
  5. rdiya \ amiy \ hya \ K
  6. ûrauš \ puça \ adam \ xš
  7. âyathiya \ amiy \


This is Gaumâta, the Magian.
He lied, saying "I am Smerdis, the son of Cyrus, I am king."

 
     
ššina
  DBc

Inscription on the Behistun relief, above the figure of ššina.

  1. \ iyam \ Âç
  2. ina \ adu
  3. rujiya \
  4. avathâ
  5. \ athaha \ a
  6. dam \ x
  7. šâyath
  8. iya \ am
  9. iy \ Û
  10. vjaiy \


This is ššina.
He lied, saying "I am king of Elam."

 
     
Nidintu-Bêl
  DBd

Inscription on the Behistun relief, above the figure of Nidintu-Bêl.

  1. \ iyam \ Naditabaira \
  2. adurujiya \ ava
  3. thâ \ athaha \ adam \ Nab
  4. ukudracara \ ami
  5. y \ hya \ Nabunaita
  6. hya \ puça \ adam \ x
  7. šâyathiya \ amiy \ B
  8. âbirauv \


This is Nidintu-Bêl.
He lied, saying "I am Nebuchadnezzar, the son of Nabonidus. I am king of Babylon."

 
     
 
Phraortes
  DBe

Inscription on the Behistun relief, on the figure of Phraortes.

  1. \ iyam \ Fra
  2. vartiš \
  3. aduru
  4. jiya \ ava
  5. thâ \ athaha \ adam \
  6. Xšathrita \ amiy
  7. \ Uvaxštrahya
  8. \ taumâyâ \ adam
  9. \ xšâyathiya \ amiy
  10. \ Mâ
  11. daiy \


This is Phraortes.
He lied, saying: "I am Khshathrita, of the dynasty of Cyaxares. I am king in Media."

 
     
Martiya
  DBf

Inscription on the Behistun relief, below the figure of Martiya.

  1. \ iyam \ Martiya \ a
  2. durujiya \ a
  3. vathâ \ athaha \ a
  4. dam \ Imaniš \ am
  5. iy \ Ûvjaiy \ x
  6. šâyathi
  7. ya \


This is Martiya.
He lied, saying "I am Ummanniš, king of Elam."

 
     
Tritantaechmes
  DBg

Inscription on the Behistun relief, below the figure of Tritantaechmes.

  1. \ iyam \ Ciça
  2. taxma \ ad
  3. urujiya
  4. \ avathâ \ a
  5. thaha \ adam \
  6. xšâyathi
  7. ya \ ami
  8. y \ Asaga
  9. rtaiy \ Uva
  10. xštrahya
  11. \ taumây
  12. â


This is Tritantaechmes.
He lied, saying "I am king of Sagartia, from the family of Cyaxares."

 
     
Vahyazdâta

  DBh

Inscription on the Behistun relief, below the figure of Vahyazdâta.

1. \ iyam \ Vahya
2. zdâta \ adu
3. rujiya \ ava
4. thâ \ athaha \ ada
5. m \ Bardiya \ a
6. miy \ hya \ K
7. ûrauš \ puça
8. \ adam \ xšâ
9. yathiya \ amiy

This is Vahyazdâta.
He lied, saying "I am Smerdis, the son of Cyrus, I am king."

 
     
Arakha
  DBi

Inscription on the Behistun relief, below the figure of Arakha.

  1. \ iyam \ Arxa
  2. \ aduruj
  3. iya \ avathâ \
  4. athaha \ adam \
  5. Nabuku[d]ra
  6. cara \ amiy \
  7. hya \ Nabuna
  8. itahya \ pu
  9. ça \ adam \ xšâ
  10. yathiya \ amiy
  11. \ Bâbarauv \


This is Arakha.
He lied, saying: "I am Nebuchadnezzar, the son of Nabonidus. I am king in Babylon."

 
     

Frâda and Skunkha
  DBj

Inscription on the Behistun relief, below the figure of Frâda.

  1. \ iyam \ Frada \
  2. aduruji
  3. ya \ avathâ \ athaha
  4. \ adam \ xšâyath
  5. iya \ amiy \ Marga
  6. uv \


This is Frâda.
He lied, saying "I am king of Margiana."

     

DBk



Inscription on the Behistun relief, above the figure of Skunkha.

  1. \ iyam \ Sku
  2. xa \ hya \ Saka


This is Skunkha the Sacan.

 


This page was created in 2004; last modified on 23 November 2018. (Livius.org)

 



Ionian Revolt

Ionian Revolt (499-493 BC) (W)


Political map of Asia Minor in 500 BC

The Ionian Revolt, and associated revolts in Aeolis, Doris, Cyprus and Caria, were military rebellions by several Greek regions of Asia Minor against Persian rule, lasting from 499 BC to 493 BC. At the heart of the rebellion was the dissatisfaction of the Greek cities of Asia Minor with the tyrants appointed by Persia to rule them, along with the individual actions of two Milesian tyrants, Histiaeus and Aristagoras. The cities of Ionia had been conquered by Persia around 540 BC, and thereafter were ruled by native tyrants, nominated by the Persian satrap in Sardis. In 499 BC, the tyrant of Miletus, Aristagoras, launched a joint expedition with the Persian satrap Artaphernes to conquer Naxos, in an attempt to bolster his position. The mission was a debacle, and sensing his imminent removal as tyrant, Aristagoras chose to incite the whole of Ionia into rebellion against the Persian king Darius the Great.


Military operations during the Ionian Revolt which will lead to the Greco–Persian Wars (Le tracé des routes suivies est figuratif et réalisé d'après les indications données par Hérodote — The routes shown are hypothetical, based on Herodotus's descriptions.)

