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Achaemenid Empire

Achaemenid Empire
550 BC–330 BC

Standard of Cyrus the Great

The Achaemenid Empire at its greatest territorial extent,
under the rule of Darius I (522 BC to 486 BC)
Capital Babylon (main capital), Pasargadae, Ecbatana, Susa, Persepolis
Languages Old Persian[a]
Imperial Aramaic[b]
Ancient Greek
Religion Zoroastrianism, Babylonian religion
Government Monarchy
King (xšāyaϑiya) or King of Kings (xšāyaϑiya xšāyaϑiyānām)
 •  559–529 BC Cyrus the Great
 •  336–330 BC Darius III
Historical era Classical antiquity
 •  Persian Revolt 550 BC
 •  Conquest of Lydia 547 BC
 •  Conquest of Babylon 539 BC
 •  Conquest of Egypt 525 BC
 •  Greco-Persian Wars 499–449 BC
 •  Second conquest of Egypt 343 BC
 •  Fall to Macedonia 330 BC
 •  500 BC 5,500,000 km² (2,123,562 sq mi)
 •  500 BC est. 17M to 35M 
Currency Daric, siglos
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Median Empire
Neo-Babylonian Empire
Twenty-sixth Dynasty of Egypt
Gandhara Kingdom
Macedonian Empire
Twenty-eighth Dynasty of Egypt
a. ^ Native language.
b. ^ Official language and lingua franca.
c. ^ Literary language in Babylonia.

Standard of Cyrus the Great

The Achaemenid Empire (/əˈkmənɪd/, from Old Persian Haxāmanišiya,c. 550–330 BC), also called the (First) Persian Empire, was an empire based in Western Asia, founded by Cyrus the Great. At its greatest extent from the Balkans to the Indus Valley, it was one of the largest empires in history, spanning 5.5 million square kilometers, and was larger than any previous empire in history. It is equally notable for its successful model of a centralised, bureaucratic administration (through satraps under the King of Kings), for building infrastructure such as road systems and a postal system and the use of an official language across its territories and a large professional army and civil services, inspiring similar systems in later empires. It is noted in Western history as the antagonist of the Greek city-states during the Greco-Persian Wars and for the emancipation of the Jewish exiles in Babylon. The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was built in a Hellenistic style in the empire as well.


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