ACHAEMENID EMPIRE
   Persiandynasty (c. 550–330 B.C.)
   named after the historically obscure founder Achaemenes. Cyrus II(reigned 559–530) laid the foundation of the first Persian empire. He began by defeating the Median king Astyages, which gave him control over most of Iran. In 593 he conquered Babylon and thus took possession of the Neo-Babylonianterritories (all of Mesopotamia, most of Anatolia, and Syro-Palestine). His son, Cambyses II (reigned 530–522), added Egypt. During the rule of Darius I, who conquered parts of northern India, the Achaemenid empire reached its greatest expansion. However, as famously recorded by Greek historians, Darius’s attempts to expand westward into the Aegean were thwarted by fierce opposition. He was also responsible for the relocation of the capital to Persepolis, where he embarked on an ambitious building program. Subsequently, numerous rebellions and internal political rivalry signaled the disintegration of the empire. Alexander of Mazedon (“The Great”) dealt the final blow. He defeated Darius III at Issos in 333 B.C. and thereafter conquered most of the Persian-held territories.

Historical Dictionary of Mesopotamia. . 2012.

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