Achaemenid Empire


East of the Zagros Mountains, a high plateau stretches off towards India. While Egypt was rising up against the Hyksos, a wave of pastoral tribes from north of the Caspian Sea was drifting down into this area and across into India. By the time the Assyrians had built their new empire, a second wave had covered the whole stretch between the Zagros and the Hindu Kush. Some tribes settled, others retained their semi-nomadic lifestyle. These were the Iranian peoples.

More about: Achaemenid Empire


  • c. 7200 BCE
    Elamite community of Chogha Bonut established.
  • 4395 BCE
    City of Susa founded in region of ancient Persia.
  • c. 3000 BCE
    Aryan tribes of Indo-Iranians migrate to the region, among them are Persians.
  • c. 1500 BCE - c. 1000 BCE
    Development of the religion of Zoroastrianism in region of ancient Persia.
  • c. 1000 BCE
    Scythians migrate from Persia into the Asian steppes.
  • 850 BCE
    Medes migrate into Iran from Asia.
  • 750 BCE
    Persians migrate into Iran from Asia.
  • 727 BCE - 675 BCE
    Medes unite during the reign of their king Dayukku (aka Deioces).
  • 675 BCE - 640 BCE
    Persians settle in Persis during the reign of their king Teispes.
  • 628 BCE - 551 BCE
    Life of Zoroaster, according to Pahlavi sources.
  • 553 BCE
    Cyrus the Great successfully rebels against the Medes and establishes the Achaemenid Empire of Persia.
  • c. 550 BCE
    Cyrus the Great of Persia founds the Achaemenid Empire.
  • c. 550 BCE - 330 BCE
    The Persian Achaemenid Empire reigns over Central Asia, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, and Egypt.
  • 547 BCE
    Anatolia conquered by the Persians. Ephesos remains neutral.
  • 547 BCE
    Phrygia becomes a Satrapy of the Persian empire.
  • 546 BCE
    The Persians occupy Cyprus, being invited by Cypriot leaders.
  • 539 BCE
    Fall of Babylon, conquered by Cyrus of Persia. Return of the Jews.
  • c. 539 BCE
    Cyrus the Great conquers Babylon; the Fertile Crescent is controlled by the Achaemenid Empire (The First Persian Empire).
  • 530 BCE
    Persia conquers the Indus Valley.
  • 530 BCE - 522 BCE
    Reign of Cambyses II of Persia.
  • 525 BCE - 404 BCE
    Persia conquers Egypt.
  • 522 BCE
    Darius I (Darius the Great) succeeds to the throne of Persia after the death of Cambyses II.
  • 522 BCE
    The Persian satrapy of Armenia briefly cedes from the Achaemenid Empire but is brought under control by Darius I.
  • c. 520 BCE - c. 325 CE
    Achaemenid rule in the Gandhara region.
  • 520 BCE
    Darius I of Persia fights the Scythians (not very successfully).
  • c. 515 BCE
    Darius I moves the capital of Persia from Pasargadae to Persepolis.
  • c. 513 BCE - c. 512 BCE
    Darius I of Persia campaigns against Scythians into European Scythia, past the Danube River, Scythians refuse to fight and Darius is forced to abandon the campaign due to lack of provisions.
  • c. 499 BCE
    Naxos is attacked by Darius' Persian forces.
  • 499 BCE - 493 BCE
    Ionian cities rebel against Persian rule.
  • c. 498 BCE
    Ionians and Greek allies invade and burn Sardis (capital of Lydia).
  • 492 BCE
    Darius I of Persia invades Greece.
  • 490 BCE
    Rhodes comes under Persian rule.
  • 490 BCE
    Naxos is attacked for a second time by Persian forces.
  • 11 Sep 490 BCE
    A combined force of Greek hoplites defeat the Persians at Marathon.
  • 486 BCE
    Xerxes succeeds to the throne of Persia after the death of Darius I.
  • 485 BCE - 465 BCE
    Reign of Xerxes I (the Great) of Persia.
  • 485 BCE
    Babylon is destroyed by Xerxes, King of Persia.
  • 480 BCE
    Persians destroy the sanctuary at Sounion.
  • 480 BCE
    Sack of Athens by the Persians under Xerxes. The Agora is destroyed.
  • 480 BCE
    Persian forces attack the sanctuary of Delphi.
  • Jul 480 BCE
    Xerxes I makes extensive preparations to invade mainland Greece by building depots, canals and a boat bridge across the Hellespont.
  • Aug 480 BCE
    The indecisive battle of Artemision between the Greek and Persian fleets of Xerxes I. The Greeks withdraw to Salamis.
  • Aug 480 BCE
    Battle of Thermopylae. 300 Spartans under King Leonidas and other Greek allies hold back the Persians led by Xerxes I for three days but are defeated.
  • Sep 480 BCE
    Battle of Salamis where the Greek naval fleet led by Themistocles defeats the invading armada of Xerxes I of Persia.
  • 479 BCE
    Xerxes' Persian forces are defeated by Greek forces at Plataea effectively ending Persia's imperial ambitions in Greece.
  • 478 BCE
    Sparta withdraws from alliance against Persia.
  • c. 478 BCE
    Xerxes I builds the Gate of All Nations, the Hall of 100 Columns and the grand Palace of Xerxes.
  • c. 449 BCE
    Peace is agreed on by Athens and Persia, sometimes referred to as the Peace of Callias.
  • c. 449 BCE
    Ionian cities become independent from Persia under the Peace of Callias.
  • 412 BCE
    Sparta allies with Persia.
  • 401 BCE
    Retreat from Persia of Xenophon and the ten thousand mercenaries.
  • c. 380 BCE - 330 BCE
    Life of Darius III of Persia.
  • 341 BCE
    The Persians complete conquest of Egypt.
  • c. 336 BCE
    Artaxerxes III builds the Hall of 32 Columns, the Palace of Artaxerxes and the Unfinished Gate.
  • May 334 BCE
    Alexander invades the Persian empire.
  • 5 Nov 333 BCE
    Battle of Issus. Alexander is victorious against Darius III of Persia.
  • 331 BCE
    Egypt is conquered by Alexander the Great without resistance.
  • 1 Oct 331 BCE
    Battle of Gaugamela. Alexander calls himself "King of Asia."
  • 330 BCE
    Persian Achaemenid Empire falls to Alexander the Great.
  • 330 BCE
    Death of Darius III and end of the Achaemenid Empire of Persia.
  • May 330 BCE
    Persepolis is burned and looted by Alexander the Great.
  • Jan 329 BCE - May 327 BCE
    Alexander conquers Bactria and Sogdiana.
  • 312 BCE - 63 BCE
    The Seleucid Empire replaces the Achaemenid Empire.
  • 247 BCE - 224 BCE
    Parthia replaces the Seleucid Empire.
  • 247 BCE - 224 CE
    Empire of the Parthians.
  • 63 BCE
    The Roman general Pompey defeats the Seleucid Antiochus XIII and incorporates Syria as a province of the Roman empire.
  • 224 CE - 651 CE
    The Sassanian Empire replaces the Parthian Empire.
  • 224 CE
    Zoroastrianism becomes Persian state religion under the Sassanian Empire.
  • 224 CE
    Sasanians overthrow the Parthians.
  • 240 CE - 270 CE
    Reign of Shapur I, who first brought the Sassanian empire to its peak.
  • 260 CE
    Shapur I captures the Roman emperor Valerian at Edessa.
  • 607 CE - 627 CE
    East Rome defeats Sasanian Persia.
  • 651 CE
    Sassanian Empire conquered during the Muslim Arab invasion of the 7th century CE.