August 15, 2022
The Achaemenids (pronounced /a.ke.me.nid/) are a dynasty of kings who founded and ruled the first of the Persian empires to rule much of the Middle East during the 1st millennium BC. It is one of the largest empires to have existed during antiquity, spanning approximately 7.5 million square kilometres. It then extends north and west into Asia Minor, Thrace and most of the coastal regions of Pont-Euxin; east to present-day Afghanistan and part of Pakistan, and south and southwest to present-day Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine, Jordan, northern Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and as far north as Libya. The name "Achaemenids" (in Old Persian: Haxāmanišiya) refers to the founding clan which freed itself around 550 BC. BC from the tutelage of the Medes, previously their sovereigns, as well as to the great Empire which then resulted from their domination. The Empire founded by the Achaemenids seizes Anatolia by defeating Lydia, then conquers the Neo-Babylonian Empire and Egypt, thus uniting the oldest civilizations of the Middle East in a single political entity in a lasting way . The Achaemenid Empire twice threatened ancient Greece and collapsed, defeated by Alexander the Great, in 330 BC. J.-C., not without bequeathing to the diadochi who succeeded him a notable part of his cultural and political traits. During the two centuries of its supremacy, the Achaemenid Empire developed an imperial model incorporating many features of its Assyrian and Babylonian predecessors, while presenting original aspects, such as constant flexibility and pragmatism in its relations with the dominated peoples, as long as they respected his rule. The Persian kings carried out important works on several sites in the heart of their Empire (Pasargadae, Persepolis, Susa), synthesizing the architectural and artistic contributions of several of the dominated countries and expressing their imperial ideology with pomp.