In 498 BC, supported by troops from Athens and Eretria, the Ionians marched on, captured, and burnt Sardis. However, on their return journey to Ionia, they were followed by Persian troops, and decisively beaten at the Battle of Ephesus. This campaign was the only offensive action by the Ionians, who subsequently went on the defensive. The Persians responded in 497 BC with a three pronged attack aimed at recapturing the outlying areas of the rebellion, but the spread of the revolt to Caria meant that the largest army, under Daurises, relocated there. While initially campaigning successfully in Caria, this army was annihilated in an ambush at the Battle of Pedasus. This resulted in a stalemate for the rest of 496 BC and 495 BC.


By 494 BC the Persian army and navy had regrouped, and they made straight for the epicentre of the rebellion at Miletus. The Ionian fleet sought to defend Miletus by sea, but was decisively beaten at the Battle of Lade, after the defection of the Samians. Miletus was then besieged, captured, and its population was brought under Persian rule. This double defeat effectively ended the revolt, and the Carians surrendered to the Persians as a result. The Persians spent 493 BC reducing the cities along the west coast that still held out against them, before finally imposing a peace settlement on Ionia which was generally considered to be both just and fair.



The Mausoleum of Maussollos, or Mausoleum of Halicarnassus was a tomb built between 353-350 BC at Halicarnassus (present Bodrum, Turkey), for Mausolus (in Greek, Μαύσωλος), a provincial king in the Persian Empire, and Artemisia II of Caria, his wife and sister. This model is located at Miniatuk Istanbul.
 
   

The Ionian Revolt constituted the first major conflict between Greece and the Persian Empire, and as such represents the first phase of the Greco-Persian Wars. Although Asia Minor had been brought back into the Persian fold, Darius vowed to punish Athens and Eretria for their support of the revolt. Moreover, seeing that the myriad city states of Greece posed a continued threat to the stability of his Empire, according to Herodotus, Darius decided to conquer the whole of Greece. In 492 BC, the first Persian invasion of Greece, the next phase of the Greco-Persian Wars, began as a direct consequence of the Ionian Revolt.

 



Ionian offensive (498 BC)

Ionian offensive (498 BC) (W)

Sardis

In the spring of 498 BC, an Athenian force of twenty triremes, accompanied by five from Eretria, set sail for Ionia. They joined up with the main Ionian force near Ephesus. Declining to personally lead the force, Aristagoras appointed his brother Charopinus and another Milesian, Hermophantus, as generals.

This force was then guided by the Ephesians through the mountains to Sardis, Artaphernes's satrapal capital. The Greeks caught the Persians unaware, and were able to capture the lower city. However, Artaphernes still held the citadel with a significant force of men. The lower city then caught on fire, Herodotus suggests accidentally, which quickly spread. The Persians in the citadel, being surrounded by a burning city, emerged into the market-place of Sardis, where they fought with the Greeks, forcing them back. The Greeks, demoralised, then retreated from the city, and began to make their way back to Ephesus.

Herodotus reports that when Darius heard of the burning of Sardis, he swore vengeance upon the Athenians (after asking who they indeed were), and tasked a servant with reminding him three times each day of his vow: “Master, remember the Athenians.”

Battle of Ephesus

Herodotus says that when the Persians in Asia Minor heard of the attack on Sardis, they gathered together, and marched to the relief of Artaphernes. When they arrived at Sardis, they found the Greeks recently departed. So they followed their tracks back towards Ephesus. They caught up with the Greeks outside Ephesus and the Greeks were forced to turn and prepare to fight. Holland suggests that the Persians were primarily cavalry (hence their ability to catch up with the Greeks). The typical Persian cavalry of the time were probably missile cavalry, whose tactics were to wear down a static enemy with volley after volley.

It is clear that the demoralised and tired Greeks were no match for the Persians, and were completely routed in the battle which ensued at Ephesus. Many were killed, including the Eretrian general, Eualcides. The Ionians who escaped the battle made for their own cities, while the remaining Athenians and Eretrians managed to return to their ships and sailed back to Greece.

Spread of the revolt

The Athenians now ended their alliance with the Ionians, since the Persians had proved to be anything but the easy prey that Aristagoras had described. However, the Ionians remained committed to their rebellion and the Persians did not seem to follow up their victory at Ephesus. Presumably these ad hoc forces were not equipped to lay siege to any of the cities. Despite the defeat at Ephesus, the revolt actually spread further. The Ionians sent men to the Hellespont and Propontis and captured Byzantium and the other nearby cities. They also persuaded the Carians to join the rebellion. Furthermore, seeing the spread of the rebellion, the kingdoms of Cyprus also revolted against Persian rule without any outside persuasion.


 



Persian counter-offensive (497-495 BC)

Persian counter-offensive (497-495 BC) (W)

Battle of the Marsyas

Hearing that the Carians had rebelled, Daurises [Persian general] led his army south into Caria. The Carians gathered at the "White Pillars", on the Marsyas River (the modern Çine), a tributary of the Meander. Pixodorus, a relative of the king of Cilicia, suggested that the Carians should cross the river and fight with it at their backs, so as to prevent retreat and thus make them fight more bravely. This idea was rejected and the Carians made the Persians cross the river to fight them. The ensuing battle was, according to Herodotus, a long affair, with the Carians fighting obstinately before eventually succumbing to the weight of Persian numbers. Herodotus suggests that 10,000 Carians and 2,000 Persians died in the battle.

Battle of Labraunda

The survivors of Marsyas fell back to a sacred grove of Zeus at Labraunda and deliberated whether to surrender to the Persians or to flee Asia altogether.[56] However, while deliberating, they were joined by a Milesian army, and with these reinforcements resolved instead to carry on fighting. The Persians then attacked the army at Labraunda, and inflicted an even heavier defeat, with the Milesians suffering particularly bad casualties.

Battle of Pedasus

After the double victory over the Carians, Daurises began the task of reducing the Carian strongholds. The Carians resolved to fight on, and decided to lay an ambush for Daurises on the road through Pedasus. Herodotus implies that this occurred more or less directly after Labraunda, but it has also been suggested that Pedasus occurred the following year (496 BC), giving the Carians time to regroup. The Persians arrived at Pedasus during the night, and the ambush was sprung to great effect. The Persian army was annihilated and Daurises and the other Persian commanders were slain. The disaster at Pedasus seems to have created a stalemate in the land campaign, and there was apparently little further campaigning in 496 BC and 495 BC.

