Achaemenids from beginning to end

Achaemenids is Iranian pro-islamic dynasty. kings of this dynasty were presian and Achaemenes as their apical ancestor was from pasargad tribe of Persian.

At the beginning they were local kings of Persia and Anshan but after victory of cyrus the great on ashtiag last king of media and then conquering Lydia and Babylon transformed to a great kingdom.

Therefore Cyrus the great known as founder of Achaemenids empire.

Rise of persians and acheamenides (550-330 BC) is one of important events in ancient world. they established a state that conquered all parts of ancient world except two thirds of Greece. Acheamenides kingdom known as first empire of world.

Achaemenids at their greatest territorial extent

Land and territory 

Persian were from Aryan race and their entrance history to Iranian plateau has not determined. They were from Aryan tribe “pars” or “parsoise”  and their name exists on Assyrian epigraphs from 9th BC.

As same time as medians they migrated to western regions of iran and settled around urumia lake & Kermanshahan. Due to weakness of elamite state Persian’s power raised in Khuzestan and central region of Iranian plateau.

For the first time in Assyrian yearbook Salmansar used the name of parsua in south and southwest of urumia lake. Researchers such as Rawlinson belive that people of parsuash was Persians.

It can be assumed that Persian had a short stoppage in this region during their migration to zagros mountains and south or southeast of iran and in 700 BC in parsumash region in bakhtiari mountains that was part of  elam they became residents.

According to Assyrian epigraphs in Shalmaneser(721-713BC) era to Esarhaddon 663 BC they were Assyrian obedients. after that in  Phraortes era they obeyed media.

People and tribes 

Herodotus says Persians divided into 6 rural or urban tribes and 4 nomadic tribes. Those six tribes contains pasargadae, marafi, maspiis, pantali, Dejousi, garmani and those four tribes includes dayis, mards, daropiks and sagartis.

pasargadae, marafi and maspii  were superior tribes.

at same time as median Persian migrated to iran and settled around urumia lake and kermanshan. for the first time in Assyrian yearbook of salamansar the third era 834BC point to name of parsua state around urumia lake.

They had short stoppage in parsua region in 700 BC in parsuash on bakhtiari mountains in southeast of Susiana that was part of elamite state. after weakness of elamite they migrate to central and southeastern iran.

According to greek sources in the land of sagartis (current kermanshahan) sagarti medians were lived and the name of zagros mountains(in west of iran) is greco-Babylonian form of their name.

Name of this tribe exists in united Persian tribes. This tribe is genetical link of median and Persian.

Persian tribe had lived for a long tribe in median territory and then after weakness of elamite state migrated Khuzestan, central and southern part of Iranian plateau.

According to Herodotus Achaemenids was from pasargadian tribes. they lived in Persia and their apical ancestor is Achaemenes. After extinction of elamite by Ashurbanipal Persian used from conflicts between Assyria and media and conquered Anshan.

This historical event happened during teisepes (the scenod) era. According to statements of cyrus the great in Babylon  he declares his origin is from teisepes (the second) and introduces him as king of Anshan.

After death of teisepes his territory divides into two part and between his sons.  Persia for Ariaramaneh and parsuash for cyrus. At this time media was in their glorious and powerful day and this two new states obeyed kyaxar, king of media and conqueror of ninenveh.

cambyses son of cyrus (the first) united this two states and moved his capital from Anshan to pasargad.

Achaemenid kings.

Most important epigraphy of this era and the tallest one is bisotoun epigraph on mount bisotoun.

This epigraph narrates events of first and hardest  years of darius kingdom precisely. This epigraph contains enough elements to understand Achaemenid family tree,

In fact despite of different Babylonian, greek , mespotamian  and Assyrian sources it is impossible to determine their tree.

In bisotoun epigraph kings of kings starts with declaring his origins. his ancestors are vishtasb, Arsham, Ariaramaneh,  teisepes and Achaemenes.

This family tree had been criticized for a long time cause name of two pro-darius kings did not mentioned. Cyrus the great and cambyses.

Therefore there are some doubts here. Some comentators belive that darius is raider of Achaemenid kingdom.

According to Herodotus , nabonidus chronicle, cyrus cylinder, bisotoun epigraph, ardeshir the second & ardeshir the third epigraph this is the formation of kings.


1-teisepes 1

2- cambyses 1

3- cyrus 1

4- teispes 2

Main branch

1-cyrus2 (the great)

2-cambyses 2(conqueror of Egypt)

3- cyrus 3

4-cambyses 3

Subsidiary branch

  • Ariaramneh
  • Arshames
  • hystaspes
  • Darius 1 (the great)

By analyzing this sources we can understand that in the first quarter of 6th century BC teisepes chooses his older son Ariaramneh as the king of pars. he also chose his younger son cyrus the first as king of anshan.

