Ancient Persia: People
Ancient Persian kings, and Significant People
Alexander the Great
He was king of Macedonia and one of the greatest generals in history... He conquered much of what was then the civilized world. Alexander brought Greek ideas and the Greek way of doing things to all the countries he conquered. This great general and king made possible the broadly developed culture of the Hellenistic Age.
Amestris or Amastris: wife of the Persian king Xerxes, mother of king Artaxerxes I. Her reputation among Greek historians is very bad. Amestris was the daughter of Otanes, one of the seven conspirators who killed the Persian rebel king Gaumâta (22 September 522 BCE). After this, Darius I the Great started his reign. According to the Greek researcher Herodotus of Halicarnassus (fifth century), Otanes was honored with a diplomatic marriage: the new king married Otanes' daughter Phaedymia, and Otanes married a sister of Darius, who gave birth to Amestris.
Ancient Persia People
History of Iran: Artaxerxes I
Artaxerxes (Artâkhshatra) Ardashir-e Derâz-Dast. The first Artaxerxes (465 - 425 BCE), among all the kings of Persia (Achaemanian Empire) the most remarkable for a gentle and noble spirit, was surnamed the Long-handed, his right hand being longer than his left, and was the son of Xerxes. The second, whose story I am now writing, who had the surname of the Mindful, was the grandson of the former, by his daughter Parysatis, who brought Darius four sons, the eldest Artaxerxes, the next Cyrus, and two younger than these, Ostanes and Oxathres. Cyrus took his name of the ancient Cyrus, as he, they say, had his from the sun, which, in the Persian language, is called Cyrus. Artaxerxes was at first called Arsicas; Dinon says Oarses; but it is utterly improbable that Ctesias (however otherwise he may have filled his books with a perfect farrago of incredible and senseless fables) should be ignorant of the name of the king with whom he lived as his physician, attending upon himself, his wife, his mother, and his children.
Artaxerxes II Mnemon
Artaxerxes II Mnemon: Achaemenid king of the Persian Empire, ruled from 404 to 358.
Artaxerxes III Ochus
Artaxerxes III Ochus: Achaemenid king of the Persian Empire, ruled from 358 to 338.
Artaxerxes IV Arses
Artaxerxes IV (old-Persian Artakhšaça): name of a Achaemenid king of the Persian empire, ruled 338-336. His real name was Arses.Arses was a son of the Persian king Artaxerxes III Ochus (358-338), and succeeded his father. According to a Greek source, Diodorus of Sicily, the powerful eunuch Bagoas poisoned many members of the royal family, but a cuneiform tablet in the British Museum (BM 71537) suggests that the king died from natural causes. However this may be, it happened in September 338, and it is probable that Bagoas killed everyone to make sure that Arses, who is presented by Diodorus as some sort of a puppet king, became the new ruler of the Achaemenid empire. Alternatively, Arses ordered the executions himself. This is not uncommon.
Artemisia of Halicarnassus
Artemisia: queen of Halicarnassus in c. 480 BCE, ally of the Persian king Xerxes during his invasion of Greece. Halicarnassus was a Graeco-Carian city that belonged to the empire of the Persian Achaemenids. The Persian authorities liked their cities to be ruled by one man, and not by an uncontrollable oligarchy or democracy, and preferred Lygdamis as king of Halicarnassus. When he died, he was succeeded by his daughter Artemisia, who is best known to us from the Histories by the Greek researcher Herodotus, also a Halicarnassian.
Astyages (Akkadian Ištumegu): last king of Media, son of king Cyaxares, dethroned 550 BCE. Most information on Astyages can be found in the second part of the first book of the Histories by the Greek researcher Herodotus, who lived in the fifth century, hundred years after Astyages' reign. However, he is almost our only source, and it is inevitable to follow Herodotus' lead and trying to check him where possible.