 



Persian Invasion of Greece

Persian ınvasion of Greece (W)


Map showing key sites during the Persian invasions of Greece

Darius's European expedition was a major event in his reign, which began with the invasion of Thrace. Darius also conquered many cities of the northern Aegean, Paeonia, while Macedonia submitted voluntarily, after the demand of earth and water, becoming a vassal kingdom. He then left Megabyzus to conquer Thrace, returning to Sardis to spend the winter. The Greeks living in Asia Minor and some of the Greek islands had submitted to Persian rule already by 510 BCE. Nonetheless, there were certain Greeks who were pro-Persian, although these were largely based in Athens. To improve Greek-Persian relations, Darius opened his court and treasuries to those Greeks who wanted to serve him. These Greeks served as soldiers, artisans, statesmen and mariners for Darius. However, the increasing concerns amongst the Greeks over the strength of Darius's kingdom along with the constant interference by the Greeks in Ionia and Lydia were stepping stones towards the conflict that was yet to come between Persia and certain of the leading Greek city states.

When Aristagoras organized the Ionian Revolt, Eretria and Athens supported him by sending ships and troops to Ionia and by burning Sardis. Persian military and naval operations to quell the revolt ended in the Persian reoccupation of Ionian and Greek islands, as well as the re-subjugation of Thrace and the conquering of Macedonia in 492 BC under Mardonius. Macedon had been a vassal kingdom of the Persians since the late 6th century BC, but retained autonomy. Mardonius' 492 campaign made it a fully subordinate part of the Persian kingdom. These military actions, coming as a direct response to the revolt in Ionia, were the beginning of the First Persian invasion of (mainland) Greece. At the same time, anti-Persian parties gained more power in Athens, and pro-Persian aristocrats were exiled from Athens and Sparta. Darius responded by sending troops led by his son-in-law across the Hellespont. However, a violent storm and harassment by the Thracians forced the troops to return to Persia. Seeking revenge on Athens and Eretria, Darius assembled another army of 20,000 men under his Admiral, Datis, and his nephew Artaphernes, who met success when they captured Eretria and advanced to Marathon. In 490 BCE, at the Battle of Marathon, the Persian army was defeated by a heavily armed Athenian army, with 9,000 men who were supported by 600 Plataeans and 10,000 lightly armed soldiers led by Miltiades.

The defeat at Marathon marked the end of the first Persian invasion of Greece. Darius began preparations for a second force which he would command, instead of his generals; however, before the preparations were complete, Darius died, thus leaving the task to his son Xerxes.

 



💣 Battle of Marathon

Battle of Marathon (490 BC) (W)

The Battle of Marathon (Greek: Μάχη τοῦ Μαραθῶνος, Machē tou Marathōnos) took place in 490 BC, during the first Persian invasion of Greece. It was fought between the citizens of Athens, aided by Plataea, and a Persian force commanded by Datis and Artaphernes. The battle was the culmination of the first attempt by Persia, under King Darius I, to subjugate Greece. The Greek army decisively defeated the more numerous Persians, marking a turning point in the Greco-Persian Wars.

The first Persian invasion was a response to Athenian involvement in the Ionian Revolt, when Athens and Eretria had sent a force to support the cities of Ionia in their attempt to overthrow Persian rule. The Athenians and Eretrians had succeeded in capturing and burning Sardis, but they were then forced to retreat with heavy losses. In response to this raid, Darius swore to burn down Athens and Eretria. According to Herodotus, Darius had his bow brought to him and then shot an arrow "upwards towards heaven", saying as he did so: "Zeus, that it may be granted me to take vengeance upon the Athenians!". Herodotus further writes that Darius charged one of his servants to say "Master, remember the Athenians" three times before dinner each day.

At the time of the battle, Sparta and Athens were the two largest city-states in Greece. Once the Ionian revolt was finally crushed by the Persian victory at the Battle of Lade in 494 BC, Darius began plans to subjugate Greece. In 490 BC, he sent a naval task force under Datis and Artaphernes across the Aegean, to subjugate the Cyclades, and then to make punitive attacks on Athens and Eretria. Reaching Euboea in mid-summer after a successful campaign in the Aegean, the Persians proceeded to besiege and capture Eretria. The Persian force then sailed for Attica, landing in the bay near the town of Marathon. The Athenians, joined by a small force from Plataea, marched to Marathon, and succeeded in blocking the two exits from the plain of Marathon. The Athenians also sent a message asking for support to the Spartans. When the messenger arrived in Sparta, the Spartans were involved in a religious festival and gave this as a reason for not coming to aid of the Athenians.

The Athenians and their allies chose a location for the battle, with marshes and mountainous terrain, that prevented the Persian cavalry from joining the Persian infantry. Miltiades, the Athenian general, ordered a general attack against the Persian forces, composed primarily of missile troops. He reinforced his flanks, luring the Persians' best fighters into his center. The inward wheeling flanks enveloped the Persians, routing them. The Persian army broke in panic towards their ships, and large numbers were slaughtered. The defeat at Marathon marked the end of the first Persian invasion of Greece, and the Persian force retreated to Asia. Darius then began raising a huge new army with which he meant to completely subjugate Greece; however, in 486 BC, his Egyptian subjects revolted, indefinitely postponing any Greek expedition. After Darius died, his son Xerxes I restarted the preparations for a second invasion of Greece, which finally began in 480 BC.

The Battle of Marathon was a watershed in the Greco-Persian wars, showing the Greeks that the Persians could be beaten; the eventual Greek triumph in these wars can be seen to begin at Marathon. The battle also showed the Greeks that they were able to win battles without the Spartans, as they had heavily relied on Sparta previously. This victory was largely due to the Athenians, and Marathon raised Greek esteem of them. Since the following two hundred years saw the rise of the Classical Greek civilization, which has been enduringly influential in western society, the Battle of Marathon is often seen as a pivotal moment in Mediterranean and European history.

