“Persian Empire”: (Greatest & Most Powerful) Empire of Ancient World!
Cyrus The Great began this chain and started the first dynasty. Not only did Iran conquer country after country to a wide span, but also was able to endure invasions from the Greeks, Mongols and Arabs.
Iran was the residence of one of the (greatest civilizations) this world has ever seen!
The Persian Empire consisted of a group of imperial dynasties that each took turns ruling Persia. Cyrus the great began this chain and started the first dynasty. This was caused by the overthrow of Media, Lydia, and Babylonia. Ancient Persia used to be dedicated to Zoroastrianism, but shortly after the 7th century, the Persian Empire’s religion was changed to Islam.
Iran was the residence of one of the greatest civilizations this world has ever seen.
Near the 5th century, Iran had become the world’s largest empire, and had exceeded the size of their Assyrian precursors!
Not only did Iran conquer country after country to a wide span, but also was able to endure invasions from the Greeks, Mongols and Arabs.
List of Persian dynasties
Achaemenid Empire (550–330 BC), commonly called the “First Persian Empire”
At its height around 475 BCE,
The Achaemenid Empire ruled over 44% of the world’s population, the highest figure for any empire in history!
Parthian Empire (247 BC–AD 224, also called the “Arsacid Empire”)
More known as the Arascid Empire, this dynasty was considered a major political and cultural power in Iran.
During the peak of its glory, the Parthian built one of the greatest and most powerful empires of the ancient world. For nearly 500 years, the Parthians ruled a large swath of land that stretched from north of Euphrates (nowadays the eastern turkey) to eastern Iran and ruled over millions of different peoples.
This empire was located near the Silk Road trade route. And thus, became a hub of trade and commerce.
Sasanian Empire (224–651), also called the “Neo-Persian Empire” and “Second Persian Empire”
This empire, more commonly known as “Sassanid“, was the last dynasty before the Islam religion replaced Zoroastrianism and was the successor of the Parthian empire. This dynasty was considered as one of the main predominant powers in the world.
Only one problem?
So was their neighbouring domain: their arch nemesis, the Byzantine Empire. This rivalry went on for nearly 5 centuries.
Tahirid dynasty (821–873 CE)
The Tahirid dynasty was a Persian dynasty that ruled Khorasan from 821 to 873. The dynasty was founded by Tahir ibn Husayn.
Tahirid capital was initially at Merv but later moved to Nishapur.
Alavid dynasty (864-928)
Alavid dynasties ruled in the coastal regions south of the Caspian Sea specifically Tabaristan, Daylam and Gilan.
Saffarid dynasty (861-1003)
Saffarid Dynasty was an Iranian dynasty of lower class origins that ruled a large area in eastern Iran. Saffarid dynasty is named after its founder, Yaqub bin Laith Saffar.
The Saffarids gave impetus to a renaissance of New Persian literature and culture.
Following Ya’qub’s conquest of Herat, some poets chose to celebrate his victory in Arabic, whereupon Ya’qub requested his secretary, Muhammad bin Wasif al-Sistani, to write those verses in Persian.
Samanid dynasty (875-999)
It was renowned for the impulse that it gave to Iranian national sentiment and learning. For the first time after the Arab Invasion, Persian becomes the official langue of the court and replaces Arabic.
The Samanids are remembered for the impetus they imparted to Persian national sentiment, culture and language, as opposed to Arab culture and language.
The main cities of Samarkand and Bukhara became cultural centers and Persian literature flourished in the works of the poets Rudaki and Ferdowsi also during Samanid era philosophy and history was encouraged. The Samanids promoted the arts, giving rise to the advancement of science and literature, and attracted scholars such as Avicenna who lived in the last years of the Samanids rule.
The Samanids coinage, due to its vast quantity, was popular not only in the Islamic world, but also outside it in Russia, Scandinavia, the Baltic lands and British Isles.
Ziyarid dynasty (928-1043)
The founder of the Ziyarid dynasty Mardavij b. Ziyar, claimed to stem from the pre-Islamic royal family of Gilan.
Al-Biruni, the great scientist of the middle ages, was supported by Qaboos, the ruler of the Ziyarid state, in 11th century CE in Gorgan. In fact he dedicated his work Chronology to Qaboos around 11th century CE and observed eclipses of the moon from there.
The most famous architectural works of Ziyarid dynasty is the Gonbad Kavous (Qabus)!
