Persian Empire

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The Persian empire refers to a series of empires that were centred in Persia/Iran, starting with the Achaemenid Empire. The name Persia derives from Parsa, the name of the Indo-European nomadic people who created the Achaemenid Empire.


The most widespread entity considered to have been a Persian Empire was the Achaemenid Empire (550–330 BC) under Darius and Xerxes (or Xerkes) — famous in antiquity as the foe of the classical Greek states — a united Persian kingdom that originated in the region now known as Pars province (Fars province) of Iran.

It was formed under Cyrus the Great in the Iranian plateau, and beyond in Western Asia, Central Asia and the Caucasus, who overthrew the empire of the Medes, and conquered much of the Middle East, including the territories of the Babylonians (Asuristan), the Phoenicians, and the Lydians. The Persian Empire that Darius took control of was already mighty and powerful; his predecessor, Cambyses (Cyrus' son), had conquered Egypt, further expanding its territory. But it was under Darius the Great it reached its zenith. Stretching all the way from the Mediterranean in the west to India in the east, from the Gulf of Oman in the south to southern Russia in the north, Persia under Darius was truly a global superpower.

Most of the successive states in Greater Iran prior to March 1935 are collectively called the Persian Empire by Western historians. Virtually all the successor empires of Persia were major regional and some major international powers in their day.

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