Iranian studies referred to as Iranology and Iranistics, is an interdisciplinary field dealing with the study of the history, literature and culture of Iranian peoples. It is a part of the wider field of Oriental studies. Iranian studies is broader than and distinct from Persian studies, the study of the modern Persian language and literature specifically; the discipline of Iranian Studies focuses on broad trends in culture, history and other aspects of not only Persians, but a variety of other contemporary and historical Iranian peoples, such as Azeris, Lurs, Talysh, Pashtuns, Baluchis, Sarmatians, Parthians, Bactrians, etc. The medieval Iranian poet Ferdowsi, author of the Iranian national epic the Shahnameh, can be considered the "founder" of Iranian studies in the sense that in his work he made a deliberate effort to highlight Persian culture prior to the Arab conquests. In this sense Ferdowsi's nationalistic approach can be contrasted with that of Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, the famous ninth-century Iranian historian whose History of the Prophets and Kings reflects a more Islamic perspective.
Ferdowsi's work follows earlier semi-historical works such as the lost Sasanian-era Khwaday-Namag. Persian historiography speaking begins with the Tarikh-i Mas'udi of Abulfazl Bayhaqi, whose fluent prose style was influential on subsequent Persian literature. Persian historical writing reached its peak two centuries with the Jami al-Tawarikh of Rashīd al-Dīn Fadhl-allāh Hamadānī. Other important historical works include the Tarikh-i Jahangushay by Ata-Malik Juvayni and the Zafarnamah of Sharaf ad-Din Ali Yazdi, a history of the Mongolian conqueror Timur. Among the most prominent scholars of Iranian Studies in Iran during the twentieth century may be counted Badiozzaman Forouzanfar, Abdolhossein Zarrinkoub, Zabihollah Safa, Mojtaba Minovi, Mohsen Abolqasemi, Ahmad Tafazzoli, Alireza Shapour Shahbazi,and Fereydoon Joneydi; the Loghat-nameh of Ali-Akbar Dehkhoda is the largest comprehensive Persian dictionary published, in 15 volumes. European scholarly interest in Iranian language and civilization dates back to the late eighteenth century, with the emergence of comparative Indo-European linguistics and the translation of the Avesta by French scholar Abraham Hyacinthe Anquetil-Duperron.
British interest in Persian was spurred by the fact that it was the administrative language of much of India. The major European scholarly organization devoted to Iranian Studies is the Societas Iranologica Europea; the London-based Iran Heritage Foundation supports Iranian studies at several universities and sponsors a wide range of public cultural events. Austria Institut für Iranistik, Universität WienFrance Institut d'études iraniennes, Sorbonne nouvelle Institut supérieur d'études historiques sur l'Iran Mondes iranien et indien, Centre national de recherche scientifiqueGermany Institut für Iranistik, Freie Universität Berlin Seminar für Iranistik, Georg-August-Universität GöttingenPoland Zakład Iranistyki, Jagiellonian University, Poland Zakład Iranistyki UW Warsaw University, PolandScandinavia Scandinavian Society for Iranian StudiesSpain Avestan Digital Archive, University of SalamancaUK British Institute for Persian Studies Arabic and Persian Studies, University of Cambridge Centre for Iranian Cultural Studies, Durham University Iran Heritage Foundation Oriental Institute, Oxford University Institute for Iranian Studies at the University of St Andrews Centre for Iranian Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London Library for Iranian Studies The first major American Iranist was Columbia University Professor A. V. Williams Jackson, a scholar of Indo-Iranian languages, known for producing a grammar of the Avestan language.
During the 1950s Richard Frye developed Iranian Studies at Harvard. An Iranian Studies program was created at UCLA in 1963 in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, established by Wolf Leslau a few years before, in 1959; the doctoral Program at UCLA, was the home institution of Professor emeritus Hanns-Peter Schmidt who used to read Old Iranian and Old Indic, is now led by M. Rahim Shayegan who specializes in Ancient Iran. Other Universities where Iranian Studies are offered include the University of Chicago; the Society for Iranian Studies was founded by a group of Iranian graduate students in 1967 and began producing a journal, Iranian Studies. The field expanded during the 1970s, with a number of Americans having served in the Peace Corps in Iran taking up academic positions. Close relations between Iran and the US facilitated the growth of academic programs as well as the Asia Institute in Shiraz and the American Institute of Iranian Studies; the 1979 revolution reversed this trend.
