Ctesiphon (Iraq)

Ctesiphon is the name of a very old city at the confluence of the Tigris and Diyala rivers near Baghdad in what is now Iraq. The earliest urban occupations at the site probably represent the Akkadian town of Opis, the capital city of the Babylonia by the 14th century BC. Opis was the site of a battle between the Babylonian King Nabonidus and the Persians (539 BC), and the site of the European revolt against Alexander the Great (324 BC).

Archaeology Achaemenid Dynasty

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

Persian Empire: Timeline and Definition Archaeology

Tomb of Cyrus, Pasargadae (Iran)Tomb of Cyrus, Pasargadae (Iran)

Shirley Schermer (c) 2002

Definition:

The Persian Empire included all of what is now Iran, and in fact Persia was the official name of Iran until 1935. At its height about 500 BC, the founding dynasty of the empire, the Achaemenids, had conquered Asia as far as the Indus River, Greece, and North Africa including what is now Egypt and Libya. Continue reading Persian Empire: Timeline and Definition Archaeology

ACHAEMENID DASCYLIUM

ACHAEMENID DASCYLIUM


By: Michael Weiskopf

Dascylium Metropolis

Picture courtesy of Marco Prins & Jona Lendering (Livius)

Dascylium, Achaemenid satrapy in northwestern Anatolia (Herodotus, 3.120.2; cf. Thucydides 1.129.1: tê`n Daskulitìn satrapeían; OPers. tayaiy drayahyâ; DB 1.15; Kent, Old Persian, p. 117), part of the Persian empire until the 330s B.C.E. The borders varied, extending as far south as the Mysian plain and the southern Troad and east into the land of the Bithynian peoples; some satraps controlled both sides of the Hellespont. The territory of Dascylium encompassed estates, garrisoned fortresses, and cities and villages in which Persians and other groups were mingled. The name Dascylium was also applied to a number of sites within the satrapy, the most important being the satrapal estate located at modern Hisartepe on the southwestern shore of Lake Manyas, near the village of Ergili. Continue reading ACHAEMENID DASCYLIUM

Achaemenid Army

By: Professor A. Sh. Shahbazi

These life sized “Immortal Guard” in richly ornamental robes wear the twisted headband typical of native Iranians from Susa.

The Achaemenian/Achaemenid Army is well known through descriptions by Herodotus, Xenophon, and Arrian as well as by illustrations on Persepolitan and Greco-Persian monuments. Of particular importance for the topic are the Greek representations of Persian warriors and the evidence of the so-called Alexander Sarcophagus from Sidon. The Persians whom Cyrus the Great united did not possess a professional army: as in days of old, the “people” of a region was represented by its backbone, the “military force,” so the two words were used synonymously in one Old Persian term, kara (cognate with Lithuanian karias/karis “war, army,” Gothic harjis “army,” and German Heer “army,”), a sense still retained in the New Persian term kas-o kar “relatives and supporters.” Continue reading Achaemenid Army

Ardashir Conquers and the Persians, to CE 241

Ardashir Conquers

Ruins of the mansion of Ardashir I

During the war between Marcus Aurelius and the Parthians (the years 162-66) the Great Pestilence not only devastated the Romans, it threw the economy of the Parthian Empire into decline. While the Roman Empire was busy with German intrusions, plague and a rapid turnover in emperors, the Parthian Empire disintegrated. The Parthians no longer ruled in Persia. They now ruled only in Mesopotamia. And, in Persia, nobles and villagers sought protection from roaming bands of brigands and the small armies of local despots. Continue reading Ardashir Conquers and the Persians, to CE 241