Cultures > Achaemenid Empire
ACHÆMENIDÆ, ak′ē-men′i-dē, the Greek name of the Persian dynasty (558–330 b.c.) founded by Cyrus the Great, including Cambyses, Darius I and II, Xerxes, Artaxerxes, etc., and ended by Alexander the Great. The family took its name from an ancestor of Cyrus, found in Persian inscriptions as Haxamanisya, which the Greeks softened to Achæmenes (a-kē′men-ēz).
The empire had its beginnings in the 7th century BC, when the Persians settled in the southwestern portion of the Iranian Plateau, in the region of Persis. From this region, Cyrus rose and defeated the Median Empire—of which he had previously been king—as well as Lydia and the Neo-Babylonian Empire, following which he formally established the Achaemenid Empire.