Over the past three decades, lack of funding and the difficulty of research travel to Iran have been major obstacles to scholars based in North America. The field has seen some important achievements such as the monumental Encyclopedia Iranica project led by retired Columbia University professor Ehsan Yarshater. In recent years several new centers for Iranian Studies have been established
Avestan known as Zend, refers to two languages: Old Avestan and Younger Avestan. The languages are known only from their use as the language of Zoroastrian scripture, from which they derive their name. Both are early Iranian languages, a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages within the Indo-European family, its immediate ancestor was the Proto-Iranian language, a sister language to the Proto-Indo-Aryan language, with both having developed from the earlier Proto-Indo-Iranian. As such, Old Avestan is quite close in grammar and lexicon with Vedic Sanskrit, the oldest preserved Indo-Aryan language; the Avestan text corpus was composed in ancient Arachosia, Aria and Margiana, corresponding to the entirety of present-day Afghanistan, parts of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The Yaz culture of Bactria-Margiana has been regarded as a archaeological reflection of the early "Eastern Iranian" culture described in the Avesta. Avestan's status as a sacred language has ensured its continuing use for new compositions long after the language ceased to be a living language.
"Avestan, associated with northeastern Iran, Old Persian, which belongs to the southwest, together constitute what is called Old Iranian." Scholars traditionally classify Iranian languages as "old", "middle" and "new" according to their age, as "eastern" or "western" according to geography, within this framework Avestan is classified as Eastern Old Iranian. But the east-west distinction is of limited meaning for Avestan, as the linguistic developments that distinguish Eastern from Western Iranian had not yet occurred. Avestan does not display some typical Western Iranian innovations visible in Old Persian, so in this sense, "eastern" only means "non-western". Old Avestan is related to Old Persian and agrees morphologically with Vedic Sanskrit; the old ancestor dialect of Pashto was close to the language of the Gathas. The Avestan language is attested in two forms, known as "Old Avestan" and "Younger Avestan". Younger Avestan did not evolve from Old Avestan; every Avestan text, regardless of whether composed in Old or Younger Avestan, underwent several transformations.
Karl Hoffmann traced the following stages for Avestan. In chronological order: The natural language of the composers of the Gathas, the Yasna Haptanghaiti, the four sacred prayers. Changes precipitated by slow chanting Changes to Old Avestan due to transmission by native speakers of Younger Avestan The natural language of the scribes who wrote grammatically correct Younger Avestan texts Deliberate changes introduced through "standardization" Changes introduced by transfer to regions where Avestan was not spoken Adaptions/translations of portions of texts from other regions Composition of ungrammatical late Avestan texts Phonetic notation of the Avestan texts in the Sasanian archetype Post-Sasanian deterioration of the written transmission due to incorrect pronunciation Errors and corruptions introduced during copyingMany phonetic features cannot be ascribed with certainty to a particular stage since there may be more than one possibility; every phonetic form that can be ascribed to the Sasanian archetype on the basis of critical assessment of the manuscript evidence must have gone through the stages mentioned above so that "Old Avestan" and "Young Avestan" mean no more than "Old Avestan and Young Avestan of the Sasanian period."
The script used for writing Avestan developed during the 3rd or 4th century AD. By the language had been extinct for many centuries, remained in use only as a liturgical language of the Avesta canon; as is still the case today, the liturgies were recited by rote. The script devised to render Avestan was natively known as Din dabireh "religion writing", it is written right-to-left. Among the 53 characters are about 30 letters that are – through the addition of various loops and flourishes – variations of the 13 graphemes of the cursive Pahlavi script, known from the post-Sassanian texts of Zoroastrian tradition; these symbols, like those of all the Pahlavi scripts, are in turn based on Aramaic script symbols. Avestan incorporates several letters from other writing systems, most notably the vowels, which are derived from Greek minuscules. A few letters were free inventions, as were the symbols used for punctuation; the Avestan alphabet has one letter that has no corresponding sound in the Avestan language.
