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Persian Empire

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Persian Empire in the Achaemenid era, 6th century BC
Tomb of Cyrus the Great, founder of the Achaemenid Empire (the first Persian Empire) in the 6th century BC
Taq Kasra (Arch of Ctesiphon), symbol of the Sasanian Empire, 3rd century AD

The Persian Empire (Persian: شاهنشاهی ایران‎, translit. Šâhanšâhiye Irân, lit. 'Imperial Iran') refers to any of a series of imperial dynasties that were centred in Persia/Iran from the 6th century BC Achaemenid Empire era to the 20th century AD in the Qajar dynasty era.


The first dynasty of the Persian Empire was created by Achaemenids, established by Cyrus the Great in 550 BC with the conquest of Median, Lydian and Babylonian empires.[1][2] It covered much of the Ancient world when it was conquered by Alexander the Great. Persepolis is the most famous historical site related to Persian Empire in the Achaemenid era and it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.


From 247 BC to 224 AD, Persia was ruled by the Parthian Empire, which supplanted the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire, and then by the Sassanian Empire, which ruled up until the mid-7th century.[3]

The Persian Empire in the Sasanian era was interrupted by the Arab conquest of Persia in 651 AD, establishing the even larger Islamic caliphate, and later by the Mongol invasion. The main religion of ancient Persia was the native Zoroastrianism, but after the seventh century, it was slowly replaced by Islam which achieved a majority in the 10th century.


Shah Abbas I, the most powerful king of the Safavid dynasty

The Safavid Empire was the first Persian Empire established after the Arab conquest of Persia by Shah Ismail I. From their base in Ardabil, the Safavid Persians established control over parts of Greater Persia/Iran and reasserted the Persian identity of the region, becoming the first native Persian dynasty since the Sasanian Empire to establish a unified Persian state.

Literature, art and architecture flourished in the Safavid era once again, and it is often cited as the "rebirth of the Persian Empire". Safavids also announced Shia Islam as the official religion in the empire versus the Sunni Islam in the neighbouring Ottoman Empire.

List of the dynasties described as a Persian Empire

See also



  1. ^ Herodotus (2015) [2014]. "Halicarnassus". The Histories. Penguin Classics Deluxe (Reprint ed.). London: Penguin Classics. pp. (page needed). ISBN 978-0143107545.
  2. ^ Briant 2002, p. 15.
  3. ^ DK 2014, p. 71.


External links