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The Persian Empire - Chronology of Political Events

c. 670 B.C. -
Median tribes unite to form Median kingdom.
Ecbatana (modern Hamadan) established as capital.
668 - c. 627 B.C. -
Reign of Assyrian king Ashurbanipal.
647 B.C. -
Susa captured and burned by Ashurbanipal.
628 B.C. -
Birth of Zoroaster, religious prophet.
614 B.C. -
Median king Cyaxares captures Assyrian city of Ashur.
612 B.C. -
Median and Babylonian armies capture Ninevah, Assyrian capital. 609 B.C. -
Assyrian king and army destroyed.
Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar marries Median princess.
May 28, 585 -
Eclipse of sun.
Drawn battle between forces under Cyaxares, king of Media, and those of Alyattes, king of Lydia.
Halys River set as boundary between Median and Lydian kingdoms.
Astyages, son of Cyaxares, marries Lydian princess. c. 575  -
Birth of Kurush (Cyrus II) (Cyrus the Great).
Founder of Persian empire.
Achaemenid line of kings descending from king Achaemenes.
559  -
Cyrus II ascends throne of Anshan.
Subjugates eastern branch of Achaemenids.
c. 550 - 549 -
King of Medes, Astyages, tries to regain control from Cyrus.
Median army mutinies near Pasargadae, on plain of Murghab, and surrenders Astyages to Cyrus.
Median capital of Ecbatana surrended to Cyrus.
547 - 546 -
King Croesus crosses Halys River and captures former Median fortress of Pteria.
Cyrus leads army from Susa.
After inconclusive battle outside Pteria, Croessus abandons field and heads for Sardis.
Cyrus follows to Sardis and surprises Croessus, who had disbanded army for winter.
Persians take Sardis.
546 - 545 -
Asiatic Greeks conquered by Persia
541 -
Cyrus takes army into central Asia and sets northern frontier at Jaxartes River (Syr Darya)
540 -
Cyrus crosses Gyndes River in campagin against Babylon.
Babylonian army defeated near city of Opis.
Sippar captured.
539 - 538 -
Army commanded by Ugbaru (Gobryas), governor of Gutium, enters Babylon without resistance and captures Nabonidus.
530 - 529 -
Persian army annihilated and Cyrus killed in campaign against eastern nomads led by Queen Tomysis.
Herodotus names opponents as the Massagetae, residing in the plain east of the Caspian; Ctesias names them as Derbices; Berosus names them as the Dahae.
529 - 525 -
Accession of Cambyses II.
526 -
Cambyses begins campaign to conquer Egypt.
Polycrates, tyrant of Samos, abandons alliance with Amasis, king of Egypt, and joins Persia. 526 - 525 -
Amasis dies.
Accession of son Psamatik (Psammetichus III).
Battle of Pelusion (Pelusium).
c. 525 - Spartans attack Samos.
May 525 -
Cambyses completes conquest of Egypt.
Libya and Greek cities of Barca and Cyrene submit to Persians.
525 - 523 -
Cambyses begins campaign to expand empire in Africa.
Plans to attack Carthage disrupted by Phoenician naval refusal to join.
Force, said to number 50,000, sent to attack Greek colony at Siwa Oasis.
Cambyses leads campaign against kingdom of Kush (now Sudan).
Establishes garrison at Elephantine, (near Aswan), but fails to take Kushite capital Meröe.
522 -
Cambyses forced to return to Persia to deal with political unrest.
According to contemporary accounts, usurper named Gaumata was impersonating Smerdis, Cambyses' brother.
Cambyses dies, possibly by committing suicide, enroute home.
Alternative interpretation is that Darius eliminated Smerdis following Cambyses' death and concocted story of impostor Gaumata.
Darius, a distant cousin of Cambyses, and one of officers in Egypt, ascends to Persian throne.
522 - 486 -
Reign of Darius.
522 - 521 -
Darius forced to deal with widespread revolt.
Nebuchadnezzar III proclaimed as king in Babylon.
New Elamite king declared in Susa.
Darius captures Nebuchadnezzar III and Eleamite and executes both.
Revolts in Persia, Elam, Media, Assyria, Parthia, Margiana, Sattagydia, and in east.
Rebellion quashed by end of 521.
520 -
Darius captures Babylon for first time.
Standardized imperial coinage introduced.
Royal Road system reorganized and expanded.
(Route ran some 1,600 miles from imperial residence at Susa to old Lydian capital of Sardis.)
Parsa (known to Greeks as Persepolis) selected as site for royal residence. (about 45 miles from Pasargadae (coronation city)).
