Ancient Persia and the Achaemenid Persian Empire


Kelly Macquire
published on 19 July 2022

The region of ancient Persia, which is modern-day Iran, has one of the longest histories, reaching back to the Palaeolithic Age, some one hundred thousand years ago. Between circa 1500 and 1000 BCE, a Persian priest named Zoroaster, also known as Zarathustra, claimed he received a vision from Ahura Mazda. The god told him to rectify the error of following a polytheistic religion, and to instead declare that only one god exists, himself, obviously. This new religion, known as Zoroastrianism, was the first monotheistic religion in the world. This religion was later adopted by the Achaemenid Persian Empire, and those who succeeded it, namely the Parthian and Sassanian empires.

The Achaemenid Persian Empire, often just referred to as the Achaemenid Empire, was founded by Cyrus the Great who reigned from circa 550 to 530 BCE. Cyrus the Great had his policies and his vision inscribed on what is known as the Cyrus Cylinder (considered by some scholars as the First Declaration of Human Rights), where he decreed how he wanted his people to live freely and in peace with others. After Cyrus the Great died in five thirty BCE, his son Cambyses II succeeded him, and reigned for eight years until he was assassinated by a distant cousin who took the regnal name of Darius the first, also known as Darius the Great



0:00​ Introduction
0:40 The Early History of Ancient Persia
5:12 The Achaemenid Persian Empire
10:21 Alexander the Great and the End of the Persian Empire
13:57 Outro

Ancient Persia
Achaemenid Persian Empire
Cyrus the Great
Cambyses II
Darius the Great
Xerxes I
The Cyrus Cylinder

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You can find all attribution and credits for images, animations, graphics and music here -

The music used in this recording is the intellectual copyright of Michael Levy, a prolific composer for the recreated lyres of antiquity, and used with the creator's permission. Michael Levy's music is available to stream at all the major digital music platforms. Find out more on:

Napishtim - own work
GNU Free Documentation License - / CC BY SA 3.0 -
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Open Access -

World History Encyclopedia

#ancientpersia #persiahistory #achaemenidpersia

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About the Author

Kelly Macquire
Kelly is a graduate from Monash University who has completed her BA (Honours) in Ancient History and Archaeology, focussing on iconography and status in Pylos burials. She has a passion for mythology and the Aegean Bronze Age.

Cite This Work

APA Style

Macquire, K. (2022, July 19). Ancient Persia and the Achaemenid Persian Empire. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Macquire, Kelly. "Ancient Persia and the Achaemenid Persian Empire." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified July 19, 2022.

MLA Style

Macquire, Kelly. "Ancient Persia and the Achaemenid Persian Empire." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 19 Jul 2022. Web. 14 Jun 2024.