 



   

Ionia

Ionia (W)

Ionia (Ancient Greek: Ἰωνία, Iōnía or Ἰωνίη, Iōníē) was an ancient region on the central part of the western coast of Anatolia in present-day Turkey, the region nearest İzmir, which was historically Smyrna. It consisted of the northernmost territories of the Ionian League of Greek settlements. Never a unified state, it was named after the Ionian tribe who, in the Archaic Period (600–480 BC), settled mainly the shores and islands of the Aegean Sea. Ionian states were identified by tradition and by their use of Eastern Greek.

 

Ionia proper comprised a narrow coastal strip from Phocaea in the north near the mouth of the river Hermus (now the Gediz), to Miletus in the south near the mouth of the river Maeander, and included the islands of Chios and Samos. It was bounded by Aeolia to the north, Lydia to the east and Caria to the south. The cities within the region figured large in the strife between the Persian Empire and the Greeks.

According to Greek tradition, the cities of Ionia were founded by colonists from the other side of the Aegean. Their settlement was connected with the legendary history of the Ionic people in Attica, which asserts that the colonists were led by Neleus and Androclus, sons of Codrus, the last king of Athens. In accordance with this view the "Ionic migration", as it was called by later chronologers, was dated by them one hundred and forty years after the Trojan War, or sixty years after the return of the Heracleidae into the Peloponnese.

Ionia was of small extent, not exceeding 150 kilometres (90 mi) in length from north to south, with a breadth varying from 60 to 90 kilometres (40 to 60 mi), but to this must be added the peninsula of Mimas, together with the two islands.

 

 



 

Caria

Caria (W)


Tetrapylon in Aphrodisias, in modern-day Turkey.


Caria
(Greek: Καρία, Karia, Turkish: Karya) was a region of western Anatolia extending along the coast from mid-Ionia (Mycale) south to Lycia and east to Phrygia. The Ionian and Dorian Greeks colonized the west of it and joined the Carian population in forming Greek-dominated states there. The inhabitants of Caria, known as Carians, had arrived there before the Ionian and Dorian Greeks. They were described by Herodotos as being of Minoan Greek descent, while the Carians themselves maintained that they were Anatolian mainlanders intensely engaged in seafaring and were akin to the Mysians and the Lydians.


The remains of the Temple of Aphrodite in Aphrodisias, dating to the late first century B.C.

 

The Carians did speak an Anatolian language, known as Carian, which does not necessarily reflect their geographic origin, as Anatolian once may have been widespread. Also closely associated with the Carians were the Leleges, which could be an earlier name for Carians or for a people who had preceded them in the region and continued to exist as part of their society in a reputedly second-class status.



Map of ancient Caria showing cities

 

 



 

Asia Minor in the Greco-Roman period - general map - regions and main settlements (HARİTA)

Asia Minor in the Greco-Roman period - general map - regions and main settlements (W)

 








  Xerxes I

Xerxes I

Xerxes I (519-465 BC) (W)

 
   

Xerxes I (/ˈzɜːrksz/; Old Persian: 𐎧𐏁𐎹𐎠𐎼𐏁𐎠 Xšay "ruling over heroes", Greek Ξέρξης Xérxēs [ksérksɛːs]; 519–465 BC), called Xerxes the Great, was the fifth king of kings of the Achaemenid dynasty of Persia. Like his predecessor Darius I, he ruled the empire at its territorial apex. He ruled from 486 BC until his assassination in 465 BC at the hands of Artabanus, the commander of the royal bodyguard.

He is notable in Western history for his failed invasion of Greece in 480 BC. His forces temporarily overran mainland Greece north of the Isthmus of Corinth until the losses at Salamis and Plataea a year later reversed these gains and ended the second invasion decisively. Xerxes also crushed revolts in Egypt and Babylon. Roman Ghirshman says that, "After this he ceased to use the title of 'king of Babylon', calling himself simply 'king of the Persians and the Medes'."

Xerxes oversaw the completion of various construction projects at Susa and Persepolis.

 



Second Persian invasion of Greece

Second Persian invasion of Greece (W) (W2)

Darius died while in the process of preparing a second army to invade the Greek mainland, leaving to his son the task of punishing the Athenians, Naxians, and Eretrians for their interference in the Ionian Revolt, the burning of Sardis, and their victory over the Persians at Marathon. From 483 BC, Xerxes prepared his expedition: The Xerxes Canal was dug through the isthmus of the peninsula of Mount Athos, provisions were stored in the stations on the road through Thrace, and two pontoon bridges later known as Xerxes’ Pontoon Bridges were built across the Hellespont. Soldiers of many nationalities served in the armies of Xerxes from all over his multi-ethnic massive Eurasian-sized empire and beyond, including the Assyrians, Phoenicians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Jews, Macedonians, European Thracians, Paeonians, Achaean Greeks, Ionians, Aegean islanders, Aeolians, Greeks from Pontus, Colchians, Indians and many more.



Xerxes attending the lashing and "chaining" of the Hellespont (Illustration from 1909)
 
   

According to the Greek historian Herodotus, Xerxes's first attempt to bridge the Hellespont ended in failure when a storm destroyed the flax and papyrus cables of the bridges. In retaliation, Xerxes ordered the Hellespont (the strait itself) whipped three hundred times, and had fetters thrown into the water. Xerxes's second attempt to bridge the Hellespont was successful. The Carthaginian invasion of Sicily deprived Greece of the support of the powerful monarchs of Syracuse and Agrigentum; ancient sources assume Xerxes was responsible, modern scholarship is skeptical. Many smaller Greek states, moreover, took the side of the Persians, especially Thessaly, Thebes and Argos. Xerxes was victorious during the initial battles.

Xerxes set out in the spring of 480 BC from Sardis with a fleet and army which Herodotus estimated was roughly one million strong along with 10,000 elite warriors named the Persian Immortals. More recent estimates place the Persian force at around 60,000 combatants.