After cyrus the first his son Cambyses 1 and then cyrus 2 became kings. This events happens in middle of 6TH century BC. Cyrus overcomes media, and large parts of middle east and gained vast lands and wealth.

cambyses the second continued his father’s victories and expanded his lands.

cambyses dead during returning from Egypt. Some of historians believe that illness was reason of his death and some believes it is result of plot. certainly  his death was during returning from Egypt but the reason of this death hasn’t determined.

After death of cambyses darius from subsidiary branch owned the crown. It seems darius became king while his father and grandfather were still alived (Arsham & vishtasb) and he became king with their acceptance.

According to discovered chronicles during the time of building darius palace in Susiana at the beginning of his kingdom both (father and grandfather) were alive.

Cyrus the great


False bardia

Great darius

Xerxes 1

Artaxerexes 1

Xerxes 2


Darius 2

Artaxerexes 2

Artaxerexes 3

Artaxerexes 4


Kingdom of cyrus the great

Cyrus the second known as cyrus the great(576-529BC) (old Persian: Kuraush) , in elamite epigraphs: Ku-rash, in Babylonian epigraph Ku-ra-ash, in greek Kuros,in latin form cyrus and in Hebrew Koresh.

He was a Persian king known for establishment of human law, establishment of first multinational empire, freedom of slaves, respecting to different religions and developing civilization.

Cyrus is the first Iranian king & founder Iranian kingdom. Iranian known him as father and greeks named him master or legislator. (cyrus conquered parts of their country). jews believe that he touched by god and Babylonian believed he accepted by marduk.

About personage of Dhu al-Qarnayn in holly books of jew, Christians and muslims there are different ideas. cyrus, dariush the great, xerexes and alexander are choices whom researched to be as Dhu al-Qarnayn but by regarding historical documents and holly books cyrus the great is most suitable person to be as Dhu al-Qarnayn.

Herodotus and Ctesias write strange tales about his birth and growing. but what is historically acceptable he is son of Anshan ruler and his mother mandanne is daughter of ashtiag last median king.

In 553 BC cyrus the great unified and provoked all Persians against median kingdom. groups of median army joint cyrus and media defeated.

After overcoming media he established Persian kingdom, then he continued kyaxar policy in expanding borders. Cyrus had two main goals conquering anatolia and Mediterranean Sea where it’s ports was the destination of roads of iran and providing security in eastern borders.

In 538 BC he conquered Babylon and ordered that each individual is free in his religious beliefs and religious rituals. Therefore he founded the principle of adaptability of beliefs and human law cylinder. Cyrus let caged jews in Babylon to go to Judea and some of them migrated to iran.

Expanding land and territory  

In battle between cyrus and Croesus, cyrus advice in Cappadocia to become obedient of Persia but he rejected and war began. In a great battle of petrium  Croesus escaped to sardis. Then cyrus surrounded sardis and captivated croseus.

After conquering Lydia he noticed to greek and advice their obedience but they rejected and greek cities conquered. Cyrus conquered anatolia and noticed eastern borders then he conquered zarang, balkh & marv one by one as new states.

Cyrus overpassed Amu-darya and reached to border of syr-daya and made powerful cities to resist against central Asian tribes. After returning from eastern borders he did some operation in western borders.

Weakness of Babylon due to nabonidus and pressures for taxes led him to Babylon . Babylon collapsed without resistance and it’s king arrested. In the first year of his kingdom in Babylon he released an order on freedom of jews  and returning to their homeland and rebuild their temple.

Name of obedient lands in darius epigraph are as follow:


Parthue (parthia)

Herib (herat)





Arakhuzia(southern Afghanistan to Kandahar)

Satte gush(pinjab)




Modraya (Egypt)


Gindare(Kabul and pishavar)

Indus (sind)

Sekahom ver-kah(scythian over amu-darya)

Sekatigrah khud (scythian over syr-darya)



Yeone(small Asian greeks)

Sekaye-tar-darya(scythian in danub , crimea)

Sekudar (maccedonia)

Yeone tak-bara(Turkish Greece)

Putieh (Somalia)


Meccia(western tripoli)

Kerkha (carthage )

Death of cyrus the great

As a result of massagetain war whom they were a scythian and lived in east of arax river. Northeastern border threated. cyrus chose kambuzia as king of Babylon and attacked to massagetia. At beginning he gained  success but queen tomiris entered him to her land and cyrus injured and dead after three days.

His corps brought to pasargad and his son cambyses became king after him.


The Heritage of Persia Richard frye

History of Achaemenid kingdom, Dr khanji

Social history of iran,Dr ravandi