Persian Empire (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Military significance: Spanning a time period of great transition, the Persian Empire marked the end of the ancient and the beginning of the modern world.
The Achaemenid Persian Empire, surpassed in size only by the Roman Empire, was made up of diverse peoples who thrived under a central form of government. In 558 b.c.e., Cyrus, later known as Cyrus the Great, at the age of forty, became king of Anshan, a subordinate state of Media, the powerful empire that had ruled all of Asia for more than a century. Married to the daughter of Astyages, king of the Medes, Cyrus revolted against Astyages, and with the benefit of large numbers of Median troops who deserted, became king of Persia. The following year, Cyrus took over Hyrcania and Parthia to secure his eastern flanks and allow him to begin his great campaigns into Asia Minor.
Cyrus immediately began to expand his Persian empire. Having reached an understanding with Nabonidus, king of Babylon, Cyrus attacked the powerful Lydians, under the rule of wealthy Croesus. Following an indecisive battle in 547 b.c.e. on the Halys River, the Lydians abandoned the war for the season, returning to their capital at Sardis. Cyrus pursued them, attacking the Lydians at Sardis and capturing Croesus in 546 b.c.e. For the next six years, Cyrus conducted numerous campaigns, including a lengthy one eastward below the Caspian Sea and a disastrously unsuccessful attempt to reach...
(The entire section is 1022 words.)
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