February 7, 2012
Cyrus II of Persia, also known as Cyrus the Great, was one of the most influential and powerful rulers in the Ancient World.¹ By overthrowing the Assyrian empire, he was able to start the Persian Empire. Through his superior diplomacy skills within his empire, to his genius war tactics, he built the foundation for a line of Persian Kings to rule one of the largest empires in world history. Cyrus the Great’s(C. 600-530 BCE) expansion started in Persia, located on the southern portion of the Iranian peninsula, Cyrus conquered the Medes, led by King Astyages, circa 559 BCE in the northern part of the peninsula. From there, he moved into Ecbatana to take over the Medes. He united the them with the Persians to create the first rule under the Achaemenid Empire, of which he would ultimately model after the Assyrian Empire.² Cyrus continued his expansion by moving west and conquered Croesus of Lydia in 546 BCE and ordered it split and ruled by satraps. ⁶ Continuing to move west, he conquered the Chaldean empire of Babylon in 538 BCE of whom was led by King Nabonidus. Cyrus’ expansion continued to the Aegean Sea, where he had acquired several Greek city-states in Anatolia and had turn them over to satraps. His successors would later unsuccessfully try to conquer Greece. His empire also continued east to the Indus River Valley, where he eventually met his demise and the end of his empire. He had several capitals throughout his massive empire including Persepolis, Susa, Babylon, and Pasargadae, where he is buried to this day. Woodard 2
The key factor that made Cyrus’ rule much more successful than previous and future leaders was the way he treated the conquered parts of his empire. He was known has a great leader even according to Herodotus, who compared him quite favorably to other Persian rulers. Herodotus said "it is because of this fixing of tribute [by Darius] and other similar ordinances that the Persians called...