The Avestan script is alphabetic, the large number of letters suggests that its design was due to the need to render the orally recited texts with high phonetic precision. The correct enunciation of the liturgies was considered necessary for the prayers to be effective; the Zoroastrians of India, who represent one of the largest surviving Zoroastrian communities worldwide transcribe Avestan in Brahmi-based scripts. This is a recent development first seen in the ca. 12th century texts of Neryosang Dhaval and other Parsi Sanskritist theologians of that era, which are contemporary with the oldest surviving manuscripts in Avestan script. Today, Avestan is most typeset in the Gujarati script; some Avestan letters with no corresponding symbol are synthesized with additional diacritical marks, for example, the /z/ in zaraϑuštra is written with j with a dot below. Aves
The Persians are an Iranian ethnic group that make up over half the population of Iran. They share a common cultural system and are native speakers of the Persian language, as well as related languages; the ancient Persians were a nomadic branch of the ancient Iranian population that entered the territory of modern-day Iran by the early 10th century BC. Together with their compatriot allies, they established and ruled some of the world's most powerful empires, well-recognized for their massive cultural and social influence covering much of the territory and population of the ancient world. Throughout history, the Persians have contributed to various forms of art and science, own one of the world's most prominent literatures. In contemporary terminology, people of Persian heritage native to present-day Afghanistan and Uzbekistan are referred to as Tajiks, whereas those in the eastern Caucasus, albeit assimilated, are referred to as Tats; however the terms Tajik and Persian were synonymous and were used interchangeably, many of the most influential Persian figures hailed from outside Iran's present-day borders to the northeast in Central Asia and Afghanistan and to a lesser extent to the northwest in the Caucasus proper.
In historical contexts in English, "Persians" may be defined more loosely to cover all subjects of the ancient Persian polities, regardless of ethnic background. The English term Persian derives from Latin Persia, itself deriving from Greek Persís, a Hellenized form of Old Persian Pārsa. In the Bible, it is given as Parás —sometimes Paras uMadai —within the books of Esther, Daniel and Nehemya. A Greek folk etymology connected the name to a legendary character in Greek mythology. Herodotus recounts this story, devising a foreign son, from whom the Persians took the name; the Persians themselves knew the story, as Xerxes I tried to use it to suborn the Argives during his invasion of Greece, but failed to do so. Although Persis was one of the provinces of ancient Iran, varieties of this term were adopted through Greek sources and used as an official name for all of Iran for many years. Thus, in the Western world, the term Persian came to refer to all inhabitants of the country; some medieval and early modern Islamic sources used cognates of the term Persian to refer to various Iranian peoples, including the speakers of the Khwarezmian language, the Mazanderani language, the Old Azeri language.
10th-century Iraqi historian Al-Masudi refers to Pahlavi and Azari as dialects of the Persian language. In 1333, medieval Moroccan traveler and scholar Ibn Battuta referred to the people of Kabul as a specific sub-tribe of Persians. Lady Mary Sheil, in her observation of Iran during the Qajar era, describes Persians and Leks to identify themselves as "descendants of the ancient Persians". On March 21, 1935, the former king of Iran, Reza Shah of the Pahlavi dynasty, issued a decree asking the international community to use the term Iran, the native name of the country, in formal correspondence. However, the term Persian is still used to designate the predominant population of the Iranian peoples living in the Iranian cultural continent; the earliest known written record attributed to the Persians is from the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, an Assyrian inscription from the mid-9th century BC, found at Nimrud. The inscription mentions Parsua as a tribal chiefdom in modern-day western Iran; the ancient Persians were a nomadic branch of the Iranian population that, in the early 10th century BC, settled to the northwest of modern-day Iran.
