Author: Sharukinu
Title: Achaemenid Chronology


Achaemenid Chronology I have compiled an almost comprehensive chronology of the Achaemenid dynasty and hopefully it will serve anyone interested in the period. It bears mentioning I have not included all events that took place under the Achaemenid umbrella, because of unintentional omission (minor details like the reigns of some satraps) and lack of fixed dates (such as Cyrus the Great's first campaign in Central Asia).

Names highlighted in blue indicate the beginning of a new reign, but the names of Persian monarchs who preceded Cyrus the Great are exempt from this so as to not confuse the gentle reader, since they ruled before the creation of the Achaemenid Empire although they belonged to the Achaemenid dynasty itself. Needless to say, all years bellow are BCE.



~ Achaemenid Chronology ~




c.705: Achaemenes, eponym of the Achaemenid clan, establishes the Kingdom of Persia in the southern Iranian region of Pars.

c.675: Teispes succeeds his father to the throne of Persia.

c.640: Teispes dies after dividing his kingdom amongst his sons Cyrus I and Ariaramnes.

639: Cyrus I pays tribute to Ashurbanipal and sends his son Arukku to the Assyrian court as a hostage.

c.600: Cyrus I is succeeded by his son Cambyses I. Cyrus II the Great is born.

c.590: Arsames succeeds his father Ariaramnes.

559: The crown of Persia passes from Cambyses I to his son Cyrus II. Arsames declares his loyalty to the new king, ending the division of the Persian Kingdom.

553: Cyrus raises the banner of rebellion against his Median overlord and maternal grandfather Astyages.

552: The Median army of Astyages is decisively defeated by the Persians under Cyrus in the Battle of Hyrba, which entices the northern allies of Media to defect to the Persian side.

551: Cambyses I dies of his wounds in the indecisive Battle of the Persian Border, and is given an honourable burial by his enemy and father-in-law Astyages. Cyrus retreats to Pasargadae and prepares for the final showdown with the Median king.

550: The Persians defeat the Medes in the Battle of Pasargadae. Persian revolt against the Medes is successful, culminating in the capture of the Median capital of Ecabatana, the dethroning of Astyages, and the end of Median rule. Cyrus marries Astyages' daughter Amytis. Darius I the Great and his future wife Atossa (Cyrus' daughter) are born. Cyrus adopts the title of King of Kings (Emperor). The Achaemenid Empire is established.

548: Parthia, Hyrcania, and Armenia are annexed by Cyrus.

547: Cyrus marches against the Lydian Empire, defeats Croesus in the Battle of Thymbra, and captures the Lydian capital of Sardis.

540: The Median general Harpagus completes the Persian conquest of Asia Minor. Cyprus is occupied by the Persians.

539: The Persian emperor conquers the Babylonian Empire. The Audience Hall in Pasargadae is built.

538: The Cyrus Cylinder is commissioned. The Persian empress and Cyrus' beloved wife Cassandane dies, and a great mourning is held for her throughout the Empire. Cyrus appoints his son Cambyses II as King of Babylon, a title he would enjoy for only about nine months. Gobryas, one of Cyrus' senior officers and the satrap of Babylon, dies.

530: Cambyses II is appointed as joint ruler by Cyrus. The Persian emperor is wounded in battle against the Central Asian Iranic tribe of the Derbices and dies three days later. Derbices are defeated in the same battle. Cambyses II arranges for his father's burial in Pasargadae, and ascends the throne of Persia.

526: Bardiya is assassinated by his brother Cambyses.

525: Cambyses conquers Egypt.

524: Egyptian revolt is crushed by the Persian emperor.

522: An enigmatic imposter by the name of Gaumata appears in Persia. Cambyses dies in mysterious circumstances. Revolts start in various parts of the Empire. Gaumata is slain by Darius I and his companions. Darius I is crowned as emperor in Pasargadae. A Babylonian pretender is defeated. Darius marries Atossa.

521: Elamite and Armenian revolts are crushed by the Persians.

520: Darius orders the construction of the Temple of Jerusalem to be resumed.

519: Darius defeats the Saka Tigrakhauda and captures their king Skunkha. Xerxes I is born.

518: Gandhara in annexed by the Persians. Darius orders the construction of Persepolis.

517: Darius quells a rebellion in Egypt.

515: The Indus Valley is conquered by Darius. Work on the Apadana palace in Persepolis begins.

513: Darius campaigns against the European Scythians, and conquers vast swathes of Scythian land without fighting a major battle. Thrace is conquered by the Persians, and Macedonia enters an alliance with the Achaemenid Empire. Libya is added to the list of Persian satrapies.