 



💣 Battle of Mycale

Battle of Mycale (479 BC) (W)

The Battle of Mycale (Ancient Greek: Μάχη τῆς Μυκάλης; Machē tēs Mykalēs) was one of the two major battles that ended the second Persian invasion of Greece during the Greco-Persian Wars. It took place on or about August 27, 479 BC on the slopes of Mount Mycale, on the coast of Ionia, opposite the island of Samos. The battle was fought between an alliance of the Greek city-states, including Sparta, Athens and Corinth, and the Persian Empire of Xerxes I.



Map showing position of Mount Mycale in relation to Lade, Samos and Miletus.


The previous year, the Persian invasion force, led by Xerxes himself, had scored victories at the battles of Thermopylae and Artemisium, and conquered Thessaly, Boeotia and Attica; however, at the ensuing Battle of Salamis, the allied Greek navies had won an unlikely victory, and therefore prevented the conquest of the Peloponnese. Xerxes then retreated, leaving his general Mardonius with a substantial army to finish off the Greeks the following year.

In the summer of 479 BC, the Greeks assembled a huge army (by contemporary standards), and marched to confront Mardonius at the Battle of Plataea. At the same time, the allied fleet sailed to Samos, where the demoralised remnants of the Persian navy were based. The Persians, seeking to avoid a battle, beached their fleet below the slopes of Mycale, and, with the support of a Persian army group, built a palisaded camp. The Greek commander Leotychides decided to attack the Persians anyway, landing the fleet's complement of marines to do so.

Although the Persian forces put up stout resistance, the heavily armoured Greek hoplites again proved themselves superior in combat, and eventually routed the Persian troops, who fled to their camp. The Ionian Greek contingents in the Persian army defected, and the camp was assailed and a large number of Persians slaughtered. The Persian ships were then captured and burned. The complete destruction of the Persian navy, along with the destruction of Mardonius's army at Plataea (allegedly on the same day as the Battle of Mycale), decisively ended the invasion of Greece. After Plataea and Mycale, the allied Greeks would take the offensive against the Persians, marking a new phase of the Greco-Persian Wars. Although Mycale was in every sense a decisive victory, it does not seem to have been attributed the same significance (even at the time) as, for example the Athenian victory at the Battle of Marathon or even the Greek defeat at Thermopylae.

 



 

💣 Battle of Thermopylae

Battle of Thermopylae (480 BC) (W)

The Battle of Thermopylae (/θərˈmɒpɪl/ thər-MOP-i-lee; Greek: Μάχη τῶν Θερμοπυλῶν, Máchē tōn Thermopylōn) was fought between an alliance of Greek city-states, led by King Leonidas of Sparta, and the Persian Empire of Xerxes I over the course of three days, during the second Persian invasion of Greece. It took place simultaneously with the naval battle at Artemisium, in August or September 480 BC, at the narrow coastal pass of Thermopylae (“The Hot Gates”). The Persian invasion was a delayed response to the defeat of the first Persian invasion of Greece, which had been ended by the Athenian victory at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC. By 480 BC Xerxes had amassed a huge army and navy, and set out to conquer all of Greece. The Athenian politician and general Themistocles had proposed that the allied Greeks block the advance of the Persian army at the pass of Thermopylae, and simultaneously block the Persian navy at the Straits of Artemisium.



Movements of the Persian and Greek armies in 480-479 BC.


A Greek force of approximately 7,000 men marched north to block the pass in the middle of 480 BC. The Persian army, alleged by the ancient sources to have numbered over one million, but today considered to have been much smaller (various figures are given by scholars, ranging between about 100,000 and 150,000), arrived at the pass in late August or early September. The vastly outnumbered Greeks held off the Persians for seven days (including three of battle) before the rear-guard was annihilated in one of history's most famous last stands. During two full days of battle, the small force led by Leonidas blocked the only road by which the massive Persian army could pass. After the second day, a local resident named Ephialtes betrayed the Greeks by revealing a small path that led behind the Greek lines. Leonidas, aware that his force was being outflanked, dismissed the bulk of the Greek army and remained to guard their retreat with 300 Spartans and 700 Thespians, fighting to the death. Others also reportedly remained, including up to 900 helots and 400 Thebans; these Thebans mostly reportedly surrendered.

Themistocles was in command of the Greek Navy at Artemisium when he received news that the Persians had taken the pass at Thermopylae. Since the Greek strategy required both Thermopylae and Artemisium to be held, given their losses, it was decided to withdraw to Salamis. The Persians overran Boeotia and then captured the evacuated Athens. The Greek fleet — seeking a decisive victory over the Persian armada — attacked and defeated the invaders at the Battle of Salamis in late 480 BC. Wary of being trapped in Europe, Xerxes withdrew with much of his army to Asia (losing most to starvation and disease), leaving Mardonius to attempt to complete the conquest of Greece. However, the following year saw a Greek army decisively defeat the Persians at the Battle of Plataea, thereby ending the Persian invasion.

Both ancient and modern writers have used the Battle of Thermopylae as an example of the power of a patriotic army defending its native soil. The performance of the defenders is also used as an example of the advantages of training, equipment, and good use of terrain as force multipliers and has become a symbol of courage against overwhelming odds.

 



 

💣 Battle of Salamis

Battle of Salamis (480 BC) (W)

The Battle of Salamis (Ναυμαχία τῆς Σαλαμῖνος, Naumachia tēs Salaminos) was a naval battle fought between an alliance of Greek city-states under Themistocles and the Persian Empire under King Xerxes in 480 BC which resulted in a decisive victory for the outnumbered Greeks. The battle was fought in the straits between the mainland and Salamis, an island in the Saronic Gulf near Athens, and marked the high-point of the second Persian invasion of Greece.


Map showing the Greek world at the time of the battle



To block the Persian advance, a small force of Greeks blocked the pass of Thermopylae, while an Athenian-dominated Allied navy engaged the Persian fleet in the nearby straits of Artemisium. In the resulting Battle of Thermopylae, the rearguard of the Greek force was annihilated, whilst in the Battle of Artemisium the Greeks had heavy losses and retreated after the loss at Thermopylae. This allowed the Persians to conquer Phocis, Boeotia, Attica, and Euboea. The Allies prepared to defend the Isthmus of Corinth while the fleet was withdrawn to nearby Salamis Island.

