Persia: The Achaemenids

The Achaemenids

By the 6th cent. b.c. the early Persians were established in the present-day region of Fars and were benefiting from the decline of Elam. Fars (or Persis to the Greeks) was a recognizable district of the Assyrian Empire (see Assyria) like the neighboring but greater Media. The Persian rulers, claiming descent from one Achaemenes, or Hakhamanesh (see Achaemenids, were associated with the Medes, who created a strong state in the 7th cent. Cyaxares, son of Phraortes, founder of Median power, was one of the kings who brought about the fall of Nineveh (612 b.c.) and broke the hegemony of the Assyrians. The Persian ruler of about the same time, Cambyses I, was vassal to Cyaxares. According to Herodotus he married the daughter of the Median ruler Astyages (Cyaxares' son), and his son Cyrus was thus also grandson of Cyaxares; this account has been branded by some scholars as a pious attempt to falsify genealogy.

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