510: Darius orders the creation of an imperial treasury in Persepolis.

499: The Naxos campaign fails. The Ionian Revolt begins.

498: Sardis is burned by Greek forces supported by Athenians but are later forced to retreat by the Persian garrison. Retreating Greek forces are defeated by the Persians in the Battle of Ephesus.

497: Cypriot revolt is suppressed. Carians rebel against the Persians, but are defeated in the Battle of Marsya and the Battle of Labraunda. Persian armies recapture Clazomenae and Cyme. Darius builds a canal that links the Mediterranean to the Red Sea.

496: Carian rebels successfully ambush the previously victorious Persian army.

494: The Persian fleet defeats the Ionians in the Battle of Lade. Miletus is captured and ravaged by the Persians.

493: Greek rebels are defeated in the Battle of Malene. The Persians complete the reconquest of Hellenic Asia Minor, effectively putting an end to the Ionian Revolt.

492: The First Persian Invasion of Greece commences. Thrace is re-subjugated, and Macedonia as well as Thassos submit to Persian rule. The Persian fleet near Mount Athos is wrecked by a violent storm. Mardonius is wounded in a skirmish against a hostile Thracian tribe, but manages to retreat with his army and the remnants of the fleet to Asia. The first phase of the invasion ends.

491: Darius sends his ambassadors to the Greek city-states with demands for submission, but Athens and Sparta remain defiant.

490: The second phase of the invasion starts. The islands of Rhodes, Naxos, Delos, and Karystos submit to Persian rule. Eretria is captured by the Persians. The Persian army is decisively defeated in the Battle of Marathon. The First Persian Invasion of Greece comes to an end.

487: Empress Atossa forces her husband to make her son Xerxes the sole heir to the Persian throne.

486: Egypt revolts. Darius' health deteriorates, and he dies. Xerxes I is crowned as emperor.

485: Xerxes crushes revolts in Egypt and Babylon. Construction of the Apadana palace is complete.

484: Xerxes orders the confiscation and the melting down of the golden statue of the Babylonian god Marduk, inciting another rebellion in the city. The emperor's brother Achaemenis is made satrap of Egypt.

483: Xerxes begins preparations for the Second Persian Invasion of Greece.

482: Babylonians revolt once again.

481: Xerxes gathers his army and marches towards Greece. Persian ambassadors are sent to the Greek city-states asking for "earth and water", but Athens and Sparta are deliberately ignored.

480: The Achaemenid army crosses the Hellespont on Xerxes' Pontoon Bridges. Thessaly and various northern Greek cities submit to the invaders. The Persian army annihilates the Greeks in the Battle of Thermpylae. The Greek fleet retreats after suffering heavy losses in the Battle of Artemisium. Athens is captured and burned. The Achaemenid armada is soundly defeated by the Greeks in the Battle of Salamis. Construction of the imperial treasury in Persepolis is finished.

479: Persian Siege of Potidaea fails, but Olynthus is captured. The Persians are defeated in the Battle of Plataea and the Battle of Mycale. The Second Persian Invasion of Greece is over. Asiatic Greeks rebel. The town of Sestos falls to the Greek counter-attack.

478: Cyprus is raided and Byzantium is captured by the Greeks. Xerxes puts to death his younger brother Masistes. The Gate of All Nations as well as the grand Palace of Xerxes are built in Persepolis, and work on the Throne Hall begins.

475: Atossa dies.

466: The Persians suffer a crushing defeat in the Battle of Eurymedon.

465: The Greeks expel the Persians from Chersonesos. Xerxes is assassinated by the commander of his bodyguards. Artaxerxes I personally puts the assassin to the sword and succeeds his father to the throne of Persia. A revolt led by Hystaspes, the emperor's brother and satrap of Bactria, is crushed. Themistocles arrives at the Persian court.

460: Inaros II leads a revolt in Egypt and asks for Athenian support. The Persians are routed in the Battle of Pampremis and are besieged in Memphis. The satrap of Egypt, Achaemenis, is killed in the battle.

455: The Persian army under general Megabyzus, the emperor's brother-in-law, lifts the Siege of Memphis and defeats the combined forces of Egyptians and Athenians. Remaining Athenians are defeated in the Siege of Prosopitis and the Battle of Mendesium.

451: The Athenian Siege of Kition in Cyprus fails. Athenian forces score victories in the Battles of Salamis-in-Cyprus and return home.

