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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

Winter 548/7 BC - After consulting the Delphic oracle of Apollo, Croesus is 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 results in stalemate; Croesus returns to Sardis and calls his allies for reinforcement

Winter 547/6 BC - Cyrus surprises Croesus and marches into Anatolia; in the Battle of Thymbra, the Lydians are defeated and the Persians take Sardis; Croesus is to be executed on a burning pyre but Cyrus gives him clemency at the last minute

Fall 546 BC - The Temple of Apollo at Delphi burns to the ground (seen as highly symbolic)

545 BC - Cyrus leaves behind a satrap (governor) and military garrison at Sardis and leads his army back to Ecbatana; along the way, the Lydians revolt (with the help of many Ionian poleis), so Cyrus dispatches his most senior generals to put down the revolt

545-542 BC - The Persian general Harpagos leads an assault on the Greek poleis of the Anatolian coastline; all either submit willingly, are defeated in battle and then submit, or flee westwards; the Asiatic Greeks, Lydians, Carians, and Lycians are now Persian subjects; the Persians though honor their native customs and religious beliefs

545-539 BC - Cyrus campaigns against nomadic step-tribes of central Asia

Fall 539 BC - Cyrus defeats Babylonian forces at Opis; then he marches his army onto Babylon and storms the city; all of Babylonia falls under Persian control; Cyrus appoints his eldest son and heir, Cambyses II, as satrap of Babylon

530 BC - Cyrus dies while campaigning in the far northeast against the Massagetai

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


Map/The Achaemenid Empire's Growth


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