They were dominated by the Assyrians for much of the first three centuries after arriving in the region. However, they played a major role in the downfall of the Neo-Assyrian Empire; the Medes, another branch of this population, founded the unified empire of Media as the region's dominant cultural and political power in c. 625 BC. Meanwhile, the Persian dynasty of the Achaemenids formed a vassal state to the central Median power. In c. 552 BC, the Achaemenids began a revolution which led to the conquest of the empire by Cyrus II in c. 550 BC. They spread their influence to the rest of what is called the Iranian Plateau, assimilated with the non-Iranian indigenous groups of the region, including the Elamites and the Mannaeans. At its greatest extent, the Achaemenid Empire stretched from parts of Eastern Europe in the west, to the Indus Valley in the east, making it the largest empire the world had yet seen; the Achaemenids developed the infrastructure to support their growing influence, including the creation of Pasargadae and the opulent city of Persepolis.
The empire extended as far as the limits of the Greek city states in modern-day mainland Greece, where the Persians and Athenians influenced each other in what is a reciprocal cultural exchange. Its legacy and impact on the kingdom of Macedon was notably huge for centuries after the withdrawal of the Persians from Europe following the Greco-Persian Wars; the empire collapsed in 330 BC following the conquests of Alexander the Great, but reemerged shortly after as the Parthian Empire. During the Achaemenid era, Persian colonists settled in Asia Minor. In Lydia, near Sardis, there was the Hyrcanian plain, according to Strabo, got its name from the Persian settlers that were moved from Hyrcania. Near Sardis, there was the plain of Cyrus, which further signified the presence of numerous Persian settlements in
Adherents of Zoroastrianism use three distinct versions of traditional calendars for liturgical purposes, all derived from medieval Iranian calendars based on the Babylonian calendar as used in the Achaemenid empire. "Qadimi" is a traditional reckoning introduced in 1006. "Shahanshahi" is a calendar. "Fasli" is a term for a 1906 adaptation of the 11th-century Jalali calendar, following a proposal by Kharshedji Rustomji Cama made in the 1860s. A number of Calendar eras are in use: A tradition of counting years from the birth of Zoroaster was reported from India in the 19th century. There was a dispute between factions variously preferring an era of 389 BCE, 538 BCE or 637 BCE; the "Yazdegerdi era" counts from the accession of the last Sassanid ruler, Yazdegerd III. This convention was proposed by Cama in the 1860s but has since been used in conjunctions with "Qadimi" or "Shahanshahi" reckoning. An alternative "Magian era" was set at the date of Yazdegerd's death, in 652. "Z. E. R." or "Zarathushtrian Religious Era" is a convention introduced in 1990 by the "Zarathushtrian Assembly of California", set at vernal equinox of 1737 BCE.
The Babylonian calendar was used in the Achaemenid Empire by the 4th century BCE for civil purposes. The earliest Zoroastrian calendar follows the Babylonian in relating the seventh and other days of the month to Ahura Mazda. Like all ancient calendar, the Babylonian calendar was lunisolar, it used an intercalary month once every six years. In the civil calendar, intercalations did not always follow a regular pattern, but during the reign of Artaxerxes II astronomers utilised a 19 year cycle which required the addition of a month called Addaru II in years 3, 6, 8, 11, 14 and 19, the month Ululu II in year 17 of the cycle; the first known intercalation is recorded for 309 BCE. The first month of the year was called Frawardin, the first day of Frawardin was the'New Year's Day' or Nawruz, from which all other religious observances were reckoned – this day being, in theory, the day of the northern vernal equinox. A 365 day calendar, with months identical to the Egyptian calendar, was introduced shortly after the conquest of Egypt by the Achaemenid ruler Cambyses.
Scholars are divided on whether this 365 day calendar was in fact preceded by a 360 day calendar of Zoroastrian observances. Following Alexander's conquest of Persia in 330 BCE, the Seleucids instituted the Hellenic practice of counting years from the start of a fixed era, as opposed using regnal years; the regnal era of Alexander is now referred to as the Seleucid era. The Parthians, who succeeded the Seleucids, continued the Seleucid/Hellenic tradition. In 224 CE, when the Babylonian calendar was replaced by the Zoroastrian, 1 Frawardin and the New Year celebration of Nawruz had drifted to 1 October; the older custom of counting regnal years from the monarch's coronation was reinstated. At this point the calendar was realigned with the seasons by delaying the epagemonai by eight months and adjusting the dates of the gahanbar accordingly; this caused confusion, since the new year now fell five days earlier than before, some people continued to observe the old date. After 46 years, with 1 Frawardin now on 19 September, another calendar reform was implemented by Ardashir's grandson Hormazd I.