449: The Peace of Callias is made. The execution of Inarus and the Athenian prisoners entices Megabyzus to lead a revolt against Artaxerxes, having previously promised safety to the aforementioned victims. After defeating two loyalist armies, Megabyzus reaches a settlement arranged by Amestris and by Amytis (the emperorís sister and the wife of Megabyzus).

445: Tissaphernes, the future satrap of Lydia and Caria under Darius II, is born.

441: A Zoroastrian solar calendar is created. Zopyrus, son of Megabyzus, deserts to Athens.

440: Zopyrus dies in Caria.

424: Artaxerxes dies. His son Xerxes II ascends the throne, but is shortly assassinated by his half-brother Sogdianus, who then assumes power in Persia.

423: Sogdianus is overthrown and executed by his half-brother and satrap of Hyrcania Ochus, who then wields the imperial sceptre as Darius II. An Achaemenid prince by the name of Aristes, assisted by Artyphius the elder son of Megabyzus, leads a failed revolt in Syria. Cyrus the Younger is born.

413: The rebellion of Pissouthnes the satrap of Sardis and Caria is crushed by Tissaphernes who succeeds the former as satrap and is appointed as commander-in-chief of the Achaemenid armies in Asia Minor. Athens supports Carian rebels.

412: A treaty with Sparta is signed, guaranteeing subsidies for Sparta in return for delivering all Greek cities and territories in Asia Minor to the Persian emperor.

411: Unrest in Egypt.

409: The Medes revolt.

408: Cyrus the Younger is sent to Asia Minor to assist the satraps of Asia Minor (Pharnabazus II of Phrygia and Tissaphernes of Sardis and Caria) in the war against Athens.

407: Cyrus the Younger takes over Tissaphernes' offices, and the latter is reduced to governing Caria.

405: The northern Iranian tribe of the Cadusii rises up. The Persian emperor becomes dangerously ill.

404: Egyptian revolt, and a certain Amyrtaeus declares himself Pharaoh of Egypt. Darius II dies in Babylon, and is succeeded by Artaxerxes II.

403: Cyrus the Younger returns from Babylon to Sardis and prepares for an armed struggle against his brother Artaxerxes II.

401: Cyrus the Younger is slain in the Battle of Cunaxa.

400: Tissaphernes marries the daughter of Artaxerxes II, and is restored to his former posts.

395: Tissaphernes is defeated by the Spartans near Sardis, and is later executed by the Persians through treachery. The Corinthian War begins.

394: The Persian-Athenian fleet defeats the Spartans in the Battle of Cnidus.

393: A combined Graeco-Persian force under the command Conon and Pharnabazus attack mainland Greece.

392: Negotiations between the Persian coalition and Sparta fail.

390: The king of Cyprus revolts.

387: A reconquest of Egypt that began two years before ends in failure.

386: The King's Peace is made.

384: The Cadusians in northern Iran are subdued.

381: Euagoras of Cyprus is defeated by the Persians.

380: Darius III is born.

373: An attempt at reconquering Egypt fails.

372: The Revolt of the Satraps begins.

362: Revolt of the Satraps is crushed. Ariamnes I becomes satrap of Cappadocia.

358: Artaxerxes II dies, and is succeeded by Artaxerxes III.

354: The rebellious satrap of Lydia defeats a loyalist army.

353: The revolt in Asia Minor ends in failure.

351: Persians embark on an attempt at reconquering Egypt.

350: The reconquest of Egypt fails. Revolt in Cyprus. Ariarathes I is satrap of Cappadocia.

344: The Persians ask for Greek assistance in reclaiming Egypt, but the Greeks politely refuse. The inhabitants of Sidon start a rebellion.

343: Cypriot and Sidonese rebels are defeated. The Persians set off for Egypt once again.

342: The reconquest of Egypt is successful.

338: Artaxerxes III is poisoned by a eunuch called Bagoas. Artaxerxes IV is installed on the throne by Bagoas.

336: Artaxerxes IV is assassinated by the eunuch. Darius III ascends the throne, and he manages to eliminate Bagoas.

334: Alexander III of Macedon invades the Achaemenid Empire. Persians are defeated in the Battle of Granicus, the Siege of Miletus, and the Siege of Halicarnassus.

333: Darius is defeated in the Battle of Issus.

332: Alexander is victorious in the Siege of Tyre and the Siege of Gaza.

331: Darius abandons his army in the Battle of Gaugamela. Babylon and Susa are captured by the invaders.

330: The Battle of the Persian Gate is fought. Persepolis is burned by the Macedonians. Darius III is slain in Bactria by Bessos. The Achaemenid dynasty and the Empire over which it ruled come to an end.