The tomb is one of the earliest architectural monuments with a dated inscription surviving in post-Islamic Iran. The tomb, built of fired brick, is an enormous cylinder capped by a conical roof.
Buyid dynasty (932-1056)
Buyids (also Bowayhids, Buwaihids) was a dynasty of Daylamite origin ruling over the south and western part of Iran and over Iraq from the middle of the 4th/10th to the middle of the 5th/11th centuries. The line was founded by the three sons of Buyeh (or Buwayh), ʿAli, Ḥasan, and Aḥmad.
Ghaznavid dynasty (962-1187)
The dynasty was founded by Sebuktigina, a former Turkic slave who was recognized by the Samanids as governor of Ghazna. Sebuktigin died in 997 CE and was succeeded by his famous son, Mahmud in 998 CE. Ghaznavid power reached its peak during Maḥmud’s reign.
His empire stretched from the Oxus to the Indus valley and the Indian Ocean and in the west the Iranian cities of Rayy and Hamadan.
In terms of cultural championship and the support of Persian poets, they were far more Persian than the ethnically Iranian Buyids rivals, whose support of Arabic letters in preference to Persian is well known.
The Ghaznavid court was supporter of Persian literature and the famous poet Farrukhi traveled from his home province to work for themThe poet Unsuri’s short collection of poetry was dedicated to Sultan Mahmud.
The Persian poet Ferdowsi completed his epic Shahnameh (“Book of Kings”) at the court of Maḥmud about 1010.
Perhaps the most significant invention that the Ghaznavids left the world was windmills, which were used to crush grain in order to create bread and other foodstuffs.
Seljuk dynasty (1037-1194)
Seljuk were ruling military family of Turkic tribes that invaded southwestern Asia in the 11th century and eventually founded an empire that included Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine, and most of Iran.
Khwarazmian dynasty (1077-1231)
The dynasty was founded by Anush Tigin Gharchai, a former Turkish slave who was appointed as governor of Khwarazm. The empire was defeated by the Mongols in 1231 and his territories were taken over by them.
Ilkhanid dynasty (1256-1388)
The Mongol invasions of the Islamic world began in 1221 with the conquest of eastern Iran.
The Ilkhanate was one of the four khanates within the Mongol Empire.
The Ilkhanids ended the Abbasid Caliphate, controlled the Seljuks as a vassal state, waged war with the Mamluks, and unified Persia as a territorial and political entity, paving the way for the Safavids.
Muzaffarid dynasty (1314-1393)
The Muzaffarid dynasty came to power in Iran following the breakup of the Ilkhanate in the 14th century. Yazd enjoyed a period of prosperity in the 14th century that led to a flourishing of architectural production. According to one assessment, twelve mosques, one hundred schools, and two hundred tombs were built in Yazd in the 14th century.
Timurid dynasty (1369-1507)
Timurid dynasty was the dynasty of Turkic-Mongol origin descended from the conqueror Timur. In architecture, the Timurids developed many Seljuk traditions. Turquoise and blue tiles forming intricate linear and geometric patterns decorated the facades of buildings. The Timurid sultans, especially Shahrukh Mirza and his son Mohammad Taragai Olog Beg, patronized Persian culture. Among the most important literary works of the Timurid era is the Persian biography of Timur, known as Zafarnameh. The schools of miniature painting in Shiraz and other cities flourished under the Timurids.
Safavid dynasty (1501–1736)
In 1501 the Safavid dynasty took control and became the first native dynasty to establish a national state officially known as Iran, after the descent of the Sassanid Empire.
The Safavid dynasty had its origins in Sufi order, called the Safaviyeh that had flourished in Azarbaijan. Its founder was the Persianmystic Sheikh Safi al-Din after whom the dynasty was named. They soon became one of the most magnificent ruling dynasties Persia had ever seen. Their rise to power was at the same time of the Muslim Conquest, 7th century. At its peak, the Safavid Dynasty controlled not only the entirety of what is now Iran, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, but also most of Afghanistan, Iraq, Georgia, and the Caucasus, and parts of Turkey, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan.
Historians note this dynasty’s reign as “The beginning of modern Persian history”!
A new age in Iranian architecture began with the rise of the Safavid dynasty. Notable monuments like the Sheikh Lotfallah, Hasht Behesht and the Chahar Bagh School appeared in Isfahan. In this period, handicrafts such as tile making, pottery, and textiles developed and great advances were made in miniature painting, bookbinding, decoration, and calligraphy.
