Achaemenid State

Article

July 3, 2022

The Achaemenid State (other Persian 𐎧𐏁𐏂 (Xšāça) - “Empire”), also known as Medo-Persia, the First Persian Empire, was an ancient state that existed in the 6th-4th centuries BC. e. in the territory of Western Asia and northeast Africa, created by the Persian dynasty of the Achaemenids. By the end of the VI century BC. e. the borders of the Achaemenid state stretched from the Indus River in the east to the Aegean Sea in the west, from the first threshold of the Nile in the south to Transcaucasia in the north.

Sources on the history of the state

Babylonian sources (the manifesto of Cyrus, the chronicle of the fall of Babylon) cover the events of the reign of Cyrus II. Cyrus' inscriptions near Pasargad are considered to be the oldest primary sources. The most voluminous and valuable is the inscription of King Darius - the Behistun inscription. There are other inscriptions on the walls of palaces in Persepolis, in Susa, near Lake Van, near Suez in Egypt, in Nakshe-Rustam on the rock tomb of Darius I. Achaemenid inscriptions were usually written in three languages: Old Persian, Elamite, and Babylonian. An archive consisting of thousands of clay tablets was discovered in 1933-1934 in Persepolis. Most of the documents found in the archive are in the Elamite language, but there are also texts in Aramaic, which was the international language already in the Achaemenid period. Elephantine papyri are interesting documents telling about the Achaemenid military colonies in Egypt. Valuable information about the Persians was left by Greek historians. The most significant is the work of Herodotus, who drew information from official Persian sources, records of participants in the Greco-Persian wars and messages from the Persians themselves. Of great value are the information of Xenophon, who describes the various regions of the state and reports the ethnographic and geographical data of these regions.

Origin of the Persians

Persians are one of the Iranian-speaking tribes that came to Iran through the Caucasus or Central Asia around the 15th century BC. e. At the end of the 9th century BC. e. a group of Persian tribes was located near the borders of Elam, then widely settled in Kerman and Fars.

Administrative divisions

The Persian Empire under the Achaemenids covered territories from modern Greece and Libya to India. The population of the empire ranged from 25 to, presumably, 50 million people, which corresponds to