During the first years after implementation of the new Gatha days, the population had not universally adopted the new dates for religious festivals, resulting in "official" celebrations takings place five days earlier than popular celebrations. In years the population had observed the Gatha days, but the original five day discrepancy persisted. Hormazd's reform was to link the popular and official observance dates to form continual six-day feasts. Nawruz was an exception: the first and the sixth days of the month were celebrated as different occasions. Lesser Nawruz was observed on 1 Frawardin. 6 Frawardin became a day of special festivity. Around the 10th century CE, the Greater Nawruz was associated with the return of the legendary king, Jamsed. Mary Boyce has argued that sometime between 399 CE and 518 CE the six-day festivals were compressed to five days; the major feasts, or gahambars, of contemporary Zoroastrian practice, are still kept as five-day observances today. The Bundahishn, a pseudo-Avestan treatise written in the early Islamic period replaces the "Age of Alexander" with an "Ageo of Zoroaster", placed "258 years before Alexander".
By the reign of Yazdegird III, the religious celebrations were again somewhat adrift with respect to their proper seasons. The calendar had continued to slip against the Julian calendar since the previous reform at the rate of one day every four years. Therefore, in 632, the new year was celebrated on 16 June. By the 9th century, the Zoroastrian theologian Zadspram had noted that the state of affairs was less than optimal, estimated that at the time of Final Judgement the two systems would be out of sync by four years; the current mainstream Zoroastrian reckoning of years’ start date is on 16 June 632 CE. Yazdegird III was the last monarch of the Sasanian dynasty, since the custom at that time was to count regnal years since the monarch ascended the throne, the reckoning of years was continued, in the absence of a Zoroastrian monarch, under Islamic rule. Zo
Cappadocia was a satrapy of the Achaemenid Empire used by the Achaemenids to administer the regions beyond the Taurus Mountains and the Euphrates river. The Satrapy paid an estimated 360 talents a year in tribute; the first satrap known by name is Ariaramnes, who ruled sometime at the beginning of the reign of the Achaemenid king Darius the Great. His successors are unknown, although Gobryas, the half brother of Xerxes, commanded the Cappadocians in 480 BCE. During the reign of Artaxerxes II, Cappadocia was divided, becoming Paphlagonia and Cappadocia Proper. Datames became the satrap of southern Cappadocia; the last Achaemenid satrap of Cappadocia was Mithrobuzanes, who died in 334 BCE at the Battle of the Granicus fighting Alexander's invading army. Ariaramnes, c.500 BCE Datames, c. 380–362 BC Ariamnes I, 362–350 BC Mithrobuzanes Ariarathes I, 350–331 BC Cappadocian calendar List of rulers of Cappadocia Kingdom of Cappadocia Cappadocia
Anahita is the Old Persian form of the name of an Iranian goddess and appears in complete and earlier form as Aredvi Sura Anahita, the Avestan name of an Indo-Iranian cosmological figure venerated as the divinity of "the Waters" and hence associated with fertility and wisdom. Aredvi Sura Anahita is Ardwisur Anahid or Nahid in Middle and Modern Persian, Anahit in Armenian. An iconic shrine cult of Aredvi Sura Anahita was – together with other shrine cults – "introduced in the 4th century BCE and lasted until it was suppressed in the wake of an iconoclastic movement under the Sassanids."The Greek and Roman historians of classical antiquity refer to her either as Anaïtis or identified her with one of the divinities from their own pantheons. 270 Anahita, a silicaceous S-type asteroid, is named after her. Based on the development of her cult, she was described as a syncretistic goddess, composed of two independent elements; the first is a manifestation of the Indo-Iranian idea of the Heavenly River who provides the waters to the rivers and streams flowing in the earth while the second is that of a goddess with an uncertain origin, though maintaining her own unique characteristics, became associated with the cult of the ancient Mesopotamian goddess Inanna-Ishtar.
