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Persian History

Persian history dates back to the development of ancient Mesopotamia, the land demarcated by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

Ancient Persian History


Ancient Persian history, the time of the rise and fall of the Persian Empire is typically divided into three periods:

ACHAEMENID: (550 – 330 BC)
SELEUCIAN (306 BC- 150 BC) & PARTHIAN: (247 BC – 224 CE)
SASSANIAN: (224 -651 CE)


See Persian Documentary

ACHAEMENID: (550 – 330 BC)


Persian kings, including Cyrus II, founder of Persis, or Persia, ruled during this period. Cyrus II was a very progressive ruler, and it is due to his practices that he was able to expand the Persian Empire exponentially during his reign.
(For more information on the enlightened monarch’s thoughts on human rights, freedom of religion and position on slavery see Cyrus Charter of Human Rights.)

During this period there were many other great Persian kings, including Cambyses II, son of Cyrus II, Darius I, and Xerxes.

The empire was governed from the city of Persepolis, its capital. From this center the empire expanded incorporating Lydia, Babylonia, and Egypt. Many crowning advancements were made during this period including the construction of a canal connecting the mighty Nile River to the Red Sea.

Unfortunately, the Persian empire surrendered to the Greeks under Alexander of Macedon, aka Alexander the Great (334-331 BC).

SELEUCIAN (306 BC- 150 BC) and PARTHIAN: (247 BC – 224 CE)


This was a quiet time for the Persian Empire as it existed mainly as a subunit under Greek rule.

SASSANIAN: (224 -651 CE)


This period marked the return of Persian kings and the Sassanian Dynasty. Most notable during this period was the establishment of the Zoroastrian religion as the official religion of Ancient Persia.
(For more information on this religion see the Persian Culture page).

It's presence lasted until it was replaced with Islam in 651 during the Arab invasion. The last of the Sassanid kings was Yazdegerd III. After the Arab invasion in 651 the country saw many changes in leadership from Arab to Turk to Mongolian etc. and the Persian Empire never again saw the greatness as it did in the early 6th century BC.