Although heavily outnumbered, the Greek Allies were persuaded by the Athenian general Themistocles to bring the Persian fleet to battle again, in the hope that a victory would prevent naval operations against the Peloponnese. The Persian king Xerxes was also eager for a decisive battle. As a result of subterfuge on the part of Themistocles, the Persian navy rowed into the Straits of Salamis and tried to block both entrances. In the cramped conditions of the Straits, the great Persian numbers were an active hindrance, as ships struggled to maneuver and became disorganized. Seizing the opportunity, the Greek fleet formed in line and scored a decisive victory.

Xerxes retreated to Asia with much of his army, leaving Mardonius to complete the conquest of Greece. However, the following year, the remainder of the Persian army was decisively beaten at the Battle of Plataea and the Persian navy at the Battle of Mycale. The Persians made no further attempts to conquer the Greek mainland. These battles of Salamis and Plataea thus mark a turning point in the course of the Greco-Persian wars as a whole; from then onward, the Greek poleis would take the offensive. A number of historians believe that a Persian victory would have hamstrung the development of Ancient Greece, and by extension western civilization, and this has led them to argue that Salamis is one of the most significant battles in human history.

 
Artemisia I of Caria (LINK)


Artemisia I of Caria as depicted in the fictional Hollywood movie 300 — Rise of an Empire, played by Eva Green.
 
   
Artemisia of Caria (also known as Artemisia I) was the queen of the Anatolian region of Caria (south of ancient Lydia, in modern-day Turkey). She is most famous for her role in the naval Battle of Salamis in 480 BCE in which she fought for the Persians and distinguished herself both for her conduct in battle and for the advice she gave the Persian king Xerxes prior to the onset of the engagement. Her name is derived from the Greek goddess Artemis, who presided over the wild and was the patron deity of hunters. She was the daughter of King Lygdamis of Halicarnassus and a Cretan mother whose name is not known. Upon the death of her husband (whose identity is also unknown), Artemisia assumed the throne of Caria as regent for her young son Pisindelis. While it is probable that he ruled Caria after her, there is no record to substantiate this. After the Battle of Salamis, she is said to have escorted Xerxes’ illegitimate sons to safety at Ephesos (in modern-day Turkey) and, afterwards, no further mention is made of her in the historical record. The primary source for her achievements in the Greco-Persian wars is Herodotus of Halicarnassus and his account of the Battle of Salamis in his Histories, though she is also mentioned by Pausaniaus, Polyaenus, in the Suda, and by Plutarch.

 



🎨 Battle of Salamis / Wilhelm von Kaulbach (1868)

If the Greek navy failed there would be no escape …

The details of the battle itself remain sketchy. Reportedly, Athenian civilians on Salamis gathered at the shore to watch the outcome. Across the bay on the mainland Xerxes himself watched from a cliff. At some point, the Persian fleet did enter the restrictive waters of the Bay and the Greek fleet may have feigned a retreat to draw them in further. The Greeks kept a line abreast as if their ships were a phalanx, operating as a group and preventing the Persians from outflanking them. The Persian ships reportedly operated independently and attacked in piecemeal. Needless to say, the Athenian fleet did not defect. The Persian fleet was mauled and routed. Once the Persian fleet lost cohesion and began to flee, Artemisia reportedly rammed and sank Persian vessels in her haste to escape the disaster that she alone had predicted.

The Battle of Salamis — 2,495 years ago this month — was not the end of the war, but its result was decisive. It was the culmination of Themistocles’ strategic vision and resulted in the exact situation he had intended. Xerxes was forced to leave a far smaller army in Greece and withdraw the majority of his troops back to Asia Minor; both to feed them and to put down rebellions that had sprung up in his absence. This remaining army, stranded in a ravaged and barren Attica, was defeated by a combined Greek army. Themistocles himself remained politically dominant in Athens for a time, but was eventually exiled by the always-competitive Athenian democracy. He fled to Persia and was made a governor by Artaxerxes I, son of Xerxes. (LINK)

 



 



💣 Battle of Plataea

Battle of Plataea (479 BC) (W)

The Battle of Plataea was the final land battle during the second Persian invasion of Greece. It took place in 479 BC near the city of Plataea in Boeotia, and was fought between an alliance of the Greek city-states (including Sparta, Athens, Corinth and Megara), and the Persian Empire of Xerxes I.



Map showing the Greek world at the time of the battle


The previous year the Persian invasion force, led by the Persian king in person, had scored victories at the battles of Thermopylae and Artemisium and conquered Thessaly, Phocis, Boeotia, Euboea and Attica. However, at the ensuing Battle of Salamis, the Allied Greek navy had won an unlikely but decisive victory, preventing the conquest of the Peloponnesus. Xerxes then retreated with much of his army, leaving his general Mardonius to finish off the Greeks the following year.

In the summer of 479 BC the Greeks assembled a huge (by ancient standards) army and marched out of the Peloponnesus. The Persians retreated to Boeotia and built a fortified camp near Plataea. The Greeks, however, refused to be drawn into the prime cavalry terrain around the Persian camp, resulting in a stalemate that lasted 11 days. While attempting a retreat after their supply lines were disrupted, the Greek battle line fragmented. Thinking the Greeks in full retreat, Mardonius ordered his forces to pursue them, but the Greeks (particularly the Spartans, Tegeans and Athenians) halted and gave battle, routing the lightly armed Persian infantry and killing Mardonius.

A large portion of the Persian army was trapped in its camp and slaughtered. The destruction of this army, and the remnants of the Persian navy allegedly on the same day at the Battle of Mycale, decisively ended the invasion. After Plataea and Mycale the Greek allies would take the offensive against the Persians, marking a new phase of the Greco-Persian Wars. Although Plataea was in every sense a resounding victory, it does not seem to have been attributed the same significance (even at the time) as, for example, the Athenian victory at the Battle of Marathon or the Spartan defeat at Thermopylae.