In the sixteenth century, carpet weaving evolved from a nomadic to an industry with specialization of design and manufacturing. Tabriz was the center of this industry.
The carpets of Ardebil were commissioned to commemorate the Safavid dynasty.
In 1719 the Afghans had invaded Persia. They deposed the reigning Shah of the Safavid dynasty in 1722.
Afsharid dynasty (1736–1796)
This dynasty was originated in 1736 by Nader Shah, who was a remarkably gifted military commander. The members were residents of an ethnic dynasty with a Turkish lineage, the Afshar tribe to be exact.
Nader Shahs conquest led to the downfall of the Safavid dynasty, and he became the king of Iran. Nader was Persia’s most gifted military genius and is known as “The Second Alexander” and “The Napoleon of Persia“.
In 1738, he invaded Mughal India and captured an incredible amount of wealth, including the legendary Peacock Throne and the Koheh Noor diamond. Nader was assassinated by two of his own officers.
In 1796 Mohammad Khan Qajar, the founder of the Qajar dynasty, seized Mashhad and tortured Shahrokh to force him to reveal the whereabouts of Nader Shah’s treasures. Shahrokh died of his injuries soon after and with him the Afsharid dynasty came to an end.
Zand dynasty (1750–1794)
Commanded by Karim Khan Zand, this dynasty reigned over the central and southern regions of Iran throughout 18th century.
After Nader Shah’s assassination in 1747, Karim Khan became a major contender for power. The origin of the Zands was a tribe of the Lor race of Iran, named as Zand.
Karim Khan never entitled himself as the king, but always knew himself the regent or advocate of the Iranian people. During Karim Khan’s rule Iran recovered from the devastation of 40 years of war. He made Shiraz his capital, constructing many fine buildings. His fair taxation, effective diplomacy, and abilities to provide relative internal calm brought an unprecedented amount of prosperity to Fars, Isfahan, Khuzestan, and central Iran, which was unknown since the high Safavid times in the early decades of the 17th century.
Between 1779 and 1789 five Zand kings ruled briefly. In 1789 Lotf Ali Khan claimed himself as the new Zand king and tried to put down a rebellion led by Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar. Outnumbered by the superior Qajar forces, Lotf Ali Khan was finally defeated. His defeat marked the final eclipse of the Zand dynasty, which was supplanted by that of the Qajars.
Qajar dynasty (1785–1925)
Much like the Afsharid dynasty, they also had a Turkish origin. This Family overthrew Lotf’Ali Khan (The last ruler of the Zand dynasty) in 1794, and once again declared Persian dominion over massive areas of central Asia.
In 1796 Agha Mohammad Khan was formally crowned as shah. European powers began to see Iran as a strategic ally in the region, one with whom they could work to undermine Ottoman power. Russia and Great Britain were especially interested in establishing themselves in Iran. Agha Mohammad Khan was assassinated in 1797. Fath Ali Shah his nephew became the new king.
Fath Ali Shah launched the Russo-Persian War of 1804-1813 in which he was defeated. Under the terms of the 1813 Treaty of Gulistan, the Qajar rulers had to cede Azerbaijan, Dagestan, and eastern Georgia to the Romanov Tsar of Russia. A second Russo-Persian War (1826–1828) ended in another humiliating defeat for Persia, which lost the rest of the South Caucasus to Russia.
In 1921, Reza Shah Pahlavi overthrew the Qajars, establishing the authoritarian Pahlavi dynasty.
Pahlavi dynasty (1925–1979)
After the Iranian revolution that led to the extinction of monarchy, the Pahlavi dynasty took the power and ruled Iran from 1925 to 1979.
The founder was Reza Shah Pahlavi, who reigned until the year 1941. Within four years he had established himself as the most powerful person in the country by suppressing rebellions and establishing order.
Reza Shah had a lot of plans for modernizing of Iran. These plans included developing large-scale industries, implementing major infrastructure projects, building a cross-country railroad system, establishing a national public education system, reforming the judiciary, and improving health care. He sent hundreds of Iranians including his son to Europe for training.
In the early 1950s a struggle for control of the Iranian government developed between the shah and a nationalist Mohammad Mosaddeq. In March 1951 Mosaddeq secured passage of a bill in the Majles (parliament) to nationalize the vast British petroleum interests in Iran. In the 1960s and ’70s the shah sought to develop a more independent foreign policy and established working relationships with the Soviet Union and eastern European nations.
The Pahlavi Dynasty was succeeded by an Islamic government under Ayatollah Khomeini.