Iran 1000 BCE

Indo-European nomads are moving into Iran from the north.

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What is happening in Iran in 1000BCE

Northern and central Iran

In the second half of the 2nd millennium, the Indo-European speaking peoples in northern and central Iran suddenly spread westward and southwards, obliterating earlier cultures.

These peoples were almost certainly the ancestors of the modern Iranians, and in particular of the Medes and the Persians, who would soon be making their mark on world history. At the same tine, related groups such as the Parthians and Bactrians occupied areas of northern Iran and neighbouring areas of central Asia.


In the centuries after 1500 BC, the political centre of gravity in Elam seems to have shifted from Susa to Anshan, and the culture of Elam became more native and less Mesopotamian in emphasis, reflect in the increasing use of Elamite instead of Akkadian in official inscriptions.

A period of stability and expansion led Elam into conflict with Baylonia, at this time under the Kassites, and later Assyria. In the course of these conflicts, Elam carried out a devastating attack on Babylon, but eventually seems to have been overpowered by the Assyrians (c. 1200 BC).

A period of political instability followed, and then expansion resumed after c. 1160 BC, under a new line of kings. Susa seems to have been re-established as the centre of power for the kingdom, and by this time the political system of the kingdom seems to have become much more centralised than before. Little is now heard of the vassal principalities or the rotation of the kingship, and son followed father on the throne in the way normal in other states. 

Greatness and decline

With the eclipse of Babylon, Assyria and the Hittites after 1200 BC, the result of destructive barbarian invasions, Elam was the leading power in the Middle East for a brief period. Elam captured Babylon (and carried off the famous stela on which was inscribed the law code of Hammurabi to Susa), and apparently exercised control over a large area of Mesopotamia. However, by 1100 BC, Elamite power was shrinking again as Babylon revolted and in turn overran Elam. For the next few centuries a dark age descends on Elam.


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