Battle of Gaugamela (October 1, 331 BCE): decisive battle in the war between Macedonia and the Achaemenid Empire, fought in northern Iraq. The outcome was influenced by a celestial omen that announced the imminent downfall of the Persian king Darius III Codomannus and the succession by Alexander the Great.
Under Persia’s Achaemenid dynasty, before Darius, temples had appeared for the first time. Related to the Aryans who had invaded India, or a least having a language closely related to the Aryans, the Persians had gods similar to those found in the sacred Hindu Vedas. Among the Persians were a people called Medes, and a priesthood called the Magi had come to dominate the Medes religion. The major god of the Medes was Zurvan, a god of time and destiny. Another god of the Persians was Mazda, whom Darius adopted in an effort to unify his empire. And in western Persia the god Mithra and goddess Anahita were also worshiped. Continue reading Ancient Zoroastrians
Persepolis is the name of an archaeological ruin, part of the Achaemenid Dynasty of the Persian Empire, established by King Darius about 515 BC. The site is one of the best known archaeological ruins in the world, and probably the most important Achaemenid capital. Persepolis is located about 50 kilometers northeast of Shiraz and is open to visitors. Continue reading What and Where is Persepolis?
The Achaemenids were the ruling dynasty of Cyrus the Great and his family over the Persian empire, from 550-330 BC, when it was conquered by Alexander the Great. Cyrus’s empire included Libya, Ethiopia, Thrace, Macedonia, Afghanistan, and the Punjab and everything in between. Continue reading Archaeology Achaemenid Dynasty
Definition: Akra is a large important site of the Achaemenid dynasty, located in the Bannu Basin south of Peshawar in what is today Pakistan. The site consists of a series of impressive mounds between 15 and 20 meters in height, and has been recognized as an archaeological site for more than 100 years.
Occupations at Akra date between 2000 BC and AD 1200. Evidence in the form of seals indicates a connection with central Asia by the early second millennium BC. Iron Age occupations at Akra suggest it may have been the capital of the Thatagus region, mentioned in the Behistun Inscription as one of the territories acquired by the Achaemenid King Darius I in the 6th century BC.
1. (1.1-3.) I am Darius the Great King, King of Kings, King in Persia, King of countries, son of Hystaspes, grandson of Arsames, an Achaemenian.
2. (1.3-6.) Darius the King says: My father was Hystaspes; Hystaspes’ father was Arsames; Arsames’ father was Ariaramnes; Ariaramnes’ father was Teispes; Teispes’ father was Achaemenes. Continue reading Inscription of Darius the Great in Bistun