Cambyses was the oldest son of Cyrus the Great, the first king of the Achaemenid empire (559-530). The name of Cambyses' mother is not known. The Greek researcher Herodotus of Halicarnassus calls her Cassandane, but Ctesias of Cnidus states she was Amytis, the daughter of the last king of independent Media, Astyages. Cyrus' career was dazzling. In 559, he became king of Persia; in 550, he subdued his overlord, Astyages the Mede. Three years later, he conquered Lydia (western Turkey) and in 539, he added Babylonia to his empire.
Cyaxares (Persian Uvakhšatara, Akkadian Umakištar): name of a king of the Medes, who may have reigned from c.625 to c.585. The only narrative about the reign of Cyaxares can be found in the first book of the Histories by the Greek researcher Herodotus (c.480-c.429). He writes that the Median leader Phraortes.
Cyrus (Old Persian Kuruš; Hebrew Kores): founder of the Achaemenid empire. He was born about 600 BCE as the son of Cambyses I, the king of the Persian kingdom called Anšan. During Cambyses' reign, the Persians were vassals of the Median leader Astyages.
Cyrus of Ansan
Brief article on Cyrus (Kuraš): king of Anšan, the grandfather of king Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Achaemenid empire.
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great (ca.600 - 529 BCE) was a towering figure in the history of mankind. As the "father of the Iranian nation", he was the first world leader to be referred to as "The Great". Cyrus founded the first world empire - and the second Iranian dynastic empire (the Achaemenids) - after defeating the Median dynasty and uniting the Medes with the other major Iranian tribe, the Persians.
Cyrus the Great, The Phenomenon
Cyrus (Kourosh in Persian; Kouros in Greek) is regarded as one of the most outstanding figures in history. His success in creating and maintaining the Achaemenian Empire was the result of an intelligent blending of diplomatic and military skills and his rule was tempered with wisdom and tact. The Persians called him 'father'; the Greeks, whom he conquered, saw him as 'a worthy ruler and lawgiver' and the Jews regarded him as 'the Lord's anointed'. His ideals were high, as he laid down that no man was fit to rule unless, he was more capable than all of his subjects. As an administrator Cyrus' insight was great, and he showed himself both intelligent and reasonable, and thereby made his rule easier than that of his previous conquerors.
Darius I the Great
Darius I (Old Persian Dârayavauš): king of ancient Persia, whose reign lasted from 522 to 486. He seized power after killing king Gaumâta, fought a civil war (described in the Behistun inscription), and was finally able to refound the Achaemenid empire, which had been very loosely organized until then. Darius fought several foreign wars, which brought him to India and Thrace. When he died, the Persian empire had reached its largest extent. He was succeeded by his son Xerxes.
Darius II Nothus
Darius II Nothus: Achaemenid king of the Persian Empire, ruled from 423 to 404.
Darius III Codomannus
Darius III Codomannus - Last Achaemenid Great King of Persia
In 331 BC the Persian King Darius III suffered his shattering defeat by Alexander the Great at the battle of Gaugamela. In the aftermath Darius was murdered by his kinsmen. With his death ended the Achaemenid dynasty which had reigned supreme over the Ancient world for more than two centuries.
Darius the Great
History of Iran: Darius the Great
Darius I Hystaspes, or Darius the Great, king of Persia [522-486 BCE]. Through his father Hystaspes, Darius belonged to the Achaemenid family, as did Cyrus The Great and his son Cambyses II, but to a different branch of this family. When Cambyses was in Egypt, during the last year of his reign, a certain Gaumata usurped the throne by pretending to be Bardiya, Cambyses' brother, who had been assassinated secretly before Cambyses started out for his Egyptian campaign in 525 BCE.
History of Alexander the Great
Alexander is born in Pella, the Macedonian capital, at about the time his father becomes king of Macedonia. Philip II's expansion of the kingdom, an unfolding saga of glory and excitement, is Alexander's boyhood. At an early age he proves himself well equipped to share in these military adventures. He is only sixteen when he is left in charge of Macedonia, while his father campaigns in the east against Byzantium. During his father's absence he crushes a rebellious tribe, the Thracians. As a reward he is allowed to found a new town in their territory - Alexandropolis, the first of many to be named after him.