According to a theory, this is attributed to a desire to make Anahita part of Zoroastrianism after diffusing from the extreme northwest to the rest of Persia. According to H. Lommel, the proper name of the divinity in Indo-Iranian times was Sarasvatī, which means “she who possesses waters”. In Sanskrit, the name आर्द्रावी शूरा अनाहिता means "of the waters and immaculate". Like the Indian Sarasvatī, Anāhitā nurtures herds. Only Arədvī is specific to the divinity; the words sūra and anāhīta are generic Avestan language adjectives, mean "mighty" and "pure". Both adjectives appear as epithets of other divinities or divine concepts such as Haoma and the Fravashis. Both adjectives are attested in Vedic Sanskrit; as a divinity of the waters, the yazata is of Indo-Iranian origin, according to Lommel related to Sanskrit Sarasvatī that, like its Proto-Iranian equivalent *Harahvatī, derives from Indo-Iranian *Saraswṇtī. In its old Iranian form *Harahvatī, "her name was given to the region, rich in rivers, whose modern capital is Delhi."
"Like the Devi Saraswati, nurtures crops and herds. Some historians note that that despite Anahita's Aryan roots and the way she represented the shared concept of the Heavenly River, which in the Vedas was represented by the goddess Sarasvatī, she had no counterpart in the ancient text who bear the same name or one that remotely resembled hers. In the Persian texts of the Sassanid and eras, Arədvī Sūra Anāhīta appears as Ardwisur Anāhīd; the evidence suggests a western Iranian origin of Anāhīta.. Anahita shares characteristics with Mat Zemlya in Slavic mythology. At some point prior to the 4th century BCE, this yazata was conflated with Semitic Ištar a divinity of "maiden" fertility and from whom Aredvi Sura Anahita inherited additional features of a divinity of war and of the planet Venus or "Zohreh" in Arabic, it was moreover the association with the planet Venus, "it seems, which led Herodotus to record that the learnt'to sacrifice to "the heavenly goddess"' from the Assyrians and Arabians."
There are sources. For instance, it was proposed that the ancient Persians worshiped the planet Venus as *Anahiti, the "pure one", that, as these people settled in Eastern Iran, *Anahiti began to absorb elements of the cult of Ishtar. Indeed, according to Boyce, it is "probable" that there was once a Perso–Elamite divinity by the name of *Anahiti, it is likely that it was this divinity, an analogue of Ishtar, that it is this divinity with which Aredvi Sura Anahita was conflated. The link between Anahita and Ishtar is part of the wider theory that Iranian kingship had Mesopotamian roots and that the Persian gods were natural extensions of the Babylonian deities, where Ahuramazda is considered an aspect of Marduk, Mithra for Shamash, Anahita was Ishtar; this is supported by how Ishtar "apparently" gave Aredvi Sura Anahita the epithet Banu,'the Lady', a Mesopotamian construct, not attested as an epithet for a divinity in Iran before the common era. It is unknown in the texts of the Avesta, but evident in Sassanid-era middle Persian inscriptions and in a middle Persian Zend translation of Yasna 68.13.
In Zoroastrian texts from the post-conquest epoch, the divinity is referred to as'Anahid the Lady','Ardwisur the Lady' and'Ardwisur the Lady of the waters'. Because the divinity is unattested in any old Western Iranian language, establishing characteristics prior to the introduction of Zoroastrianism in Western Iran is much in the realm of speculation. Boyce concludes that "the Achaemenids' devotion to this goddess evidently survived their conversion to Zoroastrianism, they appear to have used royal influence to have her adopted into the Zoroastrian
The Achaemenid Empire called the First Persian Empire, was an empire based in Western Asia founded by Cyrus the Great. Ranging at its greatest extent from the Balkans and Eastern Europe proper in the west to the Indus Valley in the east, it was larger than any previous empire in history, spanning 5.5 million square kilometers. Incorporating various peoples of different origins and faiths, it is notable for its successful model of a centralised, bureaucratic administration, for building infrastructure such as road systems and a postal system, the use of an official language across its territories, the development of civil services and a large professional army; the empire's successes inspired similar systems in empires. By the 7th century BC, the Persians had settled in the south-western portion of the Iranian Plateau in the region of Persis, which came to be their heartland. From this region, Cyrus the Great advanced to defeat the Medes and the Neo-Babylonian Empire, establishing the Achaemenid Empire.
