**Ad maintenance in progress. Should be fixed soon** A podcast dedicated to the history of Persia, and the great empires that ruled there beginning with the Achaemenid Empire of Cyrus the Great and the foundation of an imperial legacy that directly impacted ancient civilizations from Rome to China, and everywhere in between. Join me as we explore the cultures, militaries, religions, successes, and failures of some of the greatest empires of the ancient world. All credits available on the website (https://historyofpersiapodcast.com/)
After the conquests of Alexander the Great, the history of the Achaemenids slipped into legend, myth, and obscurity. By the 6th Century CE, the likes of Cyrus the Great, Darius the Great, Xerxes, and Artaxerxes had been all but forgotten in Iran. Instead, the Sassanid Persian Empire remembered the stories of great heroes from the Avesta, occupying the equivalent of the Achaemenids' place in history.
In the centuries following Alexander the Great's conquest of the Persian Empire, Iranian cultural memory changed and shifted, often in strange and unexpected ways. Alexandros Megas ton Makedon was remembered as Gizistag Iskandar-i Rhomiyag - the Accursed Alexander of Rome.
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In the final weeks of 331 BCE, Alexander the Great took Babylon, Susa, and Persepolis almost entirely unopposed. By May 330, he had claimed Ecbatana as well and sent Darius III fleeing toward Bactria, but discontent was growing in both armies, and ultimately Artaxerxes V, rather than Darius, would lead Achaemenid Persia's final stand.
After Darius III's defeat at Gaugamela, Alexander the Great tore through the Persian capitals, taking Babylon and Susa without a fight, and only stalling on his way to Persepolis during the Battle of the Persian Gates. The Macedonians reveled, Persepolis burned, and King Darius fled, ceding Ecbatana to the conqueror.
Alexander the Great and Darius III square off in the Battle of Gaugamela, the Macedonians' first strike to take a Persian capital in Babylonia.
Following his victory at Tyre, Alexander proceeded to take Egypt without much of a fight, but while he was there, the Macedonian Monarch did some minor administrative work like establishing the city of Alexandria and getting himself proclaimed Son of Zeus-Ammon. Meanwhile, Darius III was bracing for his next grand battle with the invaders.
Find the full episode at Patreon.com/HistoryOfPersia
After the Battle of Issus, Alexander the Great and the Macedonian invasion force began working their way down the western coast of the Persian Empire while Parmenion raced through inland Syria. City after city surrendered without a fight until the Siege of Tyre, one of the most difficult battles in Alexander's career.
While Darius III gathered his forces in the east, Alexander was busy with the Siege of Halicarnassus, one of the most brutal encounters in Alexander the Great's career. Then Darius arrived, and east and west faced off in the Battle of Issus.
In 334 BCE, Alexander the Great crossed into Asia to begin his invasion of the Persian Empire. Reluctant to intervene, Darius III left matters to his Satraps, dooming them in the Battle of the Granicus. So it begins.
It's time to turn back the clock - just a bit - and see what King Philip II of Macedon was doing over in eastern Europe while the Persians were busy with Egypt, rebels, and succession crises in the mid-4th Century BCE.
Patron Exclusive Bonus Episode on the storytelling of Ctesias
Darius III was handpicked by Bagoas the Elder to succeed Artaxerxes IV, but Bagoas realized his mistake too late. Darius was no puppet king. He seized the reigns and set to work stabilizing the Persian Empire, bringing them back from the brink of annihilation.
Eunuchs and priestesses feature prominently in tales of lust, schemes, and curses to the fascination of the Classical sources. In the last major culture episode for the Achaemenids, it's time to talk about those who fell outside of the Empire's sex and gender norms.
After conquering Egypt, Artaxerxes III got to work ruling his empire. New buildings rose on the Persepolis terrace. Overly ambitious Macedonians had to be managed. A host of young princes needed to be trained, but wait... does this wine taste off to you, Bagoas?
I discuss the religious calendars of Zoroastrianism, past and present, along with the Sirozah prayers for each day of the month.
EPISODE 100! To celebrate, I'm ranking the top 10 Achaemenid kings. You won't believe number 2!
The Achaemenid Empire has a strange and complex history with enslavement. Today we separate fact and fiction both ancient and modern to discuss forced labor under Achaemenid rule.
Even after disarming the western satraps, Artaxerxes III had his hands full in the west. It was time to retake Egypt, but that was easier said than done.
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