Iran 200 BCE

Iran - "the land of a thousand cities".

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What is happening in Iran in 200BCE

Iran, like the rest of the Middle East, was conquered by Alexander the Great in the 320’s. He founded new cities built in the Greek style and populated by Greeks.  Alexander’s successors, the Seleucid kings, have followed this example, and have governed using Greek-speaking officials drawn from these cities. Nevertheless, the influence of Greek culture is only skin deep in the country at large, and the Seleucids’ pro-Greek policy has alienated the native landowning nobility.

The focus of the Seleucid kings is on their struggles with their western neighbours in the Mediterranean. This has allowed independent kingdoms to emerge in the east. Along the northern borders of the country, steppe nomads pose a continuing threat, and one group, an Iranian tribe called the Parthians, have established themselves in a separate state since about 250 BCE. Another state appeared at the same time when a Greek general, Diodotus, declared his independence from the Seleucids and founded the kingdom of Bactria. Bactria is an important loss to the Seleucids as it is a rich and fertile land, described as “the land of a thousand cities”.

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