II. Ancient and Classical Periods, 3500 B.C.E.–500 C.E. > B. Kingdoms of Western Asia and Africa, to 323 B.C.E. > 9. Iran, c. 2700–330 B.C.E. > d. The Medes and the Persians
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  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
 
 
d. The Medes and the Persians
c. 1500–559
 
THE MEDES.  1
 
c. 1500–850
 
THE ARYAN INVASION OF IRAN. The Medes were an Aryan (Indo-Iranian) people who entered the Iranian plateau around 1500 along with the Persians, Parthians, Bactrians, and Arachosians, while other Aryan tribes went on to conquer northern India. The Medes themselves were divided into six tribes (one of which was called the Magi). Nothing certain is known of Median history until their first mention in the Assyrian records of Shalmeneser III (859–825) (See 858–824).  2
 
701–625
 
MEDIA UNDER ASSYRIAN RULE. Sometime during the 8th century B.C.E., the Medes established a capital at Ecbatana (Hamadan) on the mountainous eastern fringes of Babylonia. The Dahyauka mentioned in Assyrian sources as a Median chieftain around 715 might be Deioces, who Herodotus says founded the Median dynasty. Sennacherib (705–682) made the Medes tributary in 701, but a revolt broke out in 674 under Khshathrita (possibly Herodotus's Phraortes), who ruled an independent Media for some time. Zoroaster (c. 630–550) introduced his religious reforms in Media. After a period of Scythian domination, Cyaxares (Huvakhshtara, 624–585) became king of Media and reorganized the army along Assyrian lines. The Medians took and sacked Ashur in 614. Cyaxares then allied himself to Nabopolassar of Babylon and, in 612 the Medians and Babylonians destroyed the Assyrian capital Nineveh (See 626–609). Cyaxares and Nabopolassar divided the Assyrian Empire between them. In 609, the Medes conquered Urartu. Between 590 and 585, Cyaxares fought a war with the Lydians, which ended with a marriage alliance. Little is known of the subsequent history of the empire until its fall under Astyages (Arshit-vega, 584–549).  3
 
c. 850–549
 
THE RISE OF THE PERSIANS. Sometime in the 9th century, another Aryan tribe, the Persians, settled in Anshan to the south of Susa. In the early 7th century, one of their chiefs, Achaemenes (Hakhamanish) founded a dynasty, the Achaemenids, and won independence from the Neo-Elamite kings. His son, Teispes (Chishpish), took the title “King of Anshan” and allied himself with the Elamites in their war against Sennacherib. When Ashurbanipal sacked Susa in 646, Cyrus I (Kurush) became an Assyrian vassal. After the rise of Cyaxares, Persia became a Median dependency. Around 560, the Median King Astyages arranged for his daughter to marry the Persian King Cambyses I. Their son Cyrus II served as a commander in the Median army.  4
 
 
 
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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