Alexander the Great, an avid admirer of Cyrus the Great, conquered most of the empire by 330 BC. Upon Alexander's death, most of the empire's former territory came under the rule of the Ptolemaic Kingdom and Seleucid Empire, in addition to other minor territories which gained independence at that time; the Iranian elites of the central plateau reclaimed power by the second century BC under the Parthian Empire. The Achaemenid Empire is noted in Western history as the antagonist of the Greek city-states during the Greco-Persian Wars and for the emancipation of the Jewish exiles in Babylon; the historical mark of the empire went far beyond its territorial and military influences and included cultural, social and religious influences as well. Despite the lasting conflict between the two states, many Athenians adopted Achaemenid customs in their daily lives in a reciprocal cultural exchange, some being employed by or allied to the Persian kings; the impact of Cyrus's edict is mentioned in Judeo-Christian texts, the empire was instrumental in the spread of Zoroastrianism as far east as China.
The empire set the tone for the politics and history of Iran. The term Achaemenid means "of the family of the Achaemenis/Achaemenes". Achaemenes was himself a minor seventh-century ruler of the Anshan in southwestern Iran, a vassal of Assyria. Astronomical year numbering Dates are approximate, consult particular article for details The Persian nation contains a number of tribes as listed here....: the Pasargadae and Maspii, upon which all the other tribes are dependent. Of these, the Pasargadae are the most distinguished. Other tribes are the Panthialaei, Germanii, all of which are attached to the soil, the remainder -the Dai, Dropici, being nomadic; the Achaemenid Empire was created by nomadic Persians. The name "Persia" is a Greek and Latin pronunciation of the native word referring to the country of the people originating from Persis; the Persians were an Iranian people who arrived in what is today Iran c. 1000 BC and settled a region including north-western Iran, the Zagros Mountains and Persis alongside the native Elamites.
For a number of centuries they fell under the domination of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, based in northern Mesopotamia. The Persians were nomadic pastoralists in the western Iranian Plateau and by 850 BC were calling themselves the Parsa and their shifting territory Parsua, for the most part localized around Persis; the Achaemenid Empire was not the first Iranian empire, as the Medes, another group of Iranian peoples, established a short-lived empire and played a major role in the overthrow of the Assyrian. The Achaemenids were rulers of the Elamite city of Anshan near the modern city of Marvdasht. There are conflicting accounts of the identities of the earliest Kings of Anshan. According to the Cyrus Cylinder the kings of Anshan were Teispes, Cyrus I, Cambyses I and Cyrus II known as Cyrus the Great, who created the empire. In Herodotus' Histories, he writes that Cyrus the Great was the son of Cambyses I and Mandane of Media, the daughter of Astyages, the king of the Median Empire. Cyrus revolted against the Median Empire in 553 BC, in 550 BC succeeded in defeating the Medes, capturing Astyages and taking the Median capital city of Ecbatana.
Once in control of Ecbatana, Cyrus styled himself as the successor to Astyages and assumed control of the entire empire. By inheriting Astyages' empire, he inherited the territorial conflicts the Medes had had with both Lydia and the Neo-Babylonian Empire. King Croesus of Lydia sought to take advantage of the new international situation by advancing into what had been Median territory in Asia Minor. Cyrus led a counterattack which not only fought off Croesus' armies, but led to the capture of Sardis and the fall of the Lydian Kingdom in 546 BC. Cyrus placed Pactyes in charge of collecting tribute in Lydia and left, but once Cyrus had left Pactyes instigated a rebellion against Cyrus. Cyrus sent the Median general Mazares to deal with the rebellion, Pactyes was captured. Mazares, aft