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The Achaemenid Persian Empire (c. 500 BC) by Undevicesimus The Achaemenid Persian Empire (c. 500 BC) by Undevicesimus
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The Achaemenid Persian Empire (c. 500 BC)

In the early sixth century BC, the Middle East was a theatre of war between several empires competing for dominance of the region. The Median Empire asserted its control over all of Iran and the mountainous areas directly north of Mesopotamia while the so-called Neo-Babylonian Empire toppled the Assyrians and consolidated its power centre in the fertile lands between the Euphrates and Tigris.

Meanwhile, after the fall of the New Kingdom and the ensuing centuries of internal conflict, Egypt managed to reconsolidate one more time under its twenty-sixth dynasty. In a beautiful example of how history always seems to repeat itself, the reborn Egypt challenged the Neo-Babylonian Empire for control of the eastern Mediterranean coasts, much like the New Kingdom had battled the Hittites centuries earlier. Yet the days of Egypt’s greatness under the New Kingdom were long gone. The Neo-Babylonian Empire soundly defeated Egypt and pressed into Palestine, capturing Jerusalem in 587 BC and turning Egypt into a de facto puppet state. Babylon thus emerged victorious and became the supreme centre of the ancient world.

However, fortunes were about to shift completely. Shortly before 550 BC, the Median Empire faced a revolt in southern Iran which paved the way for the rise of a new power: the Achaemenid Persians, led by Cyrus the Great. Taking over control of southern Iran, the Persian heartland, Cyrus embarked on a systematic campaign of conquest in the Middle East. Persian forces swept westwards, reaching Lydia by 545 BC, overthrowing the Lydian kingdom of Croesus and taking over much of Asia Minor. Only a few years later, the Neo-Babylonian Empire underwent the same fate when Cyrus defeated its armies in 539 BC at Babylon itself, simultaneously ending the Babylonian Captivity of the Jews. Next, the Persian war machine stormed into the east and Cyrus expanded his empire as far as the north-eastern regions of Iran, where he ultimately fell in battle against the nomads of Central Asia. His son and successor Cambyses continued the Persian rise to power, consolidating Persian holdings and annexing Egypt by 525 BC.

In approximately thirty years time, the Achaemenid Persians had created the largest empire the world had ever seen until then, uniting for the first time the entire region of Egypt, the Middle East and Iran under one empire. This implied the de facto unification of most of the sedentary and urbanised world in the west of Asia. Cambyses’ successor Darius managed to keep the empire together despite a number of revolts and steered it to its zenith of power. The empire was divided up into approximately twenty provinces, called satrapies, of which the inhabitants were allowed significant local autonomy as long as Persian lordship was recognised.

Despite the near-supreme power of the Persian Empire, further expansion proved difficult. North of the empire lived the nomads of Central Asia and southern Russia, known in the Greek world as Scythians. Darius failed to fully subdue them, leaving the steppes of Central Asia as the empire’s northernmost frontier. In the east, the Persians expanded into the Indus Valley but failed to gain footholds in India proper. Lastly, the Arabian desert prevented any real expansion into the Arabian peninsula. This left the power-hungry empire with only one direction for worthwhile expansion: the west. Persian armies invaded Europe before the end of the sixth century BC, capturing Thrace and subduing Macedon. Such was the prelude to the titanic clash between the Persian superpower and the world of the Greek city-states

