Persia: Rise of an Empire
Now that we have seen the development of Sparta and Athens, two of our main players for the upcoming Greco-Persian Wars period, we need to look at a third. This time it is not a Greek city state, but an empire east across the Aegean Sea. This was the Persian Empire and would come to influence Greek affairs for centuries to come.
The main empire the Greeks had contact with in the Near East during the Achcahic period was that of the Lydian Empire who controlled most of Anatolia. In the late 6th century, the Lydian’s had brought the Ionian Greek cities dotted all along the Anatolian coast into their control. Though, as powerful and wealthy as the Lydians were a great threat appeared on their eastern boarder.
This threat was in the shape of the new power of Persia, who only a handful of years earlier was one of a number of Iranian groups occupying the Zagros Mountains. Events around them would see this relatively small group of peoples coming to dominate their region, before then expanding and creating the Persian Empire, which Lydia would become apart of.
The founder of the Persian empire would become to be known as Cyrus the Great and like most founders there were traditional tales to explain his background and rise to greatness. In just his life time Cyrus would go onto create the largest empire the world had yet known, bringing the Greek world into direct contact with them.
Conquest of Cyrus the Great Map
The Cyrus Cylinder Seal