History of Iran: Cyrus the Great
Cyrus (580-529 BC) was the first Achaemenid Emperor. He founded Persia by uniting the two original Iranian Tribes- the Medes and the Persians. Although he was known to be a great conqueror, who at one point controlled one of the greatest Empires ever seen, he is best remembered for his unprecedented tolerance and magnanimous attitude towards those he defeated.
Parthian Rulers Index
In main, the chronologies of Frye [The History of Ancient Iran (1984), pp. 209ff, 360] and Sellwood [An Introduction to the Coinage of Parthia, 1980, 2nd ed.] are followed with some modification. Specific changes include revisions to the early kings following Koshelenko's theory of descent based on information found in the Parthian ostraca of Nisa. [Koshelenko (1976), "Genealogia Pervykh Arshakidov", p. 34]. Koshelenko reconciles Justin (Trogus) with Arrian, based on archaeological evidence. Olson's study of Greek letterforms (1973) and additional numismatic evidence have been considered. The revised father-son relationship between Mithradates IV and Vologases IV is established by the inscription on the bronze Herakles [W. I. al-Salihi, Sumer 43 (1984), p. 219, and J. Black, ibid., p. 230]. Tiridates III was added at the end of the genealogy following Sellwood's clarification of a numismatic inscription in "The End of the Parthian Dynasty" (1990).
Phraortes (Old Persian Frâda): son of Upadaranma, king of Media (522-521 BCE). The immediate cause of Phraortes' rebellion was the death of the Persian king Cambyses in the Spring of 522 and the usurpation of the throne by a Magian named Gaumâta, who did not belong to the Achaemenid dynasty and may have been a Mede by birth. The adherents of the Persian royal house helped Darius become king; he killed Gaumâta in the stronghold Sikayauvatiš in Media on 29 September.
The Accession of Darius III
In the summer of 336, Darius III Codomannus became king of Persia. This brave man was to be the last king of the ancient empire, because he was defeated by Alexander the Great. Darius became king after a very troubled succession. The Greek author Diodorus of Sicily, describes the events in section 17.5.3-6.3 of his World history.
The Death of Darius III
In the early Summer of 330, Alexander hunted down the Persian king Darius III Codomannus. His courtiers arrested, perhaps because they thought that extraditing him would guarantee their own lives, or perhaps because they wanted to choose a new, stronger king. However, Alexander was too close to deliberate, and when the first Macedonian horsemen appeared, the Persian courtiers decided to kill their king. A relative of Darius, Bessus, became the new king under the name of Artaxerxes V. Darius was murdered in the desert east of modern Tehran ancient Rhagae). He was fifty years old. The following description is taken from the Anabasis (section 3.21.6-22.2) by Arrian of Nicomedia; it was translated by Aubrey de Sélincourt.
Xerxes I , was a Persian king (reigned 485 - 465 BC) of the Achaemenid dynasty. "Xerxes" is the Greek transliteration of the Persian throne name Khshayarsha or Khsha-yar-shan, meaning "ruler of heroes.". In the Hebrew Bible, the Persian king àçùåøù Aḥashverosh (Ahasuerus in Greek) probably corresponds to Xerxes I.
Xerxes II and Sogdianus
Xerxes II (Old Persian Khšayâršâ) and Sogdianus: kings of the ancient Achaemenid empire. Xerxes ruled forty five days in the first months of 423 BCE; Sogdianus ruled for six months and fifteen days. Our only source for the reign of Xerxes II and Sogdianus is the Greek author Ctesias of Cnidus, one of the most unreliable writers from Antiquity. In the eighteenth book of his History of the Persians, (§§46-51), he states that Xerxes II was the only lawful son of king Artaxerxes I and queen Damaspia (who is otherwise unknown); Xerxes had been appointed as crown prince (mathišta). When Artaxerxes and Damaspia died on the same day, he succeeded to the throne. The last cuneiform tablet (found in Nippur) from the reign of Artaxerxes I is dated 24 December 424; there are no tablets from the reign of Xerxes II.
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