© 2012 – 2016 undevicesimus.deviantart.com


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:iconwoodsman2b:
woodsman2b Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2014
Hello how are you ? I wanted to know if you could post the blank version of this map, I'd like to make a series of maps about
the Ancient Empires. I will credit you of course.
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:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2014   Artist
Sorry, I don't have the base map for this one anymore (or any of my old maps).
Reply
:iconwoodsman2b:
woodsman2b Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2014
Ok. Thank you for answering!
Reply
:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2014   Artist
Yea believe it or not but some months ago, I actually thought about uploading my old base maps to dA for others to use because I wasn't going to use them myself anymore. But when I looked, I noticed I had already deleted them :/
Reply
:iconwoodsman2b:
woodsman2b Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2014
That's a a shame indeed... I liked the old versions too!
Reply
:iconsn00gdog:
Sn00gDog Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2014
Nicely Done !
Reply
:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2014   Artist
Thank you :bow:
Reply
:iconencoder6:
Encoder6 Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Nice work! :)
Reply
:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2014   Artist
Thanks :bow:
Reply
:iconencoder6:
Encoder6 Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You're welcome, my friend :)
Reply
:iconfredrikslicer:
fredrikslicer Featured By Owner May 24, 2014
Great map
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:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner May 24, 2014   Artist
Thanks :bow:
Reply
:iconfredrikslicer:
fredrikslicer Featured By Owner May 24, 2014
Mind if I use it for something I'm working on? I will credit you in the description
Reply
:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner May 24, 2014   Artist
Not if you're going to take the map and edit it into something else, sorry
But using it for reference in information is fine, of course :)
Reply
:iconfredrikslicer:
fredrikslicer Featured By Owner May 24, 2014
ah well my search for good looking maps continues which is harder than it should be
Reply
:iconexnihilo-nihil:
Exnihilo-nihil Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2013  Professional Writer
This map is more clear than these I have on books... Congrats ! A great job !
Reply
:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2013   Artist
Merci bcp :bow:
Reply
:iconkalika12:
kalika12 Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I like your maps and hystorical descriptions a lot!!!:dummy:
Im still waiting a map about the Napoleonic Wars from you though.
Reply
:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013   Artist
Thank you :bow:
Eventually maybe I'll make a Napoleonic map :) "Napoleonic Wars" is an incorrect term, btw - it's "Wars of the Coalitions" in my book ;)
Reply
:iconkalika12:
kalika12 Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah,its true ( even more because there was another Napoleon after the one we all love!:XD: )
Reply
:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013   Artist
Haha, good point too!
Reply
:iconwoodsman2b:
woodsman2b Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2012
OMG I love it ! Finally I've found a map of Persian Empire with all the satrapies ! So great :D
Reply
:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2012   Artist
You're welcome (:
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:iconexnihilo-nihil:
Exnihilo-nihil Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2012  Professional Writer
A really good job!
Reply
:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2012   Artist
Thank you! :bow:
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:iconcaessaes:
Caessaes Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2012
It's incredible how history change. After of this empire was the turn of greeks, romans, byzantins, arabs, persians again, crussads, turks, british.
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:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2012   Artist
Very true (:
Reply
:iconcybereaglewarrior:
CyberEagleWarrior Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2012  Student Interface Designer
Good map you made here!
Reply
:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2012   Artist
Thanks (:
Reply
:icongeneralhelghast:
GeneralHelghast Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2012   General Artist
i think pisidia should be a part of Persia, even though they made themselves independent
Reply
:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2012   Artist
Yea most maps show Pisidia as part of the empire, but no one could actually subdue the Pisidian people, not the Lydians under Croesus, not the Persians. The Persians tried multiple times and succeeded but Pisidia revolted constantly and immediately, until the Persians decided to just leave the region alone, cause it was isolated anyway. So I think it's definitely correct not to include Pisidia in the empire.
Reply
:icongeneralhelghast:
GeneralHelghast Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2012   General Artist
Alright then, but I would see it as a disputed region.
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:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2012   Artist
Even Wikipedia makes mention of Pisidia being uncontrollable (:

"Pisidia remained a wild, mountainous region, and one of the most difficult for outside powers to rule. As far back as the Hittite period, Pisidia was host to independent communities not under the Hittite yoke. Known for its warlike factions, it remained largely independent of the Lydians, and even the Persians, who conquered Anatolia in the 6th century BC, and divided the area into satrapies for greater control, were unable to cope with constant uprisings and turmoil."

[link]

Alexander the Great was the first to really annex Pisidia, and even he had difficulty taking it over.

Hardy folks down there in Pisidia, they were XD
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:icongeneralhelghast:
GeneralHelghast Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2012   General Artist
I saw that line earlier while researching about pisidia today. I think of pisidia to be part of the Persian empire, but more like an independent region within the empire. Usually, when I make my alternate history/science fiction empires, I usually make sure that there are no independent states within them.
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:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2012   Artist
Well in those times, borders weren't what they are today.. It was all more about spheres of influence which were stronger or weaker depending on military presence or strategic & economic significance, rather than a country wherein everything was known and managed. In antiquity, it was quite common for smaller regions, particularly isolated ones like Pisidia, to remain independent from any foreign control.

Pisidia couldn't really be an independent region within the Persian empire, it didn't pay taxes and didn't deliver soldiers to the army like client states and satrapies had to. It was simply an isolated region controlled by nobody save for the Pisidian people themselves... Until Alexander came along (;
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:icongeneralhelghast:
GeneralHelghast Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2012   General Artist
totally agree with you.
Reply
:iconxyz-dbz:
xyz-dbz Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2012
what about roman empire ??
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:iconundevicesimus:
Undevicesimus Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2012   Artist
I will make one eventually but right now I am focusing on the Greek civilization. After that, the Romans are up (:
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