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Monday, January 30, 2017

031 - Cyrus the Great

In this episode, we discuss Cyrus' conquests of the Lydian kingdom, the Greek city-states in western Anatolia, the nomadic step-tribes of central Asia, and the Neo-Babylonian Empire; the contingents and battle tactics of his multi-ethnic military; the administration of his multi-state empire that stretched from Anatolia in the west to the northwestern regions of India in the east; and his other deeds and qualities that were deemed to be so exceptional by later historians that he earned the moniker "the Great"

560-546 BC - The reign of Lydian king, Croesus
559-530 BC - The reign of Persian king, Cyrus II
556-539 BC - The reign of Babylonian king, Nabonidus
550 BC - Cyrus overthrows the Medes, beginning the Achaemenid Persian Empire
Winter 548/7 BC - After consulting the Delphic oracle, Croesus was convinced that he should attack Cyrus to eliminate the Persian threat and so he enters into an alliance with the Spartans, alongside his other allies in the Babylonians and the Egyptians
Fall 547 BC - Battle of Pteria between the forces of Croesus and Cyrus resulted in stalemate; Croesus returns to Sardis and calls his allies for reinforcement
Winter 547/6 BC - Cyrus surprised Croesus and marched into Anatolia; in the Battle of Thymbra, the Lydians were defeated and the Persians took Sardis; Croesus was to be executed on a burning pyre but Cyrus gave him clemency at the last minute
Fall 546 BC - The Temple of Apollo burned to the ground (seen as highly symbolic)
545 BC - Cyrus left behind a satrap (governor) and military garrison at Sardis and led his army back to Ecbatana; along the way, the Lydians revolted (with the help of many Ionian poleis), so Cyrus dispatched his most senior generals to put down the revolt
545-542 BC - The Persian general Harpagos led an assault on the Greek poleis of the Anatolian coastline; all either submitted willingly, were defeated in battle and then submitted, or fled westwards; the Asiatic Greeks were now Persian subjects
545-539 BC - Cyrus campaigned against nomadic step-tribes of central Asia
Fall 539 BC - Cyrus defeated Babylonian forces at Opis; then he marched his army onto Babylon and stormed the city; all of Babylonia fell under Persian control; Cyrus appointed his eldest son and heir, Cambyses II, as satrap of Babylon
530 BC - Cyrus died while campaigning in the far northeast against the Massagetai

Primary Sources:

Supplementary Resources (Videos, Photos, Other Podcasts)

Video/Rise of the Persians (History Den)

Video/Cyrus the Great Establishes the Achaemenid Empire (Khan Academy)


Map/The Achaemenid Empire's Growth

Photo/Ruins of the Audience Palace at Pasargadae

File:Audience Palace, Pasargadae 03.jpg

Photo/Cyrus Stele at Pasargadae

File:Cyrus stele in Pasagardae.jpg

Photo/"I am Cyrus, Achaemenid King" in Old Persian, Elamite and ‌Akkadian at Pasargadae

File:I am Cyrus, Achaemenid King - Pasargadae.JPG


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