 



 

📹 Armies and Tactics: Greek Armies during the Persian Invasions (VİDEO)

Armies and Tactics: Greek Armies during the Persian Invasions (LINK)

 



📹 Armies and Tactics: Ancient Greek Navies (VİDEO)

Armies and Tactics: Ancient Greek Navies (W)

 



 





  Notlar

Notlar 1 — Medes and Persians; Zoroaster or Zarathustra

Notlar 1

A history of Iran: Empire of the Mind / Michael Axworthy, 2008

Origins
Long before the migrants who spoke Iranian languages arrived from the
north, there were other people living in what later became the land of Iran.
People lived on the Iranian plateau as early as 100,000 bc, in what is known
as the Old Stone Age, and by 5000 bc agricultural settlements were flourishing in and around the Zagros mountains—the area to the east of the
great Sumerian civilization of Mesopotamia.

Medes and Persians
The Iranian-speakers who migrated into the land of Iran and the surrounding area in the years before 1000 bc were not one single tribe or group. In
time some of their descendants became known as Medes and Persians, but
there were Parthians, Sogdians, and others, too, who only acquired the
names known to us later in their history. And even the titles Mede and Persian were themselves simplifications, lumping together shifting alliances and
confederacies of disparate tribes.

The first such mention is in an Assyrian record of 836 bc... the Medes and Persians as tributaries—those paying tribute to the stronger Assyrians.

In the region of the Zagros south of the territories occupied by the Medes, the Assyrians encountered the Persians in the region they called Parsuash, which has been known ever since as Pars or Fars.

By 700 bc the Medes—with the help of Scythian tribes— had established an independent state, which later grew to become the first Iranian Empire. In 612 bc the Medes destroyed the Assyrian capital, Nineveh (adjacent to modern Mosul, on the Tigris). At its height the Median Empire stretched from Asia Minor to the Hindu Kush, and south to the Persian Gulf, ruling the Persians as vassals as well as many other subject peoples.

The Prophet Who Laughed
... Zoroaster or Zarathustra (modern Persian Zardosht). It is generally accepted that Zoroaster lived and was not just a man of myth or legend.

For example, there is the story that at birth the infant Zoroaster did not cry, but laughed.

... although Zoroastrian tradition places Zoroaster’s birth at around 600 bc, most scholars now believe he lived earlier. It is still unclear just when, but it is reasonable to think it was around 1200 or 1000 bc, at the time of, or shortly after, the migrations of Iranian cattle herders to the Iranian plateau.

Zoroaster did not invent a religion from nothing. Instead, he reformed and simplified pre-existing religious practices (against some resistance from traditional priests), infusing them with a much more sophisticated philosophical theology and a greater emphasis on morality and justice.

More evidence that Zoroaster reformed pre-existing religions is that the Persian word div — cognate with both Latin and Sanskrit words for the gods — in the Zoroastrian context was used for a class of demons opposed to Zoroaster and his followers, suggesting that the reforming prophet reclassified at least some previous deities as evil spirits.5 The demons were associated with chaos and disorder—the antithesis of the principles of goodness and justice represented by the new religion. At the more mundane level the demons also lay behind diseases of people and animals, bad weather, and other natural disasters.

At the center of Zoroaster’s theology was the opposition between Ahura Mazda, the creator-god of truth and light, and Ahriman, the embodiment of lies, darkness, and evil. This dualism became a persistent theme in Iranian thought for centuries.

Modern Zoroastrianism is much more strongly monotheistic, and to make this distinction more explicit many scholars refer to the religion in this early stage as Mazdaism. Other pre-existing deities were incorporated into the Mazdaean religious structure as angels or archangels—notably Mithra, a sun god, and Anahita, a goddess of streams and rivers.

Ahura Mazda himself personified air, and in origin paralleled the Greek Zeus, as a sky-god.

Part of the creation myth in Zoroastrianism holds that after all was created good by Ahura Mazda, the evil spirit Ahriman (accompanied by six evil spirits
matching the six Immortals) assaulted creation, murdering the first man, killing the sacred bull Vohu Manu, and polluting the pure elements of water and fire.

The name Ahura Mazda means Lord of Wisdom, or Wise Lord. The dualism went a long way toward resolving the problem of evil that presents such difficulties for the monotheistic religions (the origin of evil in the world was Ahriman, against whom Ahura Mazda struggled for supremacy) and at least initially permitted a strong attachment to the ideas of free will (arising out of the necessity of human beings choosing between good and evil), goodness emerging in good actions, judgment after death, and heaven and hell.

It was a characteristic of the new religion that philosophical concepts or categories became personified as heavenly beings or entities—indeed these seem to have proliferated, a little like characters in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. One example is the idea of the daena. According to one later text, a beautiful maiden appeared to the soul of a just man after his death. She was the personification of all the good works he had done in life, and she said to him,

For when, in the world, you saw someone sacrificing to the demon, you instead started adoring God; and when you saw someone carrying out violence and robbery and afflicting and despising good men and gathering in their substance with evil actions, you instead avoided treating creatures with violence and robbery; you took care of the just and welcomed them and gave them lodgings and gifts. Whether your wealth came from near or from afar, it was honorably acquired. And when you saw people give false judgments and allowed themselves to be corrupted with money and commit perjury, you instead undertook to tell the truth and speak righteously. I am your righteous thoughts, your righteous words, your righteous actions, thought, spoken, done by you.8 (8 8. Bausani, Religion in Iran, 53.)


Paralleling Ahura Mazda and Ahriman were two principles, sometimes translated as good and evil but more precisely as Truth and the Lie—asha and druj.

The priestly class, the Magi (listed by Herodotus as a distinct tribe within the Medes) survived from before the time of Zoroaster.