519 -
Darius captures Babylon for second time.
521 - 514 -
Darius sends expedition into India.
Sets boundary of Persian Empire at Indus River.
Gold-producing province of Hindush becomes one of richest revenue sources for empire.
Empire divided into twenty satrapies (provinces) administered by satraps (governors) appointed by the king.
c. 513 -
First European expedition of Darius.
Darius land forces said to number 700,000, according to Herodotus. (Actual size estimated at 70,000.)
Floating bridge constructed at Bosphorus Straits (near modern Istanbul).
512 - Thrace and Macedonia conquered.
500 -
Work on channel between Gulf of Suez and Mediterranean started.
When completed, will extend 125 miles.
500 - 495 -
Exploratory sea voyages to western Greece and India.
Persian ships begin making trading voyages to northwestern India, returning with pearls, tortoise shells, and spices.
499 -
Megabates, a cousin of Darius, commands expedition of 200 ships against Naxos.
Blockade fails and expedition abandoned after four months.
Ionian revolt begins.
494 -
Perians capture Miletus.
490 -
Mede general, Datis, and Persian general, Artaphernes, lead Persian expedition against Greece.
Destruction of Eretria.
August 12 - Battle of Marathon
Attempted landing by Persian force repulsed by Greeks at Bay of Marathon.
October 486 -
Egypt revolts against Persia.
November 486 - Death of Darius.
Accession of Xerxes.
484 - 3
Subjugation of Egypt.
Preparations for European invasion begun.
482 -
Revolt in Babylonia.
Themistocles' decree to build Athenian fleet.
Spring 480 -
Persian invasion force crosses Hellespont to European shore.
Herododus calculates size at 1.7 million troops and 3,000 ships.
Actual size estimated at around 200,000 troops and 1,200 ships.
480 -
August - Spartans attempt to hold pass at Thermopylae with 7,000 men under King Leonidas.
After defeating Spartan force Persian army marches to Athens and takes city.
September 23 - Battle of Salamis.
Persian naval forces defeated by Greeks in Bay of Salamis.
August 27, 479 -
Persian force under Mardonius defeated at Plataea.
Mardonius killed during battle.
Persian naval defeat at Mycale.
Ionian revolt from Persia.
477 -
Foundation of Confederacy of Delos.
465 -
Xerxes murdered by Guard captain, Artabanus.
Artaxerxes I (Longimanus) seizes power.
Reign - 465 - 424.
449-48 -
Athens negotiates peace with Persia.
424 - 404 -
Reign of Darius II (Ochus).
Illegitimate son of Artaxerxes I.
Gained throne by killing half brother Sogdianus, who had murdered legitimate heir, Xerxes II.
410 -
Persia loses Egypt.
408 -
Cyrus the Younger, son of Darius II, appointed satrap of Asia Minor.
Athens negotiates peace with Persia.
404 -
Artaxerxes II accedes to Persian throne.
401 -
Cyrus, satrap in Asia Minor, rebels against Artaxerxes and organizes army, (estimated at around 30,000, with 13,000 Greek mercenaries) including Greek mercenaries, to invade Persia.
Summer 401 - Cyrus killed during Battle of Cunaxa (near Babylon).
March of the Ten Thousand - Greek army under Xenophon forced to fight way back to Greece
387 - 386 -
King's Peace.
Artaxerxes arbitrates peace agreement between Athens and Sparta.
367 - 353 -
Satraps' Revolt.
Started when Ariobarzanes, administrator of Phrygia during Artabazus' minority, refused to reqlinquish post.
358 -
Artaxerxes III comes to power.
356 - 355 -
Birth of Alexander the Great.
345 - 343 -
Persia recovers Egypt.
338 -
Artaxerxes III poisoned by court eunuch named Bagoas.
336 - 330 -
Reign of Darius III (Codomannus), the last king of Persia..
336 -
Arses, youngest son of Artaxerxes, attempts to take power.
Arses and all his children killed by Bagoas.
Darius III comes to power after Bagoas drinks own poison.
Philip of Macedonia murdered.
Accession of Alexander of Macedonia. Spring 334 -
Alexander begins expedition against Persia.
Battle of the Granicus.
333 -
Battle on the plain of Issus.
Darius routed by Alexander.
331 -
October 1 - Battle of Gaugamela.
December - Susa captured.
330 -
Burning of palace at Persepolis.
July - Death of Darius.
323 -
June 13 - Alexander dies in Babylon.
301 -
Macedonian commander Seleucus founds Seleucid Dynasty.