The First Iranian Empire: Media

Iran has been inhabited by many civilizations before the arrival of the Aryans. The Elamites established themselves in South Iran in 5000 BC. The rise of the Assyrian Empire subjected Elam to constant attacks and raids into their lands. In 645 the Assyrians, under the leadership of Ashurbanipal, sacked the capital Susa and annexed the country. This laid the foundation for the Medes and the Persians to fill the void, and it lead to the dramatically change of the Ancient World Order. 

Elam, 2000 BC

Northern Iran consisted of Median city-states. In 715 BC, Deioces united these city-states and was considered to be the founder of the Median Empire. The Medes allied with the Babylonians against the Assyrian Superpower. In 612 BC, the alliance captured the Assyrian capital Nineveh and overthrew the Assyrian Empire.

(Two Median Men, Persepolis)

The Median Empire emerged as the dominant power and consequently expanded the borders to eastern Anatolia under the Median king, Cyaxares. In 584 BC, Cyaxares was succeeded by his son, Astyages, who became allied with the Lydian king, Croesus.

Meanwhile, the Persians were the subjects of the Medians. Astyages' daughter, Mandana, married the Persian king, Cambyses I, and gave birth to the end of the Median Empire... 

Median Empire, 600 BC

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