... But the concepts of heaven and hell, of free human choice between good and evil, of divine judgment, of angels, of a single creator-god—all appear to have been genuine early features of the religion, and all were hugely influential for religions that originated later. Mazdaism was the first religion—in this part of the world, at least—to move beyond cult and totemism to address moral and philosophical problems with its theology, emphasizing personal choice and responsibility. In that limited sense, Nietzsche was right—Zoroaster was the first creator of the moral world we live in. Also sprach Zarathustra.

 



Herodotus

Herodotus (W)

The main source for the Greco-Persian Wars is the Greek historian Herodotus. Herodotus, who has been called the "Father of History", was born in 484 BC in Halicarnassus, Asia Minor (then under Persian overlordship). He wrote his Enquiries (Greek – Historia; English – (The) Histories) around 440-430 BC, trying to trace the origins of the Greco-Persian Wars, which would still have been relatively recent history (the wars finally ended in 450 BC). Herodotus's approach was entirely novel, and at least in Western society, he does seem to have invented "history" as we know it. As Holland has it: "For the first time, a chronicler set himself to trace the origins of a conflict not to a past so remote so as to be utterly fabulous, nor to the whims and wishes of some god, nor to a people's claim to manifest destiny, but rather explanations he could verify personally."

Some subsequent ancient historians, despite following in his footsteps, criticised Herodotus, starting with Thucydides. Nevertheless, Thucydides chose to begin his history where Herodotus left off (at the Siege of Sestos), and may therefore have felt that Herodotus's history was accurate enough not to need re-writing or correcting. Plutarch criticised Herodotus in his essay On the malice of Herodotus, describing Herodotus as "Philobarbaros" (barbarian-lover), for not being pro-Greek enough, which suggests that Herodotus might actually have done a reasonable job of being even-handed. A negative view of Herodotus was passed on to Renaissance Europe, though he remained well read. However, since the 19th century his reputation has been dramatically rehabilitated by archaeological finds which have repeatedly confirmed his version of events. The prevailing modern view is that Herodotus generally did a remarkable job in his Historia, but that some of his specific details (particularly troop numbers and dates) should be viewed with skepticism. Nevertheless, there are still some historians who believe Herodotus made up much of his story.

The Sicilian historian Diodorus Siculus, writing in the 1st century BC in his Bibliotheca Historica, also provides an account of the Greco-Persian wars, partially derived from the earlier Greek historian Ephorus. This account is fairly consistent with Herodotus's. The Greco-Persian wars are also described in less detail by a number of other ancient historians including Plutarch, Ctesias of Cnidus, and are alluded by other authors, such as the playwright Aeschylus. Archaeological evidence, such as the Serpent Column, also supports some of Herodotus's specific claims.

 



Notlar 2 — Cyrus and the Achaemenids

Notlar 2

A history of Iran: Empire of the Mind / Michael Axworthy, 2008


Cyrus and the Achaemenids
Around 559 bc a Persian prince named Cyrus (modern Persian Kurosh), claiming descent from the royal house of Persia and from its progenitor Achaemenes, became king of Anshan upon the death of his father. Persia and Anshan, at that time, were still subject to the Median Empire, but Cyrus led a revolt against the Median king Astyages, and in 549 bc captured the Median capital, Ecbatana (modern Hamadan). Cyrus reversed the relationship between Media and Persia—he crowned himself king of Persia, making Persia the center of the empire and Media the junior partner. But he did not stop there. He went on to conquer Lydia, in Asia Minor, taking possession of the treasury of King Croesus, legendary for his wealth. He also conquered the remaining territories of Asia Minor, as well as Phoenicia, Judaea, and Babylonia.

Cyrus’s empire took on much of the culture of previous Elamite, Assyrian, and Babylonian empires, notably in its written script and monumental iconography.

The logic of statecraft alone might have suggested that it would be more sustainable in the long run to let subjects conduct their own affairs and worship as they pleased. But that policy had to be acceptable to the Iranian elite, including the priests—the Magi. Leaving aside the question of Cyrus’s personal beliefs, which remain unclear, it is reasonable to see in the policy some of the spirit of moral earnestness and justice that pervaded the religion of Zoroaster

The old answer was terror and a big stick, but the Persian Empire would be run in a more devolved, permissive spirit.

Unfortunately, according to Herodotus, Cyrus did not end his life as gloriously as he had lived it. Having conquered in the west, he turned to campaign east of the Caspian. According to one account he was defeated and killed in battle by Queen Tomyris of the Massagetae, another Iranian tribe who fought mainly on horseback, like the Scythians.

Cyrus was succeeded by his son Cambyses (Kambojiya), who extended the empire by conquering Egypt, but in a short time gained a reputation for harshness. He died unexpectedly in 522 bc—by suicide, according to one source — after he had been given news of a revolt in the empire’s Persian heartlands.




 








  Provinces of the Achaemenid Empire

Provinces of the Achaemenid Empire

Provinces of the Achaemenid Empire (W)

Provinces of the Achaemenid Empire
(Behistun / Persepolis / Naqsh-e Rustam / Susa / Daiva inscriptions)

Amyrgoi • ArabiaArachosiaAriaArmeniaAssyriaBabyloniaBactriaCappadociaCariaCarmaniaCaucasian AlbaniaChorasmiaCiliciaColchisDahaeDrangiana1st Egypt / 2nd EgyptEber-NariElamKush (Nubia) • GandharaGedrosiaHyrcaniaIoniaHindushLibyaLydiaMakaMargianaMedia • Lesser Media • MassagetaeParthiaPersiaPhoeniciaPhrygia (ellespontine Phrygia — Greater Phrygia) • Saka • Samaritan Province • SattagydiaSkudra (Thrace)SogdiaYehud

 








  Timeline: Mesopotamia — Anatolia — Levant — Egypt — Nubia — Persia

6000 Pixel — Timeline: Mesopotamia — Anatolia — Levant — Egypt — Nubia — Persia (The University of Chicago / The Oriental Institute 2018)

Timeline: Mesopotamia — Anatolia — Levant — Egypt — Nubia — Persia (LINK)

 

 








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