Medio-Persian Empire: Survey of the Rise of Cyrus II (Isa. 41:2, 25; 44:28-45:7; 46:11; 48:15):

  1. 625-585 - Cyaxares was the king of Media that helped Babylon defeat Assyria.

  2. 585-550 - Astyages was king of Media (capital was Ecbatana). Cyrus II was his grandson by Cambyses I (600-559, Persian) and Mandane (daughter of Astyages, Median).

  3. 550-530 - Cyrus II of Ansham (eastern Elam) was a vassal king who revolted:
    1. Nabonidus, the Babylonian king, supported Cyrus.
    2. Astyages' general, Harpagus, led his army to join Cyrus' revolt
    3. Cyrus II dethroned Astyages.
    4. Nabonidus, in order to restore a balance of power, made an alliance with:
      1. Egypt
      2. Croesus, King of Lydia (Asia Minor)
    5. 547 - Cyrus II marched against Sardis (capital of Lydia) and it fell in 546 B.C.
    6. 539 - In mid-October the general Ugbaru and Gobryas, both of Gutium, with Cyrus' army, took Babylon without resistance. Ugbaru was made governor, but died of war wounds within weeks, then Gobryas was made governor of Babylon.
    7. 539 - In late October Cyrus II "the Great" personally entered as liberator. His policy of kindness to national groups reversed years of deportation as a national policy.
    8. 538 - Jews and others (cf. the Cyrus Cylinder) were allowed to return home and rebuild their native temples (cf. II Chr. 36:22,23; Ezra 1:1-4). He also restored the vessels from YHWH's temple which Nebuchadnezzar had taken to Marduk's temple in Babylon (cf. Ezra 1:7-11; 6:5).
    9. 530 - Cyrus' son, Cambyses II, succeeded him briefly as co-regent, but later the same year Cyrus died while in a military campaign.

  4. 530-522 - reign of Cambyses II
    1. added Egyptian empire in 525 B.C. to the Medo-Persian Empire;
    2. he had a short reign:
      1. some say he committed suicide;
      2. Heroditus said he cut himself with his own sword while mounting his horse and died of the resulting infection.
    3. brief usurpation of the throne by Pseudo-Smerdis (Gaumata) - 522

  5. 522-486 - Darius I (Hystapes) came to rule
    1. He was not of the royal line but a military general.
    2. He organized the Persian Empire using Cyrus' plans for Satraps (cf. Ezra 5-6; also during Haggai's and Zechariah's time).
    3. He set up coinage like Lydia.
    4. He attempted to invade Greece, but was repulsed.

  6. 486-465 - Reign of Xerxes I:
    1. put down Egyptian revolt
    2. intended to invade Greece and fulfill Persian dream but was defeated in the battle of Thermopoly in 480 B.C. and Salamis in 479 B.C.
    3. Esther's husband, who is called Ahasuerus in the Bible, was assassinated in 465 B.C.

  7. 465-424 - Artaxerxes I (Longimanus) reigned (cf Ezra 7-10; Nehemiah; Malachi):
    1. Greeks continued to advance until confronted with the Pelopanisian Civil Wars
    2. Greece divides (Athenian - Pelopanisian)
    3. Greek civil wars lasted about 20 years
    4. during this period the Jewish community is strengthened
    5. brief reign of Xerxes II and Sekydianos - 423

  8. 423-404 - Darius II (Nothos) reigned

  9. 404-358 - Artaxerxes II (Mnemon) reigned

  10. 358-338 - Artaxerxes III (Ochos)reigned

  11. 338-336 - Arses reigned

  12. 336-331 - Darius III (Codomannus) reigned until the Battle of Issus 331 and was defeated by Greece

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